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Old 10-12-2003, 08:36 PM
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Is this possible for a 17 year old? (please, be honest and realistic)

I want to do a total rebuild on a 350 SBC. I'm 17 and next year I go to college. I have a 1978 Corvette, but this engine won't go in the Vette (she is all original #s matching).

I'll get a '58 Vette or '57 Chevy to put the rebuild 350 in, not the '78.

I'm smart, and learn very quickly. I can get my hands on books (library, buy them used for cheap) and get started quickly. I love engines, performance, horsepower, and torque.

But...is it logical for me to do a total rebuild on a 350 right now? I have decent knowledge of the engine, I'm not worried about the learning part, but the financial and storage parts. I can store it, but what about $$$?

Please be honest, I can take it.

78SilverShark

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Old 10-12-2003, 09:04 PM
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Let me address this to all the youth on this forum. Any rebuild is going to cost some money and it always cost more money than what we thought!

Best of all, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

My advice......BUILD YOUR DREAM and take your time...in the mean while drive an inexpensive car while your dream is being made!
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Old 10-12-2003, 09:11 PM
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Well, I do have the '78 Corvette. But I just really want to build a high performance 350 SBC.

What kind of dollars are you thinking for a 400+ HP and TQ 350?

I can always do it along a long span of time, not being too big of a financial burden at a given point.
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:01 PM
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take an estimate, and multiply it by 1.5

you want a strong 400 horse/torque motor? allocate like this: parts will run at least 3 grand if you do your homework for a turn-key; tools are another story. add up all the loose ends and you could be looking at near 5 grand.

maybe you should look into a crate motor? for the cost of all the one-time tools and equipment it will probably just be easier and much less of a headache to buy it finished.
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Old 10-13-2003, 07:58 AM
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No. I don't need an engine. But I do want to do a rebuild on one. And, if financial needs allow, I wouldn't mind buying the tools, because it wouldn't be just a one-time thing.
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:00 AM
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Hey bud, I feel your pain! I'm 19 years old right now, and am a sophomore in college pursuing a double major in Biology & Biotechnology, which will hopefully get me into Veterinarian School. However, in my life that prior sentence is mundane compared to the amount of interest and effort I have and put forth into my car. It's almost sad. In fact, the man that I race with was needing some help, so I stopped by on friday, and he laughed saying that "there's 1500 hot girls up at the football game and you'd rather help an old man work on his drag car--you're definitely addicted!" I'm not dumb enough to neglect my school work for my hobby/habit, but the crossroad I run into is this: I can save what money I make from my jobs and put it toward school, or take out MORE student loans and end up paying them back for years upon end with interest and build on a car that I know isn't going anywhere. I ended up coming to a compromise and spend enough to have fun, knowing that in later years I'll have money. I also had to realize that I don't know one other 19 year old kid that has his OWN (as in fully funded by himself) 8 second pro-mod car and still has the money to send himself through college.

It's great to hear that you're going to college, and I think that the financial situation is where most kids our age arrive at a conflict. That's where schmoozin with other racers/rodders is great. I've learned 10 times as much from them than I have from my own experience, even if a little is BS. If you can find one that is generous enough to even let you watch when he does some of his work and tuning it's almost as fun as actually doing it.

Whatever you decide, remember there's always the future and a well paying, car-building-funding job ahead of you.
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:02 AM
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are you going to rebuild one that previously ran, or one from the yard?

PAW sells some great deluxe master engine kits that replace everything, with a wide assortment of pistons, cams, and upgrades. give them a ring at 818-678-3000. they open at 6am PST. let them know what you have, what you want, and they'll tell you what you need.
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:05 AM
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Thanks a lot, I see what you mean, adryan16. My parents are paying for me to get through school. That isn't a burden on me, but I also don't have a job. During the school year, they don't want me to have to worry about a job and that would take away from my school work, they say. So I don't have an income right now, but I do have some dollars saved up.

My plan was to get a bare block from the yard, and just rebuild it from there.

78SilverShark
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:29 AM
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To be honest (that's what you're looking for, right?) you can do anything you want if you're willing to sacrifice a little, and dedicate yourself to it.

If you have a place to keep the engine, and tools, and parts, and supplies, etc..., I'd say to go for it. Get an engine stand, a workbench, engine manuals, LOTS of coffee, and go for it.

Every hotrodder here who has built up an engine has had a first time. And 17 isn't all that young, comparitively speaking. I tore down my first engine, with a buddy, when I was 16. I worked my butt off for parts/tool money, and it took about a year to do, but I/we did it. My father was so impressed with my dedication, not to mention the improvement in my Math grades, that he slipped me a few extra bucks on the side here and there, or bought a tool he really didn't need, then let me borrow it. (C'mon Pop, how many piston ring compressors do you use in a lifetime?)

If money is a major concern, however, I'd wait a while. The old saying, "Speed costs money, son... How fast do you want to go?" is dead honest. Yes, you can do things a little at a time, but sometimes a project done that way takes on a life of it's own. It becomes akin to the Chinese water torture - it just never seems to end.

You have to decide how bad you want to do it. You have to decide if you have the time, money, and resources needed to complete the project. (The $5000 estimate given earlier is a good estimate, depending on what you're building.) You have to decide if "now" is the best time to start on it. Garages and back yards are full of projects started, but never completed. You have to decide if you have the dedication required to take on a project of this scope while you're still doing everything else in life that you're doing. I don't think your age has anything to do with it. Maturity damned sure does.

Waiting isn't a bad thing either. I'm 42 and am just beginning my first frame-off rebuild of a '54 GMC Panel Van. The time is right for me. You have to decide if the time is right for you.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 10-13-2003, 09:52 AM
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I'm just afraid that if I start it and then run into a total financial block, then it might be a tragedy. I think with time, $5k could possibly be plausible for me to obtain, but not in one shot. I could always do the build-up among a number of years. I'm in no rush...

78SilverShark
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:21 AM
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^ i agree with desertpanel.

i'm not trying to discourage you, just trying to warn you of potential problems.

i had no experience myself when starting with muscle cars, i had to learn everything on my own and with a steep learning curve. when there's a will, there's a way.

however, i just gotta warn you again: from my experience, things always turn out to be more expensive than i originally thought whenever starting a project; hence, always make a good estimate and multiply by 1.5

Last edited by burningsquirrels; 10-13-2003 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:23 AM
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heck I'm 15 and I'm building a '70 Chevelle drag car. I have been building engines since I was really young, I started out with small engines (lawn mowers, dirtbikes... I raced 80cc SR motocross when I was 10 and could do a top-end in less than 10 minutes with no help. I gradually moved up to bigger and better things like car engines. I don't have a lot of money at all and that's my block right now too but I'm not really in a rush to get things done because I want it to be nice when I'm done and not look like a 15 year old did it!! Can't wait till I'm 16 and can drive and hopefully get a job! Good luck
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:26 AM
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btw, where in new jersey are you from?
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:57 AM
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Buying a crate engine may not cost to much more in the end that building it your self but you don't get the pride of doing it your self. I believe you will be fine but get some good books there are many on small block chevs and read them over a bunch of times and then follow the steps as you do it. Rebuilding engines isn't that hard but its the attention to detail that makes or breaks it. When I first started working on cars that was the hardest thing for me was having the patients and not rushing things. Make sure you have a good place to work and a nice engine stand and go slow methodical and you will be just fine besides of you run into any problem the guys are always here to ask.
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Old 10-13-2003, 01:54 PM
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I've made up my mind. Drum roll please...

I'm going to rebuild a 350 SBC as initially planned. I'm sure I'll be able to do it, and it'll be fun and a learning experience. Thanks for the help!!

BTW, would it be okay if the engine could stay outside under a tarp? Or would it be necessary that it is in the garage?

Thanks again, all!

78SilverShark
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