View Full Version : My 383 T56 Cutlass

08-26-2009, 10:38 PM
I thought I'd finally start a build thread and let everyone see what I'm working on. It's basically a daily driver Pro-Touring style 86 Cutlass with a 383 SBC and injected with an Accel SuperRam. I'm getting ready to take the block into the machine shop for some cleanup work. I'll run about 10-1 compression with the older style AFR 190 heads. A CompCams 280 XFI hyd roller cam with 230*/236* duration and on a 113* LSA.

My trans is a Tremec Aftermarket T56 which was basically a replacement for the T5 tranny.

As far as the history of this build, it has a long story behind it. I'll shorten it as much as I can. I bought an 84 Cutlass with the 3.8l V6 si I could pull my 69 Camaro off the road for a resto. As usual, one thing leads to another and the Camaro was gone. It was way beyond my finances to restore. It was painted black and I built a mild 350 SBC/TH350 for the Cutlass to replace the weary 3.8. During the swap, I rebuilt the front suspension with a pair of 5662 IROC front springs, steering box, and 36mm swaybar.

A flat cam lobe ended up taking out the crank and bearings. Since the crank was already at .020" under, I was going to need a differant crank. So, for the added cost of a new set of pistons, I could upgrade to a 383! The build-up was on. I had also aquired all that I needed to bolt on a TPI and ditch the TH350 for a T5. The AFR heads were bought and a small hyd roller cam.

It was about time to replace the T5 which was straining behind the 383 and the TPI was also choking the motor. I bought theT56 and found a used SuperRam. It totally woke up the combination. Until...

The engine started missing one day and the compression check reveiled one dead cylinder. Busted piston. By this time, the 84 had gotten cancer so bad that I decided to get a better car to replace it. Enter the 86 Cutlass.

The 86 had a straight body but a dead 307 Olds motor. I commenced to pulling everything good from the 84 and I'm now putting it all into the 86 while I'm waiting to rebuild the motor.

Here's the 84 before the engine died...

And here's the 86. I started pulling it apart and swapping everything around.

Got the engine out and the front clip off and started doing some cleaning and painting.

My wheels I plan on using. 17x8.5 Rondell 58's with 275/40's & 245/45's

Here's roughly what I'm hoping it will turn out close to.

08-26-2009, 10:55 PM
Nice start to your swap. Good to see another G body with a 6 speed. Can't wait to start on mine this fall. Good luck with the build. You still using the 7.5" rear?

08-26-2009, 11:08 PM
Thanks. Yeah I'm still using the 7.5" for now. Future plans (and dollars) will probably see a Moser 12 bolt though. Gotta get it moving under it's own power first...

78 Type-LT
08-27-2009, 12:08 AM
nice..my 1st car was 81 tha same color combo as your 86...i miss tha car,,:banghead:

08-27-2009, 01:21 AM
Nice project. I have always like the G Body.

08-27-2009, 06:34 AM
Good start Doug!

08-27-2009, 09:05 AM
What was odd about the whole thing is this. I've had the car a couple years and other than pulling the blue interior out, loosening the fender bolts, and the header panel off the front, I wasn't able to get much accomplished on it. All the city really wanted was to keep it registered. Makes a lot of sense to put tags on a car that wouldn't even pull itself out of the driveway!

2 months ago I had a friend from work helped me finish pulling the front clip and we drug the engine/tranny out of the frame rails. I jacked up the car, sat it on blocks and removed everything down to the bare frame. Had the suspension and steering box off and was stripping it all down to bare metal for painting and rebuilding the front suspension.

City comes along and deems it "abandoned" since it didn't have a front end on it and said they were towing it in a week. :machine:

So, my boss/buddy of mine said I could store it at his place. 20 miles away...well at least it ain't getting towed. Found out earlier this week he's moving. He's getting 5 acres and I can keep it there, no problem. Except he's moving an additional 8 miles away.

Maybe someday I'll get to work on it...Maybe someday I'll even get to finish it :seizure:

I put in for a week of vacation in the middle of September, earliest I could get it. Hopefully I can get a bunch done then.

TPI Monte SS
08-27-2009, 08:52 PM
You got a great start Doug, best of luck on the swap! Been there, done that too - my old '85 SS had way too much cancer to save, so we swapped the suspension and complete drivetrain into the '88 SS. It was a lot of work, but well worth it in the end!

08-28-2009, 04:46 AM

I love the kickstands!

The Stickman
08-28-2009, 08:29 PM
Finally you made a thread about your car. Really does suck that your car is so far away. We are kinda alike in a very different way. You don't get to work on your car cause it's so far away. And I don't get to work on mine when it is just downstairs due to my migraines. But when I'm penned in a dark room for days at a time it might as well be 28 miles away. Is there a way to work on parts of the car at your place then take them to the car to be installed?

08-28-2009, 09:15 PM
Some of the smaller assemblies I could bring home to clean and paint, which I plan on doing.

Like the old Johnny Cash song, "One Piece At A Time..."

08-29-2009, 03:39 AM
Make a list/plan of your attack on the project. Stick to it and in no time it'll be done.

08-29-2009, 07:50 AM

I love the kickstands!

LOL, like them, huh. I'd always wanted a set of them and found out how much trouble they were. These were pretty restrictive, too as it had only 1 functional tube. I ended up with a 3.5" single inlet but never got it installed on the car. Not enough room between the ground and pipe. They just don't fit the theme of the rebuild so they stay in the corner of the shop. I would like to figure out how to run the muffler part under the car as they did have a distinctive sound. I gotta get it running first before I'm concerned with mufflers/exhaust.

Thanck for the inspiration, guys. I'll try and keep my updates posted as progress is made.

09-09-2009, 08:56 AM
cool project! it warms my heart to see guys working on Cutlasses. :razz:

are you keeping the vinyl roof?

09-17-2009, 10:51 PM
Time for another update. To rehash, the city was going to tow it because I'd started working on it rather than just letting it sit, so I had it towed to a friends house. 20 miles away. About 2 weeks after I got it moved, he decided to move 8 more miles away, even farther from me. Those plans fell through and he ended up staying where he was. Now, he's decided to move anyway. I've pulled the front end (fenders AND suspension!) off, then back on, then back off and now back on... Since I had to replace all the suspension I'd pulled off, I decided to re-use my 5662 IROC front coils and while I was at it, I put on my a-arms with the GW Del-A-Lum bushings. Later on (with next years Income tax refund, if I get enough back) I'll replace the upper arms with some from SC&C.

Well, I got it moved to his new place today, hopefully for the last time until it's drivable under it's own power. At that point I'll bring it back home as the city can't do anything about it if it starts and moves on it's own.

Got the block, pistons, rods, heads, and everything else loaded up and it's off to the machine shop to start that process for my engine rebuild. New Scat cast 3.75" crank and 5.7 floating pin stroker rods. KB hyper 12cc dished pistons for about 10-1 compression. Bore/hone block an additional .010" to 4.040". Check all clearances and balance. Possibly deck the block but I want to see if the block even needs it first. If it does, and doesn't cut my p/v clearance too much, then it'll be zero decked. My pistons have a height of 1.433" so if it don't need decked my deck height will be about .017" in the hole. I'll have my heads (AFR 190's) bead blasted and rechecked along with installing my beehive springs and check for coil bind with my cam. Comp Cams 280 XFI with 230*/ 236* duration on a 113* LSA. So much to check but I'm making sure EVERYTHING is right with this motor.

I'm on vacation for the next week so while the engine is getting worked over, I've got a few things to get done on the car to get it ready for the engine. On that list is pulling old gas tank and cleaning and painting or undercoating the underbody where the tank sits, reinstalling my other tank, run new fuel lines, brake lines, installing my Howell fuel injection harness and getting the dash put back in, and hopefully, get my custom gauge panel built and installed with the dash.

We'll see how much actually gets done. My luck, it'll rain most of next week... or he'll move again :banghead:

I'll try and get pics along the way.

Dave I've thought about keeping the vinyl top as I'm wanting to keep the body looking like a fairly stock Supreme body. I talked to a guy the other day who gave me a rough estimate of $350 - $450 to replace the old one. I imagine it'll be replaced with a new black one.

09-18-2009, 03:42 AM
Very cool project

09-18-2009, 11:02 PM
Thanks, glad you like it!

I got my engine to the machine shop today. Talked to the guy for almost 2 hours and liked everything he had to say so I left a bunch of parts with him. In my mind, he was fairly reasonable with his prices too. He is really busy but I guess that is a good thing. If he wasn't real busy then I'd consider that a bad omen. The better you are, the busier you should be. He told me it may be about 2 months to get to my engine and shot me a rough price of about $1400. That is all machine work on block, rings and bearings, clean and check block, several small parts, install differant valve springs on my heads, paint block, blueprint all clearances and balance, along with engine assembly and a 1 year warranty. I was going to assemble it myself as everyone else only wanted to give me a 90 warranty. For a 1 year warranty, he can assemble it himself.

Here's a few pics of the parts going in/on my engine. It will be a 385 (4.040 x 3.75) SBC with 10-1 compression.

Scat Rods for stroker - 5.7"

Scat cast steel 3.75" crank

Keith Black Hyper-eu-tectic 12cc D-dish pistons

My Oil Pan 6qt with pass side kickout

This is the style injection setup I have. Accel SuperRam. This is not a pic of my setup, only a representation of mine

Again, a representation of my Aftermarket T56 tranny

82-83 F-body Lakewood mechanical linkage bellhousing

I got a bunch more pics but you get the idea. More pics later.

The Stickman
09-19-2009, 01:27 AM
Great to see it coming along. Nice parts.

02-06-2010, 09:27 AM
Nice peoject, I'm looking to put a 5 or 6 speed in my 81 cutty.

07-01-2010, 11:47 PM

07-20-2011, 02:09 PM
awesome start man , i love it hope to see updates. check out my big block regal project sometime