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Old 12-16-2008, 05:42 AM
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Olds 350 1971 heads - valves

Hello there. I have a set of 350 heads - Casting Number 409147, from a 1971 Olds engine. I will install them on a 403 engine for a 1979 Trans Am (matching numbers, so please no engine swap advice. Thank you very much.). The problem that I have is that right now I don't have the valves for the set of heads, and though I know the width dimensions for them (1.880 or 1.995 for the intakes and 1.567 or 1.624 for the exhausts) nobody has been able to tell me the length of the valves, and no seller, from the ones I've contacted, has a clue of which valves should be installed on 1971 409147 350 Olds heads. I offer them the dimensions written above, and every one of them has replied asking for valve length.

Please help, as the heads are already at the machine shop!!!!!

Thanks!!!

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Last edited by bandit79jun; 12-16-2008 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:41 AM
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Can anyone help me on the situation posted above?
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:06 AM
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Unfortunately, the answer is "it depends". See Mondello's site:

http://www.mondellotwister.com/ValvesSprings.htm

More important than actual valve length is getting the valve tips at the proper height relative to the deck. This is due to the non-adjustable valvetrain design. Olds used a factory gauge to set this height. Mondello sells a version of it. Also note that the 403 can use the largest 2.072/1.710 valves.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:57 AM
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I know you're concerned with "numbers matching" but an adjustable roller rocker set would fit underneath the valve cover... And today's cams are much better too- if you're not looking for a perfect numbers amtching resto.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:56 AM
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valve length

Something you need to check is valve retainer to valve guide clearance. I know this wasnt your question, but is somthing you need to look at. If you run a cam with more than .500 lift, you can have problems with the retainer smashing the valve seal. Machine the valve guide to .700. This is all covered in Mondellos tech guide
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:11 PM
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I truly wish you all the luck in the world!!!! My last project was a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am with the 403 olds motor, It seemed that no matter what I did this car was like Christine. One thing I can tell you is if you deck the block or mill down the heads this motor is a nightmare. Trust me I spared no expense in my project($2,000 in motor and $1,200 at the emergency room for almost hitting an artery on the valley pan gasket). All I did was bend push rods and the motor rejected every damn thing I did, and I bought all Edelbrock parts for it. I also had all the machine work done by professionals also. I'm sure that you dont want to hear this, but that car did come with a Pontiac 400 which would still be considered a 6.6 motor and you would have more value in it with that motor in it, plus it's a hell of a lot more forgiving a motor to work on. Nobody wants that car with the Olds motor. I feel for you big time. You wont loose originality in it with a 6.6 Pontiac motor. TRUST ME!
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80's rule!
I truly wish you all the luck in the world!!!! My last project was a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am with the 403 olds motor, It seemed that no matter what I did this car was like Christine. One thing I can tell you is if you deck the block or mill down the heads this motor is a nightmare. Trust me I spared no expense in my project($2,000 in motor and $1,200 at the emergency room for almost hitting an artery on the valley pan gasket). All I did was bend push rods and the motor rejected every damn thing I did, and I bought all Edelbrock parts for it. I also had all the machine work done by professionals also. I'm sure that you dont want to hear this, but that car did come with a Pontiac 400 which would still be considered a 6.6 motor and you would have more value in it with that motor in it, plus it's a hell of a lot more forgiving a motor to work on. Nobody wants that car with the Olds motor. I feel for you big time. You wont loose originality in it with a 6.6 Pontiac motor. TRUST ME!
Well, thanks for the advice and your point is well taken, but first, it is a low-mileage matching numbers S/E Trans Am. Second, I won't mill heads or deck the block. That will obviously bend the push rods, I think. Third (and I know the Pontiac 400 is a venerable engine), I only want to improve hp/torque, not a drag car. As for originality, if the engine does not match the VIN, it is obviously not original. Fourth, I live in Puerto Rico and here, if cops find out that the engine does not match the VIN, they will impound your car until it all clears out, which can be a time frame of 6 months. Fifth, you tell that no one wants a car with the Olds engine... well, I want my car with the Olds engine!!! (...even if it's just to match the VIN), and I know I'm not alone... Maybe you wanted more than the engine could give, which will not be my case. And don't get me wrong, I would have preferred to have a T/A with an original Pontiac engine, but since that is not the case... Anyway, again thanks for the advice!!!!!!

Last edited by bandit79jun; 12-19-2008 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Unfortunately, the answer is "it depends". See Mondello's site:

http://www.mondellotwister.com/ValvesSprings.htm

More important than actual valve length is getting the valve tips at the proper height relative to the deck. This is due to the non-adjustable valvetrain design. Olds used a factory gauge to set this height. Mondello sells a version of it. Also note that the 403 can use the largest 2.072/1.710 valves.
THANKS FOR THE ADVICE, JOE! I will contact Mondello to see if they can help me with the problem.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:56 PM
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Thank you all for the advice! i'm new to Olds engines, and I really appreciate that you've taken time to help me!
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80's rule!
I truly wish you all the luck in the world!!!! My last project was a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am with the 403 olds motor, It seemed that no matter what I did this car was like Christine. One thing I can tell you is if you deck the block or mill down the heads this motor is a nightmare. Trust me I spared no expense in my project($2,000 in motor and $1,200 at the emergency room for almost hitting an artery on the valley pan gasket). All I did was bend push rods and the motor rejected every damn thing I did, and I bought all Edelbrock********************* for it. I also had all the machine work done by professionals also. I'm sure that you dont want to hear this, but that car did come with a Pontiac 400 which would still be considered a 6.6 motor and you would have more value in it with that motor in it, plus it's a hell of a lot more forgiving a motor to work on. Nobody wants that car with the Olds motor. I feel for you big time. You wont loose originality in it with a 6.6 Pontiac motor. TRUST ME!
My father still have that ole faithful '79 T/A. There are just few guys build some 403 engines for their T/As, I want to be unique.

Last edited by powerrodsmike; 12-21-2008 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Advertising. Please see: commercial posting guidelines.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandit79jun
Well, thanks for the advice and your point is well taken, but first, it is a low-mileage matching numbers S/E Trans Am. Second, I won't mill heads or deck the block. That will obviously bend the push rods, I think. Third (and I know the Pontiac 400 is a venerable engine), I only want to improve hp/torque, not a drag car. As for originality, if the engine does not match the VIN, it is obviously not original. Fourth, I live in Puerto Rico and here, if cops find out that the engine does not match the VIN, they will impound your car until it all clears out, which can be a time frame of 6 months. Fifth, you tell that no one wants a car with the Olds engine... well, I want my car with the Olds engine!!! (...even if it's just to match the VIN), and I know I'm not alone... Maybe you wanted more than the engine could give, which will not be my case. And don't get me wrong, I would have preferred to have a T/A with an original Pontiac engine, but since that is not the case... Anyway, again thanks for the advice!!!!!!
Well I did not have all those facts before I gave my input, I guess if I were you then all I would do then is buy a rebuild kit from summit and just do a standard rebuild on the car from top to bottom. Machine it and clean it, then enjoy.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:15 PM
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Olds engine

Let me vent for a few minutes, the Olds 403 engine is a very good engine. However like every engine family, they all have issue that need to be addressed. For starters the heads on the 403 leave much to be desired. The combustion chamber and port design were created with emission compliance and not performance in mind.Secondly, Olds non adjustable valvetrain is another problem that needs to be dealt with. Keep in mind the Olds was intended to be a high torque,low rpm engine.Chances are the car came with 3.08 gears (if your lucky!) which works well with the torque these engines are known for. Using the earlier heads is an easy way to gain improved airflow and much needed compression (most 403 were about 8 to 1 at best). Convert to an adjustable valvetrain with a modern conservative camshaft, and improve the exhaust and induction and have fun!
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80's rule!
I truly wish you all the luck in the world!!!! My last project was a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am with the 403 olds motor, It seemed that no matter what I did this car was like Christine. One thing I can tell you is if you deck the block or mill down the heads this motor is a nightmare. Trust me I spared no expense in my project($2,000 in motor and $1,200 at the emergency room for almost hitting an artery on the valley pan gasket). All I did was bend push rods and the motor rejected every damn thing I did, and I bought all Edelbrock parts for it. I also had all the machine work done by professionals also. I'm sure that you dont want to hear this, but that car did come with a Pontiac 400 which would still be considered a 6.6 motor and you would have more value in it with that motor in it, plus it's a hell of a lot more forgiving a motor to work on. Nobody wants that car with the Olds motor. I feel for you big time. You wont loose originality in it with a 6.6 Pontiac motor. TRUST ME!
I never use those dang valley tray intake gasket for an Olds anymore. I have some battle scars myself.

Bending the pushrods was probably due to having too long of a pushrod, and the Olds not having an adjustable valvetrain. The problem is compounded with a cam over .500 lift if you did in fact have one that large.

Checking the pushrod length during assembly should be done with an Olds, as with any engine for that matter.......especially when decking the block or milling the heads was done. The Olds engine "rejecting" the parts you put in was not the fault of the design of the Olds engine. It might have something to do with not being familiar with the intricacies of an Olds.

I don't think Summit has a 403 rebuild kit, and I wouldn't recommend it anyways.

There is a guy who has a T/A with the 403 that is running mid-11s on pump gas. They can run, and run well.

As far as the valve size and lengths, the valve sizes were probably 1.875" intake and a 1.562" exhaust. The valve lengths varied but I believe that year the valves were 4.740" long. Both had a 45* valve face/seat.

As joe padavano said, you can have the largest valves installed, and if done properly, that thing will be able to really breathe. The huge bore of the 403 (4.351") will thank you for the bigger valves.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:17 PM
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adjustable roller rockers, if your going to put that money into a low mileage matching numbers car, adjustable roller rockers, so much easier than the factory pedestal mounts, and their a little more forgiving on the pushrod length issue. not many companys deal oldsmobiles, so chances are, who ever you buy from (i got mine from mondellos, and lynn said he had a chart for compairson), as long as you make them believe your going to buy from them, they will be very helpful. they sold me a kit(which is normal) that had rockers, guides, and correct length pushrods for my new cam lift and duration. which would need to be changed even if the block was decked or head milled, and for the same reason edelbrock reccomends adjustable pushrods on their performer rpm package.
if you know how to turn a wrench, and read, you can correctly install the new rockers with probably bettter accuracy than the factory rockers in about 15mins time. ive done it.
all oldsmobile small block valves are the same length from the factory, the ones on edelbrocks performer rpm heads are longer than factory, but everything else is interchangeable for the most part.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutlass-s
all oldsmobile small block valves are the same length from the factory, the ones on edelbrocks performer rpm heads are longer than factory, but everything else is interchangeable for the most part.
The small block Olds valves are not all the same length from the factory.

As far as Mondello goes, I have not had a positive experience with them, and know many others who have said the same. If you need an adjustable valvetrain setup, you could just get a Comp Cams rocker conversion set:

http://store.summitracing.com/egnsea...&DDS=1&N=700+0
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