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67 firebird w/283 engine, should I change engines?

  • keep the 1965 283 chevy engine

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • find a chevy 350

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • find a pontiac 326/350

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • find a pontiac 400

    Votes: 4 57.1%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought a 67 firebird a few weeks ago, it's got a 3 speed saginaw manual trans, and what I thought was a chevy 350. Turns out after I got the car home, researched some numbers, I've got a 1965 283 chevy engine in it. Here's my question for all ya hotrodders...do I keep the 283, find a chevy 350, or go with a pontiac engine (326/350/400)? I realize the decision should be based on how I plan to use the car. I am restomodifiy it. I plan to keep original (red) interior, upgrade brakes to power disc, do my own bodywork/paint. It's not going to be a show car, just a fun 2nd car to drive on weekends/and on nice days. Don't really plan on racing the car, but ya never know??

Oh, also keep in mind this is a budget bird. Don't have alot to spend so where-ever I can cut cost is helpful.
 

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Will I ever get it done?
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The 283 is a dependable engine. It's in there and running. Many advantages there.

Swapping up. Since someone already changed the motor mounts (assuming they used Camaro mounts and didn't cobble something up), going to the Chevy 350 makes the most sense. It will be the easiest bolt in at this point. Wiring, exaust, etc.

I would bypass the 326 and P350. Go 400 (or 389 or 455). (you could also go 396,427,454,502 chevy)

I think if I had the car and the money, I would probably go with the Pontiac 400 or 455 because of brand loyalty. Edelbrock heads.
 

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Hotrodders.com Moderator
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If the engine runs well, you could leave it in there. Upgrade to a four speed, maybe change the gear ratio, and put some bolt on goodies on the 283.

The small cubic inch 283s and 327s liked manual transmissions, and light weight cars. You have both.

If it were mine, I would keep the little mouse in it.
 

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67 Bird

If you plan on fixing this car up to original condition then the Pontiac engine is the only way to go. It makes a big difference on the value of the car. If you ever sell the car a true Pontiac Firebird lover would walk away from anything else under the hood. I realize it would not be a matching # car but at least the Pontiac power plant would be there.
If you are going to make a custom car then just build the Chevy engine in it and save yourself some money. Pontiac engines are going to cost you quite more to build over Chevy engines.
That 67 Firebird is going to do nothing but get worth more money each year.
My opinion build a Pontiac all Pontiac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wow, alot of great responses already to my delema. I'm not too familiar with the 283 powerplant so I have it in the back of my mind that the 283 is similar to say a chevy 305/307, basically a non-performance engine. I would like an engine with some "get-up and go" to it. Is the 283 a worthy engine for performance? Maybe my approach should be to keep the 283 for now, I can always upgrade later. I thought I would have gotten responses to junk the 283 but maybe I was wrong?
 

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The 283 can be a very snappy engine. They didn't put them in Vettes for nothing. They like higher rpm, so good heads are an investment worth looking at, as well as a good intake. You'll need an idea of what power output your looking for, so you can select your parts. With the right parts, 375+ hp isn't unreasonable.
 

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67 Bird

If you decide to go back to a Pontiac power plant go to a salvage yard and look for 1970 model Pontiac Bonneville's or Catalina's. If you can find any with the 455's in them and a turbo 400 Transmission then your set. Looking in at a 455 right under the pass. side cylinder head is some #'s. If you see one with a YH code that is the 370 HP engine. That is a rocket in a Firebird.
That 283 could be built strong. A good machine shop & you will find some Chevy engine experts on this site that can guide you thru what you will need.
 

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Here's my theory: you're on a budget, so don't go the the trouble and expense of swapping engines, even though a bigger SBC would be fine. I might throw a cheap intake and carb from ebay on, along with a cam. That would make the little 283 a lot of fun, for not too much money or effort.

Although small, the 283 does have a lot of potential. You can think of it as similar to a 302, which we all know is rev happy, because they both have 3.00" strokes. The 283 does have just a bit smaller bore, though, at 3.875".

If built right, it would be a lot snappier than a 305, as the 305 has an even smaller bore (3.74") and longer stroke (3.48").

Anyway, have fun with your cheap, mild 283 for a few years while you build up the rest of the car. Then, save some more money, swap a poncho engine in, and sell the SBC speed parts on ebay.
 

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Analog man in a digital world.
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428/390HP out of a '69 Grand Prix SJ backed with a 4 speed and 3.55 gears. It'll run all day long in traffic and run 13's easy if you can get it to hook. Tough to find nowdays though. :(
 

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pontiac 400 sounds right.

a 283 is not the best choice. now a ford 289 witha 4" bore would rev through the roof.

dont get me wrong any v8 ,even a 260 can scoot. you just cant expect too much
 

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lol, better not ask this question on Fbody.com, you'll get your nuts ripped off!:rolleyes:

The long and short of this car is that it has a chevy motor in it already. Here's my philosophy: if you have money and you want to do cosmetics do cosmetics. Don't kid yourself, swapping back to a pontiac motor just for the sake of having a pontiac motor is a cosmetic swap, and purely so, given the great difference in time and expense getting a pontiac back in there. And if you're goign to do that for the purpose of cosmetics, then you'd better have the money to do the rest of the car up too (paint, body, interior etc) otherwise, what's the point? I'd rather have a pontiac that looked ok and went fast with a chevy than one that looked like crap with a nice pontiac motor in it that went (if its lucky and you spend the money, which will always be more) just as fast.

Not to threadjack, but my rant comes from these dingbats at Fbody.com. These idiots have a bunch of clapped out 2nd generation firebirds (about the least rare car I can think of) and get their panties in a twist because people are driving these cars with chevy motors in them... even for those of us who had these cars FROM THE FACTORY with chevy motors. So you have some dill-hole with a rusted out dozen of crappy chevy-original drivetrain 2nd gen firebirds all with pontiac motors. Most of these cars have three wheels and no paint.

My point is that you should do whatever is best for your budget/endgoal. If, someday, you want to have a pontiac-powered, mostly original firebird (1st gen firebirds are getting rare, my friend) then by all means, don't waste your time, money and effort shuffling chevy motors back and forth. On the other hand, if you have this car because you like the way it looks, and you just want to go fast, then don't feel guilty about anything. That's what a hotrod is. If you want to put a damned toyota motor in it, do that (ok, well, maybe not that... lol). Do whatever's best for your ET and YOUR project. Don't let douchebags across the internet tell you what you should want and how to spend your money.

K
 

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taylorpontiac said:
wow, alot of great responses already to my delema. I'm not too familiar with the 283 powerplant so I have it in the back of my mind that the 283 is similar to say a chevy 305/307, basically a non-performance engine. I would like an engine with some "get-up and go" to it. Is the 283 a worthy engine for performance? Maybe my approach should be to keep the 283 for now, I can always upgrade later. I thought I would have gotten responses to junk the 283 but maybe I was wrong?
A 283 can be more than just "snappy". I had a 66 Chevelle that ran low 14s with one, and it had pump gas compression and hydraulic lifters.

The venerable 283 was a great performance engine in it's heyday. Alot of guys slamming them probably have never driven one unless it was a 2bbl carbed, three on the tree pickup truck.

I've seen many 12 second 283 powered older street Corvettes.

If you can scrounge up a set of 461 "double hump" heads, (worked over 601's would be a good substitute), you could buy an old 327-350 horse cam kit for about 75 bucks with lifters, find a clone Z-28 intake like the Performer RPM or the Holley version, a smallish carb of choice and small tube headers. I guarantee it will haul the mail. It will also reward you with decent fuel mileage, and there aren't too many engines that match the 283s smoothness, and revability. Very fun and very cheap.
 

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If you decide to keep the 283 PM me I have a scan of an old article you might find interesting. A fairly mild 283 when built right will definitely propel a '66 Chevelle to low 14's and your 'Bird is real close to the same weight.
 
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