Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board (
-   Engine (
-   -   396 Big block v.s. 400 small block (

Adrenaline_Fiend 04-12-2003 11:19 AM

396 Big block v.s. 400 small block
i was going to build a strong 400 small block for may 70 Nova, but I just found a 396 big block for $250 in the paper. So I started thinking, which one has more benefits. I was going to build an SS clone, but being new at hotrodding, a smaller block with more cubes just seems to make more sense and appeal more to me. Am I just uneducated, or is my logic reasonable? <img src="graemlins/boxing.gif" border="0" alt="[boxing]" />

stonedchihuahua 04-12-2003 11:25 AM

396 is stonger, so if you build it up it should be able to get more power than the 400 without breaking, it does add a few pounds though. Although both are very good engines.

Adrenaline_Fiend 04-12-2003 11:28 AM

Aren't big blocks more expensive to build than small blocks, if so, is that extra cost worth the extra HP...I only want about 400HP max

Deuce 04-12-2003 11:33 AM


It is easier to get 400 Horsepower from a Big Block than a Small Block. The heads are of a better design (Semi-Hemi).

You will have to rework your heater box so that the heater tube outlets come out almost under the hood hinge. Factory Big Block Novas and Camaros were done this way at the factory.

<img src="graemlins/sweat.gif" border="0" alt="[sweat]" />

Rad Ray 04-12-2003 11:36 AM

In my opinion depends what you plan on doing with the Nova. There is a cost difference to build the two, but If It's a saturday night special with occasional track time I like small blocks. If your full drag and quarter mile, nothing humps on the other end like a rat motor. It's all in what you wanna do and how deep ya pockets are.

Adrenaline_Fiend 04-12-2003 11:41 AM

It's a Saturday Night Special, and being 19 year old in the military, I plan on putting most of my money into my car, but I don't want to spend a fortune, so I think I'll stay on track and go for the sb. Once again thanks for the input. :D

dallam1 04-12-2003 12:28 PM

When I was in the military a long time ago, I had a big block Chevelle. I used to work on it all the time at the base shop. The nice thing was that there was plenty of experience there to help me. I also didn't have much money but was able to get parts for it reasonably priced by going to local machine shops. For instance, I was able to get a used but good crank reground, for a hundred bucks but like I said that was a long time ago. Yes, parts are a bit more money for the big block but not that much more. The nice thing is that you don't have to spend alot of money building up the big block for good street power. Build it with a little over 9 to one compression and 2 1/2" exhaust and a moderate cam that thing will securally put you back into your seat from 2000 rpm on up to 5000! There is something special about the torque of a big block. 250 bucks is a good price for a good rebuildable big block. You'll pay that and more for a good small block core. Plus, if you get a later model small block, the heads will be junk and will require alot of work read money and still might crack. So, the choise is yours my friend but in the final outcome, you certainly won't get stung going with either engine...Good luck

Adrenaline_Fiend 04-12-2003 12:51 PM

i found that post very interesting dallam1, what would it take to put a big block in my nova, in place of the current 350.

dallam1 04-12-2003 03:12 PM

I've never had a Nova but one of the gents above mentioned the heater box modification. I bet you a dollar that you won't have much if any trouble installing the big block because Nova's used to come with big blocks in them. Heck, if you can shoehorn a big block in a Vega with out much trouble, I'm sure you can tackle the Nova project. Now, get off the computer and get some of your buddies and go over and pick up that 250 dollar big block and take it to the base shop...and thats an order!

Gassman 04-12-2003 03:17 PM

Original big block novas use different heater boxes, radiators & core supports for the rad. I think the the motor mount stands are dirrerent &you'll need big block front springs. I don't know if the brake boosters are the same but the SS has power disk brakes.

72 chevy 04-12-2003 03:17 PM

Jump on that 396!! That car would be awesome as a 396 SS! Sorry, Im gettin all giddy just thinkin about it! :o <img src="graemlins/drool.gif" border="0" alt="[drool]" /> <img src="graemlins/drool.gif" border="0" alt="[drool]" /> <img src="graemlins/drool.gif" border="0" alt="[drool]" />

1QUIK69 04-12-2003 03:24 PM

If you want to you can email me. I did a big block swap in a 69 Camaro. I don't think it would be all that much different. It was a breeze! :D

1BAD80 04-12-2003 03:42 PM

A few years ago Popular Hotrodding done a side by side test in the same car and build the 396 and 400 sb into 406 cubes. The big block was .5 sec faster in the 1/4 mile, and was more expensive to build. Plus if you have a small block in it now you will need to upgrade the coil springs,shocks in the front for the extra weight. Myself I like small block 400s any size. :D

Adrenaline_Fiend 04-12-2003 04:14 PM

Well, I called on the 396 and it was already sold(go figure), that's what I get for being indecisive....another lesson learned.... <img src="graemlins/spank.gif" border="0" alt="[spank]" />

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:42 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.