Caprice engine swap - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-01-2006, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Caprice engine swap

Hey everybody, love the new forum. Now I have someplace to go to talk about my Caprice! I've got an '82 Caprice with the stock, tired 267 small V8. I also have a mild 350 in my garage that I'm planning on swapping in when the weather warms up. Now, the current engine has a few computer controlled components, and I was wondering how I should hook them up on a car that doesn't have a computer anymore. Namely:

EGR - Should this be to ported or manifold vacuum? Right now it has a solenoid controlled by the computer to turn the EGR on and off. I was thinking about hooking it up to ported vacuum, because then it wouldn't be there at idle or full acceleration, but would be everywhere else. How was it controlled on a car without a computer?

AIR pump - Same deal as EGR. Solenoid controlled by computer. I'd like to keep it in place to keep a factory look, and just in case I need it in place to pass emissions visual inspections. I know they had it pre-computer, how did they do it then?

Distributor - I'm pretty sure that goes to ported vacuum, right? The current one is computer controlled advance.

Anything else I should keep in mind when removing the computer controls? I don't think it does much if anything else.

Oh yeah, I also am picking up a 700R4 to put in place of the factory 3-speed auto. Any suggestions on how to control the lockup function without a computer?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 09:04 PM
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Every thing you have on your existing engine can swap to the new engine. Unless I am mistaken the ODB computer control didn't arrive until '85. You may be mistaking an electronic QuadraJet for computer control. The carb used the distributor and the O2 sensors for feed back and regulated fuel pressure to the carb as a means of emission control.

EGR - Should be to ported to manifold vacuum by way of the thermostatically controlled vacuum valve on the thermostat housing. This is assuming you live in a state that actually checks for emission equipment; in which case your stuck with it, otherwise it falls off and gets plugged.

AIR pump - Same deal as EGR. Only use for an air pump in a non-complying state is to inflate rafts at the beach.

Distributor - That goes to ported vacuum also, I would also replace the vacuum canister with an adjustable one. If you have an electronic QuadraJet it needs the distributor for tach info.

The 700R4 needs two fixes both mechanical, performed by any competent trans shop. Fix the 3rd-4th gear wander with a spring and ball; and the lock up is just a governor controlled switch. Have them throw a shift kit in while it is apart.

Big Dave (the old school; were talking slide rule here, engineer)
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply!

The carburetor I have currently is a Rochester E2ME. From what I've read on them, they control mixture through a stepper motor inside the carburetor from a signal generated by the computer. I don't see anything on the fuel line to regulate fuel pressure, it just goes straight from the pump to the carburetor.

Since the car is and will be a daily driver, I want to try to keep it as clean as possible. I don't really see much of a downside to EGR, might cost one or two horsepower, but will keep emissions down and could help with fuel economy on the highway. When it gets light out tomorrow I'll take a look for that vacuum valve on the thermostat housing. I think there's something there now for evaporative emissions.

The air pump I'll probably just leave in place, but without the belt. The belt can go back on for inspection.

Carburetor I'm using isn't computerized at all, it's an Edelbrock #1400 4 barrel. Much better than the leaky 2 bbl that's on there!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2006, 05:03 PM
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When you pull air pump pulley off pump two thing hapen. Pump will corode and lock up (it is a vein design with iron blades on an aluminum hub rotating inside an aluminum ellipse to move air), and belt will also be too long for idler to take up slack requiring new belt.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hrm, I might put the belt back on every few months just to keep it free and moving. The car sat for 2 years or so before I got it, and the pump didn't seize then, so it shouldn't seize over the course of a few months.

Belts are V-belts, not serpentine. Only have to remove one!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2007, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a while, but the new engine is in, along with the new transmission. Got a few leaks to take care of, and a little more additional plumbing for the emissions stuff, and it'll be good to go! I have yet to take it out on the highway, but I think it'll be a little much with the overdrive and the 2:41's. Apparently some Corvettes came with the 700R4 and 2:59's stock, so maybe it won't be as bad as I'm expecting. Will post back when I get some miles on her!

Also, I used a kit from painless wiring to control the lockup of the torque converter. It sends the 12V lockup signal to the transmission constantly, and a special pressure switch inside the transmission decides when to engage the lockup. Will only happen in 4th gear. It'll also break the lockup signal whenever you're on the brakes (goes through the terminals on the brake light switch for cruise control - which I never had on my Caprice) and there's a vacuum switch in the engine bay, so when you floor it and lose vacuum it'll unlock as well. Pictures to follow eventually!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2007, 09:21 AM
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2007, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I took it for a ride on the highway, and it's not happy under 65-70. A little stumbling because the engine is turning so slowly. I might have to go with the 3.08 rear end I picked up more quickly than I thought!

Runs strong, at least most of the time. I have had a few backfires, but they've been on the highway at lower speeds, 55 or so. I'll re-check the timing this weekend.

One other thing I noticed is the carburetor isn't eager to kick down off the high idle. It will if I tap the gas pedal, but if I'm on the throttle for a while, then let off (like cruising down the highway and run into some slower traffic) the idle speed stays too high. The carburetor is an Edelbrock model 1406, I'll have to do a little digging on this over the weekend too.

Overall, much more power! Not much better gas mileage, but I'm hoping that'll improve once I get the tuning a bit better.
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