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 Newbie with a '79 T/A 428
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BDH79TA
Tribal Scout

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2017 :  09:28:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for a great forum. My name is Bryan, I'm 48 yo and I live just south of Rolla,MO. I'm a newbie to the forum, not to Pontiacs. I bought my first car at 15, a 67 LeMans. Bone stock 326, running and driving. $500 for that far back then. My how prices have changed. Had a 66 LeMans (paid $500 for it also) after totalling the 67. Built a 68 RAIII 400 for that one. Had a moment of stupidity and sold it. Probably the last "real" Pontiac I've owned. Had a 78 Gold Edition T/A for several years. Bone stock 180 HP 400, but I realized then that I love the second gen Firebird.

Years ago, while driving OTR I bought a 79 T/A. Never had the time to work on it so it has just been sitting. Probably a dozen years while I collected parts and made more lists and plans than can be imagined. Recently I decided it was time to actually get started on the car. While searching for parts I came across a really solid 79, low optioned, 301 4bbl T/A. Kid had blown the low powered, anemic 71 400 but everything else was in great shape. Picked it up on the cheap, figuring I could swap in a running engine and just start swapping parts from my high optioned T/A.

Picked up a running 68 350. Heard it run, and even went for a test ride. It was sitting in a 66 GTO that had a 455 waiting. Figured this would be perfect to get the car on the road. Not ideal, but I'd be enjoying the car. I put down a deposit and waited for him to pull it. That's when things started going sideways. There had been a 428 block and crank listed in CL. Price was right, but I was determined to stay on goal. I had wanted a 428 for decades, but I wanted the car running even more. And the cash doesn't just flow out of a well at my house. Over the few weeks I watched the 428 drop in price, until he got to the point I couldn't say no. So now I have a 428 block and crank. It had been cleaned and checked. Everything checked out standard and in good shape. Figured I'd set that back and build it in the next few years. Here's where problem 2 appears.

Got the 350 home. Decided I'd freshen it up with seals and gaskets since it would be sitting in the car a few years. Pulled it apart and immediately knew I was in trouble. 3 rod caps had been switched around during the rebuild and completely wasted those bearings and journals. Cam bearings were also severely screwed up at install. So much so I had to use a pry bar to get the cam to move. Now I'm looking at minimum, a crank kit and cam bearings. For an engine I've already spent all I'd ever spend on it and something that was a "make due" anyway. So I'm sure you know what happened. The 428 went to the shop instead. The crank turned 10/10 and the block bored very nicely at .030 over.

As most do, this project has sky rocketed in original cost. I'm looking for a little advice on heads. First, I don't have the cash for KRE or E-heads. Second, this is a 98 percent street car. Not looking to build the fastest car in the state. I'm looking to stay around 9.5 to 1 compression and most likely a 744 or aftermarket updated version in the future. Right now the available options are an 068 cam I have, a set of stock 670 heads, 62 heads, 13 heads or 6X-4 heads. The pistons are flat tops with 6cc valve reliefs. I had Jim Hand's book, before I moved. Can't locate it so I guess that's another upcoming purchase also. Thanks for any advice and a great forum. Sorry this went on FOREVER. Just nice to share with fellow Pontiac folks. They are getting fewer and farther between.

'79 428 T/A

cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5354 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2017 :  09:33:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum! Good luck on finding the jim hand book, i've seen a couple go for good cash unless it's being reprinted!

You have three options really: CC your heads or look them up to get a ballpark, and run the numbers through the calculator and find the closest to the compression you desire and then match the cam to that. Second, if none of those are close, find a head code that seems like it'd be ideal, sell those, and find that. Third, find or borrow the cash for aluminum heads.

The reason i mention three is, after doing heads all the way, all new, 100%, it's not uncommon to be at a grand a set anyways. All new valves, hardened seats, guides, springs, porting cleanup if you want that, milling both sides, it adds up if you use good stuff. You're halfway to aluminum heads there. I've put good money into iron heads because i didn't want to spend the extra money, but later when cash comes available, you can't go back and upgrade to aluminum for the difference. Just my 2c.
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BDH79TA
Tribal Scout

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2017 :  12:23:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the reply and the welcome. I'll go over to the head, camshaft thread to continue my quarry.

'79 428 T/A
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rkellerjr
Many Feathers

USA
1267 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2017 :  07:09:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome

Rich
1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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