Pros/cons to chevy 350 and pontiac 400 - Team Camaro Tech
Tech 2002 General Tech questions from 2002
Replies ONLY, no new topics.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 02, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 188
Hey guys I am thinking of selling my 95 formula and buying a friends 80 trans am. The car does not have a motor in it, but he has a pontiac 400 he would sell me. But i am not sure if i want to put the 400 or a chevy 350 in it.

I was hoping you guys could help me out with my decision and tell me the pros and cons of each motor. I know a 350 is cheaper to buld, but anything besides that.

Tom Ziokowski is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 02, 04:11 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 88
Find out what motor it had originally. The Chevy 350 may not bolt up to the tranny (BOP used a different flange pattern I believe). The 400 may be more expensive to build, but might cost less in the long run if you have to change trannies, etc.
Camaroinaz is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 02, 04:40 PM
Tech Team
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Maryville, IL
Posts: 79
Please, please, please. keep your 95 formula. no matter how many miles you put on it, it will still be faster, more comfortable, safer, better handler, etc than you could ever do to an 80 trans am. If I were you, keep the Formula.
brad6899 is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 02, 05:21 PM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,099
small block chevy is cheaper to build and has a lot more performance parts availible. The BOP tranny is one thing to consider, but if you plan on building the whole car a new tranny might be in order anyway. The Pontiac engine also weighs a lot more than a small block chevy. If you want to keep the trans that is in there and want a lighter weight, big cube engine... look into the Buick 455. These are still expensive to build though... not a whole lot of aftermarket stuff like there is for the Chevy engines.
boodlefoof is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 02, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 188
Thanks guys for your help. I want to keep my formula, but it is hard and expensive to make these cars fast.
How do you figure that my formula is faster than the 80 trans am would be. I plan on building up the motor pretty good.

Here are my reasons for getting rid of my car.
1. I have to deal with strict emissions (but can get by with good tunning)
2. Parts are a lot more expensive on an LT1. I wanted to do a 1.6 roller rocker and cam swap and if i don't cut corners it is going to cost me $700. I could do that on a first gen small block for $300-400 less.

3.Also if i want to go fast i need a new rearend and a 12 bolt/ 9" is $2000-2500

Also this is my daily driver because the insurance is so much i can't afford to have a beater insured at the same time.

So if i buy the 80 i can afford to insure another car to use as my daily driver.

Just thought that i would let you know where i am coming from. But i really do love this car.

thanks for the info. if anyone has anything else to add that would be great.
Tom Ziokowski is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 02, 09:30 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,659
The biggest con to Pontiac motors is the cost of building a high performance one. Parts are more expensive and Pontiac basically didn't make very many high performance engines you can use as a base to start with.

Pontiac motors aren't that heavy. They weight more than a SBC, but less than a BBC. Add headers and an aluminum intake and you are probably on par with the weignt of a stock SBC with iron intake and exhaust manifolds.

I know what you mean about making the late 80s early 90s F-bodys fast. I think that is why there aren't that many fast ones around. You could probably build your Pontiac motor for the same price as fixing up your current car and retaining the ability to pass a smog check.

On Pontiac motors: they are torque monsters. Pontiac made big heavy cars and the motors were designed accordingly. The intake ports on the heads were designed to flow very well at low RPMs. The standard heads run out breath after 5,000 RPMs. As a result, the rest of the engine was designed to run under 5K. The crank is cast steel (not bad) and the rods were cast steel (bad). A stock 2-bolt bottom end is good to a little over 6,000 RPMs if you use aftermarket forged rods. However, you need better heads to do it.

The best Pontiac heads are the Ram Air III and IV heads. They a very expensive - about $1,000 for a set that needs to be rebuilt. Edelbrock makes a good set of aluminum heads that are patterned after the Ram Air IV heads. I would go that route if you have the money. Add the cost of a rebuild and some porting to the price of the Pontiac heads and you will easily hit the $1,800 price tag of the Edelbrock heads.

The only issue I see is that the 80 T/A would also have smog requirements, unless its exempted somehow. It would have a smog pump, catalytic converters, and all that stuff.

I am currently helping a friend with not so good mechanical abilities fix up his '72 Firebird. He insisted on using a Pontiac motor, so I have had to do a little research. E-mail me if you are interested in more info. We found several good sources of info for properly building a good Pontiac motor.

Pearl blue & white 69 Camaro with supercharged 350, Tremec TKO, and 3.73 12-bolt

See my website updated 6/10/02 at:
gheatly is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Team Camaro Tech forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address.
NOTE we receive a lot of registrations with bad email addresses. IF you do not receive your confirmation email you will not be able to post. contact support and we will try and help.
Be sure you enter a valid email address and check your spam folder as well.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome