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Old 04-23-2009, 05:53 PM
 
3,014 posts, read 8,581,256 times
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Which was the better motor between the Chevrolet 396 or the Ford 390?
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:57 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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If you mean which was faster back in the old days it would be the 396. A 396 would run away from a 390 in a comparable sized Ford, Bisacyne vs. Galaxy for instance. The 390 would run with a 327 though.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:12 PM
 
3,014 posts, read 8,581,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
If you mean which was faster back in the old days it would be the 396. A 396 would run away from a 390 in a comparable sized Ford, Bisacyne vs. Galaxy for instance. The 390 would run with a 327 though.
I meant as far as performance, agility and durability, the 396 seemed to be more of a popular motor for the muscle cars than the 390.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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For some reason the 396 had a reputation as being easy to "blow up" (loosely defined) compared to small blocks and the 427 big-block.

The Y-block Ford, except for the excellent and very rare "side oiler" 427, is not such a great design. If they are run at high RPM they tend to pump all the oil up into the valve covers, the cam/lifters/pushrods are hydraulically closer to the oil pump than the crank, so you had oiling "issues" and spun a big end rod bearing, usually.

Don't quote me on the exact problem the Y-block has, it's written up in Auto Restorer several months back.

The Y-block is also damn heavy.

So, rambling around to answering the question, I like the 396 better. Although, I like the Ford 351 Cleveland better yet. But I like the 302 Chevy even better than the 351.

But, if you have room for it under the hood, IMHO the best Muscle Car Era engine has to be the 426 Hemi.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
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Heavy Chevy! Posi-traction! Gonna wipe those Fords and Mopars off the road, all they gonna see is Chevy tailights.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:31 PM
 
Location: South Jersey
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The 396 had performance versions (up to 375 hp)where the 390 was basically a passenger engine (with hp ratings up to 300). So there is really no comparison
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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396.

They are great engines, but had/have a history of premature camshaft failure (worn lobes).

My old '69 Caprice had a 396 and once I installed a new cam, it ran great. Now I have a '72 Caprice wagon with a 402 (basically a 396) and guess what... it needed a cam! Put a new one in and lifters and its fine now. They seem to go around 130K-150K miles (the camshafts that is).
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Funny you mention that TS, I have heard of small-blocks rounding off cam lobes and this is pretty common on high-mile motors with the original factory cam, but I didn't know big-blocks do this too. Although, it figures, probably the same outfit made both cams.

Frank makes a good point too, these are not really comparible engines - the 396 is part of a family of performance engines, while the Y-blocks were truck and passenger car (mostly truck) engines, primarily.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:15 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Originally Posted by frankgn87 View Post
The 396 had performance versions (up to 375 hp)where the 390 was basically a passenger engine (with hp ratings up to 300). So there is really no comparison

In 1965 they had a 425 HP 396 in the big Chevys; Biscayne, Bel-Air and Impala.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Poway, CA
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Wasn't the 390 a 'FE' block, not a 'Y' block?

Mike
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