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Username Post: Rebuild a Chevy 350 or buy a crate engine?        (Topic#325239)
LUVmachine 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1453

Age: 36
Loc: Redding Ca
Reg: 10-02-14
06-08-15 06:42 AM - Post#2553058    
    In response to Droff

The only things different on a 400 is the crank, damper and flexplate,cylinder bore. the nice thing about the small block Chevy is the blocks all have the same mounts except maybe the old front mount blocks in the 50s. Outside appearance they are so similar you generally need to look up casting numbers to tell a 305 from a 350.

71 Chevelle BBC powered
71 C-10 454 with weiand 177 (SOLD)
72 406 sbc powered Chevy LUV sleeper (SOLD)
2010 GMC Sierra crew cab 4X4
http://s626.photobucket.com/user/GJohnson81/libra r...


Edited by LUVmachine on 06-08-15 06:46 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 




models916 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4774

Age: 67
Loc: Addison, IL
Reg: 05-28-10
06-08-15 07:23 AM - Post#2553069    
    In response to LUVmachine

2 bolt 400 bolck is stronger casting. Don't know how much stronger or if it matters much on a cruiser. Steam holes in the block can be a problem with small cracks that leak. Slight cracking is the norm and no problem. Engine shop should be consulted about what is acceptable. 400 heads are good enough on a cruiser, but there is plenty of HP to be gained with better heads.



 
0utlaw 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 2789
0utlaw
Loc: US East Coast
Reg: 09-10-02
06-08-15 07:26 AM - Post#2553071    
    In response to Droff

I'm using heads off my 1974 350...mine are ported and gasket matched and then drilled for steam holes. Mine are 76 cc...comp is 9:1 with Keith Black pistons.
Similar heads with 76cc chambers with flat top pistons will get you 8.5 comp...and will run nicely on 87 octane. People shoot down 882 smog heads which are plentiful in small valve size, but for what you are doing with them, should be fine.
I also run a dual pattern cam 210/216 @ .050 lift.445/.455 lift and 1.6 rockers for.028 more lift, slightly more duration, but in a 400 sb, has just a slight rock to it.
That is RV type cam may be considered wimpy by the rough cam high hp guys ...however it makes a ton of torque.





 
LUVmachine 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1453

Age: 36
Loc: Redding Ca
Reg: 10-02-14
06-08-15 08:20 AM - Post#2553081    
    In response to 0utlaw

My cam is about .445 lift single pattern. Been in for 10 years I can't remember the specs but its a smooth idle wimpy cam. I have too much low end. I'm going to eventually go bigger and move my power up higher and loose some bottom end. Traction is hard to find right now so my thoughts are put the power in later on the big end.

71 Chevelle BBC powered
71 C-10 454 with weiand 177 (SOLD)
72 406 sbc powered Chevy LUV sleeper (SOLD)
2010 GMC Sierra crew cab 4X4
http://s626.photobucket.com/user/GJohnson81/libra r...


 
0utlaw 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 2789
0utlaw
Loc: US East Coast
Reg: 09-10-02
06-08-15 01:14 PM - Post#2553150    
    In response to LUVmachine

  • LUVmachine Said:
My cam is about .445 lift single pattern. Been in for 10 years I can't remember the specs but its a smooth idle wimpy cam. I have too much low end. I'm going to eventually go bigger and move my power up higher and loose some bottom end. Traction is hard to find right now so my thoughts are put the power in later on the big end.



That 400 puts out so much power, and you are so light in back, you will continue to have traction problems even with a cam swap.
Ideas instead of changing cam
Rev limiter
Tach with shift light set to lower rpm
Slower secondary action.
Wider.. stickier tires.
Dana 60..almost a locked rear end.



 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
06-09-15 04:57 AM - Post#2553297    
    In response to LUVmachine

Is there a way to tell what kind of cam you have in your motor? My car sounds pretty good at idle, not a rough idle just a nice rumble but I have no idea on the cam specs.



 
0utlaw 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 2789
0utlaw
Loc: US East Coast
Reg: 09-10-02
06-09-15 06:59 AM - Post#2553313    
    In response to Droff

If you have a fairly smooth idle, it is probably a mild cam...good for all around general use.
You can measure lift on the rocker arm, but you will need a degree wheel to determine duration....probably easier just to consider it a mild cam...and go from there. OUTLAW



 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
06-09-15 09:19 AM - Post#2553338    
    In response to models916

  • models916 Said:
If it comes to pulling the pan, change the rear main seal at that time. Just a couple of additional bolts and a cheap part. Use a one piece pan gasket.



Back to my oil leak.
I'm going to re-check other areas but I really think I'll at least need to pull the pan. I'd like to verify a thing or two if possible since I haven't gone down this road yet.

- I would need to remove the water pump as I'll need to remove the timing chain cover, correct?
- Harmonic balancer needs to be removed?
- Any other parts I need to remove to drop the pan?
- Any gaskets other than the water pump, timing chain cover, oil pan and a new RMS?

I've found several sites with info but nothing too specific on what needs removed to do the job.

This could be a real PITA.
Thanks.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 3991

Reg: 12-29-02
06-09-15 09:44 AM - Post#2553342    
    In response to Droff

Oil pan will come off by itself without removing any of those other parts you listed.



 
0utlaw 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 2789
0utlaw
Loc: US East Coast
Reg: 09-10-02
06-09-15 11:25 AM - Post#2553361    
    In response to Droff

Unless you got a noisy timing chain like slapping the case, leave your timing cover in place...
BUT......
Please be aware that the back of an intake manifold seal can leak oil down the back of your block enough to make you think your pan is leaking and is another potential source of a good leak...before you pull the pan...check this seal first with a good light. It is a typical Chevy problem that the gasket slips out during installation or shrinks with age or the rtv seal leaks. You may need to degrease things to verify the source before you pull the pan. You need to know 100% that the pan needs to be resealed...or with luck....perhaps just tightened up. The gasket does shrink.
Also your valve covers can be leaking down past your plugs and down the pan. We certainly do not you to do anything you don't need to do. OUTLAW



 
dirt41 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 7

Reg: 05-15-15
06-10-15 04:11 PM - Post#2553629    
    In response to Droff

  • Droff Said:
  • Stinky Said:
If you are going to change your axle ratio, then get an OD trans.



Replacing my 350 trans with one that has OD has been mentioned by some other folks as well, I just don't know what trans to look for or what would bolt up to a 350 or 400 motor.



The TH700-R4 will fit nicely behind the 350 as it gives you an automatic with an OD...also, look into Five Star Engine Exchange for the 350; they have a crate engine for $2200 that supplies 325hp at the flex plate (or fly wheel if you go with a 4/5/6 speed manual trans). I have bought from them before and the long block that I got, rocks!!!



 
BigDogSS 
"9th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4565
BigDogSS
Loc: SoCal
Reg: 12-21-01
06-11-15 10:02 AM - Post#2553812    
    In response to Droff

Rebuilding existing engine: I'm getting my numbers-matching 327 rebuilt by a reputable machine shop and the cost will be about $3K+. When I first walked in stating I wanted to rebuild a small block, the shop owner said "buy a crate engine, it will be cheaper". But i want to retain my original engine so we went with the planned rebuild. And the work will be top-notch.
Crate Engines: I know someone who bought the GMPP 290 engine and had oil problems from mile 0 on the engine. He wanted a new one, but was declined. Took it to a dealer and they determined two cylinders had their ring gaps lined up and was blowing out oil. They fixed only the two cylinders and sent him on his way.

    1967 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible - Ermine White C1
    1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 396 - Marina Blue FF



 
dirt41 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 7

Reg: 05-15-15
06-11-15 11:44 AM - Post#2553840    
    In response to BigDogSS

Who did this person buy the GMPP 290 from? I want to avoid that place...thanks,
Dirt



 
KShortell 
Senior Member
Posts: 4034
KShortell
Loc: Chesapeake, VA, U.S.A.
Reg: 04-14-01
06-11-15 12:50 PM - Post#2553854    
    In response to dirt41

I seem to remember that the old 400 SBCs from the mid to late 70s had block cracking problems at times due to smaller wall thicknesses between cylinders. I don't know quite how prevalent the issue was, but had "old timers" relate this to me back in the 90s.

Perhaps some of our more enlightened (and grayer) folks can elaborate more on this.

Semper Paratus
FL05-03 Home Page
Stock is not a dirty word...


 
LUVmachine 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1453

Age: 36
Loc: Redding Ca
Reg: 10-02-14
06-11-15 02:58 PM - Post#2553886    
    In response to KShortell

There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the 400s out there. As far as the crack prone I don't know. My block is a 1979 and its gone through a lot of use in the 100* plus weather. I am curious if the cracking is due to the old over heating myth? Mine got hot one time while it was in my circle track car and the front end got caved in. It warped the heads but didn't break. Mine is also a 2 bolt main. All in all I have treated it good but worked it hard in everything from the track to the street.

71 Chevelle BBC powered
71 C-10 454 with weiand 177 (SOLD)
72 406 sbc powered Chevy LUV sleeper (SOLD)
2010 GMC Sierra crew cab 4X4
http://s626.photobucket.com/user/GJohnson81/libra r...


 
BigDogSS 
"9th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4565
BigDogSS
Loc: SoCal
Reg: 12-21-01
06-11-15 04:30 PM - Post#2553901    
    In response to dirt41

  • dirt41 Said:
Who did this person buy the GMPP 290 from? I want to avoid that place...thanks,
Dirt


It was Speedway Motors.


    1967 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible - Ermine White C1
    1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 396 - Marina Blue FF



Edited by BigDogSS on 06-11-15 04:33 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 938
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
06-12-15 08:42 AM - Post#2554045    
    In response to BigDogSS

My understanding is the warranty is from GM. Doesn't matter who you buy from when dealing with GMPP stuff when it involves warranty issues.

In my opinion there is no way to eliminate the risks when either rebuilding your engine, or purchasing a crate engine. One way to mitigate the risks is to deal with some one local to you. IF there are issues it is easier to get them resolved.

If I was trying to meet your stated goals and I had a great 350 block to start with, I would 're-build' it as a 383. It is easy to get 350 + max hp at around 5000 rpm and 430 + max lb-ft torque at around 3500 rpm, out of a 383. Low end torque of 400 + at 2000 rpm is readily obtainable. With those torque numbers one can keep their high ratio rear ends and even stay with a PowerGlide. GM mated their stock single carb 409 w/max ~340hp and max ~420 torque, with std 3:08 rear and the PowergGlide automatic.

If my existing block was questionable, I'd start with a new one.

One can get that hp from a 350 but not at those rpms, and that low end torque is not obtainable from a 350.

A 383 with the above numbers is a 'mild' build, no high lift exotic cam, no high rpm valve seat slamming springs (you're not operating at high rpm), or other high priced high rpm performance parts. I do not believe there is any significant difference in the cost of re-building to 350 or to 383. This would be especially true if one was re-building the 350 to 350+ hp.

Just my opinion. Hope it is helpful.



 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
06-12-15 10:45 AM - Post#2554072    
    In response to japete92

  • japete92 Said:
Just my opinion. Hope it is helpful.



There has been a sh*t load of info in this thread that has been helpful, thanks to everyone responding.
Lots of options, only limit is the cash.




 
4dr 57 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4500
4dr 57
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Reg: 11-10-04
06-13-15 05:46 PM - Post#2554335    
    In response to Droff

I'd put an LT1 and Transmission out of a late 90's Camaro in the car. It's doable at a reasonable cost, looks different, and the motor make a lot of torque to move the car. fun!
The motor aould love a 330 gear..2k at 75mph..would be just right.

Stan

It's all good. mostly




 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
02-15-16 05:01 PM - Post#2609030    
    In response to 4dr 57

Keeping my thread going... many months later...

First question...I am now in the process of changing out the rear main seal. I have the pan off and taken off the cap and can see the other half of the 2 piece gasket but it won't budge, it's in there pretty tight.

Any suggestions on getting it out and a new one in?

Now for the other part...
As a refresher, I've got a 1970 Monte Carlo with a 350 in it, TH350 transmission, open rear end with highway gears, 2.73. I'm still considering a 350 crate engine or a 383 engine, although the 383 crate engines are a bit in the high side for me.
What I'm looking for is a street car, no strip, something that runs strong, will smoke the tires when I want and is fun to drive. It will see the highway and be driven to work every now and then. At some point I'm thinking I'd like to run around 3.30-3.55 gears if I can find a 3-series carrier.
So that's the background again.

If I go with an OD transmission, I think a 200R4 would be the one I'd go with from what I've read.

Would I need an OD tranny with 2.73 gears and a 350 or 383 for my application, or would I be okay/good with the TH350?

Several guys in this thread recommended a 383 which I'm good with. I ran across a couple locally on CL but not sure what would be a decent price or not, so looking for a little input here too.

I guess pick up a 383 rotating assembly and go from there. I have a block I can turn in as well.
Reman's

$2400 383 Stroker
He has PBM Performance heads, rockers and lifters.

And then this....which I "think" is what the $2400 motor started as.
Summit 383 Block

Costs need to be kept in line as I have other areas that need attention as well.
Thanks again.



 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
02-15-16 08:06 PM - Post#2609068    
    In response to Droff

One more... needs a cam.

383



 
Droff 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 42

Age: 54
Loc: Choctaw, OK
Reg: 05-28-15
02-17-16 06:06 AM - Post#2609445    
    In response to LUVmachine

So 350 heads bolt right on to a 400? I found another 400 block, still going back and forth between a 400 or a 383...
400 with crank



 
rumrumm 
"17th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 2070
rumrumm
Loc: Macomb, IL
Reg: 10-18-01
02-17-16 07:18 AM - Post#2609458    
    In response to Droff

  • Droff Said:
So 350 heads bolt right on to a 400? I found another 400 block, still going back and forth between a 400 or a 383...
400 with crank



You can use 350 heads on a 400 only if you drill steam holes in each head. 400 blocks have steam holes that 350 blocks do not have due to the siamised cylinders. 400 heads have these steam holes. If the holes are not drilled, the engine will run hot.

Lynn

"There's no 12-step program for stupid."


383 sbc, Eagle, AFR, SRP, CompCams, Edelbrock, FiTECH. Dyno #'s: 450 hp @ 5700, 468 ft. lbs. torque @ 4300.

http://photo.net/photos/Lynn%20Johanso n


 
Ray P W 
Contributor
Posts: 355

Reg: 09-30-15
02-23-16 12:20 PM - Post#2610942    
    In response to BigDogSS

'
"Crate Engines: I know someone who bought the GMPP 290 engine and had oil problems from mile 0 on the engine. He wanted a new one, but was declined. Took it to a dealer and they determined two cylinders had their ring gaps lined up and was blowing out oil. They fixed only the two cylinders and sent him on his way."


This is why I don't understand why anyone would want a "crate" engine. Why pay someone else to do a sloppy job of assembling an engine when anyone who can read and is willing to follow the excellent engine assembly books out there can do it right and know it's done right.

Assembling an engine is hardly rocket science. And it certainly takes less time than pulling an already installed engine, taking it to a dealer for an "autopsy" and fighting with the dealer about the scope of the warranty repair or replacement.

Am I missing something?

Ray W



Edited by Ray P W on 02-23-16 12:23 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Chevy 4 Life 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1393

Reg: 03-14-14
02-23-16 05:21 PM - Post#2611028    
    In response to Ray P W

I totally agree that is why I go with a completely rebuilt engine from a reputable builder. Then you know what was put in the engine from the start.



 
scrambldcj8 
Senior Member
Posts: 2316

Loc: MA
Reg: 04-06-03
02-24-16 06:42 AM - Post#2611136    
    In response to Droff

  • Droff Said:
One more... needs a cam.

383




IMO...NO, better off to start with a known foundation/work.



 
scrambldcj8 
Senior Member
Posts: 2316

Loc: MA
Reg: 04-06-03
02-24-16 06:47 AM - Post#2611139    
    In response to Droff

  • Droff Said:
So 350 heads bolt right on to a 400? I found another 400 block, still going back and forth between a 400 or a 383...
400 with crank




Would be interesting, I am a Pontiac lover (as well)...but why stop with a 400...go big or go home with a 455. The difference is on the inside of the block, externally they're the same... ...Large journal vs small journal are how Pontiacs are described, the (more common) engines aren't big or small block like Chevys.....

....and they also put out good TQ. Speaking of TQ....keep an eye open for a Caddy 500! Even more interesting....but then forget about the TH200 plan...hehehe

Going to BOP (Caddy) route will mean a tranny adapter.



 
scrambldcj8 
Senior Member
Posts: 2316

Loc: MA
Reg: 04-06-03
02-24-16 06:54 AM - Post#2611142    
    In response to Droff

  • Droff Said:
I've got a 1970 Monte Carlo with a 350 in it, TH350 transmission, open rear end with highway gears, 2.73. I'm still considering a 350 crate engine or a 383 engine, although the 383 crate engines are a bit in the high side for me.
What I'm looking for is a street car, no strip, something that runs strong, will smoke the tires when I want and is fun to drive. It will see the highway and be driven to work every now and then. At some point I'm thinking I'd like to run around 3.30-3.55 gears if I can find a 3-series carrier.
So that's the background again.

The above info looks very much like a 383 is what you want to go with. Talk to your LOCAL engine builder/machine shop about building off the 350 you have, cost may be in your favor?

If I go with an OD transmission, I think a 200R4 would be the one I'd go with from what I've read.

Would I need an OD tranny with 2.73 gears and a 350 or 383 for my application, or would I be okay/good with the TH350?

Really depends on the build and cam selection. But 2.73 may be on the high side when in OD...may cause you to over work trans and burn it up, depending on how it's rebuilt? Many of these "weaker" OD trannies prefer/benefit a little extra gearing help for longevity



I guess pick up a 383 rotating assembly and go from there. I have a block I can turn in as well.


Costs need to be kept in line as I have other areas that need attention as well.
Thanks again.






 
Ray P W 
Contributor
Posts: 355

Reg: 09-30-15
02-28-16 04:57 PM - Post#2612055    
    In response to Droff

"I'm not afraid to rebuild an engine, it just may take a while."

Droff,

If you decide to rebuild an engine you will find plenty of people eager to offer assistance. There are also excellent books on the subject like How To Rebuild Your Small-Block Chevy by David Vizard and Small-Block Chevy Engine Rebuilding by Chevy High Performance.

These are literal cook books that describe every step of the process in detail. And it's the details that others will overlook and you will pay attention to because it's your project.

People in the car hobby are very generous with their time and knowledge. When I set out to restore my 1936 Chevy pickup in the early 1970s I found that the "pros" were a bunch of slobs. The "body shops" were actually plasters, using "filler" to hide dents rather than restoring the actual body contours. I assumed it was probably the same with the mechanics.

Many people stepped forward to show me methods of old school metal straightening without the use of "filler" and how to paint metal panels. Others taught me about engine, transmission and differential wrenching. There was even a wood frame to be built for the cab. In the end I did every bit of the restoration myself in my home shop except the engine cylinder boring and bearing pouring, chrome plating and glass cutting. The result was good enough to win the 1929-36 commercial vehicle class at the 1976 VCCA national meet in Colorado Springs after being driven 1300 miles to the meet and competing against trailer queens. So a motivated amateur can get 'er done.

The greatest gift that has ever been given to me in the car hobby is encouragement to try stuff that I thought was beyond my ability. I'd like to pay that forward to you.

Ray W



 
Chevy 4 Life 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1393

Reg: 03-14-14
02-29-16 04:51 PM - Post#2612290    
    In response to Ray P W

So True my friend, the mistakes and dollars hurt, but so worth it in the end. Thats how I feel about my Impala. Not perfect, but sure is nice to talk about it to folks about my personal work on it, not paying everyone to do everything.



 




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