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Old 06-03-2011, 04:32 PM
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87 El Camino needs help

I recently acquired an 87 El Camino with 64k original miles. I drive it back and forth from my home in Houston to my farm near Crockett, Texas. I have made some minor additions to it such as changing out the bench seat for 87 Monte Carlo SS buckets and I added the console. I have also swapped the instrument panel with "idiot lights" for another Monte Carlo SS panel with full instruments. I intend to put it in the body shop for paint and new window rubber then to the upholsterer for an interior redo.
My "issue"is that the 305 engine in its current configuration is a real pooch. I KNOW that the standard advice is to use the 305 for a boat anchor and stick a 350 in the truck but I believe that different heads, intake,a mild cam and headers will liven it up enough to make it more fun to drive for a minimal investment compared to a whole new engine.
Any suggestions on specific parts for my project?

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Old 06-03-2011, 06:00 PM
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Don't waste your money on the 305 JMO i would go ahead and invest in a 350 and it would be a investment IMO But it's your ride but this is what i would do, I don't care what anyone say's the difference in a decent 305 and a decent 350 is daylight and dark. JMO and the 350 will or should bolt right i where the 305 came out from.
Don't get me wrong i have seen some 305s run pretty good with a whole lot of work but still won't compare to a 350.IMHO


Cole
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:26 PM
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Have you figured out a budget for your engine replacement/build-up? Take your budget and compare it to what it would cost to fix up the 305 vs. buying a complete 350 crate engine.

For example the GM Performance #809-12530283 crate engine has a roller cam, 4 bolt mains, and vortec heads, and its priced now at $1,829 with a 3 yr/100k miles warranty. Its a mild cam (191/196 @.050), but you could swap that out if you want more HP. You also have to decide if you want to switch to a carburetor, since your TBI won't fit the Vortec heads.

Bruce
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:58 PM
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I am grateful for your replies. I think I should be able to get some different heads for $350 and a new intake for $175. A new cam should be less than $100 and I think i can pick up a set of headers for$150. Even if I have to get a different carb, I shoud still be under a grand. I do not expect the 305 to ever be a "performance" engine, but it should come out with some slightly larger cojones and be more fun to drive. It would also retain all the "original numbers". I have heard the "just get a 350" argument from almost every corner and it makes sense on many levels. I would prefer to juice up the original engine though and would like some advice on which heads, intake and cam I should get to get what I can out of the 305. I have about a thousand bucks (maybe a little more) to put into it. THANKS for your help.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:25 PM
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305/350

My father just gave his beloved 85 el Camino to my Irac veteran son. He replaced the tired old 305 with a stock 350, probably a 260hp, and it doesn't seem to run much differently from the 305 as far as gas milage. My point being, if your thinking of upgrading to more hp, the a 350 would be a better choice as far as hp gains and relieablility. 305s have a thin cylinder wall that makes them prone to over heating. I recently drove the El Camino from CA to WA (600 miles), and it got pretty decent gas miled (18-21 mpg) in stock form. The main difference I see is the power difference. Any V8 will use more gas in town.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:56 PM
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It is your car and your choice. I am all for it if you want to keep it numbers matching and keep it a little different than the rest by keeping the 305. But with that being said, with the money you are going to have to spend on the 305 to get a new cam, heads, etc (400 to a grand) you can get a lot of great running low miles 350s that will get equivalent gas millage to your beefed up 305 and eat it for breakfast. Keep and eye open on craigslist and at local swap meets. I have seen guys parting out a project with a freshly built never fired engines cheaper than that. My buddy got a 383 stroker motor complete from carburetor to headers for $500 bucks from a guy off of craigslist. Never been run stored properly runs like a beast in his Chevy II.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:44 AM
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You are starting at the wrong end of the car!!

Changing the rear gears from the turd 2.41 or 2.56 set that is in there now for something like 3.23, 3.42 or 3.73 will do more for the feel of the car than any motor swap or engine mods you could do, short of adding nitrous or a blower.

These cars typically have awful awful awful highway rear gears in them unless they are the SS El Camino versions.

The reasons the SS Monte Carlos feel decent on acceleration even with the 305 in them is that the SS versions all have either 3.42(pre-Overdrive trans) or 3.73(with Overdrive trans) rear gears
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latexocowboy
I have heard the "just get a 350" argument from almost every corner and it makes sense on many levels. I would prefer to juice up the original engine though and would like some advice on which heads, intake and cam I should get to get what I can out of the 305. I have about a thousand bucks (maybe a little more) to put into it. THANKS for your help.
Just trying to help that's all and save you alot of future work and $$$$ but you might just really be happy with the beefed up 305 and with that said.
I agree %100 it's your ride do with it whatever you want, don't really matter to me and yes you can make the 305 perform decent and make it a nice driver, and like you said still be # matching, and i wasen't trying to put out that same old 305 vs 350 thing, i was just stating the fact that's all been there done that.
But i understand where your coming from on this i would save some more cash though if you really want to do it right IMHO
And if it's running good now i would look into some rear gears first as already stated by Eric. And as stated no you really can't tell any difference in the MPGs the power is where the difference is.
But being realistic i don't think $1000 is going to do for it what you are reaching/hoping for . JMO Have you priced a decent set of heads or cam kit / carb/exhaust/rear gears ? All these part's need to match up to reach the performance you want. And can you do the work yourself or are you going to pay to have it all done ? Just being honest with you.


Cole
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