BB Olds vs BB Chevy

Old June 30th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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BB Olds vs BB Chevy

Ok don't flame me about this.

I'm 'considering' swapping out my Olds 455 for a Chevy 502. This Cutlass (see pics in signature) has been in the family since my parents purchased it off of the show room floor in August of 1967.

I'm not a purist at all and I'm considering this swap because of reliability of the engine/availability of parts for the Olds and just economic sense. The availability of parts was the main reason I swapped out my Olds rearend for a Chevy 12 bolt. I did that about 10 years ago and even back then there was almost no parts available for the Olds. I can still get anything for the Chevy 12 bolt.

This car will eventually belong to my son, so the availability of parts for an Olds in the future is a major factor in this decision. This is just a Cutlass an not a factory 442 with OAI. If that was the case, then there would not be any option on doing a swap with a BBC.

I've put together figures on how I want to build the replacement Olds 455. Aftermarket parts are just not as available as for the BBC and what is available is MUCH more expense. On top of that I would have to put the engine together. For what I would/will spend on the Olds I can get a NEW complete, fully assembled, including carb, intake manifold, distributor GM Performance ZZ502 - 502hp - 568 lbs/torque with warranty! For about two grand more I could even get the GM performance Ram Jet 502 with EFI and ECM. I've already installed an highly modified 700R that can handle the hp/torque of either engine. So the transmission is not a factor in considering this swap.

From what I researched, this swap should not be to bad. Motor mounts and exhaust should 'work' from the 67 Chevelle SS396. So, has anyone here done such a swap and what where your experiences with it?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 12:58 PM
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If you have already changed out the back half of the drive train you obviously have the skills to make the 502 fit. My buddy tells me the same things you gave as reasons for your swap all the time. You are both right on in those respects, no arguments. I just couldn't bring myself to do it if I was in your shoes. Good luck though.

I am making this post so hopefully other "purists" members won't be too hard on you.

but be ready.............
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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You can do as you please but in my opinion you will be creating a Turd. Olds guys will turn away when they see under the hood and Chevy guys will wonder why you bastardized an Oldsmobile. Mechanical parts are not in short supply for the Olds engines. If you want cheap get a VW, Hundai or Kia. A Chevy should remain just that, a Ford a Ford and an Olds a Olds. Just my opinion.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:14 PM
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I dont know what your plans was for that 455 but a turn-key 502BB is in the 9k+range if im right?I just ordered a nice turn-key 455(incl.headers) that was build right,from a member here with slightly less horses (465hp with an untuned carb,524lbs tq)for much less than a 502 would cost incl.shipping to Sweden.Not judging u just something to think about

Last edited by panos; June 30th, 2010 at 01:21 PM.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:26 PM
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As long as it is just a everyday cutlass I have no problems with it. However it is not for me. Are you racing? If it is just a "crusier" why do you need that much engine. You will just cruise to gas station to gas station. My conv. has 350 it is fine for cruising. Of course I know me if I put something larger in it I will do something stupid and at least end up with a very large ticket.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldsmaniac View Post
If you want cheap get a VW, Hundai or Kia. A Chevy should remain just that, a Ford a Ford and an Olds a Olds. Just my opinion.
Too me $10,000 to $12,000 for either engine is not cheap! At least with my income anyway.

My son loves this car, that's why I'm looking at the long term here. This car could possibility remain in the family for another 40+ years. What are the possibilities of getting simple things like water pumps, exhaust manifolds etc for an Olds that's 83 years old, 40 years from now? Really slim I suspect. The BBC parts supply will far outlast what would be available for the Olds. That's true even as I write this. Just how many NEW crate GM Olds 455 engines do you see for sale today?

Most everyone here has to deal with trying to find used junk yard stuff to make things work. And there is nothing wrong with that, that's just the facts of life when dealing with older cars that aren't that popular. I kinda envy the Chevy guy. If he needs a part for his 67 Chevelle, he pops on to the internet, finds it and has it delivered to his house in a day or two. Hell you can even order up an NEW complete Camaro body today. Try doing that with a Cutlass. We have to scrounge for every part we need. And frankly I'm getting tired of that. When I need an engine part, I want to have multiple choices and not have to deal with running to the local junk yard in hopes of finding something that might be rebuildable.

Who's to say it's bastardized anyway. It's still all GM isn't? it's not like I'm running Ford parts in it. Besides myself, how many of you are running a Chevy 12-bolt rearend? I suspect there are some. Would you say they bastardized their Olds because of that? IMHO the Chevy 12-bolt isn't any better than the Olds (maybe even weaker in stock form), but at least you can get NEW parts for it. I would hate to break an axle when doing something like the Power Tour. Try to find an Olds axle in nowhere Arizona in a day. It's not all about being a purist, it's about maintainability and availability of parts. It a part isn't available, what are you going to do? Junk your car? I don't think so, you'll modify it so you can keep enjoying it. But if you would rather not drive your car because (heaven forbid) you would have to put something other than an Olds part it, well that's your choice. For me anyway, most any technical upgrade is acceptable when working on antique vehicles. Do you consider someone has bastardized their car if they have upgraded from drum brakes to disks, like I did? So when your engine is broke and you are out hunting down that elusive part to get it running again, just remember I can get those damn Chevy parts I need just about anywhere and not leave home to do it.

Economically my mistake was keeping this car. I should have kept my 1970 Mustang Mach1 428 Cobra Jet. But it not all about money, it's how I want to preserve this car for my son in the future.

BTW - I've already got a Hyundai - great little car! I also had a 68 VW back in high school (1970) that ran 12's in the 1/4 mile. Sure wish my Cutlass could do that today!

Last edited by turnpike_cruiser; June 30th, 2010 at 03:13 PM.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lshlsh2 View Post
If it is just a "crusier" why do you need that much engine...
Larry - you're starting to sound like my wife. HP DOES MATTER!

As for the gas station thing. My Cutlass only get 10/12 mpg now and I suspect the 502 will get about the same.

Originally Posted by lshlsh2 View Post
Of course I know me if I put something larger in it I will do something stupid and at least end up with a very large ticket.
Been there, done that and probability do it again.

Trust me - look who's behind you before you run it up to 110 mph from a stop light. When the officer finally caught up with me, he wasn't a happy camper. But he did let me go. Go figure...

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Old June 30th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by panos View Post
I dont know what your plans was for that 455 but a turn-key 502BB is in the 9k+range if im right?I just ordered a nice turn-key 455(incl.headers) that was build right,from a member here with slightly less horses (465hp with an untuned carb,524lbs tq)for much less than a 502 would cost incl.shipping to Sweden.Not judging u just something to think about
You are absolutely right about the 9K range. IF I build this engine I want to to it to the best of my abilities, using the best parts to make the most HP as possible. When getting prices for the Olds I was using Summit Racing.

Unfortunately I no longer have any contacts with anyone that might be able to get better prices. My estimate for a 'nicely' build 461 came in at just under 7K. I've built many engines, but it's been years since doing one. I would hate to make a $7K mistake.

At least the $9k for the 502 it's factory build (no way could I ever hope to duplicate that) and comes with a three year/100k mile warranty!

Besides that, the reasons in my above post are more important to me.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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the term everyday cutlass makes me want to scream how many do you see everyday? so what if it doesnt have the vin or the emblems of a 442 they all look good and if your asking about the swap on this site you must have some reservations deep down inside. its your car do what you want just make sure the olds motor gets a good home!
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dgreen View Post
the term everyday cutlass makes me want to scream how many do you see everyday? so what if it doesnt have the vin or the emblems of a 442 they all look good and if your asking about the swap on this site you must have some reservations deep down inside. its your car do what you want just make sure the olds motor gets a good home!
Your are right, I do have reservations. But it makes sense to me to make this change to keep the car going, just because you don't see them everyday.

So if it's not an completely 'Olds' don't drive it? What about preserving these cars so other people can see what it was like to drive something that wasn't built out of plastic?

The average person could care less what engine you have in your car. I don't know how many times I told someone it's got a 455 and their response is 'Those Big Block Chevys sure make power!'. Most people are clueless, they think a 455 Olds or a 454 Chevy are the same thing. After all they are the same size aren't they?

So really what everyone is saying:
The engine is the most important part of a car and if you aren't running the original engine than your car is squat! Hum I can't tell what engine a car has just by looking at it. Doesn't style and shape of a vehicle matter, I sure hope so. After all I'm not talking about changing the body out for a Chevelle body.

Last edited by turnpike_cruiser; June 30th, 2010 at 03:39 PM. Reason: typos
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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"The average person could care less what engine you have in your car. I don't know how many times I told someone it got a 455 and their response is 'Those Big Block Chevys sure make power!'. Most people are clueless, they think a 455 Olds or a 454 Chevy are the same thing. After all they are the same size aren't they."

Why would you build a car to meet the average person's expectations? You can't fix stupid.

As for power, four years ago Sam Murray held the NHRA D/S record with his 67 442 at 10.91 sec, 119.74 miles per hour. That's not bad power for an all iron 400, iron unported C heads, flat iron intake, quadrajet.

Get a couple spare engines from the junkyards and call it good. There may not be any gasoline in 40 years anyway; are you going to put in underground tanks and store it?

Sure an _aftermarket_ engine based on the BBC makes a lot of power. The old 396 etc. were not so refined. It is still fun going fast in my Olds, more so for me than going a little faster in a bastardized chevolds. A couple months ago it was sweet driving away from a SBC/Vega at the strip. I know the guy and he has been squirming ever since about maybe needing more engine.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Run to Rund
Why would you build a car to meet the average person's expectations? You can't fix stupid.
You are right - you can't fix stupid. I'm not building the car to met anyone's expectations - except mine. Neither am I out to impress anyone, far from that, that's just not me.

I haven't made up my mind just yet, but no one here has convinced me not to do it.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 04:00 PM
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A couple things to remember. First if all even the EFI 502 ain't the best on fuel. It's a very simple batch fire ECM with not too many features.
Also by the time you rebuild a 455 Olds there won't be too many "Olds" parts in it. It'll contain aftermarket pistons, you can grind the crank to fit BBC rods. It will have an aftermarket cam, lifters that also fit a Pontiac and Rockers that will fit a Ford or AMC as well. Igntion and fuel systems are pretty much the same as the rest of anything else out there. Heads could be Edelbrocks.

I EFI'd my 350 cuz I thought it would be neat to "modernize" my motor. I still feel the same way. Jmo.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 04:12 PM
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I think if you had the 502 and the skill to swap it then I would say go for it. Then get the best parts you could for the olds and your set for a latter day. If it has lasted this long why would a well built 455 not go another 40 for you? I chased a 69 h/o for years the guy would not sell it he got it running and on one of the first trips out was wacked at
a stop light ?? You can get a block from all pontiac performance that will run olds heads and intake and be new and well built I m not sure but I heard that roush was in on the r&d good luck and keep up posted
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Old June 30th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cutlassefi View Post
Also by the time you rebuild a 455 Olds there won't be too many "Olds" parts in it. It'll contain aftermarket pistons, you can grind the crank to fit BBC rods. It will have an aftermarket cam, lifters that also fit a Pontiac and Rockers that will fit a Ford or AMC as well. Igntion and fuel systems are pretty much the same as the rest of anything else out there. Heads could be Edelbrocks.
Mark you really hit that nail on the head. In my research about the only Olds parts used on the 455 would be the block and the timing cover plate, everything else would be aftermarket. I'm even looking at getting rid of all the cast iron brackets for all the engine accessories.

So really in purest thinking - I've already bastardized the Olds 455 and shouldn't even consider rebuilding the Olds 455. Hum - now that's a twist...
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Old June 30th, 2010, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by firefrost gold View Post
I chased a 69 h/o for years the guy would not sell it he got it running and on one of the first trips out was wacked at
a stop light ??
That's a fear I have every time I drive it. At this point any major accident would total the car. There just aren't any body parts for this car to be had.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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by the way it looks like it is sharp under the hood as is . Is this a currant photo?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Sounds to me you are not a true Olds guy and should sell it and buy one of those Camaro kit cars........As you can tell Iam die hard Olds 100%........The day theres a non Olds engine under my hood is the day my widow sells my car to a new owner.........My .02...................Jerr
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by firefrost gold View Post
by the way it looks like it is sharp under the hood as is . Is this a currant photo?
Those photos where taken in Oct of 2009. The photos make the engine look better than it is. It not bad under the hood, but it's still 43 years old. The paint on the engine is getting really thin and the black paint in the engine compartment needs to be redone too.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGJERR View Post
Sounds to me you are not a true Olds guy and should sell it and buy one of those Camaro kit cars........As you can tell Iam die hard Olds 100%........The day theres a non Olds engine under my hood is the day my widow sells my car to a new owner.........My .02...................Jerr
I don't really know how you can say that. I've owned this car for 43 years! If that's not a true Olds guy, then I don't know what is. I've had a 428 Mach1 Cobra Jet Mustang, a Corvette, a 12 second VW and currently drive a Pontiac G8/GT, but this Cutlass has always been a favorite of mine. I'll go to my grave owning this car.

Can you say that about your Olds?

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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:32 PM
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You could do a pretty sweet EFI'd 455 for 10K. That would turn some heads, mine does!
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:32 PM
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I understand your concerns about availability & price. Going the Chevy route would definately be easier. I am posting a link to a thread about a basic stroker Olds combination for close to $5000 for the short block. Assembled by one of the best Olds specialists in the country-

http://btrperformance.com/phpbb/view...it=stroker+kit

Of course you would have add ons, but 40 years from now there will probably only be 10% of the classic Olds still on the road that we have today. If half of those had Chevy engines, I'd rather be in the half with true Oldsmobile power. If your worried about a block down the road, pick up a couple core backups NOW!
I'm not trying to bust your ***** but please don't go with a Chevy just because it's easier or cheaper. If your main reason is realiability well I guess that's a good one. If you want to spend more money and increase the reliability go with EFI. On a side note I'm surprised more purists, on an Olds board, haven't come down on you for considering this swap. That three year 100000 mile warranty might be a pretty big factor.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 07:25 PM
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Youre going to be in for a nice surprise when you try to bolt your "all set" trans to that 502.

You are using Summit as your example of availability of parts. Olds, Buick and Pontiac guys go to specialists for their parts. Parts are out there, engines are out there, and builders are out there. You just arent looking in the right place.


How did we, the Oldsmobile lovers on this forum, build race cars and show cars if theres "just no parts to be had".
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Old June 30th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TK-65 View Post
Youre going to be in for a nice surprise when you try to bolt your "all set" trans to that 502.
Don't be so sure about that. It's guaranteed to handle 650hp/800torque. It will handle the 502 without problems.

I never said that there aren't parts to be found. I said there is just not much out there compared to parts for a Chevy and that those parts are much more expensive then comparable Chevy parts.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 07:56 PM
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Then go buy the 502. You are set on doing it, and just posted this to argue your point. Who cares what we think, its your car do what ever you like. Just be prepared to get people that walk up to the only Olds at the show, wanting to see something different, and get pissed when they see a BBC under the hood.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TK-65 View Post
Then go buy the 502. You are set on doing it, and just posted this to argue your point. Who cares what we think, its your car do what ever you like. Just be prepared to get people that walk up to the only Olds at the show, wanting to see something different, and get pissed when they see a BBC under the hood.
I haven't decided what I'm doing just yet.

Shows? What shows? This Cutlass is FAR from a 'show' car. I think in the past 43 years I've taken it to maybe two cruise nights. I'm not doing this for 'show', It's just another Cutlass...

Why would someone be 'pissed' at my car? It's like I said early, the non purest folks could care less what's under the hood. Most of the time they can't even figure out what year it is, yet that it might have a Chevy engine. So many times someone has talked to me about it and told me they had one just like it, but theirs came with the 442 cubic inch engine. And you think I out to impress these folks, yea right.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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If you are dead set on making a swap look at the LS motors. At least its a forward movement. 502 it sideways at best if not a step back. 500hp/500ft lbs is super easy and will lighter and get twice the gas mileage.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 10:30 PM
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Then go buy the 502. You are set on doing it, and just posted this to argue your point. Who cares what we think, its your car do what ever you like. Just be prepared to get people that walk up to the only Olds at the show, wanting to see something different, and get pissed when they see a BBC under the hood.
awe man! i hate that too!
you walk around seeing nothing but 67-69 camaros and a million 70 red chevelles with dual white stripes. then from the corner of your eye you see an olds!! you race over only to be dissapointed by the engine bay.

dont get me wrong i like chevy, they build a nice affordible engine. but id rather put a 307 that burns oil, and is a leaker before i put a chev into it.

if you wanna go chev why the 502?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Gearheads78 hit the nail on the head! If you're looking to make an engine swap, you should be looking at the LS motors. They are the present and future of Hot Rodding, gobs of power, a stout bottom end and more new parts for them everyday it seems. My son's Trans Am with a pro-charger makes 507 rwhp and yet is tame enough to drive everyday. I don't like the idea of non Olds motors in Oldsmobiles, but if I was going to do it I wouldn't waste my time with an "old" big block chevy!
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Old June 30th, 2010, 11:00 PM
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Get a couple spare engines from the junkyards and call it good. There may not be any gasoline in 40 years anyway; are you going to put in underground tanks and store it?
run to rund thats a very good point. look at how many years it took to completely remove distributors out of engines. 10 years from now ill be telling my kids about how i remember when cars had spark plug wires
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Old July 1st, 2010, 08:22 AM
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you've already stated that you don't care what anybody else thinks about your car, and you obviously want the 502, so I suppose this one isn't up for debate...

I hate crossbreeding in any direction. If I wanted to put a 502 in something, I'd buy a Chevelle or Camaro. I've never had a problem finding any parts for the Olds... I've had friends have to wait on parts for their 1st gen Camaros, too. Just my opinion.

Originally Posted by gearheads78 View Post
If you are dead set on making a swap look at the LS motors. At least its a forward movement. 502 it sideways at best if not a step back. 500hp/500ft lbs is super easy and will lighter and get twice the gas mileage.
and this is the best advice in this thread. 502 is so 15 years ago... you want technology, availability of parts, and power... LS series is the way to go.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 09:49 AM
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My son loves this car, that's why I'm looking at the long term here. This car could possibility remain in the family for another 40+ years.
You've said it yourself.
How many times hasn't someone said that they should have kept their car original? I can see someone buying a wreck and building something custom but usually the highest price goes to the stock looking or original car. You have an original "still in the family" car.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 10:56 AM
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If Olds engines had questionable relability I'd see the logic. If it were an
Alpha Romeo or Packard I'd be concerned about future parts.
Olds is was and will be huge compared to lots of other makes.
Heck you can get all sorts of things for AMC. Sure not everywhere and will require more effort.
If sourcing parts in 10-20 years is a big factor. I'd say stay Olds.
Is a few years of warranty that worthwhile on a car that hopefully stays in the family?

My .02 cents.
Good luck whatever you decide
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:20 AM
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:23 AM
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The warrenty is nice for 3 years.(I can't see anyone putting more than 100,000 miles on a 502 in 3 years the gas would be a killer). Imo orginality will be better in the long run. At the last car show there was a chevelle, not like all the others. A grandson had gotten his grandmothers car. Orginial 4-door 307 2bl. He was keeping it the same. Lots of comments and praise.

Larry
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by firefrost gold View Post
You can get a block from all pontiac performance that will run olds heads and intake and be new and well built
? Olds heads on a Pontiac block (aftermarket) ? Never heard of that, not saying its not so. I checked that web site and saw no mention of that.
Or do they have Olds block too ?

Very curious !
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:51 AM
  #38  
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IMHO I wouldn't concern myslef with the distant future. But then again, I don't even buy green bananas.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:51 AM
  #39  
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I'm the first guy to stand up and say ok for putting a BBC in an Oldsmobile- but you need to do it for the right reasons.

I -WAS- going to put one in mine, but it was because I scored a running low mile BBC for free. With a Cam & lifter change i would have been been about 450hp for $300- add to that already having headers, accessories, etc etc- and being surrounded by friends who have everything BBC available to help out made it an easy choice for me.

Unfortunatly for me, some financial stuff popped up and i was forced to sell that motor to pay bills... Now standing in the position again of having to PAY for a full setup- I will definitely look at BBO options again when the money is there to play again.

For you though, I think you are looking at the picture wrong.
You are expecting that crate 502 to be the end all be all motor. its not, its just another motor. Yeah, it has big cubes, and a roller cam, but it has its own faults as well.

I had a GMPP 454HO/425hp crate motor in my last elcamino, it was an oil burner out of the crate, GMs warrantee on these motors is BS- basically useless- there are many many refrences to this on the net. it ran good and reliable- but the oil burning thing annoyed the **** out of me, then when i decided to upgrade it i discovered you needed to spend big $$ to convert the heads over to adjustable valvetrain, then more $$ to upgrade those fancy roller lifters, the heads on GEN VI blocks are not compatible with the redily available GEN IV blocks... the list went on. I regretted not buying a 454 block and building teh engine -I- wanted instead of buying the crate that eventually was not what i wanted.

And at $6k+ for the 502 motor(not sure the current cost), you easily could buy a turnkey rebuilt "crate" 455 from an olds specialist and not have to mess around with buying brackets, accessories, headers, transmission adapter, motor mounts, etc etc.

if i were in your shoes, i wouldn't even bother looking at anything other than rebuilding my 455 or buying a crate 455 from an olds specialist.

just an opinion from a normally BBC proponent.

Last edited by RAMBOW; July 1st, 2010 at 11:55 AM.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 01:07 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by turnpike_cruiser View Post
Ok don't flame me about this.
What's your point of this post? You don't need - and AREN'T likely to get - our approval. Contrary to your protests, you really do sound like you've already made up your mind. You KNOW you're going to get flamed. So what's your point?
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