Jun 2, 2003
Catalina, AZ
Unless you have the budget to also upgrade the trans (or can keep your foot out of it) you may want to reconsider at the moment. Cleaning the engine compartment like grizwald said will probably be a good starter. I'm guessing you don't have emissions there... if you want to build the 4.3 you can go with a carbed setup to keep it somewhat simple, but it still has the capability of making a decent amount of power (around 300hp based on the build below).


Frequent Racer
Sep 18, 2005
Wichita, Kansas
Whatever you do, don't copy the "Hot Rod" 300hp V6 buildup. I currently have a 1985 4.3 V6 with an Edelbrock Performer intake, a Holley 4160 carb and headers in my little red wagon. The engine runs reasonably well, but I have yet to get it to produce the kind of mpg I wanted from this setup, suggesting that the Malibu wagon is a bit heavy for the 4.3. I think the "Hot Rod" buildup is better for something in the sub 3000lb weight range.

If you're up to converting your wagon for FI, you might want to fit your V6 with a pair of shorty headers and drop it in as is. Otherwise you might want to consider a V8. If I had known about the following buildup, I would have gone with a 305. If you go with a 96-99 Vortec 305, you could use GM Performance's 14097395 roller cam (288/308 advertised duration; 196/206 [email protected]; .431/.451 [email protected]; 109 sep)
and have a street engine that has more punch than you'll get with a normally aspirated 4.3 and good mpg. Oh, and it would sound like a V8. Gear

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