new to the group. hi everyone !!
short and sweet -- wife bought an 80 trans am. not in good shape at
all, but does have a rebuilt motor and runs great. the p.o. had the
engine rebuilt, opted not to spend the money on the turbo and now it is
just a 301 with a cam.
the car is quick, yet not fast. what i'm hoping to do is keep the
rebuilt engine, but change a few things like the heads, intake,
exhaust, etc. to achieve 250 to 300 horses.
not really looking to keep it stock, so a different motor is not out of
the question, but i do have a rebuilt to work off of.
what do you guys think ?? is my current engine workable, what would
you change, or should i follow the old rule of "no replacement like
displacement " ??
You didn't say what was put into the engine when they rebuilt it. It
will make a difference as to what kind of hp numbers you can get out
of it if they put back the low compression pistons that work with the
turbo. I don't know for sure that they used lower compression pistons
but that was usually the way it was done. I personally would try and
put the turbo system back together again. The 301ci wasn't exactly
known to be a great horse power builder even with a turbo on top of
it, but I'd do it just to have it the right way.
A good friend of mine in the 80's had a 80' or 81' Turbo Formula with
a slushbox. It was very respectable on the street. 1st gear would
shred the tires while 2nd. and 3rd. would always catch and make a
great chirping sound. It was loaded with most of the options
available at the time, including 4 wheel disc brakes. Nice. If I
could find one I'd buy it up in a heartbeat, even if I had to get rid
of my 88' Formula.
If you don't care about having the correct engine in the car then you
should look into either a larger Pontiac engine or go the corporate
route. Both will fit.
thanks for the reply ron.
not sure about the pistons. i know who rebuilt it, mebbe they have
some paper work still ( about 7 to 8 years ago ).
i'm just looking for some options, other than a turbo, that will work
with what i have on hand.
it seems to me that 301 ci should be able to give me 250 workable hp
without getting too extravagant. but i don't know of a workable combo.
are the heads such that this is the limiting factor ?? seems to me
that i read something similar to that effect.
mebbe a 350 ci (yeah- i know. so NOT stock) would be a better route
for MY purposes. while i do appreciate properly restored cars, i'm not
necessarily into factory restoration. this is my wife's weekend warrior
with t-tops car that she has always wanted. just want some more oomph
to live up to the trans am image :) heck, my full size van gives it a
run for it's money.
I remember reading a site that the company or guy did a buildup of a Chev
305 into a firebreather of an engine. I realize its two different type of
engines but I ll look it up and post it here. Just to give you an idea of
the work that went into it. 305s aren t known to be real screamers back then
either but it was certainly a respectable engine after the work
Hey, Bob, your quote "no replacement like
displacement " may be the simplest solution here. IIRC the 301 mounts will
accept the Pontiac 350, 400, and probably even the 455 (I've done all except
the 455, as I did a lot of diesel to gas conversions; plus Firebird
v-6-to-v8 conversions), they would be a bolt-in replacement. Plus, if you
go the 400 or 455 route, many came with 400 TH trans. All power accessories
would be simple to move over too. Luck to you, & enjoy your ride! s
I have a 350 in mine, and am thinking the easiest way to more power is to
buy a 455 and bolt it in.
I will use the 350 in a VW Kit (ferrari) that I am doing up this year
(again - posted on ramva - recently ! )
There is not a whole lot you can do with the Pontiac 265/301 cu. in.
engines. They are "short deck" blocks so they don't use traditional
Pontiac heads or intakes. The 301 uses siamese intake ports which were
good for weight reduction and economy but did nothing for performance.
Porting the 301 heads and intake, a better cam and bumping up the
compression about all you can do.
Due to the intake design they run out of breath around 4,000 RPM.
First I'd re-tune/fiddle with the advance curve on the HEI to let the cam
work better. You didn't mention if it was carbed or had the TB FI system,
both have things that can be tuned/tweaked. Exhaust, bigger cats or a good
cat back system. The numbers you want are easily attainable for a price tag
that won't set your wallet on fire.
I can't really think of any reason to keep the 301, any decent 350 would
be so much better, and would be much easier/cheaper to get decent parts
for. A T/A is, weight wise, a tank. The 49 cubes of a 350 would be a
huge help dragging it around. Just about any GM motor ever made will
fit, the hood scoop is the main problem with the swaps. I saw a totally
stock looking T/A bout 15 years ago with a Buick 455 in it. The hood
scoop was home cast and looked like GM had made it. That thing was great
on the street..as good or better than my car.
A friend had a 403 Olds in his 79, like I did, and when it blew up, he
put a 454 crate motor, and a turbo 400 in it. It was a pretty simple
swap. Ran about .3 second quicker than my intaked, cammed, head ported,
etc 403 T/A did, but my car was a much nicer street drive. That thing
had amazing off idle throttle response, his car had to be revved pretty
high to equal my car's 0-60 or so shots, and I got 3 MPG better than he
did. Side by side at the track, with both cars having 3.51 gears, we
both had problems launching, but if we both hooked up, my car would
barely beat his car to the 1/8 mile, but he would drive around me, and
really start to pull away as we came up to the finish line.
I was a dope to sell it, a Vegas car with no rust, all it needed was new
paint, carpet, and seat belts. It wouldn't have hurt to rehang the front
But I wanted an Iroc Camaro..so I was stupid
you guys have been a great help in verifying bits and pieces of info
i've been able to collect. mebbe start with a 350 and go from there.
any motor to trans mating problems, or should it be a direct bolt up
would the motor mounts be the same ( probably new ones would be in
order ) ??
I think the trans has to be changed, or an adaptor or something might be
needed, I don't really know. The motor mounts would have to be changed,
and at 25+ years old, it would be a good thing anyway.
The 301... well... sucks.
No torque down low, no power up high.
I don't even know if you can get headers for 'em.
My $.02 (and I have an 80 TA project car that had a 301) is either a 350
or 400 or 455 Pontiac V8, or make it a Camaro under the hood with a 350
Chevy. The 350 Chevy is easier and cheaper to find, but you need to do
more fiddling to get it in. Example -> the Pontiac and Chevy V8
bellhousing bolt pattern are different, so your TH350 won't bolt up to a
Chevy without an adapter. (Unless you've got a dual bolt pattern
transmission, they do exist, but you probably don't.)
Basically, the problem is the 301 was a "dead end" motor - not a lot of
power in stock form, and virtually zero aftermarket support, and not a
very strong foundation either - it was a "lightweight" version of the
regular Pontiac designed to shave some weight, but at the expense of
durability at higher than stock power levels.
heck, for $1600 you can get a 290HP 350 Chevy from Summit. Brand new.
I do have to add that if you go with any other engine, start hunting
ebay for the correct shaker, or be prepared to mod yours... each engine
used in a second gen TA uses it's own shaker... and they're sometimes
different year to year - the styling and the opening changed as well.
You could also consider a set of steep gears if you want to keep the
301... it'll get you moving off the line a lot better at the expense of
wrecking what fuel "economy" you're already getting.
I'm holding out for a 455 for mine, but at the rate it's going, there
won't be any gas left when I finally get it back together. My dirt
track Camaro sucks back all the time and money now...
i my self have another 1980 firebird im working on my own this time the
last one i did with a stock 301 i was able to get 425hp at the real
wheels all i did was new headers 3 inch flowmasters new fule and
oil pump msd box mallory distrubter tayler plug wires and a holly 650
dubble pumper. im planing to put a cam n lifters in mine but the hole
upgrade rebuilding it new seals paint n all came to $1600 canadian
425 from a 301 by changing the exhaust, pumps and the ignition?? I m
seriously doubting that, sorry. Without changing cams intakes and some other
items, you just wont get much HP increases with what you changed. Could be
wrong, but doubt it.
What is the Stock Rating for 79 to 81 F-car Pontiac 301's with either
N/A single 4BBL or Turbo Charged?
Although we know it's not a turbo car running "headers". He aint got
that kind of money in that engine.
I believe and dont totally quote me but the numbers kicked around for a
naturally aspirated 301 engine code YN or Xn was about 150 and for the turbo
code YL was 210. Different places give small differences in numbers. `So to
get an additional 325 hp on a stock engine, lol sure didnt come from a
distributor spark plugs and wires and so on.
Don't forget, each decal on the window is worth at least 75hp. Just ask
the Honda guys. ;)
The basic bolt ons may have gotten him from 210 up to 240, but by the time
you factor in the racing stripes, JEGS stickers, etc, you're up to at
lol, yep my point exactly. You know you get to a certain point and then you
fight for every inch of power you can find and then someone comes along and
gets an extra 275 hp for basically nothing. I must be doing something wrong
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