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Old 01-03-2006, 01:39 PM
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Engine Choice, Please Help

I really don't know how to lay this out, but I'll try. I'm having to make a decision on an engine to put in a race car for a $5,000 to win dirt track race. The type of cars are Stock cars (75-81 Camaros, 75-79 Novas, and 78-86 Monte Carlos) that generally wiegh 3000 pounds. This class usually only pays $300 to win weekly, so I change classes all together, and then they come up with this race. The car I have from last year is a really fast car and had a great chance of winning under last years rules. Last years engine was a stock rotating assembly, Flat tops, 202/160 Vortecs, solid cam 355. It ran well against 6" rods, H beam rods, and light crank 355's. 366 cubic inch limit, no rollers, OEM heads, No Porting and Polishing were the rules. All i have left of that engine are the 1999 model Vortec Heads, Victor Jr intake, carb, and distributor. Here are this years rules.

BLOCKS Cast iron only. Flat top or dish pistons only. NO Chevy 400 blocks
CAM AND VALVETRAIN Any flat tappet cam OK. No mushroom, or roller of any type. No gear or belt driven cams. Screw in studs and guide plates OK. Roller rockers OK.
CYLINDER HEADS Cast Iron only, OEM produced. No porting or polishing.
1). GM straight plug only. Unaltered aftermarket cast iron, no porting, must add 60 lbs. in front of bell housing and car must weigh 3200 lbs.

As you can see, 383's, and 388's etc. are allowed. After Market unaltered Dart, Pro, and World Heads are allowed with a weight penalty. I need help with a engine combo that's not gonna break me.

#1. This is a $1,700 383 ci Short Block with stock rods:


All Classic Series includes full balance
383 includes balancer and balance plate

383 include Scat cast steel crankshaft

Fully prepped block ¬タᄁ Align honed ¬タᄁ Square decked with BHJ 90deg. fixture
Race prepped rods with ARP bolts
Speed-Pro hypereutectic pistons
Performance moly rings
Brass freeze plugs
Screw in oil restrictors
All JRM Shortblocks include engine stand
Classic Series Shortblock include degree cam
Clevite 77 rod & main bearings
Completely clearanced and assembled
Circle track camshaft
Double roller timing chain set
Cam lock plate and button
Designed for racing use only
No warranty
Must be shipped by Truck Freight



#2. 355 ci with 6 rods I-beam for $2,300
Fully prepped block
Align honed
Square decked with BHJ 90deg. fixture
Bushed 4130 Scat I-beam race prepped rods
Scat cast steel crankshaft
Pro-Tru forged pistons
By Wiseco
All JRM Shortblocks include engine stand
Stage 1 Shortblocks include degree cam
ARP main bolts
Performance plasma moly rings
Brass freeze plugs
Screw in oil restrictors
Clevite 77 rod and main bearings
Completely clearanced and assembled
Circle Track camshaft
True roller timing chain set
Cam lock plate and button
Balanced
Deck plate honed
Designed for racing use only


#3. This is a 355 ci for $3,300 with 6 H-Beam rods and 4340 crank

Fully prepped block
Align honed
Square decked with BHJ 90deg. fixture
4340 race prepped H-beam rods
4340 Scat Crankshaft
Pro-Tru forged pistons
by Wiseco
Performance plasma moly rings
ARP main studs
All JRM Shortblocks include engine stand
Stage 2 Shortblocks include degree cam
Brass freeze plugs
Screw in oil restrictors
Dura-bond HP cam bearings
Clevite 77 H-Series rod and main bearings
Completely clearanced and assembled
Circle Track camshaft
True roller timing chain set
Cam lock plate and button
Internally balanced
Deck plate honed
Designed for racing use


So I have 3 engine choices with 3 engine prices. I'm not really worried about which one has parts that are supposed to hold up longer, just which one produces the power. There's one 383 with 5.7 rods vs. two 355's with 6" rods and forged pistons. On the 355's? Will the 4340 crank ,and H-beam rods make more horsepower than the I-beam rod, 4140 crank engine. If so, how much? I'm assuming the price difference is coming from the rod and crank difference. I really wanna stay way from the one that cost $3,300(H-beam, 4340 crank), but will the $2,200 keep up with it(I-Beam, 4140 crank). If so, it would be the 6" 355 vs. the 5.7 383, and the rest of their differences(Rods, Crank, Pistons, etc.).

These cars tires aren't that great, and they have no traction devices. Some of the guys who have cheated in the past with 406's, said it did them no good because they couldn't get the traction they needed. I've heard the extra torque that comes with a 383 vs. the 355 is a little harder to hook up on dirt.

Back to the heads, will the 202/160 Vortecs do as well as a set of DART, Pro, or World Heads. Remember with those heads there is a weight penalty, and they have to be unaltered. Is it worth it to buy them if I already have a set of Vortecs.


$1,700 383

$2,300 355

$3,300 355

Free Vortecs

64cc World 200cc $750

64cc Dart 200cc $800

64cc Pro 200cc $750


If you read this, thank you, I need your help.

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Old 01-12-2006, 10:36 PM
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Torque Monsters

Now I ain't dirt tracked in many a year but seems to me if you are running a short dirt car (3/8's or 1/2 miler) you need torque over horsepower. How much banking do you have in the turns? Those big cube motors need the longer straights to really come on but if you build a motor to the old Camaro 302 z/28 specs you will have all the horses you need plus the God awful torque those things build. I would think the Vortec heads would do nicely since the others are penalty driven and the Vortecs lend themselves well to torque motors. Can you work with tire stagger on the rears? If you can that will get you out of the turns under good power...just slide the rear end around, point the nose to the bottom, turn into the slide and nail it and you should come out form the top of the curve and settle in to the straights about mid track or a little lower. Now this all just opinion but if you will do a little research on the Trans-Am 69 z/28's that Chevy used to factory race you will find that they used to out run bigger cube motors with those little 302's a lot. Anyway for what it is worth thats just my thoughts on the matter. Of course it could just be my Old Timers disease kicking in......
Johnny32
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