What is required to ADD Ram Air III - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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What is required to ADD Ram Air III

I recently purchased a1970 GTO convertible (not yet delivered) and I want to add Ram Air III. Or I guess it could be RAIV if it made sense. It has a rebuilt 400 and is very stock. First I heard it was about making the hood scoops functional, but then I hear I need to change heads, the rear end, carb., manifold, headers, radiator, etc. Has anyone done this that can offer ideas, sources, costs? BTW, I live in Denver (thin air) which may also be a factor. Yes, I am new to the forum, and appreciate the guidance.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by PGBGTO View Post
I recently purchased a1970 GTO convertible (not yet delivered) and I want to add Ram Air III. Or I guess it could be RAIV if it made sense. It has a rebuilt 400 and is very stock. First I heard it was about making the hood scoops functional, but then I hear I need to change heads, the rear end, carb., manifold, headers, radiator, etc. Has anyone done this that can offer ideas, sources, costs? BTW, I live in Denver (thin air) which may also be a factor. Yes, I am new to the forum, and appreciate the guidance.
Kinda depends on what you mean by adding Ram Air. If you want a full Ram Air engine with the fresh air induction, that's one thing, but if you just want to add fresh air induction to your current engine, that's another (and much cheaper).
To add the fresh air induction through your scoops, I would contact Ames Performance as they have all the parts to make the conversion and tech guys to guide you.
If you want a clone of a Ram Air car, you will need to have the functional scoops/air cleaner setup as well as rebuild your engine into a Ram Air IV clone and that's another, more costly deal. I'd rather some others, like Bear, PinionHead, Oldskool, and Pontiac Jim guide you there.
Either way, best of luck with your project!!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 02:36 PM
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Yeah, there are a lot of specific parts required to simulate an original Ram Air set-up. Unless your car was a factory Ram Air car, it is not worth doing. IMO

I've read that, from a performance standpoint, the Ram Air set-up added very little performance. I think this is due to the fact that the scoops are too small, too far back, and too close to the hood. Now, the early Firebird Formula Ram Air scoops are a different story.

I think your '70 has the same hood as my '69 RA3 had, less the Ram Air. Besides the open scoops, there is a pan that bolts to the underside of the hood. Then there is a special air cleaner, with a foam seal, which seals off the Ram Air pan and directs the air into the air cleaner. I'll look up some good links and try to also post some pics, later.

Now a Ram Air 3 engine is not too terribly hard to simulate. But, if you try to get all the exact factory parts, with the correct numbers, then it will be VERY costly. But, you can get the RA3 performance, without having all the matching numbers.

According to the Wallace site, the '70 RA3 engine had #12 heads on the manual trans engine, and #13 heads on the auto trans engines.

The block used for all, was the #9799914.

The manual trans Q-jet was #7040273--the auto trans Q-jet was #7040270. Again, this is according to the Wallace site. As Pinion head has pointed out, there is a lot of wrong info, online.

Anyhow, I think all the '70 RA blocks were 4-bolt mains. And these blocks sell for much more than they are worth, unless you are doing a numbers matching high dollar resto of an original RA car. IMO. But, it looks like all '70 400's used a #9799914 block. So, a non-RA block would have the same casting number as a RA block, but a different 2-digit code on the front. A later #481988 block is plenty good for even a high hp build. BUT, they are not numbers matching.

It appears that all '70 400 GTO engines, with auto trans, used the #13 heads. So, any '70 400 block, with #13 heads would LOOK almost correct, for a RA3.

Now, for the Q-jet. Again, a RA Q would be quite expensive. But, there are quite a few '68-'70 Q's that LOOKED very similar to the '70 RA Q's.

Now, for the inside of the engine: You obviously can't see any internal parts. But, if you want a similar cam, any of the 068 grinds would be similar. The Melling SPC-7 is an example. The RA3 had cast pistons and rods. But you can build it with forged pistons and rods, and most would never know.

So, I reckin the bottom line is that it just depends on how original and numbers matching you want your RA engine and set-up to be. The more original and numbers matching, the higher the cost.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge RAM Air III System Complete RARE | eBay

1970 Pontiac GTO Trans Am Firebird RAM Air 400 Carburator | eBay

1970 Pontiac GTO Trans Am Firebird RAM Air Manual Carburator | eBay



RM-2 D-Port Ram Air Style Factory Headers 68-72 GTO and 2nd Gen Firebird/TA

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Last edited by oldskool; 10-22-2015 at 09:59 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 02:50 PM
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Op, don't mess around with putting factory ram air on you car for performance, it's really only good to wow the car show crowd.
If it's performance you're after, get real ram air, put a blower on it!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 02:51 PM
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Welcome to the forums!!
I like the look the RAM AIR gives with the air cleaner and such.
...oh yeah, and this thread is useless without pictures of your new GTO.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 03:14 PM
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Another thing: while a Ram Air equipped package made sense in the late '60's and early '70's with 100 octane fuel at 25 cents a gallon..... it's not a good driving package on today's fuel. I have a set of '70 #12 heads, and used to run them on my '67 GTO....until I couldn't get the fuel for them anymore. A ram air engine is much more 'high strung' than a regular GTO engine, and drives poorly on the street in comparison. It's built to make power up high, and to be hooked to a 4 speed, short rear gear, and manual steering and brakes, not to be stuffed into a heavy ragtop with comfort options. If you are bent on modifying the engine, you would be much better off building it into a stroker motor that puts out gobs of torque at low rpm. It'll mop the floor with the Ram Air engine and be easy to drive and last longer, too.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 05:32 PM
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Welcome to GTO ownership!

A '70 GTO convert with base 400 and manual trans, bone stock, had #12 casting heads, standard log manifolds, 067 cam, along with the base horse 400 4 bbl distributor. R/E ratio would be 3.55's without AC, and 3.23's with AC. With automatic, usually they had 3.23's. Mind you, 3.90 and 4.33 geared HD Safe-T-Track rears were optional even with the base horse 400 engine, but not with factory AC.

For '70 model, the 400 automatic engine code YS received the 78-80 cc chamber #13 heads, 067 cam, log maniolds ,automatic application Q jet, either 7040264 or 7040564 (CA emission). The base engine application Turbo 400 has its own 2 letter code and does not shift at near as high an rpm @WOT as the PX (& PQ Firebird RA coded) turbo 400s which came stock behind '70 RA engines.

The '70 RAIII engine added a 4bolt capped block (a few 70 WT's also had factory 4 boot caps) Morraine 400 bearings, the 068 (HO grind cam), factory RA exhaust manifolds, specific RA application distributor, specific application RA Qjet. The latter two can add near 5K in nice restored shape, if you have a manual trans RAIII engine and both are missing.

On an original '70 RAIII engine, the heads will be #12's, just like on the '70 WT engine, but the 12's used on '70 RAIII engine used the stiffer pink stripe valve springs. Casting #13 heads were not installed on '70 YZ code RAIII engines, that's my long time experience, have owned several '70 YZ engines, as well as documented many original '70 RAIII auto cars. Quite a few of us had a good discussion on PY of the bogus "13's on '70 auto RAIII engines" declaration. Absolutely no credible info to support 13's on a RAIII '70 engine!

RA tubs/pans, many have added these to their base 400 '69 and '70 GTO's. Be prepared to spend a $1000 and UP on a fairly high quality used set up, or on a combination of nice used and quality repro pieces to complete the set. Basically there are the following options:

-original steel RA tub and plate, getting tough to find, ESP the RAIV tub, which is obscenely expensive. On the upper plate, have to be careful, as many originals have rust pin holes. Original fiberglas scoops in NOS condition...big bucks.

-repro partially finished fiberglas RA tub and lid. the first repro's avail from nearly 30 years ago.. can usually pick them up used dirt cheap, usually when owners are upgrading '80's restored Judges, where the 80's owners wouldn't pony up for original RA pieces. Very obvious the stamped parts are not steel.
-first steel RA tub and plate reproduced in steel. Tim Benko in OH reproduced these nearly 20 years ago. Benko also reproduced the flapper asm. High Quality parts. many show winning cars have been restored with these.
-Parts Place steel repro RA tub and plate. have not examined these, but leave it to Joe at the Parts Place to have his own version made overseas. Personally, I try my best, and not buy any PP repro's... just a personal business practice.

RA exhaust manifolds:
-Nice low mile originals. Preferred by highest level restorers.
-Classics brand reproduction RA exhaust manifolds, great detail, and recently retooled for higher quality fit and finish. Personally like the Classic brand, have ordered nearly a dozen pair over the last 25 years.
-RARE, Delfields reproductions, not as accurate in appearance as original. however, the availability of the oversized 2.45" outlet makes these the best choice on a street machine type build.

With any of the above RA ex manifold options, if you do not want to leave Torque/HP on the table, will need mandrel bent lead pipes to drop out of the exhaust manifolds w/o the stub being too deep and losing ground clearance. Several company's make mandrel bent head pipes to connect to factory or repro RA manifolds... personally prefer making my own lead pipes.

Hope this helps, have fun with the '70!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 05:31 PM
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Agree with all that's been said so far.

Part of the problem is that the Pontiac marketing folks got a little carried away with the "Ram Air" label and sort of over used it.

There's "Ram Air" that means the fresh air induction system with the functional air scoops and associated hardware, and then there are the "Ram Air" engines.

The "Ram Air" induction system looks cool but doesn't actually add much if anything to performance. It you want it for the looks and the coolness factor, then there are several kits available to add it to your car. If you're doing it for performance reasons only, it's probably not worth the cost. That's your call.

The "Ram Air" engines are a whole 'nuther deal, starting with the 68 1/2 Ram Air II and ending with the legendary Ram Air V (which was only available over the counter - Pontiac never put them into any production line cars). Of these, the Ram Air III is probably the cheapest to build or "simulate" because it used D-port heads very similar to all the other 'regular' Pontiac engines. All the others used very special and specific to each engine cylinder heads that are very rare, very hard to find, and VERY expensive. Other engine parts were specific as well but it's the heads that are usually the deal breaker.

I put a "Ram Air" induction kit on my '69 just for the coolness factor at shows. I do still need to repaint my grille to "complete" the package - Ram Air cars had part of the grille painted black where all the others were silver - I didn't know what when I built it.

Hope this helps.


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