1979 Z28 4 Speed - A never ending project!

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by Z28500, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

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    Jan 26, 2017
    I bought a 1979 Z28 4 speed in 1999 with a stock rebuilt(Honed) 185hp 350. Liked it a lot but even with the Super T-10 4 speed. It wasn’t fast. I have always known how to rebuild my own engines, but I decided to work in a machine shop specializing in small block Chevrolet race engines anyway. I soon realized that even though I could take an engine apart, rebuild it, put it back together and make it run, I didn’t know jack about building engines. There in the machine shop, I also learned that an auto mechanic is a totally different trade than an engine builder.

    After figuring out how to get a lot of “bang for a buck” I bought an Eagle stroker kit with Forged SRP 4.030” featherlite pistons, six inch I-beam rods, forged steel 3.750” crank, Comp 286 flat tappet cam and got a nice increase in hp with 882 heads custom seated for 2.02, 1.60 Ferrea stainless steel valves. Zero decked the block and got approx 10:1 compression. Bolted on a Weiand team G single plane intake manifold with a removable inner center plate topped of with a custom built 830cfm Rochester carburetor. (the only holly's I care about are the 1,000 cfm's. I know there will be some arguments there!) Cracked one of the 882 heads from overheating then bought a set of Dart Iron Eagle heads with 200 cc intake runners. (Those are hard to crack) Changed out the Erson roller rockers to Crane 1.5 Roller Rockers. Ended up honing the block twice, but wanted more hp so I bought and degree’d a Crane 284-292 - 0.509 0.528 roller cam, pushing up Comp link bar roller lifters, that I might add, performed flawlessly. Now it is getting pretty fast, but with that last hone it smoked a little. So before the motor could get dirty, I pulled it back apart and let it sit a while waiting for the 4.040” SRP pistons with the same 1.25” compression height to come in replacing the SRP 4.030's.

    Researching that particular combination, shows approx 535hp with a 385ci displacement. I am taking the block to the machine shop tomorrow for a torque plate bored and hone. (ALWAYS Torque Plate Bore & Hone)

    The key to making power means - start with a strong bottom end with a light rotating assembly and Zero Deck the block. (The increase in volumetric efficiency is simply amazing! And a tail pipe emission test will prove it! Not to mention increase in power you get with a zero decked block!) Then go for the bolt on stuff.

    This is a perfect example of never really being able to finish your car.

    Now for a little trick you later model 2nd generation owners might like.

    After today, my 1979 Z28 might not be the only car in the country to have an upper AND lower working grill.

    I cut the metal inner bumper out of the lower grill by drilling 4 holes, then metal bladed sawzall. Then I got another upper grill and cut it in half making it fit PERFECT. Now both grills flow! I always hated that lower fake grill as much as I hate liberal fake news. (wait a second, I wrote that last part on another site!)

    I then removed the center front spoiler and two side spoiler sections making the front end look like a 1978 Z28. That front spoiler diverts air to the radiator but is not needed anymore now that the lower grill is functional. (I never really liked that front spoiler) But whether or not you leave on or take off that front spoiler, getting that lower grill to flow sure helps a lot in the cooling department. Pretty cool huh?

    If anybody decides to do that lower grill modification, please let me know as I am very interested in stuff like that.

    Take a look at just about all high performance cars and one of the things they all have in common is a lot of air flow. Going in through the grill and sometimes a hood scoop (like a Z28) then usually exiting through an air vent on each fender. Those vents, or “Shark gill” vents as I call them on my ‘79, really let a LOT of hot air out of the engine compartment.

    (Speaking of hot air, don’t a lot of politicians...- Well, never mind, that’s also another site!)

    My handle is Z28500.



    Z28500 is on a Glastron boat forum since I have a 1972 GT-150 (Same boat 007 made the 110 foot world record jump in the Live and Let Die, 1974 movie. 110’ is still the world’s record today) Z28500 is also on a couple Astronomy forums.

    Z
     
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  2. branbell

    branbell Veteran Member

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    PICTURES PICTURES PICTURES :) Welcome to the site. Can't wait to see the car.
     
  3. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

    29
    3
    Jan 26, 2017
    Z28 scan-1.jpg
    These pictures are before the front spoiler was removed and the lower grill modified. The engine pictured is the first one which I painted to match the car, second engine was Chevrolet orange, 3rd was black and they stay black now, I even painted the weiand intake. The intake is black and I am putting the original snorkel air breather on- BUT in the back of it, kind of out of sight, I am cutting a large rectangular hole to let in more air. The idea being to make the engine look as stock as possible. It’s hard to make long headers and 2-1/2 inch dual pipes look stock, but the engine should look like a sleeper.

    Also, I chucked the power steering into storage and put a 6 turn 1978 Firebird manual steering box on it. The power steering was 6 turn too. Probably in the near future a rack and pinion is going in.
    The car started it's life as a two tone brown Z28. I bought it after it was already painted red with black interior. Red cars get the most tickets.. With the red line at 6800 rpm, the top end is about 155mph. That engine keeps pulling too. With the MSD 8361 distributor and MSD 6AL with a 6800 rev limit chip, the motor stays at a manageable rpm
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    branbell likes this.
  4. hoppin5478

    hoppin5478 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    507
    74
    Jul 20, 2015
    Tucson, AZ
    Nice job on the engine builds. I also cut the lower grille out so it was functional and I could get more air to my intercooler. I wound up using a billet grille but it was a hassle to make mounts that actually fit right. I really like how you used a stock upper to keep it looking stock, excellent idea.
     
  5. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

    Actually the front spoiler has two functions. It keeps the front end down at speed.and also diverts air to the radiator. did you notice the holes underneath the nose.But to each his own
     
  6. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

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    Jan 26, 2017
    Yeah, I know that too, and all the holes and everything also. I've been all over that car with a fine tooth comb. Cutting out about 300lbs of weight. Even got a 1/2" fuel line from the sending unit to the fuel pump. (It's fun watching the gas gauge move)
    Front spoilers are supposed to hold the front end down at high speed, perhaps their primary function besides the air dam. BUT, there is a lot of arguments about that and the only way to really know the facts would be to wind tunnel the car. They did not do that back in those days so all we really have is, high speed driver experiences relayed back to us. Some guy's even add stiffeners to the front spoiler, Then again, I have read about Firebird Formula's and various Camaro's without front spoilers going over 160 and feeling stable (relayed driver experiences) Another thing I have heard is; the 1969 Camaro and 2nd generation Camaro's with flat top wheel wells being more aerodynamic in a wind tunnel than round wheel wells. However, looks probably influence design more than anything else and the round look, like 1967, 1968, 3rd generation and up Camaro's, really does look good. But I can see the logic about the flat top wells. And if that is true, myself? I’d go with aerodynamics because I like the flat top look also-anyway. On the other side of the coin? All Camaro body styles are way cool! And even though this may be Blasphemy, I prefer my Z28 to a Vette any day of the week! (Vette’s are cool)But that’s me. As a matter of fact, I will never forget racing a 2004 C5Z06, light to light (Vette guys need to leave now) anyway, light to light and spanked it. It was a nod and a race too! Poor guy still had the sticker on the side window and we used to wonder if he angrily took the car back! Yeah, I know that the Corvette has progressed since then, like the 2015 Z06 650hp 650 Torque, but that race back in 2004 sure was FUN. Besides, and this is just my humble opinion, instead of paying $55,000 to $100,000 and up, I’d much rather get an aluminum Dart block and build a 1,000hp roller motor for $10-$12g, spend another $10g’s or so on an aluminum frame, roll cage (frame strength), rack and pinion steering and stick it all under that ‘79 Z28 body. How Nasty would that be? SUPER NASTY Way faster and much cheaper. This ‘79 Z is my second Camaro, the first one was a ‘79 Rally Sport that my wife drove back in the 1980’s
    Last, I've gotten a little older since the days I used to street race at the drop of a hat. I don't want to drive real fast any more. Maybe get pulled over, arrested and the car impounded, NOT worth it! I just enjoy the car. One reason to leave the front spoiler that I have never liked anyway off the car so it looks like a '78.

    I know I’m opinionated when it comes to Nasty Z28’s, however the opinionation is PRO CAMARO!

    Z
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  7. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

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    Jan 26, 2017
    I'm glad to hear someone besides me cut out that lower grill. Your's is the first one I ever heard of. Is it a 1978? Hard to see but it looked like there was no front spoiler. I guess the upper and lower grill look comes from the earlier models such as one of the 1972 styles with the bumper going across the middle of the grill (Some bumpers were 2 piece too) Maybe it was that look that the urethane front ends tried to achieve. Maybe as far as we are concerned, the 1978, 1979, 1980 front ends only becomes perfected after the lower grill becomes functional, like it should be. My block is low filled to strengthen the cylinders and I have never had overheating problems. However, more air is better. It is hard to see the fender "Shark Gill" Vents on your picture. It's a Shark Gill isn't it?(78-79)
     
  8. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

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    Jan 26, 2017
    By the way, Anyone know where I can get a Front Housing for a Super T-10? The transmission housings are 2 piece, front and back. I broke mine, they're not bullet proof like I used to think but I need a housing
     
  9. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

    If you want to save more weight. A friend of mine worked with his dad building aluminum fishing boats. So he decided to build aluminum bumpers for his 78 Camaro. You can also use tubular "A" arms. A fiberglass hood.
     

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  10. Z28500

    Z28500 New Member

    29
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    Jan 26, 2017
    I have thought about those aluminum inner bumpers. There is even some fiberglass in the inner front end of my 79. I've entertained drilling holes in that inner bumper also. Being in radio control airplanes, a guy learns to build light, and wood and metal are just different building materials. Holes in the right places will take out a lot of weight without sacrificing strength.

    Since no one rides in the back, the back seat is stored someplace where it doesn't touch the car anymore and black paint took it's place. The jute is even gone. I have dual 2-1/2 inch aluminized steel H pipe going all the way to the back bumper, but this time around I am thinking the pipes will come out in back of the doors eliminating the tight clearances of 2-1/2" pipes wrapping around the rear end, and weight. (I remember watching the exhaust guy take a long time with those bends) The only thing I’ll miss are those 2-1/2’s underneath the back bumper! (No useless tips) I could stand twenty feet away and feel the exhaust hit my legs at idle. That hood sure is heavy too, Mine is hanging from the roof in the garage right now. I'd have to keep the stock look if I went with a fiberglass hood though. That scoop is just too cool. I had to get a drop down air cleaner because of that weiand Team G and got it to clear the hood by less than 1/4"
     

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