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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The situation:
I took over a questionable project car from a friend. Prior to this purchase I had no experience working on cars. I’ve done a lot of reading and poking around on the car so I have a better handle on what’s what. But I would like some input on where I may stand.
The car is a 1980 Chevy Malibu wagon. I bought it believing that it was equipped with a recently rebuilt mid 1970s 350 with an Edelbrock 650 cfm carb, a recently new th350 with a stage 2 shift kit, a Blue Racer sport cam, and a lot of potential to be a hot, sleeper powerwagon.
Well it seems that the car is no sleeper, just asleep. The engine is actually a 1980 LG4 with 460 casting heads (1.72in/1.5in valve combo, 62 cc chamber), an Edlebrock 500 cfm performer carb with electric choke, performer intake, and unidentified Blue Racer/Crane cam.
SO, I really have a small displacement v8 with restrictive heads and a low compression piston design. The carb and intake, I believe, are properly matched to the engine. The cam, based on the ‘sport’ description, is possibly at the right performance level for the setup, but specific values are important I know. Since it isn’t the 350 it pretended to be, I can’t assume that it’s been rebuilt either. It smokes from the exhaust, a little grey smoke from one side, and thick, dark grey smoke from the other side, both at startup and accel. ?
The ‘new’ tranny was likely newly rebuilt, I guess, because my friend said he paid $700 for it. Fine except it had leaks at the pan gasket and the speedo cable caused by three striped bolts on the pan and another striped bolt at the speedo cable. The fluid looked clean enough when I replaced it, changed the filter and added an aluminum pan to cure the pan gasket leak. okay good, shifts fine and very firm.
It also has no a/c, a new radiator, new water pump, new heater core, new brake lines, unknown, probably stock, torque converter and 2.73 gears in unknown condition.
While I was still assuming that the engine and tranny were tip top, I rebuilt the front suspension including poly bushings, quick ratio box, kyb gas-a-just shocks, s-10 springs, bigger sway bar. I also put kyb shocks in the rear with z-28 springs and a sway bar. Also added Schoenfeld headers and built a true dual exhaust; 3 inch diameter to the Flowmaster delta 50s, and 2.5 inches out the back.

Long, long story short:
I’ve put some thousands into this car and now realize that my motor may just be a worn out, emissions-friendly wheezer. I can give up the dragster dream, if I could make this car a reliable daily driver with good towing abilities and some mildly torquey, fun driving around town. My budget is limited to maybe $100/month for this project. Any input, on where I stand, suggestions on how to further assess the engine’s condition or thoughts on how to give this the car the right power for my application on my budget, would be greatly appreciated. thanks
 

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Well, now you've learned a good lesson, haven't you? Your friend had no more car experience than you and now you own it.
Well, save your nickles and dimes and when you get to the cost (about $1300 or so) of a new crate GM 350 buy one and replace that smog motor you hate but will be driving every day until you can afford the new powerplant. Don't spend one more dime on the engine you have, just bide your time and save for the goodie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah, funny that when I knew zero, this friend WAS an expert because he knew the names of the engine parts, what they did, and how to get around the wrecking yard. I now would take someone's word on very little without something from my own knowledge or a 2nd opinion to back it up.

crate 350 huh? since I have no experience working on motors, no engine specific tools, and no space to work, a crate motor is probably a good way to go I guess. thanks.
 

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'80 Malibu

I have a '79 Malibu wagon that I have been working on - just body work and paint for now. I am considering the 500 Caddy transplant. I have read about a few people that have done the G-body caddy project and I looks pretty interesting. I am not sure what I am going to do but I will definitely be replacing my pathetic 267!

I will be posting some pictures in the near future.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm surprised no one has tried to stand up for the ol 305!? I understand the reasoning for holding out for the 350, but from old posts, there seem to be some fans of the 305.

the only remaining LG4 parts on this one, as I understand it, are the pistons and the heads. I see some old posts about head porting and new valves on this engine's stock heads, but am wondering about the results. Were people satisfied?

AND if a hotter cam is put in the original motor, do the valve springs have to be replaced with new, stiffer ones? I heard that in this situation with old, stock springs, the valves can bounce off the seats, killing compression??

Thanks for any and all input.
 
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