400 small block - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 01, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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I just picked up a four bolt main, std. bore 400 SB block, slightly used crank, Torquer II manifold and most of the rest of the motor for $300. I have a 69 camaro with a Muncie four speed and currently a 327 under the hood. I was wondering if the 400 would be a good engine for my car. It is driven on a regular basis. I always heard that 400's are hard to keep cool, is this true. The car does get driven in stop and go traffic in 90 degree weather at times. I also plan to add an air conditioner this summer. Would this engine, slightly warmed over (small cam, intake, four barrel, maybe aluminum heads) be OK for the street or will I have to buy an aluminum radiator to keep it cool.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 01, 08:20 AM
 
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The 400 small block is an externally balanced engine (rotating assembly is balanced with weights on the flywheel). Because of this it was never put in front of a standard shift tranny. Automotive machine shops can remedy this by internally balancing the motor but it's an added cost. The motor does tend to run hotter than other small blocks because the two middle cylinders are siamesed. They only have steam holes to let heat into the water jacketes. If you add non 400 heads make sure the steam holes are drilled in the heads, and the gaskets. Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 01, 10:56 AM
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It's no problem at all to run a 400 with a manual trans. I bought a 400 style flywheel for $90 (new from Speed-O-Motive) and bolted it to my Richmond 5 speed. The only issue was that the clutch linkage boss was not drilled and tapped - I did it myself with no problems.

As far as overheating is concerned - I ran a 400 in my full size Blazer towing boats and trailers all over the Rocky Mountains and also grunting up 4 wheel drive trails above timberline. Never had a problem. The 400 in my '69 works just fine even with an air conditioning radiator in front of the standard radiator. Just make sure the steam holes are drilled in the heads and gaskets, and run a good fan with shroud.

------------------
Scott
'69 400SB, Richmond 5-speed
www.geocities.com/sdenning1
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 01, 02:15 PM
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Gman,
Just a minor correction, the 400 was used in many a pickup truck with a manual trans. The flywheels are still available from GM.


------------------
Bill Koustenis
Owner
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Waldorf Md
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 01, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot. Someone told me that you could buy weights that bolt on my existing 327 flywheel. Anyone heard of this? I was also planning on running Dart Iron Eagle II heads. Can anyone suggest a good cam for these heads along with my Performer RPM intake.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 01, 08:03 AM
 
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Sorrrrrryyyy!(Like Pee-Wee Herman would say) Wouldn't the engine need to be re-balanced if you changed the flywheel? (If the original wasn't with the crank)?????
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 01, 12:45 PM
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On your balance question. As Gman said a 400 is externally balanced with an offset balanced flywheel and harmonic balancer. The 327 is internally balanced with a straight balance flywheel and harmonic balancer. There is a weight plate that can be purchased to go behind the flywheel or flex plate to make it possible for you to use a 327 or 350 fly wheel. I believe this plate is different if it is an automatic or straight stick, but I will have to check on that. If you need one of these weight plates I have a new one still sealed in the bag. I paid $25 for it and you can have it for the same. I use one on my 400. Your head choice is a good one. I use the same heads and am very happy with them. I think I would stay away from aluminum though. If you did overheat they are not very forgiving.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 01, 12:47 PM
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There are flange adapters to correct balance problems on these engines when not using the correct flywheel. I see them advertised on ebay all the time.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 01, 03:28 AM
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so i've heard... all 400's dampers and flywheels were balanced the same...i would still have the rotating assembly balanced (damper,crank,rods,pistons,and flywheel ) balanced for better performance, and state of mind.

------------------
My '68 Camaro
Doug G.
68 Camaro
406 ci.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 01, 06:48 AM
 
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I had a 406 in my 67 camaro and the main problem you will have is overheating. Buy the balancer from GM and there are no problems. If you plan on spinning this set up over 6000 RPM then everyone is right, you need to balance the engine. Mine was an 11.60 motor and I have to put an aluminum radiator in it to kep it cool. Kepp this in mind. Also keep this in mind 350 heads do not bolt right on this engine you have to get them drilled for steam holes or use th JUNK 400 heads stick with a small cam and it will run great. One last thing is you can not use a 327 balancer, because the 400 has 1/2 of the balancer cut out and the flywheel can not be used either. It can get very costly to put one in trust me. Hope this helps without scaring you.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 01, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have the correct balancer and the correct automatic flywheel. I just don't want to get rid of my four speed. I have everything for the motor except the heads and the flywheel. Like was suggested earlier, I will use my 327 flywheel with the bolt on weight and I will get everything balanced.

I plan on running Dart's Iron Eagle II heads with a Performer RPM intake and a 600 or 750 holley. Can anyone suggest a good cam to go with this combination? Keep in mind that this car will be driven alot. I do want it to lope when it idles though.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 01, 09:21 AM
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Cameron -

I have a 400 SB in my '69 with a Richmond 5 speed. The first time I built the motor I ran 9.5 to 1 compression, Edelbrock Performer RPM heads and intake, an Edelbrock 600 cfm carb and Comp Cams Extreme Energy XE274 cam (230/236 duration, .489/.489 lift and 110 LSA). This in a great combo and the cam is, IMO, an awesome cam and perfect for this application. It has a good lope, wide powerband, plenty of vacuum for brakes, and the motor idles anywhere I want it to. I have also gotten 20 MPG cruising at 65 mph for longer distances.

I am currently rebuilding mine (I spun a bearing). This time around I'm switching to AFR 195 heads, flat tops for 10.5 to 1 compression (I'm at 5500 feet of elevation) and the CC hydraulic roller version of the 274. Same duration, but more lift and much fatter lobes. The combo should come in right around 500 hp/lb.ft. of torque.

One more thing - maybe it's just my suspicious nature, but I don't like the idea of the bolt on plate for the flywheel. I'd vote for a new flywheel (or even a junkyard version) for the $90 it's peace of mind for a part that's a pain to get to and can cause an immense amount of damage if it goes south. Sell the old flywheel to help with the cost. Just my 2 cents.

Lastly - don't forget to check the starter and clutch linkage bolts holes in the block and watch for inteference with the sway bar.

------------------
Scott
'69 400SB, Richmond 5-speed
www.geocities.com/sdenning1
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 01, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Rockymountain racer, Did you ever have any problems with overheating? What kind of radiator do you run? I currently have the stock radiator in my car. It has no problems keeping the 327 cool, but what about a 400?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 01, 11:58 AM
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No overheating problems. I run the stock 3 core I believe with a stock fan, clutch and shroud. I had the radiator rodded out but that's it. I have even sat in rush hour traffic in the summer and the car was fine. However, if for some reason I did have overheating problems, I would pop for an aluminum radiator. It's worth it IMO for all the power you get from a 400.

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Scott
'69 400SB, Richmond 5-speed
www.geocities.com/sdenning1
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