Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE. - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 08, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

Here's the situation...forgive me for the long story, but it might be necessary.

I've got a 69 camaro that I have been working on for a few years now and just finished it a few weeks ago. I purchased tags for it and was able to drive it for pretty much the first time ever. After about a 30 min. drive, white smoke started boiling out of the driver side tail pipe. After a few posts here on TC and after taking the engine apart I realized it was a blown head gasket which was blown in two different places.

note: the motor was "complete" and ran when I purchased the car.

Working on a motor is a complete learning curve for me. I removed the heads and intake manifold and took them to a machinist, who i was referred to. The heads did not have a crack but he said they were trash. They were peanut heads from a 454 Big Block '72 truck. The intake is a GM 3933163 dual plane manifold (which he said was very good). The machinist for some reason thought that I had a 427 but I informed him that I had a 454 big block. He told me to get the piston numbers to him.

So, I went home and gave him the numbers 7011P - 060. He told me that they were 427 pistons bored 60 over. Then I gave him the block number 3999289 & D-11-72, which then he told me was a 454 block from 1972. He also told me that the compression ratio is 10.9 - 1 and 2323 PRW (not sure what that means).

At this point I was confused but he talked me through it. The machinist then added that I probably have a steel crank shaft. He also was suggesting that I rebuild the motor since I have no idea what I have on the bottom...

NOW, here is my question. What would you do? I really dont have the money to rebuild it, but I could get it through a loan. However, I do have enough to get cast iron oval port heads and an edelbrock intake to match. The machinist said cast iron heads and an intake, ready to go from him, would be around $1000. He said for me to get the motor rebuilt would be around $2500 - $3000. He also suggested that I get a new cam if i do not rebuild, and that would be an additional $500 (for a "great" cam, lifters, time chain, etc.)

Would me purchasing JUST the heads, cam, and intake be a possible waste down the road? Or is a rebuild even necessary?

Any suggestions?? Thoughts??

Thanks for your help.
-Aaron
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 08, 08:14 PM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

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The heads did not have a crack but he said they were trash. They were peanut heads from a 454 Big Block '72 truck.
Why are they trash?Are the seats and guides worn out? Or is he saying they are trash because they are not great flowing heads.

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 08, 10:21 PM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

I agree with where I think Chad is headed,,,,,unless there's something actually wrong with the heads and if money is an issue and it ran ok other than white smoke from a blown head gasket......why not clean it up and put a set of head gaskets on it and run the damthing awhile? All you'd be out is gaskets and labor. It would be the same engine you had before just with good head gaskets.

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 01:21 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

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Originally Posted by 77wolf10.85 View Post
I agree with where I think Chad is headed,,,,,unless there's something actually wrong with the heads and if money is an issue and it ran ok other than white smoke from a blown head gasket......why not clean it up and put a set of head gaskets on it and run the damthing awhile? All you'd be out is gaskets and labor. It would be the same engine you had before just with good head gaskets.
i quote tim all the way..
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 02:53 AM
 
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

Here's a possibility, while you may have a 454 Block, if it has pistons that your machinist says are for a 427 then you may have a 427 Crankshaft in your block and thus the 427 pistons. The Bore is the same on a 427 and 454 (4.250") but the stroke is only 3.76 on the 427 whereas the 454 has a 4.00 " stroke. Seems to me that the pin location would be different on the 427 pistons to accomodate the shorter stroke and would not work with a 454 crankshaft, so I bet you actually have a 427 steel crank in your 454 block is what your machinist is trying to tell you.
I found this info also on the web those are Forged Speed Pro Domed Pistons made by TRW, "The Speed Pro #7011P piston is for the Chevy 427. It has 1/16-1/16-3/16 ring combination, the piston pin can be either press fit or floated, it needs .005 piston to wall clearance, has a .427 dome which equates to 12.0-to-1 compression with the 106.9 cc factory heads. This is a replacement piston designed for the L88 and ZL1 Closed Chambered 427 engine. "
If you could land a pair of closed chambered rectangular port heads those baby's would give you that 12:1 compression but then you would have to run race gas or premium with a significant amount of octane booster with your peanut heads you'll still probably get a decent 10:1 compression.

I agree with these other guys here that if you don't have the money to rebuild now then just tell the guy to put some new head gaskets on it clean up your old heads and go. You can drive in the mean time while you figure out what you want to do.

Another option would be to simply tear down the motor and inspect everything just to see what you actually have, cam, crank, pistons, rods and get all your numbers together. Gaskets are cheap and then you'll know what you have. Food for thought.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

These are all really great points. To answer "why they are trash", is because the machinist told me that since they are peanut heads for a truck, they are pretty much the last type of heads I need. (due to the flow). That is pretty much their overall point. (I say overall, because there was one of his workers there that is supposed to be a "big block guru", and he was agreeing with this info).

I guess I really didn't think about using the same heads because they were so adamant about this point. Also, they were saying that if I fixed up the heads that I have, it wouldn't be A LOT cheaper than just buying used oval port heads and having those fixed up. I am not sure how true that is...
I will say this. They both seemed like very honest guys and seemed like they wanted to tell me the right thing. The machinist is well known guy.

About the car running well...I honestly couldn't tell you how this car would feel "running well". I've never owned a big block or a muscle car for that matter. And the car ran the same, the few times a just took it for a spin, since I purchased it. So I am sure the car had a blown head gasket since I bought it. But from what you guys seem to be saying, is that it WOULD in fact run just fine with the heads I've got, right?

Let's put it this way, I've got about $1200 to spend right now, but after that it would have to be coming out of a loan.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 06:06 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

Dont borrow money to fix your car.Its a bad idea unless its your daily driver and you need to get to work to pay the loan back.Performance wise the heads you have are not the best choice out there.But the engine will run fine with them just not make as much horsepower.On a budget and not being sure what condition the bottom end is in I would have the heads checked to make sure they are not warped have a valve job done and put them back on.With gaskets and machine work you should be able to do this for $300.00 or so.With the engine up and running you can do a compression test and check oil pressure to get an idea of the condition of the bottom end.Then save your money and buy some aftermarket aluminum heads later.JMO

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 06:19 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

One more thought.As far as the horsepower its all in what you want.Their are guys on here running 327 210 hp cars and 6 cylinders and happy with their cars.A peanut port 427 makes alot more HP and touque than one of those.

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 06:53 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

I'm not sure exactly which heads he has. If they're "oval port", then they are perfect for the street.

Here's a head chart listing from one of my engine books -


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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 07:02 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

It's important to note the HUGE variety of big block heads that Chevrolet produced way back then, as per pic above. There are two basic combustion-chamber types: "open" and "closed".

Additionally, and this is the confusing part for many - there were THREE different port types. These are usually referred to as "rectangular", "oval" and "peanut". However, I have seen many people confuse the oval with the peanut. The peanut heads are certainly not great flowing heads, mainly for trucks using low-rpms and lot of torque.

But the "oval" heads are GREAT for the street and they will make plenty of power.

Here's a pic showing the 3 different ports -



-

Dave F. in Rhode Island
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 07:11 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

Hope all the info doesn't confuse you. I have been in your shoes MANY times. It's always a real dilemma to try and figure out what's the best approach.

But you've mentioned one thing that stands out above all others - that you don't really have the money at the moment. This makes it a complete no-brainer.............. Fix what you have and get it running right. Then take your time and build a proper engine when you have the money and time.

I can virtually guarantee you this - $1,200 is NOT enough money to start contemplating buying new heads, cam, intake, etc, etc.

Fughedaboudit - fix your current heads and enjoy it for a while.

-

Dave F. in Rhode Island
'68 Camaro SS Accel DFI 454 (SOLD - I'm a boring Corvette owner now)
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 09:20 AM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
Hope all the info doesn't confuse you. I have been in your shoes MANY times. It's always a real dilemma to try and figure out what's the best approach.

But you've mentioned one thing that stands out above all others - that you don't really have the money at the moment. This makes it a complete no-brainer.............. Fix what you have and get it running right. Then take your time and build a proper engine when you have the money and time.

I can virtually guarantee you this - $1,200 is NOT enough money to start contemplating buying new heads, cam, intake, etc, etc.

Fughedaboudit - fix your current heads and enjoy it for a while.

-
Ditto, unless your current heads are trash.

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

I appreciate all of your help. Dave, the picture reinforces that in fact I do have "peanut" port heads.

I believe for now I am going to purchase the new oval heads. But I do have one question. Should I purchase a Edelbrock intake to match? Or is it not a good idea to use the intake that I currently have?? If I use the intake that I have, will that hurt anything? Or will it decrease the performance any? I wasn't sure. Again, the intake that I currently have is a GM 3933163 dual plane manifold.

Thanks again for all of your input.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 08, 08:28 PM
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

3933163 should be a rectangle port manifold, is it? You can run a rectangle port intake on oval port heads, but it would be better if they are all one or the other. If it hasn't been altered and is in good shape, the intake should be worth some money... there are 5 on ebay right now ranging from $150 to $500.

3933163 1968-69 396 375 L-78/L-89
427 425 copo


$1K seems steep for iron heads. What casting number is he proposing to give you?

Eric
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 8th, 08, 01:45 AM
 
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Re: Possible Engine Rebuild! Thoughts PLEASE.

I agree. A Peanut Headed 427 is still a 427 and once you get those heads reworked your car will run a lot better anyway. I'd put it back together, drive it for a while and just enjoy it and save up for a good rebuild and this time you can do it right and know what you've got in it. A decent set of New Aluminum Big Block Heads is going to run you in the 2-3 Thousand dollar range alone. You might find some used cast iron heads on ebay for 500-1000 range. Who knows? My personal choice is the Rectangular Port heads even for the street, I ran them on my 68 with a 540 and OH BOY were they fun! I know everyone says the oval ports are great for the street, but I like those ports big and ready to flow some serious air!!!! A healthy big block usually has plenty of Torque anyway, so I never worried too much about the bottom end, mine felt plenty strong. Unfortunately I had a brain fart and sold my 68 and now I'm demoted to playing with mouse motors, but Hey! they're still fun too!~ and cheaper to build!
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