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Looking for suggestion on engine build
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gen1camaro
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:34 am    Post subject: Looking for suggestion on engine build Reply with quote

I am looking to build a good performance small block and trying to stay under $2,000. My 327 in my camaro turned out to be .060 over already and most of the guts needed love to. So I found a 1971 2 bolt main 350 that is std bore and std crank but needs cleaned up. I am wanting to use my 64cc 194 heads that came on my 327. I have an edelbrock performer intake, edelbrock 600cfm mechanical secondaries carb (I believe), an accel HEI dist with supercoil?, and plan to run headers. The car has a turbo 400 and 3.36 non posi rearend. I am looking for some advice on where my money is well spent for the build. Should I balance the motor or is that money waiste?, What cam is a good tried and proven grind for good power but still reliable. Should I go big enough on the cam to require a stall converter? I want the car to be very street friendly but also smokem up at any time even when I get a posi unit for it. I know I wrote alot, but I have a ton of questions. Any help is appreciated. Jeff
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96capriceMGR
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1996 Chevrolet Caprice

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My suggestion may sound like blasphemy but here goes.
Buy say an early 90s TBI 350 motor out of a Caprice/Roadmaster/Fleetwood, the trucks are basically the same motor BUT from what I hear some of them came flat tappet(roller compatible though), these car versions will have the roller cam. Just make sure this shortblock is in good shape and it should be CHEAP because most people don't realize how good they are IMO every single part of this motor is better than from the ear you are looking at.
Throw a new cam in it reusing the roller lifters, then consider a set of Vortec heads and matching carbed intake, these heads stock will flow what all the old stuff would ported and new are available for little more than the old stuff would cost to recondition.

Leave the '71 block for someone who wants it for a resto.

People think the HP wars were decades ago reality is they started a decade ago maybe a little more, the musclecar era stuff can't hold a candle to the components today. The Vortec heads are based on the iron LT1 heads, guys have pushed as cast iron head LT1s with stock 191/195 .418/.428(or close to it) cam past 300rwhp with manual transmissions talking 350fwhp or so with a cam that tiny and these are 1.94/1.5 valves heads, with the Vortecs and a carbed intake you wont make that HP but will make awesome torque, the LT1 intake manifold runners are ultra short like under 3 inches.

Starting with a great junkyard shortblock like this will allow you to have money left for the rest of the build, with the TH400 you will want to keep stall relatively mild with the lack of lockup but these days a little extra stall can drive very well.
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disturbthepeace1
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In order to build a budget motor you need to take advantage of the parts that you have now as well as some of the cheap HP that can be gain with machine work and planning a good combo. Defintly balance the motor, the last one I did was only 150bucks. I would step up the comp ratio to at least 9.5:1 if not 10:1. Use a nice cast flat top piston like a TRW, dont waste the money on forged if you not going to squeez it or make more then 450hp. Use a stock volume pump your just wasting power with a high volume in your case. spend your money on the heads, this is were the power is maid( or not made in some peoples case). The last post was half right in that the vortec is a great head for a street motor. But this would require a different inktake manifold. Spend some cash on the set you have and machine them for screw in studs, a good 3 angle can go along way, and a set of new springs. Chet herbert has a nice set that is still stock diameter that will handle about .530 lift.. Buy a nice set of roller rockers, these will complement a nice healthy street cam.
I could go more about the cam choice as well as a good stall or recurve but I have to do the dishes now, the wife is giving me the stink eye........

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10sec.et
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all good information. the only thing i would like to add is that you can use an older carb intake with vortec heads. you just have to modify the four center bolt holes. or, i have seen guys make beveled spacers for these four bolts and it worked very well.
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Big Dave
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay with your 350 block and rebuild it as a 355. The crank between a 327 and 350 are of different main journal sizes so the 3.48" stroke crank will have to stay. Keep your top end, but rebuild the heads (valve job with guide work and new springs in larger spring pockets). For the cam I would recommend a CompCams Nostalgia Plus 30/30 hydraulic flat tappet replacement cam number 12-672-4 (specs are 239/246 @0.050" lift and 0.483"/0.477" lift with 112 LSA). The carb can be rebuilt.

Boil the block, Magnuflux and sonic check before you punch it out 0.030" over. Hyper flat toped pistons pressed onto resized stock rods with ARP rod bolts.Balance the new rotating assembly (including the 350 damper). New Cloyes true roller timing chain and Melling oil pump with rings, bearings, and gaskets; you probably won't have enough left over to paint it.


Big Dave
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96capriceMGR
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1996 Chevrolet Caprice

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tight budget is why I recommended a used shortblock $2-300 there, 200-260 on a cam, $550 on the heads, $250 or less on intake or modifying one, maybe another $200 on balancer and flexplate, tyhrow in some gaskets and still under $1700 using the high side of my numbers.

Old heads will need a lot of work to properly recondition and a $800 rebuild of a 30 yearold motor will be no better than the junkyard shortblock I am recommending and would leave you with flat tappets not roller.

I understand the idea behind a budget build needs to reuse as much as possible, but polishing a turd is not going to get you anything but a polished turd.
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clay
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the lowest budget option is to call around junkyards and find a late model Vortec engine with around 100,000 miles or so. Then you could do basic bolt on's and the long block would probably be fine with everything lasting more than 200,000 miles these days. I would guess you might could find a motor for $500 - $700 or so. They usually offer some sort of warrenty (a short one) so you should be able to find out if you have a decent motor and back out if you have to. Put new valve seals on it, maybe even pull the heads for a touch up, intake, cam if you want (keep in mind the lift limit on the factory Vortecs - unless you have the machine shop fix that), carb and headers. If you squeeze hard, there might be enough left for a Sniper nitrous kit Twisted Evil . The other guys had good options too, I just wanted to throw out a bottom of the barrel idea. Clay
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Wolf333
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff, personally i would put the most work into the motor itself, yes balancing the motor will help, now if you want a cheap way to get more power, polish out the heads and port match the intake, it really wont cost anything except time, now as for the bigger cam, find out the std lift on it and dont go a to much higher (i.e. .054" to .056") is a pretty descent amount, you dont want a really big lift, im sure you already know this but it is possible to hit the valve on the piston, also to big of a lift will cause you to lose vacuum (power brakes) good luck with the camaro, sounds like a fun project.
Adam

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gen1camaro
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:10 pm    Post subject: engine build Reply with quote

Wow! I go away for the weekend and am surprised to find so many fellow gear heads giving thier suggestions! I do really appreciate everyones input. I always seem to get the best result from word of mouth advertising. I am not totally stuck at the $2000 budget it will just put my completion day past christmas so old saint nick can buy some goodies for the brats. I HATE BUDGETS! Anyway obviously I have a lot to consider. The main reason I will probably stick with the 71 350 block is so I can build it from ground up. I hate going to car shows and asking the owner of some killer ride for specifics on his motor only to find hes rolling the car just like he bought it. I want to be the beer bellied guy at the show with grease stains on my t-shirt that could resight any detail of the car down to the teeth count on the ring and pinion. Seems extreme but I have a lot more respect for those of us rolling our own creations. Thanks again guys! I will keep you upto date on the build. Still kicking around going to the bigger valve heads, maybe new aluminum ones. Got to do my research on that too. SMOKE EM IF YOU GOT EM! Jeff
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artinla
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, since you decided you would probably stay with the Gen. 1, I will weigh in with my suggestions.

You already have some decent parts, so use them and save the money for machine work. Take that edelbrock carb and throw it into the ocean. If you don't live near the ocean, buy a plane ticket.

The heads are likely Double Humps if they are 1.94 327 ones.. If not, scratch what I am about to say and get a new set of heads.

Use the cam that Big Dave mentioned above. It will sound nice and nasty, but still be streetable. Have the heads fit with screw in studs and guideplates and have the pushrod holes drilled out. Buy a good set of true roller rockers, and put in a set of undercut stainless valves. You should buy the springs that the manufacturer recommends for the cam.

Buy David Vizard's SBC book, and a $30 head porting kit from Summit. Do what David recommends in the book, and be careful on your heads of the area he notes as prone to cracking.

Use the stock crank and rods, you won't make enough power to justify changing them. Clean them up, grind off any casting flash and have the machine shop do the rest. You will need to have a good set of hardened rod bolts installed and the rods resized. Buy a good set of Hyper flattops and have the block zero decked. Use a Fel-Pro 1003 head gasket and a Moroso/Melling M55A oil pump. Buy an oil pump driveshaft that has a metal collar. Don't try to run a plastic sleeve. Stay away from cheap oil filters with that pump, it can explode some of them. Spot weld the pickup into the pump once pan clearance has been set. Don't waste your money balancing this one, it will be so close to stock bobweight that you will not see a real benefit to rebalancing it.

Don't bother with a gear drive, just get a Cloyes True Roller timing chain.

Degree the cam and check TDC on the balancer. Don't even think about skipping this step.

Use the intake you have, port matched to the heads. Buy a new carb, such as a Holley Street Avenger 680 or a DP 650-750. If your distributor has a stock module in it, throw that away and replace it with a decent one.

Spend the last of your money on a good 2500 or so stall converter for your transmission. You should be able to do all of this on your $2000 budget and end up with plenty of tire smoke and Yee Haws.

Have fun,

Art
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87calais
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing I would have to argue with about art's suggestion is the balancing, my first engine build I ground off the casting flash from the rod's, and after staring at them for a while realized some rods' balancing pad's were over a quarter inch high, and some were barely visible... was it just how differently weighted the rod's were from each other, or was it how sloppy they used to Balance shit from the factory, who knows, all I know is I figured weight is bad, ground the piss outta them... Cool It's only like 200 or so dollars to have it balanced, and that first time you floor it not realizing you're nearing a puddle, and your car tacs out to seventy some hundred rpm without a shake or shudder, you'll be thankful.... I know I was... then I completely lost my fear of high rpm and though 6300 was a good shift point for heavy domed piston eautetics on polished stock rods... Ironically, 20,000 miles of me driving it asscar style, and the bearings were beautiful... so I guess something wasn't wrong with the way it was. Oh, and my build, came in at 1400$, with exhaust, so it was prety budget minded.... but I did get the engine given to me in trade for my 305, it just needed a rebuild...
Ok, I was bored enough to look up this... and found
FEM-MHP134-300 $349.95 rebuild kit
NAL-12558060 $269.95 *2 Vortech heads
EDL-2116 $164.88 intake
Add in cam of your choice, and that's...1370 or so...
Few hundred at the machine shop, ad there ya go, rebuild
on a beer budget!

Using one of summit's rebuild kits, they're pretty high quality, and come with pretty much everything, just have to call for all the specs, but it's... pistons, rings, gaskets, bearing, oil pump.

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Big Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending upon your ultimate budget (since $2K isn't carved in stone anymore); unless you enjoy building engines like a lot of the older guys on this board do (I do anyway, but only for myself, otherwise it becomes work): I would like to remind you that you can get a brand new first (or second gen to keep 96CapriceMGR happy) long block from GM with warranty for less than the sum total of the parts. If you don't fancy installing a cam and the induction system on a long block then they also sell a full turn key complete (less oil) engine ready to drop into your Camaro: once again cheaper than the sum total of the parts with full warranty.

If you fancy this path drop us another line and we can all offer contradictory suggestions over what is the most bang for the buck. After all advise is free and worth every penny of it, and opinions are like belly buttons; every one has one.


Big Dave
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artinla
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1971 Chevrolet Nova

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the balance thing, $200 isn't a lot, but I stand by my statement that if your budget is really $2000 and you want to build this engine then don't balance it. (I knew that recommendation was going to stir up the anthill Laughing )

Vizard and Yunick both say the same thing in their books. They also both address why some balance pads are bigger than others. Vizard goes on to say that balancing is never "Necessary".. I won't quite go that far. However, anyone who doesn't already have these books should buy them and learn.

The rods (as a set, not piecemeal) are pretty well matched +/- around 4 grams from the factory. The reason that the balance pads differ is that the rods are not all cast the same. Some have less meat in the beam and more in the pad. Others have all the meat in the beam and almost no pad. If you have any rods with a large balance pad, DON'T run them. When I say large, I mean a pad higher than 1/4". Also look for core shift, where the rod is cast or bored off-center on either end.

Most Hyper pistons weigh around the same or are a little lighter than cast stockers. For the street, even 50 grams one way or the other won't make a noticeable difference.

All that being said, if balancing is within your budget without eliminating something more important, by all means do it. I agree with Calais that it will make your seven grand plus trips a little easier on the stomach.

"Asscar Style" Lol Calais... classic. I have driven a few laps like that myself.

Like Dave said, we all have plenty of our own opinions and you get them for nuttin'.

Art
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gen1camaro
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The short term budget toward the motor is definitely around $2000. But since there is also a restoration on the chasis still to contend with I have plent elbow grease that is free to put into the project while I get myself through the holidays being piss poor. Fortunately this small block and early gen camaro stuff is pretty affordable so I should have a pretty crazy toy for under the price of a new rice burner and it will keep going up and up in value. To answer a few posts ago I am definitely into the fun (and bragging rights) of building my own engine so I am going with the two bolt main 350 short block that I picked up. I probably will be into it for more that buying one with a warranty but pride takes over. I think I am going to lean toward doing something with the head too. I would really like to have some 2.02's. The machine shop said they can't put 2.02 's in my heads and hardened seats because not enough meat in the head? I don't know if that was b@llsh%t or not. The painted block and aluminum head looks much nicer but I know this ain't about pretty. Hopefully I will get my core small block tore down this week and verify it a standard crank. Jeff
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10sec.et
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1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i admire your desire/need to build it yourself. anybody can just go buy a race motor. its the blood, sweat, and oh-shit moments that define a true hotrodder.
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