Starting on first engine soon, lots of questions
I am going to start building my first engine very soon, right now I am in the process of buying the tools that I do not have.
The engine will go in a 1988 Camaro that has a L03 305 and T5 in it right now. I currently have 3.08 gears in the rear end, but I plan on upgrading to a 9 inch with 3.73 (or whatever is close to that with a 9 inch) and would like to build around that number.
I want to build a 350 or 383. The car will see about 150 to 200 miles a month. I would like to take it to the strip for fun. For a horsepower goal I would like to see at least 300 at the wheels. I have a friend with a 07 Mustang with some bolt ons, I would like to be able to run with him.
My first question is about flat tappet vs hydraulic lifters. From what I understand flat tappet has to be adjusted, but can rev higher? Do they make more power? If they only require adjustment once a month (200 miles) then I have no problem with that. If they require more of a weekly adjustment then I would want to go with hydrailic.
Do I need a certain block casting to use a hydraulic cam/lifters?
From what I have read on forums I will come out spending less money to make a set amount of horsepower with a roller setup. I have read blocks from 87 or so up are set up for a roller cam, but some need machine work. I have read that 95-99(?) truck blocks all have 4 bolt main and everything set up for a roller cam.
Also with the amount of power I am wanting will a 2 bolt main block be okay?
Will a factory crankshaft and rods be okay with the amount of power I want?
If the crankshaft is not able to be fixed I would like to go with a 400 crank to make a 383. I saw Eagle makes entire rotating assembly kits, are these reliable?
How much more will it cost to get the block machines for a 400 crank? Will this still be required with the eagle rotating assembly kit?
I understand that depending on if the engine is a 350 or 383 I will want different heads. The ones I want to get are Dart Iron Eagle. I assume 383 I would want the 215cc intake runners, with a 350 the 200cc intake runners?
I was told to not be cheap on the heads and my torque wrench, are these heads going to not be the bottle neck of my motor? I would like to use the 'out of the box' and later on if I want a more powerfull motor maybe send them off for some port work. If these heads are not good, what are some other heads in the same price range? (600 ea. assembled)
I do not know a lot about cams, I read an article on LSA and I have read on here a lot the duration you want depends on your gearing. I plan on keeping the T5 and running 3.73s. I would like to get at least 14 MPG. I do like the overlap sound where the motor sounds like it is going to die, but only if it will help performance. I love the sound of the cars at the dragstrip, but if that goes against my plan I do not want it.
The Hooker Competition headers are in my price range, not sure what size. I would like to upgrade to the Super Comp headers at a later time if they are better.
I saw a MSD ignition set for sale that comes with a Pro Billet Distributor, MSD 6AL, wires, and a blaster coil. I think that seems to be the standard for ignition systems I have seen.
I do not know what intake manifold to use, if I go with the Iron Eagle heads I have seen a Iron Eagle top end kit that includes an intake manifold, if those intake manifolds are good I would like to buy the top end kit to save money.
I did a quick add up of all the parts and guess this engine to cost around $4,000 if I have to buy a rotating assembly kit does that sounds about right?
Sorry for so many random and out of place questions. I have been doing a lot of reading and this is some of the stuff I am unsure about. Thanks.
Welcome to the Forums. Does your car have T-tops? if so I would drop the project and find another body. A solid top camaro gives it a little more to work with. A T-top car with 1 hard launch will bend the body, if the T top is in, it`ll either crack it, or bend the body around it so bad it won`t go back in. If it`s a hard top, you`ll need to add subframe connectors. The T-5 is out, one good thrashing and you`ll be running over parts that used to be inside it. If you want the engine to be street driveable you can only go so big on the intake runner size of the heads. With the heads you have picked out they are more for 500 horsepower applications, if all you want is 300, we can do that on modest parts. If all your looking for is 300 to 350 horses so you can be apart of the fun with your friends at the drag strip, then we need to remap the combo. We at this site can tell you what you`ll need to run with them and have alot of fun doing it.
You're a little off on the cam terminology. "Flat tappet" and "hydraulic" describe two different things. Tappet type can be either flat or roller, and lifter operation can be either hydraulic or solid. You confused these terms in your post, but here is a quick and dirty breakdown:
Flat tappet vs. roller: Higher valve lift can be had from a roller cam profile than a flat tappet given the same duration. Generally the aim, especially on a street-driven car, is to maximize lift as much as possible without using a duration and overlap that puts the engine's power band too high up in the RPM range where it will be a bear to drive on the street. Roller has an edge here (along with reduced friction and longer life) but it can be a lot more expensive.
Hydraulic vs. Solid lifters: Hydraulic lifters use oil to automatically adjust the "size" of a lifter to make up for lash in the valvetrain caused by changing conditions within the engine, such as temperature and wear. Solid lifters are just that; they do not adjust automatically and so must be adjusted by you, so to speak. You are right in that solid lifters are more suited to high-RPM operation than hydraulic, however in a regularly street-driven car, your most-often used RPM range will not really necessitate solid lifters.
To run a roller cam setup, you either need to buy a block such as those you described, which are cast with the appropriate bosses in the lifter valley for the "spider", or you can buy retrofit roller lifters (very expensive) or machine an older block to accept the setup (not really worth it in my opinion).
Two-bolt blocks should be OK up to about 500 HP or so as long as you don't flog it at constantly high RPM. Factory rods should be fine, and factory cranks might be as well but you'll want to make sure it is in good, usable condition (no cracks or signs of fatigue).
The Dart IE heads should be fine for your power goals and as far as the runner size is concerned, just make sure that it matches your cam specs and the intended use of the car (bigger runners for high-RPM horsepower, smaller runners for low-RPM street torque).
Thanks for your replies.
The car is a solid roof car, subframe connectors and drag radial are on my to do list. I would like to keep the T5 temporarily so I can save money to upgrade. Would a T56 hold 300-400 horsepower with drag radials and 3.73s?
I want to get heads that I can reuse on a more powerfull engine later down the road. If I have to spend $800 now on some heads to make the power I want and in two years spend $1400 to get some for more power I would rather just spend the $1400 now. However if I can just spend $300 on upgrading some stock ones and make the power I am looking for now then I would go that route.
The power level I am looking for is still somewhat undecided. If I put the car on a dyno I would like to see at least 300 to the wheels. I have no set specific goal, but 300 - 400 seems to be what I want. I would hate to spend $4000 on this motor and the time to build it just to have my mustang friend smoke me. I would also like to be able to pass those stock LS1 guys.
Thanks for clearing me up on the cam terminology.
I do not see the engine being in this car for more than four years. Would I need the roller cam for reliability? It will get a good bit of thrashing. Going with the roller setup it seems like it will make a locating a core harder. I have not actively started looking at them so I am not sure how hard it would be to find one, I just know it limits the pickings a lot.
I understand with my plan I will not see the benifit in solid lifters over hydraulic. Would I see a benifit in cost though?
If I get to reuse the crankshaft and rods that will save me a lot of money on this build.
I guess the next step is to decide if I want a roller cam setup or not, get my core. Then decide if the heads can make 300-400 hp with $300 or not. Pick out my cam based on those heads or the Iron Eagles and go from there. That sound about right?
I still have to think about the induction system. Stock right now is TBI and from what I read that will not support my goals at all. It looks like aftermarket fuel injection systems are a lot more than a carb setup. Looks like I will be going with a carb unless there is a low priced nice performing fuel injection alternative.
Chevy High Performance magazine is doing a series of articles on this subject. This months is on assembling the top end. I've been reading their magazine for several years and they're very knowledgeable. If I were you I'd pick up this months issue and send away for a couple of back issues and add them to my mental data base before I started turning wrenches on my project.
Thanks, I will definatly check out that magazine.
I have the book How to Build a Small-Block Chevy for the street by Jim Richardson. I also have a nitrous book by david vizard (I dont plan on puting nitrous on this car, I put a kit on a Malibu I had), a doorslammers chassis book, and a DVD called boxwrench or something similar that shows how to build an engine.
I recently bought a book called Modifying Small Block Chevrolet by John Lingenfelter I believe and another building smallblock chevy book by David Vizard. They shipped today and should be here shortly.
As far as heads, you have stated that you don't want to spend money now only to have to do it again for an upgrade. With that in mind, I'd be looking at Airflow Research 195cc heads. They are about as good as it gets for a 383 that will be operated chiefly on the street. I'd choose a cam which operates from 2,500 to 6,000 rpm's and build the static c.r. to support that rpm range (something like a single pattern 230-235 degree cam and 9.5:1 to 10.0:1 static c.r.). If going with a carb, I'd use an Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap manifold with a 750 carb. I'd then button up a 2,500 stall converter onto the flexplate and go looking for your buddy with the Mustang.
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