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Old 01-15-2006, 06:09 PM   #1
79TransAm
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79 Trans Am

I recently purchased a 79' Trans Am 301 3-speed automatic with custom exhaust and a 2 barrel carburetor. I really want to get more than 150hp out of this thing and more around 300-400hp (won't complain if I end up with more). I would prefer to spend under 2k on an engine, if I do an engine swap. So im just curious what you guys would recommend. Im open to engine swaps, modifications, pretty much anything.
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:34 PM   #2
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Spending under 2k on an engine that will give you 200-300 more hp will be hard. First it would have to be an engine that will fit your car and all the extra parts needed to put it all together like new bolts, wires which pretty much has to be a complete engine and you'll have a small chance looking for a used one that will work. Goodluck
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Old 01-15-2006, 07:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 79TransAm
I recently purchased a 79' Trans Am 301 3-speed automatic with custom exhaust and a 2 barrel carburetor. I really want to get more than 150hp out of this thing and more around 300-400hp (won't complain if I end up with more). I would prefer to spend under 2k on an engine, if I do an engine swap. So im just curious what you guys would recommend. Im open to engine swaps, modifications, pretty much anything.
The first thing you need to do is pull the 301 and advertise it on eBay under boat anchor. The cheapest and easist swap for you is to drop in a small block Chevy. All the parts you need to do the conversion are readily available in like yeared Camaros, and junkyards are full of them. If you shop smart and do all the work yourself, you might be able to put together a car with cose to 300hp and stay under $2k.

Don't forget you also need to get a different transmission because the BOP bellhousing on yours won't bolt up to a Chevy. Even with the price of a used TH350 added, you'll probably still be in cheaper than converting to a BOP engine. A lot of it depends on what's available in your area.
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Old 01-15-2006, 09:36 PM   #4
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The nice thing about the 301 is that the 400, 403, and 455s can bolt in with relatively little effort. I had the 403 in my '78, which takes little work (less than $300) to make into a engine that will motivate the T/A to 13s in the quarter, even with 2.43 rear gears. Has the added benefit of being cheap. My buddy's '79 had the 403 stock, and he swapped to an Olds 455 (since it's the same block, it's a literal bolt in swap).
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Old 01-15-2006, 10:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwhobo
The first thing you need to do is pull the 301 and advertise it on eBay under boat anchor. The cheapest and easist swap for you is to drop in a small block Chevy. All the parts you need to do the conversion are readily available in like yeared Camaros, and junkyards are full of them. If you shop smart and do all the work yourself, you might be able to put together a car with cose to 300hp and stay under $2k.

Don't forget you also need to get a different transmission because the BOP bellhousing on yours won't bolt up to a Chevy. Even with the price of a used TH350 added, you'll probably still be in cheaper than converting to a BOP engine. A lot of it depends on what's available in your area.


i DEF agree on the 301, they dont even make good boat anchors....

some BOP th350s have a unibell trans. ive found them mostly in olds and caddys though...
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:37 AM   #6
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thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightroad
Spending under 2k on an engine that will give you 200-300 more hp will be hard. First it would have to be an engine that will fit your car and all the extra parts needed to put it all together like new bolts, wires which pretty much has to be a complete engine and you'll have a small chance looking for a used one that will work. Goodluck

I probably should have done a better job at wording my post. I am not looking for an engine that will give me 300hp with no mods for under 2k. Im just looking for possibly a scrap engine that I could buy for around 2k and then I could spend extra money to modify it to get in that horsepower range. I have a family member that owns a scrap yard, so he can pretty much give me anything I want for free if he has it. Thanks for the responses. I've talked to a few different people about what engine would be best, and seems like most people recommend a 350, 455, 400, or the T/A 6.6. Would I run into any problems if I tried to install a 455 because the 301 that I would be taking out is a small block?
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 79TransAm
I probably should have done a better job at wording my post. I am not looking for an engine that will give me 300hp with no mods for under 2k. Im just looking for possibly a scrap engine that I could buy for around 2k and then I could spend extra money to modify it to get in that horsepower range. I have a family member that owns a scrap yard, so he can pretty much give me anything I want for free if he has it. Thanks for the responses. I've talked to a few different people about what engine would be best, and seems like most people recommend a 350, 455, 400, or the T/A 6.6. Would I run into any problems if I tried to install a 455 because the 301 that I would be taking out is a small block?

no problems, b/c it's still a BOP block... also IIRC, pontiacs didn't have any "big block/small block" designations, really... you might need to move the motor mounts, but i'm not sure. you might want to check out a second gen website for that info...
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:36 AM   #8
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trans am

Well, I found a guy that is selling his 79 Trans Am with a 455 in it, he had a 400 in it before. He has the 400 just stored away in his garage and it's not being used. Think I should buy the 400 from him?
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:09 PM   #9
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Sure, you can get factory parts to put that engine in with (if the 301 stuff doesn't already work)
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:16 PM   #10
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re

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Originally Posted by ChrisV
Sure, you can get factory parts to put that engine in with (if the 301 stuff doesn't already work)

Everything works in the 301, but it could use a new starter and carburetor in the future. It just takes a few tries to get the engine to turn over if it has been sitting, nothing major. I took it for a drive today and I would drive it anywhere and not worry about it cutting out on me if I had a license plate on it, lol. I ran across a 77' formula at a scrap yard yesterday with a 400 in it. Looks like the engine on that might have caught fire, though, so scratch that one off the list. How hard would it be to get the 400 in the 300hp range (im guessing it would probably be around 225-230 in my car counting the exhaust).
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:32 PM   #11
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I meant everything works, as in the motor mounts line up and tranny bolts up to the 400. it shoudl as they are both Pontiac engines.

It's pretty easy to get the 400 to work good. A recurve on the HEI distributor, carb tune up kit for the Quadrajet (with larger secondary jets), headers and true dual exhaust, and if you're adventurous, a good performance cam, like a Comp Cams 270H. You should find it more than adequate for street performance without spending a bunch of money.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisV
The nice thing about the 301 is that the 400, 403, and 455s can bolt in with relatively little effort. I had the 403 in my '78, which takes little work (less than $300) to make into a engine that will motivate the T/A to 13s in the quarter, even with 2.43 rear gears. Has the added benefit of being cheap. My buddy's '79 had the 403 stock, and he swapped to an Olds 455 (since it's the same block, it's a literal bolt in swap).

Mine has an Olds 455. Its definitely on its last legs though.
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:18 AM   #13
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pontiacfan27

hello, newbe here. Just want to say what a beauty your car is. Mine is a 79 a wish it looked that good. Same color though. lol weeser
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:00 AM   #14
79TransAm
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I talked to the guy with the 400 and he said that he would sell it to me for 100 bucks. Apparently the person that he bought the car from took the 400 out and replaced it with a 455, so when he bought the car from that person, they gave him the 400 as well. He has never seen it run so he isnt positive that it would turn over, but he said that it isnt locked up and he thinks it would run, but the carburetor and distributor are gone so I would need to replace those. Think I should buy it and take my chances or not? It's only 100 bucks so I don't see that I have a lot to lose. Also, any idea around how much a shop would charge to swap the 301 out for the 400?
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:15 PM   #15
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why take it to a shop? get some friends together and do it on the weekend. old cars are easy to work on. how else are you gonna learn?
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