What to do with my old Chevy 305?

Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
43
Location
Los Alamos New Mexico
I have a 77 FJ40 that hasn’t been driven (or started), since 2007. I am bringing the little beast back to life.
Converting rear drums to disks (thanks to the help of Steve Cramer aka Posner, and others).
I have a new master cylinder from a 1994 80’s series and a proportioning valve. New brake calipers for up front.
I bought the Cruiser in Arizona in 1993. It’s in very good shape. It came with a Chevy 305 that was installed well. However, it looks old and hasn’t run for 14 years. I’m thinking of my options.
At first, I was all gung ho and dreamy about a 5.7 liter Vortec with mpi. Then I spoke with some people and realized it would cost me about $20k to have one installed. I can tell you right now, that AINT gonna happen.
So I’m thinking of either rebuilding or replacing my 305, or maybe putting in a 350.
I’d like fuel injection whichever way I go.
I have no idea how to evaluate the pros and cons. I need guidance, just like I did with my brakes, and I thank everyone here who helped me with that.
So, what do I do? Keep the 305 or put in a 350. Transmission is stock 4 speed. Everything under the car is stock except I flipped the front springs around, put in power steering from a 78 FJ40, lifted it by about 2.5” or so.
Pros and cons anyone?
Rebuild or replace? If rebuild, what changes should I make? If replace, what should I get?
If I choose a 350, what should I get and where do I get it?
Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge with me. I’ve had 3 FJ55’s (72, 73 and 78), and this is my first FJ40. Love it.
BTW, I took my 71 FJ55 down to the tip of Baja in the summer of 74. All alone. Drove down along the Gulf and back up the Pacific side. That beast never let me down.
The one in my photo was my 78FJ55. Clean as a whistle and less than 70k miles. Sold it for $5500 in 1990. Shouldn’t have done that.
 

workingdog

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Sep 17, 2006
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2,558
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Santa Rosa, CA
If the 305 is in decent shape, then putting a Sniper (Holley fuel injection system) would be relatively straight forward and give you a great power plant for a 40. If the 305 is not in great shape, then you should be able to swap another small block in without a huge amount of work, since you already have the motor mounts and transmission.

Post some pics of what you've got.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2004
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here
20k for an ls or LT swap is high. I had a 6.0 liter put in with engine skid, radiator mounts, shroud, mid mounts, relocated rear mounts, moved motor over 1.5 ", wiring harness(Howell), dual fuel switching valve, and misc. stuff for $6k. I had an old 305 as well and it ran great until the tank got full of sand and water at Fordyce, gave it to a friend who put it in an old work truck and it still runs.
 

Downey

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Jun 5, 2007
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Brea, Calif.
Either I’m old and out of touch, or 20 grand is crazy talk. You’ve already go the expensive parts of a chevota conversion bought and paid for, so now just have a fresh fuel injection engine dropped in- - - easy deal.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
1,537
Location
KY
Did you own it when it was parked? If so you know how it was running and simply changing the fluids and installing a new battery should bring it back to life. If not then change the fluids and have a compression check done to determine the state of the motor. If the compression check is good fire it up, otherwise decide on whether to rebuild or buy new motor. There are several bolt on EFI systems that can be added. Boils down to ease of install and the amount of money you are willing to spend. Multi port may gain a slight HP/economy improvement but increases cost so depending on planned usage may be simple TBI (carburetor style injection) is the way to go. You can replace the motor and add injection for a lot less than $20K.

If the motor is coming out, depending on the condition of the clutch/pressure plate/flywheel, they may need to be replaced and/or freshened up while things are apart.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
43
Location
Los Alamos New Mexico
If the 305 is in decent shape, then putting a Sniper (Holley fuel injection system) would be relatively straight forward and give you a great power plant for a 40. If the 305 is not in great shape, then you should be able to swap another small block in without a huge amount of work, since you already have the motor mounts and transmission.

Post some pics of what you've got.
Yes. Thanks. I still don’t know what shape it’s in. When I get the rear wheels unfrozen and brakes done, I will check out the engine. I suspect it will turn over, but we shall see.
I need to flush the gas lines and tank. Make sure there’s no rust there. If the engine is in ok shape, then I’ll either take your advice or rebuild the carb.
I spoke with Rodney at Red Line Cruisers (Colorado Springs), and he also gave me good advice, similar to yours. He told me
‘Stop thinking about fancy pants engines. Your rig has been sitting for 14 years. Get the 305 going and drive the damn thing. Go camping with your wife (and dog), and enjoy it. Lots of things can go wrong after sitting 14 years. Drive the thing and flush out these problems before sinking big bucks into another engine. Oh, and by the way. We are back logged 2 years, so…’
I kid you not. That’s what he told me. He didn’t try to sell me s*** or get me to tow my Cruiser up to CO. He told me what I needed to hear and I appreciate it.
So, bottom line is this. I agree with you. No more dreaming of a 5.7 L Vortec with mpi. Get the frigging thing running and safe. Flush out the problems.
Thank you Workingdog. I might even consider the injection you recommended. Although I’ll have to research it a bit. I know squat about the pros and cons of the various fuel injection technologies.
Cheers.
Paul
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
157
Location
Cherry Hill, NJ
1) Try and get the 305 going. Do research about how to resurrect and old engine that’s been sitting. Get a small borescope from Amazon, look down spark plug holes to check for rust. A little is ok, lots is a bad sign. Squirt some penetrating oil down spark plug holes. Turn over with breaker bar. If successful, drain all fluids, refill with new. Get a oil priming tool, spin with drill to build oil pressure. Fire it up and time it. Then tune it and drive it, change oil and filter again, coolant flush, and enjoy.

2) If the 305 goes south or is toast, 5.7 Vortec is a great option. But screw the MPI. Find a running ‘96-2000 truck motor, pull the intake, keep the long block, put on a 4 barrel intake and either carb or the aforementioned Sniper or similar EFI. I have a 2000 vortec from a C2500. Factory oil cooler, truck ran great but was rusted out. $750 for the whole long block engine. $20K is a complete ripoff even for a brand new motor installed unless your looking for 500+hp LS and all custom wiring/tuning.
 

4Cruisers

Supporting Vendor
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Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
6,959
I have a 77 FJ40 that hasn’t been driven (or started), since 2007. I am bringing the little beast back to life.
Converting rear drums to disks (thanks to the help of Steve Cramer aka Posner, and others).
I have a new master cylinder from a 1994 80’s series and a proportioning valve. New brake calipers for up front.
I bought the Cruiser in Arizona in 1993. It’s in very good shape. It came with a Chevy 305 that was installed well. However, it looks old and hasn’t run for 14 years. I’m thinking of my options.
At first, I was all gung ho and dreamy about a 5.7 liter Vortec with mpi. Then I spoke with some people and realized it would cost me about $20k to have one installed. I can tell you right now, that AINT gonna happen.
So I’m thinking of either rebuilding or replacing my 305, or maybe putting in a 350.
I’d like fuel injection whichever way I go.
I have no idea how to evaluate the pros and cons. I need guidance, just like I did with my brakes, and I thank everyone here who helped me with that.
So, what do I do? Keep the 305 or put in a 350. Transmission is stock 4 speed. Everything under the car is stock except I flipped the front springs around, put in power steering from a 78 FJ40, lifted it by about 2.5” or so.
Pros and cons anyone?
Rebuild or replace? If rebuild, what changes should I make? If replace, what should I get?
If I choose a 350, what should I get and where do I get it?
Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge with me. I’ve had 3 FJ55’s (72, 73 and 78), and this is my first FJ40. Love it.
BTW, I took my 71 FJ55 down to the tip of Baja in the summer of 74. All alone. Drove down along the Gulf and back up the Pacific side. That beast never let me down.
The one in my photo was my 78FJ55. Clean as a whistle and less than 70k miles. Sold it for $5500 in 1990. Shouldn’t have done that.
If you end up keeping the 305 but decide on a refresh, you'll definitely want to have the work done by Bryan and his crew at Empire Engines in Albuquerque. They did a great job on the 3FE in my '86 FJ60, and he's been doing all of the recent 2F and 3FE rebuilds for Brandon at Classic Cruisers. And I forgot to add to my earlier reply, wave when you see me driving around town.

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Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
202
A vortec can be installed for way less than $20,000,

A brand new 430 HP LS3 from Summit racing is $7848. With a guarantee. Then you have added value if you ever wan to resell.
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
1,013
My vote is for the 305 for all the reasons listed above: Simplicity, it's alrready there, and who knows what else will come up. Plus the 305 is a little out of the ordinary these days and is roughly on par torque-wise with a 2F.

I sold my minty red/white 79 FJ55 in the mid 1980s for $5K. Weeks of advertising brought in only one buyer who walked away more than once as I remember. No other calls or parking lot ambushes. This was in Los Angeles, CA. Nobody wanted it. Hell, they didn't even know what it was. I really shouldn't have done that.
 

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