Laguna is Home!

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Laguna is Home!

Post by Mcarlo77 on Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:07 pm





Well...the Laguna has been brought home after enjoying it's 2-yr sheltered existence since I've owned it in my daughter's garage.  She closed on her house last week and so I now have yet another vehicle taking up space in my driveway.  It is nice being able to spend even an hour or two putzing with it without driving 50 miles roundtrip to work on it...but, not sure what I'm going to do with it during the winter.

Note the bone stock original 350-2bbl.  Was pleasantly surprised that it ran as well as it did driving it home...all things considered.  Original plans when I bought it was to install a built 400 that my son-in-law had a lead on from a friend of his.  Well...that didn't work out, so not sure where I'm headed with that.  I lack the expertise in building a motor myself, but Wally (Wallyup) seems to be accumulating a lot of hands-on experience with LS motors and maybe I'll enlist his help...ha!  Meanwhile, I'm concentrating on getting it cleaned up and things reconnected and replaced.  I'm definitely a visual person and a nice looking car motivates me to keep moving forward.  Finished putting on the dual exhaust and have been tinkering with getting some of the accessories working again...like temp control, clock, radio/speakers installed, pwr trunk lock, hood & trunk courtesy lights, etc.  Complete dash removal and replacement will wait until next Spring.  Probably install new interior panels/trim and will call it a season as the cold/snow won't be far away.  Besides, I've got a boatload of projects around the house to do before the cold comes a callin'!  Nevertheless, this car has come a long way since I rescued it from becoming a Demo Derby car 2-yrs ago! The goal was always that I at least wanted to get it to the point where it would be too good to be used as a circle track or demo derby car.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by 77mali on Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:19 pm

Congrats! Get a good fire rated white tarp & some good made in the US bungees- the scrim on the white rated tarps is tighter than the cheapo ones & will help protect the car over a nice car cover.

As far as the motor, all you really have to do is change out the intake manifold to a 4 barrel set up & get you a new carb (unless of course you want to upgrade!). It's a pretty easy job- you'll need new gaskets for between the intake & the heads & some sealant. As far as a carb- I love my new Holly & it's pretty easy to tune.

Best of luck, looks good there!
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Wallyuph on Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:05 am

Sweet Steve that looks great!!!!!!

Cruse on up with it some time so we can see it up close.

Yes I have a extra LS setup but with the luck I'm having I don't know if I would do it again for the first route I took. Got the new LS3/trany set in the hole last night.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by driveit on Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:53 am

Depending on how it runs right now I might leave it as is. It looks good under the hood. If it were me and I did not have a lot of engine knowlege or money to spend I would go with an Edelbrock Perfermer intake and 600 or 650 carb of Edelbrock or holley. Had more experience with the Edelbrock carbs myself. I would bolt on some headers and sporty mufflers then call it done until you decided to dive in a little deeper.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:26 pm

If you can swing an engine change, a GM crate engine is a great idea. You can work on it right on the stand and get it all ready to put in. Then swap out and in, in about 3 days and you are done.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Hawk03 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:31 pm

Put the Neon in the derby.

Looks good and right at home!
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Mcarlo77 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:34 pm

[quote="Hawk03"]Put the Neon in the derby.

Ha...LMAO! That's the daughter's p.o.s.! 170K miles on it and it still runs well...surprisingly. She's launched that car over two dead deer laying on the highway at night in separate incidents!

Regarding the Laguna, I do think the bare minimum will be an upgraded intake and carb combo. That's assuming the engine is in good shape internally. Haven't done a compression test or driven it enough to really determine much. I do like the idea of a crate engine if I have to go that route.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by driveit on Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:02 pm

I have always been a fan of a 383 stroker!
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by ant7377 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:12 pm

Neat Laguna. Will look good parked next to your Monte. Is that a Cougar in the garage? I love Cougars . (Mercurys and some of the other kind!) LOL!
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Mcarlo77 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:35 pm

Thanks! I want to get pics of the two side by side soon.

And, yes...that's a '67 Cougar XR7. Owned it for about 15 yrs. now and love the styling of it.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by pila on Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:36 pm

Great looking Laguna !! The 383 engine is likely the best of two worlds for a SBC...long stroke, and 350 block reliability.

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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Limey SE on Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:47 pm

Very Nice Laguna Bud I am glad you saved it from sure destruction, Looks great I wouldn't mess with changing anything, And get kinda good gas mileage with the 2 Barrel
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:36 am

driveit wrote:I have always been a fan of a 383 stroker!  

This is the plan for mine. Hydraulic roller, aluminum head 383.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Dinomyte on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:44 am

I'd say build your own.  Buy a block and build it exactly like you want with what you want.  I did it and I'm not a mechanic, I'm mechanically inclined but never done anything that big before. I got myself an HP book (how to rebuild your SBC) and some advice.  Was fairly easy.  My two sons helped and we had fun.

The only issues I ran into were :

- clam shells are specific to the body/engine combination, so use the ones from your car.
- change the motor mounts while the engine's out (I broke/wore one in about an hour after rebuilt motor went in - was probably on its way out before that)

- Check http://www.northernautoparts.com/ for a rebuild kit.

One word of caution.  The crate motor will cost you about the same Smile and its been put together by the pros with a warranty of some sort.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by driveit on Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:04 pm

Plan A super cheap! If you are going mostly stock and can reuse your crank, rods and heads you can rebuild your engine, swap for a stock 4 barrel intake and carb for around 500. Norther does have good cheap rebuild kits!

Plan B more fun!! For a little more umph from norther you can go with this setup. A torque cam, new scat crank .30 over pistons, new water pump, oil pump and all of the other goodies to do the rebuild of a short block. You don't get the rods with this. 573.00 Another 50.00 and you get new rods too.

Performer EPS from AJUSA.com 134.00
http://www.ajusa.com/Edelbrock-Performer-EPS-Intake-Manifold-c32a3v97dq1638d.html

Performer 600cfm for 290.00 from Summit
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/edl-1405?seid=srese1&gclid=CJCm-LOj5sACFbTm7Aod_UsATA

Ceramic Coated Headers from Summit 230.00
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g9006-9/overview/make/chevrolet

Rebuilt starter estimated 50.00

New Summit Distributer 92.00 http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-850001-1/overview/make/chevrolet

Black engine dress up kit 34.00


Pro flo air cleaner 70.00


1523.00 total on my plan b there...
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Wallyuph on Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:43 pm

Plan A was better
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by dynchel on Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:11 pm

driveit wrote:Plan A super cheap!  If you are going mostly stock and can reuse your crank, rods and heads you can rebuild your engine, swap for a stock 4 barrel intake and carb for around 500.  Norther does have good cheap rebuild kits!

Plan B more fun!!  For a little more umph from norther you can go with this setup.  A torque cam, new scat crank .30 over pistons, new water pump, oil pump and all of the other goodies to do the rebuild of a short block.  You don't get the rods with this.  573.00  Another 50.00 and you get new rods too.

Performer EPS from AJUSA.com 134.00
http://www.ajusa.com/Edelbrock-Performer-EPS-Intake-Manifold-c32a3v97dq1638d.html

Performer 600cfm for 290.00 from Summit
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/edl-1405?seid=srese1&gclid=CJCm-LOj5sACFbTm7Aod_UsATA

Ceramic Coated Headers from Summit 230.00
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g9006-9/overview/make/chevrolet

Rebuilt starter estimated 50.00

New Summit Distributer 92.00 http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-850001-1/overview/make/chevrolet

Black engine dress up kit 34.00


Pro flo air cleaner 70.00


1523.00 total on my plan b there...
You didn't include machine shop fees.  They can (easily) exceed $1000.00.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by driveit on Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:08 pm

Your right. Last I checked if its a good block and nothing needed done accept a bore on the cylinders it was 150. Might be more now, that was a few years ago.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by 77mali on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:16 pm

I will honestly say that building an engine is a massive undertaking for a 1st timer (in my own personal experience anyway).  Reputable local builders are getting harder & harder to find and it seems like the big companies are the only game in town if you're looking for a warranty.  The guy who built my short block (engine block fluxed, cleaned, ground/machined, crank polished/balanced, new pistons & assembly thereof charged about 2k not including the cost of the RHS heads, new cam, valve train components, timing chain & gear & some other parts.  

If you're going w/ a new motor, my advice is to save some $cratch & get a warrantied GM product that all you have to do is mate it to the rest of the power-train & turn the key.

"Build the engine yourself" I said..."I'll be fun" I said... Not that much fun Laughing
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by pila on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:47 pm

Building it yourself is fun if you have done it a number of times, but the first few are a challenge unless it's the same type/brand engine. Jumping from a small block Chevy to a Chrysler 392 hemi rebuild can test you you a bit !

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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by dynchel on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:52 pm

I didn't to a full rebuild on it but a 371 olds was a pretty easy engine to work on, no adjustable valvetrain, and being able to remove the intake w/o pulling the dizzy are nice touches.
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by Mcarlo77 on Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:20 pm

Lots of good suggestions here...thanks, guys! Guess I'll have all winter to think things through. It's certainly not the mechanical part of it that intimidates me...it's the lack of knowledge on how to mix and match cams with valves with cranks with pistons, etc. Not to mention all the tricks of setting tolerances, adjusting, timing, lubing when assembling and during startup. The prospect of doing much more than upgrading the intake and carb is certainly out of my comfort zone...ha!
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by dynchel on Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:41 pm

There are lots of small improvements that can make a difference.  A good dual exhaust is a start, followed by a good ignition system (I like MSD boxes & wires) but even a good tune up with performance wires & a quality cap and rotor are worth the effort.  A timing curve kit ,(ie lighter springs & weights)  is real cheap.  A good 14/3 (minimum) air cleaner is a must, and we can't forget that timing adjustments are free.  IIRC my '74 ran good with 4 degrees advanced from stock (back when it was "milder" combo). That 350 is just begging for upgrades... Twisted Evil
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:40 am

Mcarlo77 wrote:Lots of good suggestions here...thanks, guys!  Guess I'll have all winter to think things through.  It's certainly not the mechanical part of it that intimidates me...it's the lack of knowledge on how to mix and match cams with valves with cranks with pistons, etc.  Not to mention all the tricks of setting tolerances, adjusting, timing, lubing when assembling and during startup.  The prospect of doing much more than upgrading the intake and carb is certainly out of my comfort zone...ha!

Well, there is one way to learn. You can build it on the stand and NEVER touch the car until you are ready to do the swap. You can even run it on the dyno to raise your confidence that the motor is reliable and ready to go before putting it in the car. Even if you are unsure, you can have the machine shop put the rotating assembly (pistons, rods and crank) in the block and you do the rest. And there are enough people to talk to about what parts are good for your requirements. I have a 350 block sitting on my engine stand now that will be the start of my 383. My problem is trying to avoid going overboard with it. I tend to gravitate to race motors, so I have to hold back on the parts I buy. My 355 in the Nova would have cost about $7000 to build if not for the discounts I got. That's why you throw out the receipts before the wife sees them!!!!!!! Very Happy
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Re: Laguna is Home!

Post by driveit on Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:10 am

bracketchev1221 wrote:
Mcarlo77 wrote:Lots of good suggestions here...thanks, guys!  Guess I'll have all winter to think things through.  It's certainly not the mechanical part of it that intimidates me...it's the lack of knowledge on how to mix and match cams with valves with cranks with pistons, etc.  Not to mention all the tricks of setting tolerances, adjusting, timing, lubing when assembling and during startup.  The prospect of doing much more than upgrading the intake and carb is certainly out of my comfort zone...ha!

Well, there is one way to learn.  You can build it on the stand and NEVER touch the car until you are ready to do the swap.  You can even run it on the dyno to raise your confidence that the motor is reliable and ready to go before putting it in the car.  Even if you are unsure, you can have the machine shop put the rotating assembly (pistons, rods and crank) in the block and you do the rest.  And there are enough people to talk to about what parts are good for your requirements.  I have a 350 block sitting on my engine stand now that will be the start of my 383.  My problem is trying to avoid going overboard with it.  I tend to gravitate to race motors, so I have to hold back on the parts I buy.  My 355 in the Nova would have cost about $7000 to build if not for the discounts I got.  That's why you throw out the receipts before the wife sees them!!!!!!! Very Happy

Amen!
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