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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #1
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Exclamation '66 Cutlass 330 Build Advice

Not being even close to a mechanic, I am trying to assemble as much information as possible for a mild 330 build, so that when the time comes to do it, I am ready. I felt this would be the best place to ask since maybe someone on this site has done something similar. The ultimate goal here is to build a reliable 330 that will be used primarily as a cruiser with the wife and kids, but have good grunt for dear 'ol dad when I am driving to work I will not be taking this car to the strip every weekend.

Here are the current specs of my set up:
1966 Olds Cutlass Convertible
PS, Tilt, PB, PW
Stock 330 V8 with A/C 10.5:1 Ultra High Compression
Kooks headers with 2.5" duals and flowmasters
newer TH350 auto trans with shift kit
new 3.55 gears in factory posi rear carrier
Holley 600cfm carb
new 3 row radiator
Stock heads

Parts I have already to use:
Used Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold
New Crane cam - will have to look at the duration specs again
Used Mallory HEI distributor
8mm Accel plug wires

Machining questions:
1. If I would need to, or want to, overbore the block .30 over, what pistons would I need to fit?
2. If the overbore is big enough, can 350 pistons be used? No idea if that is even possible.

What New Parts to Buy?:
Aluminum heads or better stock Olds heads from a 442?

I know there are a lot of questions here, and I am not trying to steal anyone's trade secrets to beat them on the strip, I am just looking for some experienced advice and hopefully I can build it. Thanks to everyone in advance!
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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I think you will be pleasantly surprised by a little head milling and a good valve job. Once you pull the heads to have them rebuilt, you may have to have them milled down a little bit to keep the same compression ratio.
The aftermarket head gaskets are thicker than stock ones.
A nice 4 angle valve job should wake it up a bunch, for what you're trying to achieve.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JSGD1966 View Post
Not being even close to a mechanic, I am trying to assemble as much information as possible for a mild 330 build, so that when the time comes to do it, I am ready. I felt this would be the best place to ask since maybe someone on this site has done something similar. The ultimate goal here is to build a reliable 330 that will be used primarily as a cruiser with the wife and kids, but have good grunt for dear 'ol dad when I am driving to work I will not be taking this car to the strip every weekend.

Here are the current specs of my set up:
1966 Olds Cutlass Convertible
PS, Tilt, PB, PW
Stock 330 V8 with A/C 10.5:1 Ultra High Compression
Kooks headers with 2.5" duals and flowmasters
newer TH350 auto trans with shift kit
new 3.55 gears in factory posi rear carrier
Holley 600cfm carb
new 3 row radiator
Stock heads

Parts I have already to use:
Used Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold
New Crane cam - will have to look at the duration specs again
Used Mallory HEI distributor
8mm Accel plug wires

Machining questions:
1. If I would need to, or want to, overbore the block .30 over, what pistons would I need to fit?
2. If the overbore is big enough, can 350 pistons be used? No idea if that is even possible.

What New Parts to Buy?:
Aluminum heads or better stock Olds heads from a 442?

I know there are a lot of questions here, and I am not trying to steal anyone's trade secrets to beat them on the strip, I am just looking for some experienced advice and hopefully I can build it. Thanks to everyone in advance!
You need to get the pistons that are consistent with the minimum overbore needed to clean up your block. If it's 0.030", that's what you buy. The 350 pistons won't fit - even the stock 350 bore of 4.057" would require a 0.120" overbore. Depending on your intended use of this engine, select cast, hypereutectic, or forged. The cost/benefit trade is up to you. Olds varied the compression ratio with the size of the piston dish, so again, you or your machinist will need to figure out what CR you plan to run and match the parts accordingly.

Your current heads are fine. The aftermaket aluminum heads are designed for the big block and use the larger ports and 80cc chambers. Your 330 is unlikely to need that much airflow unless you plan a lot of high-RPM driving. You probably should have the larger 2.000/1.625" valves installed.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #4
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Thank you for the input. The info about the heads is very helpful. That will save a lot of money too. I would really like to stay at the 10.5:1 CR just because it runs so nice now, I think it will be great when the machining is done.

Now I am trying to figure out what size carb to use, and if I should rethink using the Edelbrock Performer RPM and high lift cam for regular street use. As I mentioned, I will not be racing the car, but enjoy chirping the tires in all three gears. I wonder if having a power band from idle to 5500 rpm (Performer intake) would be better than the 1500-6500 rpm (Performer RPM intake) range? Since I already have free flowing exhaust and will be adding a high lift cam, would you imagine this set up would work for normal everyday driving, or will it be overkill?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 05:53 PM   #5
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330 build

Have you thought about using a stock 350 Chevy piston? It's a 4.00in. bore (Speed Pro H860CP) so you don't have to bore it too much and coupled with an 6.2 inch aftermarket SBC rod you'll be good to go with better parts and still cost effective. Check it out.

As far as a cam goes, go for more lift if possible. That doesn't have the same effect on driveability as duration does. Plus you can always advance the cam a bit to keep it civil.

Last edited by cutlassefi; March 13th, 2009 at 05:57 PM.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #6
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Que'paso, amigo?
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JSGD1966 View Post
Kooks headers with 2.5" duals and flowmasters
How well do the koods headers fit on your 66? Do they hang down very far? How close to they come to your brake stuff? Any chance you could take a couple photos to share?

I'm pretty interested in your build idea here, as i'm looking to do the same thing next winter with my 330.

Sounds like our cars are pretty similar- I have the HD 3spd, with the high comp 330 too... heck, my car was even silver like yours when it was new!
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JSGD1966 View Post
Now I am trying to figure out what size carb to use, and if I should rethink using the Edelbrock Performer RPM and high lift cam for regular street use. As I mentioned, I will not be racing the car, but enjoy chirping the tires in all three gears. I wonder if having a power band from idle to 5500 rpm (Performer intake) would be better than the 1500-6500 rpm (Performer RPM intake) range? Since I already have free flowing exhaust and will be adding a high lift cam, would you imagine this set up would work for normal everyday driving, or will it be overkill?
I think since your car is a stick shift, i would stick with the RPM intake. You don't have to rev it high all the time, but its sure fun to wind it up on a freeway onramp heading to work

I'll have to look up the phone number, but call Harold at Lunati for a Cam recomendation- He's one of their main designers, not one of the tech line flunkies and if you give him your specs and your goal, I'm sure he could put you with the right cam. You will have to make sure you get the right one, as the 330 has a different cam bank angle than the 350. 45degree i think instead of the 39 degree that the 350 and 455 have. (or i might have that backwards.

Since you aren't looking for a real radical cam, i would think a good 650cfm carb would work for you.

Personally i like holleys- I just bought a 650DP for mine. A 650 edelbrock performer would be ok too, or call up Sean Murphy induction and get a Stage II Q-jet for it.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #9
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........ call Harold at Lunati for a Cam recommendation ........
He has not been with Lunati for several years. He has been posting at Team Chevelle since he left.

Norm
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Old March 20th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #10
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The Kooks headers fit great! They did not need any modifications and they are made very well. They didn't offer to have them coated, so you get bare metal headers and I had Jet-Hot coat them. Hope the pictures help. I must apologize for the engine bay. I am anxious to get that cleaned up. The camera is unforgiving.

They also matched up very nicely with the flowmaster exhaust. Very satisfied, but I will warn you, pretty expensive in comparison to other headers, but to my knowledge, the Kooks are they only ones that fit without modification.

Thanks for the info too! I will certainly look into it.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 05:17 AM   #11
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In response to your second post, I actually have a 3 speed automatic. I had removed the shot 2 speed and put in a TH350. With the 3 spd tranny and the 3.55 gears, it is a lot more drivable.

I prefer Holley products also, so I will most likely go that route. How does the dbl pump work for you? I would be interested in hearing a little more about that. Showing my ignorance here, but I thought double pumps were for dual carb setups. Oh well, that is why I am here to learn more.

Thanks again for the info. I will keep it all handy for when I am ready to get to work. We actually may be doing our engines at the same time as this year looks like it is out of the question, needing a new roof on the house and all. Priorities right?

I also wanted to say the car is originally Laurel Mist green. It is in primer right now. A buddy and me started our own car club for primered cars called the "Primevals". We set up next to all the pretty trailor queens... great fun.

I had to chuckle at your profile photo, I attached one that looks a little familiar.

I cracked up at the vid too.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #12
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...How does the dbl pump work for you? I would be interested in hearing a little more about that. Showing my ignorance here, but I thought double pumps were for dual carb setups. Oh well, that is why I am here to learn more....
Havn't got it yet... but hopefully it will be here soon. For just street cruising, a 650 Vacume secondary would be better, I plan on doing some racing with it, so the mechanical secondaries are my preference.

With holleys, there are several basic types (i could go into a lot of detail here, but will just skim it)

Single Feed & Dual Feed & Mechanical Secondaries/Vacum Secondaries

When someone says "double pumper" what they usually are referring to is the dual feed/Mechanical Secondary carb.
:-)

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I had to chuckle at your profile photo, I attached one that looks a little familiar.
Very cute!
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Old March 20th, 2009, 11:52 PM   #13
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........
When someone says "double pumper" what they usually are referring to is the dual feed/Mechanical Secondary carb. ........
Two accelerator pumps = Double pumper.

Norm
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Old March 21st, 2009, 04:41 AM   #14
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Thanks Ben and Norm. I think since this will be primarily a street cruiser, a 650 vacuum secondary Holley 650 carb sounds like it will be better suited for me. But the thought of a Dbl Pumper sounds appealing too. Life is full of tough decisions right?

I will also try and track down Harold at the Chevelle site to see if the cam I already have for the engine build is a good match or not. I appreciate the tips and contacts.

Just in case anyone else wants to know... I did find two places that carry pistons for the 330. I've looked for a while and finally, someone at Keith Black pointed me to www.egge.com. They have pistons for the 330, and in overbore sizes too. I have not talked to them personally to find out the construction of the pistons, but Mondello carries forged pistons for the 330 in overbore sizes as well, even though they do not advertise it on their site.

I still have an electrical drain somewhere too, so I thought when I do the build, it would be a good time to replace the wiring harness. I will be checking out painless wiring for this. I will let you know what I find out.

Ben- Did the header photos help you at all? I forgot to mention that I have also replaced the coil springs, shocks and added 17" wheels, so the clearance might be a little different for you. Your car looks to have a good stance, so I would imagine you have plenty of room. Before the new springs, the header tubes were about 3" off the ground! I had to pull out of the driveway before the family got in so I didn't scrape them on the way out.
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Old March 21st, 2009, 03:22 PM   #15
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........ www.egge.com ........
They manufacture reproduction pistons for old cars.

Quote:
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........ First and foremost, Egge Machine Company is a world-class piston manufacturer that specializes in domestic vehicle applications from the early 1900s to 1980. Egge operates a state of the art foundry and machine shop in its Santa Fe Springs, CA facility. We use high silicon A-332 aluminum-alloy, which is ideal for automotive piston applications. Our pistons are cast using the original permanent steel molds. Egge has a wide-range of original molds which allows us to manufacture pistons to fit most automotive, light truck, AG/industrial, and marine applications. And, unlike other manufacturers, Egge’s quality pistons are made in the USA ........
I have been using them in all my vintage rebuilds.

Norm
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Old March 21st, 2009, 08:28 PM   #16
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They manufacture reproduction pistons for old cars.


I have been using them in all my vintage rebuilds.

Norm

I saw on Egge's website they list rebuilder pistons, but they only list 1... and it doesn't say what the compression ratio is... I suppose i ought to call them and find out.. but since i'm really not ready to start the rebuild i'm lazy about it.

It just worries me when i don't see more than one piston option- and the one option doesn't tell me what it is.
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Old June 4th, 2014, 03:14 AM   #17
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siinoutde
You are correct about the 330 being 45 degree.
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Old June 4th, 2014, 07:51 AM   #18
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While I do respect the experience of most all in this board I have disagree with several statements in this thread.
First off, I have yet to run across a 330 that wouldn't handle a 4.057 bore size. I'm sure there are some that won't but I bet more will than not. The block should always be sonic checked before going for a large over bore. That being said, Egge machine makes a nice product, albeit at a premium price. They only list one piston with no complete information because odds are 100:1 that they will have to manufacture the piston set and can use any number of combinations of molds to make what is wanted. You might get them in a week or it might be a month. Plus you'll pay a forged piston price for an old fashioned hand cast piston. The use of an off the shelf 350 piston or the SBC piston mentioned by Mark would significantly reduce cost.
As for heads. If his stock heads need a total rebuild then he's just as far ahead to put a set of ProComps on that are milled for correct chamber size and pocked milled for fuel pump clearance. The way they come out of the box is very well suited to a small block application. Plus the performance gain per dollar spent would be phenomenal.
As for headers the ARH headers fit like a glove and hug right up tight to the bottom of the car. The Kooks also are a great fit. I don't know if Dick Miller is still manufacturing headers on those jigs or not. But for the application even a set if SBO Hooker headers would be a nice fit and perform well.

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Old June 4th, 2014, 09:30 AM   #19
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FYI... this thread is from 5 years ago. Not sure why Ted resurrected it.
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Old June 4th, 2014, 09:32 AM   #20
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