1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap - Team Camaro Tech
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  #1  
Old Jan 16th, 13, 06:45 PM
Mkautz Mkautz is offline

Micah
 
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Default 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

Hello everybody. So, my fiancee and I decided we want to get ourselves a camaro as a wedding present to ourselves(It's just what we wanted!) and there's some questions I have and I thought this would probably be the best place to ask them.

Basically, we found a person selling their '85 Berlinetta and we're planning on buying it. It was the guys project car, but he said he ran out of space and time, and just wants to get rid of it now, so he's practically giving it to us. The body and interior are almost immaculate, but the issue comes up with the engine. Simply put, it's a piece of junk that probably wouldn't last any more than a few months of driving.

I'm not too heartbroken by that since the Berlinetta 2.8 is a little small for my tastes, but unfortunately my knowledge of engines is really, really limited. I've tried looking around at the web to see if I could find information that would help me out, but I really do not understand the techno babble. So while I obviously can't expect a full explanation and walk through from you guys, I was hoping that you could at least set me in the right direction.

Basically, I want to put a V8 into it. Something powerful, but not too outrageous. On a lot of threads I've seen people talking about putting new 350 TPI's into their I-Rocs, and after looking up that engine, it is within my price range and what I want performance wise. Is that possible to put into a Berlinetta? Or since the Berlinetta had a V6, would it be really difficult to switch it to a V8?

If that engine isn't practical to put in(or just not a good idea), could anyone suggest what direction I should head in regards to engine choice? My budget cap is around $2000 for the engine itself.

Thank you for any help you can provide. This will be my first Camaro, and I really want it to be awesome.
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  #2  
Old Jan 16th, 13, 07:31 PM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

it's easy to swap a V8 in the place of a V6- i did just that last summer.. you just need to get EVERYTHING that bolts to the engine and trans and bolts the engine and trans into the car.. everything is different, nothing swaps over.
in my case, i did it mostly with parts i had laying around from 25 years of taking junk apart and never getting it put back together..
it's not hard, but it will be a steep learning curve and you will want to give up at about a million points along the line and just buy a reliable stock Honda or something. but it is one hell of a feeling of accomplishment when you take a 3500 pound pile of junk that soaks up all your extra money and doesn't run and make it into a 3500 pound pile of junk that runs...
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  #3  
Old Jan 17th, 13, 08:52 AM
Mkautz Mkautz is offline

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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

Thanks. Glad to know it can be done!
Where do I start? Like, are there sites that you know of that have step by steps(or book?)? Or reliable sites that sell the parts we'll need?
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Old Jan 17th, 13, 08:55 AM
Mkautz Mkautz is offline

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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

Also, could you possibly give a ballpark(just a ballpark, I know it is impossible to give a definite answer) of how much the engine swap will cost?
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  #5  
Old Jan 17th, 13, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

Micah - something doesn't sound right about this car. The '85 Berlinetta came with a 6cyl not a 4cyl. The 6cyl and it's unique electronic instrument display brought the Berlinetta's msrp up $2700 over the basic coupe with a 4cyl engine. It was the same price as the Z28 that year.

Be extra careful when buying a 3rd gen, they are a dime a dozen unless you are looking at a completely restored version or all original car with low, low mileage. Every state has their own rules and laws but you'll find the 3rd gen right in the mix for most smog laws and doing an engine swap could lead you into a hornets nest. You said
Quote:
unfortunately my knowledge of engines is really, really limited. I've tried looking around at the web to see if I could find information that would help me out, but I really do not understand the techno babble.
which tells me you are not a DIY person and you'll be paying for everything you have done to this car. You have kind of gone in the right direction as you say the paint, body and interior are nice. That's a plus because that's where 80% of your money will go. The drive train is much easier to deal with and find someone to work on for you at a reasonable price. Just keep in mind if it's a 4cyl it's not a Berlinetta...
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Old Jan 17th, 13, 01:36 PM
Mkautz Mkautz is offline

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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

It has a six cylinder. The 2.8L 6-cylinder. The car is completely original, even paint and rims.
And I'll keep that in mind about the smog laws, I'll have to read up on what they are in Wisconsin, but where I live there are a LOT of 3rd Gens driving around, including like three souped up i-rocs(I live pretty close to Road America, so there are quite a few street machines where I live), so I'm hoping it won't be too difficult.
I'm friends and acquaintances with a few professional mechanics, who I'm hoping will help me with most of the work, but I want to also have some knowledge because I don't want to just basically dump this car off on them, I want to be there helping and putting it together as well.
The only thing I expect to actually take it into a professional for is to pull the engine out and put the other one in, since I don't know anyone who has the equipment for that in their garage.
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Old Jan 17th, 13, 01:38 PM
Mkautz Mkautz is offline

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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

Yeah, it has the 2.8 LC1 V6 engine.
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  #8  
Old Jan 17th, 13, 07:30 PM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

you can buy a cherry picker to pull the old engine and put the new one in for less than you'd pay a shop to do it for you..

my advice would be to learn how to do the basic maintenance work on the car- pugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel and air filters, etc- and move out from there... these aren't complicated machines, but it's easy to get in over your head if you don't have the background and experience..
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Old Jan 17th, 13, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

That's on me, I don't think you said 4cyl anywhere... Now that I think about it my old S10 was a 2.8L V6 too.

It's not beyond you to do a lot of the work yourself if you have some mechanical ability. Did you ever take apart and rebuild your bicycle as a kid? Do things around the house like replacing a light socket, building a deck or fence, replacing a toilet, installing a dishwasher or garbage disposal and installing new fixtures in the sink or shower? More car related, have you tuned up a lawn mower, changed the oil in the car or rotated the tires on a car? If you do or have done any number of those things then working on a car is not out of your range...
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  #10  
Old Jan 18th, 13, 05:24 AM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

one thing to keep in mind is that while an 80's Camaro is still a pretty primitive and thus easy car to work on, you have a Berlinetta- which means that it's got all sorts of special things that you will have to worry about if you want it to operate like a new car... things like the digital dash means that a lot of the wiring is different, and i think they used a lot of goofy oddball trim pieces on those compared to the "normal" models of the car..
it is still a simple car compared to what you will buy at a dealer today, but it could potentially be a gigantic and frustrating fustercluck if you don't pay attention to what's what... so, yeah- start simple, do research, learn the basics, and have fun..
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  #11  
Old Jan 18th, 13, 06:27 AM
ryan319 ryan319 is offline

 
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

I don't want to burst your bubble but you would be better off selling the berlinetta and just buying an Iroc with a 350 tpi. Even an Iroc that needed some work would be a better starting point. Just my opinion.
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  #12  
Old Jan 24th, 13, 07:32 PM
RichSchmidt RichSchmidt is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

I wouldn't bother with a TPI engine,there just snt enough power there. A mid 90's Vortec truck engine will have much better heads,and a factory roller cam. You can buy an intake and carb to put on the Vortec engine and have almost 50% more horsepower then a TPI 350. While you have it out,it would be easy to strip it down to a short block,clean out all the sludge,add a new oil pump and timing chain,and a mild performance cam. I would also disassemble the heads,clean the carbon off the valves and ports,and throw some fresh valvesprings in. With the engine I mentioned,with the cam,intake,carb and headers,you should expect nearly double the power that you would get from a TPI engine.

If you are going to go thru all the trouble of adding a V-8 and changing everything that would be involved with putting in fuel injection,you probably would be better to just install a junkyard 5.3 or 6.0 L engine.

Good luck.
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  #13  
Old Jan 24th, 13, 08:55 PM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

^^^ this..

when i put the 305 in place of the 2.8 in my Camaro last spring, i figured using the Caprice 305 that i had laying around would be cheap.. but once i rebuilt the engine, added the used vortec heads, bought the vortec intake, and got the headers i was into it for close to $1500.. i did the math and i could have had a 5.3 swapped in and running with a carb and the MSD ignition box for right around that same price.. i'd still get the same mileage- maybe even better- and probably have twice the power..
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  #14  
Old Jan 25th, 13, 03:39 AM
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Everett#2390 Everett#2390 is online now
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

A couple of things nobody has mentioned, are
1) the trans-to-engine bolt pattern is unique to 2.8L/3.1L V6, meaning a 2.8L trans will not bolt up to a V8; a change of driveshaft also - different length.
2) 2.8L is a TBI injection - has a wet manifold, injectors are in the unit sitting on top of the manifold, TBI only needs about 13 PSI fo fuel pressure, whereas most newer V8's, TPI, MPI, dry manifold, meaning individual injectors in every intake manifold port, requires min 45 PSI. So a swapout of fuel tank fuel pump will be required.

The engine frame nounts on the crossmember will have to be changed,
all accessory bracketry and belt drive will have to be of the new engine configuration,
Engine management and harness wil be needed, along with VSS from trans of donor vehicle,

As suggested, get a window shade and split it, Pros on one side, Cons on the other side.
Make what you have work and go from there, probaby the best route, get a Haynes manual.
Buy a donor vehicle, engine hoist, tools, Haynes manual for both cars, and read up,
Sell this one and get a V8 Camaro.

IMO, nothing wrong with a TPI engine, it's made for torque. Torque is what you feel when your butt has pegged the Seat-Of-the-Pants Meter.
A deeper gear ratio than a 2.94/3.23 helps also, say 3.73 to start.
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Last edited by Everett#2390; Jan 25th, 13 at 03:50 AM.
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  #15  
Old Jan 25th, 13, 02:18 PM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: 1985 Berlinetta Engine Swap

i covered the stuff that needs to be changed in my first post in this thread- pretty much everything..

the 2.8 in my 86 had the multiport injection setup on it, and the NAPA site only shows parts for that style if induction for an 85... so it's not a TBI and will have a high pressure pump in the tank.. probably only strong enough to push enough volume to support 250 hp if it's lucky, but still a high pressure pump..
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