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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 08-31-2010, 04:40 PM
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Get that 400 torn down and off to the machine shop for magnaflux and sonic testing. Unless there is a visible problem like a rod sticking out of the block.

Usually a pontiac motor castings are plenty thick enough but a sonic test isnt a bad idea for peace of mind.
Take your time ask ,a lot of questions and hang out around here for answers. This place is a wealth of performance knowledge

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 08-31-2010, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam83
I found a stellar deal on a 68 gto. I am still amazed that I got it. It is in fantastic shape, very straight, newer paint and vinyl top, new interior, good wheels and tires, clean engine bay. Everything is a dream except for the "rebuilt 400", or so he says it was rebuilt, it just seized up on me. Even so, the car was still a great buy.

Here's my story. I spent about everything I had on the car. Now it needs an engine. From what I have been reading, pontiac engines require experience to build, and they are not as easy to build right as a sbc. This would be my first engine build, so I'd rather not attempt to build an engine that requires a lot of care.. I would rather start on a cheaper project build like a ford 302 or 350 chevy.. Anyways, I have been looking online at complete engines, from places like Butler Performance. I am looking at about $7000 to $8000 minimum for a decent build. I roughly researched the parts and work I would need to build a decent street engine around 400hp, and the cost was about $3500 plus whatever the machine shop would cost, plus I would want them to assemble it too, so it would be right back up around 6 or 7 grand.

I dont have that kind of money. I have been looking for alternatives, and I was recommended to check out a gm 6.0 ls motor. I see there are a lot of them, and I might be able to get one for a good price, but I dont know if it will fit in my car or if I will end up spending just as much money in the long run gettin it set up and making the conversion.

I have found a 73 400 on craigslist, and he says it's been overhauled and is ready to drop in and go. He wants $2500. It is sounding like that is my only option at this point, but there are many risks I'd be taking such as I have no idea what he has really done to the motor or how long it will last.

What should I do? I really want to drive my car..
First I keep it all Pontiac. I'd boggie over to the parts store and pick up a copy of Jim Hand's Pontiac Engine Book and do some reading. Then I'd pull the motor out of the Goat and see what gives. The only thing I'd change is the rods in this or a replacement engine. Pontiac's Arma cast steel rod is the weak link in this engine. I know a lot of guys did some spectacular things with those rods in the engine, but these sweethearts are getting on in years and time is no more helpful to rods as it is to people. Loosing a rod is usually a catastrophic end to the rest of the engine, so if I were going thru it, I'd get a set of decent new forgings.

It isn't that the 400 wasn't a decent engine, it's just that the Goat began to loose its way and by 1968 became quite a porker for that 400 to pull around. If I was going to change the motor I'd hunt for a 455. Otherwise, just put what it has back in shape. If it's the original block it makes the car worth a whole lot more than it would with a different engine whether that engine was Pontiac's or somebody else's. When I was in the service, my partner in crime had a 65 tri-power and 4 speed, I had a 66 Fairlane GTA. It took a lot of redoing the 390 on my part to keep up; but 68 GTO's with 400's were easy pickins for both of us.

Bogie
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 12:19 AM
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Best Pontiac Forum:
http://forums.performanceyears.com/forums/index.php

Pontiac's are just as easy to build as Chevy's -- problem is that a builder must be aware of the differences between the two so they don't screw anything up. You could say that they are similar enough to get a builder in trouble because things look the same. Chevy has the left bank of cylinders more forward, Pontiac the right - so a Chevy guy will hang the pistons backwards unless he is familiar with Pontiac. Chevy distributor turns clockwise, Pontiac counter-clockwise -- anyway you get the idea. Both valve trains adjust exactly the same way. A competent local shop won't have a problem.

A 400 is a bored 389 - stroke is the same and cranks can be swapped along with heads and all internals. Head design continued to improve through the years until the government closed down the good times. Standard 400 heads out flowed all standard 389 heads. All Pontiac V8's are the same exterior size, and there is no big and small block Pontiac engine. The 389/400 have 3.00" main journals while the 421/428/455 all have 3.25" journals. Again, all heads and internal engine parts (excluding the cranks and pistons) can be swapped between any of them. Pontiac made up the differences in stroke by varying the pin height in the piston, so all stock Pontiac rods are the same length.

You can go to the aftermarket stroker crank, and it's a pretty fair deal if you do need to replace pistons, rods, and crank. Basically you end up with a 455 cubic inch engine in a 400 block.

Just like Chevy, the more money you spend, the cooler the parts.

Last edited by lust4speed; 09-01-2010 at 12:24 AM.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam83
...Is it possible to do A bottom end job without removing the entire engine from the car?...
Forgot to answer this - No. It is not even worth fighting with the engine in the car to replace a pan gasket. Take a look from the front of the car and you will see that the engine just about rests on the frame cross member. I would say that you spun a rod bearing, and the complete engine has to be taken all the way down to clean the particles that will have traveled everywhere - including ring lands and lifters to just name two places. Besides, with the engine out this will be a great time to detail the engine compartment.

Also, I just wanted to comment on smelling the oil smoke. If you can smell it from the passenger compartment going down the road, then it's probably an external oil leak hitting the exhaust header.

Safe operating range for an unknown quality of old engine rebuild should have been no more than 5,200 RPM. Those are good sized pistons hung on the end of the rod, and stock rod bolts like to stretch and let the bearing spin. It is not worth re-conditioning your old rods even if you could with all the inexpensive aftermarket rod choices available. Take a look at the rods and other parts available: http://www.pacificperformanceracing.com/
You can come in way below what you were quoted, and still have top quality parts in your rebuild.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 09:12 AM
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The Pontiac Expert

Dave Bishop at SD Performance is one of the best Pontiac engine builders in North America. He has crate engines ready to go and will build you a engine to meet your performance goals. Bishop can build a 462 CI Pontiac that you will be able to blow the doors of most of the competition. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, he is just next door.

SD Performance
Chilliwack, B.C.
Canada

E-mail:
GTORACING@SDPERFORMANCE.COM

Ph.:
(604) 392-2211

Website:
www.sdperformance.com
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 09:54 AM
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I was thinking since my funds are limited at this point, if my block is good couldn't I just buy a complete rotating assembly from pacific performance racing and have the local machine shop put it together for a solid bottom end? then I could assemble the rest of the engine myself, with the same heads, and then down the road put together a much better top end? If I do this, would it be better to wait and put a new cam in later or just get it and get it installed now at the same time?
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam83
I was thinking since my funds are limited at this point, if my block is good couldn't I just buy a complete rotating assembly from pacific performance racing and have the local machine shop put it together for a solid bottom end? then I could assemble the rest of the engine myself, with the same heads, and then down the road put together a much better top end? If I do this, would it be better to wait and put a new cam in later or just get it and get it installed now at the same time?
That's a decent plan, so many guys skip the part about a good bottom end and go to the power producing toys like heads and intakes. They put that stuff on a bottom end not up to the challenge and end up with a completely lost investment when the bottom comes apart.

Bogie
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbogie
That's a decent plan, so many guys skip the part about a good bottom end and go to the power producing toys like heads and intakes. They put that stuff on a bottom end not up to the challenge and end up with a completely lost investment when the bottom comes apart.

Bogie
I'll second that.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam83
I was thinking since my funds are limited at this point, if my block is good couldn't I just buy a complete rotating assembly from pacific performance racing and have the local machine shop put it together for a solid bottom end? then I could assemble the rest of the engine myself, with the same heads, and then down the road put together a much better top end? If I do this, would it be better to wait and put a new cam in later or just get it and get it installed now at the same time?

You should never buy a balanced rotating assembly from one person and have another person partially assembly the motor and then you do the final assembly. If there is some sort of failure, the other two guys are off the hook and you are on the hook.

Save your dough until you have enough money to buy a balanced and completely assembled crate engine from a reputable engine builder with some sort of written warranty. You will be much better off financially and happy with the results. If you use a reputable engine builder who specializes in Pontiac engines, ask him to suggest a engine combination that will meet you goals. There is no need for you to furnish anything.

Last edited by MouseFink; 09-01-2010 at 12:04 PM.
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 01:54 PM
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Bisschop (yes, his name is Bisschop and not Bishop), Butlers, Kauffmans are some of the top names in the Pontiac world - and you pay a hefty premium for their involvement (not to mention a big chunk of money getting parts shipped across the country - or in Dave's case across the border to Canada). If your 401K can take it, then by all means pay the money. My friends and I order parts from everyone depending on the need and use. One of my good friends in our club just received his KRE heads complete with shaft rockers and CNC'd ports along with other items from Dave - and no doubt paid more for those items than many of us have for our cars. The parts are so cool, they should be displayed on the coffee table and not hid in an engine.

A good machine shop will verify every part bolted on an engine - and at that point assumes the part of the liability for correctness of that part. In other words, they verify all critical crank specs and are liable to insure the proper sized bearings are used. I assemble and check everything I can, but still pay extra for my favorite shop to also check everything. It comes down to the fact that their measuring tools cost in the thousands of dollars while mine cost in the hundreds. I do all my own assembly and the assembly for many of our club members. I receive all parts back bare (including heads) from the shop and take my time on the assembly.

Rather a delicate subject, but we have returned parts or had to machine them correctly from every top dog supplier (except Dave). Things happen, and that's why selection of a good machine shop is so important. At one point or another, something is going to slip by quality control.

There is no magic in crate engines, and if you investigate the parts in them you will find the semi-affordable ones are using stock or stock-replacement parts. When the smoke settles you will find that you are paying a premium of anywhere from an additional 50% to 100% markup for being able to just drop an engine in.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 01:57 PM
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Great Goat!!

I had a '69 w/400 and the borg-warner 3 spd. She would boogie with the best and dust the rest.

If it is not numbers matching then it would be okay to find a good (new or rebuilt) crate engine from a reputable source.

Your 400 engine is the ticket if it is numbers matching (stamped code on block matches VIN of car), check with the PHS types to get the info on the other engine and trim codes.

Since you don't have a lot of experience building engines then get a reputable builder to help you. Most good honest shops will work with you to let you do what you know how to do.

Avoid the guys that are determined to help you spend your money. You don't need a drag racing engine in a street car.

Some prefer to go to an engine specialist (like SD), I prefer to find a reliable local machine shop and/or mechanic to work with.

While it's true that Pontiacs are different from Chevy's they are still engines and with good help, taking your time, and a modest investment you CAN build a nice motor to go in your Goat.

Double check all advice you get (online and off), some offer advice foolishly, others offer advice hoping to make a buck. Real car guys will be sincerely interested in helping you, and some actually know something about cars.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 04:10 PM
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I'll second that.
And I will third that
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 05:51 PM
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just pulled the coolant plug. Green, shiny and not a trace of oil or rust.. on to step 2
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:45 PM
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I found a number behind the #8 cylinder on the block. it is large and it says 9790071. And on the front of the engine, to the top left of the timing cover is another number, but it is very hard to read. I think it says 22_181 WT. I haven't got to get the number by the distributor yet, but according to the year one pontiac casting numbers web page, I think this is a 1968 400cid with 360hp. I dont know yet if this motor came from a gto though.. Are my assumptions right?
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2010, 06:54 PM
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I cant figure out my body tag from the ultimate gto page

it reads:

BODY BY FISHER
04C 045800 630141

ST 68-24237 BF09435 BODY
TR 23 B80 T2 PAINT
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