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I am The Dentist
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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a Chevy Lakewood bellhousing for '55-'57 Chevy, with the chassis mounting ear provisions on the side of the bell.
The trans mounting pattern is Chrysler A833.

I want to modify the bottom portion of the bellhousing to come apart so I can swap clutches in the pits without having to fool around with removing all the bolts that hold the bellhousing and block plate together, plus screw with the rear motor mounts.

The plan would be to plasma-cut across the bottom portion of the bellhousing, Tig-weld a flange both halves and then bolt it together with a bunch of 1/2-inch Grade-8 bolts. You used to be able to buy bellhousings like this, but I haven't seen them lately--they were pretty regular in the '60s and '70s.

I've heard that modified bellhousings won't pass tech, and I've also heard that old-school 2-piece bellhousings won't pass tech. (the formed Lakewood style, not the old cast Ansens)

Anybody know for sure what the rule would be? Would they let this fly? It wouldn't be a hack job

-Brad
 

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I am The Dentist
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50,953 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Why, or should I ask, what kind of chutch do you need to change that often?

NHRA rules do not allow cutting or welding on an SFI can.

---Bill.
I want to take the car on Drag Week, and while I don't have a clutch yet (car is still under construction), the slick-shift Hemi 4speed and clutch won't be real friendly during the road-trip part.
I've got a Muncie 4-speed and a street clutch on the shelf, so thought swapping the trans and clutch would be do-able. Studs in place of trans mounting bolts makes a trans swap really easy, while the shifter linkage would be easily done with removable/replaceable covers on the trans tunnel--one cut for the Muncie shifter location, the other cut for the Hurst V-gate... Remove the cover, remove the 4 trans mounting nuts from the top, slide the trans out from the bottom, drop the bottom of the bellhousing, swap clutch disc and pressure plate, install Muncie, install tunnel cover, drive to next track.

-Brad
 

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Why, or should I ask, what kind of chutch do you need to change that often?

NHRA rules do not allow cutting or welding on an SFI can.

---Bill.
X2.

Modifying it in any way will void the cert and make it illegal for use in competition. If you wanted to modify it like that and have it re-certed, it would have to be sent in, inspected and pass, then tested in accordance with the spec. If it passed then, it could possibly be certed, but that's not even worth the hassle. I'd just get used to pulling it.
 

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Why would the clutch and hemi four speed not work for the driving portion of drag week? is it a pro shifted four speed? if so I have been driving a proshifted hemi fourspeed on the street for years.
 

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I am The Dentist
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50,953 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Why would the clutch and hemi four speed not work for the driving portion of drag week? is it a pro shifted four speed? if so I have been driving a proshifted hemi fourspeed on the street for years.
Yeah, it is a slick-shifted 4-speed (built by Liberty).
The clutch disc is equally old-school, with a solid hub (no springs). It's been suggested to me pretty strongly that it isn't the clutch to have on a street car.

Trying to get by with what I have and not spend more money than I need to.

-Brad
 

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I am The Dentist
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
At what power level or ET range are you going for?

---Bill.
The engine I have for it right now is a little stroked 283 (316ci), with self-ported double-hump heads (1.94/1.50 valves), tunnel ram... it's strictly 1967 stuff. Made 399lb/ft @ 4,400rpm and 403hp @ 6,050rpm on 93 octane with 10.3:1cr and a hydraulic roller. This engine is done and ready to go.
There is a chance I might build a 482-inch 409 by September, but that's only about a 30/70 chance.

ET? No frickin' clue. It's a '57 Chevy 2dr 150 Handyman wagon with 'glass fenders, doors and hood, no inner fenders, no front bumper, glass rear bumper, and the lighter factory 1pc frame. Stock, they were 3400lbs, so I'm guessing it's gonna be about 2900-3100lbs. (wish I could have afforded chromoly for the 12-point cage!). It's a gasser-style car, so "aero" isn't in the equation.

Gears are 4.30 spool (Mopar 8 3/4) on a fully-adjustable leaf-link rear suspension. I'll swap the pig for the driving. Don't have the tires yet, so don't have the height dialed in. I bought the gears thinking I'd use the 29-inch tall pie-crust slicks I have, but swapping to wrinkle walls is the smarter idea.

Light(ish) car, pretty good weight bias, and the slick-shift trans, 8 3/4 and rear suspension should help the engine perform better than it has a right to. But past that:smt102

-Brad
 

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Duct Tape and WD-40
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3400# stock? without driver i'm guessing? my dad has two 55 handyman wagons... his street car only has a glass hood, alum wheels iron headed small block and 4-speed and that thing tips the scales at 3700 easy. my old malibu wagon wieghed in at 3780 and i would almost bet money on it that my wagon was lighter than his. his race car (carbon front end, doors, hatch, lexan glass etc, bbc/glide) cam in at 2900 with him in it. although a lot of tubing is in it for the back half and 25.5...
 

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I am The Dentist
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Discussion Starter #10
3400# stock? without driver i'm guessing? my dad has two 55 handyman wagons... his street car only has a glass hood, alum wheels iron headed small block and 4-speed and that thing tips the scales at 3700 easy. my old malibu wagon wieghed in at 3780 and i would almost bet money on it that my wagon was lighter than his. his race car (carbon front end, doors, hatch, lexan glass etc, bbc/glide) cam in at 2900 with him in it. although a lot of tubing is in it for the back half and 25.5...
Everything I've seen puts the weight at 3400lbs stock (curb weight).

I believe it... I've got a '62 Chevy Suburban, which has a whole lot more metal, and without any kind of sound deadening, weather stripping or headliner, it went over the scale at 4,000 pounds last summer. And that's with an aluminum intake and trans case.
The torsion bar front end, X-frame and extra metal in the body (plus three-ply doors)... I'm sure there's 600 pounds there over a Tri-5 2-dr wagon.

-Brad
 

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Best thing to do is get with the guys from Hot Rod. I have never had a tech guy crawl under my car to look at anything.

With drag week it is best to ask first. They will tell you right up front if it going to fly.

Tim
 

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Get an adjustable sintered iron clutch. Tighten it up to drive on the street, and loosen it up when you are at the track. I have a friend that drives a Nova on the street regularly with a Soft Lock clutch, and face plated top loader Ford trans. No problem.
 
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