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Old 04-23-2015, 10:32 AM
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1978 Camaro Makeover

Hey guys,

I put together this parts list and want to run it by y'all to see if these parts will be compatible. I want to make a high compression 350 that I can put together myself (no crate engines, please) and rebuild the Turbo 350 behind it, and also add in limited slip. I'd like to also redo the interior, and chassis. Basically it's all I'd ever want to put on this car.

It's a Google Sheet document that has all the parts listed with their prices and the quantity of each that I want. This is basically been put together for the past month, so go easy on me. My budget this summer will be about $12,000.

Here are the problems with the car-
Engine is bad
Tranny is meh
Rear end is open...
Gauges don't work anymore
Fuel system is leaky
Body damage (stupid storms and tree branches..)
Brakes are AWFUL

Other than that, it's a good car with 62,000 original miles, and I'm the second owner. Any suggestions?

355 Parts List (Google Sheets)

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Old 04-23-2015, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
Hey guys,

I put together this parts list and want to run it by y'all to see if these parts will be compatible. I want to make a high compression 350 that I can put together myself (no crate engines, please) and rebuild the Turbo 350 behind it, and also add in limited slip. I'd like to also redo the interior, and chassis. Basically it's all I'd ever want to put on this car.

It's a Google Sheet document that has all the parts listed with their prices and the quantity of each that I want. This is basically been put together for the past month, so go easy on me. My budget this summer will be about $12,000.

Here are the problems with the car-
Engine is bad
Tranny is meh
Rear end is open...
Gauges don't work anymore
Fuel system is leaky
Body damage (stupid storms and tree branches..)
Brakes are AWFUL

Other than that, it's a good car with 62,000 original miles, and I'm the second owner. Any suggestions?

355 Parts List (Google Sheets)
My take on this is that you are destined to waste all your money on a "money pit" that will not appraise for anything near what you have spent on it. Been there, done that too many times to count.
I was looking through the craigslist offerings in a few of the Texas cities and towns and found several '98-'02 Z-28's and Trans Am's with the LS1 powertrain, both in automatics and 6-speed manuals that could be bought complete and running for less than you will have in a warmed-over '78. Here, for example, is a convertible in Plano. CHICK MAGNET.
1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Step back and take a look at the big picture. Do you want a nice ride that you can be driving right now or do you want to have insane money invested in a '78 that will constantly be suckin' 100 dollar bills out of your wallet?
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Old 04-23-2015, 02:29 PM
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350 VORTEC longblock $2,000
Intake $125
Reuse your distributor and carb
Fuel System: $500 - 1000
Brakes: $1200
Rear Axle rebuild $600
Trans: 4L60e or 700r4 $1800-??
New wiring harness and fuses etc $600
Shifter for trans: $500
UMI suspension kit or similar: $1200
Paint?
Rims?
Tires?
Gastank?
Exhaust?
Alternator?
Radiator?
Seats?
Headliner?
Carpet?
Dashpad?
Console lid?
Steering wheel?
Air Conditioning?
New Glass?
Gauges?

My point is you've got all the bragging rights; and budgeted $21 for sparkplug washers...but no fuel pump.

Its the little incidentals that are going to kill you. Skip the bare block, et al. Buy the vortec crate long block. Its already a roller cam engine. Put a vortec-specific intake on there and a mid-lift roller cam. It needs an electric fuel pump.

You have a torque converter listed, but will this work with your rear gear and your cam to make a well thought out system?

Last edited by AutoGear; 04-23-2015 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:42 PM
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Tech- I'm not selling this car. Its my first car and I plan to have it until it literally rusts into nothingness. I'm sure I don't want any car past the year 1979.

AutoGear- True, but the fact is, I already have a fuel pump and regulator. Anything not listed is what I already have as of now. Notice I listed no distributor, either. Also, no intake.


I'm looking to make this a nice, drag-style car that I can use as a daily driver. (Yes, I know) I really don't care about gas mileage whatsoever. Like I really don't. I don't drive too much, maybe 10 miles a day. I just want this to be the dream car I have wanted since I was a kid. A crazy overpowered V8 '78 Camaro. And tech, all I have to do is rev the car and its a "chick magnet" lol, I have custom dual exhaust and cutouts.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
A crazy overpowered V8 '78 Camaro.
OK then, but if that's the case, I'd begin with a 454 big block and stroke it 1/4". There is little point in sending in a boy to do a man's job. Locate some 781 or 049 oval port heads, install larger valves and hang on. Build it around 9.5:1 static compression ratio with a tight squish, 0.035" to 0.045", and run it on pump gas. I can help you with all the math and parts selection. Just ask.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:56 PM
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. What was the current engine in there? I'd suggest:


. Since buying a rotating assembly, might as well go a 383" one...


. Since buying a block and rotating assembly, might as well buy ones that match and skip the rear seal adapter...

. Skip the hokey low lift for OEM-style lifters Thumpr cam and OEM adapter stuff and put a real roller cam in there with high lift for power... for high lift style linked retro-style roller lifters (like shown in your listed cam kit, but don't actually come with it)... step back about 10 degrees on duration to about 234/244... to better match heads and for more daily drivability... Howard's real roller cam/real roller lifters at a better price...


http://www.summitracing.com/parts/hr...FQoKaQodRzMA2A

. Switch to custom built torque converter:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/GM-350-TH350...-/271837925321

. 650 CFM carb. too small for your build, jump to 750 CFM... What's on there now?


. Gauges prolly work if hooked up...
.

Last edited by BuzzLOL; 04-24-2015 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 04-24-2015, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
Tech- I'm not selling this car. Its my first car and I plan to have it until it literally rusts into nothingness. I'm sure I don't want any car past the year 1979.

AutoGear- True, but the fact is, I already have a fuel pump and regulator. Anything not listed is what I already have as of now. Notice I listed no distributor, either. Also, no intake.


I'm looking to make this a nice, drag-style car that I can use as a daily driver. (Yes, I know) I really don't care about gas mileage whatsoever. Like I really don't. I don't drive too much, maybe 10 miles a day. I just want this to be the dream car I have wanted since I was a kid. A crazy overpowered V8 '78 Camaro. And tech, all I have to do is rev the car and its a "chick magnet" lol, I have custom dual exhaust and cutouts.
Look out for long tube headers. That was the only problem we encountered over and over : dragging the ground. Maybe you know this already. Best of luck.
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Old 04-24-2015, 12:42 AM
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. Oops, cam linked above was for big block, here's small block one:


http://www.summitracing.com/parts/hrs-cl110265-12
.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:02 AM
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You guys are great!

Alright, I don't want to put a big block in because it's just.... a big block. I don't know if it will fit in there.....it may look like there's a lot of room (enough for me to stand in it when I'm tinkering) but a big block may just destroy the car. It's originally a small block 305 car, and the last owner foolishly put an RPM intake with a Holley DP 750 on top. Yes, seriously. The thing idled at 1500, any lower and it would die. Anyways, these are good pieces of advice. I have shorty headers, so I don't have to worry about that. The cam is a good idea, but I'd like 108 degrees of lobe separation to get that nice lopey idle. (I'll need to budget in a vacuum canister as well, I suppose) Now, I know some people absolutely LOVE crate engines. I'm one who does, too. When I'm in a rush, though. I like to do it myself, save money, not time.

I don't want a 383 because of that stroke:bore ratio, it just doesn't seem right to me. I want as short a stroke as possible, while still maintaining a good displacement. Also, on there now is an Edelbrock 600cfm Performer.

Here is what I'd like to have on this build-

Short stroke while maintaining displacement
Engine can't be more than about $6,000
Radical cam for a lopey idle (I want to vibrate other cars at the stoplight)
High compression (>9.5 but <11) ((flat top or dome pistons))
Torque converter doesn't matter to me, so long as it works with 3.73 gearing
Aluminum heads
MUST be a roller cam

Honestly though, if a big block is what it takes, then I will do that.

Also, if the gauges weren't hooked up in the first place I'd look like a total idiot lol, they're all hooked up, but just not working anymore, so I need all new ones. (Plus I wanna go electric sender units as much as possible...modernise the thing a little bit)

Basically, this is just my dream first car. I want this to be something I can look at at the car show and say, "Yeah, I built that myself. All of it." and be telling the truth. This car is my baby, and we all know how that feels. I have others, yeah, but this one takes priority. (I have a '40 Chevy, '54 Chevy, Model T's and A's, an International Scout, a '38 American LaFrance, and some 'Vettes) but this Camaro is what takes the #1 spot right now. I'm basically redoing everything with it, so I wanna do it right. That's why I'm spending so much on this. I want brand-new parts only, I've had bad experience with used parts, and I want quality.

Remember one thing, I want this to be kinda streetable (at least where I can drive it on a nice, dry day, I won't be driving her in the rain) so that I can pass safety inspections. I don't care about gas AT ALL. It's worth every penny to me. Back last summer with the 305, I was spending $20 a day in gas for about 2 months. And I still had plenty to do other things, so gas isn't what I'm worried about. What I'm worried about is this thing lasting another 40 years past this. Another 62,000 miles, and more.

Again, thanks you guys!! I can't get enough of y'all's advice!
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:24 AM
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A mild BBC will get you everything you want better than a more radical SBC AND you will have NO gas mileage to speak of!!! LOL!


Seriously, you seem to want an old school style engine. Go 427 L88 style but in a 10.5-1 454-468ci with aluminum heads and a roller cam...guaranteed to be a thrill to drive and get ALL the right noises from. EPS high rise 2 plane, 850vac sec, Hooker long tubes, MSD ign...believe me, it WILL be a runner. Forgot about the trans suggestion...a turbo 400 with a shift kit, 2500stall convertor, 3.73's in the rear and hang on!

Last edited by steeny; 04-24-2015 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 04-24-2015, 09:18 AM
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I'd disagree that a '78 Camaro is a waste of money; especially compared to a '98 or that era. Although the late 2nd gen Camaros aren't worth what a 1st gen, or early 2nd gen are, they are certainly beginning to go up in value very quickly in recent times. How much you invest in it is your decision, and that's rarely based on whether it's going to sell for what you put in. We love our cars, and most of us do this as a hobby, not an investment. Rare for anyone to build a hotrod, and get their money back.
I'd want to build the car so it would be fun, but not so radical that it can't continue to get decent mileage, and drive well. I'd also consider tossing the TH350 in favor of a OD automatic, as it will make the car even more enjoyable to drive on the open road.
I'd stick to a milder build in the 350-375hp range. Plenty of get up and go, but not crazy. When you go through the rear axle, I'd put a decent posi in, and use a gear ratio of around 3.56 to 3.73, so it will have good acceleration, but with the OD trans, still get good highway mileage.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:35 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention, I'm rebuilding my TH350 with a TCI Pro Super kit (Same parts as the Super StreetFighters) so it will hold up to all that. The Turbo 400 is a little heavier and longer, so I'd have to modify the driveshaft. (I'll replace it if I have to....as in when I snap it in half)

I don't want to buy a new tranny, I'd rather rebuild this one. And change out the rear end to a limited slip.

If you check that Google Sheet, it has multiple sheets at the bottom, Powertrain, Drivetrain, Saftey, Accessories, and Wheels & Tires. I've even accounted for some Fluids... And I want more than just 350 HP. I don't wanna just beat other cars at the stop lights, I want to absolutely destroy them. Like I wanna be able to pull over and sit on my hood by the time they reach me. I want at least 400, if not 450. This setup should make about 490, based off of the parts. Basically, if I do a big block, my budget is GONE. So a small block is better suited, but if I have to push back the car running for a few more months, it's fine. Summer I should make enough to build the engine and upgrade the driveline. The rest will come later on as I can afford it. (Unless my parents are feeling generous..)

I hope you guys know how much I appreciate all this advice!!
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:59 AM
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build a very mild 454/496,use a turbo 400 transmission(easy swap)
You wont be destroying anyone stop light to stop light if its a little Honda or other small Japanese car.
you are dealing with a heavy car ,,,
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:07 AM
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I don't know why you place such an emphasis on short stroke, all that results in is an engine that is going to get you beat by everyone because it is too small and lacks torque. A '78 Camaro is HEAVY in hotrodder and racer terms, its a near 3900 lb barge unless you gut the bumpers and doors and swap on a fiberglass hood.

Your comment "don't want a 383 because of that stroke:bore ratio, it just doesn't seem right to me" is just completely incorrect and just flies in the face of solid engineering principles, a good 383 is going to run away from any full tilt peewee 350 you can put together. Better yet would be a 3.875" stroke crank and turn that 350 block into a 396. A 7500 rpm 383 or 396 isn't enough rpm for you??!

If you think stroke to bore ratio has any big emphasis on power and longevity of a street/strip engine then you've got a lot to learn yet. Similar to the guys who think rod length to stroke ratio has any real importance too.

If you want to scare the pups like you are the big dog, putting a Chihuahua under the hood isn't going to get it done, you need a big Pit Bull or Rottweiler.

Shoot for a streetable 500 HP 383 or 396 stroker(unless you can find a good 400 block, then build a 406 or 421) because cubic inches are king......a short stroke motor will just end up being all bark and no bite, a Poseur engine.

Don't be the often typical Mullet-head caricature Camaro owner
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:09 AM
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Where I live its like a half mile from each stop light to another. I'm not worried about a little ricer, especially the ones around here. I've only heard ONE blowoff valve out of the heard of ricers here. Other than that, all they have is a muffler and decals.....its pretty funny when they rev.
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