While swapping an LS-series engine into the engine bay of a classic Vette has not become old hat, the process has become simpler over the last few years. Companies like Street & Performance, Speed Hound and others have helped take some of the confusion out of the process. Of course, with so many options for things like motor and tranny mounts, all of these companies have also added some unwarranted issues like inter-brand compatibility. It seems every company out there has their way of making it work. You can buy at least 20 different types of motor mounts to fit a first-gen Camaro. The C2 ('63-'67) Corvette is not quite as lucky. There are a couple of universal kits and a few specialty kits that involve special oil pans, but these pans often hang low, adding an unnecessary risk. For the Red Line Auto Sports' '67 roadster, owner Fred and Kim Murfin wanted a simpler solution.
But the Murfins are not using the requisite T56 manual transmission. Instead, they opted to use the 4L60E automatic transmission, the most common tranny bolted to LS engines from the factory, in the '67. This choice actually complicated things a little, since most swap kits are set up for the manual tranny swap. In order to mount the 4L60E, there will have to be some chassis modifications. The LS1 engine came out of a '99 Camaro, complete with the harness, computer, trans and accessory drive. While the F-body (Camaro\Firebird) oil pan and accessory drive works well in the C2 chassis, the A\C and power steering components were swapped out for newer better fitting pieces from Street & Performance.
For the motor mounts, the solution came from Speed Hound Performance. These trick motor mount adapter plates for the Gen III\IV engines position the engine correctly in the chassis to clear all of the body and chassis components. The Speed Hound mounts will not fit the C2 chassis with parts-store motor mounts. The cheap overseas brands use thinner metal and that was a problem, as they did not quite reach the motor. However, a set of Energy Suspension polyurethane mounts come with a thick spacer plate that allow the engine to sit neatly on the stock frame stands without any issue, although we did have to grind a little on both the mounts and the Speed Hound adapter plates to get the fit just right. A set of Street & Performance headers for the Corvette were added to make everything work.
With the motor resting in place, the 4L60E transmission clearly would not fit as is. The C2 chassis features a welded-in crossmember, and since this was a four-speed car (yeah, it is being converted to an auto), it is not even close. In order to get the drive angle where it needs to be and mount the tranny, the crossmember would have to be notched and a plate welded in. While this might seem a little tricky, it is actually quite simple, and most builders should be able to handle the task.
If you want to replicate our results, you will need a piece of 4x3 1/4-inch angle steel, about 8-inches long. This will be used for both the notch insert, and the scrap can be used to fill in the boxed section, making for a nice clean install. The crew at Red Line Auto Sports managed to get the motor dropped in, mock up the mounts and perform the fabrication in a single day, so a lazy weekend would easily see the job through.
|Difficulty Index - 3 Wrenches|
|Anyone’s Project: no tools required||1 Wrench|
|Beginner: basic tools||2 Wrenches|
|Experienced: special tools||3 Wrenches|
|Accomplished: special tools and outside help||4 Wrenches|
|Professionals Only: send this work out||5 Wrenches|