corvair/firebird conversion

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So, I bought a wrecked 93 firebird and I want to put the drivetrain in a corvair convertible (I have both cars, this isn't bs). I am very familiar with bots cars, particularly the corvair. There are a couple of questions I have that I would like some input/answers on. First off, I am going to put the rear axle from the firebird in the Corvair, that shouldn't be too big a problem (the firebird was hit in the front. I am wondering what my best move for the front end would be. I could use the stock sub frame from the corvair, and use conventional steering (non power), and beef up the stock springs, or I could do a subframe swap from the firebird, which could be a lot of work. Of course, then the struts and everything would be set up to handle the wait automatically.

Secondly, I will have to tunnel the corvair, which is unibody. Has anyone ever tunnelled a car before? Will I lose the structural integrity of the car (since it is a convertible?). I plan on keeping as much on the Corvair as possible, and I want it to look like a corvair when I'm done. I'm going to start this project in a month or so, and I'll be posting pics as I progress, I think that would be interesting and fun for everyone, including myself.

The Corvair will have a 3.4L 5 speed drivetrain (I want it to get roughly 25mpg, so I don't want a v8, and I dont' think it could handle it). Why am I doing this, because I already restored a corvair and it's not everything I expected.

posted by  carls47807

If you are putting the engine in the front of the corvair, my biggest question is if the new engine bay will handle the torque of the engine. The location of the engine mounts would need some careful planning, and as you mentioned, the suspennsion would need major help. As far as the tunneling goes, I don't think the actual tunneling would be a problem, as the creation of a tunnel would actualy make it stronger if done properly, kind of like an I-beam. stand it on end, and it is hard to bend up and down, but if you lay it falt, it bends easier. Again, I think the biggest problem will be torque, with the engine in the front, and the drive axle in the back, all the torque from the engine will have to transfer through the length of the car. Hopefuly most of this will be acomplished by the drivetrain, but I would expect things to twist differently.

I think it would be more interesting, and easier, if you could somehow leave the engine in/near the rear.

posted by  dvdrose18

My friend did a corv 8, and they are really noisy, and you lose the back seat.

This guy ran a v12 with a tempest driveshaft, so I think the body can handle the torque. He used the corvair subframe too, but he beefed it up some. I'm not sure I have the engineering know-how to do this.

I wanted to do firebird drivetrain because it is paid for and I got it cheap. I want a good driver that gets good mileage, and that is different from what everybody else has.

Thanks for the reply. So tunneling the body could actually make the body stronger, maybe that could help with torque problems too.

posted by  carls47807

if you're going v6, why don't you just get a fwd engine/trans combo out of a late model gm? much more power, better packaging, better mileage and just plain simpler... maybe something newer w/ a 3400/3500 or even an older 3.4 dohc...:2cents:

posted by  dodger65

and put it in the back? or the front?

I like the idea of putting it in the back, makes things a lot easier.

I have the firebird, bought and paid for, and I like to waste time and attempt impossible challenges (for me), that is basically why I am hell bent on the firebird setup.

You think FWD (in the back) will get better mileage than this RWD setup?

posted by  carls47807

in the back...

well, i know that the later fwd motors are more powerful and more efficient (i'm actually doing a fwd head conversion on a 3.4 firebird motor right now) and i'm of the opinion that if you're not going to get really radical w/ power or the "wow" factor - like an ls1 or something, it's going to be an awful lot of work for less power and efficiency and really a kind of ordinary motor...:2cents:

posted by  dodger65

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