BUICK The Final Objective

307 Regal

307 Regal

Royal Smart Person
Oct 21, 2009
1,564
113
Northern Indiana
Hello, all. Been signed out for a while. I'm mostly making a thread here to keep my plans straight and receive any advice or help that may pop up.
I'm making a new thread because I've been gone long enough to get my build thread locked. To get you up to speed, I have a 1987 Regal with a 1976 Buick 350 and a 200-4R trans. If you want to know more, here's my last thread: https://gbodyforum.com/threads/project-blue-jay.69996/

I've reached a point where I need to narrow the dream down a bit, and I've chosen one final big change to make.
That being:
A manual transmission swap.

I can live without big power, fuel injection, big brakes, expensive wheels, and maybe even a competent paint job. But one thing I've wanted since I was a young teen and continue to want to this day is a stick shift. I've talked about it a lot over the years, thought about trying to make the optimal automatic shifter instead, but always end up back at standard gear box.

Here's the situation:
I'm looking at considering any manual trans with an overdrive gear for the right price. I'm trying to save up for a house now that I'm back on my feet but if I come across a great deal then I'm going to jump on it. I certainly don't have an unlimited budget but I do have time as long as I can hold on to the car, housing permitting. I'm financially "single" and probably will be for a couple years yet at best, so living expenses will keep this project at a simmer unless I find better work.

Here are my options:
-I've always looked at the T5 for budgetary reasons but its torque rating scares me since I do beat on this car. If I drive it responsibly, it should be okay. My Buick 350 only makes 216hp/250tq to the wheels according to the only dyno runs I've had. But I autocross when I can and I would be afraid to give it my all. And being afraid is not fun, so that's a waste of an entry fee. At this point, I'd only get one if it's a great deal.

-An easy option to trust would be the TKO 500 or 600. But the limiting factor here is cost. Not many used ones come up for sale and fewer aren't broken. So I'd be buying new at nearly $2,800 after tax. A smaller yet valid concern is my gearing mixed with my desire to revisit Gingerman Raceway or even get onto Road America. With my 200-4R and 3.73:1 final ratio, I had to stay at the top of 3rd gear for the last third of the Phoenix Straight at Gingerman, since my trans won't hold OD at WOT. So basically 1:1 gear isn't enough without more RPM or a different final ratio. So with the TKO I either take the .64 ratio to match my current OD ratio, or take the .82 ratio with track days in mind.

-My last option and current focus is the T56 6-speed. It should hold up well enough, I can snag a used one eventually, and with two OD ratios I can have my cake and eat it too, theoretically. The only problem here is finding a good one in the Michiana area. They're expensive but still less than a TKO.

The hurdles:
-The biggest p.i.t.a. will be the engine. It's probably not ready for a manual transmission. Popular consensus is that if a BOP engine came in front of an auto then the crankshaft isn't ready for a pilot bushing. This is going to mean disassembly and machine work. My local machine shop couldn't give me an estimate. I only got a balancing estimate of about 200 dollars. If and when I do get to this point, I'll be tempted to add 10:1 compression pistons. That's a discussion for later. But I do need to take the engine apart anyway to replace the front cam bearing with a dual groove from TA Performance to try and fix my valvetrain noise. Worst case scenario: it might be killing another camshaft.

-Every trans will need a clutch. I'm mainly considering hydraulic options.

-Each trans will need a custom mount. I doubt aftermarket options would be cheaper. The T5 in particular would need an angled mount since the trans isn't meant to be mounted like a 4 speed.

-I need to see if manual Buick V8s came with different starters than automatic Buick V8s.

-The T56 will require extra clearance. I was told in person by someone who had done the swap that it can be done without cutting and welding/fabricating. He used a pneumatic hammer.

What I have and what I plan on:
-I have a used oem BOP bellhousing from a Firebird. This will work for a T5 or TKO. Alternatively, I recently scored an outstanding deal on a BOP to T56 scattershield. PART# RM-8072PB This model is meant for mechanical clutches but can be made to work with hydraulic systems.

-I have a used Buick 350 flywheel (so said the ebay listing) that appears to be in decent shape. It needs to be lightly resurfaced. And of course it must be balanced to my rotating assembly's needs. It appears to have been used with a 10.5" clutch.

-I'm under the impression that all older GM pressure plates are the same. Rock Auto says this with its part numbers. To confirm, I'll see if any local stores/shops have a pressure plate and I'll match it up to my flywheel. I'm going to get a no-thrills stock replacement from Rock Auto since they're cheap, I'm inexperienced, and the engine is low-output. I'm going to wait until I have a trans first (to know the input shaft specs) and just buy a clutch kit in one go.

-Have a clutch pedal from a member here sometime in the last decade. And a brake pedal as well. As much as I'd like the SickSpeedMonte clutch pedal, I'm going to try to save cost. If I need it later then I need it. And if I can't improve it myself then I can't but until then that 300 dollars is going into getting a functioning swap. Ease of function comes after.
 
MrSony

MrSony

Geezer
Nov 15, 2014
5,287
113
Des Moines, Iowa
Dope.
I'd find another 350 to build. 75+ has the good capscrew rods. Or $600 for TA billet rods. Capscrew Good for 600hp/6krpm with proper balance and new hardware. As the 70s wore on, much like the belt line of pants, the deck height kept increasing. My 1.805 comp. height pistons are .0945 in the hole. 10.187 deck height my *ss. Any "10:1" piston will be 9.5 at best. DONT go over 9.5:1 with stock iron heads. Dumb design open chambers will not permit it. Dcr with 10:1 will be deep into the 8s. A no no for pump gas. From what I remember your engine has deep dish pistons in it, youre anywhere from 7.7-8:1 at best. 3.0 v6 flat top pistons are $100/6 and $48 individually. Those will give you 9.3-9.5 right off the bat. Just cut enough to get the deck square to the mains.

Maybe learn to port the heads yourself. If a 16 year old can make 400hp with an 8:1 370 stroker, you can do that with 15 less cubes and 1.5-1.75 more points of compression and a non boost cam. It was a boost build. 400hp na, 640ish with 6psi. Idled at 700rpm smooth. Iron heads.

Buick 300/340/350 flywheels are 160 tooth.

Starters are the same from auto to manual.

You should be able to follow any GN manual swap as the 3.8 is derived from the 350.

Lastly, some 350s were drilled and tapped for the ball stud, some weren't.
No rhyme or reason. My 70 gs 350 block is, as is my 76 block. My 71 is not. May be able to use a v6 ball stud or diecastmusclecars.com has them. Yes, as well as diecastss the guy specialises in Buick restoration parts. Wires, harnesses, factory type exhaust manifold bolts with the weird lock washers, clamps, you name it.

I know jack sh*t about manual swaps but I damn sure know about 350s.
 
MrSony

MrSony

Geezer
Nov 15, 2014
5,287
113
Des Moines, Iowa
You should be able to follow any GN manual swap as the 3.8 is derived from the 350.
Another reason I champion the 3.8 to 350 sbb swap. A LOT of the 3.8 principles and techniques directly apply to the 350.
 
1evilregal

1evilregal

Comic Book Super Hero
Apr 23, 2009
2,771
113
Greensboro, NC
Welcome back 307, was wondering a while back about you. If you check with gp403, he may be able to unlock the original thread.
 
307 Regal

307 Regal

Royal Smart Person
Oct 21, 2009
1,564
113
Northern Indiana
Lastly, some 350s were drilled and tapped for the ball stud, some weren't.
No rhyme or reason. My 70 gs 350 block is, as is my 76 block. My 71 is not. May be able to use a v6 ball stud or diecastmusclecars.com has them. Yes, as well as diecastss the guy specialises in Buick restoration parts. Wires, harnesses, factory type exhaust manifold bolts with the weird lock washers, clamps, you name it.

I know jack sh*t about manual swaps but I damn sure know about 350s.
I was digging through old photos and it looks like the block was drilled. Can't tell if it was tapped.
IMG_0053vcrank.jpg

Too bad I don't still have the 307 in the car and the 350 on a garage floor. This is all I have for info on my crank. Wish I had taken measurements.

Back to the block, if it is tapped, it would be cool to use mechanical stuff if I find a deal. But the clutch fork would be an issue. Even though both bellhousings I have were designed for clutch forks, neither were probably designed for G bodies.
 
MrSony

MrSony

Geezer
Nov 15, 2014
5,287
113
Des Moines, Iowa
231 stick stuff should fit. Not too versed but i believe it may limit your choice of trans unless aftermarket units will bolt to a stock g body manual bellhousing.
 
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307 Regal

307 Regal

Royal Smart Person
Oct 21, 2009
1,564
113
Northern Indiana
Feel kinda silly posting this here now, but I just backed out of a deal on a T56 because I couldn't justify the money yet. Before I go spending 1500 dollars on something I can't use for who knows how long, I should spend that money on other things. Maybe house things. But car things would include headlights, bumpsteer fixes, fuel/brake/trans lines, getting the windshield resealed, a proportioning valve, bracing, and maybe even a steering box. Not exactly glamorous, but it will optimize what I have until I have a proper place to tear down an engine and mate a standard gear box to it.

Anti-climactic, I know.
 
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