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View Poll Results: Can GM Vortec heads be used on some of the older class 350 SBC motors?
Yes but only certain ones...list in your response if you choose to answer this poll. 2 66.67%
No none of them will work. 1 33.33%
Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-01-2010, 12:16 AM
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Suggestions for the "Best Method" to add power to a given application.

First off hello guys (girls too if any on board ). I kept coming across this sight after doing a series of google searches that kept sending me here for the information that I was looking for. Figured I sign up and hang out for a while. Of course I'm going to hit you guys up for some info as needed and I'll try to add when I can as well. So far as me. I'm no guru when it comes to hotrods but I know a thing or 2 about the second Generation SVT Ford Lightning . Proud origianal owner of a 2002 silver one with a fully built/forged motor topped with a Kenne Bell supercharger cranking out 19 pounds of boost on pump gas. Lays down 572rwhp and 610 torque to the pavement. So far a best of 12.87 in the 1/4 (Stock Motor). Haven't yet taken the built motor to the track but it should be pretty interesting. I'm looking to get the boot after my last run for exceeding the 11.5 second ET without a roll cage installed. That's if I decide to run it like that. I've been having a number of issues since the rebuild. Seems like nothing is very straight forward when it comes to modding vehicles and I find myself chasing down loose end after loos end. Not too mention one or two gremlins as well.

Any how on to the topic of this thread. In a nut shell I'm wanting to put as much power to a given motor as it can reliably handle. My cousin is giving me an 85 Monte Carlo SS which has a brand new GM 350 crate motor in it he tells me. He couldn't answer any questions other than that. I haven't yet seen the vehicle as it's in storage out of state but I'd almost bet for certain that it's your run of the mill entry level crate 350/290 HP Economy Performance Engine that GMPP advertises on their website. I feel lucky enough to be getting the car for free. The 350 is icing on the cake. There is no way in hell that I'd ever be so lucky as to that motor being something like an LS motor or even a 383 stroker. I'm never that lucky so I've pretty much made up my mind that it's the basic 350/290 motor that comes out of Mexico these days. That motor has an advertised compression of 8.1:1 which is obviously pretty lame (but boost friendly). I'm not at all familiar with any of the GMPP motors let alone this specific one but I figure that the internals of the motor should be at least good up to somewhere in the 400-500 hp range conservatively. I figure that if the stock L69 305 HO motor can be built to put out 400hp then that shouldnt be a problem for this 350/290 motor either. I might be way off on the guess as well. With such a low compression number I'm thinking that a turbo set up might be the way to go in order to get the car in the 10 second range but then I'm back to wondering if the parts onboard can handle the kind of power that is required to get such a vehicle into those kind of times. My thinking is that a turbo approach would be easier on the parts than a Supercharger or Nitrous set up. Now if the motor can take the Nitrous then perhaps that's the direction that I should be considering since that would likely be a good bit cheaper than a turbo build and I could still run 87 octane pump gas due to the pathetic compression numbers but then the sudden blast that Nitrous has to offer would be harder on the Economy motor I'm sure. If it's possible at all I'd like leave the bottom half of the motor "as is" while achieving my goal of a 10 second capable car. I'm looking to add power to the motor by means of improving upon the current heads'flow characteristics and valve train assembly, swapping cams, and then likely some sort of power adder. The set up will almost certainly be that of a carburated nature. I'd rather go nitrous than turbo to help keep things simpler. Remember the 305 guys are claiming to have built a 400hp motor without a power adder so I'm sure the 350/290 can be built and handle upwards of 550 given that...

Or is this particular 350 version a lot of smoke and mirrors???

Can you even turbo a carburated motor??? I have no clue as I know nothing about either Carburaters or turbo's.

I do know that I plan to "Grand Nationalize" the Tranny and most likely will invest in an 8.5 rear as well if not go straight to a Ford 9" if it's not too much problem. And no doubt the suspension will have to be tuned just right to get a proper wt transfer and wheel/tire combo to grab n go.

What approach would you guys take if your goal was to build up this 350/290 crate motor and give it enough power to get an 85 Monte Carlo SS deep into the 11's and maybe even a 10.xx ???

If the rest of the car is set up for the task is it unrealistic to expect so much out of GM's entry level "Performance Engine?"

Let's hear it Gents.

Give me your best feasable resolution for whipping this otherwise "Generic" 350 crate motor into good enough shape to knock down a pass deep into the 11's.

Even though I know somebody will still post useless info in response like "Drop in a 500 Caddy engine" I'm going to go ahead and emphasize a couple of basic requirements for my intended build here which are a requirement for the build...I've listed them below for your in bold italic script.

I'm not at all interested in any answers along the lines of "Stroke the motor", "Swap the 350 for a big block", or anything like of that nature. This will make more sense after you read

I'm looking for solutions which must meet one single requirement:
- utilizing the entire shortblock as is. (block & rotating assembly)
- Everything else is fair game. Heads, intakes, cams, valve trains, gears, stall converter, power adders and such.

But remember, if the motor won't hold together then it doesn't count as a feasible solution.

So who out there has been succesful with these GM 350/290 motors in a high output application?

And a question... Will the LS stuff bolt up to these older design motors? Specifically can a set of Vortech heads be utilized with this motor? I hear the Vortec heads flow very well and the price for them isn't too bad at all for a set of fully assembled heads.

Lets hear it!



Last edited by roach4047; 08-01-2010 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:40 AM
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After hours of research I believe I figured out that a set of Vortec heads can bolt up to one of these GM Goodwrench motors with the help of an intake adapter.

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Old 08-01-2010, 11:04 AM
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Vortec heads will bolt onto any traditional small block chevy. The intake ports and bolt pattern are different so you'll need the Vortec style intake. Vortecs are GREAT heads. They flow very respectably and still use small-ish ports for great street manners, throttle response, and torque. Perfect street/strip head.

You will no doubt have to do some valve train mods. Stock vortecs only allow about .470" lift. Since you'll need to buy different springs for whatever cam you use, step up to aftermarket beehive springs that are designed to allow .550" lift.

The smaller chambers on the Vortecs will also bump your compression into the 9-9.5 range. From there, my opinion would be to choose a cam to get you around 400 hp on motor and give it a 125 hp hit of nitrous at the track. Make sure you do it right. That 350 crate has all cast parts in it and one time of letting it go lean or not properly retarding the spark while on the juice can have pretty nasty results.

Getting 500 hp on all motor will be tough if you still want to use it on the street. You're squarely into aftermarket head territory and 10.5:1 range which would require different pistons. Reliability would suffer with cast parts. Tearing down a new longblock isn't a bad thing, but not necessary in your case.

Turbos can be used with carbs. I've never done it since its a bit complicated, but there is no reason not to. That would be another way to get your track times. In that case, spread out your LSA on the cam, choose a cam for the 350 hp range and give it about 6-7 psi.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:11 PM
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Why start a poll that asks the same question as your thread, when the thread will offer more in-depth information?
I'm the one your momma never told you about...

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Old 08-01-2010, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 68NovaSS
Why start a poll that asks the same question as your thread, when the thread will offer more in-depth information?
I've found that lot's of people are attracted to the polls but don't otherwise care to contribute to a thread necessarily.

Thanks for the input you guys.

Now moving along...I've got a few thoughts bouncing around.

I'm thinking that I'm most likely going to go the route of the Vortec Heads. (LQ4? ) and shoot for the 9-9.5:1 compression ratio that has been mentioned. I need to think through a few things and make a few decisions. I'm giving some serious thought to the idea of a 400hp on motor set up and then adding a progressive stage Nitrous set up on top of it. Nitrous is a once in a while thing and since I only make it to the track once in a while as well it seems to me this can be a viable option for me to consider.

Any advantages to running methanol with the 350/290 & Vortec heads set up or is methanol more a thing that comes into play when we start upping the boost via blowers & turbos?

Thanks for the input guys.


Last edited by roach4047; 08-01-2010 at 06:29 PM.
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