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A 322 to 401 swap


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I'm swapping a 401 nailhead and TH400 trans into my 55 roadmaster in place of a 322 with DF trans. Has anyone done this swap? Does anyone have suggestions on what I should do for a driveline? I was thinking of finding a later model buick differential and driveshaft but when did buick go to a non-torque tube setup?

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actually, an easier rear end to use is mid to late 60's chevy pickup truck. it is a really long three link, and is very similar in size and shape to the original torque tube setup.<P>also, firebirds used to use something similar, just much shorter. i would look at those first.<P>allan

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The key here is WIDTH of transplant rearend. I am using a 9" Ford with an Art Morrison 4-bar in my 55 Special w/455 & th400. I used the 9" because it was 1/2" narrower than my stock torque tube rearend. Your Roadmaster may take a wider set up ? The Morrison stuff is high quailty,and adaptable to the X frame.<BR><P>------------------<BR>K.R. "Pete" Peterson

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You won,t get rid of the torque tube with out custom fabricating, Brad,s version may well be cheaper than my 9"/Morrison route but I doubt by much smile.gif. <BR> Pete

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2nd gen camaro/firebird rearends are only 1 inch shorter than the buick rearend, and are very plentiful. I'm using one and am switching the spring perches, panhard bar mount, I'm using a ladderbar setup since there will be no more torque tube.

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Well, if we're talking custom fabbed stuff, ship the old rear end housing to Drive Train Specialists in Michigan and have them mount the stock perches and brackets to a Mopar 8 3/4 rear end housing (it's cheaper and stronger than a 9-inch). Then all you've got to do is take the stock "wishbone" arms, split them (cut them off the torque tube) and make a mount for them up front. A simple cross member, a simple tubing end with a bushing in it (welded to the end of each arm) bolted to a bracket on each side of the new drive shaft should get the job done.<BR>Then you don't have to worry about new shocks (you can keep the stock brakes/backing plates/shocks and mounts in the rear), pan hard bar, coil springs, etc.<BR>If you go this route, make sure they transfere the backing plate mounting flanges to the new housing. <BR>That'd be my two cents' worth.

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Cheater Mike:<BR><B>I'm swapping a 401 nailhead and TH400 trans into my 55 roadmaster in place of a 322 with DF trans. Has anyone done this swap? Does anyone have suggestions on what I should do for a driveline? I was thinking of finding a later model buick differential and driveshaft but when did buick go to a non-torque tube setup? </B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Thanks for all the replies. My main concerns are, well kinda picky but I want to stay with a buick rear end. My car looks like a late 50's early 60's custom. I know I want to change the rear suspension because the lever action is shot and I was thinking of welding in shock mounts off of the frame and keeping the coils and the car lowered its 3 inches. For the differential I wanted to stay with a buick maybe using The Old Guys suggestion of a late 60's early 70's rear end in a four link. But, I have 53 skylark wire wheels, will I be able to get them to fit on that rear end? And is the rear the same width?

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Not picky at all! I'm doing my '54 Special as a custom, and I'm shooting to make it look like it was done in about '59.<BR>I want to keep it period correct, but I'm going to probably use a later model FrigidAir A/C compressor (mid-late '60s) Mopar 8 3/4 rear (intro'd in late '50s-early '60s), 90-fin aluminum drums on front (mid-late '60s), 45-fin drums in back, and Gran Sport finned aluminum valve covers. Those won't be "period" perfect, and the rear won't be GM, but it's stronger than the '57 Chevy rear I have (and the Chevy rear is more valuable to a collector).<BR>I'd think your GM rear would work with the wires, and running finned aluminum drums would look great!<BR>

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The torque tube is designed to take the torque (hence the name) from the rear axel during acceleration and braking and also to transfer the ?push? from the rear wheels to the frame. <BR>I do not think the stock ?wish bones? are strong enough to handle the loads when you remove the torque tube.<BR>You will be better off with a 3bar or 4bar set-up, either custom made or stock.<P>Vegard<BR>Norwegian BCA member<BR>

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wow, i go out of town a few days and you guys come up with some crazy ideas.<P>dont split the factory torque tube setup. sell the whole thing to someone who wants it :)<P>the bones are way too weak. that is why i suggested the chevy truck setup. it is VERY similar to the split bones, and designed to take the torque, and already has the tube shock mounts. you could attempt to just attach those truck bones to another rear, but i would check the track width and see if you can use it.<P>also, did some buick wagons come with leaf springs? (thinking specifically early 70s) you may be able to get a clean and simple rear housing that way, and use the leafs if you want...<P>allan<P>------------------<BR>allan<BR>--------------<BR>50 special, 455/th400<BR>64 stude gt hawk, 289/auto<BR>76 poncho GP, 400/th400

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