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Old 09-03-2007, 06:54 PM
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383 block selection

Hi Guys,

I have an old '74 Chevy C-10 that's my work truck. It's not really a restoration project, it's just fun to tinker on and darn handy when we need to haul something!

My 19 year old son drove it for a couple years (16 to 18) and for some reason it's now "tired" so I'm thinking of doing a rebuild on it.

It currently has a 350 (should be a 4 bolt according to the casting numbers), the heads were redone three years ago, we replaced the cam with an Edelbrock Performer and installed the matching intake manifold. The points distributor was also replaced with a Mallory HEI unit. It's also got a dual exhaust system with glass packs on it. We've also replaced the water pump, radiator, and brakes. It's been a fun project (mostly because we don't need it to go to work or school tomorrow so we can take our time working on it -> nothing sucks more than working on the car ya need to go to work or school in the morning!).

I see a few options - just rebuilding the current 350, converting the current 350 to a 383, or replacing the engine completely in either 350 or 383 form. Replacing it would give the benefit of less down time and we could use the truck to haul the block to the machinst, etc..

A 383 looks kinda interesting - a truck can always use more torque! I was wondering if the newer blocks wouldn't be a better choice though? Wouldn't a one piece crank seal have less chance of leaking? (that's why they redesigned it?) If I picked up a roller cam block it would be an inexpensive way to get into a roller cam? Also, I actually kinda like the serpentine belt system so if I bought a block from the salvage yard maybe I could buy one complete with the serpentine belt system?

What are the pros/cons between using the older blocks and the newer blocks?

Also, are there any good books or videos on building these engines? (I think I saw Sehr has a video on it?).

Thanks!

Steve

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Old 09-03-2007, 07:52 PM
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roller cam engine is the way to go jsut go down to the local junk yard and pick up a 96-99 vortec 350 as it is a roller cam engine and a 1 piece rear main seal. you should be be able to pick it up with the serpantine system relatively cheap or you can give these guy's a call

383 Iron heads roller cam 420 HP 460 Torque - $3588
http://www.tandlengines.com/chevy_ir...nchor-38-46393

http://www.tandlengines.com/
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:51 PM
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Hi 383 Silverado, thanks for the input!

I think I could also look back a few years too, at least for a short block, couldn't I?

I dug this up on wikipedia:

1987 - The troublesome leaky valve cover surfaces were changed such that cylinder head mounting lip was raised and the bolt location was moved from 4 bolts on the perimeter, to 4 bolts down the centerline of the valve cover (this design debuted on the Corvette in 1985, and Chevrolet 4.3L the year before). The troublesome rear main seal was changed from a 2-piece rubber design to a 1-piece rubber design that used a mounting appliance to hold it in place. This necessitated a change in the flywheel/flexplate bolt pattern as well. Also changed were the mounting angles of the center 2 bolts on each side of the intake manifold (from 90 degrees to 73 degrees) and the lifter bosses were increased in height to accept roller lifters. The alloy heads for use in the Corvette still retain the non-angled bolts (center 2 bolts attaching to the intake).

1996 - This was the last change for the Generation I engine, and continued through the end of the production run in 2003; all 1997-2003 Generation I engines were Vortec truck engines. The cylinder heads were redesigned using improved ports and combustion chambers similar to those in the Generation II LT1. This change resulted in significant power increases.

If I'm looking for a long block then the Vortec would be the way to go so I get the Vortec heads, but if I'm just looking for a rebuildable short block then any 350 from '87 on up should be also be a one piece rear seal and roller lifter block?

I live in a small town in the midwest so my local salvage yard may not have many Vortec engines, but if I could pickup a one piece roller block I can always order the heads (which when weighing between ordering new and reconditioning old it may not be much of a stretch to order new).

I noticed my Dad's '89 Chevy 2wd with a 305 in it has the serpentine belt system. Do I take it that one could just grab the pulleys and associated mounts off of a serpentine engine and install them on the older engines (well, from what I gather a reverse flow water pump would also be needed?)? (or wont the pulleys fit on the older alternators and stuff?). I just kinda like the serpentine system - isn't too hard to get the belt off when servicing stuff, don't have to worry over/under tensioning the belt since it has a tensioner, and my old C-10 has a HUGE a/c compressor that's just in the flippin' way when you're trying to service the driver's side spark plugs, power steering, etc.. The alternator and a/c compressor on Dad's serpentine system are up and out of the way so I'd like to adapt that to my older truck if I could.

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLR_65
I'm just looking for a rebuildable short block then any 350 from '87 on up should be also be a one piece rear seal and roller lifter block?

I live in a small town in the midwest so my local salvage yard may not have many Vortec engines, but if I could pickup a one piece roller block I can always order the heads (which when weighing between ordering new and reconditioning old it may not be much of a stretch to order new).

(well, from what I gather a reverse flow water pump would also be needed?)
Steve

not all 87+ chevy's are machined for roller cams but hey are all one piece rear main seals. you need a block that is machined for the lifter spider. its what holds the roller lifter in place and keeps the from rotating in the lifter bore. the 96-99 5.7 vortec's come stock with roller cams. but some 88-95 came machined and they are hard to find.

no reverse flow pump is needed thats only on the lt1 ,lt4, and the ls motors. the all the gen 1's are standard rotation pumps except for these.

http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/store...10002_94398_-1


http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/store...10002_85890_-1
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 383silverado
not all 87+ chevy's are machined for roller cams but hey are all one piece rear main seals. you need a block that is machined for the lifter spider. its what holds the roller lifter in place and keeps the from rotating in the lifter bore. the 96-99 5.7 vortec's come stock with roller cams. but some 88-95 came machined and they are hard to find.

no reverse flow pump is needed thats only on the lt1 ,lt4, and the ls motors. the all the gen 1's are standard rotation pumps except for these.

http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/store...10002_94398_-1


http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/store...10002_85890_-1
Hi again,

Thanks for the info! I was under the assumption that all 87 forward small blocks used roller cams. They must've been gearing up for the Vortec series when they redesigned the block in 87 so they built in what they'd need to the new castings though the roller cams were not implemented immeadiately.

I'll have to put some feelers out to the local salvage yards and see if I can locate a Vortec block (Hey! A reason to go visit the boneyards! ).

It sounds like the serpentine conversion may not be a difficult task if one purchases all the mounts, etc.. Could be a fun project!

Thanks for all the great info!

Steve
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:39 PM
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no problem steve glad i could help.

one more thing the stock vortec valve springs are only good for a .450 valve lift. for no machining next step is a set of 981-16 of comp cams springs for a max lift of .490 , 742-16 retainers, and 601-16 valve locks.and if you use the stock voretec heads you will need a vortec style intake. or you can go with a set of rhs vortec heads plus you won't have to worry about them cracking like the stock vortec's. you can use any type of sbc intake you'd like. both of my stock vortec heads were cracked when it came time to rebuild. so i went with a set of edelbrock e-tec heads basically aluminum vortec's but the flow 20% more on the exhaust port.

modified vortec's
http://www.sdparts.com/product/SD806...ngUpgrade.aspx

just like the vortec but better quality
http://racingheadservice.com/Informa...rtec-Heads.asp
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLR_65
Hi again,

Thanks for the info! I was under the assumption that all 87 forward small blocks used roller cams. They must've been gearing up for the Vortec series when they redesigned the block in 87 so they built in what they'd need to the new castings though the roller cams were not implemented immeadiately.

I'll have to put some feelers out to the local salvage yards and see if I can locate a Vortec block (Hey! A reason to go visit the boneyards! ).

It sounds like the serpentine conversion may not be a difficult task if one purchases all the mounts, etc.. Could be a fun project!

Thanks for all the great info!

Steve
Not all 350s were rollers but the L98 engines were all rollers from around '87 on. These were used in performance F-bodies through '92 and in the Vettes (except ZR1s) through '91. While only rated from 230 to 250 HP, they're a very torquey engine and make great power in the low and mid ranges in stock form. Their stock intakes are their worst restriction. They're simply awful as are. Improve that, and of course the exhaust, and you can pick up a bunch of power very quickly with no internal changes whatsoever. I'm talking 50 HP or more with just a good intake and headers. The later versions with the 113 head castings are the best starting point, although the 128 heads aren't all bad. Both of these heads are aluminum, BTW. These engines can be picked up as "builders" for a few hundred bucks.
Chevy also offers a very reasonably priced 383 crate engine with a 3.80" stroke instead of the standard 3.75" stroke for 383s. At a standard 4.00" bore, it still comes out to 383. It's geared right at applications such as yours, a truck replacement engine. I'd guess conservatively a 60 or so gain in lbs-ft of torque with all else being equal.
At any rate and for your purposes especially, there's really no reason not to build a stroker. You can buy a stock quality cast 3.75" stroker crank for under $300. The added torque you'll get from a stroker is even more important in a heavier vehicle such as your truck.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:25 AM
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Now I'm getting confused . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 383silverado
not all 87+ chevy's are machined for roller cams but hey are all one piece rear main seals. you need a block that is machined for the lifter spider. its what holds the roller lifter in place and keeps the from rotating in the lifter bore. the 96-99 5.7 vortec's come stock with roller cams. but some 88-95 came machined and they are hard to find.
But then in another thread I saw this . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
If you go roller, find a 1987 and up 350. In the 87 - 95 model years, passenger cars recieved roller cams, trucks still had flat tappet cams. But chevy made it more versital. Some of the trucks came with roller cam blocks, but used a flat tappet cam, all you have to do is add the roller cam hardware, like the spider, the tappets, the anti spin retainers and the cam retainer that bolts on to the front of the block. Mortec has a list in there casting numbers which blocks would work with either. The 1996 model year seen the Vortec engine that came in trucks, it came with a roller cam, and a factory windage tray, I buy these blocks when I find`em, got a few out of the junkyard, and others here and there.
Going over to the Mortec site I dug up the following:

10243880
1995-2000
2 or 4 bolt main
Came in Vortec truck, Gen.I crate motors and "ZZ4" crate motors
Has roller cam & one piece rear seal

14093638
1987-1995
2 or 4 bolt main
Came in? (Trucks? This is the block that may not be machined the lifter spider?)
May have roller or flat tappet cam, has one-piece rear seal

14011148
1987-1989
? bolt main
Came in ?
Has roller cam & one-piece rear seal

14088526
1987-1989
? bolt main
Came in ?
Has roller cam & one-piece rear seal

Soooo, it appears to get a 4 bolt main I need to find a V10243880 Vortec block and then pull the pan to check for a 4 bolt (but it WILL have a roller cam). I could also look for a 14093638 truck(?) block and drop it's pan and check for a 4 bolt main. I would also need to check if it's machined for the lifter spider (is it difficult to have the machining done for the lifter spider?).

The 1987 to 1989 14011148 & 14088526 blocks DO have roller lifters but are probably 2 bolt main? If so, I would assume a 2 bolt would be OK in my application? (I dunno if I've mentioned my specific application . . . it's a 1974 Chevy C-10 with a TH-350 and stock rear end. I'm not looking for huge power numbers but if I'm going to rebuild a 350 for it I thought going to a 383 and gaining some torque, which you can never have enough of in a truck, would be a pretty good bang for the buck. I'm thinking a Comp Cams 268 or so cam. Vortec heads, dual plane intake, a quadrajet, and headers. I'm thinking an internally balanced crank setup . . . no real reason, just for the "sleeper" status I guess!). If the two bolt is not up to the task then would studding the main caps help or would it be more cost effective to just find a 4 bolt block to start with?

The salvage yards around here aren't always quick to pull engines and stuff, so some specific models to look for would be nice . . . do I take it that the above two blocks came in about any passenger car?

My son wrecked my late father's truck and since it's kinda sentimental to us we're trying to rebuild it so I'll be stomping around the junk yards looking for a front clip anyway, might as well look for a block too! (Dad's truck is an '89 Chevy, but alas it's got a darn 305 in it!)

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:35 AM
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all 3/4 ton hd ( 8 lug ) and 1 ton chevy 350 vortec's are 4 bolt main/ roller cam engines stock 96-99 no need to pull the pan.
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:20 PM
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Steve, I recently went through the same decision process. If you want to rebuild the engine yourself (most fun, but costs more than a crate engine) I would suggest a rebuildable roller cam core block. I picked a 4 bolt roller cam block for $150 (same casting # as a ZZ4). All I wanted was the block, the one piece seal hardware and the roller lifter spyders. I trashed the roller lifters, but I have had many tell me that was not necessary as they seldom wear out, but I wanted everything new.

I am building a 383, mild cam, 6.0" rods, Eagle internally balanced stroker crank with 350 bearings, 9.8:1 pistons, Edelbrock 170 Etec heads and building the engine for street torque rather than high end horsepower...I want a fun street engine for my street rod that will not see the strip.

The best bang for the buck is a ZZ4 crate motor or the 383 Fast Burn, but you can't say you built it. Rebuilding your own will cost you more and you will not have any warranty.

If you purchase a core block get it where they will guarantee it to be rebuildable then have it cleaned and magnafluxed before you put any machining money into it. If it doesn't check out you will not have much money into it and you can exchange it for one that is rebuildable....good insurance.

BTW, you will need a new flex plate or flywheel to match the late model crank if you go with the roller motor (another advantage of a crate engine if you have an automatic).

Good luck Steve,

Harley Monster
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:35 PM
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TCI has flex plates for later engines for either neutral or external rear balanced cranks. Like Harley, I used a neutral balance stroker crank and picked up one of their flex plates for about $80. ATI has them for even more extreme power needs that will run you about $200, if I remember right. So far no problems with the TCI part with about 500 lb-ft of torque on hand.
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