Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Dood asks: I have a 1992 Camaro Z28 5-speed that I bought new and have used as a daily driver since. But the engine is now no longer functional. Supposing I have a few thousand to spend, what would be the best option for replacing the engine so that I can continue driving as a daily driver for many years to come? I’d prefer a new (not rebuilt) engine. It doesn’t even have to be a 350. Would a crate engine make sense, or are those more suited for racing and thus require more maintenance? Could I find a way to buy a new GM-built engine? Does Jasper make new (not rebuilt) engines? Also, on the same note, assuming I have the money, what is the best option for buying a new transmission? It doesn’t have to be a 5-speed, 6 would be more preferable anyway.
My reply: The world is your oyster on this one!
GM offers an entire lineup of crate engines, which you can buy either from a GM dealer or JEGS/Summit and other suppliers. These are new – not rebuilt – and come with GM warranties. You can go from mild to wild and since your Camaro came with a small block Chevy, any small bock Chevy will bolt right up.
Internal differences make no difference. Have a look here to get started.
You may need a new/reflashed ECU, ignition set up, etc. – but none of that’s a big deal.
Many of these engines offer paired peripherals.
The main issue you may have to deal with is emissions legality – depending on where you live – and whether you can “get away” with not installing an “approved” engine. The good news is your car is old enough to qualify as an antique – and (in many states) antique-tagged vehicles are exempt from smog testing/annual registration renewal requirements.
The six-speed will give you tighter ratios and perhaps a deeper OD ratio. I’d talk with the tech department of the place you end up buying the engine from to figure out which transmission works best. I have very good things to say about Tremec boxes.
While you’re at it, you may want to take into account your final drive ratio. You could go higher – or lower – depending on the transmission’s ratios and depending on what balance you’d like to strike between quickness and speed.
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Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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