An engine swap is the process of removing a car’s engine and replacing it with another. This is done either because of failure, or to install a different engine–usually one that is more powerful, modern, or maintainable. This has been the case with some of the mid-‘80s cars as not only are they becoming more affordable and easier to obtain, they are being updated with newer small-block 350 engines.
After looking over the car and doing some research, we realized that our engine swap would be a weekend project. We also learned that some states will allow you to upgrade your engine, but some states, like California, have the most restrictions. Fortunately, this tech was being done on an Arizona car, and thanks to the state’s rolling smog law, we were able to legally replace the engine with this newer replacement motor. Before attempting this at home, you should also make sure that you could do this repair without raising too many eyebrows in your neighborhood.
When we started off on this piece, we figured that we would take an affordable G-body (in this case a Buick Regal) and show you how to update the drive train with something more affordable and easier to work on. We called Summit Racing and ordered everything that we thought we needed for our engine swap. Now see how this weekend project unfolds, as we install a new Summit Racing/Holley engine into this ‘84 Regal.
1. This ’84 Regal was ready for a small-block 350.
2. We started off by disconnecting the battery. This should help prevent sparks and the ground out of any components.
3. The old engine was disassembled, leaving it ready to get pulled out.
4. You are going to have to disconnect the exhaust manifolds and the transmission, so it will require you to access the engine from under the car.
5. The exhaust needed to be disconnected to access the motor mounts.
6. Using a dedicated catch pan, we removed the antifreeze giving us the option to re-use the antifreeze if it was still good and we wanted to do so.
7. On this particular car we were able to keep the hood lined up by unbolting the hood shocks towers allowing us to hold the hood straight up. This gave us much room to allow the engines to be removed and installed without obstacles.
8. When holding your hood up, make sure not to over stretch the hood as you can easily crack the windshield if the hood touches the glass.
9. To help avoid getting fluids on the ground we used a zip lock bag and tie strap; which will help catch some of the fluids while you remove the engine.
10. With everything loosened, the old engine came out with ease.
11. The engine compartment was ready to receive its new small block.
12. Since we didn’t know which holes on the frame would line up with the motor mounts in place, we bolted the motor mounts to the engine, allowing us to center the engine in the right place.
13. One of the last steps before dropping in the engine is to install the flywheel that will bolt up to the 200R transmission.
14. For this install, we opted to use a carb mount engine lift plate to help keep the engine level.
15. This engine just needed some guidance and should be connected to the transmission once it is lined up.
16. The AC lines were reconnected and the system was ready to be recharged.
17. This Holley carb was ready to help the small block run.
18. The engine was in and only needed a few things to make it run.
19. Having everything on hand from Summit Racing made this weekend project easy.