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'68 OLDS 4-4-2

smokin_olds442smokin_olds442 Posts: 41
edited March 2014 in Oldsmobile
roughly two months ago I bought a 1968 Olds 4-4-2 W30(so the previous owner says). The previous owner had blown the Olds 400 engine and replaced it with a Chevy 400 engine. Since day one I have loved this Chevy version of the 400 as opposed to Olds' version. Parts were cheaper and easier to find. as it stands [email protected] and [email protected] these numbers are at the rear wheels and the engine is FAR from stock(redline is 7500rpm). specs are available


  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Lemme's the best front wheel drive car you've ever owned.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    Great, useful info. But sometimes the comedy far out weighs all.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,533
    ...wasn't there a Town Hall member who dropped a Toronado drivetrain into an old Chevelle or other GM midsize?
  • "Lemme's the best front wheel drive car you've ever owned."

    Actually no, it IS rear wheel drive.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Please turn your sarcasm detection circuits on.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    you need either a sense of humor or a thin skin.
  • I knew what you were tryin to do lancer and I came right back at ya.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    If it doesn't run an Olds motor/trans combo it is only a Olds by name. Chevy engines in Oldsmobile cars are an easy swap, but are for the light hearted who don't want a real torque monster engine, and go the cheap way out. I want to see the Dyno sheet that says REAR WHEEL HORSE POWER. Did you dyno the car yourself, or did the guy do a good sell job on you?! If the guy gave you those numbers, I bet they were flywheel readings, not rear wheel figures.
  • when i bought the car it barely ran, check out the board entitled "total beaters", i had it bored .030" over because the bores were slightly tapered. i run keith black hypereutectic 11.5:1 pistons, worked edelbrock heads w/oversized valves(2.08/1.625), edelbrock performer rpm air-gap intake manifold with a holley 950cfm double pumper on top, and much much more....and i had it dynoed at a shop. it's far from the condition i bought it in. and a small block olds 400 is the same engine as the small block chevy 400 except that the bolt patterns of the heads, bellhousing, water pump, oil pan, etc. are different. the olds 400 isn't a "torque monster" compared to the chevy 400.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225

    That IS a torque monster!
  • that's what you get when you spend over 5K on an engine that you do all the work to yourself...
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    Not to be rude, but I doubt there's a single interchangeable part between the two. The only overlap I can think of with an Oldsmobile and Chevrolet are things like the DRCE with the Mark IV Chevrolet.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,533
    ...I don't think the Olds engine is considered a smallblock. I believe it's more of what they called a "medium" block. I'm not sure about the 400, but I know the 260, 307, 350, and 403 all used the same block. I've heard that even the 455 used the same block!

    Same thing with Pontiac...every Pontiac V-8 I've seen, whether it's a 326, 350, 389, 400, or 455, all look to be the same block.

    I think Chevy and Buick were the only GM cars to use "smallblock/bigblock" designations.
  • I never said that the parts were interchangable but one of the 400's doesn't make gobs more torque than the other. the 2 engines are the same type...a typical 6.6L wedge engine.
  • bushonebushone Posts: 39
    Actually Olds engines are classified as Big and Small block. And from 67 or so till 70 (I think) the Olds (Big Block) 400 was used. It later gave way to the 455.

    Sadly, what he has as it stands now without the original engine in his 68... is a 442 worth about the same price as a ragged out Cutlass Supreme.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Was it an engine dyno, or chassis dyno? Olds motors make way more torque than Chevys! Alway have and always will. It's by design, Old engines have a long stroke with a small bore, chevy is the opposite short stroke with a larger bore. So even with an engine with the same cubic inches, you can have differing HP, and Torque ratings. A 400 olds is a big block olds engine, and will supply all the tire spinning torque you need, but they usually suffer on top end power. Anything is possible with aftermarket part, and I am comparing stock engine to one another. With all that power I would want a 4 bolt main block anyway, so the Chevy is the only way to go, Olds did not make a 4 bolt block to my knowledge.

    I know the 400 is a biig block because the W-30 pkg is a big block pkg, the W-31 pkg was a small block. That's easy enough to look up if you don't believe me.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    I think the only difference between the Olds 'big' and 'small' block is deck height.

    (I think these numbers are right, subject of course to the factory monkeying around with the values).

    LS6 454 -> 450 hp / 500 torque
    W30 455 -> 370 hp / 500 torque

    (oh well, so much for the bore:stroke theory)

    Honestly, I think that torque is a calculation based on a batch of things I'm not smart enought to figure out. Not just bore vs. stroke, but rod angle, head design, flow through the entire intake and exhaust system. It wouldn't suprise me if a whole batch of work hasn't been done (at least by the sprint car guys) moving the location of the piston pin up and down, to fool with rod length and not change total stroke.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    There is a trick to building small block Fords (I heard that it works on 396 Chevs also). You put the piston in backwards which increases rod ratio SLIGHTLY which in turn increases dwell @TDC which in turn increases cylinder charge(if your cam is ground to take advantage) If anyone wants to know why/how this works, I'll answer. I'm sure olds 442 knows!!!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,533
    ...thanks for the info on the Olds big block/smallblock. I checked in my auto encyclopedia, and it looks like the smallblock started with the 330 in 1964, which was eventually bumped out to 350 around '68 or '69. Then later came the 260, 403, and 307 versions.

    How far back does the big-block design go? My auto encyclopedia really doesn't say anything about redesigns, just changes in bore and stroke. But the Rocket V-8 that came out in 1949 wouldn't be the same big-block design as what became the 425, 400, and 455, would it?

    Oh yeah, my book also lists a 400 as being available for 1975, having a bore X stroke of 4.12" x 3.75". I'm guessing that was actually a Pontiac 400, though?
  • bushonebushone Posts: 39
    There is a easy to read, and follow, page on Olds engine FAQ's (with hyperlinks to more detailed info)that I found several years ago. I was looking to beef up my 403 or drop in a 455 at the time.

    Check it out if you have a min. Oh, also it reports the olds 400 was last used in 69.

  • Yes, the numbers I gave previously for horsepower and torque was obtained in the form of a chassis dynomometer. Any more? The whole backwards piston thing sounds like a bunch of BS to me, and even if it is true you'd be better off not rigging your engine this way, especially if it has valve'll end up with your intake valves knicking off chunks of your piston as you go.
  • bushonebushone Posts: 39
    has a functional engine that can produce those dyno numbers, I find it even harder to fathom he has a DL.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'm not a tuner but I'd guess that anyone messing with rod length and piston pin location might also know about custom pistons or how to cut valve reliefs. Longer rods increase torque and shorter rods increase hp or is it the other way around?

    That's quite a resource for Olds engines. He doesn't make as much of a distinction between the '49-56 and '57-64 as most people I've read. BTW the '68 400 had one helaciously long stroke, as long as the 455 as I recall. The heads were a big improvement though, I think the exhaust ports were no longer siamesed.

    It's true that Olds had a reputation as a torque engine, at least in the early days. The Cadillac was more refined, the hemi put out more hp and the Buick nail-valve could rev higher but the Olds was known for its torque and durability. I have a road test from 1957 complaining that the new 371 doesn't have the famous right-now torque of the '56 324.

    Maybe the problem with torque is the way it's measured. If I'm not mistaken (and I easily could be) it's something like the amount of force one horse can apply when hooked up to something like the circular mills they used 100 years ago. That's a little hard for most of us to visualize.

    I always thought a long stroke meant more torque at low rpm but not necessarily more total torque. Obviously a whole lot of other factors like carburetion, intake manifold, CR, port and valve size, valve timing, chamber design and exhaust manifolding have a lot to do with it.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    Okay, so those of you who have seen me on the boards know I grew up in an Olds service department. The deal with the big block 455 Olds was not just the amount of torque, but the low RPM where it came on in comparison to the other big blocks. It ran out of air at about 5200 RPM, but the torque curve was very flat from about 2400 to 5000. The one true kick butt W-30 was the 1970 model. High compression engine, dual friction plate clutch, and an available 5.00 rear end ratio. The unit I was lucky enough to drive had a Hurst prepared TH400 with a dual gate shifter. If babied, you could get 9MPG. The way we drove it on the day of my performance driving lesson, we got 5 MPG. On the highest octane available, Amoco Gold (101, I think). I still hear the marine version of the 455 in jet boats in the early morning hours. You can always tell which boats run the Olds engine as the speed will be the same as the other boats, but the pitch of the exhaust note will be noticably lower. I miss those engines.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    Especially if you have slugs with 4 eyebrows?? If you're silly enough to assemble a motor without checking piston to valve clearance you really shouldn't be building motors.

    Trivia time. Why do pistons have a front and a back? The valve relief answer would be weak in that any machine shop can fly cut pistons very cheaply.

    BTW, I too am a doubter on our chevy powered olds dyno #'s. Especially a 400 which is a very poor high RPM motor.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    Since I'm not an engine builder/designer, my guess is worth zip, but I'll take a flyer....

    I'll assume that the piston is symetrical (ie. no difference in the dome depending on orientation, no asymetry in skirt design).

    Is it that the pins are set slightly off-center? I can see where you might want the rod lined up in a certain way at peak pressure.
  • bushonebushone Posts: 39
    Back when I was building a SD 455 clone for my 73 TA my mechanic had two marine 454 engines in his shop. How did they get the one to "Run Backwards" so the one screw would turn counter-clockwise? lol
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    You're right on!! Some motors, the small block Ford is one, have an offset piston pin. They do that to put a slight load on the cylinder which keeps the piston quiet. By reversing the piston you increase the travel ever so slightly giving the effect of a longer rod. I think it's something like .002" (I'll check) Joe Stewart in S. California( a renown Chev builder) claims 20 horsepower by this alone on Fords.I learned this from his article in Hot Rod where he built a 400 horsepower 306 Ford with stock heads and a cast rebuild kit for under $2500!!! The one drawback COULD be piston slap during warm up but I use TRW forged slugs that run rather tight for forged units and don't seem to be effected. The cast pistons run even closer.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    It's all in the cam!!!
  • bushonebushone Posts: 39
    I knew that! After you said it! lol :)
This discussion has been closed.