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Projects 371 Olds motor... potential?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by EvilOlds88, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. EvilOlds88
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    EvilOlds88
    Member

    I recently became the proud owner of a 1958 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 with 55K miles. She's rough, she misses and the brakes are... well... not there... but she's got charm! I got the bases pretty much covered in how to fix everything else but I'm hitting kind of a snag in what to do with the motor.... Are there any speed shops that specialize in vintage engines of this sort? I've had a few people tell me to ditch it and just drop a Cad 472/500 in but I cant believe, other than the obvious displacement advantage, that the Cad motors would be so much superior? This thing has got impressive torque, even running off 6 or 7 slugs (REALLY chewed up plug wires) it still climbed all by it's self onto the trailer that I took it home with. I'm planning to open it up to check everything properly and I figure while I'm in there I might as well give it a little more get up... I just don't know what can be done. I figure a modern 4bbl carb in place of the 2bbl would be a great place to start but what intake do I use? Then there's the question of headers, a slightly bumpier cam, and if they need it a little cleaning up on the heads (a fresh mill job...don't know about porting them). Not trying to build an all out drag motor but I figure a small improvement here and there can add up to a decent gain in the end... So 1.) Is it worthy of building? 2.) Is it even possible? 3.) Where and who does what? I appreciate any and all input, I want to do this right the first time around cause I ain't building no trailer queen here, this will be driven... a lot. Thanks:)
     
  2. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Before you get beat up too much bud, go and do in introduction. It will save you a lot of grief and get you some help with your questions.

    Don
     
  3. EvilOlds88
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    EvilOlds88
    Member

    Thanks Don, I'm doing that now. Ain't trying to be a pain, just want to see what I got you know?
     
  4. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    No problem, you are new here as all of us were at one time. I just wanted you to get off to a good start. :)

    I can give you a little info on your 371 as I have it's sister 394 in my rpu and have put various early Olds engines in some cars over the years. First off, they are fantastic motors. Powerful, built like a tank, and dependable as hell. They also respond to typical hot rod tricks very well, like a cam, carburation, ignition, exhaust, etc. Parts are not as readily available as something like a sbc, but there are sources. Tony (Goatroper02) on here specializes in them and knows them like the back of his hand. He builds them and sells lots of parts for them. Many other guys on here also know them well.

    Do a search under Olds engines and you will find a bunch of threads on them. I'm sure lots of our other members will jump on and give you some advice too. One thing I can tell you is that you have to be careful when buying parts because Olds divided year groupings so that parts from a 56 may not fit a 57 and so forth. Intakes are one of those areas, I think 57-58 are all by themselves if I remember correctly. The HAMB classifieds is a great place to find parts and generally the members are friendly with their pricing to fellow members.

    Good luck and welcome to the HAMB.

    Don
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012

  5. EvilOlds88
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    EvilOlds88
    Member

    All I can say is wow, it's total information overload :eek:. Heck there's all kinds of ways to go with this thing... never would of guessed that from a 54 year old motor, I guess it's just a matter of what would be the best set up and finding the parts... mainly the later of the two I'm sure. One thing I saw was a aluminum heads, hehe total overkill for me I'm sure but damn so so cool :D. I'm sure the heads on mine will flow good enough for what I'm doing. My motor stock was rated at 265hp and I'm looking to find the 325-350 mark, nothing really more than that. Realistically is that achievable with just bolt on parts and a decent cam? If so some basic set ups and cam specs would be awesome so I know what to shoot for to get me in the ball park and so I know what not to do.

    I am going to contact that Tony you mentioned Don. I saw his site and he seems like he's got these things down, better yet his business is here in Ohio. In the mean time I'll get some pictures of the old girl on here this weekend.
     
  6. The 371/394 engine is a pretty stout piece. I'd suppose it would have been more popular but got edged out due to them being heavy. But perfect in your car. Every one I've had was smooth running and powerful even in the 2BBL carb mode.

    Bob
     
  7. GOATROPER02
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,059

    GOATROPER02
    Member
    from OHIO

    Cant do much with them.....Better off sending it to me and get that iron out of your way:D

    Tony
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Nice try, Tony. :p:D

    Don
     
  9. 371 is a great engine. The weak link in your stock drivetrain is the trans. Swapping to a later model auto is a good choice, but requires an adapter. The engine you have is fine, clean it up and give it a good tune-up with the new parts need to run right. I would leave it in the car and consider about a different trans.
     
  10. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,408

    Paul
    Editor

    As much as I love the early Olds motors and think they make great hot rod engines, I might consider something else for such a big heavy sled as the '58 Olds. I'm not familiar.enough.with that engine bay to suggest the perfect alternative but I might look at the 455 th400 combo as one possibility
     
  11. GOATROPER02
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,059

    GOATROPER02
    Member
    from OHIO


    Paul did you slip and bump your head?....Should we send help?

    Tony
     
  12. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,408

    Paul
    Editor

    Hahaha, here's a clip of my 371 for the new guy





    Edit, sorry having a hard time getting this to work from my phone

    edit again, power just came on at the house, been out for 32 hours
    so here is a better link
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  13. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,581

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Get the car running first. Tune up the engine, check compression and oil pressure. If it runs decent drive it around. If you have it running perfect in stock configuration, and you ever find yourself with the gas pedal to the floor wishing for more power, come back and we will give you some more ideas.

    The 57 Olds was one of the hotter stock cars of its day. Chances are you will find it has all the power you need.

    But, if you want to hop it up you can. With this warning. I have seen several decent old motors that guy tried to hop up, and they blew sky high in a month or 2. If you leave it stock and baby it a little it may last for years.

    So, if you do want to do a hop up, plan on taking it out for a rebuild or at least an overhaul. If the crank, pistons etc check out good put it back together with new rings, bearings, gaskets etc and be confident it will stand the gaff.
     
  14. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    X2 what i was thinking....but maybe he just wants that guys motor:confused::D
     
  15. EvilOlds88
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    EvilOlds88
    Member

    38chev you hit the nail on the head with the transmission. That's my big fear at the moment and I figure if anything is going to fail once I'm done that will be it. I do want to keep an automatic, I found Bendtsen's site and they make adapters for the early Olds to a Chevy bolt pattern for around $1k. I have a TH700R4 out of a 2wd half ton and I figure that'll hold up....maybe. I believe there's a kit to use on older vehicles for the lock up torque converter on them. Who else makes adapters for 371s?
     
  16. Frank36
    Joined: Aug 27, 2007
    Posts: 45

    Frank36
    Member

    Nobody has mentioned the J2 or Golden Rocket, search that EvilOlds88.
     
  17. GOATROPER02
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,059

    GOATROPER02
    Member
    from OHIO



    When they tell you that Goatroper02 has everything you need to build your vintage powerplant to todays durability and power....Listen...They are correct.....

    I make the only adaptor set-up that doesnt require you to cut the floor out of your car to install ....t400 shown ...but available for 700r also

    As well as any stock or speed part you could want.....


    Tony
     

    Attached Files:

  18. ChassisResearchKid
    Joined: Feb 18, 2006
    Posts: 764

    ChassisResearchKid
    Member
    from Michigan

    Goatroper02 has it all. I'll say it again. Goatroper02 has it all. This really shouldn't be complicated.
     
  19. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,989

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I had a 371 in a 53 Olds 2 door sedan years ago and when I put it togather in 85 it would blow away almost new corvettes and that was when it still had the 2 bbl carb and it was assembled with junkyard parts,it had a 4 bbl a couple years later and shortly before I sold it it was still able to blow away mild 350s in lighter cars with the jetaway trans so a 371 is worth keeping.
     
  20. EvilOlds88
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    EvilOlds88
    Member

    Goatroper02 is there anything you don't got? haha I'll definitely be calling you next week man.... Paul that is one bad ass motor man, very nice work:)
     
  21. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,581

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    In 1968 I put a 1959 371 2 barrel in a Willys, for the street. I had in mind to hop up the motor but never got around to it. It had all the power I ever needed.

    So give it a try in stock form and see how you like it.
     
  22. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,408

    Paul
    Editor

    even the single two barrel will give surprising power at lower rpm,
    right where you want it in a big car
    if you want more you couldn't go wrong with the J2 setup like already suggested
    3 twos and dual exhaust would be about perfect
     
  23. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,989

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I am wanting to find another to put in my 37 Chevy p/u but I am afraid it might have more power then I could handle in such a light vehicle and might do something stupid so I am thinking about building a 53 Olds 2 door hard top with that motor instead.
     
  24. GOATROPER02
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,059

    GOATROPER02
    Member
    from OHIO

    No

    Tony
     

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