Try, Try Again
I'm trying to put a newer Pontiac 400 motor in a '67 Firebird, and I installed an adapter plate to the engine for the motor mounts to fit. Now the motor sits too high and hits the wiper motor. It just won't fit in the Firebird.
A frame-off restoration was done on this vehicle before I bought it. Is it possible somebody installed the motor mount to frame brackets on the wrong side? I am looking for a correct picture of how the frame mounts for the motor mounts should be installed.
Rocky Rotella responds: Jeff, there could be a few issues that cause your engine to contact the wiper motor in a First-Gen Firebird. Before tearing into the car, I suggest verifying that the body insulators are in good shape and not grossly worn or compressed, and that the subframe was correctly aligned with the body during install. The '67 Firebird Service Manual outlines that procedure in Section 2. If you don't have a copy, reproductions are available from many sources; I consider them an excellent investment.
Your suggestion that the motor mounts are installed backwards is possible. There's a clear diagram of proper installation in Section 6 of the service manual. It's also possible you have the wrong pieces entirely. Should yours appear different than those in the diagram, correct replacements can be purchased from many of the restoration-parts retailers advertising in this issue.
When you say "newer Pontiac 400," I'm guessing you mean 400s produced from about '76 forward, with a mounting-pad bolt pattern that won't fit the First-Gen Firebird chassis without modification. As you're likely aware, specific adapter brackets are required. I suggest you have a set installed and then verify they are correct for the application. Butler Performance's kit (PN WRP-MM5) sells for $50 and is functionally superior to others I've seen on the market. Similar quality kits may also be available from other restoration-parts retailers.
Once you've verified that you have the correct components and that they're installed correctly, I think you'll find your '76-or-up 400 will fit your '67 Firebird just as intended.
To B or Not to B
Will the front suspension from a '66 Chevrolet B-body (Impala, Caprice, Bel Air) fit a '66 Pontiac B-body (Bonne-ville, Catalina, Grand Prix)? I know the rear suspension is different, but I don't know about the front suspension.
Rocky Rotella responds: Anthony, to the best of my knowledge, Pontiac's B-body front suspension differs from Chevys, and the Hollander interchange manuals agree.
If you're looking for stock-replacement components, Ames Performance (www.amesperf.com) has a 272-page catalog dedicated to '55-'77 full-size parts. In it, you'll find all types of replacement pieces, including steering and suspension components for your Grand Prix.
Performance Years (www.performance years.com) has a similar catalog that you may find just as useful. What's more, P-S-T offers three different levels of B-body frontend kits to restore and improve your ride and handling. Check them out at (www.p-s-t.com).
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