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I have seen that most of the answers to the questions regarding performance modifications on a 305 is "build a 350 instead". Granted, I will agree that using comparable parts a 350 will always make more power.
All of the modifications that work on any other engine will work on the 305 as it is nothing more than a typical internal combustion engine. It might not make as much power as some other combination, and all engines have some sort of limitation as to what you can achieve. Vortec heads will work on a 305, but in order to get the compression back up, you have to mill them a whole bunch making them essentially useless on anything other than a 305. Not to mention that the chamber "width" is larger than the bore of the 305 creating a "step" in the airflow into the cylinder potentially hurting performance further. Pistons and rings might cost a bit more than a 350, but they are still not anything "Oh my god."
307's may have made more advertised hp, but they were also "gross rated" an not "net" rated like the 305. They (305) typically are not any more or less durable than any other small block Chevy if assembled correctly. Everybody has a "magical combination" for the 350 and claim that it will "beat anything on the road" in some form or another. If it was pure performance that everyone was after, then build a bigger engine. For reasonable street performance, the 305 is not as bad as some may claim. The first engine I ever built was a 305 in a '78 Nova with a four speed. It ran high 13's at just under 100 mph and that was with a peg leg 3.08, and 225/60-14 radials. Trust me the 60' foot time was nothing to be proud of due to a serious lack of traction. (Probably helped that Saginaw live another day)
I'm not trying to say that its the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they're not as bad as poeple think. Especially for street performance.
There are a lot of engines that people still build these days that are not the greatest for peformance yet they are still getting screwed together everyday. (aka 326, 350 Pontiac; 350, 403 Olds; nailhead Buick; flathead and "Y" block Fords, etc)

The biggest thing to remember is that no matter how fast you make it, someone will always be faster. Also, be realistic with your goals. As I mentioned earlier, all engines have limitations, especially when you are on a budget. I'm not trying to bash anyone's ride in any way but for some of the folks that are learning, there are MANY other areas to learn about other than what engine should I build for a bit more power? If a 305 is what you already have, go ahead and tinker, it could be the money that wasn't spent on hunting a 350 core that helped pay for your _. (fill in the blank) Another engine can always be built at a later date as true "gearheads" are never really finished with a project. This is all just my opinion of course, I am sure many other may think differently.
Why not by pass Old Version and go LS. 5.3 junkyard engines or good ones for less than 1000.00 adding a cam and you have 400+hp. Another 500.00 - 1000.00 for all the peripherals to get it to installed.
 

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Why not by pass Old Version and go LS. 5.3 junkyard engines or good ones for less than 1000.00 adding a cam and you have 400+hp. Another 500.00 - 1000.00 for all the peripherals to get it to installed.
You're pretty vastly underestimating the cost of an LS swap there sir. Assuming you do the labor yourself, you still have to either purchase or repin a factory harness for the engine, neither of which is completely free. Building your own crossmember and engine mounts can be difficult to get the pinion angle right on, though not impossible but to purchase a kit is around $500 last I checked. The original trans will not bolt up to the new LS so factor a minimum of $300 on that. The new drivetrain will be sitting in a new position so that's going to need a driveshaft which around here is $500ish. Stock exhaust won't bolt up to LS heads so factor another $300-1000 depending on how much fabrication will be done vs. off the shelf parts. If you go the cheap route you'll need to have the PCM for the LS tuned to delete VATS (antitheft system) which is a couple hundred bucks, or just have a dyno tune done at the same time ($600 all in). If you decide to go aftermarket ECU like a Holley Terminator that's $1000, not counting any tuning, though with aftermarket it isn't required as most are self learning.
All of that is just for a stock motor, not counting the cost of the motor itself. Performance parts are all more expensive for LS cars so factor $1000 for cam and supporting valvetrain/oil pump, plus you'll 100% need a dyno tune at that point. If you cam an auto car you'll need a stalled torque converter (more $$). Of course if you want a manual you can either get a pricey conversion kit to put a 4 speed or the like behind the LS, or do what 90% of people do and put a T56 behind it. Of course being that they're so desireable a used LS compatible T56 will set you back around $1500 at a minimum, though more likely into the $2k range.

LS motors are great, by far my favorite engine which is why I'm so familiar with them but they are not a budget friendly option when compared to a 350 1st gen sbc which will pop right in. If you want all the fancy features of a modern engine using a 1st gen sbc, go with a Holley Sniper EFI setup and maybe a decent set of heads. With this you even have the option of running a hyperspark distributor and letting the ECU control timing. If you have an '87+ SBC, the LT1 style 6 speed T56s will even bolt up to them.
 

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Don't forget to get a different oil pan if the donor engine was a truck 5.3 liter motor. The truck pans will scrape the ground very nearly if used in an El Camino.

You also won't likely be able to keep the truck motor radiator fan because the motor will likely need to shift forward if using a GM electronic transmission. Electric fans are usually required if you want to avoid floor pan surgery.

Yes, an LS swap is expensive but I like mine.

Rick

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