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Old 07-26-2007, 04:31 PM
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big block vs. small block

ok i hope this dont start a war or nothin' but iwas wonderin' if you prefer big blocks or small blocks personally i like big blocks because they perform good
for the money spent (talking from a salvage yard perspective) i have two cases
1: my dad ran a bone stock Buick 455 when he used to race dirt track in a chevy caprice against small blocks with a couple thousand dollars in them
and my dad got top 5 every night while holding it back because it liked to overheat.2:my Oldsmobile! it would have taken at least 2000 bucks to get the 350 to do what my olds can do with that 472 caddy.
Now i want to hear your opinions.

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Old 07-27-2007, 06:38 AM
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I like small blocks. Since they offer more space to work on and I never liked working in cramped quarters. I`ve never built a big block, not saying that I won`t ever, it`s just simply put, I haven`t seen one as of yet that was worth what they were asking. Guys around here price them as if they were super rare or made of gold and these are the ones that require a full rebuild. Last time I seen a 454 for sale, it needed a full rebuild and the guy was asking $800 for it, and this wasn`t a performance 454, it was a smogger 454 with peanut port heads. The lowest price I seen thus far was around $700. I couldn`t see forking over $800 on a smog motor that needed a rebuild. At one point I had thought I had gotten lucky. A friend of mine that used to live in my neighborhood, knew where a 3X2 427 was out of a Corvette that he was going to give to me free of charge it had been given to him and he had never went and got it. It had spun a rod bearing so the fellow that had it took it out and replaced it with a small block. So I got back in touch with him days later and he said it was gone, which wasn`t a big surprise. So I`ve stuck with small blocks ever since.
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:12 PM
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I've usually always had small blocks,, mostly for their reliability, had a couple of blown SBC. and always got good performance out of them, with not a whole lot of money,, I guess because speed parts are so redially available for them,, and fairly cheap,, did have a blown 468 in the 33 coupe, and was expensive to build,,
I am now building a 48 Anglia Thames panel,, and decided that it had to have a BBC, blown of course. so I found a 77 chev surburban with a 454 tow package motor,, it has the 781 heads and had 68K miles on it,, I bought the whole thing for 500$ I pulled the drive train out and gave the rest to a junk yard,, had the motor rebuilt with 8.5 c/r and the heads rebuilt with a pocket port job and a comp cams full roller.and a B&M 425 blower,, I don't know what kind of power it will make, [ anyone want to guess?] but the car will weigh in around 2200 # I'm guessing,, might squeek the tires a little Bill
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by american muscle rulz
ok i hope this dont start a war or nothin' but iwas wonderin' if you prefer big blocks or small blocks personally i like big blocks because they perform good
for the money spent (talking from a salvage yard perspective) i have two cases...
First, "big block" and "small block" are arbitrary terms that don't even apply to some engine families. Chevy has very distinct and different big and small block families (and contrary to marketing BS, the LS-series engines have just about nothing in common with the traditional SBC, which makes Chevy's "50 years of production" claim somewhat moot). Ford has a multitude of different big and small block families (why am I not surprised?). The Oldsmobiles you noted really have a short deck and tall deck version of the same engine, more like the Chrysler B and RB engine families rather than the SBC/BBC families. Pontiac has only one block size (not counting the orphan 301 that someone else on this forum is trying to build up - an more power to you, by the way).

The bottom line is that the only replacement for cubic inches is rectangular dollars. My kid has a 2005 Evo with the turbo 4 cylinder and AWD. The car has run a best of 11.79 through the muffler on street tires (!?!!??). That impresses the hell out of me, but he's thrown quite a bit of money at it and has periodic parts breakage.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:12 AM
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Unless you say what the application is,, you can't really compare BB to SB.

What are you using the motor in?

An all out drag racer or tractor puller or salt flat car or trailer pulling pickup will always go faster/perform better with more inches.

A high winding small block will do better in a car that you do some road racing with, and the car will handle better ..only because of the weight distribution. It will be cheaper to run and feed as well.

As in the case of something like Joe's son's ricerocket ...For the street..those little buggers will do just about everything better than something with a bigblock..if you really want to compare dollar for dollar.


I don't think that a 472 caddy motor is the greatest big block motor ever built, (They are very torqey and stronger than dirt, but I'd rather have a 460 ford), but you have it and like it so it is better for you.


You asked for my opinion, there it is.

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Old 07-29-2007, 07:43 PM
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It's a matter of preference pure and simple - definitions are fuzzy at best. I think when you talk big and small, it's in reference more to Chevy and Ford than anything else. Talking Ford, I like FE motors <big>. Talking Chevrolet, I prefer 283's and 327's but now days four bolt 350s' are a dime a dozed and make cheap horsepower <small>.

What's a Nailhead 401, Big or small? A buddy of mine in high school had a 37 sedan delivery with a 401 in front of a Cadillac Lesalle granny tranny and he pulled new bigblock Roadrunners with it all day long. I don't have a clue what was all done to the motor, all I know is it stuck me back in the seat.
How's about a 390 Studebaker? I owned one of those for about a week till a rod decided to part company with the crank.
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:48 PM
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Have to go with small block chevy. Parts are readily available and cheaper. You get more power for your money. If i was building a race car i would use a big block. But chevy either way. The most reliable and most powerful.
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:59 PM
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Big block will make more power in the long run, however it is heavier and takes up more space than the small block. Small block is lighter, easy to find parts for, and your car will handle a little better since the front end will be handling a lighter load, not to mention better power transfer to the rear wheels. I'm more of a big block kinda person, but it will definately eat a hole in your wallet when it comes to gas.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:28 AM
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I think whoever said its all about application hit the nail on the head. There are just some applications that big block motors are better suited for. If that weren't the case they never would have bothered engineering and manufacturing those motors.

Even when it comes to hotrods bigger is not always better. You see a lot of buckets and coupes running around with small blocks (and many of them small-inch small blocks) because when you're riding around in a 2200 pound car 250-300 horse is plenty.

Sometimes you want to build a motor that will sit in a car that's not really built for finesse and you want as much grunt as possible as low in the RPM band as you can get it. A big block (probably even a stock one) is a good choice for this.

Of course with racing you'll get all sorts of different stories for each application/class/driver. You'll see stroker small blocks in the same class with big blocks running neck and neck, it all depends on who's driving, what the rules are and what the person's philosophy about racing/motors is.

K
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:49 PM
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I know this will sound stupid to most of you, but at what size do the big blocks start? I am able to work on most minor stuff and have torn down and rebuilt a cpl of chevy and ford small blocks (350 and 352) but never knew the exact size range that determines the groups.

I told ya it was stupid, but hey, somebody has to ask these things
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:38 PM
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for chevy the smallest big block is the 348 if I'm not mistaken then the 396 409 427 and 454
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:02 AM
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Don't forget the 366 truck engine-
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:17 PM
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technically the 348 and 409 are not small or big blocks they are part of the W-Series engines i believe, correct me if im wrong.....

and yes the 366 is the smallest big block then the 396 402 427 454 502 572

small blocks range from 262 265 267 283 302 305 307 327 350 400

and of course there are stroker and bored out versions of each of those engines

Kuhn
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:27 AM
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Oh yes the W Series I forgot. Those are another animal in them selves.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:42 AM
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If you have the budget, my preference is the big block hands down. You just cant beat the torque, and of course the distinctive sound.. Sure there is a place for the Small blocks, but there is something about walking by 500 SBC's at a car show and stopping a little extra time to look at the car thats got the BBC...

There are deals out there if you can be patient. I picked up a zz502 brand new in the crate on ebay two years ago for around $5800 delivered. Can you make more power cheaper with a SBC? to a point..
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