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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Long story short, I've not had the summer I was expecting and that has left me recently with free time to think about what kind of engine I want for my Camaro when I get around to it (I'm beginning to feel like this will end up like the latest installment of Duke Nukem and be forever in the planning stage). I've came down to two engine choices, with value per dollar spent being paramount. I will keep the emission's system for 50-state legality, so that means keeping TBI.

Option A:

Rebuild & do some machining on the all iron 305, work on the TBI & ECM, clean up the heads with some porting & new Manley valves, a relatively "hot" (by 305 standards) XR264 cam from COMP, and Hooker Super Comp Shorty Headers & Cat back with a Magnaflow cat. Keeps me emissions legal and generates, according to Desktop Dyno (not scientific, but good for getting an idea), 291 FWHP & 335 FWTQ. Cost: $6200 once you figure in machine shop time and some other items.

Option B:

Drop in a GMPP Fast Burn 385 (GM Performance 12496769 - GM Performance ZZ4 350 C.I.D. 385 HP Engine Assemblies - Overview - SummitRacing.com) and transplant the rest from the 305 build list. DD reports 340 FWHP & 378 FWTQ. Cost: $8700

The 385 gets me a 350 platform which is far more versatile than the 305, and its all aluminum top side seriously cuts down on weight (which for me & AX/RR is great). The drawback is that I could build the 305 to the same levels for more headache & almost the same money and yet be stuck with a setup that wouldn't be worth putting on a 350.

Any emissions legal, weight saving engine suggestions would be welcome. $8k is the limit (with good exceptions allowed but not more than $1k over 8) I'm placing on an SBC and $7k (same overrun as the SBC) on an LSx and that includes everything from the radiator to the exhaust tips. If I could find L98 heads from an 87-91 Corvette, that'd be great for the 305 but those don't pop up but once in a great while. I'm not as up on LSx swaps, but a stock LS1/LS6 would be perfect if it could be installed and be emissions legal.
 

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Long story short, I've not had the summer I was expecting and that has left me recently with free time to think about what kind of engine I want for my Camaro when I get around to it (I'm beginning to feel like this will end up like the latest installment of Duke Nukem and be forever in the planning stage). I've came down to two engine choices, with value per dollar spent being paramount. I will keep the emission's system for 50-state legality, so that means keeping TBI.

Option A:

Rebuild & do some machining on the all iron 305, work on the TBI & ECM, clean up the heads with some porting & new Manley valves, a relatively "hot" (by 305 standards) XR264 cam from COMP, and Hooker Super Comp Shorty Headers & Cat back with a Magnaflow cat. Keeps me emissions legal and generates, according to Desktop Dyno (not scientific, but good for getting an idea), 291 FWHP & 335 FWTQ. Cost: $6200 once you figure in machine shop time and some other items.

Option B:

Drop in a GMPP Fast Burn 385 (GM Performance 12496769 - GM Performance ZZ4 350 C.I.D. 385 HP Engine Assemblies - Overview - SummitRacing.com) and transplant the rest from the 305 build list. DD reports 340 FWHP & 378 FWTQ. Cost: $8700

The 385 gets me a 350 platform which is far more versatile than the 305, and its all aluminum top side seriously cuts down on weight (which for me & AX/RR is great). The drawback is that I could build the 305 to the same levels for more headache & almost the same money and yet be stuck with a setup that wouldn't be worth putting on a 350.

Any emissions legal, weight saving engine suggestions would be welcome. $8k is the limit (with good exceptions allowed but not more than $1k over 8) I'm placing on an SBC and $7k (same overrun as the SBC) on an LSx and that includes everything from the radiator to the exhaust tips. If I could find L98 heads from an 87-91 Corvette, that'd be great for the 305 but those don't pop up but once in a great while. I'm not as up on LSx swaps, but a stock LS1/LS6 would be perfect if it could be installed and be emissions legal.
im willing to bet you could do a gen III 5.3 or 6.0 for far less than 8k.

6.0 - 1000
t56 - 1500
custom harness 1000
motor mounts 85
x member 100
so thats not even 5k, im sure there are more odds and ends, but nothing major, and you could add a cam in there and make 400 to the tires!!! i know its not a drop in deal like the others, but ill tell you, it is a better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
im willing to bet you could do a gen III 5.3 or 6.0 for far less than 8k.

6.0 - 1000
t56 - 1500
custom harness 1000
motor mounts 85
x member 100
so thats not even 5k, im sure there are more odds and ends, but nothing major, and you could add a cam in there and make 400 to the tires!!! i know its not a drop in deal like the others, but ill tell you, it is a better choice.
I've been looking through Hawks thirdgen on LSx swap parts and it looks to be possible to do an LS1/T56 swap for less than $8k. They sell the engine & trans together with all the electronics for $4500, swap harness for $1000, serpentine setup from 98-02 for $1000. LSx K-Member & A-Arms are another $1000 (good excuse to buy those at that point). Thats $7500, tons of weight shaved and almost all the parts minus the pedals, some wiring odds & ends, & maybe a new driveshaft.
 

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or you could go with a 6.0 or 5.3, bolt on an ebay turbo like they did in HOT ROD mag, make 600 flywheel hp for about 3k, then have money left over for the other stuff. ls1 is good, but the 5.3 and 6.0 are just as good, but wayyyy cheaper and have stronger bottom ends.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not really looking for power. A stock LS1 is fine, but if I want more power I can change the cam. I really want that all aluminum engine for its weight savings.
 

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got ya, yea, third gens are nose heavy, any weight off the fron is good, i just weighed my car a few weeks ago and it was 1800 on the front and 1300 on the back. if i had the k member and a arms im sure it would be alot less, my 9" is dragging me down in the back a bit, but id rather have weight back there than in the front. a fiberglass hood should help me out too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
If you get the K-member, you have to get the hood. Otherwise, your front end roll center goes way high and causes steering issues. If you drop weight off the bottom of the car like that, you need to drop about double off the top side to keep your roll center constant. Thankfully, the best street k-members only drop something like 20lbs whereas a hood is nearly a 50lb drop (according to TGO tech articles).

After looking into it, I won't be swapping to a T56 if I do swap out the 305 for an LS1. Rather, I'll be upgrading to a 4L60E just to keep things simple. As I tallied it up, I came out to a less than $2k price differential overall with an LS1 swap over the 305 and thats with a new K-Member & arms. Coupled with those weight savings and I'll be thinking hard about doing the LS1 swap.
 

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If you get the K-member, you have to get the hood. Otherwise, your front end roll center goes way high and causes steering issues. If you drop weight off the bottom of the car like that, you need to drop about double off the top side to keep your roll center constant. Thankfully, the best street k-members only drop something like 20lbs whereas a hood is nearly a 50lb drop (according to TGO tech articles).

After looking into it, I won't be swapping to a T56 if I do swap out the 305 for an LS1. Rather, I'll be upgrading to a 4L60E just to keep things simple. As I tallied it up, I came out to a less than $2k price differential overall with an LS1 swap over the 305 and thats with a new K-Member & arms. Coupled with those weight savings and I'll be thinking hard about doing the LS1 swap.
you wont regret it. check out firechicken76 on youtube and you can see my car.
 

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LS swap for sure! Heck as someone mentioned earlier even a 5.3 swap would do you some justice. They can put out 350 hp without cracking a valve cover and are a dime a dozen. Buddy of mine bought a complete 5.3 (harness, accessories etc and all) for 600$. Unless you live in Kalifornia you could probably pass emissions with a few mods. It's Iron block so you'd only save on heads intake etc but still for that price and power.
 
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