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Any gear heads out here? I need help with my firebird!!!!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Selta, May 13, 2003.


  1. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    OK! Here's the lowdown on my project!

    I've an '88 Firebird, hand-me-down from my dad (complete with 70900.0 miles), which had the wimpy 2.8L/173CI engine. I wanna throw a 350 at it.

    I found a 350 -- 123K miles, recently rebuilt (11K since), out of an '85 Scottsdale.

    My problems:
    Size, engine mounts etc. etc.
    Fuel Injection to Carb...how (34-47PSI F.I. vs 7-9PSI carb)?
    Will it bolt onto the tranny (bell housing etc.) directly?
    *Electrical* (the hardest part) I need schematics of both, or at least of Distributor, and such.

    My solution:
    Post at all the forums I know, including TB!

    e-mail with all/any info, links etc please! rjsalamon@hotmail.com

    Ray
    Bad_Habit_Bassist

    EDIT: It boils down to this: '85 Chevy SB 350, carbed, into my F.I. '88 6 cyc Firebird.
     
  2. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    wow dude, this is going to be a much larger how to than can be addressed in a single thread....I can give you a rundown, but I believe Mike N. would probably be your best TB mechanic....

    The motor mounts will need to be replaced with conventional V-8 motor mounts. The trans (90% sure) will not bolt up to the V-8, you will need to fo with either a TH-350, or a 700R4, if you want to have overdrive.....must be out of a camaro/firebird, or one of the oddball GM cars thad uses the torque arm to help locate the rear end into the car.

    The wiring will all have to be bypassed, along with the computer.....only a few original wires will be used.....

    Next problem is going from fuel injection to carburetor......you will have to remove the fuel pump that is currently being used, which is located in the fuel tank unfortunately.

    None of you exhaust will work anymore either.

    Your radiator will need replaced to compensate for the larger engine size, which needs more cooling capacity.

    There's also a good chance the front springs will need to be replaced to accomodate the heavier motor.

    Did I mention your driveshaft will most likely no longer work?

    Not trying to discourage you, but ya definitely picked one hell of a project to take on for a first timer.....this is just some of the stuff required I have learned throughout the years, with friends doing mods and such. Pretty tough project for a first timer, but I am sure you can do it. You may want to look online for books, they make conversion manuals for popular motor swaps, this one is pretty popular I would think.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I've looked like mad for them, can't find any manuals.

    This is my first time...but my dad's gonna help bunches, he did this with lots of Olds Cutlasses back in the day, so he should be a good help, but we couldn't figure these things out just by looking. I figured on all thouse changes you've mentioned along with a few others, such as mounting AC/alternator etc. etc. from the V6.
    Thanks though

    Ray
    Bad_Habit_Bassist
     
  4. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Here's my advice.......either sell the car, and buy an original V8 car to restore, or find a parts car for yours. I don't know if you're interested, and I live in northwest ohio........but a friend of mine has an 88 camaro, 305 V-8. Probably not something to restore, but it will have most everything you need to get the conversion done with the right parts for the swap.....I know he wants to get rid of this car also.
     
  5. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Well, I'm gonna go pick up that 350 tonight, but that's for the offer man. Who knows I may pass it up, n if I do, I may be askin' you for that guys phone number n such.

    Anyone got any of that info yet? :D Thanks....

    Ray
    Bad_Habit_Bassist
     
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Looks like ANBassist covered all the Basses(pun intended) with his first post. More or less there isnt much youll be re-using in that swap.

    Since the 82-92 F-Body's were factory available with a V8, alot of the parts you need could be found at a dealer, or any aftermarket source.

    Check out a Camaro/Firebird message board, and you could get all the answers youll need for that swap.
    A couple that come to mind are.....

    http://web.camaross.com/forums/
    http://www.camaros.net/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi

    If Ineal pops into this thread, he may be able to offer some advice also.
     
  7. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    That's cool Mike, thanks. I'm gonna go look at a triple attack of Camaros tomorrow though, $4300 for all three. '78 with a 350, '79 with a 250, and a '80 with the 173. All run great, and have fair miles considering their ages. If I can't get those though, there's a pair of Firebirds, both '86s for $800, both need body work, but I'm up to it.

    I looked at the 350 today, and the only problems present were the mounts, and few wires and the exhaust, but that's just a new "Y" pipe, and the tranny (will need a new one, if I go with a Chevy engine -- makes sense though). I'll also need a new radiator.

    But hey, this is gonna be fun, and you guys may have read my other thread about my dad gettting rid of EVERYTHING, so this'll give me something to do in my spare time, until I get to college where I can hoard gear again :D.

    Thanks all
    Ray
    Bad_Habit_Bassist
     
  8. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    I have kinda went through this. IME it would be much easier to start with a V8 car and I would be cheaper. I would go with the 700R4 tranny and if you carb it most of the harness can be bypassed (I did this with an old TA). Now if you could find an old run down V8 parts car you can use, that would make things much easier and you would have a moch up of what needs to be done. I dont know if I can do this or not but here is the number of a parts house that deals only in camaro and firebird parts (new and used I believe) they are here in OK but they have everything. Once again I would highly recommend starting with a TA as they will have all the parts needed and will also have the better radiator, suspension, rear end , tranny, interior, and a big thing a functional harness oh .. and one thing that most dont think about, a higher rate steering gearbox which makes a big difference. You can also find one with t-tops unless your putting a horse of an engine in (but still you could reinforce the frame) and power everything. Here is the number -

    American Camaro and Firebird - 405-495-9114 , or toll free 1-888-833-4582. out
     
  9. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    I could dig the three Camaros, and you could always keep the nicest one and sell the others to recoup some of your $. Btw the '80 shouldnt have a 173, that engine wasnt available until 1982. The '80 Camaro was available with 6 different engines- the 250cid inline 6, a 200cid Chevy V6, a 229cid Chevy V6, a 231cid Buick V6, and the 305 or 350cid Chevy V8. All those engines(except the 231 Buick) share the Chevy bellhousing pattern, so any Chevy V8 (BB or SB) will physically bolt up(will the tranny live is another question, GM used some really weak tranny's in the late 70's/early 80's). The 231 was the oddball, and the easy way to ID the Buick V6 is to locate the distributor; if its up front, its the Buick engine. Being the three cars are pre-computer, you'd probably have an easier time swapping V8's in and out with less wiring, and alot more room under the hood to work. Also, imo and ime parts for second generation F-bodys are cheaper and more plentiful than 3rd gen parts.

    As far as the Firebirds, how much bodywork is needed? I dont know how much road salt they use in PA, but pay close attention to the floorboard/rocker panel area underneath the car. Ive seen more of these cars that rot badly in that area, and thats not a real easy fix without a welder and some experience.

    Good luck:cool: