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Old 10-26-2012, 09:24 AM
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Wanting more power.......but not quite sure what I have to start with

I have a 88 Chevy stepside, carbed sbc. I've owned the truck for almost a yr and spent that time working out a bunch of quirks. The truck is pretty strong down low (burns the tires up), but falls off quickly. The previous owner said its a 383 stroker. I'm not sure. Today I will try to find a casting number on the back of the block. Based on the numbers from the heads and intake, I think it's a gm performance crate motor.

Is there a way to tell what size cam, cylinder bore, pistons, stroke, etc without pulling the motor and disassembling? Can I do it from the house or best to take it to a shop?

Once I figure that out I want to figure out the overall condition and go from there.

I will be asking for more advice soon, but I think this is a good place to start.

Quick video can be seen here........

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Old 10-26-2012, 11:55 AM
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No simple way to tell what cam and bore size are. you can put a degree wheel on the crank and try to measure up the cam but its not an easy thing to do.

Best to look outside the block at this point maybe some bolt ons could help.

Exhuast and intake can make an engine fall off if they are too small. do you have manifolds or headers. also do you have carb or fuel infection.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:31 PM
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Yeah, thats my issue. I don't know anything about the bottom end or cam. Heads are casting # 83417369. Research i found was gm crate motor heads, 1.94, 1.60 valves, 76 cc. I'm running edelbrock headers and 750 carb.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:54 PM
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take off the valve covers,borrow a dial indicator if you do not have one. Mount so that you can measure valve lift at the rocker.It sounds like a mild performance street cam. Some of the 383 crate motors were very high in torque and moderate in horse power. Better heads and cam will likely net 75 plus horse power,though its hard to say without knowing exactly what you have.
rolling off on the top end might be not enough fuel for that engine at max RPMs,borrow a fuel pressure guage and run it through the gears and see if pressure drops near the top of the gears
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:30 PM
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Ok, i have both tools in the garage. Ill do a search and see if i can figure out how to take the measurements.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:27 PM
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heads are a big choke, when you pull them off you can tell some of the rest of the specs (bore, stroke, and piston) you can also pull the timing cover while you're there and see what cam you have and/or replace it.

A decent mild cam kit and some decent heads can be had for less than a grand- or you can get some really nice stuff and spend over 3 grand for that stuff.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:27 PM
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I'm on the hunt for some good 64cc heads now without paying a fortune. I'd like to get rid of the 882's I have sitting in the garage first. I don't believe the cam in it now is stock because of the idle and performance down low.

I have a minor starting issue right now. After I fix that I plan on seeing what my stall speed is.

I've got 4 days off next weekend. Maybe I'll dig in to that top end?? I've got some good roller rockers and a pete jackson gear drive just sitting here.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:43 PM
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I have the heads and gear drive listed for sale locally. There is a pair of 186's for sale local but i think he wants tk much for them. I don't really want to spend the money on a super charger, yet. I am interested in experimented with some novice porting though.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjack010 View Post
I have the heads and gear drive listed for sale locally. There is a pair of 186's for sale local but i think he wants tk much for them. I don't really want to spend the money on a super charger, yet. I am interested in experimented with some novice porting though.
unless you find a poor sucker those arts are only worth the price of scrap iron (heads) or the cost of a roller timing chain (as it works better than the gear drive).

List it cheap and hope for a sucker.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:56 PM
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I do have them listed cheap. I don't prefer them but someone will want them. I think i have a starter issue so on to a new thread for the time being.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:08 PM
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Gave a shot at determining stall tonight. Brakes would hold til 1800rpm. I know that's not a real accurate way to measure since I'm not sure if that was the true stall speed or if the brakes just give at that point. I tried to get flash stall speed but it was damn hard by myself. I did record it and looked like 2200 but the tires were spinning. I'll try a few more runs tomorrow.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:17 PM
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your numbers sounds realistic.Why are you worried about stall?get the engine dialed first.dont change rear gears to match any cam,the gears are for the cars purpose,same with engine and trans.change one item at a time.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:51 PM
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I'm not worried about the stall, just trying to learn everything I can about the truck. It pulls hard down low so it should be pretty close to what is recommended for weight, cam, etc. Also, finally found the weight of the truck......3800lbs. At least it's the lighter of many full size trucks.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjack010 View Post
I'm not worried about the stall, just trying to learn everything I can about the truck. It pulls hard down low so it should be pretty close to what is recommended for weight, cam, etc. Also, finally found the weight of the truck......3800lbs. At least it's the lighter of many full size trucks.
Swap the heads for Vortecs, paying attention to the static and dynamic compression ratio and quench distance. Attention to details makes a LOT of difference in the final results.

Use a matching Vortec intake like the Edelbrock RPM. Keep the 750 carb. Use long tube headers w/dual exhaust w/a connector between the two sides aft of the collector and before the mufflers.

Recurve the distributor- this will help regardless of anything else you do.

See what the cam is that you now have. You could have a roller block- if so use a hydraulic roller cam and lifters if the cam needs to be changed from a flat tappet cam and lifters. You can pick up the lifters, dogbones, spider and cam retainer off eBay. Info on what blocks to look for is here.

If you want to double check the weight, take it down to the recyclers and weight it on a drive-on scale. Some dumps also have a scale available.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:27 AM
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I may actually look into that. I know nothing about vortec "stuff." Scared to take the plunge, but I continue to hear even a stock vortec head makes great power. So will everything else I have work with the vortec intake and heads.......distrubutor, carb, headers, etc?
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