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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi y'all,
My friend just gave me his 1990 Custom Cruiser, which I helped him swap in a bone-stock 74 455. Really woke the old boat up, but now it has a few electrical problems, needs a new gas tank (strap bolts rusted and rounded) and new air shocks (shock bolts rusted and rounded.) He got fed up with all the dumb problems and gave the car to me (hell, it only cost him $300.)

Click here for more pictures of the wagon

The car ran a low 16 untuned with the stock 307 feedback carb, I think it could do better.
He told me that he wasn't happy because the 455 had very low oil pressure; if that's true and it's not going to be reliable, I have a plan up my sleeve using parts lying around: turbo 307! Yeah, it would require putting the 307 BACK into the car (hah, never thought I'd swap a 307 in place of a 455) but with a 7.3 Powerstroke turbo (equivalent to a 60-1 that gives the Turbo Regal people 450-500 hp) would be the perfect size for a 307 (right in the middle of the max efficiency island on the compressor map.)
I may be crazy, but it's always something I wanted to do to show up the Olds people who always say that 307s are good for nothing but boat anchors. LOL
Comments, flames, suggestions? Any ideas how to get the top shock bolts off?
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Use the blue wrench to get the bolts off. ;)
Also, that poor old 307 Olds won't last long with a turbo. Not enough strength in the bottom end.
Rebuild the 455.
Nothing, but nothing will match it for pure brute torque.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had two 307 Olds cars and I agree w/Striper SS, don't waste your time trying to make it faster, they only last a long time when driven sensibly, ie. not flogged!
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've always liked those wheels, they were one year only for the Custom Cruiser. The center caps should be fun to try and track down.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool! Is the body mostly rust free? I see a few spots.. It dosent look that bad. It would make a sleeper!

Comparing a 90 to a 91 Car. Wow. They went through such a transformation. :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, come on guys! The 307 isn't THAT bad...when was the last time you heard about one dying because it made too much power? Anyhow, the power expectations are modest, perhaps 300 hp - 350 hp...and it's all being done on a shoestring. I hope to break down the barriers of discrimination against Olds 307s, I think they can put up with more punishment than people think. This isn't going to be something I'm going to spend more than $1000 on. I just rebuilt the 455 in my 71 Cutlass, that's not something I want to go through again soon, says my wallet!!
(Hell, if people play with wheezy Chevy 305s, let me play with my 307, it's fun!)

Funny thing is, the 200-4r is putting up with the 455. Once we installed the shift kit, it acts fine. Before, it would take about 3 seconds to shift 1-2, but it's got probably about 1000 miles on it in this combo and the pan shows very little shavings/dust. The 1990 200-4r is reputed to be the strongest of all the non-special performance 200-4Rs, so that could be it.
I really think people give the 307/200-4R much less credit than it deserves. They're a reliable drivetrain that can put up with a lot of punishment.
The best part, if the 307 blows up, it doesn't matter to me, I'll get a 350, bolt everything to it and throw it in. No $ is going into the 307, since it runs already (good 'nuff!) All the stuff I'm spending money on and fabricating can be removed and bolted to any small block Olds, 260-403 (Now THERE's an idea, Olds 260...hmm...LOL) Not to mention, the car can always rot in the backyard, no problem there! Makes a good camper at night with the seats folded down.


I think the blue wrench idea wouldn't work very well on the gas tank straps - KABOOM??? I haven't looked at the top shock nuts but my friend who gave me the car said they were impossible to get to, much less grind or torch. Anyone ever dealt with this before?

The body panels themselves have very little rust, the only hole I know of is between the left rear door and the wheel well, about half-dollar size. There are several spots of surface rust taht should clean up with some sandpaper and primer. The underbody is pretty rusty, as you'd expect with an Ohio car- the first thing we had to do was replace all the brake lines. But no holes in any floor pans, not even the spare tire well. For $0, what can you expect?
In NE Ohio, nonrusty sheetmetal is worth its weight in gold, and something that drives is usually worth at least $500.

Chris
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Originally posted by 92CustomCruiser:
I've always liked those wheels, they were one year only for the Custom Cruiser. The center caps should be fun to try and track down.
If you really like those wheels, I think I have a set in one of my basements off a Buick wagon we had (same wheel, only darker gray small fins) but I doubt I have caps. PM me if interested.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally posted by boatanchorbuick:
All the stuff I'm spending money on and fabricating can be removed and bolted to any small block Olds, 260-403 (Now THERE's an idea, Olds 260...hmm...LOL)
This is the best thing about a 307... you can easily swap in an Olds 350, which are dirt cheap in older junk yards (at least they use to be... haven't done it in many years now). The 307 is good utilitarian engine with some higher performance applications (ex, late model 442's) but I would put a good Olds 350 up against any of them. The Olds 350 responds well to lots of timing advance and some carb tuning. [The 403's are getting really hard to find and are supposed have very weak bottom ends. I never used one, so I can't be of much help here.]

Back when I was doing this, there was one intriguing possibility: a gas-converted, stroked 350 diesel block engine. I think I remember the result was around 380 cu.in. and 350+ hp thru cats and an ultra-reliable 4-bolt main botton end. I forget who made the kit (Poston?). I talked to them over 10 years ago. I don't think that you will get there for under a $1000 though. (I was considering getting a late model 442 back then and making it into a real performer without changing the stock look, but the prices on those cars never came down to what I wanted to pay so I scrapped the idea.)

The THM200R-4 is a good solid transmission with very low rotational intertia for its torque handling capability and has a good parts upgrade availability, thanks to the GN/GNX/Turbo-Regal crowd. This works really well in an applications with low to medium weight cars and smaller displacement high-output engines. The problem in your application is that you are using a good low-end torque engine (big block Olds or Buick) and a heavy car. The weak link is going to be this stock trans eventually. (This trans came in the diesel engined mid-/full-size cars of the early 80's and any of those cars that I converted to gas and kept for a while usually ended up with a trans replacement down the line.) If you keep this engine, move up to a good built THM700/4L60 (no E). It will probably be cheaper than a really well built THM200 (but this will cost around $1000) and your heavy car is not really going to notice the difference. (Stay away from the THM400 and 4L80's unless you build up that 455...$$$$$.) This will keep the car on the road and out of the shop. It should be fine for the 307 (in almost any tune) and will last for a while behind a good 350).

Good luck.
 
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