Home Auto Repair How to Install a Big-Block in a ’81 Chevrolet Camaro

How to Install a Big-Block in a ’81 Chevrolet Camaro


This project uses the 1972 big-block Chevrolet Camaro as a guideline. From 1970 to 1972, “SS 396” Camaros were available with the optional 396-cubic-inch big-block Chevy (BBC) engine (the actual displacement was 402ci after mid-1970). They share the same frame platform as later, second-generation Chevrolet Camaros made through 1981. Only the styling of the body panels and interior differ. Except for the “tall-deck” BBC truck engine block, converting your 1981 model to a big-block engine is a direct “bolt-in” swap for a BBC of any displacement (the truck block is taller and wider at the top of the engine, so hood and exhaust clearance may be restricted). The 1972 SS 396 Camaro used the same engine mounts as all later Camaros, regardless of engine displacement. Only the engine brackets on the block need to be changed.

Things You’ll Need

Big-block Chevy engine, Engine mount brackets, Accessory brackets, Engine hoist, Tools