all of this information is transcribed from a 1984 newsletter from Kenne-Bell. i assume all responsibility for typographical errors.
for those who may not know, Kenne-Bell got out of the Buick business quite a few years back, so none of these part numbers really mean much anymore.
Specialists in Performance Proven Buick Racing Equipment
A MONTHLY NEWS PUBLICATION BY KENNE-BELL
DECEMBER, 1984 VOLUME 6 NUMBER 75
350 BUICK DRAG STRIP TESTS
The test car used was a 1971 GS 350 stocker (with TH-350 transmission). Compression ratio was stock 8:1. The 1968 4bbl versions had 10.25 (compression) ratios. 2bbl engines all used 9.0 (compression ratio) pistons. The car itself weighed in at 3550 lbs. The only options being a radio and heater. The rear end was a 3.64, an ideal street/bracket. A 3.90 or 4.10 is about maximum for street use while the lower 4.30 and 4.78 ( Buick ) or 4.56 / 4.88 / 5.12 ( Chevy ) should be used for racing only. 9" slicks were used for traction consistency.
1971 350 BUICK DRAG STRIP TESTS
All 350's have a 3.80" bore with a 3.85" stroke. The relatively long stroke makes for an ideal high torque, lightweight, high horsepower street powerplant. They also cost considerably less than a Chevy, Ford or Mopar. Actually, the 350 Buick is an excellent choice for a performance engine either in stock body Buicks or conversions, particularly with the introduction of the new equipment by Kenne-Bell.
TEST MPH ET TEST DESCRIPTION
1 83.1 15.76 Test car as described
2 83.6 15.70 KB350-2 Shift Improver Kit
3 84.0 15.65 KB55009 Stinger 1 Distributor Ignition or KB88114
Stinger 1 Points Conversion Ignition. Use KB583904
Stinger 1 HEI conversion for 1975 and later HEI
distributors or KB33117 HEI Spark Intensifier Kit if
budget is limited. KB33101 or KB33102 Advance
Curve Kit and KB/Stinger ignition wires.
4 85.0 15.55 Remove stock air cleaner
5 85.1 15.53 KB46002 Hi-flow low profile air cleaner
6 86.1 15.41 KB84001 Mufflers and 2 1/2" tail pipes and
7 No Change KB84001 Mufflers and 2 1/4" tail pipes and
8 87.6 15.25 KB81003 Headers
9 89.2 15.09 Unplug Headers ( open exhaust )
10 91.2 14.89 KB Mark 1H Cam Kit with KB 17501 Double Roller
Chain and KB11302 Valve Seals
11 92.3 14.88 KB Mark 2H Cam
12 94.8 14.62 KB Mark C118 Cam
13 96.5 14.54 KB44200 Manifold, KB88048 Intake Manifold Bolts,
KB4594 Electric Pump with stock re-jetted carburetor
( Jetting instructions included with carburetor )
14 97.1 14.47 KB9310 Carter 800 CFM Carburetor ( Jetting
instructions included with carburetor )
15 No Change Holley 850
16 96.0 14.59 Holley 660
17 95.2 14.68 Holley 600
18 No Change Carter 625
19 94.0 14.81 Carter 500
20 97.1 14.47 KB Carter 9810 ( demonstrating that even a
350 like a bigger carb )
21 97.9 14.39 KB48002 Plenum
22 99.0 14.28 KB19903 Deep Oil Pan with KB89004 "Spinlock"
Oil Pan Bolts and KB42502 Magnetic Drain Plug
( deep pan helps control oil windage )
23 99.5 14.13 KB1618 Convertor
24 100.0 13.93 KB149 Switch Pitch Convertor and KB400SP
Switch Pitch Street/Strip Transmission
25 101.0 13.84 Shut off Switch Pitch immediately after launch
in low gear
26 103.3 13.62 KB61004 10.2 Budget forged pistons with
27 No Change KB50007 10.2 7000 RPM cast pistons with
28 105.4 13.39 Ed Mosler Big Valve ported heads
29 105.6 13.37 KB9302 Roller Rocker Arms, KB9405 Shafts and
KB9508 Rocker Arm installation kit
30 106.2 13.32 KB Aluminum Crank, Water Pump and Alternator
31 106.8 13.26 KB60004 Super-Lite Forged 12.5 Pistons and
KB13106 1/16" Rings
32 106.8 13.16 4.55 gears
33 No Change 4.88 gears
34 108.1 13.05 KB Mark 3H Cam kit
35 109.5 12.99 KB Mark 5H Cam
36 109.9 12.89 KB16155 10" Trackmaster
37 109.6 12.84 Bore Engine .030" ( 355 cu )
38 No Change Aluminum Rods
39 No Change Increase Rod and Main Bearing Clearances to .003"
40 112.7 12.54 4 Speed Munci and KB Clutch, Pressure Plate
and Steel Flywheel
41 114.2 12.40 KB Mark 6S Cam
The 350 remains relatively unchanged and uncomplicated from it's introduction in 1968 until it was discontinued in 1979 ( this is incorrect, the Buick 350 can be found into OEM installs into 1981 ). The 1968-1970 2bbl engines all had 9:1 compression ratios while the 4bbl versions were equipped with 10.25:1 pistons. 1971 and later V6's complied with Federal restrictions and suffered from a reduction in compression to 8:1. Rods were improved in 1975. They incorporate the more desirable cap screws. Pre-1974 rods were still adequate to 7000 rpm occasionally.
A KB18202 Oil Pump Kit is the number 1 modification to any 350 Buick.
The following drag strip tests were conducted to illustrate the performance gains of the various Kenne-Bell products. We highly recommend you purchase a Kenne-Bell Power Speed Calculator if interested in determining the true horsepower of a particular combination. It'll answer many of your questions and make you more aware of the real world performance relationships. Don't forget to add the driver weights and allow for the automatic transmission when computing horsepower.
Two water pumps, a short and a long, are available. The 350 is an excellent choice for conversion into any street rod or GM H cars ( Vega, Skyhawk, Astre, Monza, Starfire, Sunbird ) because it is lightweight ( 415lbs [ i presume this to be an engine configured with alum intake and headers, bob k ] ), plentiful and economical to purchase and modify.
The factory never offered a single performance part for the 350 - no aluminum manifold, head, cam, carburetor, etc.
Headers, cam manifold and pistons are therefore the pieces that offer the greatest performance increase and dollar value. If any one of these parts are unavailable, the true performance potential of the particular engine can never be realized. This has been the case in past years. However, with the introduction of the Ed Mosler designed TA Stage 1 manifold, the Buick 350 is no longer lacking in any area. You can now buy virtually anything for a Buick that you can for a Chevrolet.
Since the Kenne-Bell parts are designed specifically for the Buick 350, the actual selection should be less confusing. Our 350 parts combinations are well thought out and designed to work in harmony with each other to provide maximum performance the first time. There is no guesswork or trial and error for Kenne-Bell customers.
PISTONS AND RINGS
The new KB50000 Series 7000 RPM Cast Pistons are adequate for the overwhelming majority of applications. Notched pistons are not necessary with Mark 1H and 2H cams as these cams were designed to clear all stock and KB pistons. These pistons are the same compression ratio as the factory 1970 10.25 pistons. There is no performance gain to be realized from a forged piston like the KB60004 Super Lite if the compression ratios are the same. The gains emanate from higher compression and 1/16" rings.
Notched pistons allow the use of a bigger cam at a later date, carbon build up and a future head or block milling. If the block and heads are milled over .030" use notched pistons. The Kenne-Bell MKC118, MK3H, MK5H and MK6S need notched pistons. The KB40306 Ring Compressor is good insurance if you're building your own 350.
Kenne-Bell or stock Buick rings work best with Buick 350 block material.
Ratios above 10.25 ( rated ) are impractical for street use. Furthermore, the actual performance (gain) is relatively small ( see Buick News Vol. 5, No. 51 ).
We used pressed pins for all applications except all out race engines.
Higher compression inevitably decreases fuel consumption. Going from 8.1 to 10.25 pistons gives 1-2 mpg better economy.
KB12803 360° Grooved Main Bearings are a must. Never groove or cross drill a crankshaft. .002" clearance on rod and main bearings for all applications. Never exceed .002" on mains. Buick or Kenne-Bell rod and cam bearings work equally as well.
Use a Kenne-Bell KB44326 Front Cover Seal to replace the leak prone old fashioned stock rope seal.
Valve seals recommended on intake and exhaust valves.
The Buick 350 runs best between 160°-185°. The KB19102 Blow Hard Fan, KB19106 Fan Spacer Kit and the KB580322 160° Thermostat - any 160° Thermostat works equally as well - are designed to lower engine operating temperature. Stock 350's typically run too hot. A hot engine also increases oil temperature and reduces oil pressure - both of which are undesirable.
We like ACCEL spark plugs. NGK is our second choice. The 350 likes 34° total timing. Get all advance in by 2500 rpm. Use stock heat range for that particular compression ratio. Use one heat range cooler for 11:1 and two heat ranges cooler for 12:1.
Points distributors are obsolete. Convert the points distributor to magnetic pulse with a Stinger KB88114 Points Conversion Kit or replace the stock distributor with a Stinger KB55009 Distributor Ignition. The Stinger 54 does not work as well on these engines. 1974 and later Buick 350's were equipped with HEI distributors. The Kenne-Bell KB33117 HEI Spark Intensifier Kit is an economical way to upgrade the stock HEI. The Stinger KB883904 is a more serious ignition set up.
Always check distributor shaft wobble or run out. It often costs more to rebuild a distributor than it's worth. A good method of checking ignition wire condition is to rev the engine - with the hood open of course - in the dark. The shorts will be obvious.
The KB18403 4 3/4" Crank Pulley and KB18406 7" Water Pump Pulley reduce water pump speed and increase horsepower. They must be used with the longer (??) water pump. These are the same pullies used on the V6.
The 350 oils like the 215, 300, 340, 400, 430, 455 and V6's so it inherits the same weakness - oiling. Install a KB18202 or KB18214 to protect your engine under any and all conditions.
KB18210 Adjustable Oil Pressure Regulator recommended for fine tuning. Stock pick up tube is adequate. Oil galleries OK as is for street/strip use. Remember, KB18202 Oil Pump Kit is a must for any performance engine. KB18214 is standard procedure for any Buick 350 rebuild even if it's only driven to the market on Sundays. KB19902 Deep Sump Oil Pan recommended for performance street engines. A KB40201 Oil Pump Primer should be used when rebuilding the engine. Pack oil pump gears in vaseline before assembly.
Two ( 2 ) KB89001 Mufflers with 2" or 2 1/4" tailpipes and KB81003 Headers with a crossover pipe is the best exhaust combination. Make crossover pipe one size smaller than header pipes. Our KB81003 fits almost any Buick the 350 ever came in. The above combination wil increase fuel economy 2 mpg over the stock set up.
At last - an aluminum intake manifold for the 350. Kenne-Bell calibrated 800 cfm Carter is the best carburetor for stock or Stage 1 TA manifold. Stock carb is 750 cfm, so don't waste money on a 600, 625, 650, 660, 725 or 750 carb. The little 350 likes the larger 800 Carter [ also good would be an 800cfm QJ from a 455, bob k ]. The 850 Holley also works but the TA manifold is designed for a spread bore type carburetor in the 730-850 cfm range. The Kenne-Bell KB46002 Air Cleaner is designed to fit the Carter 9800 carburetor while clearing the stock Skylark/GS hood. The KB46002 is so efficient it will not decrease performance or horsepower. In other words, the 350 will run as well with the Kenne-Bell Air Cleaner as it does with no air cleaner at all.
Use stock steel intake gaskets. An electric fuel pump is good insurance. The 350 needs 5-7 psi of fuel pressure. Don't forget, a fuel filter like the KB48010. Transparent filters give a good indication of fuel quality. The stock QJ carb also works very well on our new Stage 1 / TA manifold.
TIMING CHAIN AND GEARS
The best chain set up for the 350 is the KB17501 Double Roller Chain. Higher spring pressures and performance cams accelerate chain wear. The stock chain and gear assembly is marginal.