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78 Trans Am Gold Edition.. what to do?

This is a discussion on 78 Trans Am Gold Edition.. what to do? within the Classic Muscle forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Hey first post... My dream car has always been a Trans Am Gold Edition (Y88). My one buddy has a ...

  1. #1
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    78 Trans Am Gold Edition.. what to do?

    Hey first post... My dream car has always been a Trans Am Gold Edition (Y88). My one buddy has a 2002 collector edition and has really gotten me back into the Trans Am trend. Enough with the history lesson lets get down to business.

    Now only a little over 1000 of these bad boys were made in the 4 speed standard transmission, so getting a hold of one wont be very easy... not without a little drive. I have done some research and I seem to have two options.. thats where i need some opinions from you guys.

    Option 1: Buy one that hasnt been driven very much with low mileage. (I have seen one with around 20,000 miles sell for about 25k) so I can spend between 20 and 25k and get one that hasnt been beaten on too badly. Or...

    Option 2: Buy one that has very high mileage (200,000+) and spend a lot less money (about $5,000).. but spend more money restoring it. Im talkin new engine... the works.


    My opinion: What I was thinking of doing and will be more fun was... buying one where the engine is worthless for about 5k than dropping a new engine into it. I was thinking an LS1 or maybe an LS2.... either way im going to build this machine for racing so I am planning on doing a lot of engine work on it.

    It just seems to me that i would be getting more for the money by buying a high mileage one and spending the 15-20k i saved on upgrades/mods.

    Enough talking on my part, and your prolly tired of reading at this point so tell me what u think i should do... and a rough estimate of how much $$ were talkin here.



    Thanks
    ~78




    **EDIT**

    The engine in the 78 Trans Am is a 6.6 liter (400 CID) W72 engine, which I believe puts out 220hp in original form

    **EDIT**
    Last edited by 78TransAm; 08-26-2006 at 10:26 PM. Reason: missed information

  2. #2
    Member 05gtoautoX's Avatar
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    Impulse Blue
    2006 Pontiac G.T.O.

    well I like LSx engines they are good engines, but dropping one into a pre-1981 T/A is sacreligious IMHO, buy one with alot of miles and be sure not to get the olds 403, they were available in 78-79 they have alot of issues, stick with the poncho 400 and build it to you're likings, 500+ HP and 500+ft./lbs of torque are EASILY obtainable with this engine, I'd say with everything including:machine work,pistons, cam, heads, intake,carburetor, headers and if you want a stroker crank, you'll be into the engine 5-8K, depending on what you do. But with a pontiac engine there is no need to rev over 5300 rpm, because all of the power is made real low(long stroke) which will ensure longer engine life and less maintenace, but it is going to be your car, do what you want and whatever works for you.
    2006 impulse blue G.T.O
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  3. #3
    Senior Member predator's Avatar
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    no point in getting a low mileage one... youll never want to touch it and you wont enjoy it near as much... save ones life man... some ppl might say "you shouldnt put and ls1 in that"... why not? if you hadnt bought the car it would be dead... i was looking at the same option... actually the same year models you were b4 i bought the vette... i just wanted a car i could drive NOW...

    go buy one with a 403 (or even a 6 banger)... they are cheaper... and fix it up... lt1.... ls1... what ever just put some fuel injection in it... put a t56 in it (or atleast a 5 speed)... and up grade a few parts of the interior with new style stuff (you know like drop some 93+ seats in it just to bring a lil new inside)... paint... suspension... and some boyd smoothie II's and you will have a car you love 10 times more than a low mileage garage queen... and the shaker never was functional anyway so just find a way to mold it into the intake (on like an ls1 dont know what to do with an lt1)

    -me

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    Thanks guys i still dont know what to do... i would like to keep the original engine, i mean 6.6 liters... that just sounds badass. but if i upgrade an old engine i would be too worried about it dying on me, i dont wana have to go through all this work for an unreliable engine with 200k miles on it.

    I found a company that restores this engine... I dont know too much about engine restores or rebuilds, If the case is that I can get my engine restored to just about new, almost as if it had 0 miles on it... i would consider doing this. The restore/rebuild cost only 500 bucks if I remember correctly.

    Does anyone have anymore info about this, because I am clueless lol.

    Thanks,
    ~78

  5. #5
    Member 05gtoautoX's Avatar
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    well what do you want to know? I mean pontiacs have no reason to rev over 5300rpms, which is rather low, making the engine less prone to wear and tear, pontiac are a very reliable engine which make all their power/torque very low in the power band, where the normal person drives, also you never said if it was a 403 or 400? No engine will cost 500$ to rebuild, I would stick with the original block, because you already have it and 2nd because you'll need to buy an LS1/LT1 and all the computer BS, and then after buying all that, you have no idea how many miles, how hard it's been run etc. so have another couple grand to rebuild it, but as said before a rebuild on the 400 will cost you 2-10K depending on what you want out of it. I'm not really sure what you want to know, if you're questioning the pontiac 400, let me know, I have rebuilt many and probably could give an idea.

  6. #6
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    1998 Trans Am WS6 'Vert

    If you plan on modifying it to race, leave the original low-mileage cars to the collectors. Rebuilding a high-mileage 400 won't be cheap (to do it right in order to be race-able), but it won't be any more than a swap to a modern EFI engine. Reliability shouldn't be an issue unless the rebuilder is clueless. Just be prepared for the idiosyncracies of a carb'd car, which shouldn't be an issue if your use is primarily racing. If your primary use is street / everyday driving, then consider an EFI conversion on the 400. And don't be afraid of the 403 Olds (although I think all 4-spd cars were Pontiac 400s), they can be built to be as reliable and make as much power as any Pontiac 400 (just don't ask "Pontiac guys" how to do it).

    If you really want a swap to a LS1 (I wouldn't waste time w/ an LT1) and don't want the fuss of the factory EFI harness / ECU, consider a carb intake and MSD-LS ignition setup. You can alway use a standalone ECU to retain the EFI.

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  7. #7
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    If your going to go through the trouble of rebuilding a high milage car...why not finds a regular low milage TA and build a clone. That way you dont have to cut up a limited car. Just my .02.

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