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Joe Werner

putting a v8 in a 63 nova

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my dad has a 1963 nova SS with a 6 cylinder. has anyone ever put a v8 in one of these mayble like a 409 or anything? is there any problems that you've run into?

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Putting a small block Chevy in it should be pretty straight forward. I believe they were available from the factory. You can put any engine in any car as long as your pockets are deep enough! wink.gifwink.gifwink.gifwink.gif

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Back when they were new and we were doing this the only problem I ever heard about was a guy who forgot to use the short oil filter. The first time he changed his oil he had to cut the filter off. Other than that is is a straight bolt in.

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Guest BillP

I think you need a front sump oil pan and oil pickup due to cross member in the way.

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My uncle had a 64 Nova 2dr post with a 283/4spd new. When we put a 327 in it years later he had horrendus clutch problems. Turns out the bellhousing was specific to the Nova in that the clutch fork is lower at about the 7 oclock position. The 283 block had the clutch ball lower to match. So you can find original pieces or put in T350. The front sump is correct also. Good luck.

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A V8 was an option for Nova in '63.............buuuut dropping one in after the fact requires consideration to the differences between the two versions of the vehicle, not the least of which is the suspension system (all the way around). Then there is the issue of the tranny. Typically the sixes were paired with a two speed Power Glide or a 3 speed manual. You need to make sure if a two speed Power Glide it is the same as used with the six. I can almost guarantee there is a difference in the clutch used with a six verses the V8. Might just be a whole lot less costly to find an SS version of the Nova (they were pretty potent machines) instead of trying to make one out of one that came with a six.

Jim

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A V8 was an option for Nova in '63.............buuuut dropping one in after the fact requires consideration to the differences between the two versions of the vehicle, not the least of which is the suspension system (all the way around). Then there is the issue of the tranny. Typically the sixes were paired with a two speed Power Glide or a 3 speed manual. You need to make sure if a two speed Power Glide it is the same as used with the six. I can almost guarantee there is a difference in the clutch used with a six verses the V8. Might just be a whole lot less costly to find an SS version of the Nova (they were pretty potent machines) instead of trying to make one out of one that came with a six.

Jim

I believe Jim is correct. Just as you would have to change the suspension in the "A" body Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda, you would probably have to do the same thing with the Nova for the V8 swap. Go to your local magazine rack and you are bound to find the small block swap specs...they put 'em in EVERYTHING!

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I believe Jim is correct. Just as you would have to change the suspension in the "A" body Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda, you would probably have to do the same thing with the Nova for the V8 swap. Go to your local magazine rack and you are bound to find the small block swap specs...they put 'em in EVERYTHING!

The other big issue will be the motor mounts. Cutting out the ones for the six and welding in a correct set for a V8, not just some jackass hot rod type engine mounting. In addition, the brakes on a 6 cyl. '63 Nova were just as anemic as the engine. Which brings up another issue with a swap. I believe the V8 Nova's came with heftier brakes.

My ex-wife had a damn '63 Nova with its ultra anemic 6 cyl. engine running through a 2 speed Power Glide when we got married. Possibly the worst vehicle I ever have driven. Not only was the engine anemic, the S.O.B. leaked oil from every damn place it could, even after I replaced all the gaskets. But that was not as bad as getting caught in a downpour because it leaked anywhere and everywhere possible.

We had been married about six months when that car had a miraculous transformation into a brand new 1968 Ford LTD Brougham. It was a good trade, but I would have been much wiser to have traded the wife! :D

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I've seen a Nova with a V8 fitted but it was a Chrysler 383. From what I remember it was jammed in between the suspension towers. I can't imagine a 283 or a 327 ever being fitted as an option. How would you change the plugs for a start?

Art

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I've seen a Nova with a V8 fitted but it was a Chrysler 383. From what I remember it was jammed in between the suspension towers. I can't imagine a 283 or a 327 ever being fitted as an option. How would you change the plugs for a start?

Art

My ex-brother-in-law had a '64 Nova SS with a 327 in it from the factory and the only way you could change the plugs was to put the car on a lift and change them from underneath.

Jim

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They were available with a V8 when new, on the usual optional at extra cost basis.

Oil pan and motor mounts are the main differences and maybe the exhaust manifold.

Small block 283 and 327 were used. A 350 will fit as well. No big blocks.

There are lots of Chevy sites that can lay out the details.

If it was mine I would keep the six even if it needed to be rebuilt. The six had plenty of power for such a light car for every day driving.

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Other than the oil pan and motor mount issues, there are a few more.

The Chevy II small blocks were specific to that car in that the oil filter pad was raised a little on the block--at least the 283, as I understand. That's why the short oil filter is needed if it's not the orig-for-C II block.

If the car has factory air conditioning, the compressor was mounted on the passenger side of the engine. The unusual part is the compressor bracket set-up, which also braces on the passenger side shock tower--completely unique to that body series.

After the first 283s in the Chevy II Novas, by the time the body series ended in '67, the 327s were quite common in the later models. Seems like the 327/350 was the top engine option, usually with a 4-speed trans and (hopefully) Posi-Traction. The full array of axle ratios was also available. It was quite a popular combination! The '67s were probably the best looking ones, though.

At this point in time, there should be plenty of information around on what parts and pieces it will take to do the small block installation. Getting the correct frame mounts for the motor mounts will be critical to the correct positioning of the block in the chassis. BUT . . . it's not in the realm of a complete bolt-in situation as MANY things will need to be changed and upgraded. Chassis and suspension are in that mix, too, as would be the wiring harnesses and such to make the V-8 work as it should.

This was also in the part of GM's history when their brakes were not really that great, especially for wet weather "fade" until they dried out.

In one respect, it would be better to put some Clifford hot rod items on the existing six cylinder than start modifying the vehicle for an engine it really was not designed for (at least initially). You can find most everything for the six cylinders that you can find for V-8s . . . cams, intakes, headers, etc. to make it run better. Getting a 3-speed automatic in there can be a big help, but that trans never came in that body, so it could pose some installation issues. Seems like there should be a 4-speed that would fit that body and engine, though. The rear axle should be about a 3.36 or so so that would be decent with the small diameter tires they came with.

As for weight differences, the original 265 V-8 weighed less than the 235 I-6 it replaced, so the difference in front springs might not be that much . . . but it'd be better to upgrade the six cylinder, I think.

Just some thoughts . . .

NTX5467

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Not that it really matters, but the '63 Chevy II Nova had a 194 c.i. 6, not the 235 c.i. that was put in full size Chevy's the same year. The Chevy II 194 was bored out a bit for '65 which took it to 230 c.i. Neither was as heavy as the 265 c.i. Chevy six used in some applications in 1967. That sucker weighed more than Ford 460 big block.

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I'm aware of the differences in the 235 and the later, modern 194/230/250 Chevy six cylinder engine family. I mentioned the relative weights as a matter of reference. The 230 was used in full-size Chevys and the pickup trucks as the standard engine. There was also a 250 cid six cylinder variant 292 cid 6 cylinder for the heavier truck models. The 194 went in the smaller vehicles (i.e., Chevy II). There are some internal items which the newer six cylinder engines use which are also used in the small block V-8s. As mentioned, the 230 soon grew to 250, but there were some significant differences in the cylinder head and manifolding in the 1980s versions . . . even a "staged 2bbl" carb made by Holley.

The earlier 235 six cylinder engine family included a 261 cid six cylinder that was used in the 3/4 and 1-ton Chevy trucks. The 235's earlier ancestors were the 216 cid Chevy six cylinders.

The GMC six cylinders were much heavier weight and duty than the Chevys, plus they (GMCs) all had dedicated oil pumps. 228, 248, 270, and 302 all used the same architecture, but went in different applications and model years. The 270s were the choice for hot rodders, enlarging them to 302. The 302 itself was very heavy internally, so it was better suited for OTR trucks and such. I have a 228 spare motor and .070" pistons for it, plus 2 270 bare blocks (about 1962 model year), and ONE 302 short block still in the crate--same oil pan will fit all of these motors. Starting in about 1963, GMC had their own line of heavy-duty V-6 engines that went in their light duty pickups and others.

There is also an international club devoted to "inline" engines . . . Inliners International . . . with chapters in various parts of the USA.

Happy Holidays!

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)

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At one time the oil pans were being reproduced and probably the same with the motor mounts,I knew someone who done that swap back in the late 70s and the parts were still available at the dealer but I doubt they are now.

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The small block swap (not the 409) was/is still popular. Just google and the information available is unending...from oil pans to motor mounts, etc.

A V8 was NOT available in 1963 in the Chevy II.

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I've crammed a 496 in a 62 for a street/strip car in the past. There is much work to be done to accomplish a swap from what you have now to what you want, but with time, money, and patience anything can be done. A small block is definitely the way to go. A simple well built 350 would give you all the power you would need and your choice of either a th350 or 4 speed would be a good match. You will need to upgrade the suspension as others have said and the brakes.

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Having done this swap a few times I can say with certainty that the job here is being blown way out of Proportion.

First off, the V8 wasn't installed in the Nova until 64, and then it was the 283 with a powerslide ,or a 3 speed manual. IIRC, there was no factory 4Sp in the 62-67 Nova. It was 68 before the Nova came with a 4Sp. The only change for the V8 other than heavier springs was the bigger brakes with optional power assist and 5 lugs and 14" wheels.

As for installing the engine. The motor mounts are bolt in. No frame changes are needed. The mounts need to be for a Nova, but bolt right in.

The oil pan, oil pick up, and the oil pump drive all need to be changed. The pump drive is shorter. The pick up reaches to the front of the pan, and the pans sump is located forward of the cross member. Back in the day the filter had to be changed to a spin on filter. The original canister hung to low, and had exhaust clearance issues.

The wiring was a matter of moving the wire for the distributor and that' it. The alternator wiring was long enough that it reached the alternators new position with no problem. The same went for the starter wires.

I do not recall what stock exhaust manifolds were used, but back then the selection was minimal. Best guess were ram center dumps.

As for transmissions, the original powerglide was the easiest swap because there's no drive line work needed, just drop in the engine and go. The standard was easy as well, but who wanted a 3 speed with a V8, no one!

Personally I went with a Muncie 4 speed since the car was an SS, and the shifter came right up through the console like it was factory installed. But this did require some trim work on the cross member to keep the cross member from making contact with the tail housing of the 4 speed where the tail housing bolted to the trans. IIRC, it was about a 15 minute job to trim the cross member with a grinder.Other than that it was a direct bolt in, and the original auto trans mount was reused with the 4 speed.. Even the same drive shaft from the original 6 cylinder auto went right into the 4 speed without any cutting! (its a 60's Chevy, one size pretty much fits all)

Using the original Corvette linkage with the shortened throw made that car a whole lot of fun to drive.

I'm not sure what all this talk about the clutch needing to be special to the Nova is all about. I used a plain old bell housing, stock clutch and flywheel for a Corvette application , and a fork from I don't know what, and never had a problem. Nothing was ever done to the suspension other than an alignment, and I think the brakes were swapped out for larger ones, but once again I've forgotten just what was done with the brakes.

The exhaust was custom made with 2 1/2" pipes from front to rear.

This was one deep sleeper. It was full blown stock right down to the 63 SS hub caps. No one ever expected to see an old Nova convertible light up the tires the way this one did. It was clean and just plain mean.

Here's the bottom line, it takes an oil pan, an oil pump pick up, a couple of engine mounts and the oil pump drive. Those are the only specific parts needed to install any small block Chevy into a 62- 67 Nova.

These parts were once available from the dealer for under $50.00. Care to guess the cost today, if they could be found?

Sorry about the long reply, I got caught up in the moment, the past, something.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

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here's something to consider, think about the pontiac 250 cubic inch overhead cam six cylinder engine, came with optional quadrajet 4 barrel carb, dual exhaust, 215 horsepower, give that little bowtie car a lot more class. these engine were made from 66 to 68 or 69. tempest and firebirds had them. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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there was no factory 4Sp in the 62-67 Nova. It was 68 before the Nova came with a 4Sp. The only change for the V8 other than heavier springs was the bigger brakes with optional power assist and 5 lugs and 14" wheels.

No factory four speed until 1968? Incorrect.

Only V8 had 14" 5 lug wheels? Incorrect. All SS's were so equiped, including 6's.

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Maybe I'm just older than you guys, but in 66 and 67 the 327- 350 horse 4-speed cars were some RPO#, can't remember, they are the best looking in my opinion, although I own 4 C-II's all first series from a 62 ragtop that needs building and two 2-doors. If you want a small or big block and have some $, the trick now is a new front clip that comes with good suspension, big disc brakes, rack steering, anti-sway, and will bolt up and chevy engine/ trans easy. Also use easy to find sub frame connectors, and rear IRS kits are also available. If you got the jack, a six speed all aluminum engine dry sumped and lowered might be fun. I have also seen a full frame kit that you basically put the body on that gives a nice balanced ride. Check Super Chevy mag, or tons of other web sites.

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No factory four speed until 1968? Incorrect.

Only V8 had 14" 5 lug wheels? Incorrect. All SS's were so equiped, including 6's.

I do stand corrected on the 4 speed, I meant to say there wasn't a 4 speed prior to '65, oops.

The 6 cylinder SS had 14", 4 bolt wheels.

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here's something to consider, think about the pontiac 250 cubic inch overhead cam six cylinder engine, came with optional quadrajet 4 barrel carb, dual exhaust, 215 horsepower, give that little bowtie car a lot more class. these engine were made from 66 to 68 or 69. tempest and firebirds had them. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

I almost was an owner of a Tempest with the OHC. I still remember the first time that I looked at one of those engines. It was like, what in the world is that?

Why was that such a short lived project? With all the OHC engines from Europe at the time it seemed like a good proven idea. Now everything is OHC.

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They were 5 bolt.

Sorry, but both of the 63 Nova SS convertibles I owned had factory 14 inch wheels with a 4 bolt pattern. No Nova had 5 lugs until the V8 came out in 64.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

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