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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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Discussion Starter #1
not sure if i should post this here or in the engine forum, but here we go.. I recently did an engine swap changing from a small block 355 to a small block 406. while the engine was out i made some other changes including adding a 1 1/4" solid front sway bar. in hind sight, this may have been a mistake and I'm now concerned on a couple levels. one concern is the frame mount bushings and bolts. i've hear the horror stories of these heavy sway bars ripping the bolts out of the frame. the next concern is clearance between the sway bar and the harmonic balancer. with the 350, this would not have been an issue, but due to the fact that the small block 400 is externally balanced, it requires a larger balancer. i have the engine sitting in place but have not fired it as I'm still working out a few other issues. as it sits right now, there is very little clearance between the bottom of the harmonic balancer and the top of the sway bar. a couple millimeters at best.
my question is; how much clearance do you think i should need? how much up and down travel will the sway bar have? my fear is that with the front suspension unloaded on a hard launch, causing the sway bar to rise slightly as it does when i jack the car up by the frame, and the engine at wide open throttle & high RPM, the 2 parts meeting would be catastrophic. the same would go for driving over bumps or having the tires on un-even surfaces from side to side.

I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts. especially if anyone has had a similar issue.

thanks
 

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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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485 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
ok, that's a good idea. i hadn't thought of that. thank you.

this is why this forum is great. i was actually considering taking a grinder to the sway bar to create the clearance.

thanks for the tip. longer bolts and some washers to bring it down......good plan
 

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I had to do the same thing on mine Ben. The balancer on my SB 350 was going to be rubbing on the 1 1/4 solid bar I put on. So I added some 1/4" in aluminium spacer plates between the bar to frame mounting brackets. So far all fine. no rubbing or ripped out frame mounts.

Just happen to have a pic that you can see one of the spacer plates.
 

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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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Discussion Starter #5
awesome, that makes me feel much better about the situation.

thanks again guys. one less thing to worry about.

now to figure out why i'm having so much trouble mating the bellhousing to the block........they just don't want to line up
 

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Regarding ripping out the fastners, it depends what your doing with the car. If this will see the track or autoX I would through bolt the frame with a nut on the back side. Or, if a spacer is required I would weld a plate to the frame and tap the plate with threads. Go 1/4"+ for that spacer if tapping it.

You want those mounts to be as stable as possible.
 

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If you use poly bushings, the spacers and maybe poly engine mounts everything should stay in place.

now to figure out why i'm having so much trouble mating the bellhousing to the block........they just don't want to line up

New motor. I have never had to do it but you may have to check the run out "check centerlines of crank and bell housing". Tolerance stack can make it off center and if you do get it together cause pressure on the input shaft. May have to go with offset alignment pins in the back of the block. I am sure someone here can explain it more eloquently than I.
 

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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the info. regarding Garth's suggestions, no track time, possible drag strip, but no autocross or anything like that, just spirited street driving. i have poly bushings on everything except for the engine mounts. didn't want to go too rough there.

the motor was freshly rebuilt, decked, bored and honed, balanced and blue printed. i may have to call the engine builder and ask if he align honed the crank journals as I've heard this can change the geometry between the crank and the input shaft and therefore the block and the bell housing. right now I've got the top of the bell housing and block mated flush and looking fine but the bottom two holes still have a 1/16" gap and it feels like i'm going to break it if i keep cranking on the bolts to try to bring them together. my next step may be dropping the trans and approaching it like a Transmission install since the engine is in place and on the motor mounts
 

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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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485 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
yea, wendell...unfortunately, i made an uneducated purchase and install on that one and then starting really reading and learning about different sway bars and the effects. the bar itself is a real bear. i got my bench press on trying to install it. that's why the frame mount bushing points have me concerned. i'd really hate to take it out at this point as it is almost impossible to do with the engine in the car. i really only installed it because i took advantage of the down time while i had the engine out before and it was still a real challenge.

i bought the thing because i never had one at all on the car before and a friend with a 67 bird installed one and he said it made a tremendous difference. i just went with the old 'bigger is better' method on purchase choice.......hind sight is 20/20. still hoping i can get away with it for street use
 

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The sway bar mount spacer sounds good. You could also install the short poly trans mount but it may complicate the driveshaft angle.
 

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I hat to speak in generalities but 500-600# springs and a hollow 1.125" bar is a pretty typical package. That big bar isn't optimal but you'll be fine. Just make sure you put a lot of miles on the car and wave when people give you a thumbs up.
 

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Ben - Delaware - 67 Camaro
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Discussion Starter #13
lol, thats the plan. if i need to down size in sway bar, it wont be the end of the world. i've got the viking double adjustable coil overs with 500 lb springs. really excited to see what difference the bar makes. the coil overs alone completely changed the car.

picked up some aluminum flat bar yesterday. going to cut it down and drill it out this weekend and hopefully be able to get my transmission mounting issues worked out as well.

wish me luck.

thanks for the help
 
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