Engine and transmission install – Project Rascal Build Thread #4

I won’t say it was easy to get the engine with the headers to fit, but we made it happen. (Heres the previous posts: post #3, post #2, post #1)

If you recall, we had to start trimming the frame to get the engine to sit down low enough. Even though the headers are low profile ceramic coated long tubes, they are still wider than the manifolds for the L96. The headers I picked up from Tick Performance. They are the Dynatech Lsx 67-69 Camaro 68-72 Nova # 715-11410, and I really wanted them to fit. Here’s what the frame looked like with all the new IFS front end suspension mocked up.


So, we started trimming on the stock frame. Then we would mock the engine up to see what type of spacing we had between the frame rails, and back by the firewall.




Another issue we ran into was figuring out how to route the steering linkage to the power rack and pinion from the new Ididit column. As you could see – this solution here wasn’t going to work:


After figuring out some custom linkage options, we were able to route the linkage just outside of the headers and it barely would clear the frame where we needed it. Success. So, we started boxing in the frame where we had made the cuts to strengthen the stock frame.



We had to cut a pretty good size chunk of metal out of the firewall to get the engine to fit.



Because of the hole, we patched up the firewall/cab with fresh metal.


After final fitment of the engine, headers, and steering linkage, we took everything back apart to take to the powder coaters to apply a nice gloss black finish to the front suspension parts. We finished out the detailing with some rattle can black paint on all the exposed metal on the frame and firewall.

L96 6.0L'53 Chevy engine bay



Then, we put the front fenders back on to make sure everything fit with the radiator, steering linkage, etc. We had to make a cut in the inner fender on the driver side, but that will be fixed in the future with some custom metal when we detail out the engine bay.



As you can see, there wasn’t much room with the steering linkage, but it works perfectly with no issues!


Now that she’s buttoned back up, I really had the first good look at the new stance. I think it’s perfect. It’s about a 4″ drop all the way around which isn’t too extreme, but looks slightly more aggressive than stock. Plus, those 15″ GM steel wheels with the Coker Classics 2 3/4 Inch Whitewall – 225/75R15 all the way around are just the look I was going for. Here are some shots before I put the hubcaps on:

1953 Chevy 3100 L96 LS

Project Rascal 1953 Chevy 3100 L96 LS

'53 Chevy Truck wide white walls

Then I put the hubcaps and ribbed trim rings on. (We had to weld the hubcap clips to the wheels in order to get the old style hubcaps to “clip”.


'53 Chevy 3100 LS Swap

53 Chevy Truck LS

I’m really happy with the progress so far! Here’s a shot video we shot this morning of the truck:

Check out what we did with the exhaust setup on the next build thread post, post #5!


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  • Stephen Wilson 11 months ago

    How did you find the truck? From steve uk

    • Evan Stephen Wilson 11 months ago

      Local Craigslist.

  • jonas3100 3 years ago


    Hey there,

    What radiator is used here?

    We are doing pretty much the same swap, just a few parts left to order!


  • bartman51 4 years ago

    Awesome build. Thanks for sharing. Can you tell me if the wheels are 5 X 4 3/4 and are the factory backspacing?? Also I may have missed it but what rear diff did your use and whats the over all width mounting surface to mounting surface. Thanks again

    • evan bartman51 4 years ago

      Thanks @Bartman51 – I really appreciate it! Yes, the wheels are 5 x 4.75, and are the factory backspacing, so disc brakes work perfect on them. The rear end is from a 2001 Blazer which had the factory discs and 3.42 gears. The overall width is 54.5″, which is slightly narrower than what I wanted so I put on some 2″ spacers like this to get the fitment to look correct.