Chevy Performance Q & A - Performance Q & A

Kevin McClelland Dec 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)

A: A 3,800- to 4,000-stall converter may be a little tight for your short-stroke 333-inch small-block. It won't really start making any power until 4,500-5,000 rpm and probably will pull strong to the 7,500-plus range! This puts you in the range of a loose 10-inch converter or a tight 8-inch. The 10-inch will be much more affordable, but the 8-inch will be quite a bit less rotating weight for your little Mouse. We've got two B&M converters, a 10-inch and an 8-inch, and used both of them behind the pump-gas 350 in our wagon. The 10-inch will flash to 5,000 rpm, and the 8-inch is slightly tighter. The engine revs noticeably faster with the 8-inch, and about 0.05 second quicker and 1 mph faster.

To have a converter spec'd out for your application, contact Les Figueroa at FigSpeed. We could spit out a couple of part numbers for both converters, but as the B&M racing representative, Les has years of experience and a wealth of knowledge on torque converter selection. He's put us into the right converter based on our combination of engine power, vehicle weight, transmission type, and gearing. When you're buying a premium converter, getting the right one the first time is a great savings.

Early Sport Compacted
Q: I am in the planning stages of an engine swap for my '83 Chevette, and I seem to be getting frustrated. The motor going in is a 3.3L 200-cid out of my '78 Malibu. I have found a cam, but when it comes to other performance parts, everything I find is for a V-8 small-block. Headers and valve covers, I'm afraid, I may need to build myself. I can't hardly build my own aluminum intake and performance heads. (Not yet.) Do you have any suggestions where I might find some parts for 90-degree V-6 performance?
Adam Steppe
Oval, PA

A: Hopefully, you're adding many other upgrades to your Chevette than just power! The rear suspension, with its tiny differential and semi-torque tube drive, isn't going to take much power. Also, the brakes were too small for the car when it was original from the General. As a line mechanic in the late '70s I had to repair all the Chevettes that came through the door! The deal I made with the other line mechanic at the time was I had the LUV trucks, diesel trucks, and diesel Montes. The other mechanic did the vans, Vegas and Monzas, then we split the gravy. I hated Vegas and vans.

You have many options for the 90-degree V-6 Chevy. The really good ones are the Vortec 4.3s produced from '92 up. These engines featured hydraulic roller camshafts and Vortec-style iron heads. These heads are very much like the famous L31 Vortec 350 small-block heads that have turned many 350 small-blocks into 400hp engines right out of the box. Your '78 3.3L, 200-cid 90-degree is the least desirable of the V-6s. We'd rummage through the junkyards for an L35 CPI-injected, 4.3L, 262-cid V-6. The L35s were rated at 190 hp SAE and 245 lb-ft of torque, stock. This will kick your Chevette around much better than your 3.3L slug and its whopping 95 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque

Next, check with Comp Cams for a nice hydraulic roller upgrade. For an inlet manifold, check out Edelbrock's Performer 90-degree V-6, PN 2111, which will allow you to run the square-flange carb of your choice. Stay with 600 cfm and below for good all-around performance. CFR Performance offers chrome steel center-bolt valve covers under PN HZ-7458 and HZ-9812 to fit your V-8-minus-2. As for headers and engine mounts, you're on your own. We've read where you reverse the factory transmission crossmember and elongate the trans mount hole approximately 3/4 inch. This places the engine and transmission in the proper location. The factory pan will need to be notched approximately 11/2 inches to clear the steering gear. You will also need to modify the oil pump pick-up for the reduced pan sump.


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