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Old 07-13-2004, 10:42 PM
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Hi. just wondering why the 350 chevy small block is so good...

Hi!
I am a newbie to this site. I joined because I have heard of the 350 small block chevy being an amazing engine, and having driven a 1989 2500 chevy (with a 350 chevy engine) silverado, and then a 1996 dodge 1500 ram with a 390 magnum engine, I felt the difference in power with the 350 chevy being the much more powerful.

So my question is what makes the chevy 350 so special, and so revered? I am a bit puzzled as to why the chevy has so much kick compared to the bigger engine(s)....... can anyone explain this to me?

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Old 07-13-2004, 10:47 PM
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Welcome to Hotrodders.com

cause they've been around forever, there's been a gazillion and a half made, and performance parts are less expensive than anything else. and they're reliably good motors. and cheap.
everyone and their cousin can afford to build one. not hatin'.
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:12 PM
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Thanks for the reply, but I am still puzzled about the power aspect. Is there more 'kick' because of the way the engine is configured, in terms of bore x stroke?

Last edited by judgedredd; 07-13-2004 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:18 AM
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Maybe not a gazillion and a half Just funnin' with ya Larry!!!





From another site:

Dear Straight Dope:

How much is a gazillion, exactly? --johnt@ci.carpinteria.ca.us

SDSTAFF Dex replies:

Million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, novillion, decillion . . . lessee, a decillion is:

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

. . . so there ain't no gazillion, it's right up there with zillion, bijillion, and uncountabillion . . . a made-up term.

Just so you know, here's the list of "named illions":

Billion has 9 zeros
Trillion has 12 zeros
Quadrillion has 15 zeros
Quintillion has 18 zeros
Sextillion has 21 zeros
Septillion has 24 zeros
Octillion has 27 zeros
Nonillion has 30 zeros
Decillion has 33 zeros
Undecillion has 36 zeros
Duodecillion has 39 zeros
Tredecillion has 42 zeros
Quattuordecillion has 45 zeros
Quindecillion has 48 zeros
Sexdecillion has 51 zeros
Septendecillion has 54 zeros
Octodecillion has 57 zeros
Novemdecillion has 60 zeros
Vigintillion has 63 zeros
Googol has 100 zeros.
Centillion has 303 zeros (except in Britain, where it has 600 zeros)
Googolplex has a googol of zeros

(Please also see my discussion of "googol" at http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgoogol.html.)

You may remember that one of the Teeming Millions once chastised Cecil for referring to "googols of snowflakes," pointing out that 1 googol was greater than the number of protons, electrons, and neutrons in the known universe. Sure, pal. Let's see you count 'em.

One last thing. The number list above refers to American number-naming practice. As long as we're quoting other Web know-it-alls (hey, why should Cecil have to do all the work?), here's what Doctor Math has to say on the topic:

"In the English speaking world, at least, there's already disagreement about what the word "billion" means. In the United States, it means 109; in Great Britain, it means 1012. The Brits add 6 zeroes per step up, and we add 3. So a British "trillion" is 1018. In a sense, the British system makes more sense--billion, trillion, quadrillion, etc., indicate 2, 3, and 4 from the roots of the names. If you think of them as meaning 2, 3, and 4 groups of 6 zeroes, everything makes good sense--and it makes no sense in the U.S. system."

Our number billion, I might add, is known in Britain as a "milliard." The Germans, who evidently follow British practice, take it a step farther and use die Billiarde, which is the equivalent of quadrillion in the U.S.

OK. So, can anybody lend me two bucks for lunch?

--SDSTAFF Dex
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

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Old 07-14-2004, 04:55 AM
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Not so much that the SB is the most powerfull motor, but it is one of the most reliable. Pretty hard to kill them.

There are "dog" small block Chevies as well......307s for one.

It's just that they have been around so long...............50 years in 2005.

More than you can say for a "Hemi"....................sorry CMG and Centerline.........................
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:19 AM
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Are 307's a lot less powerfull than 350's? I had the opportunity of getting a truck with a 307 in it but in the end declined (as I was going to be pulling a double horse trailer with the truck) 'cos I wasn't sure of the power and reliability of it compared to the truck I had (which had a 350 in it). I am new to all this V8 stuff, but find the V8 engines intriguing. Pity they don't make a V12 truck (not including the Lamborghini Truck)!!
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:26 PM
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thanks for setting me straight Kevin!

i knew it was more like sextillion 350 blocks made anyway....
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by judgedredd
....1996 dodge 1500 ram with a 390 magnum engine...
I believe that would have been a 360 magnum not a 390.


Quote:
Originally posted by poncho62
More than you can say for a "Hemi"....................sorry CMG and Centerline.........................
Actually, when Chevrolet was touting the brand new special high performance version of their 265 cu. in. small block V8, available only in the Corvette (all of 195 hp.). Chrysler Corp. was destroying the competition in NASCAR with their little old 300 hp. 331 cu. in. HEMI. An engine that had already been in production for 4 years. Unfortunately they did have a break in production from 1958-1963 because the bean counters managed to convince management the engine was too expensive to manufacture, but when they did come back in 1964 it was with a vengeance, and they have continued, in one version or another, to rule the top fuel and funny car divisions ever since. Remember, the next time you're at the strip that even though that funny car has a Ford or GM body on it, the motivation comes from a HEMI.

Nuff said. blah, blah, blah

Centerline
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Old 07-14-2004, 05:16 PM
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Touchy aren't we....................................

Bean counters eh.................


To me, that means....dollar for dollar, the SBC was worth keeping around, whereas the Hemi was not. Something that the average guy could afford.........................that's just how my simple mind works.
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Old 07-14-2004, 05:24 PM
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Why the SBC is so good

I remember the engineering reviews made comments about those "Mickey Mouse" rocker arms. What they didn't know was GM had done extensive testing with strobe lights on running engines and they had discovered that, at high rpm, engines with rocker shafts with rocker arms mounted on them, distorted significantly, thereby upsetting the cam/valve timing. By mounting each valve system with its own independent rocker support cam/valve timing remained as designed.
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Old 07-14-2004, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by poncho62
Touchy aren't we....................................

Bean counters eh.................


To me, that means....dollar for dollar, the SBC was worth keeping around, whereas the Hemi was not. Something that the average guy could afford.........................that's just how my simple mind works.
I agree. They weren't cheap then and they certainly aren't now. Class is never cheap.

The bean counters had a very good argument since Dodge, Chrysler and DeSoto all had their own versions of the hemi and very few parts interchanged between divisions. Even a first year economics student can tell that this translates to three times the manufacturing expense. That I blame on Chrysler's management more than anything else. They did learn their lesson though since subsequent versions were totally interchangeable.

There's no argument that the SBC is affordable, plentiful, and reliable. They're just boring. Why everyone wants to be just like everyone else escapes me. Especially when there are so many other good power plants out there like the Buick Nailhead, Flathead Ford and some of the big Caddy and Olds motors, and yes even the hemi. Why be an also ran, I say do something different..... anything but a SBC.

Centerline
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Old 07-14-2004, 06:15 PM
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Point taken...............................
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Old 07-14-2004, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Poncho62
It's just that they have been around so long...............50 years in 2005.
Hmmmm, we went from Wright brothers Kitty Hawk to SR71 in about 50 years too. According to that view we should have a nuke powered 350, or something similar to the engine in 'Back to the Future' that runs on just about anything you stuff into it!
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:48 AM
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hey centerline sounds like a really nice guy. As for poncho I dunno sounds like he got involved with a bad crowd or something. I mean come on what kind of fool wants a cracker jack chevy engine when they could have such a nicer engine. J/K I dont really have nothing against chevy but If I had a choice I prefer Mopar
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62

It's just that they have been around so long...............50 years in 2005.

More than you can say for a "Hemi"....................sorry CMG and Centerline.........................
Au contrare! The 331 in my Willys debuted in 1951. The SBC debuted as an anemic 265 in 1955. Didn't approach the small hemi in displacement until the 327 came out in 1967(?).

As far as power is concerned, displacement is only one variable to consider. There are +400cuin engines out there that can't get out of their own way, 'cause the factory designed them for grand-ma's grocery getter or grand-pa's clod hopper. Do a mild hop-up of a 350 and it will run circles around a lo-perf big block.
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