Cheap power from my 1974 400 - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap power from my 1974 400

My son and I are rebuilding a 1968 GTO and have found a 1974, 400, 4 barrel out of a 1974 Grand AM. The engine has 4X heads with screw in studs and is in great shape. We would like to add power to the engine in the least expensive way possible. Could I get some advice from people that have done it?

We have looked at the following

1. new heads - we find this to be expensive
2. new cam - I am told that this can be a problem as adjustments are hard to accomplish
3. new intake - seems like a good idea, but do you the bang for the buck
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 10:19 AM
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Welcome to the forums.
I'd say, without doing anything to the short block, in order:
1) Cam (adjustments are easy, use a hydraulic lifter or a roller lifter cam so you don't have to adjust all the time like a solid lifter cam)
2) headers and dual performance exhaust
3) Aftermarket intake and carb
4) Aftermarket heads
5) turbo or supercharger kit
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 10:48 AM
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A few suggestions,
Shave, Port and polish the heads;
resurface the block deck;
install thinner head gaskets;
install RAIII cam;


Last edited by 05GTO; 09-19-2008 at 12:39 PM.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 12:19 PM
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A 1974 400 in a Grand Am is a good running, solid, low compression engine. It makes decent power on today's poor gasoline. The heads are already equipped for low-lead gas, so they'll be ok on unleaded. I would leave it pretty much alone. I would install a nice RV cam, one that's rated for good torque and power beginning at about 2000-2500 RPM, and I would run a '68 stock intake with a Q jet carb and repro HO cast manifolds. there is zero need for high compression pistons, as Ponticacs controlled compression ratio with their heads. If you want higher compression, you can install pre '71 heads with smaller chambers. This will give you more HP, but you'll need higher octane fuel. So, in short, Bang for the buck: install pre-EGR stock Q-jet manifold and Q-jet, install headers or HO manifolds, install decent exhaust system, install an 068 Pontiac cam or better. You're '68 should run pretty well on 91 octane, and will be "on the cheap" too!
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