Okay guys. I've done as much research as I can. I need some advice. I have a complete but disassembled 4.9 sitting in my garage, and it's daunting me. I may be able to find one already built, but I'm not sure - and I don't think I want to build this one myself. So I've done some digging and I think a small-block Chevy swap may be an option for me, but I'm not sure. So:
-I would really like to have this running by next summer. I have lots of knowledgeable, nearby friends, including garage owners, fabricators, professional mechanics, what have you, so I don't think that time will be an issue as long as I can get my ducks in a row and do my research. -Money shouldn't be TERRIBLY tight: I don't need a gorgeous swap, just want a running one. Doesn't have to be perfect, nor necessarily clean, nor necessarily complete. I can keep cleaning it up for as long as I want as long as I can drive it to a garage. -I really want more power than a 3.4PR. That's what I had, and my transmission died (due to previous bad maintenance by the PO), and I would like to just kill two birds with one stone and do a complete powertrain swap.
So I'm torn between a few options.
1. 4.9 swap with an Allante intake and steel rocker supports. I have all the parts - I could always just buy a used engine, tear down the top end, put in the parts I want, and sell the surplus. 2. Carb'd small block with an Archie kit. Clearly more expensive, but less time-consuming on fitment, and it's far easier to find information on a SBC than a 4.9. 3. I could go back to considering a 3800sc, or I could even drop in a 3.4 DOHC, but I don't know nearly as much about those as I do the V8's. I also really don't want to sacrifice V8 sound or torque, but I will if I have to.
I've heard 4.9 swap price quoted at anywhere from $1200 to $3000 depending on how clean I want it. 3800 I heard $1500 to $3000, again depending on the level of clean I want. Anyone got an SBC price range? I heard $3000 at the least, but that sounded high in the first place, and I also have some connections to local yards and mechanics and may be able to score some of the easy parts for cheap. If anyone can help me out with figuring out what my budget needs to be for each of those options, it would very much help me decide.
P.S. I own a '90 Buick LeSabre with a known running 3800NA, but it's my daily and I'd like to avoid tearing it apart, plus I want more cylinders than that. However, if that's a cheap, quick option, I may consider it for turbocharging down the line and just drop it in for now.
The expensive part of the SBC isn't the engine itself. They are a dime a dozen. It's the kit and labor to get such a swap finished.
If you really want a V8, the cheapest one you can do, is the 4.9. There's not much you can do in the way of getting lots of power out of it, as there's basically no aftermarket at all, but if the stock power (~200 HP, ~270 ft-lbs), is enough for you, then it's a fine engine to use. Just don't expect to be running it up to 8000 RPM or anything wild.
It has the right bell pattern to mount up directly to any Fiero transmission, and it's easy enough to get mounted and running, plus it's designed to fit in a FWD vehicle, so there are less custom things you have to do for the water pump and such.
If there's not enough power for you, or you want to be able to get more later down the road, and want something relatively cheap now, then the 3800 is the best option. It actually has some aftermarket, and can be built up to over 800 HP fairly easily.
Tell me more about LS swaps. I'm intrigued. To the search bar!
if you think $3000 is expensive, an LS swap isn't for you. A bone stock LS4 swap with the automatic it comes mated to might be doable for a little less than that, but it would be very close. A good running dropout with trans, harnesses, and everything you'll need from the original car, goes for about $2500 on average, for an LS4.
doing a 3.4 TDC swap myself, parts are getting hard to come by.
3800SC (series 2) parts are still very available.
SBC... cars don't come with carbs anymore for a reason, you can get old SBC power from a 3.4TDC, 3400, 3500, or 3800 easy.
the 4.9... is junk. (imo, and many others), its old. its heavy. its not that high powered.
swaps your not mentioning 3400/3500, 4.6 northstar, LS#.
I agree on most points as high output EFI V6 engines are my choice but the 4.9L has its place. With an aluminum block, it actually weighs about the same as the 2.8L . It is not on par with the high tech V6 engines of today but it does provide 200HP@275 ft lbs of torque which gives you a very responsive around town car. When used with the matching 4T60e transmission 30 hwy MPG is typical along with smooth highway cruising. The main advantage is that its an easy swap and probably the most inexpensive upgrade. If they are not used for all out racing, they are fairly reliable. I am doing that swap right now in a Fiero that will be used for cruising fun. IMO, the key to a successful 4.9L swap is to obtain an engine that has 80K miles on it or less.
------------------ " THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Powerlog manifold, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Flotech Afterburner Exhaust, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, HP Tuners VCM Suite. "THE COLUSSUS" 87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H " ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "