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Formula Q's for Steve_Chin

Discussion in 'Other Rides' started by lowlevell, Apr 17, 2001.

  1. lowlevell

    lowlevell 1/2 ton status

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    Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    On my recent excursions looking for a "parts" car for my 79' TA, I found 79" Formula with out a drive train or interior. The body on it is strait but in need of paint. The car has a truck bed liner sitting on it upside down to keep rain from getting inside. Anyway, i forgot to see if it had T-tops and if the rear brakes were disk, or for that matter, i didnt even check to see if it was an original 400-4spd. Im going to go back soon to get a good look at it and see what he wants for it. Besides the these codes listed below, what should i look for?( Or can you think of anything else)? I may buy this car to restore and just end up racing mine.

    W50 means?
    WS6 means? (suspension package)?
    W72 means original 400-4spd

    P.S. I "yet" again missed out on a good deal. The guy that has the Formula is buying (and then selling for more $$) a 70-72? Trans Am 455 (sd? not sure) auto off some 70 year old guy for $2000. I personaly didnt see it, but it is one of those all white with the blue strip TA's, Original condition. GRRRRRR...... I paid $2000 for my 79' TA. Later....


    One From None
     
  2. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    The first thing to do is to get the VIN off of the car. That will tell you a lot about what the car was originally supposed to be. Post the first seven digits here and we'll see what we can't decode.

    W50: Don't know
    WS-6: Special Performance package which included stiffer springs, special shocks, 4-wheel disc brakes, high-effort 14:1 constant ratio steering, 0.750" rear anti-sway bar, stiffer front anti-sway bar grommets, 15" x 8" aluminum alloy wheels, P225/70R15 white letter tires.
    WS-7: Same as WS-6 without the rear disc brakes.
    W-72: The higher-end 400 engine. L78 was the RPO for the base 400/4-barrel during the '77 and '78 model year runs. The W-72 engine got a slightly hotter camshaft, different ignition curve, and 6X-4 heads off of the 354 (to increase the compression ratio over the 6X-8 heads on the L78 cars). W-72 was the only 400 option available in the '79 cars and was available only with the Borg-Warner Super T-10 transmission. All of the '79 model cars with the 400 engine had their engines built during the '78 model run. Approximately 10000 engines were stock-piled for use in the '79 run for use in the Formula and Trans Am only. John Witzke (aka Mr. W-72) is the technical advisor to the Pontiac-Oakland Club International (POCI) and has a lot more specifics on this option package.

    An original 455 in an early Gen2 Trans Am would mean that it's a 455-HO in a '71 or '72 car. Te SD 455 was a '73 and '74 model option. '72s are exceedingly rare because of the labor strike (many '72 GM cars had to be scrapped prior to the '73 model run because they were incomplete and didn't meet the new safety standards for the '73 model run - the rarest of the rare as far as Gen2 cars are concerned are '72 455-HO Formulas). If the car is all-original and rust-free, it's worth a pretty penny. If the body is roached and the engine is good, the engine is worth much more than the $2K that the guy's plunking down on the car. A lot of guys go nuts over the '71 and '72 cars for good reason, but they never struck me as my favorites. I want a '70-1/2 4-speed car in Lucerne Blue (with white stripe). I guess I'd settle for a Cameo White car with a blue stripe.
     
  3. lowlevell

    lowlevell 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Thanks for the reply Steve. I also started posting at Classical Pontiac :) The forum there (to me) isnt as easy to use as this one. Im going to a couple of boneyards that supposedly have a few Trans Ams this Saturday. I will also stop back at the guys shop and make a copy of the VIN numbers, and maybe he will have bought the 71-73? TA by then. If he does have it, i will get a copy of its VIN # too. Thanks......

    One From None
     
  4. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Hey Steve,

    Do you know what the highest factory torque a 400 Pontiac had? I would like to get a 455(built to '70 HO specs), but they are out of my range...

    Thanks!

    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  5. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    The '68-'70 400s with 10.5:1 compression (rated, true compression was about 10:1). They all were rated at about 445 lbs.*ft. of torque. Different camming and subtle changes in the heads altered the amount and RPM at which the torque came in.

    Those '70 455-HOs are monsters. Totally under-rated engines because of the Ram Air IV availability in the GTOs. They are exceedingly hard to find. The #64 heads are in high demand, and the 4-bolt blocks are too. I've been toying with the idea of putting mine back together stock and seeing what I can get for it, but it has a lot of sentimental value... LOL!
     
  6. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    The 70 GTO 455 HO's had the highest Tq out put correct? At 500lbs/ft?

    I have a couple 400's, I may put one in the Blazer soon.... One is a 77 out of a Grand Prix and the other I am not sure about, because I just acquired it..

    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  7. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Yes, the highest torque output 455 was the '70 HO from the Bonnevilles, Grands Prix SJ, and GTOs. Nasty engine if transplanted into a Firebird.

    Get the date codes off of the block and heads, and the head casting numbers. Those will tell a lot about that 400 if it is stock...
     
  8. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    I know they are both 6X heads(the 77 and the new one i got), but I will get more numbers....

    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  9. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    There were at least two different 6X coded heads. One was used on the 350s and W-72 400s, and the other was used on the L-78 400s. The 350 head was stamped with the number 4 on a machined boss that is between and above the #1 and #3 (or #6 and #8) plug holes. The L-78 head was stamped with the number 8 in the same place. There is a difference of about 8cc in combustion chamber sizes.
     
  10. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    I didn't get a chance to check it this weekend, but I will find all that out soon...

    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  11. Blaze

    Blaze 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Hey Steve, is there any way I could swap heads off of another motor and boost the compression in my 75? I know if I get a hold of some heads off of a 69 Pontiac 350, it will boost the compression to 9.5:1, but I can't find them anywhere. I can get some 6x heads off of a '74 400 Pontiac for cheap, but I don't know how to get some 69s. Any ideas? Don't have the time or cash to shave the deck and change the pistons.

    [​IMG]<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch>http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch</A>
     
  12. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    I forgot to tell ya, My brother has a 69 Bonneville with a 428 built to 69 HO specs. The car is/was immaculate, but has been sitting since '91.... It is very fast for as big as it is...

    The car itself only has about 114K miles on it. And the engine is pretty fresh.

    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  13. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Blaze, it depends on the heads you find. A set of heads for a 354 that had 8.8:1 compression (which would be more or less what you'd find in a '68 or '69 unless it were a 350 HO) would net about 9.9:1 on a 400. My advice would be to find a set of heads from a '71-'78 350, the 6X-4 of '77-'78 vintage being probably the best of those (screw-in studs, big intake valve), which would net you about an 8.44:1 compression ratio. There are other heads that work well on a 400 but might get you into a gasoline quality problem because of excessively high compression (~10:1). Those would be 12 and 13 headws from '70, 48 heads from '69, 16 heads from '68. You might also want to look into finding a set of #15 or #64 heads from a '70 455, but those heads are fairly rare, and a good set of #64s will set you back a healthy amount of change.

    There were no 6X heads in '74. The 6X head first appeared in '77 model cars (although I have been told that some people found some rare 124cc chamber versions on some '76 455s).

    Why would you change the pistons? The stock pistons are flat-tops and most engines run best with flat-top pistons. The only reason I can see for changing the pistons is to rebuild the engine (for overbore) and/or to go to forged pistons. WRT shaving the deck, that should only be done to correct the deck clearance of the pistons. The cylinder heads are where compression adjustments should be made...
     
  14. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Cool! Those Bonnies were nice cars. I got the 455-HO that's in my T/A from a '70 Bonnie Wagon. They squirt really good with all of that Pontiac low-end torque...
     
  15. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    I really like it, but he thinks its a little ot big to make a "Hot Rod".. I have been wanting him to put 18's on it and Hotchkis suspension parts.. Make it handle a lot better.... he still thinks it's too big, i think otherwise....

    My father also has an 82 T/A. It is also mint with 35K on it.. Too bad it is only a 305 though. There are no irds on it, my cousin bought it originally and had the removed, but whne we bought the car off of them, they bought all new birds for it, but we never had them put on... It shift really crisp and I have gotten it to chirp tires in 3 gears(auto) without much effort. Also, the LSD in the rear is pretty tight and nice....



    Mike - <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>[​IMG]
     
  16. lowlevell

    lowlevell 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    I will not be buying the Formula. I was just informed by my EX that my old 75 Chevelle spun a main bearing. Its the original sbc400 250,000 miles. I am buying it back from her for 300. This car has all factory options for 75 including the Corvette rallies. Its dead, but at least its mine again. She is selling the car back to me because her "new" boyfriend doesnt know sh!t about cars............hehehehe........ too bad :)

    On a side note for Steve, I finally found an ungutted/uncrushed (81)Firebird here locally to strip. It had almost perfect Black int. I bought everything except the drivers seat, dash, carpet, headliner for $80. The seat was to broke to fix, so i pulled all of the black plastic from it. The headliner was useless because someone had installed a sunroof. The dash had to many cracks in it, and the carpet had seen better days. :) Got me an extra alum dash face now............
    Still looking for a good set of Black vinyl (power) door panels......

    One From None
     
  17. Blaze

    Blaze 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Sorry, I didn't mean shaving the deck, I meant shaving the head. Then I couldn't use flat-top pistons because of valve clearances. I just got a 72 400, so I shouldn't have to worry about any of that smogger stuff anymore(I hope!). Thanks for the info, Steve!

    [​IMG]<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch>http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch</A>
     
  18. Steve_Chin

    Steve_Chin 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Blaze, don't count the smog stuff out. Many states are in the process of enacting smog check laws that are scarily similar to the ones we have here in CA. There are a lot of things you can do to keep the car smog legal and still wring the a lot of power out of it. If your state ever enacts smog laws like ours, you will at the very least need the charcoal can, thermostatic air cleaner, heat riser, automatic choke, TVV, TCS, EGR, catalytic converter, fuel restrictor...

    Lowlevell, there are subtle differences in the interiors of the '81s from the '79s. They are mostly cosmetic, but the interior just doesn't look right to me... Cool that you're geting the Chevelle back. Sorry it spun a main. Getting the tunnels line-honed isn't cheap...

    Emmettology 101, there are tons of things you (or your brother - heh, heh!) can do to the Bonnie... You have a good start on that with the idea of the Hotchkis stuff. You can also add disc brakes, bigger anti-sway bars, stiffer springs, etc. It'd be a cool ride.
     
  19. lowlevell

    lowlevell 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    The only thing i really noticed that was different was the front of the center console doesnt have the empty slot in it because the 81' computer is now behind where it used to be.
    The seatbelts however were "fun" to get out. There was no way i was leaving with those Black seatbelts:) The torx heads of course stripped out when i tryed to loosen them. So i simply(LOL) whiped out my cold chisel and proceeded to cut the floor out around the seatbelt mounts:) a cordless sawzall would have been nice. It took me 4 hours to gut the interior in the pouring down rain. But it was still better than being at work:)

    I still need a good set of black power doorpanels. Ames has them for $289 assembled. I would like to find them a little cheaper.
    I need a good black int passenger side door handle/armrest too.


    One From None<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by lowlevell on 04/25/01 06:33 AM (server time).</FONT></P>
     
  20. Blaze

    Blaze 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Formula Q\'s for Steve_Chin

    Yeah, they are starting to put eh sniffer in the tailpipe here in Raleigh, NC where I live. My S-10 Blazer fails every time. It has all the smogger stuff, but still fails. I have to get a friend to run it through his shop to get an inspection sticker. I figure I can do the same with my Firebird, at least until things get really hairy! I hope it doesn't come to the CA stuff here. That would really suck.

    [​IMG]<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch>http://www4.ncsu.edu/~brschoch</A>
     

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