350/290hp G.M. crate engine thoughts - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:30 PM
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Dusty mayhem
 
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350/290hp G.M. crate engine thoughts

Hello all. Any thoughts or advice on my crate engine would be appreciated. Background: G.M. 350/290 hp crate bought new. Painted and installed without any modifications. Top dead center verified, and timing tab verified while on engine stand. Currently running 12* initial 25* Mechanical and 10* vacuum. Vacuum advance hooked to full time vacuum port at carb. Distributor is MSD E-curve. Carb is Edelbrock 1405 with stock jetting and rods. Intake: Edelbrock RPM. Plugs: Autolite 26(colored light tan on base of porcelain) Exhaust: 1 5/8'' x 26''fenderwell headers(Speedway) 2 1/2'' full length pipes w/ 40series flowmasters and 2'' H-pipe. Total mileage on engine: 1500. Now the problem, this things a slug. Overall runs well but is really down on power and not real crisp. Pulls a not real steady 11-12'' vacuum at idle. I know it only has 8.5:1 comp. ratio but it seems unresponsive. Have checked for vac leaks, have not found any. Its installed in a1940 chevy, 3100Lbs, 3.42:1 gears, th350, 2200 stall. Any ideas? Is this engine just a dog?

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Old 11-28-2009, 10:59 PM
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Hi,
With the vacuum gauge hooked up, advance the timing to the highest vacuum reading, take it for a ride, if it pings retard it 1or2* & try again.
Rich
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:53 PM
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yep, the 260 HP version is way better, the smaller cam works better with the low compression.. my dad's got 1 in his '72 C10 and while it's no power house, it's a strong runner.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:30 PM
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Thanks for the imput guys. I have tried running as much as 22* of initial and 10* mechanical all in by 2500rpm in the past. Engine would labor to turn over at this setting, so I went back to less initial and more mechanical. I did notice that by increasing initial, idle quality was slightly improved and vac was stronger. However engine labored to turn over. Thats not the first time its been suggested to get a 177 weiand. I had the chance to buy one about two months ago still in the summit shipping box for $800 and had to pass. Wife wanted new bed room furniture. Story of my life. Thanks for the replies, they seem pretty spot on to my way of thinking as well.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:47 PM
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Thanks again guys. One more thing. I have considered a vortec head swap in the past, but I have a few questions. I dont have a lot of experience with the vortecs in any performance situations. I have heard that vortecs wont work well with dished pistons, or really, any pistons that were'nt designed to work with vortecs chamber swirl and quench characteristics. Would they be O.K. with these dished pistons? Would aftermarket heads be a better choice with dished pistons? Also, I have used several Comp Cams shafts with specs similiar to those suggested in previous engines, with good results. I figured I'd be wasting time wit the comp ratio of this engine though. Thanks again.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:06 PM
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I've always felt that the 350/290 is a little over-priced. It's the same engine as the basic Goodwrench "Universal" 350, the only difference I've ever noticed in all the specs I've seen is the cam, yet the engine sells for $450 or $460 more, which makes that a pretty expensive cam! For the price difference you could buy a Comp Cams "K" kit with cam, lifters, springs, etc, and an Edelbrock manifold to put on top, which would give a lot more flexibility in setting up the engine to be what you want. Although, I'm sure that once you've changed any internal parts (cams, etc) you've voided the warranty.

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