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Old 08-20-2002, 06:41 PM
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Post How much abuse can a Chevy 350 take?

O.k., I'll admit it. I drive my car like a teenager! (I'm 31). This is what I know about the engine: It was built for drag racing (as is the rest of the car). It's from a '72 Nova, it has a long duration cam, roller tip rocker arms, a short runner aluminum intake manifold, Holly 650, and headers (there are some other items, roller lifters?). Supposedly 400 horsepower. It has about 1,000 miles on it. The tranny is a M21 four speed.

What I want to know is, how much can this engine take? Can I pound it once in a while? The guy I bought the car from (a dealer) said "the car won't last that long if you drive it like that."

That makes me worry a little. How nice do I have to be??

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Old 08-20-2002, 06:54 PM
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Oh, and how much RPMs can I run the engine to safely? 5,000 to 5,500?

(I know the engine CAN run at higher speeds, but even I try to be somewhat nice to it)
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Old 08-20-2002, 07:22 PM
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Well, all engines are different and all oppinions are different, but I'll tell you about my 355 that was in my Chevelle when I owned it.
68 Chevelle, 355ci sbc, cast flat top pistons, 480 lift X 290 duration cam, Weiand intake, Holley 650 dbl pumper, headers, msd box, mallory ignition, stock rods with arp bolts, stock crank and balancer.
Tranny was a 4 speed saginaw with a cenreforce gold clutch N pressure plate and throwout bearing. Rear end was a 12 bolt with 4.88 gears and a posi with traction bars.
I drove the piss out of it and only had one stock valve bend in the whole time I was floggin it to death at the track.
Mostly street drivin, Id rev it up to 6 grand and dump the clutch, then shift at 6500-6800 on a regular basis.
sbc's are pretty tough and they dont mind the hi rpm's. Have fun. HG
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Old 08-20-2002, 07:25 PM
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Chevy's tend to have a little better rods than Fords so you can infer this to your situation.

I raced a 1968 302 SBF and consistently shifted at 6700 rpm, it lasted 2 years being driven like I hated it before the pin pulled out of the stock pistons. The second 302 was a little wilder (1970)and I shifted it at 7500 rpm, it lasted two weeks being driven much the same way. A 351W I built using all the components from the second 302 lasted a month shifting at 6700 rpm, and that was a 69 with the supposedly good rods.

Always the same result, the pin pulled out of the stock cast pistons. I used forged pistons and had the big end come apart, seems the extra weight of the forged piston offsets it's increased strength.

What did I learn?

You either build it for racing with aftermarket rods and forged pistons or you turn it a little lower and drive it like a street car should be driven. If your cam requires you to turn the engine above 6000 rpm to use it to full advantage I would build it right and not skimp on the internal bits.

With your engine I see no reason to turn it over 6000 rpm, it should last a good long time if you take care not to overrev it. Missed shifts are inevitable and I prefer to use a rev limiter to save the engine in these situations.

Lastly, buy a good tachometer. They are worth their weight in gold. Factory tachs are junk and are not to be trusted.
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Old 08-21-2002, 04:15 AM
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I'm happy with the horsepower I get at 5,000 RPMs. The cam and the intake are such that I need to take it that high to generate decent power.

That's assuming the tach is correct. It is an aftermarket item. I took a guy for a ride yesterday and punched it, and he said "there's no way that tach is correct." I don't know if he knew what he was talking about (maybe he was just a little bit jealous!)
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Old 08-21-2002, 05:48 AM
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My 350 took it in the shorts for a long time! I don't know about others, but it is the only engine I know that can still "get it" on low oil pressure.
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Old 08-21-2002, 09:43 AM
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took mine to 6300 lots of times lasted 5 years till the guides went. pulled it apart, just worn out bearings after 30K miles but that was probaly due to the 4:11 gears and taching 3000to3500 every time got on the freeway. only time i killed one was from sucking the no.8 exhaust valve from not adding lead with old heads
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Old 08-21-2002, 02:30 PM
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Don't trust any tach until it has been calibrated. You can do it with an old distributor, an electric drill and a digital tach or mechanical contact tach.
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Old 08-21-2002, 03:48 PM
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I assume that the guy who owned the car before me calibrated the tach correctly (I got this car a month and a half ago).

Your testing procedure sounds interesting, though I don't know if I could do it without further instruction...

Thanks for the reply
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