Help with my 1979 Chevrolet Camaro!!!

Discussion in 'Tips 'n' Tricks Topic' started by MattheAllen1979, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. So, Hey guys Im new to this site! Ive learned a bunch from the threads and want to get the best performance out of my 1979 Chevrolet Camaro! From what Ive been told, It is a 1979 Camaro with a "350 v8 5.7l engine and a turbo 350 transmission." Help me with what my car has and Needs! What I'd like is performance gains and Im looking for reccomendations! I can add quick mods and Im also looking for long term add ons! Cams, headers, other parts & ideas? Please give me the names of the parts so i can do my independent research! Thank you guys!!!! What does my engine have on it allready "Based on pics".
  2. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member


    Welcome to Nasty Z!

    The first thing you need to keep in mind before starting the modifications is what the legalities are for your vehicle with respect to smog laws in California.

    I see you are show as being in the Bay Area / Central Valley which are areas that you would still have to have smog inspections done. This will include the visual test as well as the dyno testing.

    For most cars of the time period, The simple basics like replacing the heads with smaller combustion chambers and using a thinner head gasket will help raise compression. adding a slightly healthier cam and a smog legal intake along with a better flowing exhaust system will bring about a better performing engine. The original 4-bbl; Quadrajet carb is solid reliable performer if properly set up or if the original was a 2-bbl, you may be able to upgrade to a 4bbl carb and intake.

    Also remember to upgrade your ignition system and recurve your HEI distributor to take advantage of the other parts you install. On the exhaust, you will be limited as the smog legal headers for that year of car in California are very hard to find. Especially if there is air injection tubes on the exhaust manifolds. You could get a less restrictive catalytic convertor, (expensive now in Cal), and have muffler shop bend up a smoother free flowing piping but you will be limited to the stock style single exhaust. The Muffler could be upgraded to a better flowing and sounding system.

    If the transmission is in good shape, a mild shift kit will make a more fun driver out of it and the biggest kick in the pants would be a change of rear gear ratios. Stock were known to be as low as 2:73 so if you moved to at least a 3:08 or 3:42 you will notice a big increase in acceleration but a drop in fuel mileage.

    You will need to assess the current condition of your engine and drivetrain before you dive into making any modifications. Sometimes, it may be better to budget yourself into maintaining what you have and drive it while you save and build up a suitable replacement with performance modifications you desire.
  3. Impact-mk

    Impact-mk Member

    Mar 25, 2015
    Sherwood park, Ab
    For good performance increases i would suggest going to a Ls engine, if you have the know how and budget,

    If your budget is very low or for a short term upgrade, and you do have a 350 and it has been swapped from a truck or non performance car, switching to 305 heads with the same or bigger valves, because the 305 heads have smaller combustion chambers increasing compression,

    Stock intakes are also very restrictive, i would suggest finding a cheap used one on kijiji, craigs list, or eBay, if low budget is a concern, Personally i used vortec 350 heads because they have large valves, but the vortec heads require a different intake due to some slight differences in the head design, for the intake no matter what you choose to do with the heads i recommend a dual plane, unless it is going to be a drag car,

    Also the stock quadra jet carb is great and reliable for a street car, i also recommend a 700R4 because the OD gear is wonderful for cruising, and you still have the original 3 gears, plus an extra,

    As Kamikaze said changing gears will be the best and biggest change, a change of gears can really bring a car to life, i like 3:73 but with only 3 gears you wont likely top 150km/h, until you get a 700r4,

    But, before all those things, i would suggest checking and/or replacing, you're breaks, shocks, fluids( including diff ), and tires,

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