Hey. You guys seem to know a whole lot more than I do about Trans Ams
(I only recently bought one a week ago) so I'll ask another question.
I have a carburated 305 in my 1987 Trans Am and I've seen estimates
for its output on various websites ranging from 145-165 HP and 220-245
ft-lb. Needless to say I'd like more, but I've been told that I'd be
better off swapping the engine entirely. It seems like the amount of
money it would take to swap in a more powerful engine would be better
spent on that swap rather than a bunch of mods to the 305.
So what do you think? Like, what would be the best value and easiest
engine to install on this car? I was thinking about getting a 350 from
a Firebird Formula but that sounds like it'd be hard to find. I'm
looking for an engine for my car that is both powerful and easily
By the way, if anyone wants to see my car here is a pic -
The looks make it seem like it'll blow most other cars off the road
but the output doesn't seem to match. I haven't driven it yet (need to
save some cash for a starter and new tires first) but I'd imagine it's
not terribly powerful. so if anyone out there has this car, be sure to
let me know what you think.
The 305 you have will be in the 145-165 hp range. The 220-245 has a TPI
The easiest thing to do is to find a donor car and pull everything from it
(engine, harness, computer, etc) and put everything into your T/A.
Start doing some research on www.thirdgen.org. You'll find TONS of
information that you can use there for your engine swap. My recommendation
is to just live with the carb engine unless you're ready to do a LOT of work
due to the swap. I thought I was ready to do an engine swap and I was way
over my head. After doing it wrong the first time, I'm sure that I could do
a swap now, but it cost me a lot of time and money to get it done wrong and
then to fix it.
The thing I'd recommend is to find a 350 TPI and drop that in.. You'll need
the harness and computer. I think in 87 the speedo was still cable driven
so you'll either have to stick with a cable driven speedo or get the
instrument cluster to match. There are a lot of considerations that need to
be made and it won't be a "drop it in and go" swap.
First question - where do you live? Do they do emissions testing? If
yes, then you have a lot more rules to follow. If not, then pretty much
any small block chevy will fit in there. (big blocks fit too, a little
snugly, but it can be done....)
Speed costs money - how fast do you want to go? Seriously - 14's are
cheaper than 13's and 13's are cheaper than 9's. How practical does the
car need to be? The wife won't allow a rollcage in the Ram Air (she's
paying for 1/2) so I can't go below 11.99 at the strip, but she did buy
me nitrous for our wedding anniversary so it's not all bad. (12.18 with
100 shot and 13.11 on the motor and I finally ordered SFCs and an SLP
loudmouth so I should be right around the 12 flat mark.) And I have a
beater truck to drive for when I break stuff... if it is your only car
you have to take that into account...
For the OP, nice looking body on the car.
Reminds me a bit of the '90 Formula I used to have.
By now it's been turned into parts or toasters tho....
Bait for spammers:
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Getting a bit old to consider any major lifestyle changes like that...
Bait for spammers:
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Okay, here's the situation. I live in NY and as far as inspections go,
I know someone that can hook me up if my car breaks only a few rules.
;) I've decided that I want a 350 TPI so my final few questions are
how hard are they to find in usable shape, how expensive are they and
how much of a pain would it be to swap it in? Thanks. :)
A good automotive electrical background:
And a good mechanical background for all the kittle trivial things that will
Make no mistake, many will, and when you think you have them all figured
out. LOOK OUT! Here come a few more!
Just to let you know, it can be done, but you will be reaching into your
repitoui of foul words and make up a few new ones when you hit a few road
blocks that you thought you had fixed.
When you finally have it done, you will smile for months, and you will
deserve it. Because just having the balls to attack it makes you better than
My nephew has a Camaro about the same vintage. He ran NOS on it for a summer
'till the stock 305 died in a smokey knocking mess. He built a 400 for it
and had a chip burned for the computer, installed larger injectors, and used
all the stock 305 componants, intake, exhaust and so on. The thing goes like
stink untill the engine reachs the limitations of the stock manifolds, about
5000 RPM. He has NOT hooked up the NOS on the 400.
I have a 305 in a '93 Chevy and am thinking of doing the same, or just stick
a 350 in it, or perhaps build a 383 stroker, and running the stock
It really depends on how deep your pockets are, how far you want to go with
it, and vehicle inspectios in your area. Many places will pass a vehicle as
long as it looks stock, others are tougher on mods.
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