Basket CaseRecently, my father and I purchased a '56 Chevy 210 sedan basket case. All of the bodywork has been done including new floor pans and rear quarter panels. The engine and trans are out of the car. The engine is out of a '57 Chevy and it has a cast-iron powerglide transmission. Both have been rebuilt recently according to the previous owner. My dad was looking at the engine and noticed it did not have the mounts on the side like he says he remembers from his '65 Impala. We looked in an assembly manual we have and found it has mounts on the front of the engine and not the side. The trans also has the old rubber mounts towards the rear of the transmission. My question is can we put the engine and trans in the car in one unit or do we have to unbolt the trans? We don't have a lift so all the work has to be done on the floor of our garage. With your experience, can you tell me what is the best and easiest way to tackle this chore? Also we need a good source to get the correct front and rear engine mounts. We are in the process of cleaning and painting everything else with the engine installation coming sometime near the Christmas holiday so you have plenty of time to answer our questions.Herbert LoweryVia e-mail
Thanks for the extra time to answer your questions, Herbert. With all that's going on around here, you will probably read this around the holidays anyway. Timing is everything they say!
Yes, you can put the engine and trans in your '56 as a unit without much difficulty even if you don't have a car lift. With a few basic tips, the job can actually be done in a couple of hours.
First, clear the way for the installation by removing anything you can see that might get in your way like the radiator (if it's still there), hood, windshield wiper motor, etc. It is also a good idea to remove the distributor from the engine along with the carb. You will need a good engine hoist that any rental yard can supply, along with the lift chain to attach to the first and last intake manifold bolts on opposite sides of the manifold. If you haven't removed the radiator support, don't worry. Just ask the rental yard for a balance bar along with the engine hoist. The bar enables you to tilt the engine up or down during the installation. It's important, especially if you lift the engine and trans over the radiator support. You will need to go almost vertical with the unit to enable it to slide back and down to clear the support. Without the balance bar, be prepared to do a lot of huffing and cussing.
The number one mistake I see is the use of jack stands. During the initial install, just leave it on all four tires. Raising the vehicle usually puts it out of range of most engine lifts height capability. In other words, you won't get the engine high enough to go over the radiator support. Once you have the engine in position, you can always leave the engine attached to the hoist while you jack up the car and put jack stands firmly under the frame.