Opinions on destroked 400 - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 03, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm in the process of shopping for a 2nd gen camaro. I was looking at one earlier today. I have a question about the engine. I figured I'd ask on this forum as you guys seem to know your poop.

This is basically the story the seller gave me. The engine is a 377, a 400 with 350 crank with 430 hp. 69 LT1 Heads on a 4 bolt 400. 800 Holley double pumper. It has a muncie 4 speed and richmond 4.11 gears. He says the car ran a 12.49. he says is has a huge cam in it and if I wanted to use it on the street I should put in a smaller cam. When he started it up, it was idling pretty high, and very loud (which is good). [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

He went on to talk about carb jets, timing, degreeing the cam. Kind of lost me abit. He said there is one of the distributor screws broken off and it's hard to get the thing to stay in one place. So he has to time it by hand or something like that. He also said that he's got 1.6 rockers and needed the tall valve covers and that every other day it's a good idea to check the vavle cover bolts for tightness.

I guess what i'm wondering is there anything in the above that doesn't groove. I'm pretty sure there are no 4 bolt 400's so it got me thinking hmmm, what's up with this. Would there be a reason that he had the thing at 2000? rpm, showing me this motor, why would I have to retighten the vavle covers. He definitely was pretty bent on letting me know it was a better drag car than street car. He made it seem that even driving it down the road would be a project in itself and if it would be a good idea to switch it to auto if I wanted to use it for the street, and even at that it could use a 4000 converter.

Any thoughts or am I just being paranoid.

By the way, dude wants 4k canadian (2700 USD) for the car. Missing some of the ground effects, not so good paint job and the interior needs some love.

Looking for any good info on building a 383.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 03, 09:14 PM
SY1
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Dave
 
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Sounds like he's being pretty honest with you. I respect a guy who lets me know the bad with the good up front. They did make 4 bolt 400s from 1970-72. You can machine any of the other 400s to accept the standard 4 bolt main caps or splayed 4 bolt caps. The 377 should be a real screamer. It'll turn a lot more rpm than the 400 and the larger bore unshrouds the valves and give you more cubes. It should outrun any 350 thrown at it. I'd be inclined to run different cylinder heads, but those aren't bad for a factory head. The distributor comments need a little clarifying. Sounds like he's stripped the distributor hold down bracket bolt possibly? There is no need to run tall rockers with 1.6 rockers, but it's possible they're roller rockers and he may have stud girdles on top of that. In those cases if they're anything other than stamped steel rockers, yes he probably needed the tall valve covers. With 1.7 rockers on a small block you definitely need the tall rockers. The valve covers should never need retightening, so I'd ask him again to clarify what he means there. Better find out what compression and the specs on the cam before you buy it to run on the street. It can get real old driving an ex drag car on the street for any length of time. It's a lot of fun occassionally, but if it's more than a Saturday night thing you'll get tired of it real quick.

I'd ask him about compression ratios, cam specs, solid or hydraulic lifters and what he did to fit the small 350 main bearings into the large 400 main journals. If he used the thicker adapter bearings available today you're okay. If he used bearing spacers I'd stay away from it. They're know to have problems transfering the heat from the cylinders into the main webs. If the heat doesn't carry away from the rods through the bearings and crank into the block the crank will not survive very long. Drive the thing and decide if it's something you canlive with on the street before you buy it.

Good Luck,
Dave

"..............what, and get out of aviation??"
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 03, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Dave.

PS. Go Wings!!

Looking for any good info on building a 383.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 06:26 AM
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I agree with what SY1 said. I was also puzzled about the distributor thing, but even if one of the hold down bolts is stripped it isn't too expensive to get fixed. Also the valve cover thing... I don't know.

Are you sure he had it idling at 2k rpm? If so, I would have him turn down the idle speed and listen to the engine running at a bit of a slower speed. Even with a big hairy cam it should be able to hold idle at something like 1200rpm. I'm wondering if the idle was turned up to perhaps mask some problem... perhaps I'm just being paranoid though!

Good luck. If the body is straight, I'd say $2700 American is probably a good deal. What year 2nd gen is it? I personally like the 70-73 cars.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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It's an 81. Which is what I want. Yeah that's what I was thinking that maybe he was masking something.

Looking for any good info on building a 383.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 11:17 AM
 
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Question

Am I missing something here?? I thought there is ONLY one distributor hold down bolt!!!



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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 11:20 AM
 
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Am I missing something here b/c I thought there is ONLY one distributor hold down bolt??

BTW, yes, sounds like a race motor that like already said will end up being a handfull on the street.

The cam can be changed, but if it is above pump gas CR. range, then you have a time feeding the beast, CHEAPLY, that is, that's all....

pdq67



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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 11:20 AM
 
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Oooop's, sorry for the now three posts... pdq67



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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 01:45 PM
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Pdq,

My Edelbrock intake has two bolt holes for the distributor hold down. You only need to use one hole for a standard hold down, however I've seen some setups that use both holes and were referred to as "dual distributor hold downs." I don't think it's a big problem.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 04:05 PM
 
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Angry

Thx, Boodle!

I learn something everyday...

pdq67



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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well got some further info from the seller today. It's 11.2 compression, but I guess he had mentioned to my buddy that they are 10.5:1 pistons, so I guess with the LT1 heads that could make sense. He said it's a '74 block so I guess it's not a 4 bolt.

Is 11.2 compression to much for street?

Looking for any good info on building a 383.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 03, 07:58 PM
 
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In a word, yes, imho..

By the time you lose some compression due to a bigger cam with more overlap, you will probably be out of any street motors usable rpm band anyway...

How far am I off here guy's???

pdq67



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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 15th, 03, 09:19 PM
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Led,

Don't be so sure about the 74 block. All 74 L82 motors used in Corvette and Z/28 were 4 bolt blocks, with some darn good internals. I rebuilt a couple of the 74Z/28 engines. Block was 4 bolt with a forged steel crank, pinked rods with pressed pins and forged pistons, factory windage trays and HD oil pump. Sure they were only 9:1 compression but they still had some good internals. The heads had guideplates, blue tipped pushrods, 2.02 and 1.60 valves. I suppose if you used 10.5 pistons for the 76 cc head the 74 motor would have had and then swapped some LT1 heads with 64cc chambers it would bump the compression up around 11.2, considering the thicker composite head gasket I'm sure that was used compared to the steel shim gasket the 74 came with.

PDQ is right about the cam. I'm sure if it has enough overlap it'll bleed off some of the compression anyway, but it also isn't going to have much low end torque like you'd want on the street. It all depends on what you want. I happen to like 4.88 gears, 12:1 pistons, cross rams and service package camshafts, without power steering or brakes and a four speed...once in a while. But it can get a little busy for the average enthusiast that is just looking for a nice cruise car. I brought a 68 Z like that home years ago. Having just sold a 70 SS 396 Chevelle with power everything and auto that my wife loved to drive she was excited to have a chance to drive the little 302 with all the drag strip trimmings. She drove one house down turned around and said that's enough for her! This was a woman who had a beautiful 72 Z when we dated. She was right to drive it more than a couple times a week was not fun.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 03, 05:58 PM
 
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2700US would be a very fair price if it is a solid car with a good muncie, rearend and strong running motor.

There are some issues though;

Even though the 81's are heavy, a 377 with a cam too radical for the street with those gears should be much faster than 12.5. The heads may be the weak link, but I've gone 11's with 462's and know of several others that have done the same.

If it's been used as a drag only car you need to make sure it doesn't have a spool in the rearend.

Don't sweat the compression. If the engine was not blue printed it may be less than advertised if the block was not zeroed and the heads cc'd(the chambers are usually a bit larger than advertised). If it is actually 11+ you can lose a bit of compression by going to a slightly thicker head gasket. If you can't reduce the CR enough while retaining adequet quench height it is very easy to grind a few cc's out of the chamber using only stones on an electric drill. These mods only cost you the price of some gaskets and 20$ for grinding stones, plus you will know what the actuall CR is.

If the motor is not a waste case you can't go wrong at that price but fully expect to put some money in it to get it to run right.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 03, 08:06 PM
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Did they make LT-1's in '69?
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