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Old 05-23-2012, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 8,648,464 times
Reputation: 1457

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Small Clock Chevy.

In the talk of becoming a machinest thread, I saw people saying you can buy cheaper then building. I have browsed some and still haven't made my final opinion.


I eventually plan to put a ~400 hp small block chevy in my car.(85 Camaro) I was just curious what are opinions of people here for meeting that goal?

Build a block or buy. If I am building it. I will have to have some work done by an engine shop. I can assemble it just fine. (I actually have rebuilt recip aircraft engines) I also will need to source a good block to build.


If people are buying an engine where are they looking for it.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:29 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
34,705 posts, read 58,031,425 times
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I assume you can easily buy a 350 HP 350 'crate-engine' from GM with 4 bolt mains.

If I had the money, I would buy new. I rebuild many of my engines, but there are always USED parts that you are counting on NOT breaking. (Some new parts break, but I would think GM has SM pretty well dialed in). By the time you find a good solid core, then start adding new parts... you will be $$$$ into it and STILL not know what you will end up costing (or how long lasting). boring / fitting, balancing, rebalancing, refitting, ... it is all time AND money.

Edelbrock.com - Crate Engines - Small-Block Chevy - Introduction
GM Performance - JEGS High Performance
CHEVROLET - Crate Engines - SummitRacing.com
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,237 posts, read 24,777,350 times
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It's cheaper to buy if you buy a used one that still runs good. However if we're talking from scratch it can be a toss up.

The thing to remember when dealing with say a small block 350 you purchased out of a junkyard, is you may not know the history on it, and it may pose more problems that need addressing. You also have to be sure your machine shop does a thorough job cleaning the job and prepping it....and didn't leave something such as a ball of silicone in the oil gallery (which stops oil to the push rods/rockers) such as I had happen to me once.

Then you have to have all the tools required to assemble an engine. If you have to buy all the tools just to assemble the engine, add that in the overall cost of building the engine.

A crate engine OTOH is usually a brand new engine built with brand new parts that haven't spent their lives elsewhere with an unknown story. There's also usually a warranty that goes along with it. And you usually don't need much more than the typical hand tools and a cherry picker to install it over the weekend. Maybe a torque wrench if you're buying a short block.

The last option is to look for someone who's selling off their race car engine and has yet to pull it, so you can hear it run and maybe drive it too. You still want to keep the "buyer beware" thing on since you don't know just how hard they've beaten on the engine.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:19 AM
 
Location: WI
3,961 posts, read 11,020,253 times
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years ago i went thru the "rebuild" process and while the experience was good, never again. If i were to do a car now, i'd go crate for the basics and then tweak it from there. Just not at the stage in my life that i'd want to do all the work or 'take the chance' on it; prefer to assume it's rock solid from the start.
But i would start with a 4 bolt main with the cam wanted, either long block if it has the heads i'd need, or short block if i'd want to source that gear elsewhere
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:28 AM
 
Location: WI
3,961 posts, read 11,020,253 times
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i'd add if buying a complete setup with a warranty, make sure the place you buy from is reputable. My daughter's friend who is a mechanic back home bought what should have been a well built honda motor to handle the boost in his civic. Made consistant 10.9 passes and it was strong. Got it back home and it crapped out driving it to work. That can happen to anyone (esp when used at the track), but he ran into serious issues trying to get the work covered (he found some tolerances were not what they should have been). He eventually got it handled; point being just to make sure what is covered and what is not. After all, no one builds a motor, 4 or 8 cyl, just to go get to the grocery store faster lol
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:35 AM
 
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 21,876,438 times
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buy new with a warranty.. Fast, cheap and better.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:42 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,773 posts, read 18,385,103 times
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The best thing GM has going for it is that for years they have been producing quality SB engines for a reasonable price.
It is hard to beat these prices.
CHEVROLET - Crate Engines - SummitRacing.com
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:24 AM
 
Location: NC
6,032 posts, read 9,210,341 times
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Building it can be satisfying, but expect to blow your budget... I did. My drag racing buddy with years of experience assembled and built it with my labor help along the way, lol.




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Old 05-24-2012, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 8,648,464 times
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I am aware of what is availible at the main hotrod places, summit, jegs, jcwhitney.


Blueprint, seems to have the best bang for the buck, but I have "heard" they use crap parts and kind of halfass the motor over.

The GM ones I would be all over, but beyond the 290 hp crate motor, the prices really start to climb. I have considered maybe a crate, and building it a little more wild, but then you loose all warranty.


As for tooling I have most, I would have a shop deck the block, hone the cylinders. I have torque wrenches, and tools, I might need a piston ring grinder. I would be willing to pick up a cheap set of mics, and ball/t-gauges. I have a caliper already.

I was also wondering if people know of other places to source engines.
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Floribama
18,949 posts, read 43,596,850 times
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It also depends on if it's important to keep the numbers matching. My '87 GTA has the L98 350, and I've given lots of thought to whether I should rebuild it or replace it (when the time comes), but I'd rather keep a numbers matching engine in the car.

The ZZ4 crates I've looked at are over $4k.
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