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Old 01-24-2005, 10:57 AM
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Need advice on building 400 chevy

Hi guys, I'm new here, but I like it so far, so I thought I'd throw this out there. I have a 400 sbc that I'm going to rebuild. It's the first time I've ever completely rebuilt a car engine, and want to do it right. I am also unfortunately on a pretty tight budget, and am acutely aware of how expensive this can get (especially if you make a mistake) Sooooo, I've read enough posts here to see that there are some really smart people here, and figured you guys could help me do it right. Any suggestions on where to buy parts, what parts to buy, what to look out for, what to do and what not to do etc. etc. In other words, tell me what you would do if you were doing it, keeping in mind that I want it to be reliable, with as much bang for the buck as possible on pump gas.
It will be replacing the 400 that's in my '39 Pontiac coupe, and will be backed with a 350 th (till I can afford a good 700r4). I built this car and have been driving it for 14 yrs. I loved that 400, especially since I sometimes tow a camper or quad trailer with the street rod. I bought the original 400 already built when I was building the car, it's mostly stock except for the cam (don't know the make, but it's got a nice lope), intake and headers. I've won a lot of street fights (all within legal limits of course)with this car and have a bit of a reputation to protect now. ( I love the look on the face of those rice rocket guys when I BLAST by them in a 65 yr old car, I always let them get off first so that they can hear my tires break loose in second while I go by in a blur, ahhh, American iron!!)
so, let's have some suggestions, keep it real, and remember that my budget is tight.
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Last edited by roddinron; 01-24-2005 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 01-24-2005, 02:16 PM's Avatar
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The most important thing is the "combination" built around good solid basic machine work and assembly.

Parts wise you can't go wrong with the major Mail order places. PAW, Northern, Summit etc. Don't get hung up on brand names, as in the real world most of the parts are made by two or three manufacturers and reboxed by all the rest.

Camshaft and heads determine what will work and what won't. It is always better to under cam your motor. You can add different ratio rockers easier than doing a cam change. Everybody wants a fuel dragster sounding engine that gets thirty MPG. Ain't gunna happen!!

Shoot for 9.5 to one true compression, with cast pistons in a round bore. Resized rods with good bolts. Or, better yet some 5.7 rods, good bolts and resize.

Double roller chain setup, hydraulic lifter cam. A m55-A oil pump is plenty.

Best bang for buck is aftermkt heads. Usually to get stock used hi-mileage Chevy heads done correctly costs more than a set of S/R torker types. Woops gotta go. later..BOB
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