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-   -   Original 350 or crate? (http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/original-350-crate-227499.html)

Father & Son 12-23-2012 03:16 PM

Original 350 or crate?
 
I have a 69 C20 with the original 350 ci/400 turbo. The 350 runs good but needs freshening up. I prefer to stay with the original 350 but may want to add HP (via 383?), have heard post the 86 350 is superior and crate engines are fairly inexpensive. What are the pros & cons?

hcompton 12-23-2012 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Father & Son (Post 1626276)
I have a 69 C20 with the original 350 ci/400 turbo. The 350 runs good but needs freshening up. I prefer to stay with the original 350 but may want to add HP (via 383?), have heard post the 86 350 is superior and crate engines are fairly inexpensive. What are the pros & cons?

Do search for crate engines on this site. Its scary how bad some of them are. Even names that used to be trust worthy are shipping junk motors that dont last 20k miles.

A bore job with the 383 kit and new heads is the best way to go in my opinion. Only bad thing is the crate motor can be swapped in a weekend. Engine rebuild will take longer. Be sure to get a balanced kit with crank rods pistons rings balancer and flexplate all in one kit factory balanced and ready to install. At least these are close and usally run able untouched in a truck. Race car my still require balancing but even then you want a kit that is close not way out of spec.

If you want to buy an engine make sure its a new one from gm. Save yourself the pain of the famous mexican rebuild. Or other such badly done rebuilds. At some point a used motor from the junk yard is more reliable. If its not 100 percent new pass and rebuild the known good engine you have with all new parts from the best people it will last twice as long as the cheap 1500-2500 crate motors.

87 and newer blocks that are roller are cheaper to rebuild with roller cam. This is a fact. But not really any different other wise. Many of the best blocks are what is called high nickel blocks. But most 010 four bolt blocks will take one hell of a lot of abuse before it blows up. If you spend an extra 500 or more for a rebuildable block you are half way to the price of the roller cam for the old block. So you dont save all that much especially if your block is nice and the roller block needs a lot of work at the machine shop. Then the cost is nil.

cdminter59 12-23-2012 06:11 PM

Original 350 or crate
 
I will give you a list of parts if you want to use your block. The easiest way to rebuild an engine is to buy a complete rotating assembly. SB Chevy 383 Scat Rotating Assembly Kit, 3.750 Stroke 6.000 Rods 9.8:1 Hypereutectic Keith Black Dish Pistons - 383 Kits with 6.0' Rods - 9000 Series Kits - Small Block Chevy - Scat Rotating Assembly kits - Rotating Assemblies | CNC Motorsports | Car. This kit includes a new crankshaft, pistons, rods, rings, and rod and main bearings. It is internally balanced by CNC Motorsports then shipped to you. Other things you need to purchase is oil pump and pickup, gasket kit, harmonic balancer, flexplate, and timing chain gear set. Camshaft: Summit Racing® Cam and Lifter Kits SUM-K1103 - SummitRacing.com. Call Summit Racing for matching valve spring kit. Take the block to a machine shop to have it dipped, bored, honed, new freeze plugs, cam bearings, new oil gallery plugs, and zero deck the block. Have valve spring kit installed on heads with a valve job included. Another suggestion you could add up the cost of this rebuild. If it is near $3000 look at this crate engine. GM 383 Engine Specs (BP38313CT1) | BluePrint Engines.

vinniekq2 12-23-2012 07:00 PM

You didnt say how much more power you need? cheap and high horse power should not be used in the same sentence.

Father & Son 12-24-2012 10:30 AM

Thanks for the feed back. I'm pretty new to old trucks & hot rodding but always impressed with folks willingness to share their knowledge. While money is always a consideration, I am mostly interested in comparative cost and performance between rebuilding what I have and buying a crate. I also have a 50 Chevy truck in which my son & I opted for a blueprint 383. It was hard to beat the pan to carb deals when replacing the 216. In my 69 daily driver however, I have a good running 350 w/145k original miles that would be fine as is if it didn't leak oil from several places. I need to learn how to rebuild an engine but don't have time at present. I am either going to have it rebuilt or buy a crate. It will still be a daily driver so I don't need HP but more HP is always fun if I don't look at the gas gauge, right? Since my truck is pretty much intact as it came from the factory I lean toward keeping the original engine unless I can improve things by going with a later yr block. What I'm hearing so far is that all things considered, my 69 2 pc seal block should be as good as any. Is this correct or are there benefits to a later model 350? Assuming I go w/original block, what do I check/look for when comparing shops and work to be done?

vinniekq2 12-24-2012 10:57 AM

If the truck drives nice as it was stock,why not chase the free horse power?
first,there is no such thing as "free" horse power,lol.

What I think would make you happy is to completely rebuild and blue pring your engine with stock or stock replacement parts,,,but,,,go the extra mile with a perfect job of assembly.

when the block is bored 030,also get the block align honed,squared and decked as close to perfect as possible.Buy an after market,"blue print" replacement cam. This is a "race cam" but it is based on original equipment specifications. So it will idle the same,sound the same but have a little better breathing due to slightly more aggressive ramps and a lot less variation in cam lobes(just more accurate grind with precision in mind) balance the engine,custom hand fit each piston and ring set,resurface and quality valve grind.
This will net you all of the factory rated power and a little more. should last 300k plus.
when its running a custom tune will be in order
Fbird will explain spark advance and fine tuning of the carb(hope its a quadra jet)

cdminter59 12-24-2012 01:18 PM

Original 350 or crate?
 
I would make a list of the machine shops in your area. You can visit them and talk to the owner. Tell him what you want done. Ask questions like what is done to the block getting it back into shape. Ask for references on engine builds he done. Don't forget most important the price he will charge. If you want to use the factory intake and carburetor be sure to tell him. Tell him you want about one stage above stock rebuild. This way it will give you a little more horsepower. Like Vinnie said you want the block cleaned, decked, bored and honed the block with torque plates installed aligned honed. Once you see the price you the machine shop gives you which will be around $ 5000. You will probably want to buy 355 ci 310hp BluePrint engine. GM 355 Engine Specs (BP35511CTC1) | BluePrint Engines. IMHO just like anything else if you don't do as much as you can you can expect to pay the high cost they want. That BluePrint 355/310hp sounds perfect for your 69 truck.

dromero5 12-24-2012 02:00 PM

Blueprint engine quality
 
I hate to be bah humbug here but I would really question the workmanship of the Blueprint engines. I would hate to have folks go through what I went through with the last two 383 TBI engines that I received from them Both within 2000 miles were sent back both averaging about a quart of oil every 400 miles. It was quite obvious what the problem was you could wiggle the valves in the valve guides. The staff there was very unhelpful and kept running me through all these bogus diagnostic tests. In the end I learned my lesson after having to pay all that freight back and forth to just go with a local and reputable machine shop. Although I did get one replacement engine it was just as bad as the first after I told them they are going to have the same issues if they sell engines with heads that have .007 play between valve and valve guide. Unfortunately on the second engine I just got fed up and put Trick flow heads until i flattened the cam :mad:

vinniekq2 12-24-2012 02:15 PM

I dont understand how a crate engine could have worn valve guides?
I see a lot of crate engines come with all brand new parts,including blocks. I understand some are better than others. I also understand price counts too.(no free lunch) My friend John Graham purchased a crate 540 race engine and it came to his shop exactly as advertised.He races in Calgary and is a well know 9.90 racer.

Maybe the economy engines are more of a problem? I tell people that a stock engine is not that much cheaper than high performance. A new cam is the same price if its small or large,new springs are the same price,etc,,, a square block is the same price for stock as race. I expect a g note on machining and I balance all but the cheapest engines.

1Gary 12-24-2012 02:15 PM

My experience with share by this quote from Thirdgen:

I just want to second the opinion of junk blueprint engines. Had valve train geometry issues from day one, blow by, rediculous oil consumption( 5 qts between 2500 mile oil changes, or 1 quart every 15 passes at the strip). Always had funny bottom end noise and oil leaks everywhere. Thankfully it grenaded one month before warranty ended and they honored warranty. Got it back and sold it on cl before it ever came out of the crate and went LS with the money ( plus some). Customer service was good and very polite, just do not trust their products in the least.

Plaintoast 12-24-2012 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinniekq2 (Post 1626605)
I dont understand how a crate engine could have worn valve guides?

i think the problem is partially that there is not really an industry standard regarding them term "crate engine". from gm it is going to mean an all new engine. a friend of mine picked up a "crate engine" from a dealer in Iowa for his vortec pickup, totally stock, that was a .060" over block, and cracked heads. it was cheaper than buying one from me, but not cheaper since he ended up doing both.
at any rate, it depends on who you are getting it from. many of the build rebuild houses picked up the trend and started calling any rebuild a crate engine. being no industry standard for the term, its hard to prove they are being misleading or lying.
as had been said already, go with a reputable local shop, because even the all new gm motors can have problems. (look up the 383 threads on here)

dromero5 12-24-2012 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinniekq2 (Post 1626605)
I dont understand how a crate engine could have worn valve guides?
I see a lot of crate engines come with all brand new parts,including blocks. I understand some are better than others. I also understand price counts too.(no free lunch) My friend John Graham purchased a crate 540 race engine and it came to his shop exactly as advertised.He races in Calgary and is a well know 9.90 racer.

Maybe the economy engines are more of a problem? I tell people that a stock engine is not that much cheaper than high performance. A new cam is the same price if its small or large,new springs are the same price,etc,,, a square block is the same price for stock as race. I expect a g note on machining and I balance all but the cheapest engines.

Well that particular engine had Sportsman II heads that came brand new and assembled. Several engine builders and some folks at that track say those are great heads but they come set up "loose" and that it's best to buy the bare head and assemble yourself/or have your engine builder do it. The manufacturer would rather they consume oil than lock up or seize. Obviously BluePrint just slaps them on and don't check the clearances. I ran every valve seal imaginable and it never helped the oil consumption and having to pull the headers to replace an oil fouled plug every 500 miles got old quick.

hcompton 12-24-2012 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinniekq2 (Post 1626605)
I dont understand how a crate engine could have worn valve guides?
I see a lot of crate engines come with all brand new parts,including blocks. I understand some are better than others. I also understand price counts too.(no free lunch) My friend John Graham purchased a crate 540 race engine and it came to his shop exactly as advertised.He races in Calgary and is a well know 9.90 racer.

Maybe the economy engines are more of a problem? I tell people that a stock engine is not that much cheaper than high performance. A new cam is the same price if its small or large,new springs are the same price,etc,,, a square block is the same price for stock as race. I expect a g note on machining and I balance all but the cheapest engines.

I think they are talking about gm performance blueprint engines as a brand. Gm rebuilds used engine and is supposed to restore them to blueprint standards. Its a sad joke they are junk and cost a pile of cash. I think some one assumed you said to buy blueprint engine not blueprint the engine itself.

And yes crate engine that are completely new from gm is awesome and well built and last like factory. Other rebuilt crate engines dont see 50k miles.

Plaintoast 12-24-2012 04:15 PM

i believe the op is referring to blueprint engines, a company name that rebuilds engines.
i won't give my opinion of the product produced but its easy to find plenty of reviews of them with a search here or Google.

vinniekq2 12-26-2012 04:06 PM

the name "blueprint" is misleading.

we have rules here as to what you can market as a rebuilt engine


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