Swapping in a Driveshaft

Now the fun began. I positioned the motor/tranny combo and hooked up the rubber tranny mount. Then dropped the engine onto the correctly positioned motor mounts which were not bolted in yet. Excellent fit. Absolutely no frame or firewall modifications required. I was so happy I was whistling dixie out my a**hole!

I decided to install the stock camaro driveshaft to see how lucky I was. Well the camaro shaft is about 8 1/2" too short. I phoned around and found out that the driveshaft should be 3/4" to 1" less in length than measured from the center of the tranny end universal joints (when the yoke is up tight to the tranny) to the rear universal joints. The cost to lengthen a driveshaft and balance it was $150 Cdn. Too much for me!

We were having a unusually warm spell here and I figured that this would be one of the last times that I could go to the self serve autowreckers and crawl around looking for a replacement driveshaft. Off I went with a tape measure in my hands. I found quite a few 8", 9" and 10" longer driveshafts. The 8" was off of a 71-76 Impala, they had a CV joint at the differential and would need some minor grinding to work but would be 1/2" too short.

The 10" longer driveshafts were not an option as they would have to be shorten. The 9" longer driveshaft was found in almost any 80s GM fullsize stationwagons. I found one in very good shape in an 82 Caprice wagon that had a T350 and 10 bolt rearend. This meant it would bolt right in if I could lose 1/2" someplace.

Camaro and Caprice drivshafts

Camaro (on top) and Caprice wagon driveshafts

I decided to move the tranny bolt hole on the tranny crossmember forward 1/2". This put it very close to the edge of the tranny crossmember which I didn't like but planned on welding up a bigger plate later. Out came the engine/tranny combo, higher up went the jackstands until I could get a drill under the crossmember.

During the reinstall of the engine/tranny, I connected up the tranny mounting bolt and went to position the engine mounts (still not bolted in) when the tranny suddenly popped up. The Camaro's rubber tranny mount was defective (probably just 24 years old) and had split in two!

Broken tranny rubber

Camaro's rubber tranny mount broken in two!

A quick run to the local parts source found out that they had none in stock for the T350 but they did have one for a 4 spd Muncie. I took a look and found out it had a 3/4" offset between the tranny bolt holes and the tranny crossmember bolt hole. This looked real good because then I could use the first hole I drilled in the crossmember and use the Caprice's driveshaft.

Camaro rubber tranny mounts

4 spd (on left) and T350 tranny mount

I popped in the 4 spd rubber tranny mount, slid in the engine/tranny combo. Properly positioned the motor mounts. Installed the driveshaft and "surprise surprise" everything fit. And it was all bolt-in too - no major welding or cutting of the frame or firewall!

Engine/tranny installed

Engine/tranny installed and no clearance problems!

Tranny clearance

Tranny clearance

Frame clearance

Clearance under the frame, bottom of oilpan on right

There is about 3/4 to 1" clearance between the firewall webbing and the block, lots of room to work around the distributer, adequate room for exhaust (another story), lots of room around the tranny and plenty of room underneath the engine for installing a rack n pinion unit and there is about 1" of freeplay in the driveshaft yoke for installation. I am very happy!

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Copyright July, 2011 Eugene Blanchard