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Old 03-08-2009, 05:12 PM
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403 olds T/A advice

Hi everybody , my name is Tommy and I'm new here on this forum .
Last year , my trans-am shipped in from Kentucky , USA . I live in Belgium ( Europe ) I'm a proud owner of a black trans-am 79 , 6.6 litre with a 403 olds engine .
I had some problems with the engine , so I've taken the engine apart .
The bottom block is being rebuild by a company here . just standard rebuild , do I need other pistons ?
Sure can use your opinion on what parts for the top of the engine .
I'm thinking about the
" Edelbrock Performer Package " idle to 5500 rpm .
I already have a new Edelbrock 750 carburator ...
What do you think ?
greetings

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Old 03-08-2009, 06:02 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Tommy

I am no pontiac or Olds specialist but from what I understand those companies didn't have the budget design new heads and rework the inside of the engine as much as Chevy. How they got around the emissions standard was dish the crap out the pistons to drop compression.It has a advertised c/r of 7.9. New pistons would definitely find some horsepower.

Here are a little run down on your car.
http://www.carfolio.com/specificatio...99594#a_engine

A little research on stock engine compression and id the heads and find out what you have would go a long way. Sorry I am not much help here. Edelbrock makes good products so the intake is always good. Shop around some other cam companies. Isky, Comp, Crower, Lunati all make a good one and will give you a few more options than the "performer package".

I am assuming that you want this more for a daily driver or sunday outing and not a racer by the idle-5500. Is it a auto or manual trans? These guys like details if you want advice on a build. What are your HP goals? If you have an auto would you be willing to get a higher stall convertor. What kinda of budget are you looking at? Heads are the best power add but are gonna cost ya.

Last edited by sam_bo3; 03-08-2009 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_bo3
Welcome to the forum, Tommy

I am no pontiac or Olds specialist but from what I understand those companies didn't have the budget design new heads and rework the inside of the engine as much as Chevy. How they got around the emissions standard was dish the crap out the pistons to drop compression.It has a advertised c/r of 7.9. New pistons would definitely find some horsepower.

Here are a little run down on your car.
http://www.carfolio.com/specificatio...99594#a_engine

A little research on stock engine compression and id the heads and find out what you have would go a long way. Sorry I am not much help here. Edelbrock makes good products so the intake is always good. Shop around some other cam companies. Isky, Comp, Crower, Lunati all make a good one and will give you a few more options than the "performer package".

I am assuming tha-t you want this more for a daily driver or sunday outing and not a racer by the idle-5500. Is it a auto or manual trans? These guys like details if you want advice on a build. What are your HP goals? If you have an auto would you be willing to get a higher stall convertor. What kinda of budget are you looking at? Heads are the best power add but are gonna cost ya.
There's a little misunderstanding about using a dished vs. domed piston. Olds had been using various size dishes in the pistons to vary compression ratio long befor emissions requirements came along. This is just a different combustion chamber design philosophy. A purely spherical combustion chamber is theoretically ideal. A dome is just a different way to achieve the same effect.

Yes, the 403s had a very low compression ratio. One easy swap is to use the heads from a 1968-1972 Olds 350. The smaller chambers will yield a CR in the 9:1 to 10:1 range. You should also have these heads machined for the larger big block Olds valves (2.070/1.625). The larger valves will fit the small block heads with appropriate machine work.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:06 AM
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Sorry for the misinfo. That that was what I have alway heard. Thanks for setting me straight. That is way I hang around I learn new stuff everyday.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:03 PM
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Hey , thanks for the info guys !!!

I can't stop reading and learning on this site , cause I'm a newbie on muscle-cars and their engines ...
But I LOVE MY TRANS-AM !!!
and I want to drive it on weekends and whenever the weither is fine ...
So no racing car but a fun car ...

The T/A is an auto trans and has a moving shaker on top of the hood ... I want to keep it that way !!!

But I want some more horsepower , from 185 to 350/400 ?
torque from 320 ? to ...

My budget is what it costs to make my bandit perfect ...
2000 - 3000 $ ? 4000 - 5000 $ ? I don't know ...

The list I made up so far :

Edelbrock - Intake Manifold 7111
Edelbrock - Cylinder Heads 60519
Edelbrock - Camshaft & Lifters 7112
Edelbrock - Timing Chain 7813
Hedman - Headers 58078
BMM - Converter 20413
BMM - Flexplate 20237
(Modine - Radiator c-1219-12 )

This I can get for +/- 2500 $

But I think I have a problem with the manifold ! If I want to keep the moving shaker ! I read that there are low and high Intake manifolds ???

What heads to use ? The one in the list from Edelbrock are 850 $ not cheap ! but are they any good ????

I hope for some more info ...
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:12 PM
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Congrats

Raising the compression will probably be the best route to take. Adding a new intake manifold will add some class, but if I was going the low bucks route & was almost happy with the car, I would swap out the pistons for something that was not dished, and pop for a new valve job. Perhaps a torquey cam would fit in there as well. More compression (you are currently at the bottom rung) would give you power you could feel!
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:13 PM
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One more thing I forgot to mention ...

The engine is getting a bore of . 30 ! I think ...

Is this have an effect on the parts I must use ?

grtz
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyV_11
One more thing I forgot to mention ...

The engine is getting a bore of . 30 ! I think ...

Is this have an effect on the parts I must use ?

grtz
The only thing this affects is the pistons, and you should buy the pistons before having the block bored. This allows the machine shop to precisely measure the new pistons and bore and hone the block to match.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:36 PM
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The machine shop owner asked me what I want , because he has to order the parts in the States ! , I need other pistons than the standard ones ?
He is going to put the right (standard) pistons in the engine after the bore or the maybe other ones I want ... I don't know!!!
He said that I must go for 'regular ' pistons and work with good parts on top to get my 300/350 Hp !

Correct me if I'm wrong , but if I'm gonna use 'special' pistons then I'm turning it into a race car !? Because from the pistons , we go to other 'special ' parts such as heads , headers , cam , ... $$$ ???

I don't want a car which you cant drive in a normal way ... and one with a mileage to go broke from But I want some power ...

That is my problem and question !
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:19 PM
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Tommy, read please

Ty his link, I believe you need to read up a bit more. I am sure this guy will explain his 403 to you. Nice videos as well!


Click here

Flat top pistons will raise your compression as your smog motor will like the higher compression that flat top pistons offer. It will run nicer than before even if you stick with all of the other old parts like manifold and carb.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DENCOUCH
Ty his link, I believe you need to read up a bit more. I am sure this guy will explain his 403 to you. Nice videos as well!


Click here

Flat top pistons will raise your compression as your smog motor will like the higher compression that flat top pistons offer. It will run nicer than before even if you stick with all of the other old parts like manifold and carb.
While the 403 has very low compression in stock form, be careful about raising the compression ratio without first understanding what you are doing. As the compression ratio goes up, so does the risk of preignition and the resulting need to use higher octane gasoline. That's your call. If you don't want to be in a situation where you must by the more expensive gas, don't be in a hurry to get flattop pistons.

As for "special" and "racing" parts, understand that a production car always has compromises that balance value to the customer with profit to the manufacturer. Not all stock parts are necessarily the "best" for all applications. Selective replacement with aftermarket parts, when done intelligently, will improve performance and even gas mileage without making the car impossible to drive on the street. There is no right or wrong way to do this and the selection of parts must take into account how you plan to use the car and what your budget is. For example, forged pistons have many advantages over stock cast pistons, even for gentle street use, and there are really no disadvantages other than purchase price. Again, each build is different and it's up to the owner to decide what's important and what isn't.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:20 PM
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Heads !!! ???

Ones again , thanks alot for that info guys !!!
But , I am in Belgium !!!
Where can I find 350 Olds heads , that matches my 403 olds engine , 0.030 bore .
Or can I buy new heads from a brand ?
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:15 PM
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Because of your location and the dependence on your machinist sourcing the parts you require, I think the best route for you to take is what you mentioned at the onset- Edelbrock's Performer "system" and good quality cast hypereutectic flat top pistons.

It's a well thought out design that has a proven track record of reliability and performance. It also makes your machinist's life a whole lot easier. And you will have a dedicated tech line that can answer all the questions that will come up.

With the Edelbrock set-up, power will increase from idle to 5500 rpm. Without a rear gear/ torque converter change, you really can't go with a whole lot more camshaft lift/duration- and I'll bet you have some HIGH (low, numerically) gears in your Poncho.

If you were state-side, this wouldn't necessarily be the way to go- there would be other options available to you. But, as you say- you in Belgium!
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
Because of your location and the dependence on your machinist sourcing the parts you require, I think the best route for you to take is what you mentioned at the onset- Edelbrock's Performer "system" and good quality cast hypereutectic flat top pistons.
If you are suggesting that he use the Edelbrock Olds heads, be aware of two problems. First, the Edelbrock heads were designed for use on the tall deck Olds big block. On the short deck small block 403 there is an interference between the passenger side head and the mechanical fuel pump. Of course this is easy to fix with a blockoff plate and an electric pump, but it's an issue. Second, the ports in the Edelbrock heads are big block sized and do not match with small block intakes. There are a few small block Olds intakes that have enough meat to allow port matching, specifically the Edelbrock Performer RPM, but that's even taller and will almost certainly not allow the shaker scoop to be used. I've heard that the factory iron 403 intake may also have enough meat, but I cannot verify it.

Neither of these are show stoppers, but they do require some additional effort. The only other thing to keep in mind is that the Edelbrock heads have the large, big block sized combustion chambers, so there is no benefit to compression ratio. You need to select the appropriate flattop pistons to achieve the desired CR.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:17 AM
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I'm suggesting the Performer Power Package, consisting of:
PART..................PART NUMBER
Intake manifold-.......3711
Cam & lifters-...........3712
Timing chain-...........7813
Valve springs-..........5812 (reuse retainers, new split locks)

Heads are not available for this engine from Edelbrock. Nor are they really needed at this level, although if money's no object they could be ported, but Belgium, remember?

These parts w/a decent set of headers and dual exhaust w/x-pipe will get the job done, IMHO.
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