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Old 02-16-2005, 12:04 AM
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The Most Commonly Asked Question On This Forum

Yet one that still takes a different answer every time it's posted.

It's finally happened, and after a few months of seeing "How do I build my SBC for cheap?" I'm asking the same question.

I'm building it for my dad's 63 Bel Air Station Wagon.

He bought a 350 block from a buddy 10 years ago. It has sat in his garage since then, not moving an inch. He bought the wagon a couple years later. It's been keeping the engine company, but not in the way we'd all like to see.

Recently he got a nice bonus, and he wants to spend a grand on the motor to get a cam in it and get a good start for a little more money into it for a few months. He don't want to do the work so I offered to do it for him.

What kind of machinework should we do to the block from the start?

We plan on just taking it down to the pistons, cleaning up the sidewalls with a drill hone, new rings on the pistons, and a cam kit for now.

I need cam kit suggestions (for a good price) and carbeurator advice.

I need to also know anything that SHOULD be done if I do the cam and piston walls/rings. (pushrods, timing gear/chain, distributor, bearings?)


Keep in mind this will be a daily driver, and will be in heavy traffic a bit, but he wants a strong motor that has a nice sound and decent power to it.

The # on the rear of the block is 3970010, it was said to have come from a 1980 van or blazer. (It had K-10 stamped above the # so I'm taking a wild stab at Blazer?)

It was said to have been rebuilt by GM a couple years before he bought it and it's painted Goodwrench blue with GM Goodwrench stickers on the valve covers (the same stickers I see on Goodwrench Crate Motors)

It has hydraulic lifters, and they all looked to be in perfect shape. They had no scoring of any kind, and were all slightly worn very evenly from one to the other.

Would I be correct in assuming that's a good sign of a smooth running motor?

A couple things to keep in mind.

He'd like to do roller rockers later. Along with new exhaust and headers, and an intake manifold.

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Old 02-16-2005, 12:13 AM
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Vortec heads for $560 a pair assembled, and a Comp HE268 should wake it up, a Edelbrock Performer (or Performer RPM if it has short gears) and a good 600 CFM carb
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:19 AM
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Would I need different pushrods with that cam?

And even though it's for hyrdraulic lifters, do I need to get new lifters for the new cam?

I just did a little checking, and it looks like exactly what I'm looking for... Slightly rough idle, moderate performance applications...

I was already thinking 600 cfm, so I'm glad you're reinforcing my thought on that... Does Edelbrock put out decent remanufactured carbs?

How is this lookin to you guys?

http://www.powerandperformancenews.c...&Store_Code=CC

I'm thinking heads would be a good idea, so I won't need the kit with springs and valve locks etc. if the heads come assembled, right?

So far, I'm thinking an Edelbrock Vortec Performer manifold ($250)... A set of Vortec heads ($650), and the cam kit I listed above ($260)...

Good call?

I'm fairly mechanically apt, I've never done a cam before, is it very hard to do a cam with moderate mechanical abilities? If it's not recommended I do it, How much would assembly of the cam components cost me at a machine shop?

Also, where would I find a set of Vortec Heads for 560 bucks completely assembled?

Last edited by Dizturbed One; 02-16-2005 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:26 AM
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1. Push rods must be checked per app. for correct geometry
2. New hyd. cam = new lifters
3. 268 is one of the best all around cams for a 350
4. If the springs are close the the ones suggest by the comp. cams. (spring pressure.)

Vortec heads are a pretty cheap and sure way to go to make good power. Many guys run them and like them I think they do a good job for the cost.

Cam is easy to do just use good break in lube (crane cams lube) and oil the bearings. GM EOS can be added in the oil during break-in for better protection (bought at local chevy dealer) The cam will come with very good instructions...FOLLOW THEM! lol. It really is not that hard once the cam is in follow the suggested way to pre set the lifters. (valves set BEFORE engine is started.)

Chris
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:20 AM
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Thank you very much strikingthematch. that really opened up some confidence in getting this done on budget for me.
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Old 02-16-2005, 11:43 AM
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my suggestion to building a cheap engine... EBAY!!!! just be sure it is a well known ebay seller.. with very high feedback... racers outlet is a good store.. dirt track thunder another... and place to find cheap vortec heads.. i'd go to the junk yard.. might have to get them cleaned up but hey.. could be the cheapest route.. the things i wouldnt recommend buying used is the water pump.. oil pump.. pushrods.. or the carb... they just arent worth taking the chance over... hope this helps..
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:36 PM
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One thing I would HIGHLY suggest is to get a book on rebuilding SBC from car tech. You can go to amazon.com to get better prices on the books ($12 instead of $18.95) A book is a great guide that you can set on your work bench and follow step by step. It tells you al lthe things to check and watch and may remind you of something you otherwise would over look. For the price a book is a great investment.


Chris
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:42 PM
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Great idea on the book. Another thing is to make sure you use a good set of tools. I do not mean you should rush out and buy a complete set of Snap-On tools ,just make sure that your basic build tools are good and not Taiwan garbage. Example,get a good click type torque wrench,not one of those junky needle type. Make sure that the torque wrench is not an abused tool or you might as well put it togather without one.What I mean by that is that you have not constantly dropped it,or thrown it up on the work bench,or worse,cracked a knuckle and sent it flying across the shop,into a wall.
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:41 PM
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i DEFINATLY agree on the tools.. i've bought the "20 dollar 200 piece" deals before.. they are CRAP.. you'd might as well hand tighten the crap because any kind of real force on the sockets and they split or round off... personally now i'll only buy craftsman tools.. cant beat the quality for the price
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:21 PM
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just for starters....

a good how to book on building sbc is a necessity... The mechanics tool set from sears will get you going then rent the specialty tools from the Zone of Murray's or what ever auto supplier is near you.


Tazz


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Old 02-19-2005, 08:07 PM
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you could do a search of my entries from april to june 2004. i think i stressed out and asked a question about every f'in little detail. i agree with store bought heads more than anything! after a friend who works in a machine shop had me for over $400 to rebuild my 487 castings for my camaro i think the vortecs are a great idea for your build and most others. dont bother with timing gear sets that have multiple keyways! for a sea slug of a grocery getter i would get a more stockish grind of cam but if you felt like that you probably wouldnt be on this site. besides, if you get the vortecs, the motor could handle that cam anyway. sounds like a good direction you've been steered to. i gotta tell you you might be paying alot more for gas tho this summer if you go with a higher performance cam, but that's a given

Last edited by bullheimer; 02-20-2005 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:55 AM
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If you haven't been locked away in a cave all your life, and can read, you should have already read about thousands of different ways to do this, on the internet and in magazines. The amount of money you spend is going to be proportional to your own ingenuity. Get out and hit the swap meets, do some networking, and you could put together a stout engine for pocket change. I see tons of used sbc parts at every swap meet, and I can feel fairly safe in saying that I could have pieced together a rompin 383 roller motor for under a grand in parts, if I had been so inclined, just from parts I have seen at the last couple big swap meets.
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