Winter project-79 z28 motor swap

91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
79 z28 motor swap and undercarrage/underhood resto

Well, I just picked up my "new" motor and trans for my camaro, i got a LT1 350 and a 700r4 transmission with the wiring harness and computer for $500. The motor oil has a milky appearance which may be from coolant. I have heard that lucas oil stabilizer can cause a milky appearance as well which the previous owner used. I will be pulling the heads and doing a mild rebuild, and if I dont see any problems with the head gasket or any other gaskets I may have the heads or block checked for cracks. I plan on using the car as a summer/spring/fall daily driver which will hopefully get better gas mileage than my truck. So, my old 350 will be for sale, along with my TH350 since I wont really be needing them anymore. If anyone is interested, let me know. I plan on cleaning up the chasis and firewall area while I have the car apart to make it more show worthy. So I will be taking pictures as my winter project moves along to show progress. Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated, as this is my first motor swap. I plan on making the swap look as if the car was built with this motor. I want a clean, "factory" looking appearance. I will be doing all this work in my girlfriend's uncle's garage, who is a pretty nice guy for letting me do all the work. He wants his son to see inside a motor like this so theyre kindof happy to have me there, which is nice. Its not like I'll be getting hounded to work on this project every waking second. Heres some pictures of everything.
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Car
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Soon to be removed
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LT1 and 700r4
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Closer look
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Even closer look, thats the milky oil.

:bowtie:
 
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91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
So, I've gotten the motor torn down to just the block and crank. I've got a few problems. Cylinders number 6 and 8 have bad spots in the cylinders. Also, the crank has a scratch in it so I'm probably going to have it machined along with the cyliners honed if they are in spec. I'm not sure what the problem in the cylinder is from, so i'll probably put a pic of it up here to get some opinions. The bearings look not so good...they are pretty worn...look like theyve been run pretty hard. Not spun or anything, but they are scored.
I gotta do some more measuring to see if there is anything else wrong with the motor. Typical stuff for 130k plus hard miles i guess. I was thinking going with a long block...but its like 1600 for just a long block! For like 400 I can have it machined to be almost new
 

KJZ28

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Sep 26, 2004
3,134
Brewsterico, New Fail
You could have gotten a 2001 5.3l for about hte same price. Probably would have had less miles and run better.

But it seems like your in for a lot of work either way...I cant wait to see progress pics!!!
 

91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
I'm not sure if i could have gotten a 5.3 truck motor complete with wiring harness, ECM, and trans for $500. I'm not sure if its true with the 5.3s, but i know the 6.0s had that piston knock problem when cold. Either way, LS is still a superior motor, but LT1 isnt junk so thats why I went that route. I'll try to get a picture of that cylinder so everyone can see. It looks like the piston was loose and hurt the cylinder, but the piston looks fine.

Also, does anyone know of a reputable machine shop in the south jersey area? I'm not asking for free machine work, I just want somebody that can be trusted.
 

91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
Dropped my motor off today

So after calling around to find out that machine work in south jersey is expensive, I settled on Raz Performance Machine on rt 40 in NJ. I didnt know anything about the business, I just wanted to get my motor cleaned up. Well, when I walk in, the place is riddled with high dollar aluminum heads, big block and small block v8s all over, expensive looking stuff. I talked to Ray there (the owner and machinist) and he's a pretty cool guy. Aparently he builds mostly drag and dirt track motors. He showed me all of his machines, and he had a 400 small block on the dyno. So he says "wanna see it run?" and I say hell yea. Pretty sweet 400, made peak 468 hp, all screaming through open headers, which was very loud

Before I went there, I was assuming it was just a guy working in a garage with a few machines and a dremel, but after seeing his flow bench and machines I was impressed. I know I wont get my motor back for a while, but I know that when it gets back together I wont be afraid to drive it a long distance.

I'm debating on getting my crank balanced. What does everyone think? Is it worth the $150?

Heres where I'm at so far, it seemed like everything was $150 each.
Deck the block-150
Cut the crank-125
Align hone mains-150
Bore and hone-150
Cam bearing replace-150
Clean and inspect-(I forget, probably 150)
Assemble the short block-250

Thats everything I can think of so far. I may have him do my heads, but i'm not sure. I'm supplying the cam, pistons, rings

:bowtie:
 

91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
Just made my first big purchase for the '79. Looks like I'm gonna put way more into this motor/project than I had planned. I'm going aftermarket with the cam, so I'm going to need to buy the necessary components to make it last. Spent $700 today, know I'm going to be putting more into it. Bought forged pistons, rings, arp rod bolts, camshaft, and valve springs. The cam I got is fairly mild, but from what i've heard on ls1lt1.com its the best cam only camshaft. I got the Crane Cams 104227 camshaft, which should work with my setup. The pistons are Speed Pro forged pistons with valve reliefs, which should give me about stock compression ratio. I went forged in case I want to spray some day. Thinking I should go with hardened push rods and new rocker arms, what does everyone think?
 

91chevywt

Veteran Member
May 27, 2008
206
South Jersey, NJ
ZZTOP said:
over budget right ask me LOL.. Is this still gonna be a daily Driver

Yea, hoping to use it during spring/summer/fall and use my pickup during the winter months. I was hoping to put highway gears in the car, maybe 2.73 since thats what the computer is calibrated for, or maybe the 3.42s that came with the car. I'm looking to get 25 mpg with the build and 300 hp or more, and am going to build the motor to go 100,000k miles so whatever i need to make it last i'm going to do.

I wouldnt say i'm over budget yet, i'm thinking a reasonable budget for the motor would be around 2k but I wont be hurt if i go over. I have some money saved up for the project. I dont want to spend money on stupid bs, just trying to keep costs to a minimum and get the job done right, which i think a lot of guys on here are trying to do. Hope i dont get too far into it though! This car does seem to have that snowball effect...
 

Redlightning

Member
Sep 27, 2007
53
TN
91chevywt said:
Yea, hoping to use it during spring/summer/fall and use my pickup during the winter months. I was hoping to put highway gears in the car, maybe 2.73 since thats what the computer is calibrated for, or maybe the 3.42s that came with the car. I'm looking to get 25 mpg with the build and 300 hp or more, and am going to build the motor to go 100,000k miles so whatever i need to make it last i'm going to do.

I wouldnt say i'm over budget yet, i'm thinking a reasonable budget for the motor would be around 2k but I wont be hurt if i go over. I have some money saved up for the project. I dont want to spend money on stupid bs, just trying to keep costs to a minimum and get the job done right, which i think a lot of guys on here are trying to do. Hope i dont get too far into it though! This car does seem to have that snowball effect...


I would keep the 3.42,s .When I had the 200-4r in mine.I checked it a couple of times and it was right at 19MPG.That was with 3.42,s and a carbed engine with about 300HP.
 




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