I have a 1976 Olds Cutlass S (same body style as a 442). The car is in great shape and runs well. Problem, it has a 260 V8. No power. I would like to keep the car as original as possable. Number matches if possable. Anything I can do with the 260 to increase the HP. Maybe with tranny and rear end.Thanks for any and all suggestions.wilcor
260 smog-saddled cubic inches in a 4,000-lb car? Don't bother. Just keep it running smooth and enjoy it. You're going to over-spend just to get the slightest improvement.
Pull the 260, and store it safely away, if you really think you'll ever want it "STOCK". Get a 403 Olds from a junkyard (they should still be reasonably easy to find). Get the brackets as well, that will make things look even more "factory". The 403 will fit right in, wiring harness will fit perfectly, barely anyone will be able to SEE the difference, and it will be MUCH more fun to drive!Lee Atkinson
Nice. This is the first forum anyone has responded to this question. This is an inherited car. I am actually the 2nd owner. It has been in a garage all it's life and driven by a man who was 60 when he bought it.I'm 60 now and have a heavy foot. If I put the 403 in do you suggest I take the tranny and rearend as well.You may have guessed this is a new hobby for one about to retire but I do have help and guidance from others.I would like to hear any suggestions on how to make this car something nice.Thanks Bill Corbett
Bill,I'm younger than you, but have spent the last couple of decades helping people make their cars do what they wish. Send me a private messege with your e-mail, and I'll get back with you. I'm personally on my second 11-second street car (both of which I've built/tuned/spec'ed myself), and neither of them were done the "easy" ways (the current one is in the current issue of Popular HotRodding, pages 32-37). I know what it is like to drive 15, 14, 13, 12 and 11 second street cars on a daily basis. The answer to your questions will depend upon what you REALLY want, and what you are capable of doing (financially and mechanically). The rear and transmission/converter in my current car cost me about $6,000, but they are HEAVY duty and should take much abuse without failure. I've been on the LOW budget end of things before, though, and simply replaced what broke If you have the funds to do it "right" the first time, then that IS the preferred way going about it!! But, if you are on a budget, and are willing to take some risks (and face an occassional towing bill!) there are intelligent ways to go about it.Transmission - almost for sure you will need to have rebuilt for the 403. At that point, it would be very wise to upgrade the torque converter. The upgraded torque converter will give you both extra reliability AND more performance.Rearend - that will depend upon exactly how stout of a 403 you build, and what you want to do with the car. If you want the car to be FAST, then you will probably need to budget at least 1500 for rearend upgrades. But, if it will only be driven on the street with hard-compound street tires, then I'd run what you have until it breaks.Merry Christmas Mr. Corbett, and I hope Santa brings you a fun New Year!Lee Atkinson
I have a question! Does anyone know if you can get close 400 hp from a 2 bolt main Chevy 400cid?? And what type of heads and cam may provide this power? Thanks!!
Run the 260 until it breaks? I had the timing belt changed from the original plastic or fiber one that was there for a metal one, all new gaskets and hoses etc.This motor will outlive me. Maybe I should just make it 'showy'. I think the car needs more power. The 400 transpalnt sounds interesting. What do you guys think about buying another car and transplanting the engine and tranny. I am on self imposed learning track. What are the gear ratioes for the rear end i hear so much about?Am I Sounding a bit stupid here and too much of a norvouse forthis forum?
No!! I said run the "REAREND" until it breaks, with the 403 you were talking about.
Thanks again for your replly.Yes you did L_n_L. I started calling around to see what is available.Nothing locally. What about these 'crate' engines. Do they come complete ready to drop in like a 'like car' swap or would I be needing all kinds of additional parts.
does anyone know where to get a complete wire harness new for a 76 cutlass?painless dont have it.
1) the 260 is too small for the car's weight. When you go to a bigger engine, if you plan on doing burnouts and hard launches, I'd suggest using the transmission that came with the 403, new U joints for the driveshaft, and a stronger axle. The automatic will soften the blow to the rear axle, plus tires with no traction that smoke easily will help the rear axle, too. But, why blow the rear axle then pay for a tow home? That might end up costing more than a strong axle. Plus, if that's a 10-bolt back there, and you break the C-clips inside the rear axle, the shafts slide out of the housing, and only the brake lines hold your wheels under the car.But, hey, its your gamble. You may not have that problem happen. Or you might. the 403 has more bore than it has stroke, so light launches may never faze the rear axle. If I remember correctly, Edelbrock heads will bolt on, so you can ask them what cam etc to run, or you can go look up Joe Mondello for advice on Olds engines.2) Yes, a 2 bolt main cap 400cid Chevy small block can handle 400--easy. Buy any head/cam/intake setup for a Chevy 350, use the 400 head gaskets to drill steam holes in your new heads so the siamesed 400 bores can vent and not overheat...and the extra 50 cubic inches will get you near that 400hp, and be more streetable than the smaller engine doing the same at a higher RPM.3) wiring harnes, you've tried for '73 and later Chevelles, right? You may have to find a universal one long enough to reach from firewall to tailights, or splice your old wiring where you can.
Just because you can't do it...doesn't mean its impossible
I don't mean to Hi-Jack the thread...but my son just inherited a 1975 Cutlass Supreme, with a 350 Q-Jet engine. It seems reasonably strong for an engine from this period. I am a Bowtie guy, having had a small block 1970 Camaro, and a 1967 Vette, but very limited OLDS experiance. I would like to know if the Olds 350 is as responsive to upgrades as the Chevy 350 is...and if any of the performance products for the earlier Cutlass/442's are applicable to the 1975? Also...does anyone know if a 442 style hood is made for the '75 Cutlass? As with the original poster...this car is in EXCELLENT CONDITION..and is a SWEET looking ride...but there is ALWAYS room for a little improvement...THANKSJim
Wilcor, I've not seen a "crate" Oldsmobile motor in a long time! The 403's were used in MANY cars from '77 to '79 - GMC motorhomes had them, alot of the Pontiac Trans Ams and Formulas had them, and quite a few of the larger bodied Pontiac and Buicks had them as well. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the only Cutlass the factory ever installed them into were the '77 442's. I have not looked in a LONG time, but at one time I could find 2 or 3 everytime I went to a "Pick-your-part" salvage yard.Stage1 - check M&H wiringJim - The Olds are VERY repsonsive. A set of headers and a good exhaust will make a big power gain on your motor - probably over 30hp at the wheels. Intakes (in my experiences) don't do much until you REALLY kick the power up, the factory intakes are pretty decent - maybe find one from before the EGR days. Kicking up the stall speed will help even more.An OLD combo that will work well: Hughes 2500 stall; 3.23 or 3.42 gears with a posi carrier; some decent headers with 2.5" exhaust; Engle 16-18 or Comp Cam 270 cam (but go ahead and pull the cylinder heads, have a GOOD valve job performed and have new valve springs installed and properly set-up for the cam you choose. Properly tuned and with traction, you should be in the 13's.Lee
I have a '76 Cutlass S and pulled the 260 and put in a 403 bored .40. The cylinder walls were just thick enough to allow.We put in a Comp Cam and ported the heads. The crank turned true. The valves were beveled on the edges in order for the flow of fuel to combust with more efficiency. The compression is 10:1.A double row timing chain was installed with MSD Ignition and Distributor. A four core radiator with two electric fans help cool the motor.The 403 runs hot because of windowed mains in the heads.We put a 4:10 posi in but with a Turbo 350 tranny it was too many RPMs. We pulled the 4:10s and installed a 3:42 but I'm fixing to upgrade to a 3:73. The Turbo 350 was pulled and a 700R4 with Corvette cervo, stall conveter and shift kit was installed.The intake is an Edlebrock Low Rise Aluminum Intake with a 795cfm Edlebrock four bbl.Competition Hooker Headers, wrapped, were installed on a true dual Dynamax exhaust system.** If you set the timing between 36-38 degrees it should run no hotter than 190 degrees**Right now it's putting out 315 HP and 400ftlbs of torque. Changing the rear end will increase the torque for sure and jet off the line.StapletonGrey13
an Olds 350 will take big block heads, but you need a W31 style intake. Its a big bore, short stroke, with 6 inch long connecting rods. It can be responsive, like a Chevy 327, if you know how to build an engine rather than just bolt on parts. With Chevies, you can do the latter and still come out ahead.
Just because you can't do it...doesn't mean its impossible