Have you spoken to Earl Williams of Williams classic chassis works, he has done a few 409 installs in Tri-five Chevys. Earl is in La Verne CA and his number is 9093921358. Great person and always willing to help.
Wow, sorry to come to the party so late. Its been a while since I visited the forum. I am currently building a 57 Bel Aire. I have a 348 with a stroker kit that I just built for the car. Im always looking for advice and tips to make this project go smoothly. Any help is appreciated. Looks like the three major hurdles are the oil pan, exhaust and steering. Thank you for sharing.
David I put a 348 in a 55 in 1964, and later put a 409 in the same car, doing it just like you said "back yard mechanic"
I used all stock parts with an original 3 spd, then a 4 spd with the 409. Using the original bell housing, I mounted the engine at the rear and with the front motor mounts on the engine, drilled holes in the frame, and bolted the front on with original parts. Used original exhaust manifolds, and stock steering gear. There was a modified drag link available back then that was cut and moved forward about 4 inches to clear the pan. It was probably a JC Whitney item.
No problem at the firewall, the radiator moved to the 6 cyl position, and everything went well, and very inexpensive.
I did the exact same thing. Have owned this '56 since 1967. Stock "wedge" side mount bell housing, drilled a set of holes in the front frame centered between the 6 cylinder and eight cylinder stocks mounts. Used the '56 stock motor mounts on the front of the 409. Bolted right in, have plenty of Firewall clearance without cutting the firewall. Drivers side exhaust manifold is close to the steering box, but doesn't hit.
I did modify the Oil pan, cutting it back to clear the steering arms, but also added 1.5 inches to the depth of the pan while I was at it, ending up with a 6 quart oil capacity. Radiator is in the 6 cylinder position. Car has run this way for 53 years (1967 to 2020).
As someone else mentioned earlier, I agree that ingenuity, solid design and creativity give me much more satisfaction as opposed to just throwing shovelfuls of money at it. I spent $0.00 to do this. My labor is always free!!!
Once again, if you wish, you can save the $39.99 by drilling two holes - same principle.
I believe Speedway Motors now sells a stock looking set of motor mounts for this swap, but with the frame hole forward about 3/4 inch. Same principle, different approach.
Last edited by TheProphet; 05-22-2020 at 07:58 AM..
Reason: Found Motor Mounts