Author Topic: 301 upgrade?  (Read 38910 times)

crashdawg

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301 upgrade?
« on: November 24, 2013, 02:56:47 AM »
hey guys. i hope i didnt over look this posted somewhere else. But i was wondering if there is a post on getting a little more power out of the very week 1980 301?
i have a 301 in my trans am,and it still runs really good.I have read that there isnt much we can do to get more zip out of this motor, but at the time i dont have funds for a complete motor upgrade like to a 400. My car is all numbers matching and should probably stay that way anyway. so does anyone have any ideas to get more bang out of my motor? hanks in advance for your help. :smile:


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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 02:43:26 PM »
hey guys. i hope i didnt over look this posted somewhere else. But i was wondering if there is a post on getting a little more power out of the very week 1980 301?
i have a 301 in my trans am,and it still runs really good.I have read that there isnt much we can do to get more zip out of this motor, but at the time i dont have funds for a complete motor upgrade like to a 400. My car is all numbers matching and should probably stay that way anyway. so does anyone have any ideas to get more bang out of my motor? hanks in advance for your help. :smile:
yes there is a good way. To get more power, yank it and put a different motor in.  I researched trying to use my 301 and it's a lost cause. There are virtually zero parts available and the weak design has a short life.  Mine is on a storage rack and I drop a 455 into it. 
Dave

81 Trans Am

Chuckles

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 03:02:15 PM »
Well, what is it you're looking for? Just a little more oomph? You can perform all the normal tricks on the 301 just like any other engine and still maintain good reliability and drivability. The 301 makes for a good fuel efficient cruiser. You can bump the compression up a little and change the cam and maybe do a light clean up on the ports and easily obtain 200+ HP and decent torque. The last years of the 400 only made 220 HP and barely over 320 lbs/ft of torque. So, it's not that far behind it. All depends on your budget and goals.

81 Formula

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 09:17:44 AM »
I went through the same thing you are.   I bought my car in 85 with 23k on it and drove it through highschool and college, put 118k on it and parked it in 92.   There it sat covered in a garage for 19 years.

Pulled it out and started rebuilding,  engine was running but was pretty much shot.   Searched and found as all 301 owners do in that stage that pretty much nothing is made aftermarket performance wise for the engine.   If you are tight on money and your 301 is running well.....don't bother reading this post any further!  :)   

Now comes the choice,  rebuild it as original or make it what you want. Since mine was a run of the mill 81 formula non turbo,  basically zero collector value in original form (so far)  I initially decided to keep the 301 and just change to 4 speed.  took about 3 months to find a 301 flywheel to start with.     Upon researching rebuild options I found that probably the best I could do was 200 to 220 hp without having to go the custom made parts route etc.   The 301 CAN be built to be pretty nasty (check 301garage.com) but to do it will cost a good bit.   

I then set about pricing what finding a 400 block and building it would cost me.  The differences were significant.  The 400 is well supported by aftermarket parts, while more expensive than dropping a chevy in it due to being out of production so long,  you can build a race quality 400 pretty easy.   Since I don't race I just wanted a good strong street motor. 

For basically the same money it would have cost me to bring the 301 back to stock (150 horse) I could buy a 1973 400 engine and bring it back to stock (230 hp 375 ft pounds or so).   For the money it would cost to bring the 301 to 200+, dropping the same money into the 400 yielded much larger results. I do not have the machining skills that you may, so I had to farm out the machine work etc.  If you can do all that at home you may get the money to be a bit better between the two.

My final decision?   I grabbed the 400, put about $3500 into its build and ended up with a car that makes people wet their pants when they ride in it going through the gears.  The 301 would not have come close for the same money for my situation (most work done at home, but as said above machining and professional help choosing internals for the engine and assembly)   The down side of this is the gas mileage is not too pretty...about 10.5 MPG if I am easy on it.   5 speed would help this,  it's on my wish list for the car.

End result I have the car I wanted  performance wise and I kept the numbers matching engine and transmission in storage so at some point in the future if it matters value wise I can change the car back to original.

     
400 4-speed, 3.42 posi, performer rpm, hedman headers, comp cam, 6x heads.
Owned it since 1985, 2nd owner,, bought it with 23,000 miles on it.  Original engine and trans in storage.

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 01:50:28 PM »
Thanks to everyone. i guess i will have to stick with what i have for now. it runs god just no guts.lol .Thanks again..


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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 01:50:28 PM »

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 03:41:34 PM »

 Actually, there are many vastly superior engines to the original engines of this era.

 Seems kinda dumb to drop big bucks on a 200 hp, 8-9 mpg 400 and then sill need to
change springs to accommodate the heaver 400.

 If I wanted the looks of a second gen, some great power, and get a lot for my bucks
I'd be looking at he LT1/LS1 engines. You could probably get the whole driveline and
computers from the numerous wrecked 4h camaro and firebirds.

 Like 300hp and 25 mpg!

 Joe
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

81 Formula

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 04:41:06 PM »

 Actually, there are many vastly superior engines to the original engines of this era.

 Seems kinda dumb to drop big bucks on a 200 hp, 8-9 mpg 400 and then sill need to
change springs to accommodate the heaver 400.

 If I wanted the looks of a second gen, some great power, and get a lot for my bucks
I'd be looking at he LT1/LS1 engines. You could probably get the whole driveline and
computers from the numerous wrecked 4h camaro and firebirds.

 Like 300hp and 25 mpg!

 Joe

Looked at that option also.  While price wise it would probably be about the same for the parts,  it would involve more changes to the car its self than the 400 route was.  Harder to bring back to original at some point in the future.   As it stands now to go back to build sheet factory is reinstall everything remove the 4 speed hump and weld a new piece of metal over the shift hole and plug the extra firewall hole.

Had my car been a turbo, or an SE or pace car I would not have changed it.  You can get decent juice out of the turbo 301's,  but we have to be honest here, normally aspirated 301 even worked on a good bit is going to get its lunch handed to it by your average 4 door soccer mom ride these days.  My wifes Hyundai Vera Cruz SUV will do 0-60 in 6.9 seconds and pull a 15 second quarter mile.......Even the Turbo Formula in 81 could only manage 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and a mid 16 second quarter mile.   Considering that my original non turbo 301 was pushing roughly 70 horses less than that......well you get the idea.    Last thing I wanted was my wifes family mover to outrun my "Hotrod" as she calls it!  :)

Heck...even my 4 door 4x4 2500 Chevy truck pulls better times than my Formula ever did with its original engine. :)

For me it was the right choice,  keep the numbers matching stuff in storage but have the car strong.  I am under no illusion that mine will take a new Camaro with the big engine, but it will make him worry about it!  :)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 04:56:04 PM by 81 Formula »
400 4-speed, 3.42 posi, performer rpm, hedman headers, comp cam, 6x heads.
Owned it since 1985, 2nd owner,, bought it with 23,000 miles on it.  Original engine and trans in storage.

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 09:41:22 PM »
Thanks for every ones input. i wasnt wanting a big boost in power just anything.lol i always had the 400 and 403 before and a set of good headers and a differant intake and carb always helped but i guess something like headers and carb are out for the 301 ?


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DEIVIONCRX

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 12:05:39 AM »
If you haven't already go sign up at 301Garage.com.  They have a lot of good info, like JJR said there are plenty of small things you can do to the 301 to get 10-15% more HP, just like every engine ever made, more cold air in, and more air out = more power.
Product DevelopmentDeatschWerks

N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 03:36:19 AM »

 If I wanted the looks of a second gen, some great power, and get a lot for my bucks
I'd be looking at he LT1/LS1 engines. You could probably get the whole driveline and
computers from the numerous wrecked 4h camaro and firebirds.

 Like 300hp and 25 mpg!

while it's true that the ls is a much improved engine, I just looked into this option as well.  I ended up with redoing my 68 455. Why?  Plug and play.  The ls motor are just as expensive as the rebuild and take quite a  Bit more work to get going.  It's the additional stuff that ends up putting the price over the top and you'll still have a motor with fairly high miles on it. 

Look at it this way, you think a motor coming out of a vette or firebird with say, 80k on the clock has had an easy Life?  Doubtful.  For less money overall I have a rebuild motor that will run circles around the ls, fits without major modifications, and while it won't get 25 mpg, coupled with an od trans it won't be horribly far off. 

I would plan to yank that 301 as soon as I could, just. To keep it original.  Tuck it away and save it for later, but they are becoming more rare and you want to keep it as fresh and original as possible.

I do recommend signing up at 301garage, they have a lot of good info but remember, the 301 is not, will not, or ever will, perform as well as big iron, at least not without doing very expensive modifications, that was not the engines purpose.  There's a reason it wasn't around long....... Not dogging it, just laying out the facts.
Dave

81 Trans Am

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2013, 04:25:10 AM »

 I guess everyone that enjoys 2nd gen cars has heir own idea of what would make them
happy. For those who simply must have top level power then none of the original engines
would get there, except maybe the 455SD.

 So then, if you cannot get top level power, then the next best thing or two comes up.

 Eventually, most end up with a budget and that drives decisions from there on.

 Most folks enjoying these cars generally want a hobby/cruiser and enough power to
enjoy that notion.

 My 6 cyl Impala can easily take and pass my 1979 400/4 spd 10th Aniv TA all day long
as it has 330hp and some darn impressive technology. Shoot, I'd bet it would even
give my 1997 Ram Air TA some issues.

 But really, I'm not about to replace my '79 400 with a 2013 Chevy 6cyl because it has
more power. Nor would I put a 301 in my 10th Aniv TA just because. I'm sure I could
get a very modern drive train and replace the 400 for a decent price.

 The turbo 301's had more torque than the 400 they replaced, it just happened higher
in the RPM band. They also had about the same horsepower. The NA version 30-40hp
less.

 But really, to each his own, and more and more folks seem more interested in keeping
them whole than to just join the lemmings in installing a 400 just because it's a little
more power (and less mileage).

 Joe
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2013, 01:02:02 PM »
ive been reading some at 301 garage.com. and from what i can see putting a nice set of headers and pipes to let it breath and bigger jets in carb will help it some,and even sound better. and maybe a cam increase. i know its not much but it is a little more for a lot less then building a motor. now i need to find the right cam set up.


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81Pacecar

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2013, 04:59:44 PM »
The 301 in my Pace doesn't smoke the tires and scream down the quarter mile. And like was mentioned before lots of everyday cars now can speed right on by. It's not the speed of the journey but the quality of the ride. Keep reading Joes site 301 garage and this site.people on here want to help you maintain your ride. Lots of great tips

N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2013, 07:15:16 PM »
Comparing a modern day car to a 1979 is not quite a fair comparison. Technology always advances and improves.  However comparing a 301 to a 400 is a fair comparison as they are the same era.

While a 6 cyl impala may "blow the doors off" a 79 tata it will not get the looks the tata does. But compare the 301 to the tata and watch the 301 kill itself trying to keep up

It's not alway about top speed or the quarter mile but it would be nice for a ta to at least back up a bit of the persona.
Dave

81 Trans Am

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2013, 09:13:52 PM »

 Dave, I think you missed my point.

 If we were sitting about with a couple of cold ones and seeing the tone and inflection
of each others words it would make more sense I think.

 The point isn't that the old 400 wouldn't nose out ahead of a 301 off the line initially,
but rather that it isn't enough of a big deal to advise everyone that they simply cannot
have any fun with a 30 year old classic if they don't have a 400.

 I own a 1979 400 4 spd TATA and both 301NA and 301T cars. It just isn't that big a deal.

 I also owned and really loved my first TA, a 403 car... it had 185 HP.

 The persona of the firebird and Trans Am was about being cool and fun on the street.

 The Trans Am was named after the then popular road race series called Trans Am and
the 1969 1/2 Trans Am did not qualify as it was a 5.0L racing series.

 Pontiac just liked the name.

 Insurance focus got much of Detroit iron got hammered. Pontiac simply provided the best
they could year to year and the regs got them. Nobody was even trying, Mustang was a
fancy Pinto and very, very subdued.

 So I guess some wonder why folks try to force their perceptions on others.

 Have you read some of the excellent books on the history of these cars?, it seems you
might not have.

 Joe

 
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2013, 09:13:52 PM »

N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2013, 02:29:44 AM »

 Dave, I think you missed my point.

 If we were sitting about with a couple of cold ones and seeing the tone and inflection
of each others words it would make more sense I think.

 The point isn't that the old 400 wouldn't nose out ahead of a 301 off the line initially,
but rather that it isn't enough of a big deal to advise everyone that they simply cannot
have any fun with a 30 year old classic if they don't have a 400.

 I own a 1979 400 4 spd TATA and both 301NA and 301T cars. It just isn't that big a deal.

 I also owned and really loved my first TA, a 403 car... it had 185 HP.

 The persona of the firebird and Trans Am was about being cool and fun on the street.

 The Trans Am was named after the then popular road race series called Trans Am and
the 1969 1/2 Trans Am did not qualify as it was a 5.0L racing series.

 Pontiac just liked the name.

 Insurance focus got much of Detroit iron got hammered. Pontiac simply provided the best
they could year to year and the regs got them. Nobody was even trying, Mustang was a
fancy Pinto and very, very subdued.

 So I guess some wonder why folks try to force their perceptions on others.

 Have you read some of the excellent books on the history of these cars?, it seems you
might not have.

 Joe

 
you buying?   :D. My point is more of to save the 30 year old classic motor rather than continue to wear it out and trying to make it into something it's not.  A na 301 could be worth something some day down the line so why abuse it trying to modify it.  Pull it, save it and put in something else.  Personally if I were looking for a fun motor to beat up I would just toss in a sbc since they are cheap and expendable. 
Dave

81 Trans Am

scarebird

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2013, 11:49:33 PM »
The best bang/buck here is a rebuilt or running motor out of a 1996-2000 1/2 ton GMC/Chevy.  Single piece rear seals, roller cam, Vortec heads - these are rated at 255hp with a tiny cam; a bigger cam and good exhaust and 300+ is very easy.  The 305 of course did come in the 79-81 Firebirds.

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2013, 03:24:50 AM »
The best bang/buck here is a rebuilt or running motor out of a 1996-2000 1/2 ton GMC/Chevy.  Single piece rear seals, roller cam, Vortec heads - these are rated at 255hp with a tiny cam; a bigger cam and good exhaust and 300+ is very easy.  The 305 of course did come in the 79-81 Firebirds.
yea  i dont think you can ever go wrong with a SBC. i may do that and set my 301 in storage.


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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2013, 04:36:53 AM »
The best bang/buck here is a rebuilt or running motor out of a 1996-2000 1/2 ton GMC/Chevy.  Single piece rear seals, roller cam, Vortec heads - these are rated at 255hp with a tiny cam; a bigger cam and good exhaust and 300+ is very easy.  The 305 of course did come in the 79-81 Firebirds.
yea  i dont think you can ever go wrong with a SBC. i may do that and set my 301 in storage.
well, I am not a huge sbc fan in. Pontiac but I am also not a purist either.  The best motor would be a 400 but as rare as those are getting as well, I would hate to hurt one.  I recommend the sbc because really it's a motor that is reliable but if you trash it who cares. 
Dave

81 Trans Am

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2013, 08:06:10 PM »
The best bang/buck here is a rebuilt or running motor out of a 1996-2000 1/2 ton GMC/Chevy.  Single piece rear seals, roller cam, Vortec heads - these are rated at 255hp with a tiny cam; a bigger cam and good exhaust and 300+ is very easy.  The 305 of course did come in the 79-81 Firebirds.
yea  i dont think you can ever go wrong with a SBC. i may do that and set my 301 in storage.
well, I am not a huge sbc fan in. Pontiac but I am also not a purist either.  The best motor would be a 400 but as rare as those are getting as well, I would hate to hurt one.  I recommend the sbc because really it's a motor that is reliable but if you trash it who cares. 
Any one have a idea about what motors will bolt in without major changes? I have access to a small block Chevy it runs pretty good. Already rebuilt . I'm open to any ideas but not a lot of mida.


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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2013, 03:40:49 AM »
The best bang/buck here is a rebuilt or running motor out of a 1996-2000 1/2 ton GMC/Chevy.  Single piece rear seals, roller cam, Vortec heads - these are rated at 255hp with a tiny cam; a bigger cam and good exhaust and 300+ is very easy.  The 305 of course did come in the 79-81 Firebirds.
yea  i dont think you can ever go wrong with a SBC. i may do that and set my 301 in storage.
well, I am not a huge sbc fan in. Pontiac but I am also not a purist either.  The best motor would be a 400 but as rare as those are getting as well, I would hate to hurt one.  I recommend the sbc because really it's a motor that is reliable but if you trash it who cares. 
a sbc will bolt in with the correct motor mounts.  I believe there are some changes you will need to make with the fuel lines and such and the shaker base and air cleaner are different.  Easy stuff. 
Any one have a idea about what motors will bolt in without major changes? I have access to a small block Chevy it runs pretty good. Already rebuilt . I'm open to any ideas but not a lot of mida.
Dave

81 Trans Am

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2013, 01:47:14 AM »
well. i have came up with a chance to buy a 400 complete for what i think is a steal.im not sure what carb is on it ,probably not factory but i dont see a problem there. it has a edelbrock intake on it. The good is i can buy this motor for $200.00
the motor starts and runs.The bad...i think the motor will need rebuilt again(someone has already done it.) when removing the drain plug the owner  got what he said was a quart of water out of it,.That is never a good sign, but for two hundo i dont think i can pass this up.any advice? like where does everyone here get the rebuild kits,local or online. and any idea on a cam just a little over stock. what should i expect to have to change going from a 301 to the 400? thanks as alway..DAWG


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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2013, 03:32:22 AM »
I believe the swap itself is fairly straight forward going from the 301 to the 400.  The carb could be an issue for shaker fit I fits not a trans am carb.  I had a heck of a time getting mine to fit right.  The 400 seems to respond best to a Well build Rochester.  Say what you what but that's what most guys run and once tuned correctly they are rock solid. 
Dave

81 Trans Am

falcon4

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2013, 06:58:37 PM »
As luck would have it I too have a '79 base firebird with a 301....it's slower than a wet week.  What to do, numbers matching asthmatic runabout or maybe just pull it and run the 403 combo I have in my truely rustified '79 Trans Am.  I have two running 403's sitting in the shop, so no want for spare parts.  I'm quite torn, because the 301 just keeps on running and is really economical, but the car looks like it's going million miles an hour, yet battles to drag off a KIA.
Jon

1966 Chrysler Valiant Regal 225
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 455
1979 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 403 (my newest lawn ornament)
1979 Pontiac Firebird 301 Base Model......
1977 Ford F-100 4WD 351
1979 Camaro Z28 350 (wouldn't work in an iron lung)
2004 Ford XR-8 Falcon 5.4
1972 Lemans Station Wagon 455 with Endura nose option.

Perth, Western Australia

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2013, 07:56:12 PM »

 Even the 301NA can do more... it's possible, but will cost some real money, to
get the heads to flow as well as the 400 units. We also change the jets and metering
rods to go to earlier types of tunes.

 Also there was a W72 version of the 301 in 1980 with specifc parts for more performance.

 I loved my 1979 403 car, but that is what 185hp, not worth the small gain for all the
trouble I'd think.

 What rear end do you have? If it's the 2.41's that would explain a lot.

 Joe
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2013, 04:23:49 AM »
I agree with jjr in going from a 301 to a 403 is probably not worth the hassle, although not sure how their torque values are.  If you're going to swap a 400 or sbc might be the way to go.  Yank the worthless 301 and put it away in case you ever want to go back to stock, then you don't have to worry about if it gets destroyed.

The 301 lovers always want to tell you the 301 Can do more, and maybe it can.  But for the money involved its a dumb investment other than to be different.  There's a reason that motor was so unpopular.
Dave

81 Trans Am

MrAFX

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2013, 05:33:31 AM »
I wouldn't.

some of the things I noticed in this thread that stand out.

1. None of the engines after 73 will hold a candle to a modern v6 mini van.

2. If the idea of appreciating the car for what it is/was at the time it was designed...

3. Swapping a weazing 400 or 403 and then dumping a couple to several thousand dollars in improvements...

4. Pulling a numbers match drivetrain and thinking you'll store it is less likely to work out as well as you may think...

5. Yes Virginia, some TA's are worth quite a bit, others, not so much.

6. you have a running driving car that's 30 some years old, a house payment, rent, kids, wife.... and want to use funds to build up a 30 some year old car, unless your very very well off financially.... :lol:

7. It's always tons of fun to tear down a running old car with a minimal budget like most of us have, because you read about something in a chat room that is just so cool... like when we were 14 dreaming about these cars with our friends at the lunch table lookin over the "trading times" ads.

8. If you want a hot car, go buy a new one and make payments... 99% of the time, for most people, that works out way better and ends up costing a lot less.

9. being a jerk and bashing someone else's powertrain just ain't welcome in my circle. fact would be fact if the arguments were based on fact, unfortunately, most are not, a stock 400 by mid 70's was what 190 hp with the w72 topping out at 210 or something near that while the 403 was lucky to be rated at 185, just pulling most of this from memory since so many statements here relating to 301's were just pulled from their arse.
The torque figures weren't much better either.

Just because someone says multiple times something sucks in their opinion, doesn't make it so!

10. Point is enjoy a running car that's 30+ years old for what it is. Don't go crazy with major changes as there is always one for sale somewhere that's already sorted out and the guy will eventually get to a price you can afford , your saving go up with time, his price usually comes down.

The sense of nostalgia is what most chase, unless they have 6 figures to change their cars, or are very very skilled.


crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2013, 01:52:20 PM »
 :-P None of the engines after 73 will hold a candle to a modern v6 mini van :-P
kool now i want a mini van :P
thankfully i have never owned a mini van, but drivan a few and i think i would rather have a well tuned 400 with a decent cam and headers.( that i have had)  :-P
 maybe even if its just the pure sound of a well running pontiac. but who knows i will probably keep the factory motor.but will keep all options open, as i said in another post i have a great buy on a 400, and we do the hard stuff ourselves so who knows.. the only thing i know for sure is i need to get the car back together first :grin:


its not perfect but its mine

N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2013, 03:16:51 PM »
I can bash the 301. I owned one and still own it and where is it?  On an engine stand. I don't know what engine you are building but you can do a nice engine set up for not a ton of cash. People do it all the time.

In the end it's your car and you do what you feel is best.
Dave

81 Trans Am

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2013, 05:29:25 PM »

 The 301 was actually drafted into Trans Am use because the Pontiac folks hated to
have to put a chevy engine in the Trans Am.

 For it's original job it was an engineering accomplishment (then) in grocery getters the
engine set a milestone at Pontiac... 20+ mpg while using a Pontiac V-8.

 For 1980, (1979 really) the much touted 400 just plain ran too dirty and the market was
starting to turn toward more efficient engines. The single digit mpg 400 would have died anyway.

 Pontiac had a real hard sell to the EPA to even use the 301, particularly the 301T.

 In talking to 3 Pontiac engineers from back in the day, they just didn't have the time to
get more from the 301, then sales of all V-8's died fast and the last Pontiac V-8 was gone.

 The legacy... the 1982 Trans Am had a 305 chevy which made a stump pulling 145hp it
it's sweet spot. With the Pontiac V-8 gone, Trans Am had the least hp ever.

 Some want something else but there are plenty that keep what they have and enjoy driving
part of Pontiac's history.

 Joe
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2013, 01:28:30 AM »
I can bash the 301. I owned one and still own it and where is it?  On an engine stand. I don't know what engine you are building but you can do a nice engine set up for not a ton of cash. People do it all the time.

In the end it's your car and you do what you feel is best.
i will probably build a 400


its not perfect but its mine

scarebird

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2013, 02:02:22 PM »

 The 301 was actually drafted into Trans Am use because the Pontiac folks hated to
have to put a chevy engine in the Trans Am.

 For it's original job it was an engineering accomplishment (then) in grocery getters the
engine set a milestone at Pontiac... 20+ mpg while using a Pontiac V-8.

 For 1980, (1979 really) the much touted 400 just plain ran too dirty and the market was
starting to turn toward more efficient engines. The single digit mpg 400 would have died anyway.

 Pontiac had a real hard sell to the EPA to even use the 301, particularly the 301T.

 In talking to 3 Pontiac engineers from back in the day, they just didn't have the time to
get more from the 301, then sales of all V-8's died fast and the last Pontiac V-8 was gone.

 The legacy... the 1982 Trans Am had a 305 chevy which made a stump pulling 145hp it
it's sweet spot. With the Pontiac V-8 gone, Trans Am had the least hp ever.

 Some want something else but there are plenty that keep what they have and enjoy driving
part of Pontiac's history.

 Joe

From a manufacturing/emissions standpoint I am amazed GM offered as many engines as they had for the Firebird in 1979. 

jjr

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2013, 03:08:29 PM »

 Yea, these were tuff times as GM had to balance things.

 To an extent, engine availability entered into the mix as did the CAFE
regs, the California market and gas prices.

 Auto makers cannot react to the quick changes in the market very well.

 Too much lead time to test, change, test and produce.

 But they did know emissions changes were coming, and they were scrambling.

 History "almost" saw the Chevy 305 as "THE" Trans Am engine in 1980, the Pontiac
folks didn't want to go there.

 Today some have forgotten, or some were too young then, but they held on as long
as they could.

 Joe
1979 10th Aniv 400/4spd
1980 Black SE 301NA
1980 Indy Turbo Pace 301T
1981 Turbo 301T
1981 Black SE 301T
1981 Daytona Pace 301T
www.301garage.com/forum/

falcon4

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2013, 02:37:46 AM »
It's not a bad engine the ol' 301.  I wonder who painted it Carmine like the car was?

Jon

1966 Chrysler Valiant Regal 225
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 455
1979 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 403 (my newest lawn ornament)
1979 Pontiac Firebird 301 Base Model......
1977 Ford F-100 4WD 351
1979 Camaro Z28 350 (wouldn't work in an iron lung)
2004 Ford XR-8 Falcon 5.4
1972 Lemans Station Wagon 455 with Endura nose option.

Perth, Western Australia

79SE301M

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2013, 11:47:15 PM »
  i have came up with a chance to buy a 400 complete for what i think is a steal.im not sure what carb is on it ,probably not factory but i dont see a problem there. it has a edelbrock intake on it. The good is i can buy this motor for $200.00
the motor starts and runs.The bad...i think the motor will need rebuilt again(someone has already done it.) when removing the drain plug the owner  got what he said was a quart of water out of it,.

If the 400 is still in a car, borrow a radiator pressure tester from Autozone and see if it holds pressure.   The block could be cracked.   I think a lot of these cars that sit around don't have a proper antifreeze ratio and crack from freezing.   I believe that's what happened to my 301 and luckily I was able to save it with K&W block seal.

There's a foolproof way to never lose a race to a modern day grocery getter.....Don't ever race one.



« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 11:54:11 PM by 79SE301M »

79FBform

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2013, 08:40:28 AM »
Well the debate continues, but as many have said and few have listened, the 301 is fine. I too was going to swap out my 301 but decided against it. I did learn a lot about the 301 in my research, and plan to just keep it going. My 301 is the W code 4bbl, and it now has 154,000 miles on it. It starts right up, sounds good, and gets great mileage. It just started to puff a little smoke (valve seals) and occasionally gets the Pontiac lifter tick when not warmed up. I plan on just giving it a valve job, mild cam, and lifter kit. The fact that I have a 4 speed in my 79 Formula makes it plenty of fun to drive and it gets all the looks. Lets be realistic folks, I loose to guy that has beautiful Gold $40,000.00 79 TA at every local show, but he never drives the thing, and certainly has never exercised his 400 4 speed. I have seen too many people invest big bucks in cool cars and then never use them, what good is a 400+ hp motor if all you do is wipe the car with a soft shammy in the garage and wait for the next cruise night? I pan on driving the hell out of my Formula, and then fix only what breaks. I live in New England and yes, I drive my car in the winter too; believe it or not posi-traction works great in the snow, imagine that...

just enjoy the car

crashdawg

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2013, 02:03:33 PM »
Well the debate continues, but as many have said and few have listened, the 301 is fine. I too was going to swap out my 301 but decided against it. I did learn a lot about the 301 in my research, and plan to just keep it going. My 301 is the W code 4bbl, and it now has 154,000 miles on it. It starts right up, sounds good, and gets great mileage. It just started to puff a little smoke (valve seals) and occasionally gets the Pontiac lifter tick when not warmed up. I plan on just giving it a valve job, mild cam, and lifter kit. The fact that I have a 4 speed in my 79 Formula makes it plenty of fun to drive and it gets all the looks. Lets be realistic folks, I loose to guy that has beautiful Gold $40,000.00 79 TA at every local show, but he never drives the thing, and certainly has never exercised his 400 4 speed. I have seen too many people invest big bucks in cool cars and then never use them, what good is a 400+ hp motor if all you do is wipe the car with a soft shammy in the garage and wait for the next cruise night? I pan on driving the hell out of my Formula, and then fix only what breaks. I live in New England and yes, I drive my car in the winter too; believe it or not posi-traction works great in the snow, imagine that...

just enjoy the car
very well said. when mine is back on the road it will be driven, not a center piece.thank you. and enjoy the ride 8-)


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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2013, 04:35:19 PM »
There is a reason the 301 had a short life.  It sucked.
Dave

81 Trans Am

80TAPaceCar

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2013, 10:15:31 PM »
There is a reason the 301 had a short life.  It sucked.

WOW, it is pitiful that you just surround your life with 301 bashing, queen of your lonely little world.
You stated your opinion, and that is your right to do so.  But when you don't get people
thinking the way you do, you keep bashing, just like a bully.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Kev


1979 Chevrolet Corvette
1979 El Camino SS
1980 Indy Pace Car Trans Am
1980 Indy (Festival Car) Pace Car Trans Am
1983 El Camino
2005 Impala SS

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N PRGRES

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Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2013, 04:53:59 AM »
There is a reason the 301 had a short life.  It sucked.

WOW, it is pitiful that you just surround your life with 301 bashing, queen of your lonely little world.
You stated your opinion, and that is your right to do so.  But when you don't get people
thinking the way you do, you keep bashing, just like a bully.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Kev
Maybe, but just like the 301 lovers keep trying to convince the guy what a great engine it is even after he has decided to go the other direction.  If you want to keep that motor in your car then fine, however the engine is what it is.  Stop trying to make the motor out to be something it isn't and act like someone is nuts for wanting more.

For the record my build isn't 40k and mine will also be a daily driver, although driving it in snow would suicide. So I do agree these cars should be driven but do t classify everyone who does a motor swap to have trailer queens either

Merry Christmas.
Dave

81 Trans Am

Re: 301 upgrade?
« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2013, 04:53:59 AM »
You can help support TAC!