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Old 07-06-2016, 07:28 PM
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Project: Budget Fun.

Hello everyone!
I've been driving myself nuts trying to figure out how to go about my build. I have a 79 Monte with stock 305, th350 trans, 7.5 rear with open 273s. From what I've seen the car is between 3,000lbs to 3,200lbs. My budget will be pretty tight and will get parts as often as possible.

This car will be a semi daily driver/weekend warrior i Guess u could say. I'd like to get to the 350 or 450 hp range eventually. I know it will take a while to get there on my budget. That's why I want to make small changes until I can get a better engine. I'd like to get upgrades that can accommodate me know and still fit a bigger/better sbc. I'm looking for tire smoke, good off the line performance and light to light action.

Ideas:

Jegs Gbody long tube headers (1 5/8) and full exuast kit (2.5in)

Trans seems to be in great shape so I'll keep it for now and get the Transgo th350 kit.

Rear end. I know the 7.5 isn't great. All real upgrades seem to be hefty in price for this topic. There's a 85 s10 in my local junk yard. It should have the 26 spline set up like mine. I was thinking of taking the diff, ring and pinion from it. Should be better than my 2 series diff.

Intake and carb. I've seen the edelbrock performer set for decent money. This sounds good since it's advertised to fit many sbc engines.

Bigger upgrades (engine). I'm thinking a beefy 350. I'm not sure what Era to go with. This will be down the road, but I'd like to get opinions. Someone suggested the l31 from Jegs. What kinda work would be required to fit that truck long block in?

Cam. Is there something better that will help my 305 now and something that'll also improve a 350 later?

Thanks for any and all comments and advise. This will be my first real stab at heavily modifying a vehicle. So please forgive my possible ignorance. Also if you could help with a logical order in which I should do my upgrades.

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Last edited by RegMan; 07-06-2016 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Missed
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:21 PM
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If you are going to be driving the car you are going to want to get parts that can be swapped out quickly and that will work with your ultimate goal in mind as well as now.
The TransGo transmission reprogrammer is good and it only require pulling the valve body out of the transmission, modifying it and reinstalling.
You are going to want a stronger rear end because the 7.5 isn't going to survive with your ultimate goal. I would suggest a complete rear end from the wrecking yard. Find a 12 bolt that will fit, has better brakes and the gear ratio you want. Clean it up, make any mods you will need, replace the seals and bearings and brakes while driving your car. When it is finished and painted you can swap it in in a weekend. You will want a stronger driveline with different U-joints to fit the new rear end - get it with the rear end and have it shortened to fit your car if necessary.
Working on each piece and then installing it will keep your car on the road without interruption and you only have to buy the parts once because you are buying the parts that are for the finished build. The last step will be the engine. You can have it completely ready to bolt in and do the swap in a weekend. When you replace your engine you can have a larger radiator and a transmission cooler already installed so it is ready to go.
Doing the build in this way keeps your car usable and you get to see the added performance as you go. You also won't have broken parts that fail because you added a bunch of power before the rest of the car was ready for it.
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it. That's more less what I was thinking.

The issue with the 12 bolt is price, everything is pricy. Cheap ones I've seen recently were truck ones. That would take a lot of work and might be more expensive to fit.

What would good be a good candidate for engine, cam, carb, intake, heads? etc

The l31engine from jegs is $2000 and has vortec heads. It's a long block for mid 90s trucks? Would this work or be worth it?
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:24 AM
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If your not going to build a 350 from a bare block on up, then the L31 Deal is a great starting place because it has really good heads, good block, and it is hydraulic roller cam IIRC.
Problems with it would be that the intake has the Vortec specific pattern, so a performance intake that fits your current 305 heads won't bolt up to it.
Second problem would be that it has no mechanical fuel pump provision on the block, which means you would have to go to a electric fuel pump set-up....but it doesn't have to be the in-the-tank type, it can be an external pump. that's easy to work around.
Problem 3 may be the truck oil pan, you'll have to do some searching to verify this but the truck pan may not fit the Monte chassis, and you can't just swap the 305 pan because the L31 is a 1-piece rear main seal engine, and the 305 is 2-piece....and the pans are different in the rear where they go over the rear main seal area.
Problem 4 would pertain to using any 1-piece rear seal block, the flexplates will be different than one for a 2-piece seal engine, but that is just an easy swap.
Everything else beyond that is just a easy swap, motor mounts and accessory's are the same.

I'd say put headers and at least 2-1/4" dual exhaust on the current engine(2-1/2" if you like), it will help and also work with future engines. Buy a used Edelbrock Performer intake(or a clone) for the 305 off Ebay, Graigslist, local classifieds, etc to keep cost down and then a new carb of your choice. 600 cfm is going to be the best for the 305 but then it will be too small for the future 350, so I would suggest a 700-750 cfm carb, tune it down for now and tune it back up later. This way you can re-sell the intake later, to fund the purchase of a Vortec version, and the carb you can keep and just drop it on the new 350 with a new intake at that time.

Don't bother doing anything else to the 305, a cam won't help enough to be worth the cost or the aggravation of the install......you'd be farther ahead to put the money into the rear end.
You're right, the 7.5" rear is not a good team player, but it will hold to the 450 hp mark if you aren't using slicks and running it at the strip every weekend....so pulling 3.23, 3.42, or 3.73 gears and carrier from an S-10 like you mentioned is a great idea, then all you need is a limited slip unit and you'll be set for a while.....just as long as you realize going over that 450 hp mark means that rear then becomes a liability.

About your only aftermarket rear deals are 12-bolt car bilt for the G-body, a 9" Ford built to fit, or a Dana 60 built to fit......old 12-bolt car are scarce as hens teeth anymore, and the 12-bolt truck can't be retrofitted because it has no upper ears on the housing.
About the only low cost junkyard deal is to adapt a 8.8" Ford from a 5.0L Mustang....but that gets rather involved.
MalibuRacing.com - THE 78-83 A/G Body Performance Site! has a good bit of that 8.8 info.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:41 AM
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Thanks for your input. I think I'll start with the 1 5/8 headers and two and a half inch exhaust. Then shift kit. If I decided to build older style 350 or find a used one, what would be a good candidate? I know some are better than others when it comes to power and fitment.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:03 PM
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If you are making over 400 hp,(or planning on it) the 1 3/4 headers are worth considering. Build the diff first,then exhaust.Consider "C" clip eliminators for the diff.
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinniekq2 View Post
If you are making over 400 hp,(or planning on it) the 1 3/4 headers are worth considering. Build the diff first,then exhaust.Consider "C" clip eliminators for the diff.
I was gonna use the 1 5/8 headers with the 2.5 exuast kit from jegs cause its the recommended set. I'll check if it's made in the 1 3/4 too.
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