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Old 11-14-2002, 09:37 PM

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Post Pontiac question

I am debating what to do with my cutlass. It has a 400 pontiac in serious need of a rebuild. When I got it, it had been setting outside and the intake was off along with one head being unbolted. So there is rust in the cylinders. Not all of them, but enough so that the whole thing will likely have to be bored out to clean it up.

Right now the only real positive for the motor I can think of is that the heads have smaller combustion chambers. So the heads are pretty decent. In stock form the motor put out 350-360 gross horsepower. I don't know how to convert that to net. Any help in that area would be appreciated.

I have about 2-3 options for a motor in my cutlass.
1. Rebuild the motor I have now. I am looking at maybe 1500 dollars for this option with the machine work and rebuild kits. But the motor would last me a good long while, hopefully. This is perhaps the best, but most expensive option.

2. Find a good working pontiac 400 or 455 and throw my heads on it. I should be able to get a decent motor for maybe 3-400 dollars and maybe spend 200 dollars having my heads reworked. So I am looking at maybe 700-800 dollars here, plus it would be probably be the quickest. The problem is that I have to pick a decent motor or else I will shortly be tearing it apart again. So this option has some $ advantages and some reliability questions.

3. I have always wanted a 500 caddy powered car. SO this is my third option. It can be done. It would need a special oil pan and custom headers/exhaust manifolds. So the cost would be somewhere in between the other two options as would the time to get the thing running. It would be marginally more expensive than option #2. It would have more power, yet would still have some of the same reliability questions as #2.

The motor question is really holding up my work on the car because I can decide what to do. I have gone back and forth with all the options. And I am no closer to making a decision. I mean money is an important part of this decision, but I don't want to be penny wise, pound foolish. I do want to get her done before the end of April. I know my skills are limited, but I also know I can do just about anything I put my mind to. So what would you do in my shoes?

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Old 11-14-2002, 11:12 PM
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Myself I would rather have something new and dependable with decent power than a raped ape with a few runs left. I would rebuilt the 400 and while your rebuilding it and its out of the engine bay do some custom work to make your car even cooler. This option may be more exspensive in the short term with lasting results, but how much will the others cost in the long term with possibly very short term results? It may take you longer to enjoy it after its done, but I think its worth it. Peice of mind while your cruisin is great, better than cruisin in peices

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Old 11-15-2002, 09:05 AM
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My recommendation would be to rebuild the Pontiac 400. Those are great motors and rebuild kits are not all that expensive either! Check with JC Whitney, Summit, Jegs, and even your local part stores. You should be able to get a complete rebuild kit for around $450. Machine work should be about $400 depending on the condition of the block, of course. I just built a 455 for under $800. Another good resource for parts is e-bay! I bought all new parts for the rebuild along with some performance upgrades separately for under $400.
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