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Old 10-08-2003, 11:31 PM
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Small Block - Big Block, what are they?

Hi all Rodders.. I am new to mechanics,, I grew up with family Mechanics. I am still learning.. Please can someone tell me, when people are talking about Small Block, or Big Block, Short Block etc.. I am unsure what they are? Like I have a 350 4-bolt main engine. Which one is it considered to be? Please shed some light on this subject.

I appreciate any input. Forgive me for this question. I know Many of you, know the answer to this one without thinking. I feel dumb. LOL.. But I am learning, so Much from this site.

Thanks in advance.

Juice


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Old 10-09-2003, 12:13 AM
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the small block chevy came out in 1955 at 265 cubic inches, it grew in later years to 283, 302, 305, 307, 327, 350, 400, and shrunk to 262 and 267. the small block is just that, small, at the time it was very compact for it`s size and made better power than expected, it has a excellant oiling design, and 5 bolts per cylinder to retain the head. the big block chevy came out in the early 60`s, they are 396, 402, 427, 454. the big block has bigger everything than the small block, the block is bigger, crank, heads, intake, etc. they shared the same uses in carbs, distributors and not much else. your engine is a small block. you`ll likely hear also of the 366 and 427 tall deck truck engines, these have taller deck heights and really aren`t meant as performance engines. the small block chevy is considered the winniest and most popular engine in history. however, I`d say that`s debateable to a point.
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:20 AM
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You have a Small block. Just by looking at a Chevy motor if the middle 2 exhaust ports are right next to each other it's a small block and if they are far apart from each other it's a big block. A short block is a motor with out heads or a intake manifold. and a long block has a set of heads and intake manifold. Correct me if I'm wrong guys but i think thats about it.


Tommy
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:26 AM
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Juice,

The engine you have is a small block.
The difference lies in the distance the pistons travel inside the cylinders between Top Dead Center and Bottom Dead Center. In order to have a longer travel the block had to be made taller. These larger engines have more torque but do not like to rev-up very fast. The small blocks rev-up like a bumble bee.

You mentioned a short block and a long block. These terms apply to an engine that has heads bolted onto the block(long block) or if the engine only has the block without heads attached(short block).

There is a big craze to make the small block into a big block by grinding special crankshafts and installing different rods and pistons and making STROKERS. This term is what is used to discribe the piston movement in the cylinder from TDC to BDC. They are a "crossover" between a small block and a big block. Yes they run hard but when they break you must buy all the "speical" parts again, and they aren't cheap.

I hope I have helped
Scholman

Don't forget that boat anchor the 348.

Scholman
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Old 10-09-2003, 01:41 AM
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All small blocks are physically smaller.

All big blocks are physically bigger.

The other guys got ya covered pretty well.

Troy
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Old 10-09-2003, 02:04 AM
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348 a boat anchor?! in 59 an impala with 3X2's and the hot factory cam in the high compression motor ran 14.1 quarters! pretty dern respectable, if you ask me, for a bone stock 59 chevy! plus the 409, (same block as 348) w/ dual quads had 425 horse in the early 60's impala SS! heh love the old W motors
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:00 PM
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Thanks a BUNCH!!!

Thanks guys for the reply. You know how it goes, There are lots of Mechanic Want to Be's, and they talk about this subject without thinking. Now that I know the meaning, I can teach a few other guys that think their 350's are "Big Blocks". I appreciate that. I remember my brother in law working on a truck called Hot Shot Truck for an oil company. And he showed me the motor, and called it a "Big Block". I was pretty young at the time, but I do remember saying, something like "Wow, that is Huge!". I guess it made since..

Thanks to DOuble Vision, 29 2dr sedan, Scholman, Troy-Curt, and Scuzzy, with all of your thoughts. I really appreciate that.


Juice
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Old 10-09-2003, 04:37 PM
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I think the 348-409s are considered to be big blocks.
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Old 10-09-2003, 06:00 PM
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Stroker

Hey Scholmon, you mentioned a Stroker engine. Is that what they mean when someone takes a 350 and converts it to a 383 Stroker?

I always wondered what exactly is the difference between a Stroker engine, than the stock 350.

Juice
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Old 10-09-2003, 10:58 PM
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Juice,

I think you've got it!

Strokers take a lot of work and money but the outcome is FUN.

Scholman
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Old 07-21-2004, 06:18 PM
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if i'm not mistaken there is a 400 small block and a 400 big block too, keep in mind cubic inches dont make the size always..a radical bore and stoke on any motor can make numbers to match another, for instance i have a 454 block that after rod and bore change is a 502 now...could have been a 496 too...both are big blocks but show u can make alot of combinations to make alot of "numbers"
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Old 07-21-2004, 06:27 PM
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Aint an Olds 350 rocket considered a big block tho???
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mightymouse
Aint an Olds 350 rocket considered a big block tho???
No.
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:33 PM
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oohh thanks for correcting me then
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:01 AM
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Olds, Buick and Pontiac don't really fallow the same rules as Chevy when it comes to engine size

The Olds 350 is a Small Block Olds, it's larger in size then a 350 Chevy but it's still a small block just a different design.

And Pontiac for instance used the same block for every engine.
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