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Old 11-29-2005, 11:54 AM
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383 vs. 396

Hey guys, I've been thinking about this lately and haven't really come to a decision.

I currently have a sbc 350 (.030 over) in my '73 chvelle malibu that's freshly rebuilt and has 983 miles on it currently.

I also own a 1971 Camaro Z-28 3.73 posi TH-350 Auto. It's currently over at my dad's friend's house and I won't be getting it for another year or so, whenever my family moves out of our apartment and into our future house.

Anyway, one of my friend's dad has like 6 396BB's in his garage unused. 3 are complete motors and 3 are just blocks with cranks and mains.

Our original plan was when I got the Camaro, I'd pull the engine out of the chevelle and build it up more, then drop it into the camaro, then we'd sell the chevelle. When I build the motor up I would have a few options:

1. I could make it a 383

2. I could put bigger pistons in it(dome), increase compression ratio and make it a more powerful 355

3. I could make it a 377 (which I don't really want to do cause I don't race.)

Then, the opportunity of me getting a BB396 arose and now I have a fourth option:

4. Get a 396 block from my friend and build that up to stick in the Camaro.

I'm just not sure what to do. I was comparing the 383 vs. the 396 and the 383 is still a strong motor, with only 13 less cubes than the 396 it makes almost the same power as the BB396.

What I liked about the 396 though was the fact that I could stroke it up to a 500c.i. (I believe) which really got me going, I could build up the 396 then later in the future, I could increase the C.I. of it to a bigger motor if I so wished.

So now I have to make a decision, the camaro will be a street machine, with occasional weekend strip runs for fun. We've poured about $5,000 into the 350 so it almost seems like a shame not to use it. But I've always wanted a 396block. However I could make a 383 out of the 350, still use it and have a strong street motor without the weight of the BBC.

What would you do?

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Old 11-29-2005, 12:04 PM
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396- how many people build up a stock displacement 396 these days?
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Old 11-29-2005, 12:14 PM
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from a 396 guy

Partial as i am to a 396 i would note to you that for those extra 13 cubes you will need a new set of headers, stronger coil springs for the added bbc weight,all sorts of power steering brackets, alternator brackets, plus the correct water pump and the existing chassis mounts may position the bbc further forward and higher than it should be, this is due to bbc and sbc chassis mounts usually interchange but do have different heights to compensate for the added engine girth.
also you cant get 500 cubes from a 396 block, if you want to push it further you can slip in a 454 crank and get high dollar pistons and wind up with a 433
all said and done you would probably lose out on this swap especially cause you allready have some serious money in the 350, imho i would go for a 383 and retain all of my creature conforts ac ps and handling'
ive learned the hard way that a running project car beats a push it deeper and deeper in the back yard project anyday!
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Old 11-29-2005, 12:20 PM
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I don't think it is possible to make a 500 from a 396bbc. They do have 496 stroker kits for 454's. Some 396 blocks can be bored out to a 427 but then the walls will be very thin. Then add a 454 crank and get a 454 with very thin cylinder walls. Doesn't sound good. If you want a BBC, start with a 454 then think about making it a 496.

If you use small journal 327 rods on a 383 crank it is possible to offset grind the crank to get another 0.070" stroke which makes a 391 out of a 383 or a 396 if the engine is bored 60.

I say, stay with the 350 and get a good set of heads and roller cam and maybe a small shot of N20.

5000 dollar 350sbc? What is in the engine already?
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Old 11-29-2005, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malibu73
Hey guys, I've been thinking about this lately and haven't really come to a decision.

I currently have a sbc 350 (.030 over) in my '73 chvelle malibu that's freshly rebuilt and has 983 miles on it currently.

I also own a 1971 Camaro Z-28 3.73 posi TH-350 Auto. It's currently over at my dad's friend's house and I won't be getting it for another year or so, whenever my family moves out of our apartment and into our future house.

Anyway, one of my friend's dad has like 6 396BB's in his garage unused. 3 are complete motors and 3 are just blocks with cranks and mains.

Our original plan was when I got the Camaro, I'd pull the engine out of the chevelle and build it up more, then drop it into the camaro, then we'd sell the chevelle. When I build the motor up I would have a few options:

1. I could make it a 383

2. I could put bigger pistons in it(dome), increase compression ratio and make it a more powerful 355

3. I could make it a 377 (which I don't really want to do cause I don't race.)

Then, the opportunity of me getting a BB396 arose and now I have a fourth option:

4. Get a 396 block from my friend and build that up to stick in the Camaro.

I'm just not sure what to do. I was comparing the 383 vs. the 396 and the 383 is still a strong motor, with only 13 less cubes than the 396 it makes almost the same power as the BB396.

What I liked about the 396 though was the fact that I could stroke it up to a 500c.i. (I believe) which really got me going, I could build up the 396 then later in the future, I could increase the C.I. of it to a bigger motor if I so wished.

So now I have to make a decision, the camaro will be a street machine, with occasional weekend strip runs for fun. We've poured about $5,000 into the 350 so it almost seems like a shame not to use it. But I've always wanted a 396block. However I could make a 383 out of the 350, still use it and have a strong street motor without the weight of the BBC.

What would you do?
you already said that you don't race , so why bother with a good motor and trying to make it have more power
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Old 11-29-2005, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 347mustang
you already said that you don't race , so why bother with a good motor and trying to make it have more power
Well, I just would like a mean street machine and now that I think about it, building up a 396 would be really expensive when we've already spend a load of dough on our 350.

I originally wanted to make it a 383 but my dad wanted the car to get reasonable gas mileage. Now that I'm getting a Camaro with a 3.73 rear end instead of the 2.73 that I have now, I figure I'm not going to get great gas mileage anyway so I might as well finish what I tryed to start and make my 350 a 383.

Also I failed to mention that we have a completely rebuilt 700R4 tranny ($827 rebuild) that's hooked up to the 350 now. We were planning to put this in the Camaro also.

So I'd have a Camaro with a 383 stroker 3.73 rear end possibly with Posi and a 4spd 700R4 tranny. That would be a sweet street machine

Also, I meant that we've got *about* (read: not approximately) $5,000 into the car. This means the $827 transmission overhaul/rebuild is included into this also. Along with machine shop work, chrome water pump, remote mounted oil filter, new custom exhaust system + magnaflow mufflers, engine dress up kit edelbrock Quadrajet carb, and the rest of the miscellaneous pretty look nice stuff we have on it.
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Old 11-29-2005, 02:08 PM
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Also, when I said I don't race, I meant I don't race professionally
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Old 11-29-2005, 03:27 PM
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Im a big block man, but I think the 383 will be a better deal. By the time you stroke that 396 out as far as it will go, which I think is 433ci, you will have more money in than its worth. Use the money to buy some AFR heads for the 383 and you will have just as much or more horsepower than a 396 plus its about 300lbs lighter. I know a guy who's got a 71 camaro with a 406 and dart heads and he is simply killing big blocks he runs mid 9's wit 200 shot Nos and drives it daily.
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:38 PM
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after reading other posts, go with the 350. Build a tube-frame dune buggy like thing and stick the 396 in there.

Try finding traction.
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:25 PM
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I am a strong proponent of bigblocks,but there are many things that weigh in your descision.

The first thing to think about is that a 396 is hard pressed to go to 500 cubes.some early 396's were cast using the same casting as 427's,so they can be bored to 4.310" and stroked to 4.25" and make a 496,but aside from one particualr 1965/66 block casting,you cant rally go anywhere near that far.I wouldnt even waste my time with the 454 crank.If you want to do a 396,find an early one and either go .060" over with it,or find the right one and make it a standard 427.Aside from that,you need to remember that all but the worst of bigblock heads will outflow all but the best of smallblock heads,so there is power to be had with a bigblock,and it is usually cheaper then a smallblock.

Now you have to weigh your personal reasons for the swap.You want to make the best of the money you have invested into your 350,but what about the entire chevelle?Why not sell the car with the 350 and 700R in it and make a nice chunk of cash to use toward the new buildup?Of course the swap into the Camaro is another consideration.The bigblock will lay right onto the smallblock mounts,and decent headers to make over 500 hp will set you back about $160.Now if you have headers for the smallblock that may seem like it is in favor of the smallblock,but dont forget that you wont make 500hp out of any engine with smashed up cheapie 1/5/8" blackjack headers,and that power level with a smallblock should call for at least $300 headers.Do you have good headers?Another consideration is hood clearance.If you are running a hoodscoop or cowl hood then there is no issue.If you want to run a flat hood you have issues.A bigblock will only fit with one of 2 manifolds,either the stock iron lowrise,or an Edelbrock Torker.The stocker is junk for a 500 hp buildup,and the torker is reaching it's limits at 500 hp.With a smallblock you might be able to sqeeze a Victor JR under there with no spacer whatsoever and a drop base aircleaner,This combo too is at it's limits at 500 hp mostly because of the drop base air cleaner that will choke off the carb.It is a draw in that respect.As far as fitment goes,the car was designed to be used with either engine and AC,but with the bigblock you will be limited to low rise valve covers,and even with power brakes you should use low rise valve covers.Dont totally fret this though since you can run most of the cheapie roller rockers under stock covers if you stack 2 good gaskets under each cover and dont use studs on the covers.The smallblock will fit with tall covers,but AC will be a problem with tall covers mostly because the tall covers interfere with the compressor location,but again short covers and double gaskets will let you squeeze some proform of similar rockers on it.As for the front end weight,you need to assess what you have in the car now.For years,parts houses have only stocked one spring part number for all 70 thru 81 camaros regardless of engine size,and this spring typically needs to be cut for smallblocks.If you have these springs in your car with a smallblock it might be sitting slightly higher then stock while with the bigblock it may sit slightly lower.With an aluminum intake,headers,and a general cleanup of under the hood crap you can have the bigblock down within 100 pounds of an all iron smallblock,so if you have stock springs for an all iron smallblock,an aluminum intak'd and header'd bigblock wont drop it down much.You will need to get a bigblock with all the brackets attached to it since they differ from smallblock parts,if you want to dress it up with chrome,then it will cost you,but I have an even better idea.Why not dress the car up to look like a warmed over resto of a 72 396 bigblock camaro?You can run painted everything even the intake all done in chevy orange with factory details,and badge the car up as an SS 396.Even as a clone it will add tremendously to the value of the car.You can easily attain 500hp out of a 408 inch bigblock and have it look like a warmed over resto,and it can be done with mostly stock parts to save cost,and the bigblock had more underhood appeal and resale value then a chromed up smallblock,even a healthy one.

O.K.so I guess I am more biased toward the bigblock then I thought,but if you want to go that route then let me know and I will set you up with what you need to know.Good luck either way.
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:28 PM
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with the wide variety of SBC heads, Id build a potent 383, How potent is up to your budget.. Low budget? build for torque.. High Budget? why build a 383? just anty up for a SB 454 crate engine..


2wld4u
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:37 PM
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When you think about it, a 396 is kinda like the 283 of big blocks. Unless you're looking for originality theres really no reason to build something that small. Bigger cubes always make more power, if you're gonna go big block make it worth the extra weight that comes with one.
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Sleeve396
ive learned the hard way that a running project car beats a push it deeper and deeper in the back yard project anyday!
Welcome to the club.
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:53 PM
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lol,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippie
Welcome to the club.
Funny how when you finally get to your stashed project its always in worse shape then when you parked it (temporarily) yes i confess i dropped in a warmed over 307 into my 68 super sport and kept the hood shut for a year while the big block got sleeved and put back together,
last year the el camino gothurt but i wanted to park it to do it right, big mistake now the fuel tank is full of rust, the bed is rusted from that damn tree, and i learned a lesson, guess youve been there too hippie lol,
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:37 PM
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Thank you for all your input guys

My budget isn't the biggest, I definately don't have enough for a crate motor.

I think I'll go ahead and build the 383 as it's the second to the largest small block I can build (I think).

If I did bulid the 383 I would change the cam out for a Comp 280H or 292H Magnum, change out the pistons, possibly change the heads, maybe keep my performer intake. I want to use a lot of what I have though.

Keep in mind though that this build won't be happening for at LEAST a year if not more than that. So I'll be running my SBC355 for a while.

I'm just 3 miles short of 1000 miles on the motor yay
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