Engine opinions please.... - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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I ran my motor numbers by the tag team and they told me its a 1974 truck or van 350 motor rated at 160 h.p. A couple of questions as posted there...

160 h.p.??? How could GM put out such a fine motor as the 350 and only give it 160 h.p.?!!
Well, that explains why the previous owner installed the big cam, headers, Carter AFB...and the no vacuum (thanks to the aforementioned cam). Guess he was trying to regain some of that lost h.p.
Maybe you guys with more experience can help me find a logic path here. What I don't understand is (and I can't get in touch the previous owner anymore)why would he remove the original 327, at 210 h.p.? It would have been a better motor, right? Or am I mixing gross (210 h.p.) and net (160 h.p.)?
If he were going to replace the motor, it seems he could have chosen a better one...or are these particular motors plentiful and cheap?
And, I would like more hp, so I'm wondering, is it worth it, or possible, to "pump up" this motor, or just replace it? Opinions?
Thanks for your help.

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 10:41 AM
DjD
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Hi Steve,

A 350 block will have large crank journals the 327 has small. Size matters in this respect. A truck block may also have 4-bolt mains and is also thought to be better in some performance circles. Combine that with the increase in cubic inches and the 350 block is perfered.

Now, just looking at a 350 block, be it a 160hp truck engine such as yours or a 360hp LT1 from a '69 vette or '70 Z/28 a block is a block. We won't get into metalergy (sp?). You can swap crank, rods, pistons, cam, intake, carb and heads and your truck block will make 360hp and the LT1 block will make 160hp.

...Dennis

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dennis,
That's exactly what I suspected, and precisely what I need to know. You're the best!

Now its making more sense. The motor made 160 hp in stock trim, with the orig cam etc and smog stuff. Right? And with the changes he made, who knows how much hp the thing has now...or torque. I need to find a dyno.
I know he changed the carb, cam, intake and exhaust. I can see and hear those things.
My guess is that he probably left the pistons, rods, crank and heads alone. (Plus it still has contact breaker points.) Otherwise he wouldn't have put in such a big cam!
And THATS why I have hardly any vacuum!
Now then, what has the biggest effect on vacuum... cam, pistons or heads? I believe the pistons determine compression, right? or do the heads help there too? (Man, I better take a course or class!)
See if this makes sense. He already changed some of the items, so if I replace the pistons, rods, heads, and ignition, and have it all tuned, I should have a pretty strong motor, yes? If it was a truck motor, the crank should be heavy duty.
Am I on the right track?

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 01:41 PM
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You probably need to pull the heads to see what you have for pistons. Flat tops or dished will make a lot of difference. The smoggy heads are probably the worst offenders to low performance only second behind the big cam/low compression combo I am betting you have. At least get us the casting number for the heads so we can see what you have there. The bottom end can be made to work as long as we know what you have for the rest of the combo. The block, crank, rods etc might still be good if it is not all worn out. All the rest has to go if you want to go fast. [img]smile.gif[/img]

-Mark.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Mark, Where are the casting #s on the heads?

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 03, 11:00 PM
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Pop a valve cover off and you should see a 8 or 9 digit (I cant remember???) casting number. If it is the original '74 truck heads they will probably have the last 3 digits as 882. It is also possible that the engine has been gone thru before and has aftermarket pistons...no way to tell without removing a head. Any idea what size cam is in it? Have you tried running a cranking compression test, and also measured the idle vacuum? It may just need some tuning. Also, if I had to choose, would take the 160hp 350 over a 210hp 327 any day. They are not rated the same (you hit on that)...by the 327's standards the 350 would be more like 250hp.

And yes, that engine is very "pumpable"

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