327 build...what to do?

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by TommyShameless, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. TommyShameless

    TommyShameless New Member

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    Hey everyone, I was hoping to get some advice on building a 327. I need to confess something now, though. It is for a 78 Trans Am clone, not a Camaro. Over on the Trans Am forums you are basically a leper if you have a Chevy engine in your car, but this one came from the factory with a Chevy small block (305), and it's staying that way. So, for the purposes of this bit, it's a 78 Camaro with the factory 4 speed and 3:08 rear. So, let's get down to business!

    I was going to throw a Trick Flow top end kit on the factory, 45,000-mile 305 (heads and cam), add 1 5/8" long tube headers and 2.5" dual exhaust, and call it a day. I had already added an Edelbrock Performer intake and brand new Quadrajet when the stock 2 barrel fell apart on me, so those would remain. But I have to address an oil pan leak, and pull enough off the engine to do the other mods that I may as well pull it completely. And if I'm going to pull it, I can't help but look at the 327 short block I have under the bench. So, here are the details on that 327:

    • 327 short block – .030 over
    • Steel small journal crank, cut .010 on rods and mains
    • Manley .030 pop-up pistons, part number P5511 (supposedly either 11.5:1 or 12.5:1, depending on who I've asked and what size chambers I run, but who knows?)
    • TRW rings
    • TRW rod, main and cam bearings
    • Comp Cams Magnum hydraulic lifter cam and lifters – 501 lift / 292 dur.
    • New double roller timing chain
    • Hi volume oil pump

    The block was cast June 8th, 1963, and the engine originally assembled June 26th, 1963. The numbers indicate this was originally in a Corvette (Flint plant, and single digit year code in the date stamp), with a Powerglide and A/C (suffix SA). Block casting number is 3782870. The engine was run and properly broken in before the heads and intake were used on a different project. Roughly 2,000 miles on it total.

    I'm honestly not sure what the goal was for this thing. It comes from a very close family friend, but it was built way back and the original intent is lost to time. I don't know what car it was supposed to go in, what drivetrain, what the usage was supposed to be, etc. There may not really have been a clear plan.

    I'm not looking to build a race car. I'm looking for a street engine that lets me know it's there, and for the car to have no problem getting out of its own way. It will never see the track, and I would want to run 93 octane pump gas. Just a nice, old school street machine with all sorts of low end grunt. I want lots of streetable torque, and don't plan on whizzing this thing up to 7,000 rpm. Now, I'm operating under the assumption that those pistons are lunacy wrapped in a bag of nonsense, but hey, I could be wrong. I just don't see how those pop-up pistons equal "street engine" without using heads with enormous chambers. I am also not sure about the cam. Maybe it can stay? Or is it too radical?

    I'm open to head and cam kits from any of the companies selling them. I'm down with aluminum heads. I'm open to a hydraulic, solid, or roller cam. I'm prepared to have to swap out the pistons if that is needed, but could use some suggestions. I'm not looking to change the intake or carb, as they are not only brand new, but should be right for making low end torque on a street small block. However, the bigger issue is that the shaker setup has been completed and is set for the height of this intake and carb combo. I don't want to open that door. I'm also pretty sure that 1 5/8" long tube headers, 2.5 exhaust, and maybe 2 chamber Flowmasters would be a good idea for my goals. Do I want to go with an H or X pipe?

    One last note...I know there is no substitute for displacement, but I'd like to try to figure out something with what I've got to work with, since that would be the more cost effective approach. It would be cool to do a 400, but that's not what's under the bench. This 327 seems like it was built to kick butt, it is basically still brand new, and I'd love to know if there is a way this could be used as a good platform for my needs.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. 04silvyhotrod

    04silvyhotrod Veteran Member

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    That setup screams single plane, double pumper, and some low gears because its gonna have to be spun high to get the power. Since you done got the carb and intake you could go with a smaller cam, some flat tops with 64cc heads, 1 5/8 headers, and make plenty of low end grunt with 3.08 gears you have. And not to mention it would be more street friendly and easier on the wallet. I run a 327 in my car and love the motor its not fastest thing on the street but runs good for a little motor.
     
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  3. TommyShameless

    TommyShameless New Member

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    Nice! That's a good nudge in the right direction. I wasn't really sure what to do regarding the type of pistons I should get or the right size heads.
     
  4. Hey G

    Hey G Veteran Member

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    I have always wanted to build a 327, those engines are great, but you can't be worried about spinning up the rpms. The flat top pistons would be a good choice with some 64 cc chamber heads. I have thought about building one and using vortec heads with a healthy camshaft. It all depends on your budget and what you want out of your ride. Hope this helps.


    G
     
  5. brooksman9

    brooksman9 Veteran Member

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    I didn't know you could get the 305 in 78. hmm. Had a 81 formula with a 305 and 4-speed. Nice cruiser of a car. Have a 327 in my 73 now that was a freebie. Just using it as a means to move the thing around for now. Will determine if I keep it by how reliable is is during the build. Interested in watching your progress. good luck.
     
  6. TommyShameless

    TommyShameless New Member

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    Yeah, it was available in the Firebird, Esprit, and Formula. The drivetrain in the car, as ordered by the original owner, was also the base engine / trans / rear for the Formula. To me, it seems like a great foundation to build on. Decent street gears and a factory 4 speed.

    I should also add that if the pic in your sig is your 73, your 73 looks crazy rad!
     
  7. TommyShameless

    TommyShameless New Member

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    It absolutely helps! Thank you!
     
  8. 04silvyhotrod

    04silvyhotrod Veteran Member

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  9. TommyShameless

    TommyShameless New Member

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  10. cadillac_al

    cadillac_al Veteran Member

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    I wonder if the compression would be reasonable with 76cc heads and .040 gasket. I'm not great at math but it would save you changing pistons. I have a Trick Flow top end kit and am very very happy with it. I would buy one again for a future build.
     
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