Dropping a new, more potent mill into your ride is the essence of hot rodding. But even such a simple task can cause an Excedrin headache on a grand scale if you're not properly prepared for the task. Forgetting to check what you might think to be inconsequential things can stop you dead in your tracks.

To remind us of these lessons, we took a trip down to John's Customz in Torrance, California, to detail the installation of a small-block Chevy into one of the most popular body types out there: the '64-72 GM A-body. Specifically, we helped our publisher, Ed Zinke, drop a stroker 383 into his '64 Chevelle. Ed's been working on his car for some time, and installing this engine is a big step toward getting his cruiser on the highway.

Tools Of The TradeDoing your average engine swap doesn't require many specialty tools. Most are just the type found in your typical tool box. However, not having the right tool can stop you dead in your tracks. Here's a list of what you would most likely need. While it's not on the list, it's a good idea to have some metric sizes as well since some aftermarket companies use metric sizes on their parts. Every install is different to some degree, so go over all the fasteners that you have and make sure you have a tool to fit it. This list below should help you get your engine installed and ready to rock.

Open and closed-end wrench set from 3/8-inch to 3/4-inch3/8-inch socket set in both short and deep sizes3/8-inch ratchet and assortment of extensions3/8-inch torque wrenchFlat-head and Phillips screwdrivers in various sizesPry bar or large flat-head screwdriver that can substituteCrescent wrench1/2-inch ratchet or breaker bar and socket to fit crank bolt (for turning the engine)Small dead-blow hammerElectrical crimping tool with assortment of connectorsWire cuttersNeedle-nose pliersOil-priming shaftDrill motorStraight edge and ruler (for lining up clutch or converter)Set of Allen wrenchesEngine hoist

Fluids you will need:Engine oilPower steering fluidTransmission fluidBrake fluidCoolant

It's also a good idea to have the following:Teflon thread sealerRTV siliconeAnti-seizeThread-locking compound

Concept One Pulley Systems
6320 Highway 400 N
GA  30040
Performance Stainless Steel
P.O. Box 67266, Dept. SC
Scotts Valley
CA  95067
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust
22961 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita
CA  92688
TCI Automotive
151 Industrial Dr.
MS  38603
Meziere Industries