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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dears,

Some of you followed my other topics where I was talking about PCV valves... and timing chains... Well it turns out my engine certainly has worn piston ring seals, also cylinders look glassy,...
The cost for bore/honing + new internals + all the work far exceed the cost for a new short block.
The good parts I have :
  • LS T56 trans
  • I am in the process of porting a good set of Vortec heads and have new LS type beheeve spring + retainers for 0.480 lift
  • new in the box XE262 flat tappet hydraulic comp cam + 16 hydraulic lifters
  • performer intake vortec style
  • a good moroso oil pan for old style sbc
  • all new vortec gaskets for intake

One of my options is to buy a short block 350 ci.
Can you share with my your experiences? What would you do?
Would you consider a 1 piece rear main seal?

Also what are the good places to buy a short block from? I live in Belgium/Europe and have a forwarding company in IL, Benseville I can use for shipment by container.

Thanks for your input,

Marc
 

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1968 Camaro SS Clone
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ATK has pretty good prices on short blocks. A 1 piece main seal would be preferred as at tends to be less prone to leaking but that would mean can’t reuse you flywheel or your oil pan (I think). So that increases the cost a bit. But, if you planned to replace them anyway, then no worries.

Are you sure the block must be honed or would a dingle ball get the job done? If it can, and your crank is useable, new rings and bearings is a lot cheaper. For me, my crank was shot and the heads I had were worthless so I just went with a new long block from Blueprint. They don’t advertise a short block in the 350 range though.
 

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Do you need all new rotating parts? Depending on wear, you might just need a hone and new set of rings. If crank and rods are not damaged a set of pistons plus bore/hone has to be less than purchasing and shipping a short block. This assumes you can find a good machine shop where you live.

Another Option is a GM ZZ4 short block for less than $2500 - all new.
 

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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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921 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dears,
I didn't know this flex hone dingle ball job... this seems pretty simple, does it means doing that by myself?
The cylinders look glassy/miror like...

Marc
 

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It's not about them being glassy. What do they measure at? You should take measurements on both axis relative to the block and three different depths of each cylinder. You are looking for taper and out of round conditions. If they are in spec then you can hand hone yourself to get the cross hatch back. That cross hatch is to help the rings seat.

I am no expert and there are people here that know a whole lot more than me, but to me that is the starting point. Measure and document everything then make your plan from that.
 

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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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921 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi, thanks,
I am not really in a hurry but all this was not planned, and so it is not always nice... My wife is bored:) Also I am novice about engine internal, I can assemble but that's it. I have no accurate measurement tools.
OK I take your point I need to measure, I will organize myself.
Besides, it is easy of course to pay and forget... when you see prices of a short lock at Wholesale texas (I just called them seems pretty decent short blocks) or other places it looks like I can spend a lot of time to tear appart, get new weared out parts and if I need to bring it to a machine shop the money will just be better spent on a new short block.

But ok one step at a time, first dissemble.

Thanks though...

Marc
 

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OP

unless you have proper measuring tools (mic) to determine the size of your cylinders and if they are in fact still "round" and are able to measure bearing clearance (read plasti strips are crap) than you would need to have a machine shop do this and machine the block accordingly. A 55 year old engine VERY likely needs re-bore, line bore, decking, etc. The cost for this then the replacement parts generally exceeds what a quality crate engine costs.

IMHO I would look no further than Blueprint engines for a short...or long block. I just got a 355 from them. I have a 1 piece RMS, 4 bolt mains and a full hydraulic roller cam. You could put your Vortec heads on it....or buy a motor with heads from Blueprint. They are a very large facility in Nebraska
 

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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi SoCal, this is indeed exactly what I think... I am interested by a 350 crate engines (all are bored over and roller cam), I wonder what are the differences between the shops, Wholesale Tx is quite cheap, Blueprint they only offer 383... there are others...
I think to go for a shortblock and use my vortec heads because I bought them in 2005 and I didn't really drive the car since then so they have maybe 10 k miles..
BUT the problem is the lift of the cam, in case I go for a roller cam I need to pay attention. I read a lot about these heads it seems the stock rocker arm is the limiting factor and need to be modified for lift around 0.500"...
I also have still in the box a hydraulic flatt tapet cam I could use, compe cam XE262 and the lift is correct.

Then I will need to update parts for the 1 piece RMS and I will ask your help :).
Pilot bushing (I have a T56 LS trans) / fly wheel / water pump / oil pump?

Also I am thinking about reusing my pulleys but changin my ugly brackets... or changing my pulleys but then how to reuse my alternator / AC pump / steering pump? - any experience?
I will keep mu stock radiator, it was acid cleaned some years ago...and I never run into cooling ssues...

I live in Belgium but I am in contact with a shipping agent in Chicago, ocean freight shipping is a forfeit for 1 m3 so I 'd better not forget something...

Thanks :)

Marc
 

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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I may consider this roller cam...on a 355 block using my ported vortec heads with beehive springs and 1.9 / 1.5 valves?
GMPP HOT cam. 218/[email protected], 272/281 adv, 492/492 lift using stock rocker arms, 112 LSA.

What do you think?
What about spring pressure? Roller hydraulic lifters are heavy.

Or any other smaller cam in mind?
In order to keep my beehive springs I may also go for a solid cam, lifters are lighter.

Marc
 

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Save you self the headaches, time and money.

Buy a BP long block like this for under $3700. Done. Roller Cam, specs very close to the cam you have. Aluminum heads with the right springs, rockers, correct oil pan and new parts.

  • 30 month / 50,000 mile warranty
Use your intake, carb, distributor etc. and you're done.

Sell you engine with the heads and other parts you have to offset the cost. I believe there is a fairly strong market in Belgium for the engine and parts you have.
 

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^^^^This Op. The 1st 355 listed in Vega$ link is the one I got. If you call Blueprint they can make any combo, including a full long block with accessories installed for more $. You will receive a dyno chart showing how much HP/TQ your Blueprint motor makes...and it will make more than "advertised. Mine makes 411 HP and 413 TQ with a 220/224 cam

Bee Hive springs are absolutely nothing to build a motor around....IMHO I will never run them after breaking one in a LT1. Go with a dual spring if using your Vortec heads

You want a "pilot bearing" not bushing for your T56, what I have in my T56 car

I suspect you can sell your old stuff for about as much as a new Blueprint engine in Belgium
 

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So, we’re all kinda saying the right thing. Rebuilding is only a great option if your block and rotating assembly can be reused, preferably without any machine work. If you have to replace all of that and get matching in done, its cheap to buy new. If you really want to stick with the Vortec heads you can modify them with hand tools to accept more lift. There is an espidoe of Hot Rod Garage where Tony Angelo does this. They were building a budget 350 to go in a S10 pickup. That could be cost effective if you want. I ended up just getting the Blueprint 355 long block with aluminum heads. I knew I needed a crank and was unsure about the block. I could not build it myself for what I paid for the long block. SoCal and I have the same engine and we are both 100% satisfied and I think most of their customers are. It will cost you a little more but I think you will find a lot of value in that expenditure. And, you can sell the stuff you have to lessen some of the cost. The long block will have the cam, heads and all drive train installed and ready to run. All you need to do is bolt on the balancer, fuel pump, intake, carb and distributor and your pretty much done. I think the heads accept both the standard and Vortec intake manifold bolt pattern but you will want to confirm. With your Vortec heads you’ll have to measure to make sure you have the right length pushrods then order them, then if you are like me, return those and order a new set to get it right, plus assembling and installing the heads and adusting the rocker arms. And don’t forget the oil pump and pan and the timing cover on the front. I suspect you can do all this but it sure is nice to have it ready to go. If you get a Blueprint engine, it will be done in a pretty sophisticated factory which a lot of attention to quality and precision in the build. There is a YouTube video out there that is a tour of the place and I found it pretty impressive. They put a lot of effort into making it hard to screw up your engine. Not to mention the warranty. Build it yourself and your wallet is your warranty department.
 

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Camaro 1968, going along with a propane powered BPE 383 ci, T56, Eaton Posi 4.10:1, MCB Big Brakes
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for your comments... Indeed a hell of a headache in front of me trying to figure out the combo to build, and it sure is interesting to get the fully assembled engine...
My vortec heads are assembled with special reinforced valve seats like for marine application, and SS valves. This is because I am running propane fuel which is here 4 times cheaper than gas. I special ordered these Vortec heads in 2005.
If I am going the route of complete assembled long block, than I am interested to have, if possible , a special order with reinforced valve seats and SS valves. What do your think?
If this is not possible because these are all standard built long blocks, than I can surely drive this new engine without problems for 50-60 k miles (so > 10 years ) and if ever I have a problem well I will rebuilt the heads than... What happens with propane is the insert gets deformed because of the hot dry combustion.

My intake is a modified edelbrock vortec performer intake , I completely removed the divider plate, propane is a gas and profits from a plenum, and it does not fall into droplets.

SoCal you have this engine Vega$69 pointed out? or you have another one? 390 HP versus 411 HP?
I am taking your comments seriously :)

I am more into torque than peak power. Peak power around 5500 is fine for me. Mostly crusing and sometimes get the power on for fun :) No strip, no race, just a w-e driver..

Thanks,

Marc
 

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SoCal you have this engine Vega$69 pointed out? or you have another one? 390 HP versus 411 HP?
I am taking your comments seriously :)

I am more into torque than peak power. Peak power around 5500 is fine for me. Mostly crusing and sometimes get the power on for fun :) No strip, no race, just a w-e driver..

Thanks,

Marc
Marc, Blueprint advertises the HP at "x" but they do dyno every motor and they all generally make more than the "advertised" power. In my case it was 411hp/413TQ but all the motors are only a few HP apart for a given model of motor.

The Blueprint heads on my motor are already drilled for Vortec heads. They can provide SS valves. I will have to look at my build sheet to see if my heads have SS valves

It would be worth a call to them regarding Propane use with their heads. They can also "custom" build any configuration you want

Another interesting, and good, point about BP engines is they are not "rebuilds". Their blocks are new castings they buy and do final machine work there. Their facility mirrors a new engine plant like GM including robotics and in-house engineered assembly equipment (their ring install machine is amazing) so their product is very good

I have a Edelbrock "air gap" dual plane intake with their 600cfm carb (1406) that I have re-jetted (larger) as I got into the fine tuning after break in
 

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SoCal, did BPE tell you they would do something custom? I asked the salesperson if they would put in a different cam and he said they do not do that. Either way, I agree about calling them about using propane. Note, that some of their blocks are listed as “seasoned” so they are not all brand new castings.
 

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I got the impression while watching the video tour through the manufacturing facility that Blueprint would indeed build your engine. I would especially suggest contacting them and tell them your location and requirement for propane. You might actually, due to having them build you a complete long block be able to categorize it under a different tax-saving consideration. Not sure, but hey worth a try.
Brett.....
 

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Buying a short block and think you can just toss on some heads, throw a cam in and be good to go....mistake.

You still need to check/measure piston to valve clearance, and pushrod length at a minimum for starters.

Just a FYI.
 
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