A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

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A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby 73SILVERGT » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:26 am

I have done some searching but can't find anything that is too comprehensive. Has anyone created a list of everything needed to do a V8 swap with associated vendors and part numbers? A list of everything needed from mounts, to headers, to rear axle would be helpful!

Not including engine/tranny/rearend, how much does this swap typically cost?

Also, what are thoughts on rear axle setups (on a non-tubbed car)? My experience in the past with other cars (mostly 1st Gen Camaros/Firebirds) is by the time you mess around with a used housing/going thru the center section/gears/adding mounts, buying an "already done" complete new custom axle package from Strange or Moser makes more sense?

Thanks,

Phil
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby hammerdown7 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:45 am

Check with jdrace.com for your rear end questions. There are several builds on this H-body site under the 'Project Journals' section, viewforum.php?f=20

Dick
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby cosvega76 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:49 pm

Phil,

There is a wealth of information in our FAQ section:

http://h-body.org/library/hbodyfaq/index.html


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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby Smiley » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:59 am

I have not seen a "list" per say, there are a lot of ways to do a V8 swap so it depends on your time frame, skill level and budget.
What do you want it to do ? show car, drag car, pro touring, street car ?
automatic or stick shift ?
1st gen small block Chevy with a carburetor is the simplest and cheapest,
fuel injected LS will get better milage and make more power but adds time and money to the swap.
The stock Vega rear is only has a 6.5" ring gear and tiny spider gears.
A Monza 7.5" rear axle housing with S10 axles and the early Vega UCA mounts welded on is the simplest and cheapest medium duty 5 lug rearend option.
A 2wd S10 axle huosing is the same width but all the brackets must be cut from a Vega rear end and welded on the S10 housing.
S10 axles hold up well with treaded street tires and an automatic trans.
They made a few S10 2WD 8.5" heavy duty rear ends in the 5 speed 4.3 V6 extremes.
JD Race Cars can build you an 8.5" in the correct width but it will require the brackets.
Monzamouse here on the forum makes new brackets for H-body axles and also offers the extended upper control arm brackets.


Autoweld Chassis makes a bolt in 9 inch ford rear end for 71-74 Vega's, takes them a month or so to build. more $, less fabrication, but its almost bullet proof.

A TH350 or a Muncie 4 speed fit good and cost less than overdrive transmissions. If you are only going to local car shows and cruise nights you may not need overdrive if you choose a high ratio rear end gear in the 3.08 to 3.31 range.
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby 73SILVERGT » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:38 am

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

My plan for the car is a 70s style street machine, similar to this Baldwin-Motion cloned wagon that was recently for sale on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1973-Chevrolet ... 2423383740.

It will be a driven street car that we cruise to local shows and cruise nights, but not a "show car" per say. The thought now is a driver with: SBC with tunnel ram, muncie 4 spd, and non-tubbed rear.

Phil
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby T-FATTY » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:13 pm

I'm sorry I missed that auction on the wagon.
YES I accept paypal donations...
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby b_pappy » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:55 pm

3 years ago when I started mine I wondered the same thing. My drawback was I had certain criteria I wanted; I wanted the Don Hardy mounts and headers, auto trans, not too wild for street, etc. I looked at cars in various stages of completion for 6 months before buying a box stock unmoletsed example.
I can tell you that wagon for 15k would have been a bargain. But, I am building exactly what I want, it is just slow and costly. I have 4 wheel disc brakes, S-10 hubs, tubular control arms, coil overs, GT instrumentation, 2nd gen Camaro gas tank, etc.
Anyhow, lots of great info here.
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby Smiley » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:10 am

From scratch with that goal:
gen 1 sbc 1979 or older block (2 piece rear main and drivers side dipstick fits Stock Monza pan and most V8 Vega oil pans)
70's style straight plug heads heads or reproductions ( not Vortec or E-tec) 68 and older were not drilled for LH alt mount
Sanderson ceramic headers- shorty style, cheap,easy to put on and better ground clearance.
Flowmaster 8325508 mufflers- 2.5" in/out 3" tall stainless steel, one inch thinner than old style mufflers
Power by ACE engine mounts and crossmember
V8 Monza bell housing- cable actuated works with stock Vega pedal setup and Muncie or B/W T10 4 speeds
16 lb L88 flywheel for 10.5" clutch, diaphram type pressure plate
wide ratio Super T10 or 71-73 Muncie 4 speed ( fine spline and wide ratio )
Hurst shifter, Ramrod or Super Shifter need tunnel mods, Competition plus without cutting and stick in center.
Griffin 16"x 26" dual pass aluminum radiator with straight lower outlet
77 corvette alternator mount
Corvette deep groove pulleys
Torker II intake will fit under stock hood with 14"x3" drop base round air cleaner
Edelbrock 7110 for a tunnel ram, with Edelbrock carbs the linkage is inline. now offered as a complete kit 71101K
small cap electronic distributor is a must for tunnel ram but also better for 4 bbl 14" air cleaner and fire wall clearance
for the tunnel ram-swivel manifold filler thermostat housing with 180 degree Robert Shaw thermostat
1317 flexalite fan
short aluminum water pump
Autoweld bolt in 9" housing and axles - new housing and brackets jig welded, new axles with tapered roller bearings.
no-hop UCA relocation mounts
drum brakes with emergency brake hooked up
1310 solid ujoints
driveshaft loop in front at least
S10 front brake swap- and S10 ball joint conversion
manual brakes
manual steering
mechanical fuel pump- cheap, quiet and no wires.
mini starter
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby 73SILVERGT » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:11 am

T-FATTY wrote:I'm sorry I missed that auction on the wagon.


Me too, I saw it after it ended. What a great deal!
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby 73SILVERGT » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:13 am

Smiley wrote:From scratch with that goal:
gen 1 sbc 1979 or older block (2 piece rear main and drivers side dipstick fits Stock Monza pan and most V8 Vega oil pans)
70's style straight plug heads heads or reproductions ( not Vortec or E-tec) 68 and older were not drilled for LH alt mount
Sanderson ceramic headers- shorty style, cheap,easy to put on and better ground clearance.
Flowmaster 8325508 mufflers- 2.5" in/out 3" tall stainless steel, one inch thinner than old style mufflers
Power by ACE engine mounts and crossmember
V8 Monza bell housing- cable actuated works with stock Vega pedal setup and Muncie or B/W T10 4 speeds
16 lb L88 flywheel for 10.5" clutch, diaphram type pressure plate
wide ratio Super T10 or 71-73 Muncie 4 speed ( fine spline and wide ratio )
Hurst shifter, Ramrod or Super Shifter need tunnel mods, Competition plus without cutting and stick in center.
Griffin 16"x 26" dual pass aluminum radiator with straight lower outlet
77 corvette alternator mount
Corvette deep groove pulleys
Torker II intake will fit under stock hood with 14"x3" drop base round air cleaner
Edelbrock 7110 for a tunnel ram, with Edelbrock carbs the linkage is inline. now offered as a complete kit 71101K
small cap electronic distributor is a must for tunnel ram but also better for 4 bbl 14" air cleaner and fire wall clearance
for the tunnel ram-swivel manifold filler thermostat housing with 180 degree Robert Shaw thermostat
1317 flexalite fan
short aluminum water pump
Autoweld bolt in 9" housing and axles - new housing and brackets jig welded, new axles with tapered roller bearings.
no-hop UCA relocation mounts
drum brakes with emergency brake hooked up
1310 solid ujoints
driveshaft loop in front at least
S10 front brake swap- and S10 ball joint conversion
manual brakes
manual steering
mechanical fuel pump- cheap, quiet and no wires.
mini starter


Wow! What a great list. Thank you for posting this!!! :th:
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby spencerforhire » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:24 am

Something not addressed in Smiley's list is front springs & control arms. The early Vega had shallow pocket LCA's that can be swapped for the deeper later style or Monza ones so you don't have to cut springs. With the original shallow pocket LCA's, any spring(most use a V6-spec one) strong enough to hold the front of the car up will be way too long. Also a bonus with the later ones is most have provisions for a sway bar, sadly missing on most early, non-GT cars.
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby 73SILVERGT » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:23 pm

spencerforhire wrote:Something not addressed in Smiley's list is front springs & control arms. The early Vega had shallow pocket LCA's that can be swapped for the deeper later style or Monza ones so you don't have to cut springs. With the original shallow pocket LCA's, any spring(most use a V6-spec one) strong enough to hold the front of the car up will be way too long. Also a bonus with the later ones is most have provisions for a sway bar, sadly missing on most early, non-GT cars.


Thank you! :th:
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby Monza Harry » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:38 am

73SILVERGT wrote:Not including engine/tranny/rear-end, how much does this swap typically cost?
....from Strange or Moser makes more sense?
Thanks, Phil

How much is an Anniversary Gift for your wife? There is a range there! :lol: Lets start with how much you think, and double it at least, for a real starting place. Smiley seems to have a good starting place with most bases covered. Rear end Jim [Monzaz] for sure starting place, everybody here that has used him form parts to advice were happy [endorsed by H-Body .Org users] Smiley advised Mech. pump, there were space issues that is the reason for GM using the electric pump, there is a fix on here somewhere but as I recall that is ill-advised with Don H or Hooker front mounts, I am not familiar with PB Ace's set-up. The Non A/C Monza uses a right side alt. but a unique high right mount PS pump. The Monza set-up is going to be the closest to plug and play for your swap, so consider finding a rust bucket V8 Monza with your wish list on it and sell off any extra's for cheapest approach, this will then fill front acc'y drive and that will fill in Spencer's front susp. advice as well as a rear with 7.5" gears and 1/2 the mounts there [you will need uppers or switch to Torque arm, which your donor will supply most everything needed for] Jim can also supply advice and parts for upgrading as future needs dictate, buy from Jim if you can, he advises use free of charge and his prices are competitive so let's pay it forward and backwards for this excellent service supplied to this community. Just my thoughts on this I will when I get to the rear of the car! No one mentioned Monza plates and Bob Gumm mounts, if you go the donor route this will be very competitive choice to at least consider. That is all I can think of right now. Harry
I'm not a hoarder I'm a preservationist 78 Monza Spyder (Soon To Be 2+2 with Spoilers)
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby hammerdown7 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:59 pm

One item I haven't seen but I'm not a V8 guy, someone else should verify but for small block you need to use the shorter water pump, otherwise you'll be into the radiator.

Dick
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Re: A Complete Early Vega V8 Conversion Checklist?

Postby Smiley » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:19 pm

Currently Autoweld Chassis is the only place with a jig to locate and weld the rear axle brackets, there is a long lead time (1 to 2 months).

I have used a mechanical fuel pumps with the Hooker/transdapt front mounts and Don Hardy side mounts. Factory V8 Monza's used an electric fuel pump.
Power by ACE mounts work with a mechanical pump.
Image Image

Yes you must use a short water pump, there are 2 pilot sizes on short pumps for small block Chevy V8's:
The 1968 and older car pumps had the 5/8" pilot and the 1970's Corvette and monza pumps have the 3/4" pilot and the flange is about 3/16" higher on the pilot shaft.
Stock pumps also had different bolt patterns for the large and small pilots.
Most aftermarket aluminum pumps are the smaller 5/8" pilot with the flange pressed farther onto the pilot, and the flange is drilled for both bolt patterns.
When using Corvette deep groove pulleys with a 5/8" pilot aftermarket pump you will need 3- 1/16" shims and a 5/8 to 3/4" adaptor bushing to center the pulley.
If you use a C3 Corvette pump you will need a fan with a 3/4" pilot hole.

For swaps with manual steering the C3 Corvette alternator bracket bolts onto the front of the drivers side cylinder head where the Vega alternator wiring can reach it without modification. '68 and older "2.02 fuelie heads" are not drilled in this location.
C3 Corvette parts are reproduced and easier to find used than V8 Monza parts, or donor cars.

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