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Old 07-07-2005, 08:54 PM
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400 Small Block Questions

First off nice for everyone to take time to listen and advise me on this problem. (Now for the Main Event) OK Well here goes the story, I bought an old full sized 1977 Chevy Blazier 4x4. It has the Automatic 350 Turbo transmission and 400 small block engine. When I bought the vehicle from the person they told me that it had a good engine in it, except they had taken the distrubuter and carberator off and sold it to anthor person. I didn't ask why being I bought the vehicle in Georgia and I live in Tennessee so I know part selling for intent to buy better parts is an on going thing around here. The guy I bought it from had sold the vehicle due to loosing his liscense on his last chance due to DUI. BEFORE he sold me the vehicle he had drove it around alittle after loosing his liscense, but the vehicle has been sitting for 2 years up untill I bought it.
Alright here we go in to the techinical stuff that I'm really shakey on so here we go. After getting the Blazier to my step dads garage I opened up the hood with him to get an idea of all the parts I was gonna have to buy to get this bad boy running. Well while we had it opean my step dad noticed signs that the radiator had boiled over at one point. Well then my step dad opeaned the raditor cap up and felt around in it with his finger finding oil sludge left over in it. After we got a better light and looked around the engine we noticed that the passanger side looks like a grease bomb has blew up on that side leaving just grease sludge and dirt everywhere. The passanger side of the engine is clean and very clean looking.
Now with assistance of my goverment issued flashlight and some carberator cleaner, I cleaned the passanger side of the motor off alittle bit and noticed a major exhaust leak due to a peice of header gaskett gone. My step dad theorized that the engine may have a blown head gaskett and that would be determined by us tommorrow when we pull the spark plugs and do a compression test.
Here is some of the questions I have: 1.) If the engine has a blown head gaskett, how much and what am I looking at to repair that? 2.) The interor and exterior is desperatly needing cosmetic work does anyone know where I can order new or good refurbished parts? 3.) If I do rebuild that engine how good are they? (I mean all I'm gonna do is use it as Rod Run kinda vehicle in Gatlinburge maybe driven it 4 to 5 times a year.) 4.) I have an already good 350 engine from a 1977 Chevy Truck full sized 4x4, would I be better off just dropping that into it? 5.) Does anyone know a prson that could rebuild that engine easily and Cheaply? (After all I'm a working college student, not alot of extra cash.) 6.) Finally how much is one of the 400's worth? (Would I come off better selling the engine and keeping the 350 or doing the rebuild thing)

Well thanks to everyone for their thoughts and opions.

As a side not I do believe these guys ran this thing hot probably more than once, espicially since they are the ones that put the new radiator in.


Last edited by Dark Jester; 07-08-2005 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:03 PM
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400s are getting rare and are a superb engine. People are spending fortunes building 383s because they can't get a 400. If you are strapped financially you could put the 350 in the truck. The 400 will cost you a few hundred more than a 350 to rebuild. If you intend on selling the 400. You are best to get it running. If it turns out to be a decent motor you will get much more for it. Otherwise you are looking at about 300 bucks as a core.

ps: the header gasket is less than 10 bucks.

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Old 07-08-2005, 08:22 AM
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I have to think that your step dad said head gasket and not header gasket. If there is oil and sludge in the radiator and the engine has been overheated several times it could have issues. It could be a blown head gasket, or more likely a set of cracked heads. Overheating is a good way to warp or crack the heads. Either is not good. If they are cracked you will need new ones. One way or another I would pull them and have a machine shop check them out. If it were not for the oil in the radiator I would not suggest this, but that is not a good sign at all.

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Old 07-08-2005, 11:02 PM
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Hey fellas,
Thanks for all your advice, I did the compression test today and the highest compression i got was 62pds from the rear passenger cylinder. Well i'm pulling the engine now to put a good 350 in, thanks guys for all you help.

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