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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1973 Nova I would like to turn into my daily driver. Right now it has the stock 250 six and three on the tree, but I was recently gifted a 1988 Chevy 1/2 ton which has a 305/th400 (140,000 kms or 87,000 miles). I would like to use this motor as I am not concerned with power or quarter mile times; I just need a decently economic motor for my commute.

My questions are these:

1. TH400 or 4/5 speed manual? (I'd like to keep it standard, if possible)
2. TBI or Carb?
3. Vortec or regular-style heads?
4. Stock (3.08) gears, or a different ratio?
5. Air or Gas shocks?
(the Nova has air shocks in the back, but I have no idea of their age or quality; just that they don't leak)

I am on a bit of a tight budget, but I'm also in no rush. As I said, I'm not looking for a 10-second street monster, I just want something that I can live with daily.
 

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72 Frame off, bare metal resto-mod. 383, TH350, Eaton Posi, Complete new suspension, disk brakes
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So what's wrong with the 6?

That's probably the cheapest choice. If it's time to take advantage of the gift, the engine & trans are good to go and you are on a tight budget, change as little as possible. Changing from the 6 to a small block is going to raise the front end of your car because the small block is lighter so consider that, and you will need to make some wire harness changes. You may be able to use the v8 harness, or part of it, to make everything work. It may be easier to get an engine compartment kit from AAW and rewire everything from the firewall forward. As far as the rear gears, check what is in the truck and the truck tire size and do a calculation to see how many rpm's your current engine turns at 100KM, and what the truck turns at 100KM, then think about alternatives.
Personally, I'd keep the th400 hooked to the v8 for the time being and find a steering column for an automatic. It seems to ma that would be lower cost than buying a 4 or 5 speed and there's the whole shifter thing, new flywheel, clutch and cover, throw out bearing, etc.
You also need to make sure your cross member under that 3 speed is the same as for an automatic, and the drive shaft is the same.
You are asking the right questions, I suggest writing down your questions in a notebook, along with possible solutions and costs for each to help in your decision process. I did mine in Excel and used that to organize the job plan as well as price shopping for parts. It kept me on plan and made it so I ordered parts as I needed them, or early if I found a good opportunity.
Let us know your plan (even if it's a plan for a plan), progress, and post some pictures, we love pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice! I think I'll continue to seek advice/do research on Vortec heads and TBI, and then start a proper build thread in the right section.
Would you happen to know a good way to post pictures, like using photobucket?
 

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72 Frame off, bare metal resto-mod. 383, TH350, Eaton Posi, Complete new suspension, disk brakes
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Pictures

It's pretty easy. Create the photobucket account, upload your pix, copy the img code and paste it on your post.
The vortec engines are really a step up in technology and it's more than the heads. I repowered my boat from twin 1980 Merc 470's (half of a Ford 460, sort of) to the 4.3 v6's. I increased cruising speed and decreased fuel burn. There were a lot of metallurgy changes that happened in those years too that imo advanced the engines. The cars themselves maybe not so much.
 

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I would find a T5 manual tranny, it would be fine behind a 305 as a DD, they're fairly cheap because they won't take big hp or torque, so they're not highly sought after. You could probably sell the 400 TH to put a fair chunk of change toward it too.:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How would a T5's shifter placement work with a bench seat? That's what I have now, and I would really like to keep it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmmm, now there's a thought. What kinda gas mileage could I get out of the six if I put an overdrive trans behind it?

I should mention that the six currently runs like crap, and has the stock 1bbl carb.
 
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