61 Bel Air 2 Door - Chevy Impala Forums
Chevy Bel Air General and Technical discussion for the B-Body Chevy Bel Air (1958-1975).

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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61 Bel Air 2 Door

Earlier this year, I bought a 61 Bel Air 2 door with a 283 and Powerglide. As a house warming gift from my brother, I received a 2004 Vortec 5.3 out of an Avalanche. I have everything that goes with it (wiring harness, pcm, throttle). Also found a 4L60E for $80 that I have a buddy rebuilding for $100.

Some questions I have for the swap is who does an excellent job reworking the wiring harness? I have searched the Internet for someone who reworks them, but I come up empty handed. The only thing I can find is new harnesses. Also, what would be a good radiator to go with? Is there one from another car that would fit (fabrication is not an issue) that would cool the motor?

Here is a pic of the Bel Air.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 11:22 AM
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Damn - a V8 engine as a house-warming gift?! That's some awesome brother you have there, my friend!! :-)

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 02:16 PM
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Sweet ride! That 5.3 will look awesome in there. What's the paint code on the blue?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure what color it is. I know it's not a factory color. Going to change it to matte silver and white at some point. The original factory color was a sea foam green.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 01:56 PM
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Does your steering wheel seem close to your belly when the seat is adjusted back as far as it will go?

I have a 62 Bel Air 2-door sedan with a 4-speed and I can barely fit behind the steering wheel and it is difficult to operate the brake and clutch with my knees hitting the dash. . I am 6'-2" tall. I have considered making new seat track mounts and relocating the bench seal rearward three inches. Unfortunately the driveshaft hump behind the seat may prevent that.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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I have plenty of room between the steering wheel and myself. I do find being 6' 3" that my legs are a little cramped.

Isn't the driveshaft tunnel the same throughout? Or does it get wider and taller as you move towards the back of the car? From my understanding, it should be the same throughout.

On a side note, I have had the 5.3 in the car for about a year. And man does that thing scream!!! Now all she needs is a turbo set up!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 05:20 PM
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The drive shaft tunnel has a flat area for the seat to fit into. When the seat is adjusted all the way back, the flat area will not permit it to move back any further.

The 17" steering wheel rubs my stomach when the seat is adjusted fully to the rear. I have a 54" waist from too much pizza. If I could install a tilt steering wheel, it would solve that problem. The tilt steering wheel was introduced by Chevrolet in 1963. That was a rare option because it was new and car buyers were afraid of them. The 1963 tilt wheel and column is not a direct fit for earlier years. I found a 1963-1964 tilt column for floor shift on e-bay for $900. That is the only one I have ever seen.

The shift lever is in the correct location in the floor when the seat is adjusted fully to the rear. GM had to make the bench seat shift lever crooked as a snake to clear the bench seat in 2nd and 4th gear.

The solution to the problem would be to design seat track mounting plates that would permit the seat to be moved back an additional 3" but only if the driveshaft hump would permit it. Those seat track plates are available for small foreign cars, Chevy II and Ford Mustangs.

Last edited by 62BelAir; 05-06-2016 at 04:32 AM.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 06:10 AM
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I notice that a aftermarket 15" steering wheel made by OER is available from Summit for 1958-1964 Impalas, replacing the large factory steering wheels. It has the appearance of the factory Impala steering wheel and has the same design grip and two spoke horn ring.

I believe a 15" steering would solve my problem if there was one available for a 1962 Bel Air.

Last edited by 62BelAir; 05-12-2016 at 06:55 AM.
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