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Discussion Starter #1
I'm targeting January to start my 383 build, and have started my due diligence for my parts list. Starting with a bare block, I was looking at this pre-machined block from Chevy Performance:

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/nal-88962516

Or, I have a friend that has a 350 4 bolt main block that needs machining. Are there any advantages for one block over the other? Seems like pricing will be about the same between either direction, unless the pre-machined block would need additional attention.

I'm well aware of the crate options that are competitively priced, but I do place value in the learning process and look for this to be somewhat of a father/son project.

Thoughts?
 

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If its a father son project I'd get the one to do the prepwork on and tear down myself. Lots for fun to be had with a dremel on an old block and heads! I would check to see if its a high nickel block though. Not sure if that really matters but my dad always told me to and so I did. :yes:

- Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Rob. The block that my friend has is already a bare block, has been machined before in the past, but will need additional work, including clearancing. I will eventually pull the motor in my car when swap time comes, and we'll have some fun with that too. :yes:
 

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Machining? I guess you mean checked for deck parallel with crank center line, line bore checked , etc?

Depending on what rods you intend to use , like cap screw type, after market, etc, you still may have to check final side rail clearances and don't forget about decking the block to make sure you get proper quench on your piston to heads.

I personally like the older , more seasoned blocks with high nickel contents. What I used on my last build.

Then you might want to ask your self , why stop at 383? Why not a Little M block and go for longer strokes?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Don. Yes, by machining I meant all of the above. I was looking at forged rods and need to stick to my $5-$6K budget. That Little M block is almost 3 times as much as the Chevy 383 block. Need to save some dollars for the rear end.
 

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You could check a Dart SHP block. Nice piece.
 

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Thanks Don. Yes, by machining I meant all of the above. I was looking at forged rods and need to stick to my $5-$6K budget. That Little M block is almost 3 times as much as the Chevy 383 block. Need to save some dollars for the rear end.
I just did a build on a 406--parts detail below. You will need to add the cost of heads, block and a crank (I already had those), but should still come in better than your $5K cost...My machinework was done at a local machine shop, and I assembled myself in the shop (with the oversight of the machinist, since it was my first build...

Couple of notes--you will save some $$$ on the machine work if you are buying new heads that are ready to run--just make sure the springs are matched to your cam. You will also save some cash on the cam kit, since you will not need new valve springs.

406 build Machine work:
Block:
cook and Magnaflux $60.00
Block: Bore and hone $110.00
bearings/freezeplugs $93.03
Heads:
Disassemble and clean $40.00
Heads: valve job $85.00
Heads: setup spring pressure and assemble $50.00
Balance assembly $125.00
Resurface flywheel $25.00
Comp Cams 7609 pushrods $90.42
Machine work total $678.45

Parts:
Cam Kit: K12-432-8 $983.27
cam kit discount ($49.16)
Roller rockers--CCA-17004-16 $165.95
Rods--Scat--SCA-25700 $283.97
Pistons--SLP-H615CP30 $168.39
Harmonic balancer PFS-80001 $60.00
water pump-SUM-311006 $67.95
Timing tab SPE-4237 $4.95
Head bolts NAL-12495499 $33.97
oil pan bolts SUM-G1570HS $4.95
Timing cover bolts SUM-G1574HS $2.95
Head gaskets-FEL-1014 $77.50
oil pump MEL-M155 $31.95
oil pump screen assembly MEL-55-S1 $7.95
oil pump pushrod MOR-22070 $14.95
Parts total: $1,859.54
Grand Total: $2,537.99
 

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If you want to use a hyd roller camshaft the GM block linked is nice. Not saying it's the best deal or will ultimately cost less money, but a retrofit roller cam/lifters is more expensive than the factory roller block set up.

- If you use a standard 3.75" stroke crank, you'll get 377 ci with a 4" bore. Not a big deal, just letting you know. A 3.80'' stroke will get you to 383, but piston choices are limited.

- Consider having your machinist assemble the short block. 383s are prone to having cam lobe/connecting rod interference. Also consider using a reduced base circle camshaft to lessen the possibility.

- I have never heard of a SBC connecting rod that wasn't forged - some are better than others though.

- The one piece rear main seal is nice - far less prone to leaking compared to the old 2 piece deign. A couple of downsides though are that a specific flywheel/flexplate is required, and if it does leak the transmission needs to be removed to gain access for repair.
 

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- If you use a standard 3.75" stroke crank, you'll get 377 ci with a 4" bore. Not a big deal, just letting you know. A 3.80'' stroke will get you to 383, but piston choices are limited.
True--But I think most folks with a 383 stick with the 3.75 stroke, and do an overbore of .030 to get you to the 383...

This also is less limiting of the piston choices...

Check craigslist, local ads for a 350 4 bolt main block--you can usually get a block pretty cheap...if you can find an original complete motor, even better...then you know what you have as you disassemble it, and can clean and re-use the tin parts--pan, timing cover, etc...
 

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You could check a Dart SHP block. Nice piece.
Agree with Mike above. For another $535, you could go for the SHP block and could build a SB 427 (4" stroke, 4.125" bore),..or a 400 (3.75" stroke). There's no easier path to HP than cubic inches if you're in the design phase of the build.

Here's the SHP block from Dart for $1529 (vs. $995 for the 350 block)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/380760086364?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

...no brainer IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just did a build on a 406--parts detail below. You will need to add the cost of heads, block and a crank (I already had those), but should still come in better than your $5K cost...My machinework was done at a local machine shop, and I assembled myself in the shop (with the oversight of the machinist, since it was my first build...
Thanks for the parts list Keith. The machine work costs help. What crank and heads did you use for this build?
 

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Thanks for the parts list Keith. The machine work costs help. What crank and heads did you use for this build?

I had a set of DART Iron Eagle 200CC that were on my 383 that I freshened up and re-used on the 406. I used a stock GM 400 crank for the build...

Your parts will obviously be a bit different, but I figured this should give you a good ballpark of what to expect.

MOST of the parts were sourced from Summitracing.com

Not a bad build cost, if it is even close to what the Desktop Dyno says: 461HP peak, and 513ft/lbs peak
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you use a standard 3.75" stroke crank, you'll get 377 ci with a 4" bore. Not a big deal, just letting you know. A 3.80'' stroke will get you to 383, but piston choices are limited.

- Consider having your machinist assemble the short block. 383s are prone to having cam lobe/connecting rod interference. Also consider using a reduced base circle camshaft to lessen the possibility.
Thanks for pointing this out Al. I'm leaning towards just using my friend's 350 block, as it looks like I'd have to have this block bored to 0.30 over anyway. I think his has already been bored and honed. I will still have to have it looked over, but he'll part with it for $350. Not sure of the casting, but it came from an 80's van of some kind.

Wasn't aware of the cam lobe/connecting rod interference either. I'm assuming that if the connecting rod shoulders need to be shaved a bit, the machine shop would have to assemble the short block in order to do so correct? If that's the case, then would it pay to buy a pre-assembled short block to begin with?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Agree with Mike above. For another $535, you could go for the SHP block and could build a SB 427 (4" stroke, 4.125" bore),..or a 400 (3.75" stroke). There's no easier path to HP than cubic inches if you're in the design phase of the build.

Here's the SHP block from Dart for $1529 (vs. $995 for the 350 block)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/380760086364?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

...no brainer IMO.
I don't disagree with you and Mike, but it's easy to $500 oneself to death on these types of things, and get off track to the original budget. I'm quite familiar with the domino effect. :D.
 

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I would take Al's advice and get an '87 or newer block with the factory roller setup.

A roller cam is a necessity nowadays. :beers:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would take Al's advice and get an '87 or newer block with the factory roller setup.

A roller cam is a necessity nowadays. :beers:
Agreed. Let me find out what the casting of my friend's block is and go from there. You guys have been very helpful. Thanks for all the input. I'm sure that I'll have many more questions.
 

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Wasn't aware of the cam lobe/connecting rod interference either. I'm assuming that if the connecting rod shoulders need to be shaved a bit, the machine shop would have to assemble the short block in order to do so correct? If that's the case, then would it pay to buy a pre-assembled short block to begin with?
It is something that needs to be checked with the 3.75" stroke - 383 or 406. Some clear and some don't. Mine didn't. A couple of lobes are the most likely but I forget which ones. You can buy 'stroker clearanced' rods that will also reduce the possibility, but clearance should be checked with those also. I forget what is considered a safe clearance - .050" sticks in my mind. And yes - a small grind on a couple of rod shoulders was required on my motor.

I cringe when I read that folks are doing a cam swap in one of these motors without pulling the engine and checking....
 

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Since I was starting out with no stroker parts, I went with the Scat profiled crank and Compstar H beam 6.0" rods. Since I had no cam, I went with a small base circle billet from UD Harold. Running retro-rollers.

Upon checking cam lobe to rods, I had a little over .100 clearance as well as the bottom of inner cly bore webbing. I had good clearance on the bottom of my SRP piston to counter weight throw . I used thick nylon ties to get into the tight places to check clearances.

I was using a 70's block.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

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If you end up going with a factory bare stroker block, be sure to install some torque plates on it and check the cylinders for out of round. I bought a new stroker block from Sallee Chevrolet and had to have it rebored to get the cylinders round after I found the rings didn't seat. The rings only touched the cylinders in 4 half inch strips. Likely best to buy your pistons and take them and the block to a machine shop to have the cylinders honed to provide optimum clearances. If you need to clearance the rods, don't let them machine part of the head of the rod bolt off. I used the Eagle “ESP” Steel “SIR” I-Beam 6” stroker rods which didn't need any clearancing. If I remember I was having clearance trouble on #5 with the cam lobe. The block itself comes clearanced for most cranks.
 
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