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It’s sad that a guy asks legit question and all he gets is smart wise cracks and put a bigger motor in.
Just throw in a set of dual exhaust with some decent mufflers a dual plane intake and a 600 carburetor and a open element air cleaner.. check your local smog laws..
And just enjoy the truck.
I had one in the past and it gave me years of trouble free cruising ?
 

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My 2 cents, if you are smart you can put a set of gears in the thing for about $500-$600 that is what I did with my 80 with a 305. Put a set of 3:42 gears and a positrack in it I also have a nova with a 350 and it cant even come close to touching the El Camino. That being said I completely agree if this car spends time on the highway wait to put the gears in it until you can put a 4 speed and yes I would recommend on a budget build 200R4 as it is a bolt in modification. Plus I have found them locally online for as low as $300 with the torque converter and ready to bolt in.

Simple things like changing timing and rebuilding the carb if you know what you are doing can give you pretty good increases as well. a properly tuned engine will run significantly better than one that someone guessed at then building. there are a lot of good build and tuning threads to read as well. Here is a thread from another site that has a ton of great info especially if you are starting or continuing an older vehicle build. I learned a lot from reading through this and most of it is easy quick really cheap stuff to tackle.

 

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My '81 267 has plenty of power for just driving around town but I think it lacks in it when your on the highway. Also, when you get on it a bit, it takes a second or two to really get going. What can I do to liven up the motor without totally rebuilding it and still keep its good mileage and every day drivability? I am planning to put true duals w/ dual cats and Flowmasters on it when I replace the exhaust. What else can I do?
In my opinion the best and cheapest option to increase torque would be a TPI intake, cam to match, shorty headers, and either TPI electronics, or convert to LS electronics (my favorite) then any dyno shop can tune it. I personally have EFILive
 

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My 82 EC has the 267 with 90,000 miles. Definitely not a performance minded drivetrain. Here's what helps: Rebuild the carburetor (IMO some skill needed with this one); Replace fuel filter: New plugs and wires; Advance timing; Add dual exhaust from the CAT back. Definitely peppier. Remember, this driveline combo; small v/8, light transmission (200) and highway gears creates a car for the long hall! If I had 10K the LS3 and a 4L60 would be my choice for an upgrade. But for now, I'll take the head turns, and folks coming up to me in the parking lot and gas stations for a closer look.:)
 

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Ill catch heck for this but. Best possable approach and an idea that i would like to try out. Put 305 TPI heads on it, a TPi cam, and a TPI system. Possably a 700r4. TPI helps low end torque a bunch. And would get good milage to boot
 

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I'm not gonna do any huge performance mods right now because it runs great on straight 87. This is good cause 'round here anything above 92 octane costs over 2 bucks. Also, one of the reasons I love this car is thatyou can drive it every day, which is what i do with it. What I want to do it just make the car breath better. I know the power is there, I just wanna free some of it up. Also, I am planning to use either Flowmaster Super 40s or just the 40 series when I put the exhaust on but I was wondering if I should consider other mufflers. Any suggestions?
2 bucks.. I wish we today are at 3.00 for 87. 91 tops around here other than av gas (6.50) is 3.40m
 

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So, it's been a while. The rabbit hole keeps beckoning, but I've been able to keep on track. This is kind of where I'm at:

1. I lost 3 mechanics this year. One was a hot rod shop that was going to do my full dashboard and instrument cluster. Before I ever got the car to them, the owner died. My other two regular shops both closed up during the pandemic. I have a new guy, but he's a one-man shop, and he's swamped. I have to give him only what he can finish in a single day. I have another shop that I have to use this week, and I'm leary. They are supposed to be good, but they flat out told me that they won't use any parts I bring. They will order everything.
2. Before my one shop closed, I got the valve covers corrected and put headers on. The engine is running pretty good, but I still wrestle with cold start and low idle. We also decided to put in hotter NGK plugs.
3. I got the tach put in, and it helps. I put the new 0-140 speedometer in....now it bottoms out at 25 mph. The old one, we found, had the needle glued on, and it's fallen off.
4 . There is a bolt missing from the exhaust manifold for the headers on one side. I think they told me that they found a sheared bolt there, but didn't take it out.
5. I got new shocks - KYB Gas-a-Just on the front, and Bilsteins on the back

So, with all that said, I can say that the engine is running well, and the rpms are decent. Normal driving sits about 1500, highway driving at 2000, and when I push it (I think I got it to top out at about 105 mph today), it stays well under 3000.
For now, I am getting a GPS dash-mount digital speedometer. Between 15" rims, over sized rear rims, and all the work done, I don't need to mess with speedometers and drive gears. That can wait.
The car will be rewired next year - by a pro performance shop, so it will cost me. They see this car as a project....more theirs than mine...
At some point, I will replace the rims with properly sized and matching ones...probably 15", and I am looking at American Racing AR62s. At that point, I'll revisit the speedometer.



Still, this has been a fun and educational journey. I'll be here for a while.
 

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what headers are you using?
 

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Put a stock, low compression, 454 in it with a Turbo 400 and a 2 series rear end. I like the 2.73:1 best...
 
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