Engine and trans swap

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by oldtin&things, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. oldtin&things

    oldtin&things New Member

    Hi, We are calling for help from England. We are thinking of buying a 1988 Chevy C1500 truck, regular cab, 2 wheel drive, without its engine and trans. It had a 305 with auto. I have available a 350 with a 350 turbo fitted in a 1978 compact. The engine is a Mr Goodwrench with low miles, the trans does all it should. The question is.... will the engine fit ok, will we have any problems with the electrics, will the trans be strong enough for towing. Thanks Ted n Jan
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Physically, the engine will fit fine because the blocks are the same. The accessory drive system might need to be swapped to a truck setup, but those parts can be easily obtained from a junkyard. The tranmission crossmember will likely need to be moved to fit the mount for the TH350. Your biggest issue is going to be the electronics, specifically tying the gauges into the engine, and even more specifically tieing in the speedometer. The TH350 should be set up for a speedometer cable, and it needs to be converted to a VSS setup. I'm pretty sure conversion kits exist for this need. Also, are you going to be running a carb, or a TBI setup? The carb will need a pressure regulator on the fuel line to drop it to carb pressures. I'm not sure how the computer would handle a 350 TBI, but it might do just fine. Otherwise, you'll need to find a computer for that truck that was for a 350 engine, which should be pretty common.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  3. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the club. Sorry I can't help you but give it some time and I'm sure someone on the site can help you. Alot of members aren't on the site yet as there recovering from a holiday here called the 4th of July. I'm sure you've heard of it.:lol:
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    How did this particular truck end up in England?
    The answer makes a difference as to how easy the conversion will be.
    U.S. Military spec vehicles had to conform to U.S. Federal Govt. standards before being shipped to Non-U.S. countries and territories, civilian purchased vehicles were built slightly different and didnt always conform to U.S. standards at times making easier to swap drivetrain components with.
    As noted you'll need to either mod an existing trans mount/crossmember or find one from a later model GM 1/2 ton truck. I recommend modding yours due to the availability of older GM trucks in local recycling yards.
    If at all possible I'd ditch the computer and use an older electronic ignition, then use aftermarket gauges in a custom fabbed panel to fit in the existing dash.
    If I remember correctly your motor vehicle regulations allow quite a bit of leeway when rebuilding an older vehicle.
    1 person likes this.
  5. oldtin&things

    oldtin&things New Member

    Thanks for all your help, it sounds like this '88 truck is not the one to put the drivetrain in. You guys have saved us making an expensive mistake! Maybe we will look for an older truck with no computers and things. I bet you will know what year they started to "improve" trucks with engine managements etc? So we will know what to avoid. Thanks again, Ted n Jan
  6. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    If you can find one anything from 1984 and later would be a good candidate for your drivetrain swap.
    84 and prior imported (to you) trucks didnt require a lot of emissions, a catalytec converter and electronic ignition.

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