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Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board > Tech Help> Engine> Ok, here's the debate of the century: 383 or 400 chevy!! Cast your vote and reason
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Thread: Ok, here's the debate of the century: 383 or 400 chevy!! Cast your vote and reason Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-28-2013 08:08 PM
Studebaker
383 or 400?

I would really have to go with the 383. I have had a lot of 400's, (I have 5 right now) and have had a lot of problems. Stock 400 blocks are really prone to cracking. At least that has been my experience. For a drag race engine, great, but for a street engine I would have to go with a short rod 383. I don't beleive the hype about longer rod engines. I have never been able to tell the difference between a 5.56 rod 383 or a 5.7 383 and I have driven both.
03-28-2013 07:30 PM
cobalt327
Quote:
Originally Posted by hogger52 View Post
Well, first off this is my first post on this site and have been reading alot from you guys and hope to learn a few things.
I am old school hot rodder from the golden days of muscle cars. My first project, engine build was a 65 Chevy Impala SS 396 convertible that I bought for $500.00 that was blowing smoke, so I with the help of a couple friends, rebuilt the motor. It didn't go that well as I remember, but that was in about 1971.
So now I have taken up the task of rebuilding a 73 Chevy Cheyenne 4X4 half ton truck. I bought it with a 400 in it and it actually ran pretty good, but I had this vibration problem with it and assumed it was a U joint. I changed them all till I did some reading about the 400 being externally balanced and sure enough at 2800 RPM it was quite severe. I pulled the motor and found that the flywheel looked as though someone shot it with a 9mm. Perfect round dent in it. I am thinking that is the problem, but I decided to sit it on the shelf for now and bought a 350 from the junk guy that was in a 92 chevy truck and it was a TBI motor. I wanted to get a roller cam motor, but this one didn't have the roller cam, but has the bolt holes for the spider and the larger lifter bosses. So at this point I have a 400 block and a 350 roller cam block that both need to be rebuilt. At this point I would say I lean towards the 350 and the reasoning behind that is I am not a fan of an externally balanced engine and am looking into getting the vortec motor to the machine shop to have it de-greased, magnafluxed and possibly bored or line bored.
That's my take on it, for what it's worth. Hope I didn't bore you guys with this long drawn out read.
The heads that came on your TBI engine are known as swirl port heads. Depending on how you want to build the 350 (stock or towing, or high performance), they may or may not be what you want to use. Basically they're good truck heads, but not so much for high performance.

BTW, your TBI 350 SBC is technically a Vortec engine, but do not confuse that w/the popular L31 Vortec engine, which uses the L31 Vortec heads.

IMO if both need an equal amount of work, I would build the 400.

Good luck.
03-28-2013 01:05 PM
1Gary What should happen here is to have a mod lock this down mainly because if the topic wasn't well covered in 21 page,it ant going be.Prevent grave diggers from a unreasonable expectation of a review of those same 21 pages and preserve the same as a archive.
03-27-2013 07:49 PM
NastyRat
383-400 ?

With today's aftermarket Kit's Might as well just go to the 434 combo with the 400 block, or it is a 396 with a 350 block @ .030 overbore in each. The 400 block is preferred because it unshroud's the Valves. Both stock block's require the same upgrades to live above 500HP for any length of time in extreme use. I personally have a 396 combo LT1 set up in one of my Camaro's Great street combo. If I could have used the 400 block for that I would have, But to keep the stock electronics would have been a Nightmare.
03-27-2013 07:11 PM
hogger52
400 vs 383

Well, first off this is my first post on this site and have been reading alot from you guys and hope to learn a few things.
I am old school hot rodder from the golden days of muscle cars. My first project, engine build was a 65 Chevy Impala SS 396 convertible that I bought for $500.00 that was blowing smoke, so I with the help of a couple friends, rebuilt the motor. It didn't go that well as I remember, but that was in about 1971.
So now I have taken up the task of rebuilding a 73 Chevy Cheyenne 4X4 half ton truck. I bought it with a 400 in it and it actually ran pretty good, but I had this vibration problem with it and assumed it was a U joint. I changed them all till I did some reading about the 400 being externally balanced and sure enough at 2800 RPM it was quite severe. I pulled the motor and found that the flywheel looked as though someone shot it with a 9mm. Perfect round dent in it. I am thinking that is the problem, but I decided to sit it on the shelf for now and bought a 350 from the junk guy that was in a 92 chevy truck and it was a TBI motor. I wanted to get a roller cam motor, but this one didn't have the roller cam, but has the bolt holes for the spider and the larger lifter bosses. So at this point I have a 400 block and a 350 roller cam block that both need to be rebuilt. At this point I would say I lean towards the 350 and the reasoning behind that is I am not a fan of an externally balanced engine and am looking into getting the vortec motor to the machine shop to have it de-greased, magnafluxed and possibly bored or line bored.
That's my take on it, for what it's worth. Hope I didn't bore you guys with this long drawn out read.
03-27-2013 09:38 AM
dfarr67 I'm trying to decide which way to swing myself and although this thread is 30% BS there are some nuggets. App is 1989 chev K1500 4x4, built 700r stock converter, 3:73, 355, DynamicEFI, Edelbrock vortec TPI. I've put a few dollars into the 355 and have been dissappointed with build quality and towing capacity with 5000lb trailer. Originally had RHS iron 2.02 vortecs 64cc with Mahle forgings 9:1, FlowTech Induction roller cam, studded top and bottom. I'm considering pulling the engine due to oil leaks, 0 decking not consistant bank to bank, excessive mechanical noise (had to disconnect knock sensor), roller lifter problem losing control on 2 rockers (even after replacing with LS7 units). Due to head assembly issues of using guide plates with self alligning rockers which took out the guides and damaged the roller rockes, replaced heads with 65cc AFR vortec- so the adequate iron compression is now on the low side in my opinion. Don't get me wrong- this engine has balls but I cannot really get on it knowing the valve train is not 100%, the cam manufacturer also admitted that these lobes tend to be noisy. So for the cost of a Scat cast crank, 5.7in 7/16 I beam capscrew rods, pistons, +-10:1 and a quieter roller cam I'm considering a 383 and would recylce almost everything I can. I've been told that around town mileage will be worse but highway will likely improve. A friend of mine has a high nickel 2 bolt main 400 block that he sold the intended vehicle, has a new crank and I'm not interested in his 882 2.02 iron heads- his build was ultra low compression but the engine is not assembled, I was thinking same as above rods, 10:1, with the current AFR's, retrofit roller, I would assume if a new crank was installed it would be line honed and I would stud the top and bottom again. I have a vortec FIRST TPI that will go on to replace the Edelbrock Hi Flow. I just hesitate with the 1 pc rear main sealing and oe roller block that I have now. The application would be some towing, spirited power around town, I've never driven either 383 or 406 so mileage is a concern over the 350, would like to continue running 87 octane. Seems like the quality of builders in the area has suffered the last 10 years but the costs are definitely no lower.
05-21-2012 02:14 AM
twistedaxle
Quote:
Originally Posted by yourallabnchofQrs
what about turbos...

i mean lets say you have a stock 350.. making 265 hp value $700
an you want a stock 400 making say 300 hp.. value $1300
sell your 350 for $700 and need $600 to get 35 hp
add 2 small junkyard turbos like say vj11's from a ford probe...
$35 each add the pipng intake intercooler setup used parts where applicable, rebalanceing tubos seals etc all that and spend $593 plus tax thats what i did...

I my reman longblock wholesale was said to make 265hp at the crank i'm sure.. the similar 400 was said to make 300 hp...
I made 386hp at the wheels for a minimum of 121 hp difference
so $600 bucks get you 35 hp displacement
versus $ 593 got me 121 hp difference...

isn't that a good replacement?
of coarse not... because you ignorant f**kers believe in spending $2000 to get 100 hp....
why... you ****ing idiot...

I ran that setup 10 passes a week all summer for 6 years not to mention the daily driven aspects...
with simple preventative maintenance... maybe and battey once and a alternator, oil changes, coolant flushes..
**** you would do anyway.....


just a thought....
slap a couple of turbos on it... you'll have more air....
nowturn up the fuel.... you're done..
haven't you ever heard of grass roots drags....
under $750 in mods on a stock car, and show receipts to qualify...
been to atleast 100 of them...
won maybe 10 -15 of em...

don't be a ***... NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACMENT? except THIS, That, oh yeah and that too... oh yeah and don't forget thais....

The Validity of the statement is gone now...
Stop using it or I"ll swing by and kick you in the nuts....

and as for my vote.... the 400 is better than the 383...
just because all the fuc*ing retards will ask you. why'd you put a dodge motor in your nova? so you can explain what a 383 is to them.... and then say... *******.. My time is too important.
I'm guessing if you're reading this, your time ain't all that important.
05-20-2012 09:44 PM
Bandit 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northstar T
There are three different castings for the 400 blocks. the 511 block was the early block and most of them were good 4 bolt blocks (3 freeze plugs per side on this one). The next generation was the 509 casting, and is reportedly of poor quality (no personal experience with that one however). the 817 casting was in 78-80 GM trucks and was a high tin and nickel casting 2 bolt block (but converts well to 4 bolt) and is the one to look for.

Cheers,
Russ
I would be very curious as to where you got your information from.
I read an article on line some months back where one of the top machine shops actually sonic tested all of the 400ci blocks and could not find enough differences in the blocks thicknesses worth mentioning. They did say that any block could be a victim of core shift when being manufactured and it was a good idea to have any block you`re going to spend a bunch of cash on sonic tested to insure it is not a core shift block.
However, they did not mention in the article from my recollect about the tin\nichole content in the 817 block.
So being that I am about to build one of these blocks to compete in and endurance race I would like very much to read whatever it was that you are commenting on, that is unless you done these studies yourself. I you done the actual study on the 817 could you tell a little more about the details in how you determine the different metal contents.

Thank you for the information and looking foreward to your reply.

Later
05-20-2012 03:26 PM
Northstar T
400 sbc blocks

There are three different castings for the 400 blocks. the 511 block was the early block and most of them were good 4 bolt blocks (3 freeze plugs per side on this one). The next generation was the 509 casting, and is reportedly of poor quality (no personal experience with that one however). the 817 casting was in 78-80 GM trucks and was a high tin and nickel casting 2 bolt block (but converts well to 4 bolt) and is the one to look for.

Cheers,
Russ
05-09-2012 09:04 AM
twistedaxle
Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72
I'm willing to bet there are many many more gen 3 engines than gen 1 on the road right now... there are certain types of racing where gen 1 still dominates but there are also many others where gen 1's are few and far between. Depending on what you're specifically talking about gen 3 already is more popular.

I predict the next trend will be smaller displacement turbocharged engines in hotrods. Not as small as 2 liters of course but I could see v6's and i6's becoming popular. The biggest hurdle won't be making power but getting the drivetrain to last.
Predicting things gets expensive. People are still using carburetors and building Flathead Fords.
05-09-2012 07:02 AM
ap72 I'm willing to bet there are many many more gen 3 engines than gen 1 on the road right now... there are certain types of racing where gen 1 still dominates but there are also many others where gen 1's are few and far between. Depending on what you're specifically talking about gen 3 already is more popular.

I predict the next trend will be smaller displacement turbocharged engines in hotrods. Not as small as 2 liters of course but I could see v6's and i6's becoming popular. The biggest hurdle won't be making power but getting the drivetrain to last.
05-08-2012 07:05 PM
twistedaxle
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
I love my Winchester lever gun! I did a box of .30-30 rounds w/BP and they shot well, but cleaning the gun was a chore- every last bit of the BP residue has to be scrubbed off or it'll rust. I bought a box of .30-30 70 gr Remington Accelerator rounds and they're a hoot, but I'd never deer hunt w/them here- that's 170 gr territory for me.

.50 cal are popular here, I like the ballistics of my .45. I make my own black powder but use 275 gr Powerbelt rounds, so a mix of old and new tech. I also shoot the Davenport 12 ga single shot (bottom photo) using handloaded BP shot shells.






Gen 3 Chevy engines have a ways to go before they're more popular than the venerable Gen 1 SBC, though. I'll happen- but not in my lifetime.

If I had your Winchester, I'd love it, too. And that's a promise, just in case you're entertaining the idea of giving it away.

After I read your post, I went and pawed through my collection of brass, primers, bullets and powder.

Happy news. I think I can feed it.
05-08-2012 04:30 PM
cobalt327 I love my Winchester lever gun! I did a box of .30-30 rounds w/BP and they shot well, but cleaning the gun was a chore- every last bit of the BP residue has to be scrubbed off or it'll rust. I bought a box of .30-30 70 gr Remington Accelerator rounds and they're a hoot, but I'd never deer hunt w/them here- that's 170 gr territory for me.

.50 cal are popular here, I like the ballistics of my .45. I make my own black powder but use 275 gr Powerbelt rounds, so a mix of old and new tech. I also shoot the Davenport 12 ga single shot (bottom photo) using handloaded BP shot shells.





Gen 3 Chevy engines have a ways to go before they're more popular than the venerable Gen 1 SBC, though. I'll happen- but not in my lifetime.
05-08-2012 01:48 PM
twistedaxle
Quote:
Originally Posted by 327NUT
Speaking of 30-30's I've got an old 1924 Model 94 Winchester saddle ring carbine, I'm not a hunter but when the coyotes come sneakin' around my place lookin' to eat my cats and my mut they get a taste of it. Loaded with the fairly new 150 grain "Leverevolution" rounds.........bye-bye
Speaking of 30-30s, I got one. I like the .300 Savage better. Maybe that makes me lousy American.


As far as front stuffers go, I'm all about making the hole at the front end as big as possible. I'm not immune to the value of .45, but I have a .54. And a 10 guage.
05-08-2012 01:39 PM
327NUT Speaking of 30-30's I've got an old 1924 Model 94 Winchester saddle ring carbine, I'm not a hunter but when the coyotes come sneakin' around my place lookin' to eat my cats and my mut they get a taste of it. Loaded with the fairly new 150 grain "Leverevolution" rounds.........bye-bye
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