350 engine swap - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 11, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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350 engine swap

I have a 1969 Camaro with a stock 350 and a TH350 trans. It has seen better days, and I am thinking of buying a crate 350 to swap it out with. Eventually I would send it off to a machine shop to have it rebuilt and cleaned up, but that is a ways off. I see lots of options for crate motors on JEGs and Summit Racing, but they indicate they are replacements for particular model years. My question is whether I can buy any 350 crate motor and drop it in the Camaro or is there enough differences between model years that I would have problems? I would hate to spend a lot of money on a new motor only to find that it won't fit in the car.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 11, 05:55 PM
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Re: 350 engine swap

If it is not going to be an original car (crate motor), then it really does not matter which engine you put in...the small block dimensions are the same, regardless of model year, unless you start getting into "newer" LS type stuff...

Just re-use the pulleys, brackets, etc off of your current motor...

the only other difference that jumps to mind is a short water pump vs long water pump, but after '68, all the small block pumps were long (I think)

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 11, 06:38 PM
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Re: 350 engine swap

Also remember if you just get the block and heads, make sure its either a Vortec style or non Vortec style. Meaning, the intake manifold bolts are going straight down in, vs angled in the old style way. Vortec valve covers also bolt in the center as well, vs perimeter.

This is mostly things that'll come up if you will be re-using anything off the 350 you have now.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 11, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 350 engine swap

Thank you for the explanations. I have been hoping to get a block with heads already included to avoid any need to figure out matching. If I understand correctly, a truck 350 small block should be the same as one that came out of a car.

As far as rebuilding my existing 350, I've seen shows where they take the blocks to machine shops and do all kinds of things to the block. Is that really necessary? Will doing a bunch of machining on the block make it produce more horsepower or improve fuel economy enough to notice?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 11, 02:11 AM
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Re: 350 engine swap

machine work is essential to longevity- its got to be bored, hot tanked , new cam bearing-this has to be done for basic rebuild--you can get into decking, line hone,screens in oil galleys, radiusing of crank and so on for performance-a correct rebuild by a machine is a much better way to go--in your case,if you want a crate motor-go with prev 80 model 350-doug herbert also carries great crate motors
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 11, 04:40 AM
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Re: 350 engine swap

Another choice is a Jasper Premium Kit. The kit includes every item from the radiator rearward, meaning new rad cap, hoses, thermostat, etc. You provide the receipt for either a rad cleaning or new radiator, and with the warranty card, 3/36 warranty.

However, nothing like having a new engine, a crate engine. I believe some of the lower HP engines by GM are assembled/made in Mexico, I could be mistaken.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 22nd, 11, 03:04 PM
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Re: 350 engine swap

Buy a new engine from GM, prices are competitive and the warranty is outstanding.
GM offers many choices of stock replacements to Vortecs to Ramjets.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 23rd, 11, 09:59 AM
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Re: 350 engine swap

Any engine from 1964-2000 will bolt in.
1964-1977 will virtually be a direct swap.
1978-1985 will be the same with a P/S dipstick
1986+ will have a 1pc rear main seal, some will have hyd roller cam provisions some wont and most likely a vortec head if its a performance build. If so you need a vortech intake to match and a 1pc rear main seal flex plate for these engines. Everything else will swap over.

If you need any help, let me know.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 24th, 11, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 350 engine swap

Thanks for the feedback! Sounds like I'm in good shape to go buy a decent motor and swap out my current one. The challenge will be what to get.

The other consideration is whether to buy a rebuilt/remanufactured block or buy new. I know the risk of getting a bad block goes up with something used, but considering I don't plan to do more than cruise around in the car, I don't think I'll stress a used engine as long as it's not in really bad shape. Considering the sad shape my current motor is in and still works fine, I don't think it would be a major risk.

I'm still seriously considering finding a really cheap 350 long block and rebuilding it myself as a learning experience. Can anyone tell me what the minimum machine work that would need to be done for something like this and a rough estimate on cost? I figure it would need to be tested for cracks and maybe some machining for tolerances. I would then need to buy a rebuild kit with gaskets and other minor parts that wear out. Has anyone done this with some success on the cheap?

Not being a mechanic or machinist, would that even be possible for me if I get some good books and videos to walk me through the process?
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