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Discussion Starter #1
It's been a while since I have posted so I have missed alot. Please bare with me while I give you some back groud as to what I am doing.

This past week I have started my first engine project, which is rebuilding a 350 from my old mans old 1988 Blazer. This engine will be going into my 68 Camaro. I never had any interest in engine work, and at 32 the interest is there and I want to lern. This past week I am almost overloaded but loving it. We started by removing the engine from the blazer, mounting it on a stand and toor the whole thing down this past weekend.

My Dad is a big engine guy so I have learned alot from him. He once bought a 67 convertible new and kicks himself eveyday for getting rid of it.

Anyway, to the point of all this. He takes care of things very well and it shows with this engine, 155k miles and NO sludge in the pan, or heads, just clean oil. You can read the stamping on the top of the bolts. We ridge reamed some of the cylinders, and I miced them up (I can do that, I was a machinist) and I got 4.001 - 4.003. If you look at the bore size for this engine from the factory it is 4.001. .003 wear after 155k souds good to me, how about you guys? As far as the lifters go, you can just bearly see a mark were the cam rode on it.

Now the questions. I have been looking on line, and I bought the Haynes book on Chevy motors today and can find my answers.

1. Is the cam that is in the motor made for the Blazer and the 4 wheel drive torques? Can this cam be used for the Camaro, and if so, can I just buy new lifters?

2.Should I just buy a new cam to go with the lifters and match the intake manitfold as well?

3. This is the big one. I don't know how much hp thie truck had, and I can't find it anywere. Can I use the connecting rods, and how much hp will the stock rods handle?

The sufix on the block is PHD and I can't find this anywhere. Here are the rest of the numbers, K117 casting number is 14093638.

Thanks for sticking with me,
Andy
 

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Unless the ridge was very, very small, then the engine will need rebored.
You actually need to take bore readings at several points down in each cylinder to check for bore taper and wear at different points.
There are a few questions that come to mind. I'm guessing there was an issue with the engine and that is why you tore it down? What are your performance goals? Budget constraints? Does it have a factory roller cam or is it a flat tappet?
The engine you have was built from the factory for low rpm torque and fuel economy. I bet the last 3 digits of the cylinder head casting numbers are 193...these are worthless for anything other than off idle torque and fuel economy, and the swirl port design is pretty much impossible to port. The factory cam is small and not a performance piece either. These engines are pretty much dead at anything over 4500 rpms. But, it is a smallblock chevy so there are at least a million different ways to make it better.
The factory rods are just fine (after resizing them and adding new rod bolts) for anything not breathing nitrous or seeing extended useage over 6K rpms. I would recommend replacing your factory pistons though, as using cast pistons with 155K miles on them could be a grenade waiting to go off. Your intended useage and performance goals will dictate why type of pistons you should use.
If you plan on using the stock cam, did you keep all the lifters in order to go back on the lobe they came off of?

Stock, your engine was rated at around 200hp and 300 #'s of torque. Your factory crank and rods will handle considerably more than this after freshening up.

Like I said, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If your happy with a stock spec grunt motor (and theres absolutely nothing wrong with that) and don't plan on winging it very often, the factory setup may work perfectly fine for you. It just depends on what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Travis, No, nothing was wrong with the engine. My goal is to have a totally rebuilt motor for the Camaro, and I knew that the motor as it is was setup for the Blazer which isn't going to work in a Camaro.

Like I said earlier, I am now just learning so as far as what I want out of the motor is hard to say with HP and other things like that. This is were I would need the input from you guys as to what road I should travel.

I will say, without knowing for sure, I would like to get around 325 - 350HP out of it. I don't know if that is too far fetched, or I can go even more. I am looking to build a nice clean engine, that has balls enough to run down a few of these rice burners we all love (you know the ones with the 5" exhaust) and something you can hear comming. I am not looking to win any races, this is a street car and driver.

As for the ridge, what do you consider very small? I will take a reading of one before I ream it. The factory lifters are flat, I did not keep them in order due to the fact that I plan on replacing everything except for the crank shaft, rods, and pistons I hope. Crank shaft and connecting rods being my biggest concern, the crank shaft looks great though so I am not worried.

My question to you is, what do you mean by rod bolts? Is that what you call the piece connecting the piston to the rod, or is that the bolts that hold the bottom where the bearings seat to the rod?

Thanks..................Andy
 

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Rod bolts are the two bolts which secure the rod and rod cap to the crank. Replace them because they are stretched. Be sure to match the rod caps to the individual rod. They will each have a number ( 1-8) on them - they are matched sets. I recommend you have the rods resized at your favorite machine shop. Also check the crank journals for wear.

Replace the cam and lifters! Your stock cam is a dog designed for fuel economy not performance. Your HP goal will not be met with the stock cam. Lube the cam lobes and the bottom of each lifter with the lube supplied by the manufacturer. I like torquey cams for street use. Most of your driving will be under 4000 rpm so choose a cam that makes good power from 1500-4500. Some cams are good to 5500 but the cams which make their power at 5500+ are not much fun at street rpm and some of them are downright dogs. They are for strip use. A nice cam that will idle OK and propduce good engine vacuum will have moderate lift of .450-.480" and duration at .050" lift of around 210-220 degrees. You can go longer duration but the engine will then make its power at higher rpm. I like 215 to 225 for street use.

A new intake manifold such as a Edelbrock Performer RPM dual plane will help meet your goals and if you want to spend the money there are lots of heads that will help smarten up your engine. Aim for 9-9.5 to 1 compression with new pistons matched to your head chamber volume.

These are some of my thoughts on your starting point. Have fun with your rebuild.

Grant
 

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The part that connects the piston to the connecting rod is called the piston pin, or wrist pin. The rod bolts are on the end that connects the rod to the crank. Like 67 said, you MUST keep the rod caps together with their respective rod. The rod cap is the piece of the connecting rod that comes off when you remove the 2 nuts. They are not all exactly alike...they are sized from the factory with the rest of their respective rod...mixing the rod caps usually makes it to where the crank won't turn at all. Same goes with the main caps (these are the part with bolts that hold the crankshaft into the block)...they must go back in the same spot where you removed them from.

OK...so you have established that this is not a race car...your looking for a strong daily driver with a noticeable idle and good street manners. Now we need some more info...

1) Do you have power brakes? This is important for cam selection

2) What transmission do you plan on using?

3) What rear end gears? (This one is very important)

4) What is the complete exhaust system that you will be using, from the engine to the tailpipes?

5) Is this going to be a tight budget deal, or are your money tree's in full bloom? ;)

The heads you have will not work for any sort of performance useage. I seriously recommend replacing the pistons...even if the engine doesn't need bored, you will be trying to make power on a set of 155K mile CAST pistons. Pistons are relatively cheap...having a high mileage cast piston fly apart and take out the block, rod, crank, and whatever else is definately NOT cheap nor fun.

The factory rods are perfectly fine for what you want to do. I would have them resized, new bolts installed (these are usually the first thing that fails on a connecting rod), and checked for straightness.

The factory crank is also perfectly fine in this application. With as many miles as are on it, it most likely will need to be ground undersized. Have it checked out...you may get lucky and only need it polished but I wouldn't bet on it.

For the block, like I said before you want to check at different points in the bore, but considering the mileage and the fact that you should get new pistons, and the fact there there is a ridge, I would get it bored and torque plate honed, plus decked to ensure a good flat sealing surface for the head gaskets. Of course it should be vatted, and new cam bearings and freeze plugs installed. Unless you have a cam bearing installation tool, your machine shop will need to do this for you.

The ridge, before it is cut, should measure at the factory bore spec. In case you didn't know this, the ridge is what is left behind as the bore wears...the piston rings do not come to the very top of the bore, therefore all the wear is approx 1/4" or so below the top of the bore. If you have a ridge, you have bore wear. This is normal.

I've got to get back to work (working the night shift this month)...I'll check back in tomorrow evening sometime.
 

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Ive learned that a cam with more than 230 degrees duration will start to affect vaccum accessories, ie power brakes. power brakes? smaller duration than 230.

3.08 gears? performer edelbrock and a cam around 450-474 lift.
4.11 gears? Edelbrock rpm and 468-484 lift and a 10" convertor(one out of an old chevy Vega are great I use'm alot and they are 20 bux at the junk yard). 4spd? your still good.

you need to line hone the block, ream the cylinders to make sure cylinders are circular and not eggshaped.

get new pistons. those engine pistons with *193 heads have unbelievable valve relief.
you need *462 or *882 heads...
stock rods will hold fine until 55K or so.

88 Blazer should be hyd cam. unless your Franklin tree is in full bloom dont need a roller.

a vaccum sec holley would be great for this...
as always JMHO :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
WOW, Thank you for the great info, though I am starting to feel that I am in way over my head. I my have forgot to mention I was planning on having the heads rebuilt but now it sounds like a good portion of the money tree just fell over.

Well to try and answer some more questions you guys have, that I would have never expected.

I am planning on all round disk brakes.
The car is setup for, and I plan on a 4spd trans.
I have not touched the rearend yet, so I don't know what gears are in it.
Exhaust, I don't know. Most likelly a Flowmaster, but unsure what series.
As for the money tree, it is by far not in full bloom, this project will be alittle at a time over the next 4 or 5 years (whole car).

Thanks again.....Andy
 

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Andy, Dont let all this banter scare you off. If you put your mind to it you wont believe how much you can accomplish.

It will end up cheaper than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, it does scare me, I have no clue when it comes to gears, lift, and degrees yet. My biggest problem is that I my have to purchase new heads as apossed to having them rebuilt. I am going to check the numbers on them tonight, is this for sure that they can't be used. I spoke to my buddies Dad today who just sold his 67 a few weeks ago, and his engine was rebuilt from a Chevy pickup. He ran his Camaro for ten years before selling it with no problems.
 

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Andy, Dont let all this banter scare you off. If you put your mind to it you wont believe how much you can accomplish.

It will end up cheaper than you think.
That last part about being cheaper I believe is a wee inaccurate.;) You have already felt the dismay of your pockets being drained when everything was mentioned about possible and mandatory upgrades in your engine build. Now add up all your wants and your plans for your ride and multiply that cost by three. Nothing is cheap once you start.:noway:
 

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As Wiskesour said, don't let all these numbers and lingo flying around scare you. Yes, cam specs are important, and it's great if you understand them, but probably the majority of your backyard builders don't truely understand them. The key is to get parts that work well together. Too many people throw a big "thumping" cam in and think they are going to make more power, which isn't the case. Grab a Summit catalog and look at the cams. Look at the musclecar replacement cams, or as other suggested, a cam the makes good power from 1500 - 5000 rpm. These will have modest lift .440 - .480, and 260 - 280 duration... compare them with hi performance cams that operate from 2500 - 7000 rpm and you will see a significant difference in lift and duration. As long as you pick a cam that operates 1200 -5500 rpm, you should be fine.
When you said 350Hp, that's when you pretty much eliminated those heads. Sure, you could rebuild them, and get lots of life out of them, but you are not going to see your performance goals that you mentioned. Heads are the leading factor in how much power you will make. Without good flowing heads, no matter what you do, you will not make good power. You can get a decent set of new iron heads for $350-$500 bucks. Cheaper if you feel comfortable with a used set.

Here's a simple way to get an idea of your gear ratio. I stole this post from the diff section...." But ratio is easy to determine. Get under the rear, tires off the ground, tranny in neutral, mark the shaft and turn the shaft by hand, note the tire that rotates if not posi, chalk-mark that tire, count the number of rotations the drive shaft makes to rotate the tire once. It's really accurate, as in perfect". This will give you a pretty good idea, as in 4 turns = about 4:10.......3 -4 turns = 3.23 - 3.50 - 3.73 ......3 or less ...3.08 or 2.73's.. Hope for more turns..... 2.73 or 3.08 will make your car feel "boggier",, (is that a word)

Don't get discuraged though. This will be a great experience regardless of the performance you achieve. And in the end YOU will have built it and that is very satisfying.

These are just my .02, I am by no means an expert. I'm just trying to provide some simpler insight. I am sure that folks here will set me straight on any info that's not quite accurate.

Good luck with your build.....search and read these forums, you will learn a lot here.
 

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JD4020 is on the mark. I, too, am not an expert but I build my own motors and I like having MY motor in my car.
Don't be afraid of all the numbers. There are lots of people here who will help you. You can rebuild your motor successfully with a little care and attention and have fun learning some things in the process. There are a million combinations that will work - some better than others. As was mentioned, pick some parts that will work well together. Parts suppliers and the people here can help with that. Stay conservative. Your 350 HP goal in a 350 street motor is easily done with conservative power parts.. Yes, it will cost some money but should be no more than a crate motor and you will have designed and built it yourself. Some of your parts are certainly usable but need to be checked by a machinist. The bores in the block need to be checked along with crank journals and rods. Do yourself a big favor and throw the pistons, cam, lifters, timing chain and gears away. They cannot make the power you want and are relatively cheap. Here are a few of my thoughts about a budget street motor:
Use a conservative cam - too many engines have too much cam causing valve train and vacuum concerns and "boggy" engines - pick one that has .450-.480" lift and duration of 210 to 225 degrees at .050" lift. Remember that duration at .050 valve lift is different than advertised duration. Look on websites such as Crane, Comp Cams for recommendations or ask a good parts supplier. Stay away from BIG cams for street use. I have put engines with 215 duration cams in front of tall gears (even 273 rear gear) and made lots of tire smoke.
Consider buying different heads. As mentioned before, yours will disappoint you if you are looking for 350 HP. A great head for cheap is a new set of GM Vortec iron heads or, for more $$$ any of the aftermarket aluminum heads. Again, stay conservative. A "race head" with huge volume runners will run like a toilet at street RPM.
Buy an aluminum dual plane intake manifold- the price is not bad.
I assume you will use a carb rather than EFI ?? Use a carb of conservative size (600-650 with 750 cfm as a max).
Use your block, crank, rods, push rods, rocker arms, oil pan, etc. to keep costs down.
Stay around 9 or 10 to 1 compression so you can run proper timing and burn pump gas.
The reason to stay conservative on all these parts is that big cams, heads and intakes with big ports, valves, and runner volumes are designed for maximum air flow at high rpm. They work well for racing where the throttle is open and there is no concern for fuel mileage or stop lights. At low RPM the flow of air into your engine is too little to provide the necessary velocity to give you good power and throttle response. The conservative "street" parts will run cooler and make more power in the rpm range you use on the street while causing you less grief and breakage.
If you feel OK with it, you can assemble the entire engine. If you are fuzzy about bearing clearances you can ask the machine shop to assemble the bottom end and certainly to install the cam bearings. After that it is pretty simple and fun.
Don't worry - it is not as complicated as it might seem right now. And there is lots of good advice to be found here from people much more experienced than I.
Have fun with your engine design!
Grant
 

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To get you block done and the bottom end assembled by the machine shop is around 1000 with new machine shop recommended pistons. 462 heads off of e-pay is 300, pocket porting is 60, shaving them down to get 10.1:1 CR is 30$, 202/160 valves are 150, Comp Cams k-kit for a street cam is 279$, intake 75$ YEP-Epay, good carb 200 Epay. I love Rochesters BTW....

1000+300+0060+0030+0150+0200+0275+0075 =
Ruffly 2300 Bux, your re-using Most of your parts Remember? Cheaper than a crate and 375hp, EASILY. This is all oklahoma local machine shop prices your prices will vary. Follow the torque sequence on the heads and the intake then drop the motor in and install the carb and lines/wires then go roast the tires....:thumbsup:
AE2
 

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Great advice everyone this is truly a scary process if you have never done it. At 16 My first engine was a pure stock 283 sbc. My dad taught and watched which made it worse. I'm 38 now and can probably do it in my sleep. I have a 73 Pro Street Vega that has a 665hp small block that took about 7 years from shell to show. Andy, Harley was talking about vaccum loss he is so right, BUT Summit racing sells a vaccum boost container. I stumbled on this when I took my 69rs grocery getter, down the track (1/8 mile) and had some trouble getting her stopped. Due to low vaccum to the brake booster that the cam was causing. I put it on and never had anymore trouble. COST 40$. Don't be afraid, there are a lot of books on performance engine building. As long as you take your time it WILL run. How does a 405hp 350 small block combo using stock 96 vortec pickup heads from GM and a mild cam and some other goodies. Feel free to email me if you have any questions [email protected]
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^bada-bing Bada-boom^^^^^^^

:thumbsup:
 

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All the above is good advice. Here is a little more I would like to add...

1) There is no such thing as a stupid question. When I started building engines, as with many people on this board, there was no such thing as the internet. You either learned the hard way, or talked to people and got the opinions of others. Neither was near as good as the info that is available on this website. If your unsure about something, or just flat don't know, then just ask. The knowledge base on this site is second to none!

2) Do some research, and read everything you can get your hands on. The search function on this site is invaluable. Most automotive magazines should be taken with a grain of salt...you have to sort thru the BS most of the time. There are a lot of good books out there for just about every aspect of an automobile. I HIGHLY recommend David Vizard's book on how to build a performance small block chevy on a budget (the exact name escapes me right now). S/A designs offers a lot of really good books and are worth checking out.

3) Having a good, reputable machine shop at your disposal is invaluable, preferably one with some experience with performance engines. Machine work is something you absolutely don't want to scrimp on.

4) There is much more to having a solid street machine than just a strong engine. Make sure your brakes and cooling systems are top notch, and that your suspension is solid. I've ridden in cars with 300-350hp that where just accidents waiting to happen.

None of this was meant to scare you off. My intention was to give you an idea of what you was in for. IMO, its better to know what your in for up front.

After its all said and done, there is NOTHING like firing up an engine you built from the block up for the first time :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you all again, I am not that taken back by it as I was when I started this post. This is great info and I am again learning more by taking what you guys are telling me and looking this info up in Summit and Jegs catalogs. I have also gotten a phone call back from a machine shop, but he sounds real young and spoke very broken english. Not that I have anything against this but, I was a machinist and I know what it takes, also I want someone who has been around the block a few dozen times.

It just dawned on me that there is a guy who builds dragsters out of his shop behind his house just around the corner from me, I may stop over and pay him a visit.

I do have another question. Some of you were talking about the GM Vortec heads, If the were to come off a 96 pickup, are they going to fit the block from an 88? Are 350 blocks pretty much the same and will fit most if not all 350 heads?

Thanks again...........Andy
 

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Hi Andy, :yes: They will fit the block, but the intake has to be made for the vortec heads because the bolt pattern is different from the standard intake bolt pattern. Summit and Jegs both sell these intakes they are from $175 to $250. You can even get one thats polished that looks good. The V heads that I bought from gm were $498.95 for the pair and that complete ready to go on the block. I learned the hard way about the intake bolt pattern. any other ? just ask.

Scott
 

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Look into early style 'Fast Burn' heads they make some with the older bolt pattern...Identical to 96 vortec.
 
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