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Old 08-27-2012, 11:31 PM
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60s pontiac 389 rebuild

Hi I was wondering if I could get some knowledge from someone on an engine rebuild. I'm picking up a 60s Pontiac 389 that a friend gave to me and he said its froze. I want to rebuild it and try for somewhere around 400hp. Any suggestions on where to look for a good rebuild kit and possibly some pointers from someone who may have exp. with these engines would be much appreciated. Thanx

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Old 08-27-2012, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrism View Post
Hi I was wondering if I could get some knowledge from someone on an engine rebuild. I'm picking up a 60s Pontiac 389 that a friend gave to me and he said its froze. I want to rebuild it and try for somewhere around 400hp. Any suggestions on where to look for a good rebuild kit and possibly some pointers from someone who may have exp. with these engines would be much appreciated. Thanx
There are quite a few threads here on the Pontiac engine. Also see the Crankshaft Coalition wiki pages Pontiac info and sites and Pontiac V8 engine.

Be aware that blocks older than around '64 are more difficult to use in newer vehicles because of the motor and starter mounts.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:08 AM
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What year 389? It makes a difference in how to approach it. '64-older are less desirable heads but good blocks. Later heads DO "fit". 400 parts also fit.

Most important, define a goal for performance/usage. Build accordingly. It's NOT "a Chevy" so most of the "standard" hot-rod modifications made to Chevys don't apply. What car?

Jim Hand's book "How to Build Max-performance Pontiac V8s" published by SA Designs is the most current study of the ol' Injun. It's now 8 years old, sio some of the info is obsolete. The "history", "rationale" and short block sections are ALWAYS "current"... (:-

Jim
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:30 AM
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Be sure to use pistons w/the valve reliefs in the correct location for the heads being used.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:43 AM
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Thanks but I probably jumped the gun a little asking questions when I'm not sure what year it is. Once I get the engine I'll find out for sure what year? Then I'll get back to u. Thanks for that info though
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:21 PM
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What are you putting the engine in?
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:23 PM
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I don't have anything yet but I'm shooting for a 70s trans am. This will be the first engIne rebuild I've done and I'm pretty mechanically inclined and grew up around cars and have a friend that is gonna help me but I'd like to go into this with some of my own knowledge. The 389 is a single carb 2 barrel wich I believe stock puts out 280 or 290 hP. Do u think this is a possibility or a waste of time?? I figured since I got the engine free it was the right price and I've been wanting to do this for a long time.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:24 PM
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I'm lookIn to get around 400hP
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:34 PM
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The motor mounts wont bolt on as there are no bolt bosses on the 389 for an F Body car.
Also the 64 and earlier 389 had no bolt bosses on the block for a starter either.
You need to get a 70 or later block as they have 5 bolt bosses for motor mounts. Even then some block may not have the bosses drilled and tapped, but that isnt hard to do when you are building the engine.
For a good street engine the 455 is a good choice. No replacement for displacement.
Before you buy ANY block, do some research and ask questions.
Dont get that 1963 389 you are talking about, unless you want loads of dissapointment.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:01 PM
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Haha! It already sounds disappointing. Even if I decide to put it in a goat, do u think I can achieve the horse power I'm lookin for or is it basically a nastalgic boat anchor?
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:13 PM
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Well ,it will make 400 horses pretty easy.But it wont be correct for a GTO .
The 63 back 389 used a bell housing mounted starter , making it a bit harder to run a decent trans.
It would be OK for an older poncho like 63 and back.
I would look around, shop around, ask questions.
You have done the first thing you should do when pursuing a build. You have decided to build a street machine/daily car, with around 400 horses. Totally do-able, and sure to be loads of fun.
So , for a street machine, you need to get a car. That will be your next choice.THEN look for an engine to build, as I said some wont bolt in or work correctly.
A 400 is an awesome engine, a 389 is also good but remember what I said about motor mount bosses(bolt holes)
You wont find a 389 with the correct bolt bosses for an F body (firebird-T/A ) so dont even bother. And the 400 was built in 1967-up. But the 400 wont have the extra bolt bosses for an F body either, unless you get a 70 or later block. It pays to shop, but get schooled a little first.
Do some looking at block casting numbers and date codes and such.
http//:Wallace Racing-Drag Racing Pontiac powered Firebirds,Trans Ams and Dragsters is a good place to start with some basic info. They have a lot of tech info that you will want to learn about.Like how to ID a block from the casting number, where to look, how to date it, by date code and how to decipher... lotys of good reading over there.
I will post a few others for you too. Later
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:16 PM
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www.Butlerperformance.com is allways good for a little inspiration Heehee.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:38 PM
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Hey thanks very much for the info I'm sure I'm in for a learning experience but I am committed to the 389 for as it was free and I want to bring it back to life for my first rebuild and hopefully find something reasonable to put it in. My friend is dropping it off to me this weekend and when I get the numbers off it and learn a little more about the motor I'll certainly keep u posted for some pointers. Thanks again latech
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:54 AM
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Ames Performance and Performance Years both offer the mounting "adapters" needed to install the earlier blocks in later cars. Not a cheesy "fix", either.

For all intents and purposes, 389 has exactly the same potential as 400. The only parametric difference is the bore size, .060" smaller. Cranks interchange. Using 400 heads from the late '60s makes 400 HP a slam-dunk. Good cam, induction and exhaust and you're "there".

What Lynn (LATECH) says about the starter mounting is correct. All '64 GTOs had the "block mount", but most of the "big cars" still had the bell-housing mount. NO problem is "insurmountable", just impractical.

Jim
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:59 PM
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So does that mean the trans am is still a negative or can it be done as far as getting the 389 in it??
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