500 C.I. Caddy swap

GOT A 502 OT 572 SITTING ON THE STAND AND IT'S DESTINED FOR YOUR ASTRO OR SAFARI? POST IT HERE.

Moderator: mdmead

Post Reply
User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:31 am

Anyone who knows me,knows how curious I am.Once I get on a topic,I research it and adsorb what I find like a sponge.That is also true even if it isn't something that I am going to do.

We once before spoke about a big block Caddy swap and kind of accepted it was too wide to work.

Some backround how I came to know now what I found.

I am a member of a forum for old time hot rods.The kind like roadsters,bucket "T"'s 32 Ford coupes etc.From my age group when cars like these where built,Caddy engines where some of the engines of choice.So I posted why more are not in use......you know the pro's and con's.From that I found the following info that "could be" applied to a swap in a Astro.

One point I am making is our vans push 4,000lbs or more in wt. and could benefit from as much streetable torque as we can afford.We have seen Caddy front clip's and taillights,so we could complete the deal with a Caddy engine.

The subject of size is handled in this link:

http://www.carnut.com/specs/fengdim.html

As we see the height difference is 5" in the measurement "C" and is only wider in a difference of 1 1/2 from a BBC which we have seen a least three BBC's installed in Astro's.I think with the same body lift as Peter's ZZ that could be doable.

The other thing is what tranny could be used??.Well I found this company that sells adapters to a 700R or 4L60.Here is the link:

http://www.transmissionadapters.com/index.htm

So Why do this swap??.Well the engine is a torque monster and is only 75lbs heavier than a SBC.Here is some dyno numbers with some mods to the valve train,cam,heads:

Can you imagine these kind of numbers??.

RPM LB-FT HP
2,900 611.6 337.7
3,000 621.5 355.0
3,100 642.7 379.3
3,200 645.6 393.4
3,300 649.1 407.9
3,400 649.3 420.3
3,500 640.1 426.6
3,600 636.1 436.0
3,700 629.0 443.2
3,800 633.4 458.3
3.900 635.9 472.2
4,000 625.6 476.4
4,100 621.1 484.8
4,200 610.0 487.8
4,300 602.9 493.6
4,400 603.5 505.6
4,500 593.6 508.6
4,600 586.1 513.3
4,700 581.6 520.4
4,800 572.2 523.0
4,900 561.0 523.3
5,000 552.9 526.3

Over 600lbs of torque at 2900 RPM's???.It idles at 600 to 800RPM and purrs like a kitten.

Now for some that might worth all the trouble to make the mods to make it fit in a Astro.To make that kind of output in a SBC would make it highly unlikely streetable and could cost tons more money.It is also likely you get this kind of performance out of a Caddy without spending the kind of money that Peter spent.

You certainly would have to beef up the tranny for it to hold up under this kind of torque and you could do the rear end swap that Mr_Roboto did with a Ford Econoline.These engines are not a high RPM engine mainly because they came from a car who's rear end gears where 3.23 or less.So for performance a range of 3.40's to 3.50's might be just right.

The Cons of a swap like this.Well in all fairness,Caddy's valve train is the weak link.Stock it is likely going to have valve float at only 4,800 RPM.The valve springs are not for any high RPM use and the rocket arms will not hold up under any performance application.The heads in stock form are not very useful either,but can be ported.There are aluminum after market heads available.This where the expense come into play.The after market valve train and reworked heads or aluminum heads are expensive.But still not the money Peter told me he spent.Here is a good read to see what I am talking about:

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engi ... index.html

Of course this is the ultra build that you expect Hod Rod magazine to do and you do not have to go to that extreme.

Here is a parts source where some of it is more practical to do builds at different stages:

http://www.500cid.com/Home.htm

All and all,even Peter had some doubts,while still building thought he might be making a mistake,because everyone thought it couldn't be done and he wasn't sure himself.But from what I researched,it looks like this could be done.You would have to get around the 5" height problem of the intake/air cleaner and the 1.5 wider issues compared to a BBC.

A little old school hot rodding in a Astro I guess.I hope some of those old school hot rodders on this forum find this read interesting. :)
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:56 am

There is one important factor I forgot to add.With a careful build,you soft peddling it could still get 18mpg.I found a number of sources that reported that.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

User avatar
reaper
I sleep in my van
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:51 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
Location: VANcouver

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by reaper » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:13 am

Although I did not check out the links you provided,but have read what you stated &
it makes sense.
I have been a regular at a local machine shop for a while now & have seen allot
of SBC/BBC builds there.
As a matter of fact I was there today & saw a just finished SBC with the cost to
the tune of 7 grand.
I really dig SBC's & what can be done to them,but it does not take long for the real world dollars to start adding up quick for impressive streetable/daily driver #'s.
Recently I too have been thinking about BBC TBI/TPI engines for street/daily driver use
& perhaps do an application in my own van in the future.
Remember the 454SS pick up's?,They were ok on fuel & pretty good for belting around town
on a daily basis.Mildly built they hauled.
I would say go for it Gary,thinking outside the box may prove to produce a
torque monster,kick ya in the pants van.
90 Astro Cargo V-8
90 Artro RS - V-8 Now running!
& a bunch of tractors
"there's nothing like a V-8 Polluting the Environment"
Image

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:28 am

reaper wrote:Although I did not check out the links you provided,but have read what you stated &
it makes sense.
I have been a regular at a local machine shop for a while now & have seen allot
of SBC/BBC builds there.
As a matter of fact I was there today & saw a just finished SBC with the cost to
the tune of 7 grand.
I really dig SBC's & what can be done to them,but it does not take long for the real world dollars to start adding up quick for impressive streetable/daily driver #'s.
Recently I too have been thinking about BBC TBI/TPI engines for street/daily driver use
& perhaps do an application in my own van in the future.
Remember the 454SS pick up's?,They were ok on fuel & pretty good for belting around town
on a daily basis.Mildly built they hauled.
I would say go for it Gary,thinking outside the box may prove to produce a
torque monster,kick ya in the pants van.

Don't mean to impose on your time-might find this interesting:

http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki ... 0_Cadillac
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

User avatar
mdmead
ASV Supporter
ASV Supporter
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:45 am
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 6
Location: Selah, WA
Contact:

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by mdmead » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:11 am

This would make an interesting swap.
Matt
Selah, WA
-96 GMC Safari AWD Hi-Top Conversion -->Stalled 5.3L swap & 5" lift
-74 Ford Bronco -->Far from perfect but mine!
-99 V-10 Ford Super Duty Super Cab 4x4 -->Stock with 285 Cooper ATs
-00 Ford Focus Wagon -->The Red Turd
-95 Ford 24' Class C Motorhome -->My big block sleeper
-07 Can-Am Outlander XT -->My yellow 4x4 quad for work & play
-04 Ski Doo REV Summit -->Still several chassis behind!


No new projects until the current ones are done!

Kidhauler
I sleep in my van
Posts: 881
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:46 am
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 6
Location: Vancouver B.C.

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by Kidhauler » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:23 am

Remember kids there is no replacement for displacement. Years ago I took the straight 6 out of my truck and put in a 400cid Big Block it was a kick in the pants to drive. Not a huge revver but it didn't need to be when it came on the cam in the mid range it would bounce your head off the window in second and third. Fourth gear it would put you back in the seat at over 100mph.
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.

rlsllc
I sleep in my van
Posts: 918
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:35 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by rlsllc » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:43 pm

I still love the idea, and still think it would be way more work and expense than it is worth. It will be a hard fit, all custom and expensive one-off parts, mounts, adapters, lots of custom fab. The belt driven accessories will be tricky, and retrofitting fuel injection could be tough. You don't even want to consider a carb if mpg is a concern.

I think a small diesel (4BT Cummins) from a GM P30 stepvan would be easier and almost a bolt in if torque is your goal. Set up and operated correctly it could approach 25-30 mpg empty in this size vehicle from what I've read. 18 loaded wouldn't be out of the question.

The TBI 350 is the most cost effective and proven route. The only reason to do any other swap is desire to be different, which is commendable, but pricey.

I'd love to see another BBC Astro, Caddy powered, heck any big inch GM motor. I would have a turbo diesel in an Astro if I had the money to spend. But like many others, I'm dropping in a 350. The only change I made is a manual trans, since I hate automatics. The TBI 350 just makes sense, it is easy, cheap, and actually pretty efficient and plenty powerful.

Don't you already have everything to do a 350 swap?

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:58 pm

rlsllc wrote:I still love the idea, and still think it would be way more work and expense than it is worth. It will be a hard fit, all custom and expensive one-off parts, mounts, adapters, lots of custom fab. The belt driven accessories will be tricky, and retrofitting fuel injection could be tough. You don't even want to consider a carb if mpg is a concern.

I think a small diesel (4BT Cummins) from a GM P30 stepvan would be easier and almost a bolt in if torque is your goal. Set up and operated correctly it could approach 25-30 mpg empty in this size vehicle from what I've read. 18 loaded wouldn't be out of the question.

The TBI 350 is the most cost effective and proven route. The only reason to do any other swap is desire to be different, which is commendable, but pricey.

I'd love to see another BBC Astro, Caddy powered, heck any big inch GM motor. I would have a turbo diesel in an Astro if I had the money to spend. But like many others, I'm dropping in a 350. The only change I made is a manual trans, since I hate automatics. The TBI 350 just makes sense, it is easy, cheap, and actually pretty efficient and plenty powerful.

Don't you already have everything to do a 350 swap?
Yes I have all the parts for a TBI 350 swap.

The Caddy engine has universal swap mounts,drive accessories,and a fuel injection kits with the mega squirt build kit.All that comes from a "G-Body" swap.The entry to buy a rebuild able engine is dirt cheap.There are correct rear sump 7qt oil pans that fit for only 250 bucks.

As it stands right now I am in still the research mold and need to do body work first on Ole Yellar.

The info I posted here isn't just for me.If someone wanted this kind of torque and not spend the kind of money Peter did,it is a very good solution.In fact the numbers you get from the Caddy,I suggest you get more torque out of them than any other engine we have talked about to date including Peter's Ram Jet.I have seen reports on a very little mod'ed engine getting 18mpg soft peddling it.The stock 1970 500 has numbers that you would spend thousands to get with 400hp.With a 350 I could spend 5 grand on heads,valve train(cam and kit,lifters,roller rockers etc),Edelbrock injection and still not get that kind of torque.

But as I said,these engines you don't want to rev them much.A affordable swap engine I wouldn't want to take it much above 4,800.So you gear the rear end towards that and again get outstanding gas mileage.From off idle to say about 2800 to 3200 rpm is a killer output.So you want something in the range for the street in the range of 3.23's.Might be able to go alittle higher with the 700R and lock-up converter.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

rlsllc
I sleep in my van
Posts: 918
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:35 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by rlsllc » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:49 am

I got ya. It's still gonna cost way more than a typical 350 swap. Twice maybe three times. Price the headers. It all adds up.

Just a note, I explained before that the 400hp number from 1970 is brake HP, not net. It was more like 250 hp by modern rating methods. Trust me on this. 400 hp is a lot, think about it. Don't be fooled by the big numbers. They're not what you think.

I owned 2 1970 Caddys, and a 1976. They were not hot rods by any means. Your LT or my 99 AWD would probably smoke any of the three stop light to stop light. In a lighter vehicle, maybe a little fun, but still a very relaxed (not peppy) engine in stock form. I also had a 1971 Olds with a 455 that would run circles around the Caddys. I put that motor in a stock 1982 Malibu, and it ran 14.92 at the 1/4 mile strip with the sway bars off and good front springs.

I was amused that you compared a Caddy motor to Peter's ZZ. Simply matching or exceding one spec (torque in this case), doesn't make the output the same or better.

I like the idea, but don't think it's a bargan or easy. I had a 500 in the malibu for about 6 hours before giving up and pulling the 455 out of the olds. It was not friendly to retrofit, and that was a G-body car, very similar to our astros. I sold the 500 and TH400 to a guy that put it in a wrecker in place of a 6.2 diesel.

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:30 am

Yep,your right Roy.Back then the hp ratings where changed to a peas the insurance companies and the Fed gov was considering taxing people based on what HP cars they owned but had second thoughts about that one because of enforcement problems.

I am working towards getting the LT back in road worthy shape and then the Ole Yellar body work taking Yellar off the road.I was out sizing up the window fillers today in fact.Well trying to come up with a game plan anyways.So I have time before I do any engine work and time to think about what that will be.

This research is not for not anyways because what I use in the Astro van and if that is the TBI 350,that same thing could apply to a 500 engine for my RV.It has a 350 that is a good runner but is only a 195 HP version.

We'll have to see what's what when I get the engine part.

I want to thank everyone for posting and their advise.

Gar
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

User avatar
wizical
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:24 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
Location: canada

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by wizical » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:24 am

hi all
i personally own a 472ci cad engine
as for swaps and kits i would suggest
http://www.cad500parts.com/
they are very friendly and helpful
their is actually quiet a bit to do to do a swap ( on the motor)
as they are a front pick up engine
so custom sump and pick up are needed
if you were to run it stock. fuel pump hangs lower front d/s but you can plate it and run and electric of course
. oil pump and filter hang lower p/s of course you can plum for a remote
further more distributor sticks out like a hemi but more off set ( this creates props for the acc mount
so what am i saying !
even with a body lift it would be a tight squeeze
you would have to hang acc on p/s ( because of dizzy) and steering pump and alt would have to hung low
if you were to stay with a stock f/pump o/pump/filter set up

but yes with a bit of head scratching it could be done
with a few firewall mods

patgizz
I get chills without my van.
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:57 pm
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by patgizz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:14 pm

i put a 1970 model 365hp caddy monster into my 1988 silverado. the torque was so fun the cab tore right off the frame at the mounts :yikes:

the front sump can be overcome. i personally cut the pan and flipped the sump to the rear and made a new pickup tube to make it a rear sump. i still have the engine in the barn to take pics of or measurements from. they are wide for sure, i do not have time to try or i would attempt to stick one on my 95. too much going on right now to just experiment on such a grand scale.

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:00 am

patgizz wrote:i put a 1970 model 365hp caddy monster into my 1988 silverado. the torque was so fun the cab tore right off the frame at the mounts :yikes:

the front sump can be overcome. i personally cut the pan and flipped the sump to the rear and made a new pickup tube to make it a rear sump. i still have the engine in the barn to take pics of or measurements from. they are wide for sure, i do not have time to try or i would attempt to stick one on my 95. too much going on right now to just experiment on such a grand scale.
One of the links I posted has a number of engines in it as to the dimensions.Kind of a cool ref for engine swappers.

We had a member who swapped a BBC into his Safari.In fact it is a Ram-Jet 502.He did a pipe body lift of 5 1/4"s.So when I learned how much that cost and the amount of torque he had,I compared the sizes of each engine to find in some places the Caddy was actually smaller.I knew he had completed his swap.So I thought a Caddy would be cheaper to swap with like type torque ratings.Later I learned more about the Caddy's engine in that the purchase price is cheaper,the torque curve is very narrow and it does have a very low RPM range that to fix that gets expensive in a hurry.Same thing here.How fast do you want to go and how much money do you want to spend??.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

Ballenxj
I am smitten with my van
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:08 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by Ballenxj » Tue May 07, 2013 3:16 pm

WOW! The torque and horsepower specs of tha 500 ci Caddy engine are impressive. I can see why you might want that for pushing a heavy van down the road.
-Bruce

User avatar
1Gary
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2795
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:18 am
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: 500 C.I. Caddy swap

Post by 1Gary » Tue May 07, 2013 6:09 pm

I wouldn't expect a Caddy to be real good on gas mileage,but the 383,400's SBC's aren't either.From the research I have done is the Caddy's rpm range is all over with without mods @ 4,000 rpm.I have struggled with the fine line of more output offsetting the need for it to produce better gas mileage.<less gas peddle>
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

Post Reply