New to me 1981 Lesabre

B_ROCK42690

New member
Aug 18, 2022
1
1
New to this forum but I just picked this thing up quite cheap, it has no rot and is an extremely solid car, but has a 700r4 that may or may not be missing 3rd and 4th and a 350 out of an early 80s Chevy it was thrown together to be an ice racer, hoping for a new drivetrain this winter considering a 6.0 4l80 but am likely gonna go with a 454 th400 for simplicity sake.
 

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DeltaElectra88

New member
Oct 6, 2021
16
3
New to this forum but I just picked this thing up quite cheap, it has no rot and is an extremely solid car, but has a 700r4 that may or may not be missing 3rd and 4th and a 350 out of an early 80s Chevy it was thrown together to be an ice racer, hoping for a new drivetrain this winter considering a 6.0 4l80 but am likely gonna go with a 454 th400 for simplicity sake.
Awesome car, I have a 1980 Electra Park Avenue, and a 77 Olds 88, Buick has a Vortec headed 350 built kinda copying a 350HO GM crate motor and 700R4 mildly built, stock gears, it works pretty well, could use a lower gear in the diff to go faster, I had the 700 trans from another car and had it rebuilt for $1000 around 2017, I had a low mileage TBI 350 and a handful of vortec heads from collecting junk, I bought an Edelbrock cam, intake, valve springs, throttle linkage, timing set around 2010 for about $1000, put it all together around 2019 finally, spent another 1500ish on oil pump, gaskets, headers, starter, flywheel, distributor, etc., I bend exhaust so that was easy for me, nothing cheap about hot rodding or any hobby, but with no value on labour the Buick easily has 5000 bucks of powertrain in a $300 dollar car, which is awesome, the engine runs well and being a newer one piece rear main motor it doesn't leak much oil but it leaks a bit from where the dipstick goes in probably from it getting moved around for the headers, i just haven't got it sealed up yet, the transmission works well but to drive it full performance style you have to shift it manually

My 77 Delta 88 had a Chevy 350 stock, after driving it a few years it was giving the odd puff of blue smoke on start up most likely from valve seals I figured, I thought about LS swapping it but a friend had a used healthy 355 for $1000, I figured swapping a junkyard LS would cost 4-5000, so this camel hump headed 355 will be awesome for less, well it has ratty chrome valve covers and jimmied up power steering and alternator brackets, emission era corroded water neck, so spend about 1000 on new brackets, valve covers, water neck, and more, motor has too aggressive of cam, starts leaking oil after some miles, got new cam, timing set, rubber oil pan and valve cover gaskets, another $1000 and 20 hours say, and it still leaks some oil it's a lot faster than the car was stock, but not crazy, it would benefit from a lower set of gears and a looser converter for sure but I would bet that a stock 5.3 and 4L60/80 would smoke it in the same car, I feel I haven't saved any money with this 355

Big blocks are cool, but they are never good on fuel, above 15mpg is way out of reach, I have a 72 Newport with a stock 400, I haven't got more than 14mpg, its pretty awesome though, its rated at something like 190hp, but is just as fast as buddy's 2004 Chevy 2500HD reg cab longbox 4x4, 6L rated at300hp I believe, apples to oranges but I'm admitting that big blocks have torque, but same buddy has a 56 Chev 210 4 door on a 90 Caprice frame with a 400,000km plus stock 6L, had 380,000ish on it when he first put it in, motor has never been opened, stock exhaust manifolds, aftermarket intake manifold, he blew a few welded and open diffs, mostly 7.5s, he eventually blew his tranny and got one built, then got a 8.5 diff with 3.73 gears and lost the driveshaft, got one of those made good, the car has dynoed at 374hp at the rear wheels, no bull, and it just sips gas, same guy put a 4.8/4L80 in a 81 Delta 88 and it didn't fit right without money, him mounting the LS to the caprice frame with the 56 body he had enough room for oil pan and intake/belt routing, the 88 was a winter car, and as further proof as me being a sucker for an old SBC, the one he pulled from the 88 in favour of a 4.8/4L80 sits just a few feet from me as I type for me to put in a derby car, I'm making my return to derby after 5 years and if I had more time or didn't have all the sbc parts I'd go LS for Sept 10th,

My buddy jammed that 4.8 in that 88 without spending much money, but it was haggard, had the truck pan close to the ground,the manifolds didn't fit, cut the frame away for clearance, I know, terrible, clearance for the intake was gained by cutting the hood and raising it to look like a cowl induction hood with 2x4s as the filler, painted black
so ya you need a higher oil pan, lower intake and possibly a different belt drive because the alternator may hit the hood, some expensive
headers, and some money spent for custom exhaust, maybe some driveshaft mods, trans crossmember mods, some wiring and a tune, and install an in tank fuel pump, inline pumps suck and always burn out eventually

I don't see how anyone could argue with 374 hp to the wheels from a junkyard motor with a 1000 dollar dyno session, and 20mpg plus when taking it easy
 

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