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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-28-2012 12:50 PM
my87Z if you are willing to let this be a long term project then it can happen, just don't think this will happen overnight, unless you do have loot like that. it took me about 3yrs to get my camaro set up, and for the last year i was building my motor. luckly i was in the military making pretty decent money, along with my wife who makes pretty decent money, i was able to save quite a bit of money each month to put towards this project. you have to remember that eveyone has an opinion, and not all of us will agree that opinion, so on sometimes there is bound to be some bickering.

my advice would be to find another 400 or 350 block (if you would be willing to build a 383) and start working with that. take your time with it to make sure you research everything, and the different part manufacuters. dont skimp out on quality stuff just to save 100.00, cause more often than not the end result will end up costing you more than 100.00 when you have to fix what went wrong. do it right the first time.
03-27-2012 11:35 PM
White85Camaro No offence taken at all. Alright, I realize I'm 19, and never built an engine. I suppose using "a little extra cash" wasn't the best choice in words. I didn't realize everyone was going to use it quite so literal. I wasn't ever meaning I'd build a 406 on 600 bucks or anything. The reason I had started this thread was so I had the ability to ask questions, get feedback and have suggestions made. The first few had all said that it'd take more then a little bit of money to prepare the rest of the car rather then just focusing on the motor. I've come to the understanding that it's going to take some serious cash to build 500hp. Hence the reason I'm looking for another 400. I don't want to have my car parked to build an engine would I could keep it running and prepare another engine to go in to replace it. There is a guy that owns a performance shop in the city that is very reputable and willing to help and give advice when it comes to cars. I'll be making most of my big purchases off of him.
I don't want to offend anyone or have any "fights" over the internet. But I'd prefer if this thread could stay just about laying out suggestions and having questions answered rather then getting to be at all personal.
Thanks guys. Everything that's been put up here has been able to help me better understand something I'd like to do for the first time. I hope that I'll be able to do a few motors and give advice in places I have experience and success.
White85Camaro
03-27-2012 09:23 PM
327NUT Ok, no offence to the OP or anyone..........the guy is 19, he is going to build his first engine.....a 406 when he says he "has a little extra cash". Do you really think he knows what it takes to build a 500 hp engine? He doesn't have the money to build 500 horses let alone buy a Dart block. He found a complete 511 block that will most likely need machine work.....mag, bore, hone and deck, if he's lucky that's all it will need. Get the crank 10-10'd, along with all the other parts? ....$$$$$$$$$ Last time I looked a Dart bare block was $1500.
03-27-2012 04:55 PM
GT23T
Quote:
Originally Posted by 327NUT
He said it's going to be a street motor, doesn't need a Dart block for what he's looking for. Yes, the 511 block will be just fine......after you have it checked at the machine shop. ARP doesn't make main caps, they make bolts only.

If you use the ARP main bolts or studs you will have to have the main bearing saddles align honed because the ARP fasteners create more clamping force to reach "bolt stretch" or the proper "torque value" for that specific bolt/stud. This basically warps or distorts the main cap which requires them to be align honed to make them round again and bring them back into tolerance. For a street motor you could re-use the stock bolts if you're going to keep the power reasonable.....me, I use the studs and align hone, then you can do anything you want.
From the OP
" I'm thinking around 500HP would be a great weekend street/strip car."

By the time you find a decent OEM block and have it machined the way you want it, you could have bought a Dart SHP block or even a GMPP block. Both of which would give you more options down the road.
03-27-2012 04:19 PM
327NUT He said it's going to be a street motor, doesn't need a Dart block for what he's looking for. Yes, the 511 block will be just fine......after you have it checked at the machine shop. ARP doesn't make main caps, they make bolts only.

If you use the ARP main bolts or studs you will have to have the main bearing saddles align honed because the ARP fasteners create more clamping force to reach "bolt stretch" or the proper "torque value" for that specific bolt/stud. This basically warps or distorts the main cap which requires them to be align honed to make them round again and bring them back into tolerance. For a street motor you could re-use the stock bolts if you're going to keep the power reasonable.....me, I use the studs and align hone, then you can do anything you want.
03-27-2012 06:21 AM
GT23T I think you'd be better off using a DART SHP block instead of the OEM block. The DART blocks are stronger, have better cooling, primary oiling of the mains, blind water jacket head bolt holes, and 4 bolt mains.
03-27-2012 12:22 AM
White85Camaro
400 4 bolt main?

So I've posted an ad in my city looking to see if I can find another 400 block that will be usable for a 406 build. I've got a reply from someone with a block that still has the original heads, cam, intake and rotating assembly. It apparently has been sitting in warm, dry storage for 20+ years. The casting number is 3951511. When I look it up it shows, 70-73 4 bolt main. I know it's been said that the 4 bolt mains are weaker. Seeing how I'd like to build a street motor with limited strip use. Would this be suffice? Would putting ARP main caps on it make a difference at all? Or would it just be in my best interest to stick with a 2 bolt doing the ARP mains?
03-26-2012 02:10 PM
White85Camaro Awesome guys, this is really great! It's totally starting to make sense. Everything I've been reading about boring, honing and decking tries to explain so much at once it gets overwhelming. I know my block is a 2 bolt main, and finding 4 bolts is almost impossible to find. I found main caps for 70 bucks on summit to convert my 2 bolt to a 4 bolt. Shouldn't be too bad to have done then!
Thanks everyone!
03-26-2012 08:56 AM
my87Z
Quote:
Originally Posted by 327NUT
Just to clarify, the '70-'71 or maybe even '72 400 sbc had 4 bolt mains and as mentioned in many other posts and forums are known to be weaker than the 2 bolt. Like said above if you want a nearly bullet proof lower end have billet steel splayed 4 bolt main caps installed.



wow i completely forgot about them, i gues they just are seen that much anymore, but of coarse even finding a 400 block today can be a feat.
03-25-2012 11:38 PM
327NUT Just to clarify, the '70-'71 or maybe even '72 400 sbc had 4 bolt mains and as mentioned in many other posts and forums are known to be weaker than the 2 bolt. Like said above if you want a nearly bullet proof lower end have billet steel splayed 4 bolt main caps installed.
03-25-2012 09:44 PM
Silver Surfer
Quote:
Originally Posted by White85Camaro
Alright guys, I'll make sure to beware of the extra costs that come along and try not to get too ahead of myself, Lol. And I'll definitely have to get a dyno done. There aren't a whole lot of shops around here that are reputable for high performance applications.
I'm thinking of picking up a second 400 block that I can have all the machining done. Try to get that ready, rather then take my engine out and not be able to drive it while I'm building an engine.
When I take it to have it machined, what do I need to have done exactly? This is one place I can't quite understand. I know it's going to need to be bored, honed and decked. Is this all that needs to be done? How do I know what specs I need to have everything done to? I believe I understand boring. But I'm not totally sure about decking. Is there anyone that can dumb this down a bit for me?
Thanks everyone. The knowledge is always appreciated!
First of all, stick with the stock crank. They are reliable and should be considered high quality and a bench mark to grade other cranks. Unless you spend big bucks on a high quality aftermarket crank (which is NOT Eagle or Scat), then you are pressing your luck.

What to do with the block?

Yes, bore and hone to get you +.040".

You should strongly consider align honing your block. This ensures the main bearing caps/bores are perfectly in line and straight and centered under the cylinder bores. This is not really a big deal for 400-ish HP engines, but as desired power levels increase this becomes necessary.

Decking is taking material off the top of the block (where the heads sit). If you just tell the machine shop, "oh yeah, deck the block too" they will probably just take .010" off to ensure the surface is nice and flat. Most of the guys here like to get the block to what is called "zero deck". In other words the pistons at TDC come up exactly to the deck (they are not down in the hole or coming out of the top). From there you chose the proper head gasket to achieve 2 things: (a) desired compression ratio (b) proper squish and quench (aim for around .040-.045").

To get the block at zero deck height takes extra time (read MONEY) by the machinist as he will have to assemble the short block and take measurements at cylinders 1,2,7 and 8 (aka each corner) to figure out how much material to cut. The added benefit here is that now you get a flat surface AND a straight/level surface (where as blindly milling off .010" is flat, but is it even with the bore of the mains? This leads to some cylinders with higher or lower compression ratios).

Keep in mind that if you get your crank reground and polished it probably won't be exactly 3.75" stroke. Also if you recondition your rods they are also likely to not be 5.565" in length. So again, all the more reason why the machinist must take the effort to assemble the shortblock to take measurements.

GM knew a thing or two about squish. Engines left the factory with around .040-.046" squish (.025" deck clearance + .015-.021" head gasket). There is a ton of articles about this topic, so I will let you google that. Here are some numbers though.

Deck clearance = Block Height - Reciprocating Height

Stock block height of a SBC is 9.025" (measured from center of main bearing to deck)

To get total height of your rotating assembly (measured from center of main bearing to top of piston -> does not include dish/dome):
Reciprocating Height = Crank Stroke Radius + Rod Length + Compression Height of Piston


Here are some examples:
==============

350SBC Example:
Crank Stroke Radius: 3.48" / 2 = 1.74"
Rod Length: 5.7"
Compression Height of Piston: 1.560" (rebuilder special pistons are often 1.540" to allow more leeway for decking and head gasket selection)
1.74" + 5.7" + 1.560" = 9.000" Reciprocating Height
9.025" - 9.000" = .025" deck clearance

400SBC Example:
Crank Stroke Radius: 3.75" / 2 = 1.875"
Rod Length: 5.565"
Compression Height of Piston: 1.560" (rebuilder special pistons are often 1.540" to allow more leeway for decking and head gasket selection)
1.875" + 5.565" + 1.560" = 9.000" Reciprocating Height
9.025" - 9.000" = .025" deck clearance
03-25-2012 09:38 PM
my87Z When you take your block in to have this done, the machinest will pretty much tell you what you will need to have done to it. Boring is just that, you are boring out the cylinders to cut away any grooves or imperfections in the cylinder walls. Honing puts a cross-hatched rough surface on the cylinder walls to help the piston rings break in (kinda like you scuff a surface before you paint it to help it adhere). Decking is where the top side of the block is shaved down because it levels the surface back out plus gives a perfect surface for a new set of head gaskets to seal to.

Since 400 blocks don't come in 4bolt, they only came from the factory with 2bolt mains, I would buy a set of aftermarket 400 splayed 4bolt mains and then when you have your machinest do yor work they can also drill and tap the holes for the splayed main caps.
03-25-2012 08:18 PM
White85Camaro Alright guys, I'll make sure to beware of the extra costs that come along and try not to get too ahead of myself, Lol. And I'll definitely have to get a dyno done. There aren't a whole lot of shops around here that are reputable for high performance applications.
I'm thinking of picking up a second 400 block that I can have all the machining done. Try to get that ready, rather then take my engine out and not be able to drive it while I'm building an engine.
When I take it to have it machined, what do I need to have done exactly? This is one place I can't quite understand. I know it's going to need to be bored, honed and decked. Is this all that needs to be done? How do I know what specs I need to have everything done to? I believe I understand boring. But I'm not totally sure about decking. Is there anyone that can dumb this down a bit for me?
Thanks everyone. The knowledge is always appreciated!
03-25-2012 07:56 AM
my87Z X2 on what 327NUT said, i didn't think i would end up spending that kind of money on mine. and to give you an idea on how much i spent on my dyno-test & tune = $880.00 but that was for all day, they played with the tuning and ran it about 10 times. but it was well worth it since i'm sure me tuning it in my back garage i wouldn't have gotten those numbers.
03-23-2012 11:49 AM
327NUT All good info, also be careful not to get caught up in the horse power numbers. A 500 hp streeter is a lot of hp and as said costs a LOT of money for the engine and drive train. You are very wise to plan your engine build ahead of time, a lot of guy's don't do that and they end up with a bunch of parts that just won't work together.

The best advice I can give you is to build the best STREETABLE engine suited for your application with the budget you have....and be happy with whatever horse power level you achieve. Of course you won't know that until it's dyno'd, there's another $500 or so. I'm sorry, I don't know the exact web site name but it's something like "Ryan's car page" you might google it, LOTS of builds on there with the dyno results....worth a look and enjoy the fun and satisfaction of building your own engine.
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