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Old 01-21-2006, 06:43 PM
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Edelbrock Crate engines: Are they worth it?

My huge '81 Olds wagon has a bored, balanced, cammed 403 that the previous owner installed [but forgot to replace the valve guides, hence an internal vacuum leak]. Personally I would have chosen a 455, because the 403 has plenty of top end, but not enough torque to move a 4200lb vehicle to my satisfaction.

I need a new carb, and my mechanic suggested that I trash the Quadrajet in favor of a Holley. While shopping around, I found a nice Edelbrock for a decent price.

So anyway, I noticed this 'crate engine' category and -- knowing that Chip Foose likes to install them in his 'Overhaulin' projects, I decided to drool a bit. Are they worth the $5-10K that they charge?

Sure seems like it would be nice to just order something that's already been built and bolt it onto my TH400 tranny. Given that it has a Diesel VIN number, emissions not an issue, so I can basically put in any engine I damn well please.

Bear in mind: I'm a driver, not a builder. No garage.

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Old 02-05-2006, 10:50 PM
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edelbrock

The edelbrock carbs are very nice you just put it on and go they are usually set where they need to be. As far as there engines they usually start with a GM block and just add edelbrock parts most of them come with a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty.
Mitchell
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:04 AM
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If you're going to buy a crate engine from Edelbrock, the warranty begins on the day you buy it. We had a guy in our shop that had some problems with one he had stored for 9 months between purchase and installation and it cost him another $700 for new parts.
We were not impressed with the chassis dyno tests, either. The 410 hp motor produced about 270 rwhp in a 62 Vette with a Muncie 4-speed.
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:47 AM
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i have not had personal experience with the edelbrock carbs but have not heard the best reports about them from people on the net.many people don't like quadrajets they are a very good carb.just not as easy to tune and work on as a holley.if you can afford it,i would go with one of the barry grant carbs..they are very tuneable and again easy to work on.they have better tuning qualities than the holley.if you don't want to spend as much money the holley 3310 750 is the way to go.its rellatively cheap and has many upgrades that you can do to it at your pace or as you can afford it.
as for the motor,you can add some money to your 403 and change the power band with some work on your heads and the right cam and some upgrades that again can be done as you can afford it.or if you want to be done with it and you want torque,get the 383 or 385 or 427 from GM.GM has a slew of engines to choose from but if you want that dream engine,buy the new 400 block from dart or brodix with complete machine work and assemble the parts of your choice and build the biggest small block you can think of.there are so many choice's and ways to go that you really have to get some research and a game plan together first.it sounds like the cheapest easiest way is to use your 403 and change the power band.
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Old 02-06-2006, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onovakind67
If you're going to buy a crate engine from Edelbrock, the warranty begins on the day you buy it. We had a guy in our shop that had some problems with one he had stored for 9 months between purchase and installation and it cost him another $700 for new parts.
If I go that route [which is unlikely] I'll not buy it until I'm ready to install & run it. Thanks for the tip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by onovakind67
We were not impressed with the chassis dyno tests, either. The 410 hp motor produced about 270 rwhp in a 62 Vette with a Muncie 4-speed.
OMG!! I would have sent it back w/that kind of difference in pwr. On the Overhaulin' show, they would have the engine putting out MORE than the advertised output when they had her installed and on the rollers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNova/406
i have not had personal experience with the edelbrock carbs but have not heard the best reports about them from people on the net.many people don't like quadrajets they are a very good carb.just not as easy to tune and work on as a holley.if you can afford it,i would go with one of the barry grant carbs..they are very tuneable and again easy to work on.they have better tuning qualities than the holley.if you don't want to spend as much money the holley 3310 750 is the way to go.its rellatively cheap and has many upgrades that you can do to it at your pace or as you can afford it.
What you're saying seems very sensible and is likely what I'll do. The incrimental approach is the most realistic one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNova/406
...as for the motor,you can add some money to your 403 and change the power band with some work on your heads and the right cam and some upgrades that again can be done as you can afford it.or if you want to be done with it and you want torque,get the 383 or 385 or 427 from GM.GM has a slew of engines to choose from but if you want that dream engine,buy the new 400 block from dart or brodix with complete machine work and assemble the parts of your choice and build the biggest small block you can think of.there are so many choice's and ways to go that you really have to get some research and a game plan together first.it sounds like the cheapest easiest way is to use your 403 and change the power band.
That's the thing, given that the engine needs valve guides anyway, I'm thinking what to do. Tear down that one and make the mods or go with a different engine. The expense would be similar, depending upon where I get the block. I'm very near Manassas VA which is well-known for the mechanical/parts/expertise resources available.

She gets sh*tty gas mileage and has poor low-end performance. I would keep the 403 if it were mounted in a Cutlass, but we're talking about a Delta 88 Custom Cruiser here.

Before I would spend money on that power plant, I would just as soon swap it out for the big-block that would bolt in the easiest. That's why I was thinking of looking for a bigger Olds engine. Also I intend to use it for towing from time to time [rarely], so torque is desired.

But you didn't seem to be impressed by the 455, so I'm willing to consider the other options you mentioned. Again, given that I have a diesel VIN number, emissions is not an issue.
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:08 AM
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I don't know too much about the Edelbrock crate engines, but I purchased a crate motor from Gail Trent at American Speed out of Moline, IL. a few years ago. They specialise in low compression high torque/horsepower units. My 355 SBC was guarenteed to make 440 hp and it dynoed at 446. The engine is in my 68 RS Z28, (original 302 is fresh and stored) and I wail on it pretty good. So far no complaints.
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford
But you didn't seem to be impressed by the 455, so I'm willing to consider the other options you mentioned. Again, given that I have a diesel VIN number, emissions is not an issue.
455's have their place. They're a torque monster, but they don't like to rev very high, at least in stock trim. I'm thinking it would be a spectacular powerplant for a station-wagon / trailer-tower.

It would probably be the best swap that you have from an "ease of installation" viewpoint, too. Going to a 454 Chevy would almost certainly require a different transmission. Yours MIGHT be one of those "universal " bell-housings, but it is much more LIKELY to be what they call a "BOP" (Buick-Olds-Pontiac) bolt pattern.
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66GMC
455's have their place. They're a torque monster, but they don't like to rev very high, at least in stock trim. I'm thinking it would be a spectacular powerplant for a station-wagon / trailer-tower.
Yeah, I have to be realistic. Any thoughts of lifting up the front end are only dreams. And at my age, not desirable. If I go with the 455, the next question would be what sort of mods are available. I'm sure that there must be cams, head swaps/mods, headers, intake manis, etc. that can make a diff.

That's something to consider when selecting an engine. I'll create another thread when that day comes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 66GMC
It would probably be the best swap that you have from an "ease of installation" viewpoint, too. Going to a 454 Chevy would almost certainly require a different transmission. Yours MIGHT be one of those "universal " bell-housings, but it is much more LIKELY to be what they call a "BOP" (Buick-Olds-Pontiac) bolt pattern.
Actually the trans is '79 Ponti TH400. It has lasted 4 times longer than any other trans I've ever had. Swapping that is out of the question.That, the heavy-duty suspension and the aforementioned VIN number are the main reasons that I intend to keep this car no matter what.

To all who posted here so far: We thank you for your very helpful input.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:25 PM
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If you have any thoughts of towing, I wouldn't even consider the Edelbrock crate motor. You would be better off looking at the GM Performance parts 383 HT, or similar with some low end torque. I built my 355 to the specs of the 410 hp Eddy motor.(RPM heads, cam, c/r, etc) The Performer RPM cam has a ton of overlap, which kills your low end. It is made for 1500rpm - 6500 rpm range. I don't believe it made anywhere close to the claimed numbers. I was running 13.7 at 99.66mph with a 70 Chevelle. That's pretty close the the 270rwhp in thr Vette mentioned according to some of the hp calculators. I will however say, that with the overlap, the car sounded mean. I replaced the cam, & increased compression at the end of summer, but didn't get the chance to get to the track to see the improvement. I couldn't roast the tires through 2nd gear with the rpm cam, but I sure can now. The new cam is a Crane Solid 116481, 518/536 lift, 270/288 duration, LC 113*, & 53* overlap as compared to the RPM 488/510 lift, 308/318 duration, LC112* & overlap of 89*. Good luck.
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyman
If you have any thoughts of towing, I wouldn't even consider the Edelbrock crate motor. You would be better off looking at the GM Performance parts 383 HT, or similar with some low end torque.
Yeah, Edelbrock has a version of that engine that puts out about 460lbs/ft of torque -- for about $10K. Right.

I've done some prelim research on the Olds 455 and am leaning in that direction. There are places [such as Mondello's in Cali] that specialize in putting performance packages together for that engine, so somebody has to think it's worth something.

And given that a reasonably modified 455 can put out 550bs/ft + of torque, that should be sufficient to move the big wagon decently -- even with a load. And it will cost a lot less than any crate engine. So I'm gonna be deliberate about this and start shopping for blocks and keep it in storage while the process of collecting parts is ongoing.

I'll definitely be checking in with you folks for tips as needed. Thanks again for the help.

Last edited by walford; 02-07-2006 at 01:09 PM.
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