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Old 12-26-2010, 11:32 PM
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Building a SB 350

Hey guys. I have been lurking here for awhile. There is a great amount of knowledge on this site! I am just getting back into the muscle car scene. Bought myself a 67 El Camino. Body is in great shape. No engine though. Brings me to a question. I'm torn between building my own engine or buying a crate motor. (I'm pretty good with my hands but don't have experience doing a complete build) The guy who I got the car from gave me two 350 blocks. 2 bolt no crank and a 4 bolt that has a crank.

I''m looking for a reliable driver with some kick. I'd like it to sound nice. Wouldn't mind smoking the tires once in awhile. But it's mostly for the street cruising around on the weekends. Maybe back and forth to work once in awhile. Plan on the car being an Automatic. Thinking about a TH400. Open to a TH350.

So my question is do i go crate or piece it out and build it myself? If I'm going to build it myself would anyone have any suggestions for parts that would suit my needs? Cam, heads ect... I don't want to go too crazy. Kinda on a budget. Any suggestions or comments would be great!

Thanks, Scott

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Old 12-26-2010, 11:52 PM
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While the crate engine is the easy way out, I would take the proudness of being able to say "I built it myself" Really, it will come down to what you have to spend on going with a crate or doing a rebuild. The blocks you have may need alot of work, pile on heads and everything else the price goes up very quickly so of course, money is the main factor. Use a TH350 tranny, the TH400 requires more power to drive and with a mild 350, you don`t need a TH400.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:48 AM
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What he said. Some builds (depending on machine work)you can get 4-5 grand into and it's still gonna be 300 to 350 HP. You can buy a 290 HP 350 from the dealer here for $1800. Swap cam and rockers and you have a nice little screamer for around 2000

Save them blocks though...trade bait
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:48 AM
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You will hear this eventually, so here goes:

You're best bet if you're going to do the rebuild yourself, is to start w/a 1996-up L31 Vortec 5.7L longblock. You can do a search for "Vortec 350", etc. and get a hundred hits on what's involved.

The short description is that the engine's roller cam-equipped, the lifters can be reused if in good shape (unlike flat tappets), the heads are the best production heads Chevy makes, the rear main seal is one piece, the engine comes equipped w/a 2/3 windage tray, they're easily found and are affordable.

This makes for a good foundation to build an almost no-brainer 350-400 HP engine that will be durable and reliable.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:08 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. That's a start! So If I go with a mild 350 and th350. Think the stock gearing in the rear end will be alright? Not sure what it is. I think it came stock with a inline 6 and 3 on the tree if that helps.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:36 AM
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go with the 350th trans not the 400..... try this cam is very nice im running it in my smallblock grerat sound an performace in a daily driver/ street strip.... part num: 00010LK
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:24 AM
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What do you guys think of a LT1 w/ 4L60E tranny combo? Comes with all the accys wiring and computer. 1800.00 rebuilt. Here's the ad.

Too much to list. Rebuilt LT1 from a 96 Impala SS. Rebuilt at Performance engine of Long Beach. I have the specs of the new cam and everything else that went into it. 0 MILES ON IT. Has the MULTIPORT FUEL INJECTION already installed. I have all the accessories- alt., power steering pump & res., smog pump (if you want to drop it into a newer vehicle), a/c comp, acc bracket & belt & tensioner, water pump, opti-spark dist, fuel sending unit, fuel pump, fue filter, ACDelco sensors still in their boxes, 02 sensors, all of the intake pieces-sensors & filter & home plate (an SS thing), a 4L60E transmission (1998) BRAND NEW wire harness and ECM made for the engine by HOWELL INDUSTRIES (Howell was an engineer for GM), I also have the two shop manuals fo the original engine and car-NOT the Chiltons manual, the REAL ONE. You can have the engine stand it is on if you would like that too. To really see what I have you need to go to youtube and see my video-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RGeK...e=channel_page
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:35 AM
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That's high for a LT1.

I'd go with a 5.3L LS derivative, a complete drivetrain from a silverado or something simmilar should be about $1000. If you want a hotrod sound do a mild cam swap. The LS engines are btter in every way.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:45 AM
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That engine- if from the Impala SS- should be 5.7L. Just be sure it's not a L99 engine used from '94-'96 in the Caprice. That engine is tiny (4.3L) and is to be avoided.

The L99 has "43" cast into the side of the block below the heads for an ID, but this can be removed. I'd run the casting numbers just the same- you cannot be too sure about these things, when that kind of coin is at risk...

The LT1 is a good engine, but if I were going to swap over to EFI, etc. I would opt for one of the Gen III engines like a LQ4 or even a 5.3L LS-type engine.

Edit- I see Ap treed me, I got sidetracked reading about a 5.3L build instead of posting...
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:00 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply guys. I'm itchin to get something going. I was just curious for the complete setup. I tried doing a search through the local on line ads. Nothin that you guys ar suggesting. I'll keep lookin. I'd like something like a stock 350/th350 that I can build onto over time. Found some used combos for 500-600 bucks. Just don't want to waste money.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:09 AM
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What's your opinion on going with something like this for starters?

COMPLETE CHEVY 350 MOTOR AND AUTOMATIC 350 tubo TRANS.....FROM THE RADIATOR TO THE DUALLY REAR END ...READY TO DROP IN YOUR CAR OR TRUCK ...IT WAS IN A MOTOR HOME AND IT APPEARS THAT THE ENGINE HAS BEEN REBUILDT ... AFTER A GOOD HIGH PRESSURE WASH .. I SEE ALL NEW FREEZE PLUGS , OIL PAN GASKETS , INTAKE , WATER PUMP. IT EVEN HAD ANTIFREEZE IN IT .. THIS WAS IN A 1975 GMC VANDURA CAB..IT RUNS GOOD AND STRONG ..4 BARREL, HEI SYSTEM, POWER STEERING UNIT,ALTERNATER..THE WHOLE SHABANG.. CASTING # 14010207. $600.00 obo

Casting should be an 80's 4bolt main? For that price I could afford to throw on a few little goodies. Headers, Intake/carb/ mild cam. Any thoughts are welcome. I have thick skin and no ego.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:43 AM
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It'll probably need a rebuild and a good rebuild with a few hop up parts will run you around 3 grand.

I wouldn't touch a carb'd engine. Nothing older than a vortec or a lt1 really- they're all worn out and even in new condition weren't that great.

The ls engines are your best bet. Spend a little more now, or a LOT more later when you need to rebuild it.

The fact that the engine was power washed tells me either leaky gaskets or blow-by. A carbed engine in a van wears out fast. If it was free I wouldn't pick it up. Some sucker will buy it- don't be that sucker.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72
It'll probably need a rebuild and a good rebuild with a few hop up parts will run you around 3 grand.

I wouldn't touch a carb'd engine. Nothing older than a vortec or a lt1 really- they're all worn out and even in new condition weren't that great.

The ls engines are your best bet. Spend a little more now, or a LOT more later when you need to rebuild it.

The fact that the engine was power washed tells me either leaky gaskets or blow-by. A carbed engine in a van wears out fast. If it was free I wouldn't pick it up. Some sucker will buy it- don't be that sucker.
I appriciate that! How about this combo?

This drivetrain is currently in my 1937 Dodge Business Coupe and will be there until I find a buyer. Runs/drives good with no leaks or problems. Just installed a brand new alternator (11/27/10). Intake and carb look like they could use a good exterior scrubbing, but everything else looks clean. Carb feels like a 650. Engine is very healthy with stock cam and transmission shifts perfect.



Been chatting with the guy. Says it has between 40-60k miles. asking $1200.00 I think you are going to say thats way too high. I've been out of the muscle car scene for a long time. Been toying with old VWs. So I feel lost here on whats a good deal.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
That engine- if from the Impala SS- should be 5.7L. Just be sure it's not a L99 engine used from '94-'96 in the Caprice. That engine is tiny (4.3L) and is to be avoided.

The L99 has "43" cast into the side of the block below the heads for an ID, but this can be removed. I'd run the casting numbers just the same- you cannot be too sure about these things, when that kind of coin is at risk...

The LT1 is a good engine, but if I were going to swap over to EFI, etc. I would opt for one of the Gen III engines like a LQ4 or even a 5.3L LS-type engine.

Edit- I see Ap treed me, I got sidetracked reading about a 5.3L build instead of posting...
Got a response back from the seller. He is going to get the case number for me. Says it's a 5.7L What about that tranny? I've read a couple of good things about them.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Localboy808
Got a response back from the seller. He is going to get the case number for me. Says it's a 5.7L What about that tranny? I've read a couple of good things about them.
The trans and engine needs a computer to run things- that can run into some coin.

The Compushift unit for the 4L60E costs about $1100, TCI has one for about $736 but requires a laptop and other parts that aren't included.

Then you still need an engine management system of some sort, or a swap to carb and a "normal" ignition system. You can sell the LT1 Optispark and EFI if it's OK, but this swap will still run a lot of money for an engine that's not enough better than a run-of-the-mill SBC, let alone a L31 Vortec long block.

A L31 longblock can be found cheap, has good heads, roller cam, etc., and if used w/a carb (a Vortec-specific intake is required) and a somewhat modified TH2004R or TH700R4/4L60 trans, will make for a (relatively speaking) easy 400-450 HP engine/trans combo.

A plain-Jane SBC w/flat tappet can make 350-400 HP fairly easily, for less money, more if Vortec heads and intake are used.

If you're looking for a turn-key engine, GM sells a 290 HP engine for fairly cheap. It comes w/a warranty and can be modified easily to make more power.
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