1964 - 1990 Engine Performance


Engine Performance

The factory HP ratings of the 60's have as much credibility as . Keep in mind that the 70 W-30, which had a more radical cam and better flowing heads and intake than the W-34, was only rated at 370 HP. Mighty suspicious until you realize that GM Corporate mandated a 10 pound per HP minimum limit on all cars except the Corvette. The 442, to add to the conspiracy theory, had a curb weight of about 3700 lbs. Coincidence? I think not!

In fact, it's kind of hard to believe that all the W-30 equipment only raised the HP of the base 442 engine by 5-10 HP (do you really believe that the 66 W-30 setup didn't change the 360 HP rating of the L-69 tri-carb engine?). It is curious that the various year W-30 HP ratings were almost always 1/10 of the curb weight of the car for that year!

And, of course, the H/O was not subject to the GM 10 pound per HP limit (since it was theoretically built outside of Oldsmobile), so they were allowed to advertise 390 HP in the 68 H/O.

Year       Model     CID          CR     HP        Torque    0-60
'64        F-85      V-6                 165
                     330 2bbl      low   230
                     330 4bbl      hi    290
'64        442 4spd  330                 310                 7.4
'65        442 A2    400                 345                 7.8
           442 4spd  400                 345                 5.5
'68        W-30      400 4bbl     10.5   [email protected]  [email protected]
           442 OAI   400 4bbl     10.5   [email protected]  [email protected]
           442 AT    400 4bbl     10.5   [email protected]  [email protected]
           T. C.     400 2bbl      9.0   [email protected]  [email protected]
'69                  350 2bbl      9.0
                     350 4bbl     10.25
                     400 4bbl     10.25
           88        455 2bbl      9.0   310
           88, 98    455 4bbl     10.25  365
           88        455 4bbl     10.25  390
'77 - '79  many      403 4bbl      8.5   175       310
'76 - '78  many      350 4bbl      8.5   160       275
'87 - '90  many      307                 140
'85 - '87  442, H/O  307 HO 4bbl         170       245
[ Thanks to Joe Padavano, Doug Ahern, Graham Stewart, Jeff Easton for this information ]

Similarities: Olds BB and SB

All stock Olds rocker arms, BB Olds or SB Olds, are the same size. Cams, distributors, carbs are the same.

There is an enormous amount of interchangeability between Olds engines from at least the 307 to the 455. Not everything will interchange, but many things will.

The gaskets for SB Olds and BB Olds are pretty much identical. The oil pan rails, front cover, water pump, fuel pump, and even head gaskets are the same. The major difference is the deck height of the block and thus the width of the intake (thus the difference in the intake tray gasket).

  • 1977 to 1979 403's, 350's and all year 350 Diesels used ½" head bolts; all others used 7/16" head bolts. Thus the use of any other head requires reaming out the holes.
  • BB Olds heads will physically bolt onto 7/16" bolt blocks, but there will be a massive port mismatch between the head and the SB Olds intake (an Edelbrock Performer RPM can apparently be ported to match, however). Besides, in anything besides a 403 the compression ratio will drop a full point or more.
  • Pushrods and intake manifolds & gaskets do not interchange between SB Olds and BB Olds.
  • Gasoline SB Olds crank journals and rod journals are smaller than BB Olds and diesel SB Olds journals, and rod length is different between SB Olds and BB Olds.
  • SB Olds used 7/16" main bolts, except on the #5 cap (½" bolts); BB Olds used ½" bolts on all mains.
  • The passenger-side BB Olds Cutlass dual-exhaust manifold will not fit a SB Olds, due to interference with the oil filter mount (caused by lower deck height; I know 'cause I tried on my 403)

Then there is the entire category of valve train interchangeability. Chronologically:

  • 1964-65 SB Olds used shaft-mounted rocker systems, completely different from the later pedestal-style systems.
  • From 1964-1967, a 45° cam bank angle was used. This excludes the 1966 to 1967 Toronado, Starfire and 442 engines. Thus problems with camshaft interchangeability.
  • 1966-1967 Toronado and Starfire 425 and 442 400 blocks were bored for larger-diameter 0.921" lifters, and 39° cam bank angle. Thus problems with camshaft interchangeability.
  • All cams and lifters from 1968 to 1984 are interchangeable, as every cam uses hydralic tappet lifters. Engines up to and including 307's with 5A heads have flat tappet cams and lifters, while 307's with 7A heads and some diesels have roller cams and lifters.
  • Toronados have the starter bolted to the transmission instead of the block. They also have the conventional starter mounting holes.

  • Roller-cam blocks, those with 7A heads, (some 1985's and all later 307's) use a larger diameter roller lifter (.921"). 5A heads have no roller lifter, 7A heads have the roller lifters.
  • The later 307's used a thicker pushrod; I don't know the years.

That's about all that I can think of over the 25 year run of this engine, in all its different permutations, that can't be directly interchanged. Not too bad, for us folks wanting to build these bad boys!

[ Thanks to Bob Barry, Joe Padavano, Tom Lentz for this information ]