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Old 08-07-2010, 03:29 PM
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gonna be buying an engine off craigslist.... help me not get ripped off

so as the title says im gonna be buying a sbc short or long block off of craigslist. im just wondering what all i need to do as far as checking this engine out, i plan to spend as much time as i need to not get ripped off. thank you for any suggestions

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Old 08-07-2010, 03:37 PM
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First, you are not buying off Craigslist, you are buying of someone advertising on Craigslist......

Is this an engine builder you are buying from or just some dude with an engine?

If its a shop, get a warranty.....If its some guy, and it goes bad, you are SOL.

If its a partial engine, pull a cap or 2....mains and crank....look at the bearings. If he wont let you.....pass.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:49 PM
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it will probolly be from some random person. pull the pan,plugs, valve covers, take the heads off. what else? what should i look for when i pull the heads off?
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:57 PM
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Are you going to rebuild it or run it as it is? If you are going to rebuild it then you're going to want to pull the heads and have a look at the cylinders to make sure they're not scratched up, check out the crank and look at some of the bearings. If you're not going to rebuild it then you're going to want to hear it run so you can listen for knocks ticks, or other noises. I bought my 350 off a guy on craigslist and rebuilt it, i just made sure it was in decent over all condition before buying it and i got a good motor. good luck
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:12 PM
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It can be a total hit or miss when you are buying from craigslist, it's like getting a motor from pick-n-pull but they have a warrenty. If you buy from a private party and its a bad motor your SOL.

Go with what has been said, pull a main and a rod bearing cap off and make sure their isnt any coper color showing or that there is no pitting. If there is any copper color pass or your going to have to rebuild it anyway.

Look at the cylinder walls, if there is still a cross hatch pattern thats a good thing. If it is really smooth and glossy it has a lot of miles and its going to need to be rebuilt.

All and all, if you get a motor, I would just go through and give it a good fresh up. It's a cheap insurance policy. Start with a good base, crank kits are cheap compared to buying more than one motor.

When you get something from craigslist make sure you can hear it run or plan on giving it a rebuild.

Good luck.
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:35 PM
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Finally! Somebody wise enough to ask! Someone has finally did there homework. If the seller is more than 10 miles away ask him to give you the casting numbers over the phone and this will save you the trip. If he won`t give you the info and says he can`t find them or the like, pass. You can look up the casting numbers here:
http://www.odellam.com/
Just scroll down on the list and it will take you to small block casting numbers. 9 times out of ten guys come on here crying as they were told they were buying a 350 which was a 305 and others thought they had vortec heads which were really swirl port junk heads. If I were looking for a engine I`d be looking for a 1996 and Vortec 350. It comes with a factory roller cam, vortec heads and a factory windage tray. If you were local I`d buy you a beer for being wise enough to do your homework first. Let it be a lesson to remember, always do your homework, know what your buying before you lay down any cash.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:03 PM
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From a human perspective,,,A little conversation with the seller before you go take a look, be a judge of character, shoddy folks have no problem selling shoddy stuff, ask about other things like do you build cars, do you have a hotrod etc, try and get to know a little about him/her. buying from a decent seller is key. I bought a tranny from a similar online flee market, the guy was very accommodating, knowledgeable and just super nice to talk too, then after the sale I found that what he sold me was exactly what he said it was and that time I was lucky...it is in fact a total crap shoot but I would bet that if I had an issue with the tranny he would have helped me out.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:11 PM
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Man o Man...is this a timely post. This happened TODAY!! Perfect example of what these guys are saying and I'm going to make myself out as a dumbsh-- for not asking first.....I've been playing "hot rod" for a long time and usually get what I pay for because I do my research....USUALLY!

I've been looking for a 472/500 Cad (future project) for some time and found one on a Craigslist type website here in Utah. I called the guy twice, nice guy, said he had 2, a "68-"69 472 and a '72 472. I wanted the '72 because they have a better oiling system (I've been told). He said the engine came out of a '72 CDV and that he drove it home so he knows its a '72.

So did I ask him to check the block casting number???????? NOPE, I drive 150 miles to his house to find that this '72 engine is actually a '68-'69 block, the one I don't want. Man, you talk about feeling like a complete IDIOT, so I drive home in peace because getting all pis--- off at myself won't do any good. "Serenity Now" I say, and tell myself to check the damn casting numbers on the phone before traveling ANY distance. Lesson learned!!!
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:36 PM
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Thanks for all the help fellas, this has been extremely helpfull. after this though i think i would prefer to buy a bare block, send it to the shop with the short block kit, and build the rest myself. way safer this way lol. thanks again!
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
Finally! Somebody wise enough to ask! Someone has finally did there homework. If the seller is more than 10 miles away ask him to give you the casting numbers over the phone and this will save you the trip. If he won`t give you the info and says he can`t find them or the like, pass. You can look up the casting numbers here:
http://www.odellam.com/
Just scroll down on the list and it will take you to small block casting numbers. 9 times out of ten guys come on here crying as they were told they were buying a 350 which was a 305 and others thought they had vortec heads which were really swirl port junk heads. If I were looking for a engine I`d be looking for a 1996 and Vortec 350. It comes with a factory roller cam, vortec heads and a factory windage tray. If you were local I`d buy you a beer for being wise enough to do your homework first. Let it be a lesson to remember, always do your homework, know what your buying before you lay down any cash.
Doublevision the years to look for is just specific 1996 or 1996 and up,I am also in a similiar situation.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:14 PM
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1996 up to 2000. However, there are other blocks that came with roller cams as well that were made earlier but they don`t have Vortec heads. I keep any OEM Roller cam 350 I come across.
I`ll give a list on which to look for. The 880 casting is likely my favorite.
10243880...350...95-00...2 or 4...Vortec truck, Gen.I crate motors and "ZZ4", roller cam, one piece rear seal
14011148...350...87-89.......Roller cam, one-piece rear seal
14088526...350...87-89.......Roller cam, one-piece rear seal
14093638...350...87-95...2 or 4...Roller or flat tappet cam, one-piece rear seal
Keep in mind if you find and use a 880 casting, you have to use a special timing chain. If you need the link to it, just ask.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:18 PM
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Thanks DV thats really helpful,And Mike sorry about the hijack on your post.
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