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 Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive

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convert2diesel



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Location: Manotick, Ontario

PostSubject: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:32 pm

Well it looks like I get the nod for March.

To start off, maybe some background is in order. I have three basic requirements for my daily driver.

1. Due to my size (anyone who says we stop growing in our teens is lying. Growth just changes direction) and personal preference, I love big American cars.

2. My business dictates that I log 20 - 30 thousand miles a year, mostly on the highway.

3. My wife and I are avid campers and travel extensively up and down the Eastern Seaboard with our travel trailer firmly attached to the car.

Fuel mileage has always been an obsession with me (basically I'm cheap) which left me with the quandry of either getting used to little cars, or to figure out how to get my "Yankee Tanks" to get respectable mileage. Obviously I opted for the latter.

None of the European diesel offerings appealed to me, the VWs were too small and the Mercedes were underpowered and expensive. Enter my first foray into automotive diesels...a 1981 Caprice wagon with a 5.7 liter diesel. Sorry no picts (digital cameras weren't even dreamed of then). Basically a great car, giving me up to 40 MPG (IMP) at 70 MPH. Problem was, it had absolutely no power. Pulling our pop-up turned it from a respectable car into a road obstruction. I now had a challange on my hands. Lets build some power into this thing. Try as I might either I could get power out of it or I could get reliability. Never both. End of the line for this engine was an 86 Caddy Fleetwood with a goodwrench 5.7, high volume injection pump, studded heads and dual exhaust. Worked great as a DD but was downright embarassing with the trailer out back.

In 89, we bought a GMC pickup for my brother with the 6.2 and we were back in the game. By 02 we were looking for a suitable vehicle to do the conversion. Having researched all of the body on frame offerings, we decided the "B" bodies met most of the requirements. As a result, I purchased my first RMW. A 1991, burgandy with red guts, that had been used as a school bus for disabled kids. 750,000 KM (472,000 mi) and suffering badly from Rust Belt cancer. Still don't know how I got it through a safety check but it went another 20,000 mi before major structural damage forced it off the road.

During the summer of 03, I found a white (tan guts) RMW on Ebay from Florida, being sold by a dealer in New Hampshire. Finally settled on $1,300 (parking lot damage and bad wood) and then took a family camping trip to pick it up. When we got there we discovered he had another one (blue on tan) in much better shape for $1,800. Long story short, we ended up with both of them. Used to have a great set of picts of the caravan consisting of the old Burgandy one pulling the trailer and the two new ones following but can't seem to find them (HD crash?).

Upon our return, stripped off all the useable parts of the original wagon and sold the balance to a local guy who had a Caprice. Drove the white one for over a year and gave the blue one to my sister in law as her DD. In the Fall of 04, we finally got around to doing the original conversion. As the white RMW, at the time, needed more body work, our thoughts were that we experiment with it as opposed to hacking up the blue one. We had not idea, our original attempt would last as long as it has.

First we stripped off the wood to expose the body work needed:





To start off, don't even think of doing this with the front clip in place. The first job was to take out three rolls of masking tape and a felt tipped pen to identify all of the underhood wiring. Then remove all of the sheet metal.







Makes engine and tranny removal soooo much easier.



With the engine bay exposed, took the opportunity to support the Eastwood company.







Checked out the 700R4 and decided that all was well but that it needed some mods to relate to the diesel. Diesel governor, high pressure servo, and a diesel torgue convertor. Also installed new throttle valve to restrict the upshift to final 10% of throttle travel.



We have a friend in Georgia (Diesel Depot) that specializes in the 6.2/6.5 engines and he supplied us with a known good and tested 6.2 "J" code (non-EGR) engine and all the parts that we thought we would need for the conversion. Ended up with at least 4 different exhaust manifold combinations and 2 intakes. Ended up with a Hummer intake and van type exhaust manifolds (more on the exhaust later).

With the engine and tranny married to each other, the first trial fit.



It became immediately obvious that we were going to have to modify the oil pan.





We also ended up referencing out the front crossover to give the starter somewhere to sit and had to have a new power steering pump pulley made up for us (plus we had to re-locate the ABS module). After about 12 trial fits, the assembly finally came home to roost.



After re-assembling the front clip, installing a custom rad (4 core), fabbing up a dual air intake (diesels love their air) and installing a dual electric fan set-up.





Coiled up all the extra wire, performed a CEL delete (took out the bulb) and wired up a switch on the dashboard to lock up the torgue. Batteies are in the rear footwell.

The only thing about this conversion that remains as a major head ache is the exhaust. Don't have any picts as I refuse to crawl under the car, in the snow, just to show you guys how bad a welder I am. The next conversion will include a true dual exhaust (if not turbo charged) but as I originally planned to install a turbo on this, I fabbed up a 3inch single exhaust and a "Y" pipe that crossed over back of the tail stock. Frankenstien doesn't even come close to describing this system.

The end result has performed well beyond our expectations and over the past 4 years have only done routine maintenance and a few mods to try to improve performance. Just had to replace the flywheel (starter chewed a hole in it) and continue having a few issues with the cooling fan circuit. Keep blowing the relay.

Going to have to continue this in another post but this should get you started.

Bill
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:04 pm

Now there's a job that I wouldn't want to tackle. I'm sure there is no book or manual for the conversion. Now, I know it is second nature to you but the first conversion must have been a big learning experience.

Tom C
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:14 pm

Subsequent to the initial conversion I have had to do very little. Have put almost 100,000 miles on the car running on diesel and am still using it as my daily. The only real change was I installed a hydro boost brake system (jury is still out on the effectiveness of that) and re-did some of the underhood plumbing to improve the clearance issues.

The car has been at WF 07 and 08 and I intend on bringing it and the new Caddy (sans diesel) to WF 09. Still haven't decided on the final configuration for the Caddy, if at all. With the price of diesel currently, and the power available with the LT1, it may not be worthwhile to invest the coin into another conversion at this time, though it's nice to be in a position to filler up with fuel you can make yourself.

My "mad scientist bio-diesel lab"



Did manage to get the Buick re-painted. Got tired of driving around with what looked like an ambulance with a skin infection.







If you have any questions, fire away.

Bill
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:49 pm

Bill

From looking at the picture of your garage, it looks like you make your own diesel fuel is that right? Were you able to use the original fuel pump?

Tom
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:06 pm

silverfox103 wrote:
Now there's a job that I wouldn't want to tackle. I'm sure there is no book or manual for the conversion. Now, I know it is second nature to you but the first conversion must have been a big learning experience.

Tom C

Tom:

Yes I have been doing these conversions for a while on various vehicles, boats and generators. Granted this is the first into the last gen "b" car but really, it is not dissimilar to doing say a small block/big block conversion. Anyone who is handy with a wrench, and has the motivation could do this. Originally set out to see if a commercial product could be developed but medical issues and a general lack of time has precluded me from taking this further. Have been trying to set enough time aside to at least develop a manual but can't seem to find the time to do even that.

You are quite correct. I do make my own fuel. Mostly for my furnace and water heater, but for 9 months of the year I do use it in the cars. Up here, diesel fuel is still close to 4 bucks a gallon and furnace is around 3 so making my own at $1.20 make sense.

The original intank pump lasted about a year but I have subsequently installed a rail pump similar to the one used on the diesel pickups. I wouldn't use the LT1 pumps as the injection pump can only handle about 10PSI.

Bill
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UberWagon



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:23 am

Why do I have visions of turbos and propane injection dancing through my head after reading this?
Now I know I am not that far off with ideas of putting a diesel in a Camaro to bake a oddball drag car.
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:38 am

UberWagon wrote:
Why do I have visions of turbos and propane injection dancing through my head after reading this?
Now I know I am not that far off with ideas of putting a diesel in a Camaro to bake a oddball drag car.

Theres a guy over on the diesel page that is doing just that. Not my cup of tea but ingenious non the less. Cost is the big factor. Getting power out of these engines is not hard. Just expensive.

http://www.thedieselpageforums.com/tdpforum/showthread.php?t=33337

Bill
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Sprocket



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:50 pm

great story! wish I had the time and space to do something like this.

I just found out that you can drop a 454 into a TBI B-body and it'll bolt right up to the 700R and I believe the motor mounts are the same.
I see a rat motor in Ruby's future hee hee hee
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IMPALADAKID



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:21 am

Wow Bill
I am impressed with the car. I have seen it for a few years. Did you not have a boxy wagon converted too, before this one?

I am a lover of oil burners and have owned a few 6.2 powered military M1009s, a suburban and an airforce 2wd crew cab truck. Those engines are great in those trucks, So I would imagine it must be awsome in a b-body wagon.

I am very impressed with the bio diesel set up. You must have lived on the Diesel Page. It is such a great resorce.

Congratulations on being March LOTM.
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:37 am

IMPALADAKID wrote:
Wow Bill
I am impressed with the car. I have seen it for a few years. Did you not have a boxy wagon converted too, before this one?

I am a lover of oil burners and have owned a few 6.2 powered military M1009s, a suburban and an airforce 2wd crew cab truck. Those engines are great in those trucks, So I would imagine it must be awsome in a b-body wagon.

I am very impressed with the bio diesel set up. You must have lived on the Diesel Page. It is such a great resorce.

Congratulations on being March LOTM.

Thanks. The boxy (81 Chev wagon) didn't need a conversion. Came with the 5.7 diesel already, though by the time rust wrote paid to the car, 4 engine swaps happened before I finally managed to get some reliability out it.

Also did a 5.7 conversion on a 86 Cadillac Fleet (basically a bolt up). Used a GM Goodwrench long block and did all my engine mods for reliablilty. Unigue circumstances in that the engine dropped a valve after about 3,000 miles and my local GM dealer actually honoured the warrantee and replaced the engine free of charge (including labor). Even given the fact that it was a gas/diesel conversion and I had modified the engine! Personally I think the guys in the shop just wanted a chance to dig into the project. Good guys over there but non the less, probably not something that GM head office would really approve of.

The 6.2 really makes a better conversion. Have had virtually no problems with it and it is so much nicer then the 5.7. With the 5.7 you were always wondering when the next shoe was going to drop.

Bill
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toomanytoyz



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:14 pm

Damn Bill! I had no idea you went through that much of a rehab with the swap. Mad props to you! I've seen it at both 'Fests and it's amazing at how factory this looks. If you didn't know these didn't come with diesels, you wouldn't know just how special that clean little wagon really is. Smile

What kind of power does the 6.2 put out NA? What about with a turbo? You could make a pretty nasty, fuel-efficient sleeper out of that thing, like Ray hinted at! Smile

Nice car and a great story, Bill! Can't wait to see it again this year! Very Happy
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:08 pm

toomanytoyz wrote:
Damn Bill! I had no idea you went through that much of a rehab with the swap. Mad props to you! I've seen it at both 'Fests and it's amazing at how factory this looks. If you didn't know these didn't come with diesels, you wouldn't know just how special that clean little wagon really is. Smile

What kind of power does the 6.2 put out NA? What about with a turbo? You could make a pretty nasty, fuel-efficient sleeper out of that thing, like Ray hinted at! Smile

Nice car and a great story, Bill! Can't wait to see it again this year! Very Happy

Thanks Bill. The stock "J" (non-egr) 6.2 puts out about 160 HP @ 3,400 RPM (governed speed) and has a very similar torgue curve to the LT1 up to about 2,300 RPM. Has more then enough grunt for around town and cruises on the highway at 70 like a little locomotive. That being said it is no power house and certainly makes sure your tires last a long time.

For 4 years I have been trying to figure out how to install a turbo without it looking like a plumbers nightmare. The problem is real estate and heat. The engine alone just about maxes out the available underhood room without major sheetmetal work. Even NA, I had to go with a Hummer intake (2in lower), a lower profile water crossover and 1/2 in of extra washers under the rad suppoert just to get the hood to close.

Am seriously looking at designing a hydraulic supercharger that I can stuff into the battery box, driven by a pump on the engine. That is if I can find some compressor maps for the centifical compressors being offered (seems they want to keep these things a secret). That would allow me to use a good dual exhaust, gaining about 15hp right there, and the ability to control boost very closely. Still in the thinking stage on this and it will probably end up in the Caddy. If it works, then there would be no need for the Duramax. Looking for 400 ft/lbs of torgue and about 250 HP (within 50HP of a stock Dmax) to tow the new trailer.

Thanks again.

Bill
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firewood



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:58 am

Have you looked into any of the rear-mounted turbo systems? That would take plumbing and heat to the back of the car. I've never heard of the rear mount tubo's on a diesel, but I don't see why it couldn't work.
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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:09 pm

wow convert just read thru the posting ,man that is cool,one of those rear mount turbo as mention would be trick, how much weight differance is there between the 2 motors, any spring changes ,and or handling
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:35 pm

firewood wrote:
Have you looked into any of the rear-mounted turbo systems? That would take plumbing and heat to the back of the car. I've never heard of the rear mount tubo's on a diesel, but I don't see why it couldn't work.

I looked very carefully into this setup but had two really valid concerns. This car is my daily and up here in the ice, snow and salt slush, the turbo and much of it's associated components would be a pile of rust in no time plus picture a hot section at 1,200 degrees getting dosed with 10 degree slush. The turbo manufacturers assured me that would be no problem but my concern is how many times could it survive the shock cooling.

The other problem is once again, plumbing. If you have ever seen the underside of these cars with a 3 inch exhaust, imagine two hanging down. One for exhaust and the other for upper deck air. Add to this the oil lines and where to locate the intake, once again out of the slush and crap.

Am still looking at options for the Caddy and have actually done some good research on the hydraulic blower system. By driving it with hydraulics, I can locate the blower in the now vacated battery box, right beside a cold air intake behind the passenger headlight. Looking at using the M90 Eaton blower and fabing up a cog belt drive for the hydraulic motor. A couple of oil lines, an oil cooler and resevoir and a single 3 inch pipe into the intake manifold. Might work.

Bill
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:43 pm

waynes91 wrote:
wow convert just read thru the posting ,man that is cool,one of those rear mount turbo as mention would be trick, how much weight differance is there between the 2 motors, any spring changes ,and or handling

Suprisingly the whole thing only dropped the ride hieght by about 1/4 inch all around. Not enough to be a concern. Thought it would be a problem and even had the specs for a new set of springs worked out. Just didn't need it. As far as handling, if anything it made the ride smoother with the added advantage that it feels better "planted" on the road.

Probably added about 200 lbs to the whole equation but being shared between front and rear wheels, no suspension mods were needed.

Thanks for your interest.

Bill
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DBeaSSt
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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:12 am

I think this is still my favorite wagon 'mod'. Smile I guess I was so busy admiring the engine work I hadn't noticed that the car was painted a different color than factory.
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argo



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:31 pm

I know I am resurrecting an old thread, but I do not have the required number of posts to PM a member.  I wanted to say I am very impressed with your conversion and I would like to ask you a few questions about it.  I wanted to know if you know the part numbers/casting numbers for the intake and exhaust manifolds you used, what the dimensions of the oil pan cut out were, what engine mount modifications were needed, the part numbers for the throttle valve and governor you used in the transmission and if possible, the torque converter as well.  

My project will be a swap of a 6.5L diesel engine (normally aspirated) into a 1992 Caprice Wagon.  The engine will be a build similar to the one I swapped into my 1993 Suburban.  It will use the early style small throat "C" code pre combustion chamber cups, J code intake and exhaust manifolds, and a 3.5" single exhaust.  The 6.2L diesel in my Suburban gets 27 MPG highway at 55 MPH (about 90 kph) and about 23 MPG around town.  I expect that I should be able to achieve mid 30s for MPGs on the Caprice Wagon, given that it is much more aerodynamic and weighs about 1500 lbs less, and is using a 3.08:1 gear set as opposed to my Suburban's 3.73:1 set.  I was also curious as to why you needed to have a custom power steering pump pulley made?  I have had belt alignment issues on my suburban.  Was that the reason for the pulley on your Roadmaster?  Is it possible to get dimensions so I can get two made up for myself?  

I realize I asked a lot of questions and you may not be able to answer some or even most (or even all), but I want to have an iron clad plan in place before beginning, and I want to have all the parts ready for install when the project begins, because I don't want the car to be down for long when the conversion begins.  Once again, great job, and thank you for any help you can provide!
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convert2diesel



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:52 pm

Argo:

You certainly are dredging up an old thread.  Sold the Locomotive 4 years ago and he sold it to someone up the valley.  Haven't seen it in a couple of years but apparently it's still on the road, commuting 60 miles a day.

Now to your questions:

1.  Mounts - no mods needed here.  Standard SBC mounts work fine (suggest Poly, the rubber ones sag after awhile)and the stock tranny mount in the stock location (will talk a bit about this in the exhaust section).

2.  Engine crossmember will have to be referenced out to clear the front of the starter.  About 2 inches deep and 4 inches wide.

3.  Power steering pump pulley - Don't try to screw around with "V" belts.  They are and always were a headache.  Use the serpentine setup.  To clear the pump, I had to relocate the ABS module forward and off to the side, and the new pulley was needed to clear the steering box.  Ended up using a pulley from a V6 Chrysler van, had the machine shop ream out the boss and had to install it backwards to get the belt to line up.  It was installed permanently as there is no longer any way of getting a puller on it to remove it.  In other words, a real cludge but it worked.

4.  Exhaust - This is the big one.  Starting at the front, the stock passenger side manifold WILL NOT CLEAR the frame rail at the back of the engine.  My engine guy in Georgia finally sent me up a selection of Hummer manifolds, both NA and center mount turbo. As I had already committed to a single 3 inch exhaust, I ended up with the passenger manifold off a NA Hummer.  Again, worked but not ideal.

If I was to do it again, I would use both manifolds from a center mount turbo engine (Hummer or 6.5 GM Van) and go with a dual 2 1/2 inch system with a balance pipe.  This will require you finding the tranny crossover from a LT1 car and using it to allow true duals.  Will make a much cleaner install and probably give another 5 to 10 HP.  My single exhaust was a real nightmare and certainly not something I was proud of, and not just because of my less than stellar welding abilities.

Engine - Being NA, using the small cup heads will give you marginally better mileage but it will suffer power wise.  88-94 6.2/6.5 NA engine is the best (599 block).  Again the NA Hummer intake is the best choice.  Allows you to modify the gasser air filter and still fit under the hood.  Its about 1 1/2 inches lower than the stock "J" intake.  Mileage wise, expect in the mid to high 30s.  This car takes about 25 HP to lug it down the road at 60 MPH and that equates into 36 to 38 MPG (IMP) or about 30 to 32 MPG (girlie gallons).  That is with a 4911 pump and high flow injectors (turbo 6.5).  An older pump with 140 hp injectors should get you over the 40 MPG (IMP) hump.  

If you want the tach to work, you need the electronic sender from an egr 6.2/6.5.  Replaces the oil pump drive at the back of the engine.  If you look back in the archives on the Diesel Page, there is a neat little circuit there that will convert that signal to a normal tach signal.  You will also need this if you want the ECM to control the lockup of the convertor.

For one year (I think 96) they made a rear facing, single thermostat cross over that exited around the back of the alternator like the dual thermostat setup.  The conventional thermostat housing won't clear the hood. You will have to clearance the alternator bracket to get it to fit but it lowers the profile of the upper rad hose and clears the hood well.

The front of the oil pan reservoir needs to be about 3 inches shorter (If I remember correctly) to clear the crossmember.  I just kept cutting till it fit than had a friend weld it back up again so it held oil. With the stock mounts, you have about 1 inch of clearance between the oil pan and the crossmember.  After a year, I had lost about 1/2 inch due to the mounts sagging.

Trans - Starting from the back, a diesel governor for the 700R4 is available from your GM dealer for about 20 bucks.  Simple install.  High pressure servo (commonly called the "Corvette" servo).  Again simple but picky install.  Don't have the Sonnax number, but I used this car to tow my camper so I installed a throttle valve that prevented the 3-2 shift from happening until your foot was right on the floor.  Ideally you want a 1,200 RPM stall convertor but the stock gasser one works unless you are hauling something.  You will need the throttle cable and bracket from a 6.2 equipped with a 700R4.  THIS IS MANDATORY.  You can get an aftermarket one but they are a bear to set up properly.  This is the main control for the tranny and can dynamite the trans within miles if not set up right.

I'm sure there is a way to get the ECM to control the lockup but I just pulled the CEL lightbulb and installed a switch on the dash.  Don't need no damn computers when you're running oil.  Even hard wired the HVAC to by-pass the ECM.

Gearing - Interesting observation here.  I originally had 3:23s in the car but as I was using it to tow in third gear, I installed a set of 2:93s to get the engine RPMs around the 1,700 range (peak torgue).  Actually lost about 2 MPG by doing that.  Go figure.  Got better mileage overall with the 3:23s and 235 tires.  Should have left well enough alone. The 3:08s would be a little tall for best mileage.

The rest is just common sense.  To make your life easier, spend the time and pull the entire front clip.  Even with the most meticulous planning, expect to pull and re-install the engine at least three times before you get it right.  The front of the engine compartment is where clearance issues are.  A mechanical fan is not going to fit.  Grab the support and electric fans off an LT1 car plus all the relays and wiring and drive them off a temp sender in the thermostat crossover.  Will make your job easier.  I used the tanks from the LO3's rad but had a local shop install a four core rad.  Probably overkill but overheating was never an issue.

I did end up putting 1/2 inch of spacers under the front rad support to raise the hood a bit to give me a little more clearance.

All in all a pretty straight forward conversion, though it was a little challenging due to the physical dimensions of the engine.  While I have not done the Caddy, that extra 3 inches in length would make all the difference in the world.  Would even allow for a center mount turbo 6.5.

Good luck on your project. Don't hesitate to ask if you think I can be of any help.

Bill
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argo



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PostSubject: Re: Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive   Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:31 am

Thanks so much for the feedback.  I am very impressed with it (as I said) and I look forward to doing it on my wagon.  I am excited about having this car kick my wife's old 4 cylinder Camry's butt on fuel economy (I love my wife, but I never really accepted her Camry into the family).  I might be a rare exception, but I am content with the power that the LO3 makes.  Sure, I'd like more power, but the LO3 comes across as adequate for me.  Keep in mind I use my F-150 to tow and things like that, so the Wagon will only be used as a passenger vehicle.  Given that, I don't anticipate a difference in drivability since the LO3 and the diesel make the same power, just at different RPM.  Thank you for your guidance!  It has given me a lot to think about.

Edit: 2:05 PM EST 12/23/2013: I was thinking about the power steering pulley and since I am not running ABS (The pump mechanism died back in 1997 and was never fixed) I will not need anything other than a stock pulley. I eliminated the pump motor assembly when I replaced the rusty brake lines, and it is no longer taking up residence under the hood. As for the V belts, I never even considered using them. I will get a serpentine belt bracket setup as part of my parts acquisition before beginning the swap.
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Hybrid Longroof/Locomotive

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