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Old 04-25-2005, 02:29 PM
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New to boards, '74 Camaro, lots of questions (long)

OK, where do I start? First, a little history on my ride: 1974 Camaro Type LT. I bought it from a guy I worked with who needed to get his wife a minivan (how sad is that), for next to nothing. The guy was an ultra-engineer, the type who would ignore hard evidence if it conflicted with what he read somewhere. It was my daily driver for two years before I began to appreciate it, and learn more about the world of the small block. Long story short, I put it in my barn when it became apparent that unless it got some TLC soon it would be off to the crusher for sure.

Than was nine years and three kids ago, and recently the stars aligned for me and I dug her out. It was like the engine was sealed in a block of plastic for all that time. New battery, fresh gas, clean oil and she roared on the second try, no starting fluid even. Some very bad things happened as well; the large nut that holds the pinion gear in place on the stock rear backed itself off and I experienced catastrophic rear failure on the first drive in the middle of an intersection. Man I never heard a noise like that before, thats for sure.

OK, this is the engine forum, so back on track now. Here is what I know (remember) about the engine:

stock block, bored 20 thousandths over
stock crank
stock bearing caps
unknown pistons, rods, rings, likely low to mid-range aftermarket
mild aftermarket cam (unknown origin, lift duration, etc.)
stock intake manifold
headers (complete with flat spots cause they hung too low) with stock exhaust
reworked quadrajet, unknown what was done, certainly nothing major.

Here's the kicker: The heads are what he referred to as "Dart fuel-ies", which means nothing to me. They are Dart aluminum heads, at least they say "Dart" on them and they are made out of aluminum.

Here's what I added:
HEI coil & distributor
Moser rear w/Eaton Posi (lifetime guarentee!) & 4.11 gears
Hedmann headers
custom 2.5" dual exhaust w/flowmasters and crossover

Thank you for reading so far if you have done so. If you haven't read this far, then your mother dresses you funny. I now have some cash to spend ($3000) and want to get the engine put together right. My only goal is smoking snot nosed punks driving mom's 5 series beemer off the line at stoplights on weekends. Period. Yes, ok, so I'm shallow, but sometimes shallow is FUN. Here are just a few of my many questions, and if anyone can answer a few/some/all of them I would be very appreciative.

1. how do I identify the cam and heads? Also, do I have 2 bolt, 4 bolt, or that odd two on the ends, four in the middle main bearing setup?
2. It idles and runs around town pretty well, but is hard to start when cold, and conversely when you jump on it it stumbles, cuts out, but recovers when the pedal is let up. Both I suspect are fuel supply problems. If I splash a little raw fuel in the horn, she starts on the first key. Oddly, on the acceleration problem, it acts like it is starving for fuel, but when you let off the gas the cabin fills with raw gas stink, yet no leaks apparent anywhere. hmmm.....
3. are any parts of my setup salvageable? It is obvious to me that the builder of this engine had no sense of what he was doing. Performance heads with a stock intake? Headers with stock exhaust? I know bikes, but am just starting to learn about small blocks. is there anything I have that sounds like an anchor for my new engine?
4. I suppose I could just go out and buy a matched top end kit and throw it in, but that seems cheesy to me for some reason. Kinda like the difference between building your own rig, versus buying a complete one out of hemmings. You get a chilly ride either way, but only one way lets you learn something. Is this a dopey attitude?
5. Please suggest some places where I find some more no BS info. I am not looking for general theory; I was an army trained diesel mech and have been tearing bikes down (and occasionally putting them back together) for 30 years. I am finding lots of info, but very little good info. Who is a trustworthy source?

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestion as that you can throw my way.

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Old 04-25-2005, 03:17 PM
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My vote is to yank it out, and start over, since it sat for so long, the valve springs are likely tired, the carb likely has old fuel residue in it resulting in flooding problems that just hasn`t reared it`s ugly head good enough yet but will get around to it. Why I say start over is so you know what`s installed instead of guessing, if the internals are in good shape then you can likely reuse most of it, so a rering and rebearing job would likely be of benefit.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:29 PM
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I agree with starting over for the reasons previoulsy stated. I am not sure what those heads are, so I dont know if you should stick with them or not. You can do some looking around to see what it would cost to have your motor torn down and rebuilt, but I would recommend buying a short block. Here is one that is offered by a company called Revolutinary Performance out of Tennessee.

http://www.revolutionaryperformance....t%20blocks.htm

Budget SBC 383 2 bolt main block, new cast steel 3.75" crank, resized OEM 5.7 rods, KB 'claimer' 5cc valve notch pistons (9.8:1 with 76cc heads or 11.1:1 with 64cc heads), file fit rings, flat tappet cam, double roller timing set, new balancer and flywheel $1599

I would have to assume that you could get what ever compression you want. From there, I would get a Vortec top end kit from Scoggin Dickey.

http://www.sdpc2000.com/catalog/2172...PM-Air-Gap.htm $950

This will supply you with everything for the top end of your motor. As for the cam, I would recommend the XE274H but that price is already included in the short block. So far this puts you at $2550. There are several misc. parts that the extra money will help pay for. This motor would make around 400 hp and 450 tq. I think you would be happy with the results. If you had any questions about the parts, I would call the companies that sell them. Both have great customer service.

Adam
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:15 PM
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my vote is to buy a new intake and carb(RPM Airgap and 650-700 cfm carb)...along with a fresh electric fuel pump and new line. Be sure to run a filter inline between the tank and pump incase of any rust( we don't want you to mess up a new pump and carb!).
-$400-750
leaving at least $2250 it may run good at this point

You did not mention the trans? This could take a good chunk of money depending. if it is a standard, cam it. if it is auto it needs a good shiftkit and a 2500-3500 rpm converter(again depending)

Your heads are probably ok but to be on the safe side pull the engine. Check it for wear on disassembly(bearings showing copper? ring groove at top of cylinder? valves sunk into the seats?) Check for leaky valves by squirting carb cleaner into each intake and exhaust port. What cc are the runners and combustion chambers?(150cc intake runner is small and 220 is huge with a 180-200 being good and a 76cc combustion chamber is large{lower compression-9:1 compression w flat-tops} and a 58 is tiny{ higher compression-11:1 compression w/flat-tops)

Step-up to a solid cam with about 525-550" lift or possibly even 550-575" lift hyd roller. of course change the valve springs to match.

aim for 10.5 compression with 11:1 being max.

What kind of longevity/power trade off do you want to make with a $3000 dollar budget, and again, what condition is the transmission in? How did the engine run before it went into storage?
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:43 PM
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Yeah, I would take a look at it before I rebuilt it. While those crate motors can be a good value, I avoid them due to the adverse impact it has on the local machinists and the local economy. I know that the crates have killed many machine/engine shops already and I wont contribute to anything that threatens a machine shop's owner, employees or myself when I need something done quick. Some of the best machine operators have been reduced to construction workers at our expense if we know it or not.

The better value lies in the fact that there will be a machine shop when you need it.
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:23 AM
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Not disagreeing with you maynard, but I`d blame Ebay before I would crate engines, Ebay has put many a machine shop, plus car audio/electronics shop out of buisness, and that list is still getting longer. Even the bigger suppliers like northern auto parts to small timers like dirt track thunder, now sell on ebay, and it`s kept them afloat.
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Old 04-26-2005, 06:47 AM
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You don't see many '74 Camaros anymore, they usually rusted away. Too bad as they are kind of a one year only, they had the 5 MPH front end and bumpers but still had the small rear window.

If it's the original block and the car had a 2 bbl. then it's a 2 bolt main, if it was a 4 Bbl. there is a fair chance it's a 4 bolt but after '74 the chances of even that are slim. All Chevy 4 bolt blocks had two bolt front and rear main caps so it's not "weird". Sounds like this guy spent some money on it so you may have a pretty decent shortblock on your hands it probably just needs freshened up. I'd definitely upgrade the cam to a more modern profile and replace the lifters and springs accordingly otherwise I guess it depends on what you find once you tear into the motor. I agree on the Performer RPM it seems to be the ultimate "universal" SBC intake but I'd be inclined to keep the Q-Jet and work with it.

If it's an automatic car (every Type LT I ever saw was) I'd swap in a tweaked 200-4R to go along with those 4.11's. After that I think I'd concentrate on the suspension, with some work that old F Body can take 'em through the corners too. Of course I've spent your $3000 and then some but I'm willing to bet you will too.
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Old 04-26-2005, 08:30 AM
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Thank you for the excellent replies, I appreciate it very much.
Adam:
Excellent! You got me where I want to go and slightly under budget, too! Thanks for the rundown on that information. I am checking them out right now. A question, though, are two bolt mains enough to stand up to 400HP? I am not disagreeing with you, I just don't know enough about it.

NSX:
Before the car was put up, it ran very well, but no great shakes performance-wise. Let me interject here why I bought this car in the first place. 6 months before I bought it, all the sheet metal except for the roof and hood were replaced with original stuff, and really well done. Also, the interior is immaculate. Come to think of it, it is really a shame it is from the "ugly years" for Camaro. Two different appraisers told me the car is worthless as a classic, being "undesirable" due to the styling changes forced by the massive aluminum I-beam they slapped on the front and back for the government. Ok, so now back on track.....

The transmission is the original, and has a B&M shift kit in it, I still have the box for it for some reason from the previous owner. The torque converter might as well be stock. The PO had a more radical shift kit and TC, but said that his wife complained about her head jerking when it shifted (*snicker*), so he changed it. Come to think of it, I should track him down and revoke his membership in the He-Man's-Women-Haters-Club. (any l'il rascals fans out there?) But I digress. My ham handed brother has convinced me in the past that a decent trans could be had from a junkyard for a reasonable price. Is this not the case? When I put the rear in, the good folks at Moser indicated the trans as the weak link, and suggested something more beefy. I was shocked at the prices at Jeg's etc., and pretty much let it drop.

As far as longevity/power - I will unabashedly admit I'm a John Milner wannabe. Here are my plans for this car. 1. punk dusting, as previously mentioned. 2. Dropping off my kids at school and doing smoky burnouts around the principal's car, earning me instant god-like status (Dad is great, choc-o-late cake!) with my offspring. 3. More smoky burnouts in front of my gazillionaire neighbor's house just as his stupid auto-cross Porsche club meets. 4. Even more smoky burnouts (can you sense a trend here?) at various youth sporting events, PTA meetings and the like, cementing my status as a cretin with the upstanding folks around town. Like I said, I'm shallow. It is not going to be a daily driver, but on the other hand I think it would be bad form to pepper my wife and kids with shrapnel through the firewall.

Maynard56:
Boy, I couldn't disagree with you more about the machine shops. You honestly believe that the crate motor industry is responsible for the decline of the mom and pop machine shop? Personally, I might put the blame elsewhere. What about NC automation? My ham handed brother is a tool and die guy and has his journeyman's card. He picks up work onesy twosey, and is keeping afloat, barely. How can he compete with a machine that does ten tiimes the work for 1/100th the price he must charge in 1/10,000 the time he takes to do the same job? Technology favors numbers.
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Old 04-26-2005, 09:26 PM
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As far as 400 hp goes with a 2 bolt, I dont think you would have any problems. I have a friend that races IMCA modifieds; he said that they run 2 bolts on their motors, and they run way more RPM than you will, and have more hp also. Just for good measure, you could call Revolutionary Performance and talk to them to see what they say in your situation.

Good luck
Adam
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Old 04-27-2005, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix_the_caT
Two different appraisers told me the car is worthless as a classic, being "undesirable" due to the styling changes forced by the massive aluminum I-beam they slapped on the front and back for the government. numbers.
Maybe it's "worthless" as a classic but with the price of classics going through the stratosphere it will come into it's own. It's still good street machine material so enjoy it and screw the appraisers.
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Old 04-27-2005, 08:10 AM
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first thing you should have done is to get both the casting #'s off the back of the engine and the engine code off the front of the engine and look both those up and find out what you have to start with.also pull one of the valve covers off and get the head #'s so you know which heads you have and can decide whether to redo them or buy new ones.the old one more than likely redone will be fine.all this info will also tell you if you have a 4 bolt or 2.
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Old 04-27-2005, 12:53 PM
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Thanks for the replies, now we're cookin'. Where do I find the head numbers? Will it be obvious? I'm gonna take some pictures tonight and post them so people can see what I'm working with.
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Old 04-27-2005, 03:21 PM
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whats the cranking compression?

how much oil pressure is it producing?

think the heads are going cause of age? do a CLT!

you may be able to just freshin it up. spend your money wisely.

my freind let his car sit for 8 years. he took off the carb and rebuilt it, new plugs, wires, battery. he primed it and it started right up. after running for 20 minutes he checked its compression had 165psi, and held it too.

2 bolt mains probably, which is fine. i doudt you will need anything else.

Last edited by spinn; 04-27-2005 at 03:29 PM.
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