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Mekanicus Automotive Group
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Discussion Starter #1
Why yes, I am quite nuts for showing interest in the 301. But let me start by saying this:
The vintage racing group I'm involved with sticks pretty tightly to the 1972 SCCA Trans-Am GCR, and I'm limited to 305 cubes max. The car is a '72 TA. The RamAir V is too difficult and expensive to come buy, and the 301 is my only option to be legal and actually get to race my machine. Beefing up the bottom end of a 301 is no problem, but I need to know the particulars of this engine. Not many people seem to offer much insight, only such replies as "Ditch the 301". But I need to know what I can expect to deal with on a 301, even the most irrelevant little quirk it may have, will be helpful. Ideas are well welcomed.

Speedshift.
 

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Home School Valedictorian
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A C&P,
It looks like a turbo block is the way to start. I don't know if you will find any performance parts.

The 301 in³ (4.9 L) 301 was offered from 1977 to 1981. It had a 4.00 in (101.6 mm) bore and 3.00 in (76.2 mm) stroke. Based in part on designs for an abortive "short deck" 303 in³ (5.0 L) engine designed for the 1970 racing season, it had a shorter deck than the big V8, and used thin-wall casting to reduce weight. It produced 135 to 170 hp (97 to 127 kW). The Pontiac 301 EC (Electronic Controls) version offered in 1981 produced 155 hp and 245 ft·lbf of torque, although it's rumored that the actual HP was closer to 170. The 1980 301 Turbo was rated at 210 hp @ 4400 rpm and 345 ft·lbf of torque @ 2800 rpm. The 1981 301 Turbo gained the electronic controls with an O2 sensor, feedback ECM and E4ME Quadrajet providing a slight reduction in power to 205 hp and 240 ft·lbf torque. The 301 has the distinction of being the last true Pontiac motor as Pontiac stopped production of all V8s effective April 1st 1981.

From 1977-1980 there were 4 distinct 301 versions:

301 2BBL (135 hp), 4BBL (150 hp), 4BBL 'HO' or 'EC' (170 hp, which shared the turbo block, the 1979 220 hp 400 camshaft, and had incorporated the Buick design Electronic Spark Controler, ESC, to boost timing) and Turbo (210 hp which also used the ESC).

The 301 Turbo was unique that it had a beefier block than the 77-79 versions, which carried on in the non turbo versions in 1980 and 1981, a very mild camshaft with 0.350" lift and 250 degrees gross duration, a 60 psi oil pump to ensure adequete oil to the oil cooled Garrett TBO-305 Turbocharger, a rolled fillet crankshaft, a fully baffled oil pan, and a specific 800 cfm Quadrajet carburator which had super rich "DX" secondary metering rods and remote vacuum source for the primary metering rod enrichment circuit that allowed the "PEVR", Power Enrichment Vacuum Regulator to release the primary metering rods to move to the up position (enrichment) anytime during boosted conditions to ensure that there was enough fuel to cool the cast offset dish pistons. Boost was wastegate limited to 9 psi. The 301 Turbo package mandated Air Conditioning, automatic THM350 non lockup transmission and 3.08 gears.

The 301 Turbo was limited to Trans Am and Formula Firebird production only. Some literature has indicated that the 301 Turbo may have found its way into the Chevrolet Z28. It is unclear if any were ever produced.
 

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Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
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I actually like the 301; smaller mains for less friction and heat, better oil life, and its a nice short stroke critter... sorta like a destroked 389.

Short stroke means more efficiency and lower peak piston speeds. I agree with 1ownerT... get a stronger turbo block and you're set.
 

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Mekanicus Automotive Group
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Guess I'm not so nuts as I thought!

I've been eyballing the turbo block as well for being stouter. And yes indeed, being an over-square engine, means it will rev quick and hard. Performance parts might be an issue, but maybe not quite as bad. From what I've discovered, any pontiac cam will work, as long as I can find one that has the power curve and duration I need for a small displacement engine. Thanks for the info so far fellas, as I said, anything helps.

Speedshift.
 

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An enthusiast called Pete McCarthy has a huge amount of information concerning Pontiac. PO Box 6489 Orange CA 92863-6489

1800-852-4751
 

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Mekanicus Automotive Group
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178 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Maybe, not quite so nuts as I initially thought.

Good stuff! Keep it coming guys! Now that I have a good one on hand, I'll need all the help I can get. Found a 301 4bbl in a Bonneville and took it home for 175. So far all looks good, no water in the oil, no oil in the exhaust ports, no fuel in the oil, so things are looking up. The car it came out of had 174,000 miles on it, so I atleast have a good start.

Speedshift.
 

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Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
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Speedshift_Sam said:
Good stuff! Keep it coming guys! Now that I have a good one on hand, I'll need all the help I can get. Found a 301 4bbl in a Bonneville and took it home for 175. So far all looks good, no water in the oil, no oil in the exhaust ports, no fuel in the oil, so things are looking up. The car it came out of had 174,000 miles on it, so I atleast have a good start.

Speedshift.

Ya, my beater 301/4bbl. '80 Buick Century (bought new) has 240,000 on it. But compression is waning. It has never had the valve covers off or intake off yet. Rebuilt the quadrejet once, fuel pump, water pump, timing gears, and tuneup is all.

Installed a TH 350 lockup to replace the defunct TH 200 lockup 3 speed at 180,000. A direct bolt in, no adjustments necessary.

The biggest 301 complaint I have heard is the light weight crankshafts didn't hold up well...... (no counterweights).... and low compression ratio... but mine has never been a hot rod only a daily driver. But it would bark the tires at 55 mph and get 22 mpg when it was new.
 

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Mekanicus Automotive Group
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The nut-job returns

Sorry I've been gone for a while fellas, but things are certainly looking up. The block was standard bore, and the crank hadn't been touched. I ground the parting lines off of the crank and have had it shot-peened. Oh, and Paulo1. Regarding a question on the 301 in another thread, the 301 has 6.0 inch rods, as compared to the stock 6.6" of the 350's and 400's, the deck height is also and inch and a quarter shorter. Now, with the 2" rod journals, I've discovered that 6 and 1/8th" chevy 283 H-beam rods from Eagle alloys will fit with a little shaving on the sides. The mains are still 3" in diameter like other pontiacs, and oiling may still be a problem at engine speeds over 6000 revs. I've got the rods on hand, and 12 to 1 pistons on the way along with a good cam. My machinist sonic tested the block and all looks good, no ominous shadows, cracks, or thin spots. And I am quite thankful for all of your input fellas. Keep things coming. The more I know about the so called "wheeze-box" the better. As a side note, ANY, and i do mean any, pontiac head will bolt up and work fine on the 301. The 301 heads, as I discovered upon disassembly, have siamesed intake ports, no wonder it was called a wheeze box. I have a set of No. 16 casting heads that I'll run on the finished product, but the block may require a little relieving around the tops of the bores to keep those big valves from smacking into them.

Speedshift.
 

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Alright Sam! Progress! Interesting information on the mythical 301."Inch and a quarter shorter decks is nice.4" bore is super nice.Opens a world of possibilities for pistons and heads.See,I just had to pull one cylinder head on my friends '71 350 due to water contamination.It is now a 6 years old 350 bored 0.33" (you did not read it wrong) with special ordered Ross pistons from Jim Buttler.But at less than 4" bore I get limited to creativity.
Is your combustion chamber machined? It must be way smaller than 90cc.
 

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paulo 1 said:
'71 350 ........ bored 0.33" (you did not read it wrong) with special ordered Ross pistons from Jim Buttler.

c.

bored .33 inches....... excuse me????? :confused:

I guess I never looked at a 71 Pontiac 350,
so you are telling us that it had cylinder walls at least .300 inch thick and you bored out .165 of that which leaves a .135 wall thickness.

The 350 had 3.876 bore and you bored it +.330 to 4.206...... .054 larger than a 455. That's gonna take some mallory.

You said 4 inches ? ..... 4.00 - 3.876 = 0.124

Just asking. :D
 

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I goofed! 0.033"! What I meant is that I found out the hard way that if we are planning to use especial high CR pistons,we better have a 4"bore or nothing is available.I had to pre-pay and special order thru Jim Buttler,plus wait 30 days! And since this 301 starts at 4" bore it will make his life much easier as far as availability or mix of components of other engines.The shorter deck which in turn follows with a shorter conrod will also be easier to deal with,as he has explained.

Now coming to think of it,availability of intake manifolds should be terrible.Maybe not a single aftermarket piece was ever made due to the short life this 301 had.
 

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Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
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paulo 1 said:
I goofed! 0.033"! What I meant is that I found out the hard way that if we are planning to use especial high CR pistons,we better have a 4"bore or nothing is available.I had to pre-pay and special order thru Jim Buttler,plus wait 30 days! And since this 301 starts at 4" bore it will make his life much easier as far as availability or mix of components of other engines.The shorter deck which in turn follows with a shorter conrod will also be easier to deal with,as he has explained.

Now coming to think of it,availability of intake manifolds should be terrible.Maybe not a single aftermarket piece was ever made due to the short life this 301 had.
Why would you bore it a non standard .033 instead of .030? Now you have 3.909 bore. The extra 3 thousandths do nothing for power and you had to get a special set of pistons. :confused:
 

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OK.I understand your confusion.Here is the story.My client had this '71 Firebird Formula 350 but was very disappointed with it's performance and fuel consumption.It would not burn the tyres.He had already rebuilt the engine to 0.030" but could not find any piston above 8:1.They did not exist,period.Then I promised him his car would burn rubber,but we would have to raise CR to around 10 and change converter and gears.To my amazement none of the aftermarket performance companies offered any piston for a Pontiac 350! I simply honed the block and ordered the 0.033s,which did not raise the price for this odd size reason.They did cost $700.And you are correct with the 3.909" bore,for I ended up installing Dodge 318 rings which are 3.91".The engine was reassembled,a 300 rpm looser converter and 3.91 gears were installed.It now burns rubber.
 

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Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
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paulo 1 said:
OK.

.........could not find any piston above 8:1.They did not exist,period..........

They did cost $700.


.......It now burns rubber.
318 rings
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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speedshift, I was wondering if other Poncho heads would fit! If the valves are so close to the cylinder walls the block needs to be relieved, you're better off with a smaller valve head. There will be so much shrouding that there is no gain and it affects velocity and motion in the cylinder. With a 4" bore Poncho 350 heads should work great, and be better than the stock 301 heads.

Only one thing about the heads though -- will the 301 intake fit? You mentioned siamesed intake ports on 301 heads. You'll have to take to much off a big Poncho intake to make it fit with the much shorter deck height. If this will be a high rpm engines you can always make a sheet metal intake if the rules allow (I doubt it!!). Maybe some other make small block intake can be adapted though... again, it the rules allow...
 

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Performance parts???

My next door neighbor has had some of the HOTTEST :drool: running Pontiac I have ever seen... I don't know what he does to them or if he even has alot of the things you may need but I will tell you now that he has a HOT LeManns and a few old TA's I believe still around there... He is an old Pontiac fanatic though... you let me know what you need and I will see if he has something around... I don't know what his number is but I will find out though... I have not seen an engine that the man did not know about and I know he has some Pontiac motors up there that he has talked about... He can PROBABLY help you out on the performance end of the motor. I know he has had some real :drool: NICE :drool: sounding Pontiacs that he has build coming out of the driveway... I don't know how far along you are really right now, but, DEFINATELY keep it up on here :thumbup: and let me know if you need something... I will see if him or any of his friends have something...
 

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Speedshift_Sam said:
As a side note, ANY, and i do mean any, pontiac head will bolt up and work fine on the 301.
Speedshift.
are you sure? b/c edelbrock says their aluminum performer heads will not bolt on to a 265 or 301 pontiac. I always heard they were the oddball to the pontiac V8s and the only part you could swap on them was the distributor?

and I'm not suggesting anything here, just curious, but if your racing club only permits 305 or smaller engines, how do they determine that since all pontiacs are physically the same size on the outside? surely they don't crack open your engine to check?
 

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Since the 301 is a different casting, it should have a unique casting number. Since it can't be bored to far that should be sufficient. But... I wonder if the block can be clearanced for a longer stroke Poncho crank? Not that anyone would really want a long stroke/small bore engine, but might be a way to cheat... not that I'm suggesting anyone should do that... Officials can measure stroke easy enough with a wire down a sparker hole though.
 

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Even so this is a old post but not that old, I`ll fill you in. The pontiac 301 is the dead engine off the pontiac tree, next to no parts interchange to other pontiac engines. But I will say every 301 I ever rode in ran great. However, they have poor oiling systems, a real weak bottom end, and horrible siamesed intake ports. No aftermarket company ever bothered to make a intake for it as they knew it was a lost cause, and since these engines were already known for being time bombs, no other company made performance parts for them either. The best place for a 301 is as a boat anchor.
 
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