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Old 09-13-2007, 05:16 PM
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Rebuild, Crate, Rebuilt, 350 or 383??

I have been doing my first restoration for five months or so on a 1970 el camino. Im sure all of you have thought of this many times before, so I want to ask to get some of your thoughts and recomendations.

I have an 80'-85' 305 sbc that is still in my el camino. It is smoking and needs to be rebuilt. A quick fix to get her to drive MIGHT be to replace the timing gear and pully, then set the timing. Even with this, It still needs a rebuild. I also have a TH350 transmission.

The rear gears are 2.73 but I eventually want to change to 3.73


I have an RPM air gap manifold, hedman headers, edelbrock 750 cfm (way to big for a 305), rebuilt steering pump, existing water pump, existing alternator, new HEI MSD cap and rotor with new wires and spark plugs, new battery.

I have been saving my pennies, working weekends (and weekdays), selling my stuff on ebay, and whatever honest way of making a buck to obtain a reliable engine for my car. So far I have $450 in from about a week and a half (with the monthly bills paid). I am a full time college student. I have friday and sunday to work on the el camino.

What is the Best way to go about obtaining a 350 or 383 (preferably a 383) that is reliable and gives me the option of adding more performance as time goes on?

I am almost positive that I want roller tappet hydrolic lifters. a bit more expensive but I think is more reliable and better performance-wise. Plus the stuff I have been hearing about the crappy oil.

Id like to spend less than $1500 (including shipping) for an engine. I am doing the body work and interior of the car while I save up.

Here is what my thoughts are:
*sell my 305 block and heads on ebay for a buck or so and.......

1 -Buy a Goodwrench 350 (10067353)for $1300. Comes with a three year warrenty and I can always build on. (now that I think of it, im pretty sureits flat tappet)

2 -buy a junkyard 350 block, send it to a machinist, rebuild myself. What is the likely cost of this (worst case scenario), and what should I look for when Im in the junkyard (for roller tappet etc.) so that I dont have to pay the machinist too much?

3 -keep saving (three months or so) and spend $3000 on a crate or rebuilt engine.

4. -Keep my eye out for a good used local deal, and HOPE that its a reliable engine.

Thanks.

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Old 09-13-2007, 05:39 PM
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Engine

Personally I would save a little and go for a 383 build. You'll enjoy the extra torque a lot. I did anyway. Be sure to buy a later model block that originally came with a one piece rear crank seal and roller lifters.
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:41 PM
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if you want a roller engine it will have to be a 96-99 vortec 5.7.
believe it or not a 383 will only make 20 hp and 40 ft/lbs more than a 350 if they both use the same internal parts.

so in your case i would just rebuild a stout 350. oh yea on the vortecs the lifters are reusable it there not any shavings in the oil one less thing you have to by. i was quoted $1200 to rebuild my 97 vortec 350. and was also quoted $1200 labor alone on the machining for a 383 .

http://www.ryanscarpage.50megs.com/combos1.html
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:08 PM
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Hey 1970 Chevy!

Worst case scenario on a rebuild-it-yourself is more than you can afford. I only say this because there is no ceiling on what can be spent, if you choose to spend. My 383 ran me about $6K, doing all but the machining myself. The machine shop bill was around $1500 for surfacing, Mag Testing, Boring, align honing, clearancing and balancing, and whatever . I can't report on success because I just finished building it a year ago, and since then I've remodeled my kitchen (priorities, you know) and am just recently getting back to setting it up for firing. But, I could've spent easily double that if I had chosen. So, estimating a worst case scenario is better done by you. That way, you decide what your limitations are.

The 350 goodwrench is a flat tappet motor. But, for the price, it's hard to beat as a building block. It'll get you on the road quicker than about anything else, and of course you can do a group of upgrades each summer break. One of those could be to put in a hydraulic roller and appropriate springs and lifters. Course, it'd want to be a retrofit roller. Chevy High Performance ran aseries of about a half dozen articales on progressive buildups of the Goodwrench motor. Eventually it was carrying a puffer. I don't THINK they ever replaced the rods or the crankshaft, though as I recall they did replace the heads and the pistons. You might want to look at this series of articles, if you can find it on-line somewhere. I know I was pretty surprised at how successful they were in the buildup. (I know, you can't believe everything you read in the Primedia Mags, but this was pretty believable in how they approached the entire series.)

There's not much chance of damaging the cam with the relatively mild profile and the light spring pressure that the Goodwrench motor uses. Try a little STP before adjusting the lifters, and use your 305 hardware. The tin and the intake, etc should all fit just fine.

Pat
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:49 PM
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Ive read the article through and through a few times, and its awesome. I did a bit of research on each of the parts that they added to it. after reading about the cam. I think after a bit of rough calculation that it would come to be about another $1500 on top of the price of the goodwrench to acheive 350-410 horsepower. And your right, thats without changind the pistons and leaving it a flat tappet cam. I beleive They put in the xtreme energy by comp cams.

I cant wait to get a new goodwrench 350. These past five months have been overall and awesome experience and I cant wait to get the el camino in driving condition. I have had this thing for months and Ive only driven it twice. I cant wait until tommorrow to finish stripping the paint, and taking off the front end. Sunday is taking apart the engine, snapping some pictures, and throwing them up on ebay.

Thanks for the advice and info.

-Matthew
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:15 PM
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big block caddy

find a good running 500 caddy and put it in, its only about 50 # heavier than a sbc build a monster sbc when you get out of school and can afford to do it right My son keeps looking at the 472 caddy running my sawmil but he can't have it .. I needed all that torque last year cutting big logs down the center.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:08 AM
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Get one of these and start adding parts as you can afford them:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Chevr...mZ190149300549

The seller is actually Skoggin Dickey Chevrolet out of Texas, a long time HiPo GM dealer with a good rep.

Put on your choice of heads and the late model roller valvetrain parts and you're ready to go.

Only disadvantage to this motor is the cast dished pistons, which could actually be swapped out fairly cheaply. Or, put on a set of smaller chambered aluminum heads. Something milled to 60cc's or so will give you 9:1 compression.

In the end you have a brand new standard bore roller block with unmolested solid internals.
This is the same block crank and rods that the "crate motor" ASA stock car guys use with excellent reliability when rev limited to 6000rpm.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:01 AM
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Call your local machine shop (the bigger the better). Round here I can get a fully reman 350 shortblock for $800 or so, $1100 for a longblock. More if you want a roller, but really a roller isn't necessary on a budget.

I say do a reman 350 shortblock, pick your own reman heads from ebay for $250 (find some good casting numbers from the folks here) and assemble the rest of the parts you have. The cam that will be in the shortblock will probably be a very mild stock grind which is easily remedied.

You have a couple options on cam; if you're lucky you can find a factory performance grind that the machine shop can put in for you (which should just cost you the difference if any) or just buy a $150 aftermarket cam to stab in there. Don't go wild; on stock heads and low-ish compression keep it in the low 200s on intake duration. Something like a 204/214 or a 214/218 might be just the ticket.

Don't be scared by flat tappet cams. Things sound terrible these days with oil the way it is, but the last several I built have run flawlessly on plain old Castrol 10w30 for years. Break in is the key. If you're worried about it, use diesel 15w40 oil. For the cost of a roller setup you can buy a LOT of replacement flat cams and lifters.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:59 AM
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Yes!

Thanks fellas, I like the idea of building onto a short block. Will I be able to basically bolt on the heads, cam, etc. or will I have to get some sort of machine work done? Im guessing that I'll only need machine work if the heads are used. Which may be worth it because Ill be saving some money buying used, plus I can zero deck a pair of (for example) vortec heads for not much more than a brand new pair.

Then I would just pocket port the heads myself after practicing on my old 305 heads.

I can also pick the cam that I want, put in a double roller timing chain, etc.

Id also be slowly but surely getting the parts to build the engine as I reach smaller Cash flow goals while Im working on the other parts of the el camino.

Im liking this, keep it coming....
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:29 AM
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Fyi

I was looking in a Crane catalogue and they listed roller lifters designed for SBC engines that came with rollers lifters originally. They list their coverage as 305/350 1987 and up.
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