Vette(s): 1980 Coupe, T-Tops, Red, 4-Speed, ZZ4 350 from Chevrolet Performance.
I have read some postings in the past concerning engine swaps to the ZZ4 350 crate motor. I just completed this swap in my '80 Vette. My car is an original 4 speed car, so this posting is geared more towards you 4 speed equipped guys and gals. There is a little more to it than GM or anybody will tell you. Pick your options and accessories carefully! Do your homework and always have an ace in your pocket in the form of a trusted local mechanic or restoration shop. I'm extremely proficient in doing the work myself, but I still like that extra comfort level.
The ZZ4's are basically a 1987 and later configuration, so shop accordingly and cross reference to your model year whenever possible. If you do have the four speed you will need a new flywheel, the old one from your original motor will not bolt up. This in turn also means a new clutch to go with it regardless of how new or old your current clutch is. If you have an automatic, GM supplies a new flex plate with the new motor. Go with a high torque mini starter. These engines are 10:1 compression and that starter is the perfect compliment. Headers - choose very carefully and take your time - you don't want changing spark plugs to be a nightmare every time you do it. Also burnt and overheated wires won't make you happy either. I chose a set of Doug's Headers and I am totally pleased. GM will recommend Street Avenger carb from Holley. I would make another choice. The Street Avenger I originally ordered with my motor ended up going right back. What a dog! I am much happier with the Holley 750 dual feed, double pump with mechanical secondary's. Very streetable, long drive dependable, and when you kick it - hang on. Not to mention that the aluminum body one I bought comes in anondized colors that look exceptionally sweet on top of that aluminum intake, aluminum headed motor.
I love the performance and driveability of my ZZ4 crate motor. I think it was one of the best choices I made when restoring my Vette. With a little bit of tweaking you can surpass the rated 355 hp and easily put yourself in the 375 hp range. Also - the warranty - 2 yrs. 50,00 miles. Too important to pass up. Just choose your project carefully and shop around so you do not aggravate yourself sending parts back to get the right ones, which only puts you behind schedule and increases the anticipation of driving down the road in your newly reborn Vette.
Hope this can help some of you, I know it helped me.
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