Easy Alternator Relocation with F-body Accesories

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by 73RS/LT, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. 73RS/LT

    73RS/LT Veteran Member

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    I thought I'd copy this over from my regular progress thread since it addresses an LS Swap issue I've seen in the past. Hopefully it will help others out with the same issue.

    I borrowed the alternator off my LS1 TA for mock up purposes so I could check the pitman arm to alternator clearance. This is a known issue (for some) when using the F-body front drive accessories on a 2nd Gen Camaro LS Swap. Firebirds used a dropped pitman that I believe usually provides enough clearance, so it probably isn’t an issue for the 2nd Gen Pontiac LS Swaps. Here the alternator bolted in place with my longer TA belt showing the proposed belt routing. Note the orange-handled clamp on the belt taking up the extra length.
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    I really wanted to run the alternator in the factory F-body position for the clean appearance, but unfortunately for me, I have significant interference between my pitman and alternator.
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    I have seen some guys get around this issue by grinding the castle nut and ball stud, but I pre-ground mine in anticipation of this issue and still have contact. Others have shimmed their motor higher, but I really don’t want to go much higher for CG reasons and besides, this isn’t an area where “just barely clears” is good enough for me. Others have solved the problem by swapping to the dropped Firebird pitman arm. This is a good option if you’re running power steering, but this isn’t a good option for me. I’ve swapped to a manual steering box but I’m still using the “power” DS829 center link, so I’ve got a non-stock Borgeson pitman set up. If I were to swap to a Firebird manual dropped pitman, I’d also have to swap to a hard to find DS830 center link. So the final way to cure this is to relocate the alternator. I think I’ve come up with a pretty decent way to relocate the alternator to the driver’s side head with very little trouble.
    All I’ll need to do is slightly modify my F-body alternator bracket (minor grinding) and build a very simple flat bar bracket as an additional support. I also swapped the idler pulley on the bracket for an actual ribbed pulley to maintain better belt alignment. Here’s what the set up should look like. The only thing I have left to check is my inner fender clearance, but I think I’ll be fine there. There are some belt/mounting bolt interference issues right now, but those will be taken care of with a swap to the factory alternator pulley. The one pictured is a larger underdrive piece.
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    Everything lines up fine with no shimming because the head (new mounting location) and the block (original mounting location) are perfectly in line with one another. Obviously this wouldn’t be a good option for someone wanting to retain power steering, but should work great for me. Beats paying $168.00 for a Kwik Performance alt relocation bracket that does the same thing.
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    I finished up my alternator relocation project this afternoon and I think it turned out really well. Here are some pictures of it bolted in place with the really simple flat bar bracket I made. I had to clearance the back of the stock aluminum bracket so the new steel bracket could align behind it. It’s mounted solid as a rock now. Once I had it mounted I mocked up the driver’s side inner fender and it’s not even close to being an issue. I’m not sure why I was even concerned there. The driver’s side coil pack bracket was very, very close, but ended up not needing any clearancing to fit properly either.

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  2. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Looks like the Kwik bracket forces you to lose Power Steerings as well, so good deal. :bowtie:

    I paid Street and Performance $500 back in 2006 for a custom billet aluminum relocation mount on the pass side with a billet CS130.
    I wasn't happy about that myself either, but back then, choices were VERY limited AND I kept my Power Steering.

    I think most people upgrading their cars to an LS engine will want to keep power steering.
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  3. 73RS/LT

    73RS/LT Veteran Member

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    The one I'm referring to (and it's actually $167.00 not $168.00 like I mis-typed above) does not let you retain the power steering. They do however make one for $287.00 that will allow you to relocate the alt and keep power steering. I'm not knocking their product at all; just a better free option for me.

    You have a good point. I often forget that most people swapping LS motors into these cars are doing it for reasons other than my own. I've had an LS1 car since 99 that I currently drag race and want to put back to more of a cruiser/daily driver. I really appreciate all the technolgy designed into these motors that has nothing to do with the fuel injection aspect of it. Don't get me wrong though, if my 73 were going to be a daily driver it'd have power steering and be fuel injected with AC. But, I've already got all that with my TA.

    BTW....that's a real clean install you've got. Looks great!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  4. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Thanks, yours looks pretty damn clean as well. Whole car.

    I was editing my post once I found the Kwiks product you were referring to. :bowtie:
    I'm going to do another LSX swap into my '70 442 with my T56 I've had on standby for 6 months now.
    I just got done putting my Chevy 12 bolt in it with 3.73's and an Eaton Posi. Was a 2.78 peg leg.

    I think I'm going to pursue a L92 engine for that one....or LY6.
    I'm trying to move first though, so that project will be on hold til I officially lock in a buyer for our place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  5. 73RS/LT

    73RS/LT Veteran Member

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    Thank you!

    Sounds like another cool swap! My Camaro is currently a 2.73 peg leg, so that'll make for some fun until I can afford the 9-inch. My 99 TA has a T56 with 4.11s; I think you'll love your T56/3.73 combo.

    Both are really great engines with the rectangle port "L92" heads. LY6s can still be had pretty cheap if you don't mind the weight penalty of the iron block and the 12 less cubes. I'm sure you'll enjoy either one. Just having two LS swap cars will be really cool.
     
  6. 1970camaroRS

    1970camaroRS Veteran Member

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    Reminds me of what I did this last week. I made an adaptor for my old BBC alternator and bracket. I think it's going to work great.

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  7. JJFarmer

    JJFarmer Veteran Member

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    I guess I got lucky. I had a drop pitman arm off a Trans Am I parted out and I found the correct center link on eBay for $75. Trying to keep the creature comforts like AC and PS sure makes it expensive. Good looking setup on the 73 BTW
     
  8. 73RS/LT

    73RS/LT Veteran Member

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    Looks good Nathan. So that's the alternator from your BBC then? Good work. I'm glad to see I'm not the only guy deleting the power steering.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  9. 73RS/LT

    73RS/LT Veteran Member

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    Hey, lucky or not, you made it work! Making stuff work is what this hobby is all about. If this stuff just bolted together all the time with no thought, everyone (who wanted one) would have an LS motor in these cars.

    So you did have to swap the center link even with the Firebird power pitman arm? I guess maybe it's shorter? What centerlink did you have to run? I'm going home to PA next week and my buddy's dad has a few junk 2nd Gen Firebirds sitting around. Maybe I'll have to look at them and see if I can rob some parts just in case I ever want to change things up a little.

    Thank you very much!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  10. 1970camaroRS

    1970camaroRS Veteran Member

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    Yup, I just added the correct pulley, adapted the bracket and viola. My wiring setup will be 100% the same. And I've had my manual box from an s-10 sitting in my garage for years waiting for the swap. Someday soon I will run an electric water pump too so I'll have just the alt.

    BTW, with the s-10 box and pitman arm you don't need to change the center link. Trick I found out with my buddie's '78 drag car. Everything fits perfect without binding up.
     

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