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Old 03-20-2013, 02:49 PM
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Most cost effective way to build a SBC 400hp at motor

No power adders (boost or spray)

I know this question is very vague, I am not new to motors but there is soooo many combos out there my head starts turning. I am in the process of looking for a drag car/truck shell (prefer s10), hopefully with rear end, suspention and everything already set up.

I want to build a motor to have on the side. I want to know whats the cheapest recipe to get around 400 horse at the motor? I have yet to buy a block. I am guessing most are going to say start with a 400 if I can find it, but I would like to know based off a 350 sbc, unless it can be done with a 383 cheaper.

Im talking start to finish, from deck height to cams to heads to carb. What would do it for the least amount of money (no boost or spray)

Thank you.

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:59 PM
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either can be done pretty easily. I would prefer a 383 just because the kits are so cheap nowadays you can get one for the cost of machining an old 350 crank. 400 isn't asking much from a bottom end either, so it can be a pretty basic kit. You could use cast pistons but I'd step up to hypers, not to much cost difference there. Basic rings and bearings will be fine. Stock oil pump. Cam in the mid 220 to low 230 @0.050 is plenty, you could probably use less. Doesn't matter, any grind flat tappet cam will cost the same.

The cost will come in the heads. You need something aftermarket to do this comfortably. Of course the AFR stuff is really nice but that's money. I would venture to guess that any cast iron aftermarket head will get you the 400 at the crank. I'd be in the 180-200cc intake runner range and between 9-10:1 on the compression. ANy duel plane intake will do, why not use an aluminum one designed for performance to be sure.

What I've outlined is a nice, reliable build that will make 400 horse for plenty of years. Now if you really want the dirt cheap version of this, get a 350 from a truck in the bone yard (90's stuff will be roller if you want that, plus the 1 piece main is nice), pull the cam put yours in it and slap heads and a carb intake on it. You might get lucky and it will last for years. If you can get the motor for 350 bucks, heads maybe 500 at a swap meet if you're lucky, 150-250 for the cam. 100 bucks for a swap meet intake. 1000-1300 bucks.

K
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:29 PM
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Great info, thanks a lot.

I found a set of Brand new vortec heads for $250, I think he said 060 heads, I can look them up and post them specs, but they are new straight from GM.

Would that do?
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:53 PM
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Vortec heads will need some reworking if you choose a cam with enough lift to make 400 hp. The spring seats wont allow a big enough cam to get there, so you'll need the heads worked over to allow something around .480" lift or more. I'm pretty sure the Vortecs will max out around .460" lift in stock form. You'll also be limited in intake choices with Vertec heads vs. older style heads, as they have a different intake bolt pattern and angle.
You can easily get to 400hp with a 350 SBC, with the heads you bought, and the right cam. I'd consider going to a 9.5:1 compression piston with those heads, and a cam that's in the 270-280 degree range, and .470"-.480" lift, with around 108-110 LSA.
This will just barely work with a stock stall converter, but better with 2200-2500 stall, or a standard transmission.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon H. View Post
No power adders (boost or spray)

I know this question is very vague, I am not new to motors but there is soooo many combos out there my head starts turning. I am in the process of looking for a drag car/truck shell (prefer s10), hopefully with rear end, suspention and everything already set up.

I want to build a motor to have on the side. I want to know whats the cheapest recipe to get around 400 horse at the motor? I have yet to buy a block. I am guessing most are going to say start with a 400 if I can find it, but I would like to know based off a 350 sbc, unless it can be done with a 383 cheaper.

Im talking start to finish, from deck height to cams to heads to carb. What would do it for the least amount of money (no boost or spray)

Thank you.
I could and I have said a lot about building a 400 horse 350, a 383 would go down pretty much the same path.

But I'm gonna chicken out for the most part and send you some reading the Chevy High Performance Magizine did a long time ago. I was shocked to find this stuff still links. The short of it is; they took a Goodwrench 350 and pumped it up in stages that ends with a Comp XE268 and TFS heads and finally a blower but on the way they pass through porting stockers, bolting on L98's and Vortecs and porting them along with a bunch of other stuff. You'll see getting 400 horses out of Vortecs takes a little messing around but not a lot.

Big thing that doesn't help build power in the SBC is the factory piston. Deep dishes makes great pizza but on the head of a piston they sure don't make power. Go over to the Keith Black site and rummage through flat top and D dish pistons if you really want to get power out of the gasoline you burn.

Fast ramp cams like the XE, Voodoo and others build power really fast and up to about the duration of the XE268H they really don't need a high stall converter as do the long ramped cams that emulate the muscle car era. The problem with fast ramp cams mixed todays oils is you gotta break 'em by the numbers and dope the oil forever with aftermarket ZDDP additive. The older, slower ramp designs are easier on the lobes and lifters but the looong time getting the valve on the seat really bleeds off cylinder pressure till way up the rev range; so you end up needing a lot of compression to compensate and a high stall converter to let the engine rev way up before it gets loaded down with work to do.

Other than that, happy reading, this is also available in a book titled "Small-Block Chevy Engine Buildups: How to Build Horsepower for Maximum Street and Racing Performance" by Chevy High Performance Magazine.

Links to the 350 Goodwrench stepwise build:

GM 350 Crate Engine Build - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build II - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build III - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build IV - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build V - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build VI - Chevy High Performance



GM 350 Crate Engine Build VII - Chevy High Performance

GM 350 Crate Engine Build VIII - Chevy High Performance

Bogie

Last edited by oldbogie; 03-21-2013 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:01 AM
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My god...the "Targetmaster" still soldiers on. Sad thing is its a great motor if you don't mind throwing half of it away.

To the OP; Id start with 383ci as a minimum; if you can afford it, a 406 is a great motor with plenty of room to grow power-wise. The problem with an honest 400hp 350 is you dont have a substantial amount of growth left.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by AutoGear View Post
My god...the "Targetmaster" still soldiers on. Sad thing is its a great motor if you don't mind throwing half of it away.

To the OP; Id start with 383ci as a minimum; if you can afford it, a 406 is a great motor with plenty of room to grow power-wise. The problem with an honest 400hp 350 is you dont have a substantial amount of growth left.
Kind of like buying a new Heritage Softail then making a chopper out of it?
Bogie
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