basic buick 350 upgrades

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by groundhound, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. groundhound

    groundhound Well-Known Member

    I bought a "How to build a max-performance buick engine" book.

    I can perform basic maintenance, but I have never rebuilt my own motor. I may pay someone to do that. (port - bore)
    But, my question is basic parts. My 350 is bone stock and I was going to upgrade intake, exaust and electrical first. I read the ta performance intake doesn't boost or make a lot of hp gain. Is this correct? I want a good inexpensive HEI distributor and which bolt on headers with dual exhuast would be effective?

    Thank you
  2. 71skylark3504v

    71skylark3504v Goin' Fast In Luxury!

    Do a basic tune-up on your points distributor. Also read Larry's Power Timing thread in the Buick FAQ forum.

    2 1/2 inch dual exhaust with Walker Dynomax mufflers. Top notch. Add headers for even more power.

    Upgrade to a cast iron 4BBL intake with a Q-Jet or Holley.
    JStov likes this.
  3. Lightningbird

    Lightningbird Well-Known Member

    I agree with Cason on all but the points. The reason for that, is there is very few shops that could even repair points these days, let alone being able to order any without a wait. For a self proclaimed novice, points would be a headache.

    An HEI is starting to get hard to find and if you do score one, how ragged out is it? GM has not made one since 1980 that was not computer controlled.....30 years ago. A new one is top price.

    Stick a Pertronix Ignitor in the original dizzy, ditch the points and never screw with it again! $76 at Summit. Then "Power Time" the crap outta it.
  4. 71skylark3504v

    71skylark3504v Goin' Fast In Luxury!

    My points have never let me down, and until that happens I stand behind them 100%.
    Julian likes this.
  5. Big Matt

    Big Matt Well-Known Member

    Not to get into the whole mine vs. your's thing; but my Pertronix (original Ignitor I) has never let me down. I certainly can't say the same about points. Screwing with the dwell on the side of the road, in the rain, at night convinced me that yes maybe it was time to step into 1970's technology.

    I understand though that supposedly the electronics can crap out at any time with no warning, but I've never had that happen with my Pertronix. I have had issues with HEI's and even more so the Ford TFI-4 electronic ignition on dad's bronco.
  6. gsdave

    gsdave FAST WITH CLASS

    Stock hei's can b bought reasonably, there were some listed here under $50.

    But the conversions work quite well too. A good brass cap and rotor for either setup and good set of plug wires always help too.

    There is a reason that it is hard to find a good set of points anymore, there are none. Waste of time.

    A well tuned quadrajet will perform just as well if not better than any holley.

    As far as an alm intake, performance gains are not just seat of the pants, better heat transfer and loosing weight on the front of the car never hurts either.

    You should also consider your converter and gears, if you have a pegleg with 2:56 's you will be disappointed with the money you spent on the motor.

    Dont go cheap on the exhaust, a nice 2 1/2" system is all you need, mandrel bent and a x pipe are nice options but are not necessary for a mild build. my muffler of choice is magna-flows, but there are tons of options out there, Imco's are sold on ebay, they are reasonable and sound just like flowmaster for half the price or less.
  7. V8Sky

    V8Sky "Scarlett"

    I have the Pertronix (Ignitor II) in my Buick now and it works great. I've used Pertronix in my former Buick as well and never had a problem with it.
    Houmark likes this.
  8. Lightningbird

    Lightningbird Well-Known Member

    That's fine, your character building experience is waiting for you. Many here have had a similar experience. There is a reason that points are a thing of the past. If they were top notch, they would still be used.

    I agree that there are few problems with points, it's just when you have exactly 10 minutes to get the girlfriends pad for a shot of leg, that's when the car won't fire....cue lightning and torrential downpour. You then are waiting 4 days for some clown at a parts store to order them for you. Usually they have NO clue what points are and are baffled that Buick created their own engine.

    It just alleviates the headache.............:laugh:
    BeatersRus and Mark Demko like this.
  9. exfarmer

    exfarmer Well-Known Member

    One good thing about points is if they do fail a bit of filing with some emery cloth & adjustment will get you going. If an electronic system fails you are hooped until you get new parts! If you are away from home it's tow truck time. However, electronics are pretty reliable and are probably the better choice for a daily driver. Seems to me points had to be replaced every 6000 mi. or so.
    Julian likes this.
  10. groundhound

    groundhound Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the rapid responses! I am trying to make my wish list of things I need. I have to put my income taxes to use. Im my dreams I would like to have a 400hp engine, but for now I would like to have the car just running top notch.

    I didn't realize people stopped using "Points"? I have seen the petronix set ups. They just convert to the existing Distributor then? I thought about an intake but in the book it was telling me how I need to make my own "gasket" under the intake. (to much hassel) - as far as headers (ta performance) there was topics such as "oil" dipstick issues and ground scrapping. My car is stock height, I didn't want it to go to low to the ground.
    I do like my quadra jet and maybe the car just need some fine tuning. My skylark is hard to start and you only need to bairly touch the peddle for fuel or it floods. The car is bone stock and we are the original owners. It does have a "peg" leg but I am not sure of the gearing on it.

    I have seen two types of dual exaush mandrel bend with "X" pipe kits around $500 from flow master and another brand. I will probably get magna flow. Is everything pretty much plug and play? Or is there a lot of cutting and prefabricating on these parts? (issues)

    I am getting this week - disc brake conversion kit " Right Stuff Detailing AFXDC01C " or summit racing "house" brand. upper and lower ball joints, dual exhaust and headers. Maybe even some new plugs and the petronix set.

  11. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    No need to fab a custom valley pan, that just opens up the availability of different intake to head gaskets I believe. You can use the regular metal valley pan in combination with any intake thats available.

    As far as exhaust, I would recommend looking at TA, I ordered mine through them and it fit like a dream, you can get an X or H pipe with them too. I went with flowmaster mufflers, I like the sound, but I have read alot about other brands flowing better. :Do No:
  12. 71skylark3504v

    71skylark3504v Goin' Fast In Luxury!

    I've had those experiences, Twice. Each of which was caused by MSD products. Yeah, yeah, I know, buy Mallory or whatever, but that's not the point. Modern electronics will fail at some point probably when your about to drive to get laid.:bla:

    As far as getting good points, I'm not worried. My mom and pop parts store always finds me good stuff. Several decades of automotive parts and service experience tends to teach you the good brands to sell to your customers.:beers2:
  13. groundhound

    groundhound Well-Known Member

    Hilarious! Will the TA competition headers be good enough? Super competition sounds like its for the track.

    What do you recommend as far as a MSD Ignition box 6a or 6al? Will the limiter keep me from going 75 down the highway?
  14. 71skylark3504v

    71skylark3504v Goin' Fast In Luxury!

    Neither! One of my break downs was caused by one of those boxes crapping out all of the sudden.
  15. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    I'd go with the Super Comps if you plan on doing anything more than a stock 350. Once you get some head and valve work done, you can really take advantage of them.

    See if you can track down a 4bbl intake, you can use a stock cast iron one if you can find one locally (shipping = arm + leg). We pulled one out of a local wrecking yard. Either that or source a used aftermarket (TA, Poston) here on the board or on ebay. I think its one of the first places you need to start. Put a 1/2" or 1" spacer underneath your carb once you go to a 4bbl intake too.

    4bbl intake, headers, 2.5" duals and then you can look at your rear gears! Then when you have the time/money, do some head porting, and put in a new cam.
  16. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut Staff Member

    The TA headers are fine and yes they sit a bit low... I am working on a set of custom 350 shorty headers made right now. If the prototype works out then I will be offering them for sale, many people want shorty headers for the 350 it seems.

    The rev limiter on the MSD is just to keep your engine from over revving nothing to do with speed. This is a good thing since it will keep you from revving the engine too high and damaging its self.

    I have gone 100 mph and not had high revs, it all depends on the gear end gears.

    Like others have said the cheapest simple way to upgrade the distributer is to add a kit onto your points dist.... Going to the full MSD is expensive for no real advantage on a stock style engine. The biggest issue with the stock points dist is that it wears out and needs to be maintained.
    MrSony likes this.
  17. ubushaus

    ubushaus Gold Level Contributor

    I can't wait to see them Sean. I have a set of those 1/2" flanges, and a set of Hooker Chevy shorty's that I intend to marry. We'll see!
  18. groundhound

    groundhound Well-Known Member

    cool, thanks for the help. Call me stupid but what is a 4bbl? - (4 barrell)?
  19. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    Yup, you bet... no stupid questions around here! :TU:
  20. Cali72's

    Cali72's Well-Known Member

    Yes Sir!Get the headers and a 4 barrel intake and rebuild your q-jet then rip that one wheel to s$%t!!:3gears:

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