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Opti 07-12-2008 12:32 PM

Building a Cheapy drag motor
Hey guys Im gonna try and build a budget drag car out of a 3rd gen.

I want to build a 383 (well thats a 30 over motor, whatever it is with a 60 overbore) with some spray cause i have a .60 over freshly machined 4 botl main block that I got for free a while back.

But I fear with the extra cubes and my budget it may be better to go with a 60 over and keep the 3.48 stroke as the extra cubes from the stroker may require better heads that I cant afford and it may pull my rpms down considerably. Sure it will make tons of torque but this will be a pretty much drag only car and a lot of torque really wont be neccesary. HPs what I need.

I was thinking maybe some touched up vortecs, and a pretty healthy cam.

Here is my next dilema, It not a hyd roller block, and Im a late model guy and the only thinkg I know is HR and SR stuff, how hard is it to convert a non roller block to work with HR lifters? Is it worth it for a build like this.

Is SR stuff real expensive for the Gen 1 stuff like it is for the Gen 2 and up motors?

What would you guys do. keep in mind this is a budget build and I will not be dropping 1K on heads.

Any Suggestions?

68NovaSS 07-12-2008 12:41 PM


Sure it will make tons of torque but this will be a pretty much drag only car and a lot of torque really wont be neccesary. HPs what I need.
Don't need any torque? Not if you have a mile run at the starting line. You can buy retro roller lifters and associated parts, you're on a budget, nothing's cheap, especially in a motor that will be thrashed on the strip, but budget motors are certaintly possible. Going 383 doesn't fit in the same sentence with budget. Don't under estimate the Votrec heads, but keep everything compatible, tell us what your budget is and what your setup will be.

tuneup427 07-12-2008 01:36 PM

I would agree with F-bird. You can now get stroker cranks for around 2 bills but the rods(cause you don't want to run the short 400 rods) , pistons, balancer and flex plate will be a $1000 plus little stuff. So the $200 crank is just the beginning. Yes, there is no substitute for cubes but those cubes cost $$$$. Vortec heads will work well up to about 400-450 real hp. If you get bored with that you can spray another couple hundred. Spend your money on slicks. But thats just me. Next time your at the track ask the small block racers in your class what crank they run. I'll bet the 355 are in the zone. Good luck and let us know how it works.

DoubleVision 07-12-2008 01:40 PM

My view is Torque wins races, not horsepower. But thats just my view.

tuneup427 07-12-2008 01:42 PM

I agree, unless you got a huge budget.

tuneup427 07-12-2008 01:55 PM

Here is something I have observed. Once I have a good basic engine the things that cut my E.T are #1. torque converter #2 rear end gears #3 slicks (short slicks can work for #2 if the gears are in the 3.73 or lower) #4 additional engine mod. (trick heads, more trick cam.....) and they usually require more of 1-3. Ever try running a real hot cam with a stock converter. Yea me too but what a waste.

Opti 07-12-2008 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by DoubleVision
My view is Torque wins races, not horsepower. But thats just my view.

I love a torquey motor for the street but for a dedicated drag racer I dont see why a stump puller is neccesary. If the thing doesnt make alot of torque the gear the **** out of it. gear reduction creates torque.

All of the proffesional drag racers i've ever known have always told me torque isnt important in drag racing.

Opti 07-12-2008 02:00 PM

I went and looked at the block and its a 1980 corvette block.

Im thinking GM crank, Scat I beams, Speed Pro Forged Pistons, ported Vortec, and I have no idea on the manifold or cam, but you guys thnk I should stick with a flat tappet?

Opti 07-12-2008 02:14 PM

You really like that cam dont you.

That son of a ***** is huge. I really like that its ground on a 106 though, I always hated that all the EFI guys run these wide LSA cams cause the big cam grinders think a 106 or 107 will not work with EFI. BS.

As far as im concerned a 106 is the only way to go on a SBC.

Do you have experience with this cam. The car will be very very occasionally street driven (probably just to and from the track).

Chevrolet4x4s 07-12-2008 02:28 PM


Opti 07-12-2008 02:34 PM

I will not run cast or hyper pistons.

Opti 07-12-2008 02:41 PM

Do you have experience with those guys. The verter was one thing I didnt want to cheap one.

Ive seen alot of guys by the cheaper stalls and have a lot of problems with them.

Will these guys build it to my specs, like tr, stall speed and everything.

Opti 07-12-2008 02:51 PM

I run around with mostly Late model guys since I own an LT1, but I have seen first hand Quite a FEW of them fail especially the hyper ones. Most of the forged ones I seen fail are from major tuning issues on big boost or spray cars.

Its more justa piece of mind thing. I mean if I throw the vortecs on a hate them no biggie just replace them when I have money, If I dont liek the pistons then its a ***** to replace them.

On a side note I got my dad on board. Ever since I sold my 69 Firebird (43K miles, bought it as an investment) hes wanted another project to work with me on and I think me and him can have some fun on a junkyard build liek this.

Opti 07-12-2008 03:07 PM

Ive only seen two stock Lt1 pistons fail. Both were on decent size shots fail (200 an 180) the others were on cheaply build 383 and 388 where they skimped on pistons (hyper) and thought they could still run big shots.

Id still prefer to run forged stuff but I will reconsider some of the hyper sutff.

Blazin72 07-12-2008 03:52 PM

Opti, want to keep costs down? Build the 383 with very good low-mid range torque and run a slightly higher gear. Lower rpm keeps wear and tear down and you won't have to be as concerned with the expensive high strength parts that is needed for higher rpm engines. Building an engine that doesn't have much torque down low and combining that with lower rear gears means you're going to have to spin the engine higher. Higher rpms means more stress on engine parts which, in turn, means you're going to be spending more money on expensive parts to keep from grenading things.

Just something to think about.

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