It’s been a couple of weeks since NMCA’s fun, three-day drag race and autocross event in Fontana, California, where I muscled my big ’65 Chevelle around a cascade of orange cones in a tight parking-lot course. In most autocross courses, it’s possible to be very quick with mediocre horsepower, as long as you’ve got a small, light vehicle that can negotiate the layout quickly and stay away from the cones. That’s exactly what we hope to build with Project Sten. The truck is light at only 2,600 pounds, but the four-banger falls short of mediocre and doesn’t have the power to compete even on a short parking-lot course, so that makes the small block Chevy a natural swap. The ideal conversion would be an all-aluminum LS motor, and perhaps there’s one in our future, but for now we’ll stick with our affordable, if somewhat dated, TPI small block Chevy. This small block Chevy swap has been done a thousand times, which means it’s a really good idea. We’re somewhat limited by California smog laws that require an emissions-legal engine, so the TPI motor we outlined last month is not necessarily going to roll the Sten into the 10s in the quarter-mile. But it should produce excellent torque and enough power to make it fun. In addition to dishing out the details involved with stuffing the engine between the fenders, we’ll touch on the transmission and clutch pieces, which we’ll cover more extensively in an upcoming issue. We couldn’t find a used, V8, third-gen Camaro T5 five-speed trans we could trust, so instead we traded a few baubles for a ’90 Camaro, V6 trans that we sent to Modern Driveline in Utah for V8 ratios and a rebuild. Though known more for its work with Fox-body Mustang T5s, the company works on GM boxes as well. The stupid-deep V6 gears were removed and replaced with Tremec 2.95:1 First-gear pieces. We have plans to update the rearend, but we’ll save that for a later story as well. For now, the big push is to get the small block Chevy engine in the truck. Our first step was to contact Mike Knell, whom we’ve mentioned in previous stories. His company, Jaguars That Run (JTR), published an extensive, 220-plus-page S10 V8 swap manual with tons of very specific information. The book is easily worth 10 times what he charges in terms of information that will save you time, grief, and skinned knuckles. If you are considering attempting this swap, buy the book first. We’ll hit the high spots of what’s needed to get the engine in the truck, but we don’t have the space to cover all the details fleshed out in the book. But enough talk—let’s get into spinning wrenches. Parts List DESCRIPTION PN SOURCE PRICE Engine mounts S10-101 Stealth Products $50.00 2.8L V6 frame mounts, 2 2465 Rock Auto 12.78 Corvette radiator S10-123 Stealth Products 130.00 Billet radiator mounts S10-125 Stealth Products 35.00 JTR V8 S10 swap book See website Stealth Products 34.95 Hose splicer kit See website Stealth Products 15.00/3 Flex-a-lite dual fans 480 Summit Racing 449.95 Factory ECM 1227730 Junkyard 35.00 Optima battery 8004-003 Summit Racing 183.68 Painless TPI harness 60103 Summit Racing 387.95 Painless TPI VATS module 64023 Summit Racing 53.95 Painless emission harness 60314 Summit Racing 25.95 The first big task involved yanking the four-cylinder and installing the new motor mounts. The JTR mounts that bolt to the engine are designed to be used with standard 2.8L, V6 engine S10 mounts. Removing the old mounts and bolting in the new ones unfortunately meant we had to remove both lower control arms to access the nuts inside the crossmember. Knell says you can cut a hole in the crossmember, but we chose not to do that. The first big task involved yanking the four-cylinder and installing the new motor mounts. Note that JTR’s engine mounts offer tremendous adjustability. Bolted in place on our engine, the mounts in this position placed the engine farthest back in the chassis. This adds much-needed room between the engine and the radiator. There are also two vertical positions for the engine (arrow). We used the upper position because of the pan we chose. Note that JTR’s engine mounts offer tremendous adjustability. Bolted in place on our engin An easy mod was to employ our big John Henry sledge and roll that lip at the base of the firewall to gain about 1⁄2 inch clearance for the bellhousing bolts. This was the easy part. An easy mod was to employ our big John Henry sledge and roll that lip at the base of the f To double-check the places we would have to modify the engine compartment, we dropped the TPI motor in place and immediately noticed we’d need to trim the heater box. We also tried the TPI 350 exhaust manifold that Knell’s book says won’t fit without a major reworking of the frame; he’s right, it won’t work. It was also clear how much the steering column would have to move to clear the stock exhaust manifold on the other side. To double-check the places we would have to modify the engine compartment, we dropped the We had previously marked where we needed valve-cover clearance on the heater box. We removed it and attacked it with our cut-off wheel. We reversed the piece, welded it back in, and filled the rest of the holes with some scrap tin. Our fabrication skills aren’t the best, but it worked. We had previously marked where we needed valve-cover clearance on the heater box. We remov JTR’s book is a great resource that we used several times while doing our test fitting. By this time, after almost two days of working on the truck by ourselves, the book pages were already greasy. We have a solid three days into this job, so it certainly isn’t a weekend project, even if you have all the parts. JTR’s book is a great resource that we used several times while doing our test fitting. By The book references moving the factory TPI wiring harness outboard to clear the passenger-side exhaust manifold. This required cutting a 2-inch hole in the firewall and then sealing the original hole with a larger piece of tin. There is also some massaging necessary around this area to clear the exhaust manifold flange. The book references moving the factory TPI wiring harness outboard to clear the passenger- Knell’s book outlines the steps required to move the steering column outboard by 3⁄4 inch. This involves removing about 3⁄8 inch of sheetmetal on the outboard side in the indicated area (arrow). It’s then just a matter of shoving the steering column over and elongating the mounts. Knell’s book outlines the steps required to move the steering column outboard by 3⁄4 inch. Above: The book says the large cap HEI will fit with this conversion, but we are using the small-cap distributor that originally came on TPI engines, mainly for emissions compliance but also because it offers more clearance adjacent to the firewall. Above: The book says the large cap HEI will fit with this conversion, but we are using the It may look like an impossible mess, but this new Painless Performance TPI harness isn’t really that bad. Each connector is clearly marked and will only fit its intended location. This is Painless’ version for our California emissions-compatible package. We also needed the vehicle antitheft (VATS) bypass module, which is a separate part number. It may look like an impossible mess, but this new Painless Performance TPI harness isn’t r We located a compatible factory computer using identification numbers supplied by Painless. We found our computer in an ’88 2.8L Celebrity. It required a V8 chip (which are in short supply now) that TPIS supplied, along with a performance chip compatible with our injectors and the TPIS cam and Dart heads. We located a compatible factory computer using identification numbers supplied by Painless We also ordered a new Optima battery for our conversion. We’ll initially run it in the stock location, but because we know the front end weight will be excessive, we’ll eventually relocate it to the rear. We also ordered a new Optima battery for our conversion. We’ll initially run it in the sto Placing the 4.3L V6 radiator in the stock location puts the Flex-a-lite 480 fan very close to the water pump pulley. This will make the clearance between the pump and the pulley very tight at less than 1⁄4 inch. The book also mentions relocating a Corvette-style radiator in the forward position to gain clearance. The S10 4.3L radiator is too wide to fit in that position. Placing the 4.3L V6 radiator in the stock location puts the Flex-a-lite 480 fan very close Stealth Conversions offers these slick, billet aluminum adapter bushings for the upper and lower radiator hoses. They come in various sizes to splice two hoses of different or same sizes. For the price, these are the easiest way to make up a hose you need, plus they come with raised ends to prevent losing the connection under pressure. Stealth Conversions offers these slick, billet aluminum adapter bushings for the upper and Stealth also sells these billet aluminum brackets to mount the slightly smaller Corvette aluminum radiator in the forward position to add room for an engine-driven fan. These mounts are designed to use the stock S10 rubber mount cushions. Stealth also sells these billet aluminum brackets to mount the slightly smaller Corvette a SOURCES Centerforce 2266 Southwind Drive Prescott 86301 928-771-8422 http://www.centerforce.com Optima Batteries, Inc. 5757 N. Green Bay Ave. Milwaukee WI 53209 888-867-8462 www.optimabatteries.com Flex-A-Lite 7213-45th St Ct E Fife WA 98424 253-922-2700 http://www.flex-a-lite.com/ Stealth Conversions P.O. Box 66 Livermore CA 94551 925-462-3619 www.astrov8.com MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust 22961 Arroyo Vista Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688 800-824-8664 www.magnaflow.com Jaguars That Run Livermore CA 925-462-3619 www.jtrpublishing.com Rock Auto 6680 Odana Road Madison WI 53719 866-762-5288 www.rockauto.com Tuned Port Induction Specialties (TPIS) 952-448-6021 www.TPIS.com Modern Driveline 25308 Arroyo Ct Caldwell ID 83607 208-453-9800 www.moderndriveline.com By Jeff Smith Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!