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Restoring 80 *** need advice

  
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Restoring 80 *** need advice

 
rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/22/13
10:26 PM

I have a 1980 Trans Am, with a 301 4.9 and automatic transmission. This is my first restoration. The car was my dads who passed away when I was about 2, and the car was left to me. I plan to do a full resto (sadly I dont have the ability to do a body off resto like I wish i could). I want to swap out the 301 for something with more power, as well as change it to a manual trans. I have been looking into putting a 400 in it, but am having difficulty finding one. Are there any crate motors that I could put in it? What things should I look for to make sure it will be able to be dropped in with out a ton of headache? Also what transmissions should I look for? I do plan to keep and rebuild the 301 since it is the original engine, so I can put it back to numbers matching if I wanted. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!  

70bird 70bird
Guru | Posts: 1064 | Joined: 02/13
Posted: 04/23/13
12:59 AM

Hello

The only "crate" motors I know of are rebuilt originals sold outright. butlerperformance.com pontiacengines.com and a place in arizona, try the search engine for them.  

barneyformula barneyformula
Addict | Posts: 3306 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 04/23/13
04:01 AM

Rhino, I can vouch for Butler's, they are top notch people to deal with. That said, what you need to be aware of when looking for a swap candidate is that any 70 or newer 350/400/455 will have the extra mounting holes on the sides of the block to allow you to use the same frame mounts and block-side brackets as the 301. There are some differences in the alternator and a/c (if you have a/c) brackets between the low-deck 301 and the larger tall-deck engines so you will need brackets from the larger engines. Otherwise they are a bolt-in. The larger motors will also bolt to the TH350 trans currently in the car, but depending on the power level you may want to upgrade either that trans with a heavy duty rebuild or swap in a TH400 or an overdrive 200-4r if you stay with automatic. There are changes to be made either way.
You asked about a manual trans swap, the easiest way would be to watch the online classifieds for a complete donor Trans Am with a 400 and a T-10 (this would solve both problems of where to find a bigger engine and the trans). That way you will get all the linkage, bellhousing, flywheel, driveshaft (it's different from the TH350 shaft), console, shifter etc.
Now that I've give you all of that to think about, the question you have to ask yourself is "how do I really intend to drive this car?". Do you want a snappy cruiser that you can take on long roadtrips or a dragstrip terror? Stop light bandit that never sees the highway? Loud with a lumpy idle or smooth and sneaky power? Answer these questions and we can help you achieve the goals you set for your car and help make it a worthy tribute to your Dad.
Also, can you post some pics of the car? The easiest way is to load pics to a Photobucket account and cut/paste the image URL into your post on here. Do you know what gear ratio is in the rear axle? 2.41/2.56/2.73 were very common behind automatic 301's and a change to something steeper like a 3.42 or 3.55 will really make a huge difference too.
Steve  
A little help... 'cause we don't all have to learn the hard way!

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/26/13
07:56 AM

Thank you to all. What I want is a car that i can cruise around in but also be able to hold its own on the track. I know that I don't want to keep it auto. I dont know the gear ratio in the rear. I do want to up the power, and dont want to keep the 301 in the vehicle, even if a heavy rebuild and tuning is done.
Here is an album of images http://imgur.com/a/GbWLN
Thanks again to everyone!  

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/26/13
08:07 AM

Also, I have been looking for a Pontiac 400, but they are fairly difficult to find around me. I guess they are popular for a reason.  

mb68bird mb68bird
Enthusiast | Posts: 468 | Joined: 06/10
Posted: 04/26/13
10:06 AM

I have a 1977 400 that needs a home.  

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/26/13
12:16 PM

What city are you in?  

barneyformula barneyformula
Addict | Posts: 3306 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 04/26/13
03:34 PM

Good looking Trans Am! Texas car so I assume it's rust-free? Being a t-top you will definitely want to install subframe connectors, I would suggest solid aluminum or or polygraphite subframe mount bushings as well to stiffen the chassis if a 4-speed and more power are in the works. If you want something a bit more modern than the old Muncie or Borg Warner Super T-10, you could look into a Keisler 5 speed overdrive such as this one:
Regarding the 400, try some of these guys, they all offer complete crate engines at all performance levels:
Once figure out how you want to go, let us know and we can hammer out the details for you. BTW, you're welcome! We love this stuff and we love to help other Pontiac fans get what they want.
Steve  
A little help... 'cause we don't all have to learn the hard way!

barneyformula barneyformula
Addict | Posts: 3306 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 04/26/13
03:43 PM

For some reason it won't let me post the links to Butler's, Spott's and PontiacPower or Keisler. Must be a glitch today, it usually works. Keisler's has a complete kit with eerything you need to swap their trans into your car.  
A little help... 'cause we don't all have to learn the hard way!

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/27/13
10:56 AM

No, its not rust free, it doesnt have any real cancer as far as i can tell, but the engine compartment does have some rust, as well as the valve covers.  

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/27/13
11:07 AM

I recently got the 301 running for the first time in about three years, and i have done some work. Im about to get her tags brought up to date. Next step is to start tearing out the interior and get her prepped to be media blasted. Thats when Im going to pull the engine and tranny.  

69GTOby 69GTOby
Guru | Posts: 1113 | Joined: 02/09
Posted: 04/27/13
11:25 AM

Rhino, I understand you have your heart set on a bigger engine, but the 301 can be built to be a decent little engine.  Plus, since you're cruising with the car, the 301 will yield better fuel mileage, and it's much lighter, making the car lighter overall and have better weight distribution.  Any acquisition cost for a 400 could go into building the 301 and making it more powerful.

Check out the 301 garage forum.  Some guys have made very fast 301's.  It's cool to be different.  And there's a respectability to making a fast 301.  You could fly down the track and people will ask what you're running and you could respond "a 301" and watch their jaws drop, lol.

If you really want a bigger engine and are having trouble locating an affordable 400, I would suggest you don't rule out 350's or 389's.  The cost of a 350 will be a little cheaper and with the right set up, a 350 will RUN, trust me.  And again with a 350, people will be impressed when you tell them it's not a 400.  They might not believe you.  
****
1969 GTO resto in progress. '76 350+.060, #13 heads, 9.2:1 CR, Lunati cam, Edelbrock Performer, 750 Holley, HEI, Ram Air manifolds, 2 1/2" exhaust. TH400 trans w/shift kit and 2400 stall.  235/60/15 front, 275/60/15 rear on Rally II 15X7s.  GM 12 bolt posi with 3.73's.

70bird 70bird
Guru | Posts: 1064 | Joined: 02/13
Posted: 04/27/13
08:29 PM

Hello


I know a bit about the "budget" types of places if you decide to go that way. I have listed one below for you. The price may be for a short block only. Here’s what I suggest if you use a budget company. Ask the following  questions of all of them. I see the place in question already answers many of the questions I asked and the brand of parts they are using are good for a budget rebuild. The price certainly sounds too good to be true though.

Can you guarantee no knurled guides?

Can you guarantee a bore no larger than .040 over.

Can you guarantee a crank no more than .020 under?

Can you tell me what the head codes are on the motor I want?

Can you guarantee the heads to be milled less than .025” from stock?

Can you tell me the mfg of the pistons?

Can you guarantee me new rocker arms?

If they’re not new rockers are they used remachined?

What is the mfg name for the oil pump?

How much extra to upgrade camshaft?

How much for a valve spring upgrade?

Can I upgrade timing chain to a US made double roller?

Can you guarantee no sleeves in the cylinders?

Do you magnaflux heads, crank and block?

How much for the flywheel?

Can you balance with a flywheel?

How much extra to balance?

Do you have any standard free warranty?

How much is the 7 year warranty?  



Ask these guys about one, rebuilt 400 $1595.00.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PONTIAC-400-6-6L-Engine-70-71-Rebuilt-Block-V8-/250415231362?pt=Boat_Parts_Accessories_Gear&hash=item3a4de93182&vxp=mtr  

mb68bird mb68bird
Enthusiast | Posts: 468 | Joined: 06/10
Posted: 04/28/13
07:34 AM

All those questions don't matter most will just answer yes anyway.
Remember the old saying, you get what you pay for.  

rhino932 rhino932
New User | Posts: 14 | Joined: 04/13
Posted: 04/30/13
03:12 PM

I'm not worried about fuel efficiency in this vehicle, thats what I have a daily car for. From what I have read, most people say that it is hard to get much more out of a 301. If I could put some real power into the 301 it would be cool to keep it numbers matching, but I really want to be able to haul ass in it. I havent had problems finding an affordable 400, but finding it in general. Most of the ones I find are short blocks and i dont want to have to piece everything together rather than be able to upgrade the few things I want to.  

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