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A forum for the owners and enthusiasts of General Motors B-Bodies from 1977-1990, but dedicated to the owners of 1977-1979 Impalas and Caprices. Join up now!


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    Big Stick wagon 1978 Impala

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    underpowered
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    Post  underpowered Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:20 pm

    this is my 1978 Impala wagon, lovingly called the "Big Stick Wagon"

    Picked it up a year ago, today actually. Wanted to LS swap something. a Wagon fit the bill of what i wanted as a good driver and usable car. Had intended on building my engine first, then finding a car. Then this Gem popped up on Facebook for $750, and guy instantly offed it to me for $500. too good to pass up. So i went for it.

    But here she is. 1978 wagon, 6.0 with small custom cam, 862 heads, 4th gen F body headers and 8.1 injectors on an otherwise stock engine. All backed with a 4th gen F body T56, LS7 clutch, and an 8.5" 10b from a 96 roadmaster wagon stuffed with 4.10's. Not setting the world on fire, but a 13.7 @102 in the big girl is doing alright IMO.

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    Big Stick wagon 1978 Impala UTZ0eFTYVBM9by9CRT0ZyrYjLdAqPuSmEkQKqn39dFQ1NU9OXbB1pgUS0kG1ALSKxPgyz7SMCPs2b1a4mFz6GaHJIdtFcFK4-9Pt0-DsFTjogeEQpky90uZI8_K01Yo4W5WLdnicVKJWubFzQwF4huq1DFIDLmY494Hqf1WhEfkReeFTguIuCVz-RYfeU9ckymiOwROOBzrjKhewy_ob9h78N_zIPtHOExmRlI-RblKtePzuun5kn0KQ3lU2w5BrQLTkcbRDTqj4OvAqt2jcDr7yk6LJPC8RRf4oQX7c7hQ_LUIGp3NEZi4fIkXqiOXCk0yTWyih6pvDvB9Xi07WJKGlioWtRa7VIg-dhpSEJpJas-4hTzOvkMcD6-0s1ugRp4MVTn9V0z5udFhJ7vM_CUdWrKmLKpQxEuRNmOu7HiLT4qS3ZHc-NMy39yRKmw5ppcA9UuTtqsyhKObo7Djh-kHK5wZwkDSLhE-uNq9GAhXhomYnbY6U_2HLLF10BZbG3YFuPfg8OOQ7ILlEwMJTyjZi8LootbGSqExGrJ9jT6VMCsiDb7zG6dKvENNdTRJbZE4_TfH6FsJWrCAJ7CM_914oe-KshvgMlzvjd_iS2m4j58odujajtY5Kv896Rb4b6KVpKG7s3tNTHMSguQO8cRaE8scrOS5FlYyKoEtIh0Cn0wtD_6YG3gdLS4oUQenTd2dQuXTPtW1eoMb9e9DtfyFf=w1183-h666-no

    took a little custom floor work to make it all work how i wanted to and get rid of some rust
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    Big Stick wagon 1978 Impala MNrkj46Vxwi5DzNQOefsLTtcZ4VWnop-QQq2ID4Kwp0JUUJzQzWNzLAhegebsCh37jAsdrfE1TNYcHe2hnprNWXa-BmT31qfIyifeIiqpWI0f1EeND03YUMdDooKdZLH8aEzZLHMcDrbV-ji3TDo1wUElx--Yg02lRJKj7IXNJoPPsIEQg1m_FfQWaQA6kcq7brn3VfHbat0Dt9tBvDoF6ldJvgq8QhNHATUVjSjI4_uaCFO6z7I6JUbpoSUZG9I93nYYmFfzrIw9K6v6M6HwHz1UTVadX7Q-TCHNOXnOW3EI784LNNNPqLwXKfdzBmoFjWSA249L6FrVFzsxdYrbnv8m7KjYtS7V5o6iNxJS4VtgtJIs02B86GnRVFicvmETj-NtmT-V1T8bg9FvqMb_eRo3akia6l_HhKr24oTqhPlyHqH-Y1TvsdFkx7CBQloVLR0WJwcIlHcuIHFuS0DeZ1rkc8xOjj7LAjmFYmXwelF1Lk90WHM9Zx6Kup2ZqVnjr_D2n9WLNHvEI9o4_AborIMQUIMq0XwDBm0dM7OPHb_shEmpybzDsEzhTfOI51QGiB1Zrcm_QR5k0eB6wPsOc6dJSnYRLwV8kS1RdJgFHgn3dXukVqDYhytvrzHMN-0uVf8_warXA2Zg30MMuGbXoKMapQn5rDfAdtTVrTv9f8W_ML0KS5dK3sPgLuS2v9O_7Y9eZcHArSTedmr_HnAP4Mt=w1183-h666-no

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    slimwud
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    Post  slimwud Sun May 31, 2020 2:20 pm

    Cool car great sleeper. I have also wanted to shove a stick in my 78 coupe but seems like massive job.
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    Post  terry cronk Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:14 pm

    That's a sleeper alright. And a stick shift no less.

    Personally I would have gone with an 4L80E. With a 2500 stall and those gears.

    Its a matter of choice.

    Nice going
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    Post  underpowered Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:13 pm

    slimwud wrote:Cool car great sleeper. I have also wanted to shove a stick in my 78 coupe but seems like massive job.

    Thanks.

    Manual swap wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Not "bolt in", but i was prepared to do much more fabrication than what it actually required.

    terry cronk wrote:That's a sleeper alright.  And a stick shift no less.

    Personally I would have gone with an 4L80E.  With a 2500 stall and those gears.

    Its a matter of choice.

    Nice going

    Thanks. 4l80e was my first choice, and actually had one for the car. but the t56 came across as a too good to pass up price, and i had access to the rest of the car it came from to salvage the pedals and everything from. If i had stuck with an auto, i would would not have gone quite as deep with the gears, probably 3.73's instead to control OD cruising RPM, but the with .50:1 6th gear in the T56, 75 MPH cruising is only 1900 RPM.

    Since this was last updated, the car has gone to one leg of the power tour last year, been to LS fest and a overall put about 6k miles on the swap. been on the road for almost exactly 1 year.

    work never stops on it. This year I have rebuilt the T56 and installed a new clutch (Stock LS7 i had in it didn't last long, wasn't a fan of a local night in "mexico"), Upgraded most of the suspension with new springs and bushings. Have new swaybars to install as well, front and rear.

    I bought a parts car to do a full interior swap including the coveted 3rd row seat, as well as a few body panels that are in better shape than my current ones so that will be my winter project coming up. Until then, just serving DD duty and weekend cruising as often as possible.

    still looks the same from the outside for now. Had intended to make it a bit faster this fall with better heads/intake/cam combo as I want to get into the 12's with it, but since I bought the parts car it looks like it will get a new look before it goes any faster.
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    Post  Petegresser Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:57 am

    Nice job buddy.
    Just getting set to do much the same on my 78 delta coupe, 65000 miles on it.
    Putting in a 94 lt1 and t56 from a trans am.
    F2B clutch pedal kit, and I have the donor car so that helps.
    Guess I'm building a crossmember as I can't find one anywhere. Assuming you did the same?
    Looking for Impala SS springs and sway bars but no luck yet. But have not been working too hard at it.
    Bonus is the body is excellent and interior is mint except for a severely sagging headliner, which I cut out, have to get on line for new fabric.
    And going to have to do something with the bumpers. Darn, they stick out!
    Using Painless Performance wiring harness to avoid a scratch build. Done that once and it's a time consuming job.
    Also have stainless headers. Got them to fit the f body. Just figured they would work on the b body also.
    Horsepower is doubled, mileage should about double and about 25% of the emissions
    Also going to widen the stock ralley wheels by 2", but going to widen the back spacing and use billet adaptors to bring them out so I can use the trim rings and have them fit right.
    Any advice you have to offer would be warmly accepted. Not really into re inventing the wheel if it can be avoided.

    Pete
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    Post  Boogie1468 Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:43 am

    That is an awesome job! Please describe how you installed the clutch pedal and linkage and what you used as a donor. Thanks
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    Post  underpowered Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:08 am

    Petegresser wrote:Nice job buddy.
    Just getting set to do much the same on my 78 delta coupe, 65000 miles on it.
    Putting in a 94 lt1 and t56 from a trans am.
    F2B clutch pedal kit, and I have the donor car so that helps.
    Guess I'm building a crossmember as I can't find one anywhere. Assuming you did the same?
    Looking for Impala SS springs and sway bars but no luck yet. But have not been working too hard at it.
    Bonus is the body is excellent and interior is mint except for a severely sagging headliner, which I cut out, have to get on line for new fabric.
    And going to have to do something with the bumpers. Darn, they stick out!
    Using Painless Performance wiring harness to avoid a scratch build. Done that once and it's a time consuming job.
    Also have stainless headers. Got them to fit the f body. Just figured they would work on the b body also.
    Horsepower is doubled, mileage should about double and about 25% of the emissions
    Also going to widen the stock ralley wheels by 2", but going to widen the back spacing and use billet adaptors to bring them out so I can use the trim rings and have them fit right.
    Any advice you have to offer would be warmly accepted. Not really into re inventing the wheel if it can be avoided.

    Pete

    Yeah i built my own trans cross member.  the t56 mounts a bit farther back than the stock trans did and with the odd shape of the stock crossmember it was just easier to build from scratch.

    for the bumper, i did drill holes in the factory bumper shocks to try to get them to tuck, but they are pretty stuck where they are so i will eventually build some solid mounts for them to sit father back.
    I used a cut down stock harness.  i've used painless in the past and honestly was just as much of a pain as cutting the stock one up.

    my HP is well over doubled from stock,  and i get 17 MPG cruising around town, low 20's on highway trips.

    My advice is dont let it intimidate you.  The swaps was pretty easy IMO.

    Boogie1468 wrote:That is an awesome job!   Please describe how you installed the clutch pedal and linkage and what you used as a donor.  Thanks

    I used a stock 4th gen F-body pedal.   It has a welded on bracket to the side of the rest of the pedal assembly.  I cut it off of the F-body setup.  the through bolt is larger than the B-body stuff so i enlarged the hole in the stock B-body pedal mounts.  Bolted it on, used the stock F-body brake pedal and welded the bracket in position where i wanted it.
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    had to modify the pedal for floorboard clearance.    just simply cut the back of the pedal off, shaped it a bit and moved it to the front
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    Master cylinder went through the stock Cruise control hole.
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    Post  Boogie1468 Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:43 am

    Wow I have a ZF, thanks for the information. It looks to me like a pretty difficult job, but I am impressed you did it !

    I have a 1996 Corvette ZF six speed and hydraulic cluthc set up that I'd like to install in my 78 Coupe. But I am really leary about getting the clutch and brake pedal set up installed correctly and having the geometry working right. Your installation is a testament that it can be done properly.
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    Post  underpowered Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:27 am

    Boogie1468 wrote:Wow  I have a ZF, thanks for the information.  It looks to me like a pretty difficult job, but I am impressed you did it !

    I have a 1996 Corvette ZF six speed and hydraulic cluthc set up that I'd like to install in my 78 Coupe.   But I am really leary about getting the clutch and brake pedal set up installed correctly and having the geometry working right.  Your installation is a testament that it can be done properly.

    one step at a time and its not bad. Do what needs to be done, solve any issues as they come up. I don't try to make it all work from the get go and have the whole system setup before i start cutting. Don't overthink it. i gave the project about 10 minutes of thought before breaking the plasma cutter out and wrecking the whole floorpan and trans tunnel.

    It certainly is not for everyone but on a difficulty level i'd say it was a 7/10 for myself.


    This isn't half as ambitious as where the rest of the Camaro went though lol. it is a 9.8/10 on the difficulty scale

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