Author Topic: '78 Formula Restoration  (Read 4692 times)

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Offline Coach Mike

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'78 Formula Restoration
« on: August 29, 2011, 03:47:40 PM »
Well, starting the next steps by removing the engine this weekend.  Only a 305 and I know how folks feel about those.  Still not decided on whether to rebuild or upgrade but I'll see what I have when I start getting into it more.  I like the idea of staying original since I am the original owner too and I really don't have plans to do much more than an occasional show or cruise here and there.  It won't get out too much and I'd rather try to save more money on the engine to put that toward the paint and body work that it needs.

This site has really helped with things that I've done so far such as exhaust, brakes, etc.  I'll keep posting progress as it moves along.

Mike






Parts everywhere now :o
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 06:22:18 PM by Coach Mike »
'78 Formula in Martinique Blue
'95 Coupe in Red
'06 RX8 in Copper Red - only 'cuz they stopped making Firebirds

Offline Coach Mike

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 03:49:46 PM »
By the way, the first pic is a wasp nest on the radiator ...
'78 Formula in Martinique Blue
'95 Coupe in Red
'06 RX8 in Copper Red - only 'cuz they stopped making Firebirds

Offline zman

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 08:54:47 AM »
I like original. I would keep the #'s block and upgrade everything else for a little more zip.

Offline Coach Mike

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 10:00:06 AM »
I'm leaning toward just that now.  I would appreciate any thoughts on what to do for upgrades as well.  I will be replacing the cam, lifters, and timing chain and gears and getting a valve job done.  Also was thinking about upgrading the air intake manifold and replacing the 2 barrel carb for a 4 barrel? :-\ 

I know that headers are also a strong possibility but money is an issue on how much I can do right now.  I already replaced the exhaust from the catalytic converter all the way back so I need to match that up to the stock inlet of the catalytic converter (MagnaFlow system).

Thanks for your input,

Mike








'78 Formula in Martinique Blue
'95 Coupe in Red
'06 RX8 in Copper Red - only 'cuz they stopped making Firebirds

Offline 4speed76

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 07:52:19 PM »
I really have a soft spot for the 78 formula W50 cars, as that was my first car.  Mine too was a 305 but a 4 spd.  If I wasn't worried too much about keeping it a #s matching car, then I would do a 383 SBC or something.  But seeing that you would like to keep it #s matching I can respect that.  As for the 305, there isn't too many options for boosting power.  You could open the heads up a bit, change the cam, lifters.  Put on a 4bbl intake, and I would do some headers.  I am not too sure how much you can even bore a 305 block, but you could find out from a machine shop then go that route.  But what ever you decide to do, make sure you keep all the original parts just in case you want to put everything back.
1976 T/A project
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Offline Grand73Am

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 12:34:37 PM »
Since you're going to the extent that you are, I would have to get a 350  :) . It fits and looks the same, all your original parts fit, so it can look just like original. A Chevy 350 is inexpensive and easy to find, so there's not much extra expense involved. And it would run so much better, which equals more fun. I bought a 77 Malibu Classic brand new in 77, and it was a beautiful car. But I got a 305 2 bbl. which was a big mistake. A 350 4 bbl. would've run much better and got just as good mileage. So, sorry but I just don't have much love for 305's. Of course, save the original engine for old time's sake.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 02:40:06 PM by Grand73Am »
Steve F.

Offline jays455ta

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 02:35:16 PM »
Its a Pontiac so I would just go with a 350 or a 400 cid and make it right and not that corporate GM mistake that is the 305 in a firebird or trans am  ;D
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Offline ryeguy2006a

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2011, 07:15:44 PM »
I highly recommend using Tri-Y headers if you buy them. They are more expensive but way worth it. I regret buying my hookers.

1976 Trans Am 406(.030 over) 4 speed, Dual Cooling fan, C5 front Brakes, Custom Rims
Build thread: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

Offline Aus78Formula

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2011, 07:48:44 PM »
Its a Pontiac so I would just go with a 350 or a 400 cid and make it right and not that corporate GM mistake that is the 305 in a firebird or trans am  ;D

305 is a Chev and was standard engine for Formula in '78.

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 08:31:18 PM »
I think he meant that since the car is a Pontiac, GM never should have put a Chevy engine in it to begin with, so he thinks the owner should put a Pontiac engine in it to correct that situation ;) .
I just think he should put in a 350 Chevy to correct the 305 situation  ;D .
Steve F.

Offline TAvsGN

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2011, 08:43:32 PM »
I too have a 78 Formy with a 305 and have been debating this issue about replace or rebuild.  Mine has 26k miles and I am leaning towards keeping it original with some tweeks to the motor.  I came across this article and have been saving it in case I go this route.  Don't know how much info will actually transfer though to a 78 305, as the article deals with an 82 305.  Interesting though, and I imagine that there would be some changes to the stock appearance with this.

http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/ccrp_9903_305_chevy_small_block_engine_build/index.html
78 Formula
98 Trans Am
77 Grand Prix SJ
87 Grand National


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Offline Aus78Formula

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2011, 09:46:03 PM »
I think he meant that since the car is a Pontiac, GM never should have put a Chevy engine in it to begin with, so he thinks the owner should put a Pontiac engine in it to correct that situation ;) .
I just think he should put in a 350 Chevy to correct the 305 situation  ;D .

Aaah of course! But that's what I would have done in same situation, build it to look stock with the chance to upgrade and beef up internally with the larger bores of the 350. You don't want to go to the trouble and expense of converting a Chev setup vehicle to Pontiac/Olds format, entire new driveline, fuel lines and battery need to swap sides, keep it simple! Drop in a 350 on the cheap, bolt up your aircleaner and q-jet, and tell your friends you just got your 305 back from the workshop ;)

I imagine that there would be some changes to the stock appearance with this.

http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/ccrp_9903_305_chevy_small_block_engine_build/index.html


Not bad for simple mods to a stock 305, intake, cam, exhaust and tuning. If the Performer intake on the chev is similar to stock intake and allows for accessories then that's how I'd go to keep aircleaner height and somewhat stock appearance if painted to match the engine. I'm not up to speed on specific cams but if using lower intake and possibly exhaust mainifolds then find a cam that's a little slower, keeping the valves open longer to help maximise flow due to the restrictions. But worry about that later when you have a combination to choose a cam for.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 09:59:56 PM by Aus78Formula »

Offline 4speed76

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2011, 06:39:43 PM »
I was surprised that with the vortec heads, cam, and intake the little 305 made 325hp and over 300lb-ft.  I never expected that.
1976 T/A project
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Offline eroc022

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 07:56:10 PM »
350 vortec heads actually hurt performance.... as the valves are too big and outflow the rest of the motor..... reworked 305 heads are the best bang for the buck
Eroc
Fixing the car that Restore A Muscle Car jacked up....

Offline dodgeram106

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Re: '78 Formula Engine Removal
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2011, 01:33:40 AM »
Nice project car,I would go with a 350 and keep the 305 on the side.When I did my 81 Z28 I went with the newer 350 block with the factory roller lifters and a L98 hot cam with the 96-97  (906) vortec heads/long headers/and dual exhaust.It ran really good with the automatic...but a did convert mine to a 1992 5-speed transmission and 3.73 gears......My 2cents good luck with the build.