Engine selection advice needed!! - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Location: Brea, California (Orange County)
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Engine selection advice needed!!

I just pulled my engine out of my 68 camaro to recondition everything under the hood. I'll be painting and cleaning up the wiring to make it look better, but I would like some advice on what I should do about the engine.

I currently have a 350 which originally came out of a '79 chevy truck. It was rebuilt about 4 years ago but does not give me enough satisfaction while driving it. So, this is what I'm getting at-- I want a 383 that produces 400hp and 400 lbs of torque.
Should I get a crate engine such as the GM ZZ383 425HP/460TQ that costs around $4800? Or should I take my current '78 truck engine to a reputable shop and pay to have it rebuilt? Since I am new to the scene I am not knowledgable enough to know about whether certain 350's are better than others. Does it matter whether a 350 came out a truck, camaro, or so forth?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 08:50 PM
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Wes
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

What heads and intake do you have and did you want to use them on the 383?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 09:57 PM
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Keith
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

Your 79 block sould be fine for a 400hp 383. No problems. I'd build the engine you have. If you use a good machine shop, you'll be able to build a better, more powerful engine, cheaper than that crate engine will cost you. Figure around $500 for machine work, and if you buy a rototing assembly, you can get a complete assembly from jegs for $912. It comes with balancer and flexplate. Gat a set of Summit's modified vortec heads for $650, add and intake for $160, rockers for $200 and a cam/lifters for around $190 and you'll have a more powerful engine than that crate for around $2612. Add $56 for and oil pump, and $60 for gaskets and nw you only have $2674 in the complete engine. I'd call Lunati and run one of their new Voodoo cams. You should be able to reach your hp goals easilly, if not end up with even more power.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 10:09 PM
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

some truck 350's had 020 cast in the block near the camshaft behind the cover...this particular block had 20% MORE NICKEL CONTENT.making it a desirable block.......personaly i would biuld an engine before buying a crate engine.......you might want to scrounge wrecking yards lookin for a 1 piece rear main seal block with the fuel pump provision....although the block is not as strong as earlier ones you have the advantage of running a hydraulic roller cam which is cheaper by far than your retrofit hydraulics......i have one in my 91 shorty with a comp cams hyd roller and ive run the motor to 6200 lots on stock GM hydraulic rollers ... www.hardcoreparts.ca
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

Thanks for the reply guys.
Wow, so your saying I can get the power I want by rebuilding the one I have? That sounds much better to me.

When the engine was rebuilt 4 yrs ago, a high performance cam was installed, the seller. It generates a lumpy sound which I do enjoy. I have an Edelbrock Air Gap intake manifold, and, "camel hump heads" (which I know nothing about except when I looked up the numbers on the heads that's what I found out what they were). Which would be better- replacing them with the Vortec heads or aluminum heads such as Edelbrock or Patriot? If I'm not going to buy a new crate motor then I don't mind spending a few bucks more on replacing with better components (seeing that I've already saved to buy the crate).
I also have a Holley 660 Street Avenger Carb.(60670), but its not pretty- do you think it could use a rebuild? I also have a MSD billet distributer (part # 8361), do they wear out? It also looks horrible- should I replace the cap after cleaning it up?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 06, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

I was wrong about the year of the engine. Its actually a truck engine from '72 or '74. The number on the front of the block is 124378L320004. On the bottom of the block there is some writing on the block in this order:

Bala
Bahance
MTC-1
KB700

I just checked google search engine to see what would come up. Do you think MTC-1 refered to a Melling camshaft? Could KB700 refer to Keith Black Pistons?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 06, 09:16 AM
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Greg
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

Budget is always the big question. Since you already have a nice intake, you will want to go with a non-vortec type head only because the Vortecs would require a new intake.

If your goal is really only 400 HP at the crank you can get there with the heads you have. They will be a big restriction if you get the fever for more though (you will!). There are lots of good iron and aluminum heads out there....what is your total budget?

69 Camaro, 3650lbs., 400ci, TH400, Coan 10" converter, 3.50 gear
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 06, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Smile Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

I can afford some good ones, being that I originally planned on buying a whole new crate engine. Any advice would be great on some really good ones. I want to get the most out of this rebuild. I'd love to get even 450 HP if possible.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 06, 11:37 PM
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Keith
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

$%) hp souldn't be a problem. A pretty good head that won't break the bank is the Trick Flow aluminum heads from Summit racing. They flow well enough to make the power you're looking for and will accept all standard SBC parts. They're around $960 assembled, or if you want them with a little better springs add $100. They out flow the Vortecs and the Vortecs flow enough to support 450-500hp.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 06, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

Do you think I can just keep it as it is and replace with new heads and get, lets say, 375+ HP?
I called a few places about turning it into a 383 and they're bidding closer to 4K dollars.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 06, 10:09 PM
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Keith
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

Which Air Gap intake do you have, the Performer or the Preformer RPM? But to answer your question easily, yes. If your 350 is in good shape and is a good runner, a head and cam swap can easily get you 400hp. The cam will be a little more radical than would be needed in a larger engine, but not much.The 350 will like a little more rpms to make the power than the 383 would need. The $4000 prices on the 383 build is probably with them assembling the engine and doing all the fitting for you.S hop rates are expensive.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 06, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

I have the Performer RPM. I do already have a radical cam- I believe its a .511 lift. I'm still debating over keeping this one ar buying the GM 383 ZZ4. I'm just debating the cost.
I just pulled the engine out today and am going to start cleaning up the compartment area tomorrow.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 06, 09:41 AM
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

If it were my project, I would use the extra money you would spend on the stroked crate motor and spend it on a good set of heads and a cam and still have money left over. Unless you know the exact specs on the cam, and it's what you need, I would not use it. Keep it as a .350, spend that stroker money on a set of AFR CNC ported heads, choose a cam that is designed to work with those heads, your gear ratio, stall speed (what tranny and axle ratio do you have?) and you will have more HP. Consult a cam manufacturer (I recc Comp Cams) once you nail down all of the other variables and go with their recommendation. Don't use too big of a cam. It will kill your low end TQ and driving pleasure. You will get a lot more HP by using an execelent set of heads than you'll gain by adding 33 cubes and a set of average heads. Do you have headers? If not, you should add them to get the most out of those heads.

Distributors do have components that wear, but only after 150,000+ miles. Use some of that money you saved to buy a new cap and rotor and wires(they're not cheap when buying for an aftermarket distributor - but you just saved over $2,000). Wires do degrade so replacing them will be a plus.

That carb should be fine too. If in doubt have it rebuilt. When I was touring the Holley plant in Bowling Green, they offered a rebuilding service. You might want to check into that. Or else see if the guys here know of a good place to send it. Don't just take it to anyone.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 06, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: Engine selection advice needed!!

O.K., now I see that the crate may not be the bast choice. I was told that I have a .511 lift cam when I bought the car. Should I go with GM Vortec heads then? I see them from Summit Racing- they say that they have some for cams with high lifts. I'm pretty sure the cam is a .511 due to the "lumpy" sound it has at idle.

Vortecs then? Should I replace the cam to be safe?
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