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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-14-2009 07:19 PM
T-bucket23 Dont be overly confident in the GM crate engines. I have seen several with issues right out of the box, from simple to major. The 330HP engine is the one I have seen the most issues with.

Personally I would rebuild the one you have, put a decent set of heads and a decent cam and it should wake right up.

I own one of the 330HP engines and there were assembly issues and it really drinks the gas in a 1600lb car.
07-14-2009 06:56 PM
ap72 PAW, Midwest Motorsports INC, Competition Products, and a few others are suppliers as well. CP's webiste isn't as nice as Summit's but their phone lines are WAY better and their prices are lower- Summit has a better selection though. Plus Summit doesn't carry much Elgin stuff- Elgin is pretty decent stuff at really low prices. Even the Pro's use some Elgin stuff.

For about half of my poarts I go to
07-14-2009 06:47 PM
crussell85 I buy 99.99999 percent of my parts from there is no better organized site at a better price, and their shipping is flat rate. There is a fair description and picture of almost everything they sell
07-14-2009 05:25 PM
ap72 A good way to start is to find a 4bolt Vortec engine that needs rebuilding. Figure the core will cost you $500 or less, a rebuild kit is around another $500, machine work will be around $700, add in a cam, carb, intake and headers for another $700- you're sitting around $2500 for a roller cam, 4 bolt 350 with Vortec heads- all the basics you could need for an easy streetable 400hp/400tq.

The last Vortec core I got was less than a year ago and it cost me $400, already fully machined with a SCAT crank and ARP fasteners. I've seen running ones go for $250 around here.
07-14-2009 05:09 PM
PatM I agree with CRD that the '78 will never be worth what a comparable 58, or 65 will be. But it sure seems to me that the early C3 Vettes have recently (say, 4-7 years) seen a growth in value. These would be the '68 to , like, '72 cars. This will extend to the other C3s as well, I believe over time. Besides, if you're building virtually from scratch, a running 350 can be had for $100-$500. Naturally, that all really depends on how well you are connected, and how lucky you get. For that little money, having the running numbers-matching motor as an on-hand backup is not a bad proposition, assuming you have the space for it. Anyway, as previously noted, the cost trades can be managed to keep them small, so it isn't really about the money. It's about what you want to do.

07-14-2009 03:53 PM
cool rockin daddy I have to add something here. Aside from sentimental value to you and your family, the '78 Vette is NOT going to be worth much. They are not sought after by many. Lots are available (47,000 made in 1978). Can pick them up for around $8k. If you want to honor you dad or something, fine. But I would use the block, put some good modern heads on it, change the cam and carb, and put some headers on it. Save the original heads if you want to put it back to stock form for dad. Wouldn't worry about messing up it's originality, it just ain't worth much.
07-14-2009 03:23 PM
PatM The cost thing can be argued forever. I have a simple street motor (well, perhaps not totally simple, but certainly very much a street motor) and have about 1400 in the machining alone. Balance the crank and reciprocating stuff, bore and torque plate hone, clearance for the stroker crank, preassemble to verify deck height, machine the decks, align hone, clean and MT and so on. Some for parts (like temporary use bearings for the pre-assembly) and lots for machining. Again, maybe I paid too much. But I did the build myself because I am now in my 60's, and building a strong street engine at some point was a life-long dream. Something from my bucket list. That is the very best reason I can think of to do your own street motor. Race motors, you need to do yourself, or through a shop you contract with. No question. But while Houston54 is looking at $2550, I've spent over double that. Not that I have anything so very special. The point is you can do it yourself to control the cost if that is the goal. Or, you can do it yourself to control the build, if that is the goal. But for a decent street motor, if you are willing to compromise at the detail level, it's difficult to beat the offerings from GM. There are a number of other street motor sources that I think have pretty good reputations. Smeding Performance and Beck's racing engines I think are two pretty good mass-builders. I'm sure there are others too, and a google search will help ferret them out. If you really want to do the motor yourself, by all means do it yourself. If you are looking for a simple solution, don't complicate your life by turning your back on the crate motors that are out there.


07-14-2009 03:17 PM
Originally Posted by markkr14
I have a 78 vette that my Dad owned and is all original. It really needs some horsepower. What are the pros and cons of going with a crate motor vs using the original motor and rebuilding it with some add ons. Will I devalue the car (it is not worth that much to begin with) by taking out the original motor? What are the best mods for the basic 350s from that era? Comments? Thoughts?
I'm in the camp that would recommend a crate engine to save the numbers matching motor just in case the 78 'vette ever becomes worth something. Besides the 78 engine is so far from a performance engine, by the time you're done building it to 300 horses the only thing left will be the block and crank.

Since you're only looking for 300 horse here's a couple suggestions:

1) This is the low cost choice at 2000 dollars for 290 hp. This is a decent engine but suffers from too much cam and not enough compression, so it's kind of lazy on the bottom and and is a bit of a gas drinker, replacing the heads or the pistons to get the compression up around 9.2 makes a world of difference but adds cost. Top notch cam though.

2) There's three options here for how many of the tin parts come on the engine, at 330 horse, this engine uses less cam and better Vortec heads. It pulls stronger everywhere and gets better miles out of each gallon. Shows to go ya the importance of higher compression and modern heads. Costs $2700, $3900, to $4700 depending on how ready it is go. For $4700 all you gotta do is wire up the starter and hook up the gas line and go; the others take you to add some external parts to get going.

In the upper end of number 2's money range you can score a 383, while only listed at 340 horse the additional 100 pound feet of torque over the 330 horse/380 pound foot torque of the 350 will make a whale of a tire smoking difference way ahead of what you'd expect from a 10 horse difference. There ain't nothin' like leaving some Beemer squid sitting at the stop light choking in your cloud of burnt butyl.

07-14-2009 02:02 PM
Houston54 If the motor is fine then leave it alone.

The question of a rebuild or crate needs answering if the original motor was junked or previously replaced.

I am currently doing a rebuild and have the following costs for my effort:

Block work (.030 bore/cam bearings/ crank grind/freezeplugs, etc) $330.00
New pistons installed on rods $225.00
Ring set $38
Rod bearings $24
Main bearings $28
Oil pan gasket (one piece) $22
Gasket set (Fel-pro full set) $46
Water pump (Edelbrock rebuild cost) $65
Camshaft Kit $150
Rocker Arms (roller tip) $100
Push Rods $40
Timing Set $40
Oil pump & pickup $24

Sub-total $1,132 (Excludes assy lube/misc hardware)

Heads - Full Rebuild including guides Add $350
Heads - Vortec Add $620

Heads - Aluminum Add $1,400+

For comparisons here are some of the lower end (HP level) SBC crate motor prices:

Basic 290HP SBC crate motor cost (Long block) $1,950 + freight
Basic 330HP crate motor $2,800 + freight

The crates have the added benefit of a warranty but you do not have the satisfaction of building your own and knowing exactly what is in it.
07-14-2009 01:49 PM
markkr14 Okay... for anyone following this thread. I have gotten a lot of pretty sound advice. Let me summarize... 1) don't throw away the numbers matching motor 2) get a second "fun" motor and put the origianl into safe storage 3) go with a crate motor... and look closely at the GM OEM high performance motors (if for no other reason, to have some confidence in what I'm getting 4) consider as an alternate having a motor built by a local shop to allow for a bit more flexibility in getting exactly the components that I want 5) and lastly, do some of the planning and work yourself to bond with the car.

Okay... so here is the follow-on question. Sounds like I need a company that acts like a local speed shop (in that you can have a menu of selectable components), is conventient like a crate motor (it comes shipped directly to me, assempled and with a dyno report to prove it is as promised), uses all certified OEM major components (no foreign junk), and has an OEM level warranty. Anyone know of such a place?
07-14-2009 01:31 PM
markkr14 The motor runs fine... it has sat around most of it's life. It has 65K on it. It does not smoke significantly. It wasn't the HO engine, and only started with 185 horsepower to begin with. I don't really need 600 horsepower... but 300 would be pretty nice.
07-14-2009 01:31 PM
PatM I guess I am in the minority here. I agree with the few other folks who think you should do both. Keep the numbers matching motor, and buy or build a separate fun motor for now. My wife owns a C3 Vette, and though I'm not a huge Vette fan, I know many who are. The whole numbers matching thing seems foolish to me, but to people who think it matters, it REALLY matters. If you ever sell that car, assuming it's value rises in the next few years (and I'd bet it will, just sitting in the garage), the possession of the numbers matching engine might nearly double the value of the car, assuming other major components have matching numbers. Corvette restoration folks are really into this stuff. All that said, this was a period of awful performance for stock Vettes, and just about everything else as well. So, building up a separate motor, or getting a good crate motor, seems to me like a pretty good idea. The friends I have with street rods are all using GM crate motors of one kind or other. All small blocks, there are a couple of ZZ4s, a 330HP dressed-out and finished 350, as well as a 350 RamJet. Another friend is using a 454 Big Block Crate with an 8-71 blower. All of these owners are totally pleased with themselves for having made this simple, and warrentied decision. Instead of choosing one path, and possibly destroying the option for the second, I agree you should update the car, but keep the number-matching restoration option open for the future.

07-14-2009 12:55 PM
65smallblock If all you are looking to do is get more power then the first question is what kind of condition is the current engine in? How many miles on it? Simply putting another motor in wont nessecarily net any gains unless you get to specifics.

I had an old '71 blazer with open chamber heads, it was a dog of the first order, bolted up a set of 2.02 fuelies and woke it up like you wouldnt believe.

Your average 350 is not a bad place to start from, sometimes they just need a little TLC in the right places.
07-12-2009 05:31 PM
BugRod I would stick the original motor in storage and pick-up a crate motor> there is a big difference between the performance crate motor and the replacement motors that GM sells. But there are many other companies that are selling "crate motors" now, take some time and do some shopping.
07-12-2009 05:27 PM
FmrStrtracer If you are worried about losing value, you should either buy a complete motor to rebuild, or get a crate engine from a reputable builder. Take your original, numbers matching engine(carb, distribtor, water pump, everything thats original) , bag it all up(air tight), and stick it in the corner somewhere. Should the time come that you want to, or need to, sell your car, you have all the original stuff available.
There is always the risk of a motor breaking for simple reasons, and its a shame to lose a numbers matching set up because a valve or something broke.
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