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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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The right parts old or new

I recently purchased a 1972 Lemans the car is an all original 350 auto with a four barrel. Here is the question I like traditional but I'm all for improvement. The car does not have to be original for me. How do you know what parts to up grade and what just to replace? Money of course is an issue. This car is an a/c car. Is it better for me to buy a newer meaning improved not original radiator, or stick with stock? I don't want to spend a couple hundred dollars and in a couple month be like man I should have changed that. I drive this car as much as possible. I have no desire to make it into a show car. It is for straight fun. I live in New Jersey so A/C is manditory for me. Any hints on places I can go to to speak with people about profomance and other up grades. You know what carb, What type of pipes. I only want to make these purchase's once and from the right place.

Last edited by treeska; 01-31-2006 at 04:20 PM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-01-2006, 01:52 AM
 
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The rule I followed when working on my '68 was that if there were better parts on the market that had a factory appearance I would use them. This was especially true for parts having to do with safety and reliability.

Since you drive your car regularly and will use the A/C, don't skimp on the cooling system. At minimum get your original radiator recored. It's bound to be on it's last legs if it's the original one. Next step up would be a Desert Cooler radiator from Ames. The top shelf would be an aluminum unit from Rodney Red if your budget allows. Find a water pump with a cast iron impeller - I believe Ames has these as well. Clearance the water pump dividing plate and the water pump impeller - see Jim Hand's book for more info on that.

Finally, if you are missing the factory 7 blade fan find one and buy a good quality thermostatic clutch for it. I have to be honest about this one. I changed back to a factory fan after running a flex fan for years and actually saw my temps increase. Most folks swear the factory 7 blade fans cool the best.

Other things you might consider upgrading along the way:

-Trade the points ignition for an HEI or electronic conversion kit from Pertronix or Mallory
-If you have 4 wheel drum brakes, consider buying a power disc conversion kit
-Upgrade your suspension bushings to polygraphite. This is more of a personal choice as some folks don't like the harsh ride polyurethane can give you.
-Upgrade to a larger front sway bar from a late '70's WS6 T/A
-Add or upgrade to a larger rear sway bar and boxed control arms
-If your A/C system is broken, convert it over to 134a when you get it working again. This is not as easy as it sounds and could be fairly expensive.

Other resources to check: the forums at the Performance Years website, back issues of High Performance Pontiac Magazine, classicalpontiac.com, and Jim Hand's book "Building High Performance Pontiac V8s"

Last edited by Verdoro 68; 02-01-2006 at 01:57 AM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-03-2006, 08:07 AM
 
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Pontiac didn't make 350 4-barrel cars, so the car is already non-original... so don't worry about the radiator. The only 350 engine offered by Pontiac in '72 was a 160-horse 2-barrel. There are plenty of good and inexpensive radiators available for the car that are non-Harrison radiators, and they will perform just fine on the 350.
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