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Old 07-21-2002, 03:16 PM
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ok i just got my first car its a 78 el camino and im just starting to learn about cars the car runs but i want to start fixing up the engine what would be some good hi proformance parts to put on it? its a v6 the guy said that it had a buick engine i was thinking of buy a k&n air filter for it but if you could please help me out thanks

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Old 07-21-2002, 07:45 PM
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A K&N always helps, but if I were you I'd save my money and buy a V-8, 350. Just worry about getting in running and getting the things that aren't working or not working to well fixed. I know my first car had alot of those...Lights wouldn't work, no windsheild wipers, speedometer didn't work, stearing wheel was cracked and when you got in you had to position your arse just right or you might get impailed by a rusty seat spring...ahhh a '58 impala...niff...niff...miss that car.

HK
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Old 07-22-2002, 07:46 AM
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hk has the right idea, go v8. the early g.m. v6 was a junk motor, disposables, toss them when they give up the ghost. i wouldn't waste a dime on that motor. maybe a donor car, find a wreck and with low miles and use everything you can. k&n are great filters, i run them in every vehicle i have but wouldn't put that in the motor you have, save the bucks for the v8. in the meantime do the small stuff, labor is cheap when you do it yourself. el caminos are cool and collectable, they don't build them anymore and your car should gain in value. dan
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Old 07-22-2002, 12:10 PM
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My respectable family car is a 78 malibu Wagon. I'm having a blast with it. there are so many interchangable parts available in the bone yard. HK is on the right track. Fix the body stuff and the interior. Dinger bis right as well. That V-6 is a good boat anchor. While it runs, keep the hood closed. save your money for a donor car.I think anything up to a 87 will be a bolt in swap. That Elco should be a fun ride when you are finished. I have a cowl induction glass hood on the wagon because I couldn't pass up the deal. Parts for these are still easy to come by.
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Old 07-22-2002, 02:53 PM
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thanks for your help how much do you think a v8 will cost?
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Old 07-23-2002, 08:57 PM
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C_T....The price is really gonna depend on the shape of the motor, weather its been rebuilt lately, how many miles are on it, etc. etc. .
I mean it can go from a couple hundred dollars for a running motor with 60 thousand miles right up to a couple thousand for a crate motor. Dont let anyone talk you into going with a 305....I would either go with a 327 or a 350, you'll never be satisfied with a 305...all V-8's arent created equal. Also stay away from junk yard motors unless you bring someone with you that knows what to look for. Those guys will screw you in a heart beat. Always check the casting numbers. I had a guy give me what he thought was a 305 and he didnt want to spend money rebuilding a 305....when i got it home I ran the casting numbers on <a href="http://www.mortec.com" target="_blank">www.mortec.com</a> and it turned out to be a 350, and a high nickel 350 at that. Just keep your eyes open and take your time and if you have any more questions dont be afraid to ask....there are guys on this site that live to answer those questions.

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Old 07-24-2002, 07:15 AM
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hey, man.
welcome to the site, and congrats o your new ride. those are sharp cars. made some of 'em with 454's. I agree, don't get a 305. four bolt 350 is a good idea. that will be the cheapest, most decent v-8 for a new driver. you should be able to get a rebuilt 350 for $1200 or so. good luck
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Old 07-24-2002, 09:08 AM
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Ok ya'll don't be to hard on that Buick V6 , I am driving a 79 Le Mans that has 260,000 on it and I would say that it is not a hot rod but it is the most dependable vehicle I have ever own. I will note that I did rebuild the 231 at 200,000 and if I had it to do over I would have gone with a V8 but all in all the Buick 231 V6 is a very good motor in my opinion.
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Old 07-24-2002, 11:46 AM
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Hey Slyfox....I used to have a 76 LeMans with a 400 Pontiac. That was a huge heavy car but man it was fast. Sure wish I wouldnt have got rid of that one.

C10
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Old 07-24-2002, 12:03 PM
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my sister had a 78 reagal w/a3.8turbo it ran good but was a little cranky sometimes
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Old 07-24-2002, 12:56 PM
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I have 2 Buicks with the 3.8 v6 and it is one of the better engines ever made. I also had one in a Lumina MPV and it never gave us any trouble. It has plenty of power and even more in the turbo version. Try driving a Bonneville SSEi and you'll see for yourself or talk to anyone who has.
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Old 07-24-2002, 01:14 PM
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I agree, with these guys, you'll be satisfied with the 350, but you wont be disatisfied with the 305 in that car...I have bought many of 305's and have been satisfied with the performance and how cheap you can find them and build them up...if you're going to be racing the car, then the 305 isn't the way to go...I would go with a 327 if you can find one, I helped a friend put on is his 66 chevy II, bored .30 over, ported and polished heads, pop up pistons, dual quad setup...it beat any nova or any chevy for that matter with a 350...
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:23 PM
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I have to throw in my vote with YES on 327. There is something unearthly about the torque that engine can achieve. 350s are nice too.

But not all 350's are equal. --Someone who knows more than I do please tell Tim the good years of 350's to look for, and the years to avoid--

also Tim, remember that there are 350's made by different car companies. The olds 350 is widely regarded as being excellent. The Buick 350 less so. But this could just be people I know talking about stuff they know nothing about.

I would warn you against the 305 & 307, but I don't want to sound like a snob. I have been unimpressed with a lot of engines, and maybe it's just because I never met one that had been built right. Has any one of you ever seen a 1980 403 that really wailed? I haven't.

Somewhere out there is a fast 307, and maybe you'll find it. I've never seen a fast 305 though. I once drove a 305 firebird in the 80's and I couldn't believe how slow it was. I could have beaten it with my huge old 79 Buick with its not-terribly-fast pontiac 301!

If you can have fun with less horsepower, you're just less greedy than the rest of us. That's a virtue : )

And I don't want to start a fight with our good pals here who love their 3.8s, but without superchargers, they are not the same. But the Bonneville 3.8s with superchargers? Hell Yes!

And while we are discussing the Buick/Pontiac 3.8, does anyone know if this is the same motor down the years? or if there were two completely different GM aluminum v6 3.8s?

And does anyone know what year they went from being absolute junk to being a good reliable engine? SlyFox & Mertz are the very first folks I have ever heard say anything kind about that poor little motor. I have heard a lot of complaints about them though. I gotta keep an open mind!
: )

It is really confusing, because SlyFox's '79 3.8 is good, and my wife's '97 3.8 is good, but in the 80's I heard a lot of people cursing the day that engine was born. what happened there?
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:44 PM
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My 3.8s are in a 89 Park Avenue and a 92 Park Avenue. I don't remember the year of my wife's lumina but it must have been late 80s. I forgot my son has one in his 92 Bonneville and loves the car. It has never given him any trouble and that is good since he is a young college student.
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Old 07-24-2002, 05:56 PM
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my 81 el camino has a 3.8 229 ci not the buick 3.8 i love it still gets 18 mpg and passes smog test i mean its not fast but it looks fast 4 inch cowl hood filled tail gate custom rear bumper weld wheels there are all sorts of things to do now i added power windows and locks tilt cruise a/c soon to come all of it came from bone yards or swapmeets skys the limit man i could go on and on good luck
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