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Technical best bang for the buck

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by porknbeaner, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,596

    Atwater Mike

    To answer (or add to) this in the most accurate vein, (way before computers) the most 'bang' (that you could feel in the drivers seat!) was a dramatic release of backpressure.
    Everyone knows what a relief it is to flatulate, but this is a car related story, that I am testamount to unravel.

    While in my Jr. year at high school, a friend, Richard Mollica, of Santa Clara, brought me his nice low mileage '40 Ford Coupe.
    The car had a Sears rebuilt 239" 59 engine, fresh from the previous owner.
    Richard wanted some H.P., for around $100. I took him and his '40 down to Scotty Mac's muffler service in San Jose. (this was about the 8th customer I brought, so they cut us a little slack)
    Brownie installed a set of Belond 'Equa-Flo' headers and complete kit, duals all the way out the back.
    Brownie welded some chrome tips on, too.
    The ride home was rewarding, for Richard was aloof with its performance...Not rocketlike, but a notable difference.
    He drove it for months like that, then 'gave in' and transplanted a 324 Olds.
    First thing the Olds got was a set of Sandy Belond's Olds headers...
  2. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    Ya IMO that's really bs on flatheads. Headers do very little for flatheads except they sound better. Unless you really do serious mods
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
  3. Man IDK, everyone swears their car runs better after a wash too.

    That's it, the biggest bang for the smallest money is a car wash
    flux capacitor, Hnstray and saltflats like this.
  4. traditionally, removing weight $0. fenders, hood, interior etc..........
  5. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    I guess. I'm basing this opinion off a book called flathead nostalgia by ol Ron and jwls book.

    But can say I never felt any performance from dual fentons I put on. Sounded like it though
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  6. Fedman
    Joined: Dec 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,163


    Okay, I will chime in on this and probably fall flat on my face. :(
    1975 was my first driving year, broke and so were all my friends, I think the biggest thing we could have done back then was to have NEW Valve springs, we were all running overhead valve motors(no Flatties)
    Chevies, Chryslers & Fords were all in our group. The Fastest Car was my Buddy with a 289 Ford in a 65 Comet Caliente & 3 Speed Stick. His was the only one that had been properly rebuilt with all new parts including Cam & Springs.(BC Valve & Crank) I thought I was on top of the world with 283 Pistons that been Knurled to tighten up the Slop! :p All our motors layed over and pumped crap out the pipes at 4000 RPM & the Comet just blasted away! God I wish I could go back for just 1 more night back then with the Guys & Cars and run them down Kingsway. :)
    volvobrynk likes this.
  7. wearymicrobe
    Joined: Jul 27, 2007
    Posts: 262

    from San Diego

    After a tune up and proper ignition gears are always where I go
  8. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,283


    The best bang for your $$$ is buying a better [already finished] engine that somebody else is throwing out of their toybox.
    especially if you can unload your existing engine and just pony up the difference.

    But if you are a sucker for punishment [interpreted as a traditional HAMB DIYer] I would suggest starting at the tyre footprint and working your way towards the front.
    1: Slicks
    2: Rear end gears
    3: Shift kit
    4: Converter

    With the engine
    Exhaust 1st ........ Carburetter last
    volvobrynk likes this.
  9. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,640


    Camshafts are $100 ain't much that can change something that drastic for that kinda money
  10. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    from Denmark

    Base on my current car/project.

    The first thing I did on my 121ci Volvo was go true carb, ignition and valves. Did give me 2 mph more on a hill, and 4 mph on top.
    It had 83 hp from the factory, one carb and had done 130.000 km in 35 years
    Paid 1500 bucks for the car. 3 owners, my dad, one of his colleagues and a owner of a paints store. I had to go over every service part in the car, as soon as I started to you it, ignition wires, radiator an hoses, battery, clutch, front brakes and tires. But served me well for years, but being a hot rodder, I had to tweek everything to my liking, get to work and have fun!!

    I had a blown headgasket, so I found me a big valve head, with a bump in compression.
    Did make a difference, but could mostly be the head gasket. 120bucks used +30 for oil and head gasket.
    So a little for something.

    Next thing I did, was play with spark plugs, ignition/timming, and set the valves tighter.
    Made a difference, but only seat of the pants. Better starting and fuel economy, important in a DD. 20bucks

    Bought a 2" exhaust system, for some like 200-250 bucks. Gave me so much bottom end and made such a sweet note.
    Major improvement, and Fair priced.

    Then I bought a distributor with advanced curve, no vacuum and a breaker less ignition. 40bucks, used.
    That made a world of difference to my top end, and fuel economy, remember DD.

    Then I rebuild my car, and upgrade cam and intake. When from the 82 hp one carb cam to a 130 hp injection cam. From one 175 variable venturi to two twin dellorto's 40 side draft on IR.
    that cam and carb set up made a world of a difference, both in top and bottom end, but also in fuel economy!! I run a 4speed with OD and 4.11 in the back.
    It runs strong, long and fast. It's consistent, reliable and got a good grunt when pulling, and is more silent at highway speed, and now it can do it a long time.
    That costed a lot, and gave a fair amount back.

    But my top 6 list goes:

    1. 2 inch exhaust, with stock manifold (gives better bottom end)

    2. 2x2 carb on IR, 4 banger.

    3. Breaker less ignition, with all new parts and better match of my plugs!

    4. Cam.

    5. Valves/head.

    6. Rear end, and drive train.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,729


    Yup...except that the hunnerd bucks needs to be followed by changing:

    and maybe heads, exhaust, and intake, to make that new cam work in the RPM range it wants to see
    slammed likes this.
  12. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,223


    Except for NOS which to me is a bandaid Hp not a permanent fix you have to keep replacing the bandaids is a supercharger. I know they are not cheap but the horsepower increase is big.
  13. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    from Florida

    Starting from a stock engine pre-computer
    Best bang for the buck is bump the timing up a bit, Its free and that's hard to beat.
    striping weight out of the car/truck
    running race gas vs regular gas
    open exhaust/no mufflers or larger pipe
    retune the factory carb, change jets, or install a larger carb or carbs.
    Lower gears
    I guess if labor doesn't count just parts or services paid for, than milling the heads wouldn't cost that much.
    or finding better heads than what you currently have from a junk yard. Those "corvette heads" seem easy to find.

  14. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,603


    My understanding of's a vacuum cleaner.....the more air shoved in and out fast makes power?
    Then to utilize that power to the street everything else comes into play.......trans gear set......rear gear of the get my point.
  15. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,127

    Dick Stevens

    Sorry, but no one thing that will work in all cases, to make max power everything has to be balanced. Intake & exhaust including cam, improvement have to have more compression to maximize HP gains. Then you have to have good reliable delivery of ignition to fire the fuel mixture that has to be correct. Therefore, it requires determining what is lacking of those factors and bringing that part up to balance with the rest of the factors. We had a young local guy that built a very nice looking 57 Chevy with a 327 and kept throwing speed items at it without considering those factor, big roller lifter cam and tunnel ram with 2 big 4 barrel carbs and he couldn't understand why every time he raced me in my stock 300 HP 327 Impala, I beat him worse every time we raced. He finally refused to race me and settled for driving it around, looking and sounding mean.
  16. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,018


    My thought is pretty much been run to death here. Rear end gears. Especially if you have a smog era car. And if you knew Ron Hammel you had nitrous before you had a computer.
  17. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,271


    Go from ho-hum to shit-eatin' grin mode fairly cheap.
  18. As part of the tune-up, a dual point distributor.
  19. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Saltflats is SO right, and it has so many other benefits (increased detonation resistance for one), and so many overlook it, I will expand my list to 4, but still in the same order. Curve, headers, gear, cold air...
  20. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,596

    Atwater Mike

    If you had replaced stock exhaust manifolds and a 1.5" single exhaust pipe running through a large stock muffler with a pair of straight through Belond mufflers and 1.75" pipes, and didn't 'feel' any difference, you, sir are 'insensitive'. Not a pretty word in this day's PC world.
    I have to imagine that your Fentons were retroed into an already dual system. Or you would have witnessed a difference, eclipsing opinions formed from a book.
  21. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,640


    Yep I Absoulutly agree with you , but we could be talking about a 70 lt-1 in a 4spd Camaro , or a smogger regular old 350 in a 1979 3/4 ton truck you put a "r/v " cam in.., a non factory cam is always going to be a major improvement .... Well I guess if a guy knows how to pick one... Then of course you have this guy image.jpg ....
    The foe bote mains are what really make the power .... No?
    deto likes this.
  22. nobux
    Joined: Oct 19, 2002
    Posts: 641


    Gears. Going from 2.73's to 3.42's or deeper will be a big increase in the fun factor in a street car. I wasted a lot of money in high school trying to go fast with a set of 2.56 gears.
  23. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    I've been called worse. It was just my opinion, and that ain't worth much.
    But the book is backed with over 400+ Dyno tests.

    Maybe it was the combo of the rebuild and headers that worked for you. You certainly are not a newbie to flatheads. So no offense meant.
  24. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772


    A properly chosen cam and the valve springs that match, best bang for the buck. Many engines with some miles on them already have a cam that's worn to the point that one or more lobes are starting to go flat. Include a new timing chain set (if applicable) and you've just woken up an engine that was likely already badly in need of a 'heart transplant'.

    Most cars that we would call Hot Rods already have decent dual exhaust installed and more than just a single 2-barrel carb.
  25. Blue Coupe
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 58

    Blue Coupe

    I am just trying to figure out how I could justify a $5000. Set of headers. With today's crappy fuel, I am tired of $9.00 a gal VP racing fuel for the Nova. Tune- tune- turn, or was that suppose to be Turn- turn- turn ? maybe being cash short isn't such a bitch!
  26. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,729


    seems to me, that if you want a $5k set of headers, that would be all the justification you need.

    I made my own for my last build, spend around $200 on them.
  27. [QUOTE="RichFox, post: 11098863, member: 23545. And if you knew Ron Hammel you had nitrous before you had a computer.[/QUOTE]

    we just added a little propalene Oxide to our gas...before Nitros
  28. Then of course you have this guy View attachment 2966207 ....
    The foe bote mains are what really make the power .... No?[/QUOTE]

    I haven't had the pleasure of meeting this guy personally, but I have seen his handy work first hand
  29. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,640


    I haven't had the pleasure of meeting this guy personally, but I have seen his handy work first hand[/QUOTE]

    Haaa haa , I seem to work on lots of his handy work also.... He sure gets around!
    volvobrynk likes this.
  30. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,640


    A lot of people seem to really believe in headers , I suppose it makes a difference on what engines we discuss but headers are 100.00 up for cheapest set ... I have had some fairly stout sbc with ram horns ect

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