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kevinmack 03-08-2012 11:02 AM

Rebuild vs Crate???
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i have a 55 Bel air (210 with bel air trim, etc)

We just pulled the engine. Its a 327. GM 3903352.

The car has been sitting for years... like 6 or 7 years. Something was fubar in there. So i didnt have the time or $$$ to work on it.

While pulling the motor, the Flexplate almost fell off and hit me! So i really think that was the horibble sound i heard and why i stop driving it.

Now with the Engine out, im wondering what to do. im about to pull the intake off, then maybe the heads. theres some minor rust around the rockers.

Do i need to get the Heads/Block check..cleaned worked on?

I think these are the specs im not 100% sure

327 67-68 Bore 4.001 or 4.000? / Stroke 3.250 / Main (crank shaft right?) 2.450 / Rod Jourla 2.100 / Actual 326.700 / Liters 5.350 / 2 bolt

(most of that is chinese to me! sorry Computers are my thing)

I dont have a ton of $$$ to put into it. Maybe sell this and buy a crate engine? Or maybe this doesnt need much work at all since the main issue was the Flexplate from the sound of it all... when the engine was running bad.

Cost to rebuild?? 500-1200+?

Cost for a Crate engine 1000-1200 with Warrantee.

My Bel Air/210 is a heavy car. I just want to Drive it around. Not trying to win Shows or be the fastest loudest car. So i dont need 400+hp

What would the best way to tackle this.



kevinmack 03-08-2012 11:05 AM

Also... any thoughts on why the Flexplate broke?

Could it be problem with Tranny/Torque Convertor? Or maybe on the Engine side?

Or just old... had a weak point and broke all the way off...

If Engine would be better to get a new one than rebuild then?

all 6 bolts on the engine are still there with the innards of the flexplate.

starnest 03-08-2012 11:45 AM

Wow, I've never seen a flexplate broken like that. :smash: Although I have seen them with stress cracks at the holes where it bolts to the crankshaft.

No doubt the best money choice is probably just buy a service replacement (crate) engine. You can find these as rebuilt or new longblocks with at least a brief warranty. :thumbup:

If you were an experienced engine builder with good machine shop/parts resources you could easily rebuild for less (in most cases). But, since you are not (according to your post); you would likely find yourself dealing with a lot of headaches/mistakes/rip-offs/etc. :spank:

Now, if you have a lot of time, and you really, really, really want to build your own engine then by all means you should. There are many on here that will support you with good advice on resources for parts, machine work, and how to's that would make this enjoyable and affordable for you. :eek:

Oh and either way, you will need a new flexplate! :(

starnest 03-08-2012 11:49 AM


Originally Posted by kevinmack
Also... any thoughts on why the Flexplate broke?

I'm guessing it is a balance problem. The crank (w/rods/pistons) and flexplate weren't balanced together. - AND/OR - The harmonic balancer is bad (or the wrong one).

kevinmack 03-08-2012 12:00 PM

Thanks Starnest

I have a few mechanic friends, and my father was a greese monkey for 30 years. So its not totally out of the question to rebuild. I am handy...

Theres a good machine shop about a mile from my house, and Winchester Auto has a lot of Hot/Rat Rod guys. And the great communities of Hot Rodders.

Like i said, i believe the main issue is the flexplate. But sitting for 7 or 8 years might have some issues. New Water pump, Rust, water and Oil inside engine all that time.

Valves could be cleaned for cheap or new Heads? Alum. Heads for better preformance?

I guess where im at is. Flexplate 40-60 bucks. Maybe get the Heavy Duty one. Then if i could just pull the heads. Clean up best as i can. Lube it up? Do i...should i worry about the Pistons/Rings/bearings? anything to do with the Cam? New Gaskets 30-50 bucks? maybe 100 for HQ ones?

I can afford to dump 200-300 into this. maybe 400. but if i get to a point that it is trash, cant waste that much cash.

Or if i could get this all rebuilt and Pimp for 600-1000 that might be better than dropping 1200 on a Crate?

I found a great one from

for $1168 327 Corvette engine. 7 YEAR / 70,000 MILE WARRANTY

Our 1968 CHEVY CORVETTE ENGINE comes with cylinder head(s) attached and valve train installed. Our remanufactured engine long blocks have NEW valves, valve springs, valve keepers, push rods, rocker arms, fulcrums, lifters, camshaft, timing chain (belt), timing gears, valve guides (diamond honed), three angle seats, cam, rod and main bearings, pistons, piston rings, rod bushings (if applicable), gaskets and oil pump. Our 68 CHEVROLET CORVETTE ENGINE long blocks are REMANUFACTURED not just REBUILT!
Im more limited on time than money... but also dont want to waste my motor if its still good. ya know.

Blazin72 03-08-2012 12:39 PM

If you get an engine from them don't count on it being an engine from a Corvette. I did some poking around and that same stock number "AREGMC-327LB-1" is shows up under Camaro, Corvette, Chevelle, Chevy II, etc... It's just going to be a rebuilt 327 so just be mindful of that.

A friend of mine had a 350 from them in his pickup and it was pretty gutless.

Slightly off topic here but my favorite on that page is near the bottom in the ad for the 5.3L engine and in the same paragraph it says "These 5.3 engines have never been run" then two sentences later it says "...we completely disassembled and inspected every piece and tested them on our run in stand". Hmmm...?

techinspector1 03-08-2012 12:47 PM

This is what I'd do....
Remove the distributor and use this tool to pre-oil the motor....make sure you have oil in the pan....

Begin with a freshly-charged battery and known good cables. Disable the ignition coil, wire the primary throttle blades wide open and remove all spark plugs. Do a compression test on all cylinders and find out if you have a motor or not. Before turning the motor over, you may want to squirt a little oil (not too much) into the cylinders through the spark plug holes if the motor has been sitting long enough to be dried out.

A reading of 140 psi across the board will tell you that the motor is in decent shape and will probably not need to be rebuilt. I've run motors down to 110 psi or a little less before, when money was too tight to do a rebuild at the time.

A 3/8" drill motor will work fine for the oiling process. You'll hear it labor down as it begins to pick up oil out of the pan. Let the drill motor run until it gets too hot to hold and you're done with the oiling process.

As you're turning the motor over to check compression, don't let it turn any more than necessary. Each time the piston comes to TDC on the compression stroke, you'll hear a "chuff". Three or four of those will bring the needle on the gauge up to max, pretty much. In other words, don't let the motor chuff the gauge 15 or 20 times because you are wearing on the cam and lifters without them getting any oil at all. They are lubed by oil being slung off the crankshaft and the piston skirts as the motor runs. Without it running, there will be no oil on the cam and lifters, so do your compression tests without any excessive turning of the crank.

starnest 03-08-2012 12:48 PM

OK, since the engine is already out, it makes more sense to go through the engine and check everything.

Pull the heads and have them checked at the machine shop (if you can see any major cracks, bent/burned valves, etc - you may want to forget the machine shop and move on); check the valve seats, guides, springs, etc (At this point you need to make sure that you keep track of the lifters - so that if the cam is not replaced they can be reinstalled on the same lobes they came off of). If the heads are servicable (get an estimate of what work they need and the price) we will move on to the block.

Oh and lets take a good look at your harmonic balance, too!

Inspect the block for any obvious cracks or other flaws, like burned pistons. Remove the timing cover, gear/chain set, and camshaft (inspect the cam for excessive wear, ie flat lobes)

Before you remove any bearing caps make sure they are marked (stamped) with cylinder numbers (rods) and position numbers (mains). Remove the rods, be sure to put each cap back on the rod after removing (don't mix the rods/caps).

Now take the block, crank, and rod/piston assemblies to the machine shop and get them checked. If the block and crank are servicable (get an estimate of what work they need and the price)

Now, depending on what your machine shop estimates look like, factor in the cost of a new cam kit (cam with lifters), timing set, gasket set, water pump, and any other bad or broken parts you've stumbled across.

On the cam kit - if your cam looks really good, and you didn't have any broken/bent push rods, bad lifters, bent valves, broken valve springs, etc - you might get away with reinstalling the cam and lifters.

On the heads, new assembled heads can be as affordable as older reworked heads, plus there are probably better heads for your engine. Also for a few extra dollars you can step up to aluminum heads.

There is a lot more to it than this, but this will get you a fairly good assessment to start with.

Worth noting: provide the casting/stamping/date codes for the engine block, heads, and crank (search for threads on here to tell you what and where to look). That way we can figure out what you really have and what your options might be.
I noted that the picture of one of the heads showed a 70 date code (so your engine is probably not all original 327). I'll check your block casting code when I get home tonight.

Good luck

T-bucket23 03-08-2012 04:20 PM

I would get a good engine stand, prime the engine, attach a starter to it and do a compression test. If it has good compression there really is no reason to tear it apart.
For the couple hours of time to drop it back in and try to start it, I think it would be worth it. Just do the minimum to safely start it.

That flexplate could have broken for any number of reasons. With how badly it is torn up I would be willing to bet it was installed improperly somehow.

starnest 03-08-2012 04:38 PM

Chet, that is a good idea. I didn't go there because I assume he doesn't have the set up to test compression (stand, guage, etc) and because the engine sat for 6 or 7 years.

My information on this block:
Produced mid to late in '67 production year. HP ranged from 210 to 350 (although only the 275hp Camaro application was verified). Not used in truck applications, could have been used in some service applications.
2 bolt configuration, 4.0 bore, small journal crank (3.25 stroke, 2.3 in main, 2.0 in rod journals).

I would need the stamping codes to id the application.

Get the casting codes and date codes on the heads so we can identify them.

kevinmack 03-08-2012 04:56 PM

Yeah its on an engine stand right now. Ill talk to my friends dad who used to be a mechanic. And see if he has anything we can do compression test with.

Ill hold off on taking the heads off. and ill look for the casting #s

thanks guys!

starnest 03-08-2012 05:26 PM

If you are gonna do the compression test, TI's procedure is spot on.

Oh and you need a new flexplate to start with. :spank:

Silver Surfer 03-08-2012 11:00 PM

Well hang on. What are you goals with the vehicle? Do you intend to keep it? That oughta dictate how much you spend. Also, are you going to hot rod the engine? If so how much. My advice would be to take your time and do all or as much of the work yourself. Getting a crate engine is the easy way out and you don't learn anything. Yes it may take a few years, but it is worth it.

Unless you are going to get really radical I think you can save a A LOT of money by NOT plunking down that much money on aluminum heads. Honestly, it is hard to beat the Vortec heads. I looked at rebuilding my old 70's era heads and it would have cost as much or more than just getting some used modern Vortecs. But based on what you have said, I do not think heads are going to be your biggest concern.

The Vortecs do require a Vortec style intake and intake gasket, so there is some extra cost. Also if you get an aftermarket cam with high lift you are going to need to grind down the valve guides to keep the rockers from smashing into them (this is not a big deal to do).

I like all the other suggestions others have said. Your compression test should come first. Personally I would drain the oil before hand. It has been sitting a while and no doubt has gooped up a little, some of the additives have probably separated, and since I am paranoid, I wouldn't that old crap circulating through my engine. Plus if you drain the oil you may find it milky white indicating water got into the engine or a coolant leak. Who knows, maybe it threw a rod and that vibration broke the flexplate and you will see chucks of metal in the oil. Again, something I would want to know before hand. AND no I am not trying to scare you, I am sure everything is fine.

Make sure you follow TechInspectors advice about the pre-oiler...and when you take the distributor off make sure you make the intake/clamp down holder and distributor shaft you get the timing back to where it was.

Kurt114 03-09-2012 12:12 AM Theres some minor rust around the rockers.

HrdNox 03-09-2012 08:12 AM

I would do a re-build..Find a reputable shop in your area.Go talk to them first.You may be able to do it in stages as not to brake the bank.I dropped 14K on a Bill Mitchell all aluminum 572 (when they built them in house) warranty expired while still in crate.Decided it best to have shop go through it since it sat so long and we could not believe what we found!! It would have blown for sure! Long story short do it yourself or look over the work being done.

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