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Old 03-29-2007, 10:06 PM
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Picking the right juck yard engine

Hi ever body,
I am looking for a used SBC none serpentine belt drive engine for my current project. I know nothing about buying a used engine form a junk yard.

What should I check for good and bad thing?
Identifying a good block and heads, maybe a ruff year?
What will pulling off the valve covers tell me?

Thanks guys I know I am asking a lot but I do not know much about picking a motor. I usually had one out of a truck hiding somewhere.

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Old 03-29-2007, 10:52 PM
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take the plugs out and spinn it.

feel how smooth it turns. if it has a rust ridge its been a while.

look at the plugs and fluids. sometimes they have them in a pile, and you cant fish too much. good luck
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:47 PM
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Most wrecking yards have engines ready to sell that they have run to be sure they are selling an engine that will not "come back" on them, at the very least they know the compression readings for each cylinder. They will have oil pressure readings too if the engine ran when they took it out of the wreck.

Buying an engine in a wrecked car that you know nothing about is very tough! You asked what you will learn if you take the valve covers off of an engine well you will know if the last owner changed the oil regularly and that is about it. What needs to happen is you need to take the heads off and look into the cylinders. See if water has been sitting in there and pitting the walls with big pock marks that will need to be machined out. You also will need the oil pan off so you can check out the bearings. So after all this work you may end up not wanting the engine so you go to the next and take it apart. Well I think you can see I would opt for the runner. You will get a 90 day warranty if you ask for it. You can just take it home and drop it in to the car or truck of your choice and you are down the road. Yes, it will be a little more money up front but I think your time is worth something right?

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Old 03-29-2007, 11:56 PM
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If you want a running engine your best bet might be to buy a rusty old truck/car that has the engine you want in it and is currently on the road. you can often find a good 350 in a car/truck for a few hundred dollars, and you can drive it home
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:19 AM
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This is a good case for hitting the towing yard auctions where you can get a running or sometimes easily repaired car for very little money. You get the whole powertrain, wheels/tires, body parts for horsetrading after taking what you need. Then just call the hulk haulers to come get what's left.BUTCH.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:30 AM
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By buying a complete car or truck in the local paper you will often spend less then just an engine through a junk yard and then be able to reclaim $100~$200 by hauling whats left to scrap. If you need to buy it from a yard I have taken a battery and squirt bottle of gas in with me before - if the engine is still in the car and not too badly mangled you can hot wire it and see if you can get it to fire and hear what it sounds like. Just a thought.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:38 AM
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junkyard engines

Around here the junkyards drain all the fluids out so cranking one up is not practical.
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:47 AM
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I second the notion of buying a running used vehicle for a donor engine.

I wanted a 454 for my 49 Hudson...price in a wrecking yard 700.00+ for a complete engine without the electronic gizmos

I bought a 75 GM 3/4 ton truck with a good motor for 450.00 and ended up using the motor, transmission and driveshaft in my build.

Good thing to - is that other than some cosmetics cleaning this motor runs well enough to stuff it in and drive without a rebuild - I know because I drove it home!
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Old 03-31-2007, 11:56 AM
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re: Picking the right juck yard engine

For the short block look for a big truck (1 ton and above). While they're greasy and pretty nasty looking they do have four bolt mains. The heads are usually large chamber/small valve junk, but the block is a good start. I got mine from a pick-n-pull for a $120.
Good luck
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:25 PM
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Print out the block and cylinder head casting numbers from this site www.mortec.com
If you want say a 350ci look for a block # ending in "010" among others. 010 is popular.
The cylinder head casting number will tell you about the compression ratio, horsepower. Most of the stuff you'll find in the wreckers will be low perf stuff so you'll want to trash the smogger heads for a high performance build-up. You cannot determine wether a 350SB is a 2 bolt or 4 bolt by the casting number. You have to remove the pan and look.
A 2bolt main motor that is not cracked is much better than a 4 bolt that is.
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