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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I came accross this seller offering what is essentially a remanufactured (rebuilt) crate engine. It is a Pontiac 400 stroked out to a Stroker 461. Is this a good price for what he is offering? Is what he is offering a good setup? I am not a racer, more of a bloulavard cruiser, but 420 HP sounds mighty impressive to me.

Here are the details:

This offer is for a Pontiac 400/461 stroker motor 420hp , READY TO RUN!! No need to track down all the components necessary to complete the engine, quality parts are installed, and adjusted for easy start-up and smooth performance. An Edelbrock 750cfm carburator with electric choke is supplied, for easy cold weather starting, along with a 50,000 volt HEI distributor - 8mm wires and plugs. A NEW timing cover-water pump-balancer-aluminum valley pan-chrome center hole valvecovers are installed, topped with a low profile Professional Products/ProComp intake manifold.

The block recieves the following machining: Bore and hone- deck gasket surface for positive gasket retention. The rotating assembly is by EAGLE, featuring a cast steel 4.25" stroke crankshaft, with 6.800" long forged I-beam rods and Mahle forged pistons. A TREMENDOUS increase in bottom end strength, over the OEM Pontiac parts!!

The heads recieve a 3-angle valvejob with gasket surface milled, assembled with matching new springs and positive valve seals. The Stage II camshaft used has specs (224`@.050" with .470" lift on 110`LSA), providing a LOPING sound in the the exhaust, letting everyone know there is something special under the hood! RAM AIR III heads available, priced $400.00 extra, for a BOOST in power.

This engine is BUILT TO ORDER, with several blocks ready to build, assembly takes only 3-4 weeks to complete, AFTER recieving payment thru PayPal or U.S.Post office money orders.. The engine will be painted the color you choose, with restoration quality finish and looks GREAT under the hood!! Shipping is quoted, please give your city and zip code, for accurate shipping cost!!! This motor carries a 90 day, parts and workmanship guarantee, after start-up.

The PERFECT choice for your CLASSIC Lemans / Tempest / Bonneville / GTO / Catalina / GT37 / Grand Prix / Trans Am / Firebird . Monster TORQUE (550ft.lbs.) will smoke the tires till you get tired of it, while delivering decent fuel economy when cruising.

Price for this CLASSIC performance engine, is only $3999.00 + shipping.
Pontiac 400cid motor available, without stroker package.
 

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64-67 Expert
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It seems too cheap for me. Also, I never pay money before a service is completed or even begun. It's a good way to get burned. I would check this guy's references thoroughly before sending a check. The combo listed sounds good, almost too good to be true. JMHO....others will chime in.
 

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I have an engine of his sitting in my garage right now. I have not run it so I am still waiting to see if it works or not but everything seems kosher. I asked some of the good members here on this forum for their opinion and they asked him a few specific questions about pontiac engines and he passed with flying colors so thats how I decided to pull the trigger. You may even find the thread on here somewhere that I had posted. The only thing is I got the impression that the block I was getting was a 69 also and it is actually a 77, no big deal for me.

He gets all his parts through ebay also so you can actually see what parts he is buying from the sources description.

EDIT: here is the link to my own thread about his http://www.gtoforum.com/f83/buying-pontiac-400-a-36251/
 

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I checked into Herb as well, and liked what I saw. I was close to buying something from him, but then decided I could piece together my 455 with decent parts for about the same price with a local part time pontiac guy, plus, if there is a problem, I know where he lives and do not have to ship it back across the Country. I would question some of the dyno numbers, especially with non-ported iron heads. But nonetheless, should be plenty of power for most of us "cruisers". Who knows, maybe my 455 will dyno a lot higher than what I expect it to!

I also considered using LARS from CO, who contributes to this site, but again, the distance thing kept me from doing it. I am a strong believer in trying to support those that help me! With that said, Bear and Geetee will probably be sending me an invoice soon... :)
 

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Is this the guy with the ads on Ebay? I've run across them before but have yet to hear from anyone with direct experience with one of his engines. The things he says, and the parts he uses (if he's telling the truth) sound "right". But there's no way to know for sure until someone has first-hand experience, both with the initial build and after having put some miles/passes on one to see how they hold up over time.

If I was going to buy a turn-key motor instead of building my own, I know who I'd turn to :D

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I do not know of any Pontiac motor builders in or around the SF Bay Area, CA, but assuming I find one, could I build this engine (counting parts, labor, and machine work), for this amount?
 

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No, I don't think you could. When I lived in the Bay Area, until 2003, I always used Stirtz Machine in Oakland. They did the machine work on the original engine that's in my '67 right now back in 1988, and it's still running great and not burning oil, etc, after 77,000 miles of use. I did the assembly myself. Carl was the 'go to' guy back then. He may well have retired. Good quality work: all the journals/clearances were at the small end of the spec chart, and all were the same, not just ''close". I think that engine was close to $2000 back then, just for machine work and parts. I used their services for other Pontiac engines and machine work in general, and never had issues. Always quality work and done in a timely manner. But, it's been awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am really liking this engine set up for my GTO. In fact, after talking to folks here and in person, although the LS1/6 is an interesting option (especially with the amount of HP, torq and MPG), I have discovered that I am definitely leaning with a good old Pontiac 400 (okay, a 461 Stroker) for my ride.

Question, for a few hundred dollars more, Herb (the seller of this engine) will add Ram Air III heads. Do the Ram Air III heads contribute a significant increase in performance, HP, or torq? How do Ram Air III heads compare to Ram Air IV or aluminum heads? Besides the number matching issues (not an issue with me), is there any difference in a Ram Air (I, II, III, or IV) block over a regular Pontiac 400 block?
 

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No difference in block, though some are 4 bolt mains (Not needed). The early Ram Air heads Ram Air II are round port heads and are superior to the ram air 3 and 4 heads. They are also super spendy, running about $4000-$6000 per pair. All other '67-up Pontiac heads flow about the same. You'd be wasting money "upgrading" to ram air 3 or 4 heads, IMO. Aluminum heads outflow and outperform the Pontiac heads by a bunch. And, they are much lighter. A good addition, no doubt. Plus, with aluminum heads, you can and should run about 10:1 compression. Iron heads will require dished pistons so you can run at a max CR of about 9:1. I am running 9.3:1 in my '67 GTO (87cc iron heads that are actually now about 85cc) and have issues on hot days with CA 91 octane gas. So, stick to 9:1 with iron heads, and have the block "zero-decked" to minimize the chance of detonation.
 

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reputable engine builders do not use eagle products. search on it you will see. made in china finished in china. at least go with callies or scat. for a sound foundation.
 

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RA III's are still D-port heads, and as far as port flow goes they're all about the same. They differ in valve sizes and whether or not they have screw-in studs. They've got the same "big valves" (2.11 intake, 1.77 exhaust) as all the other big valve, screw-in stud heads, so no - in my opinion it's not worth paying a premium for RA III's over, say, a set of #62's. They aren't going to perform any better. The best factory heads for Pontiacs are going to be any of the "round port" heads. Starting with 68 1/2 Ram Air II (round port exhaust, but same intake ports as the D-port heads), then the Ram Air IV's (round port exhaust, "good" intake ports), '71 455-HO (round port exhaust, good intakes, larger chambers), and 73-4 455 SD. The 455-HO's don't flow as well as the Ram Air IV's because the larger chamber volume "squeezes" the ports and hurts flow. This problem was addressed in the 455 SD heads, generally regarded as the best flowing factory heads Pontiac made --- with the possible exception of the super-rare and never-officially-in-production Ram Air V's. (those were completely different on both the intake and exhaust side, requiring different intake and exhaust manifolds/headers to match the ports). If you're able to find any factory Pontiac round-port heads at all, get your check book out - they're going to be super expensive.
However, if what you care about is performance, then none of them perform as well as just about any of the aluminum aftermarket heads, especially if they've been ported by someone who knows what they're doing.

Also, I have to respectfully disagree with 66 Gas Tires Oil on one point. Reputable builders do use Eagle parts. That's an old wives tale that got started in part due to a comment in the first versions of Jim Hand's book. Some of the very first Eagle cranks did have a problem in the shape of the fillets on the journals, but that was corrected years ago. I'm running an Eagle rotating assembly in my engine and it's fine. In fact, it probably saved my engine when the transmission let go at the track awhile back and let the engine spin to the moon before I could reel it in. If I'd had factory rods in this engine, I'd have been out much more than the cost of a transmission rebuild. :D

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ironically, I was cleaning out my computer yesterday and I discovered I had saved an ad from Herb in the past. It was for the same engine but it was going for $3,699 as opposed to $3,999. The only difference between the two ads is the current ad has "I-beam" rods while the old ad I found had "H-beam" rods. Is there really a $300 difference between I-beam and H-beam rods?
 

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There is a price difference, but, mainly, it's inflation. I redid the entire interior on my '67 GTO convertible in 1993 for a shade over $600, and that included everything from the seat foams to the shifter indicator lens. Now, I think it would be over $2500. The longer you wait, the more expensive it's gonna be. Next time you check, it may be $4299!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I am highly interested in this engine. Now I am looking for the cash to make an offer on one. As it turns out, my brother may be getting a barnyard-find 1966 GTO for $500. Since he owes me for buying him his project car (a 1969 Cadillac de Ville convertible), he may be paying me by giving me the 1966 GTO. If that happens, I have yet to decide whether I am going to keep the 1966 GTO or sell it so I can use the money to sink into my 1968 GTO convertible.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My vote is to keep the '66...it's a great year and you can't have too many GTO's!!!
I personally :agree! However, reality sets in. Too many projects usually means no project gets done. It is hard to spread limited funds, space and time over multiple projects and get positive results.
 

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Any comments on cast cranks versus forged, I thought I remembered reading about some issues.
The legend that wouldn't die.....

Yes there were a few very early production Eagle cranks that were off in the fillets on the sides of the journals. This problem was corrected before Jim Hand's book (where the legend started) was even published but he chose to mention it anyway.

As far as cast vs. forged, a forged crank is "nice" but in a Pontiac it's not really needed until you're making 650 hp+ or spinning it past 7000 on a regular basis. I have a cast crank in my 461 - it runs high 11's.

Bear
 
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