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Old 03-02-2021, 02:54 PM   #1
Volvo240Powerglide
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Question Small Block Chevy in a 240

Hey guys new to the forum here. Ive been doing a little research on a V8 swap in a 240 and Ive noticed the LS motor seems to be the most popular candidate for a swap with stsmachining's motor mounts. I acquired a functional 283 sbc with a 2 spd powerglide trans a number of months ago and I would love to do that swap. So far I have gathered that the sbc is not common for a swap in this kind of car because of its weight (being an iron block and head) but ive heard you can obtain stouter front end parts from the diesel and 6 cyl models. Obviously going to need a new wiring harness and most likely custom motor mounts plus many other things I havent considered yet.

I know of "The book" by jagsthatrun and I plan on purchasing that soon.

All insight is helpful!
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:07 PM   #2
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One word, why? The amount of work involved in the swap outweighs the initial cost of the engine/trans package. Why start with a dinosaur engine and transmission? I've done a SBC/TH-400 swap back in 1989 before the LS engine even existed. It was fun and served its purpose. There is no way I would ever go to the trouble of putting another one in a 240 with all the modern engine choices that are available for cheap.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:09 PM   #3
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One word, why? The amount of work involved in the swap outweighs the initial cost of the engine/trans package. Why start with a dinosaur engine and transmission? I've done a SBC/TH-400 swap back in 1989 before the LS engine even existed. It was fun and served its purpose. There is no way I would ever go to the trouble of putting another one in a 240 with all the modern engine choices that are available for cheap.
I'm making the supposition that the OP had the engine before the car?

It's definitely possible, but I can't think of anyone that sells SBC mounts for a 200-series, and I'm damn sure nobody makes trans mounts for a powerglide.

You're going to have to make a lot from scratch.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:34 PM   #4
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... and you'll end up with a beast with marginal road manners that gets 12 mpg on a good day...

I used to be a diehard carburetor fan, mostly because the earliest electronic engine controls didn't offer much reassurance. But by the late-80s, the OEM mfrs were starting to figure out how to build EFI that really worked well, and overdrive trannies that achieved almost startling gas mileage. Certainly by the 1990s you can find a drivetrain that will give you a smile on your face every time you fire it up. I'm told that the engines available today surpass even that, but admittedly there's nothing in my stable that was created in the current century.

The JTR conversion book is well worth the read, even if you never turn a wrench afterward. Especially the opening chapter, where he dispels lots of myths, including the concepts you mention above. Basically, he heavily encourages people to end up with a smooth, reliable, powerful car that you enjoy driving. The powerglide, although loved for decades by those who build single-purpose vehicles because it offers only one shift during the 1/4 mile, ain't gonna bring much happiness for street driving. Or selling later, when you come to that realization.

Not that the LS is the holy grail, it's simply one of the easiest options to find nowadays. It provides (with competent installation) the possibility that you or anyone in your family could hop in and take it for a spin, enjoy Volvo refinement that just so happens to have twice the horsepower it used to. Seems like magic, to me.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:49 PM   #5
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If only these cars came with a reliable, easy to tune engine from the factory.
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:03 PM   #6
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If only these cars came with a reliable, easy to tune engine from the factory.
Errr... of which cars do you speak? Some modern motors are among the most reliable ever built. (I can vouch for several 5.0 mills from the 90s, and have read significant favorable reviews of the LS -- that it's another clean-sheet-of-paper design where they really got it right.) And there are many other motors that run seemingly forever.

Although no factory offers the ability to tweak a single thing, not even adjusting the timing anymore, look at the legal hurdles they face and it makes sense. Besides, one could argue that tweaking isn't really necessary because it's been fine-tuned better than the average backyard grease monkey could ever possibly understand. And far better than anyone ever managed to coax a carbureted machine.

Mind you, there are plenty of folks who are trying to tweak, anyway. That will never go away.

So... I can't really figure out what your comment refers to. Expand, please?
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:21 PM   #7
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My comment refers to the increasing "necessity" to swap unreliable, difficult to tune Volvo engines.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:49 PM   #8
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I'm making the supposition that the OP had the engine before the car?

It's definitely possible, but I can't think of anyone that sells SBC mounts for a 200-series, and I'm damn sure nobody makes trans mounts for a powerglide.

You're going to have to make a lot from scratch.
Jags That Run still sells a guide (which includes schematics to build an engine mount crossmember) on their website.
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fatcatbestcat View Post
I'm making the supposition that the OP had the engine before the car?

It's definitely possible, but I can't think of anyone that sells SBC mounts for a 200-series, and I'm damn sure nobody makes trans mounts for a powerglide.

You're going to have to make a lot from scratch.
Thank you for the reply!
I do already have the motor and transmission from a friend of mine and I would like to use those components because they were free to me. I would be interested in fabricating custom mounts for the engine and transmission. I am in my second year of welding at my high schools facility and confident in my ability. The fabrication cant be too terribly complex. Just need the dimensions of where the motor would sit and where it would mount to the frame correct?
Not worried about mpg more worried about parts availability and engine simplicity.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:13 PM   #10
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jags that run used to sell a mount but it doesn't seem like their site is functioning. They were selling mounts up to a few months ago. Their mount is based on a universal crossmember engine mount that is rotated forward to clear the power steering rack.

A quick search finds this mount.... https://www.summitracing.com/parts/t...EaAlPzEALw_wcB If you cut off the mount tubes (to old-school sbc mounts), rotated it forward and tacked them back in you could make the jtr mount work.

I have the jtr manual and would be more than happy to share the measurements with you. I went a different route and made my own mounts for the lt1 motor.

I know the engine you have is better (and cheaper) than the engine you don't, you can always mount your 283 and glide in the car, and if you decide to get a more potent sbc under the bonnet it'll be more or less a direct swap. I'm not aware of the difference in bellhousing to mount length from the powerglide to say a th400, but it's not rocket surgery to make and remake.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:22 PM   #11
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That's not quite how it works. There are so many variations in the small block Chevrolet engines using a template is not going to work. What you are going to need to do is mock up the installation. It is a lot of trial fitting and adjusting the placement to get everything to fit. I can tell you that you will need to come up with a set of ram horn exhaust manifolds in order to clear the steering shaft. It is a tight fit. You don't need the special Corvette 3" rams horns. A set off of any SBC will work. The transmission mount is simple. You can likely use the Volvo cross member. The front mounts are most easily done using a cradle mount that loops under the engine and utilizes the tops of the frame rails on each side. That is basically what the JTR mount looks like. Oil pan clearance is tight as well. You won't be able to fit the transmission without pounding the firewall/transmission tunnel up about 1/4". The distributor clearance is also a problem. The firewall interferes with the rear distributor SBC engines. That's why Converse went with the SBF engines. You need to pay attention to drive train angle when you are making this conversion. Realistically, the rear axle angle needs to be change. That can be done with adjustable upper torque rods. Just dropping the engine in there is about 1/3 of what needs to happen to make all of this work out. You will also need to come up with a different radiator for your conversion. There is no way the stock 240 radiator in any version will move enough heat. You will need to have a driveshaft made. You can use an existing drive shaft that will mate to the Glide and have the Volvo rear yolk installed in it. Then, you are looking at custom exhaust.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:30 PM   #12
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Well it’s kinda exactly how it worked for me ymmv. Now that you’ve filled him in on engine swapping 101 he won’t even need to buy the book. Really? A custom exhaust? I never would have guessed.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:37 PM   #13
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That’s because you’ve done this before. In high school, most people aren’t big picture thinkers yet. The point is, if he’s going to go to the expense of all those other aspects of the project he might want to rethink the package he is going to install in it. At the very least, the powerglide. What do you think he’s going to use for a shifter for for the powerglide? He can probably pick up a TH 350 for $150. It’s a much better transmission and you can actually get parts for it. He asked for advice on the swap. That’s what I gave him. Nothing more.

Also, if yours was a 740 SBC swap the two are not at all alike. There’s a lot more room to work with in a 740 engine bay.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:36 PM   #14
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Thank you guys I appreciate the comments both positive and negative I really do, information is information.
I was under the impression that the power glide was a floor shifter but if it is on the column there are conversion kits no?

740atl I would love to see the measurements in the jtr manual. I noticed their website is kind of down and I couldn't seem to find it on there or really anywhere else for sale.

2manyturbos I am glad you mentioned the ram horn exhaust manifold I would not have thought of doing that. I would like to keep the original powerglide that came with the 283 because its original to that engine. unless you think it would be too weak? From what I've learned the glide is quite the stout little transmission and being married to a 283 would be light work for it. I don't plan on thrashing the thing only giving it a nice power boost making it a little peppier.

Im just trying to get this discussion going so I can build my knowledge and keep this thread as a running log book of information. I do not have the car yet but I have been looking for a 1980-93 244/245, is there any major engine bay changes over those years/models?
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:48 PM   #15
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There was literally no change in the unibody engine bay from 1975-1993. It won’t matter what you pick. Chevrolet used both column and floor shifters with the glide. I’m sure you can find an aftermarket floor shifter that will work for your project. The Powerglide is plenty strong enough for what you are doing.
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:30 AM   #16
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Okay good to know! ill be back with more questions in the near future. In the meantime are there any model years that stand out to you guys? I know they changed headlights and grills over time, are there any years where this was an issue? anything specific to look for when buying one besides the obvious frame/interior/trunk pan check?
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:48 AM   #17
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jags that run used to sell a mount but it doesn't seem like their site is functioning.
The Internet Archive (aka the Wayback Machine) is a great resource for viewing old web pages.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200924...v8-motor-mount
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:55 AM   #18
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Just pick one you like. The parts are interchangeable enough you can upgrade a 75 into the same basic car that was offered in 93.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:40 AM   #19
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Looks like their facebook page says they're still open. https://www.facebook.com/JTRstealth/ It's a lot easier to drop in a ready-made mount than making the careful and pita measurements with a several hundred pound engine flopping around in the bay inches from your fingers.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:34 AM   #20
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I put a 350 Chevy with a Power-Glide 2 speed transmission in my '78 wagon 33 years ago, 32 years ago I made it a 2 door wagon hence 2 series 8 cylinder 3 door/SD. I have put 325k miles on it since. It drives and handles fine with suspension up grades, lowered 2", custom rear 1" sway bar, Koni shocks, cross drilled rotors,205/14/70 front tires, 215/14/70 rear tires. With the first motor [370 HP] and the 3.90 gears it would run the 1/4 mile in 12.9 seconds. I changed the first motor after 200k miles, wore it out. The new motor makes 350HP and I run 3,31 gears now, much calmer on the highway. I'm very happy with the car still.
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Old 03-03-2021, 12:10 PM   #21
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I put a 350 Chevy with a Power-Glide 2 speed transmission in my '78 wagon 33 years ago, 32 years ago I made it a 2 door wagon hence 2 series 8 cylinder 3 door/SD.

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I can see how thats a good idea if you ride her hard

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Old 03-03-2021, 12:21 PM   #22
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:18 PM   #23
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YES The picture was taken at the Rhinebeck Show, I did not take the vidieo, but yes that is my car
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:22 PM   #24
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The general pyramid of coolness: Convertible > 3 dr > 2 dr > 5 dr > 4 dr
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:51 PM   #25
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The wagon will top out @ 145MPH @ 6000k RPM with the 3.31 rear, I have no doubt about it, just need to find some where to do it. My '61 MG Midget will top out @ 146 MPH @ 8500 RPM [1275cc engine 125+ HP], I know this because we used it in the F Prod race car one year to qualify it for the SCCA National Run Off's. Some where I have an in car video of it going up the back straight at Watkins Glen with the tach sitting a @ 8500RPM,[ red line on the stock crank shaft]. Just waiting for the weather to clear to here in the North East to take the Volvo,the MG or our Bentley out for a drive. I am retired now after 50 years of working on cars,restoration, and building and, restoring race cars.
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