1981 Chevy Truck 4x4 Motor\transmission Install - 03/18/2007

This truck is a project that was taken in by Steve out of the goodness of his heart to put a new motor in. It turned into a project from hell because the owners kept changing their mind on what needed to be done, took time to get the new motor for it, etc. It sat here from November of 2005 until this weekend (March 2007). Not quite 2 years. No time like the present, right?

1981 Truck. I had a Suburban of same vintage that was the same color. It had AC and many other options though. This is a bare bones 4x4 that has been lifted ~4" though.

Note the new guest. A hummingbird built her nest on Steve's lift.

Another view. We watched the bird build this, taking spiderwebs, sticks, etc. It was quite an amazing experience.

Phil preps the motor for the engine hoist. The test stand revealed a good running motor.

The different driver's side manifold. The original one would not clear the dipstick. Everyone who says "they are all the same" LIED. This block is a 1968 block going into a 1981.

What do you do with mismatched junk heads? Use them for weight! Each one weighs 75lbs, so that is an extra 225lbs on the back of this hoist!

Engine in the air!

Need to get the transmission on the motor... Steve and Phil put the torque converter on.

Using dowel pins, Phil lines the transmission up.

And it goes on without a hitch. A fully rebuilt Walt-Bilt special TH350.

Phil gets the motor level with the load leveller (best tool for this job EVAR).

Ready to drop right in!

The 1981 emissions sticker for those who need a reference. Dual tank truck with no AC.

LOTS of room here.

Phil and Steve get the engine ready to drop in.

Moving the engine and transmission combo down. Quite an experience.

Phil hams it up for the camera.

And it is in! Lodged on the mounts with a metal bar under the transmission tailshaft to keep it balanced (crossmember is attached to the transfer case).

Transfer case from the bed of the truck. This thing is pretty greasy.

Scratch that. This thing is downright nasty.

Transmission output. Scrap metal makes for a great support.

This is a harness for something. It doesn't want to stay plugged in as the tab to hold it in is broken.

And the transfer case is in! This required a coordinated effort of 3 people to get it in on the first try. No fingers were lost or knuckles bruised.

Hey! A new radiator is back here!

The sheer amount of parts stuffed in the bed of the truck covered with several seasons of tree droppings was amazing.

Driveshafts are ready to go in. This beast shall move again soon! And out of Steve's driveway (hopefully with a paycheck attached to it).

Moldy radiator. Quite nasty...

This was a fun project. Steve only needs to hook the electrical up, bend some transmission cooler lines, hook up the accessories and driveshafts and the truck should be ready to go! The owners haven't exactly been too concerned about getting this thing up and running, hence the extreme delays in getting it done. It's not like they are paying the going rate for shop labor anyway, so they have no reason to complain.

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Last updated March 23rd, 2007