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Old 05-27-2005, 07:20 PM
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What's a good sbc 350 and how do I identify it?

Gentlemen, I am wondering what a good sbc350 block is to look for and how I can identify it. I have a friend who is a scrap collector and has many vehicles in his yard at any given time. He has ok'd me to go in and find myself a 350 to put in my Olds. I figured I'd ask you guys what vehicles might have good potential blocks and if anybody might have some actual #'s I could look for on the block. Also, any tell tale signs to look for that would indicate a block is toast.
While we're at it, I might as well get some good heads if I can find them. Any suggestions for heads?

My goal for this car right now is to approx. double my current 140-160hp while maintaining street manners and reasonable economy.

TIA

PS My car is an '86 Cutlass T-top w/200-4r trans. and 305 chev

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Old 05-27-2005, 08:55 PM
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blocks

The best blocks are 79 and older. Identified by the dipstick on the drivers side. The year of the block is stamped on the rear just below the intake manifold on the part that the bell housing bolts to. Four bolt mains are usually found in trucks.

Make sure the starter horn is not broken, the lifter valley is not warped, the area behind the timing chain is not warped, that the upper timing gear has not ground material off the block, and that there are no cracks. A block with antifreeze still in it is a good sign. When the heads are removed check cylinder bore wear at the top. There will be a ridge at the top of the cylinder. The less ridge the less boring req'd. Check for previous rebuilding. The piston may have a # stamped on the top such as .020 or .030. You are better off with a standard bore block. The piston may have a stamp, std.
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Old 05-28-2005, 08:56 AM
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Thanks bracketeer Nice to hear from another VI guy. Is that your car at Saratoga?
Thanks again for the info
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Old 05-28-2005, 09:06 AM
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yes

That pic was taken at Saratoga, Sept of last year.
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Old 05-28-2005, 11:37 AM
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Depending on the range of engines in the scrap yard you may want to look for an 86 and up engine. Go HERE and print out the list off all the SBC engine casting numbers. You can then match these numbers up when looking for an engine to find out just what is in it and when it was built.
The reason for the 86 and up was they started putting roller cams in the engines. You may end up building the engine for some really nice power and being able to run a roller cam is a step ahead of the game. It cost much less to have a new roller cam and lifters put in then it does to retro fit them in an older block.
If you can't find any of those block in good condition or you don't want to bother with the roller cam then do as was said before...

Chris
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Old 05-28-2005, 11:51 AM
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I seem to remember that on later 350 blocks the rear main bearing protrudes out the back of the block...don't think any others do that.
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Old 05-28-2005, 11:59 AM
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From 86 and up they moved over to one peice rear main seals. It changed the look of the back of the crank a little bit not that he will be able to see that anyways when looking for an engine. One pc. got used to stop leaks that had been occuring with the 2pc.

Chris
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Old 05-28-2005, 02:05 PM
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Thanks again. You know, had I asked this question(about SBC for my Olds) on my other (shall remain nameless) forum, they'd have crucified me. Something about Olds in Olds, Chevy in Chevy. Way I figure, since I got a Chev from factory, it will be easier to stick with it for general ease, plus I'm so new at this stuff that I figure better to stick with an engine that EVERYBODY knows more about than me
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Old 06-01-2005, 02:38 AM
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I think just about any 350 block would buld into a decent street engine if it idn't damaged. Personally I think I would look for an 86 or newer too, then get a set of Vortec heads, I think they came with them after around 94. If you can find a 350 from an early 90s Trans am or similiar Camero those were some of the best 350s.
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