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Old 03-17-2015, 11:14 AM
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Tips for a Teen Hot Rodder?

I have a 1978 Camaro with a 4-bolt 350 out of a '78 Silverado. Was doing WOT timing when it threw a rod on the #4 cylinder. Now doing a rebuild and I want to run my parts list by some people who have been down this road before.
Parts list-
Lifters
Connecting Rods
Rebuild Kit
Valve Springs
Crankshaft
Camshaft
Then a transmission pan and a double roller timing set.

All the parts in the engine need to be replaced, because all of them were damaged and/or are just worn out and old. My budget is about $150 a week and as of Spring break $600. Any comments?

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Old 03-17-2015, 11:30 AM
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WOT timing??? All your timing was probably in by about 2500 to 3k rpm.

If you actually "threw" the rod at WOT, getting the block checked for cracks should be your first move. I assume machine work is in the plan, boring, etc., to clean things up?

I would also recommend just buying a complete rotating kit and cam kit that would include the recommended springs, etc., rather than piecing together a combination of mismatched parts that may not be optimal.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:54 PM
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maybe go find a used 880 block engine and start there?Many budget options,,, please post what you want as a finished project.While waiting for engine parts,put the car on a diet. 200 pounds is not hard to lose on thaat car and thats a free 20 horse power equivalent.
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:54 PM
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STOP!!!!!
Don't buy anything.
You obviously don't know what you're doing, so do as vinnie asked and tell us what you want as a finished product. The main questions are:
1. What fuel is readily available to you on a daily basis?
2. What rpm range do you see the motor running in? Street motors rarely eclipse 5500 rpm's. The ones that do will cost $4000 to $5000 to build ($10 per hp).
3. What will you be using the motor for 99% of the time?
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:25 PM
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techinspector I'm glad to see you posting again. I was well aware of your short absence and am very happy to have you back.

OP, please listen to these guys as they will give you the best advice.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:16 PM
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Get the block magnaflux checked to be sure it isn't cracked, then get this book:
"How to Build Max Performance Chevy Small Blocks on a Budget" by David Vizard and read up. Make sure to get the latest version(2012).

Amazon Amazon


Then consider this, build a 383 rather than a 350, since you have to buy everything anyway this is cheaper with same or better quality parts than you are looking at along with a compression ratio more in line with pump gas than what you have chosen. No sense at all to build a 350 when you can build a 383 for the same or less money.
SBC Chevy 383 Stroker Kit Scat Crank Rods 030 Forged 12cc DH Pistons 2pc RMS | eBay

Then we can talk about what cam, heads and intake to get where you want to be.

Many of the parts you've chosen are incorrect for each other, or are poor choices overall.

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Old 03-17-2015, 07:13 PM
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Do yourself a real big favor and let these guy's help you. They won't lead you astray and will help you build the motor you want or need. Just don't try to out think them they have Blown up motors I can only Dream about.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
I have a 1978 Camaro with a 4-bolt 350 out of a '78 Silverado. Was doing WOT timing when it threw a rod on the #4 cylinder. Now doing a rebuild and I want to run my parts list by some people who have been down this road before.
Parts list-
Lifters
Connecting Rods
Rebuild Kit
Valve Springs
Crankshaft
Camshaft
Then a transmission pan and a double roller timing set.

All the parts in the engine need to be replaced, because all of them were damaged and/or are just worn out and old. My budget is about $150 a week and as of Spring break $600. Any comments?
Before anything get the block cleaned and magnafluxed or some other crack id process. There isn't much space in there when a rod fails beyond just spinning a bearing it often contacts the inner surfaces usually the pan rail, cylinder spigots (extension into the crnakcase), often the camshaft which may result in damage along the cam tunnel. Don't spend a dime till you know about the block because if that needs replacing it is a lot less expensive to go with a basic crate motor and build from there as time and budget allows.

Bottom end is most important place to spend money, that makes a solid foundation that over time can be added to and that will stay together when more and more power is built in.

Old transmissions, especially automatics, don't like frisky young engines for very long, plan a tranny in your budget.

Bogie
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:36 AM
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You guys are great! Thanks for the info! I'll get looking.

PLANS-

Have the engine looked at, cleaned, and decked, (bored if need be) and then rebuild it to have 350-400 HP. This engine will be running on Premium (93) pump gas and will be seeing mostly street (daily driver) I'm hoping to get a redline of about 5500-6500 RPM.

About the 383, I just don't like the absolutely HUGE stroke that they have. The stroke:bore ratio is a little radical for a race engine (I'm building it for street/strip) I want something that can show up the ricers and other muscle cars but can still get me to school the next morning. A good 350, 355, or yes, a 383 would be good. I don't want to get a stall converter, and I don't want to get some radical cam because I have vacuum brakes. Basically just a rad engine that I can take to shows on the weekends and then take to the strip and have a little fun.

I know Summit has a balanced 383 rotating kit for ~$750.

And you are exactly right, I don't know what I'm doing, so that is why I'm coming.

I have a lot of decisions to make but I don't know what suits me best. Thanks for the help so far everyone!!!

Jon
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:46 AM
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Yes, get your block checked, first and foremost.
By all means build a 383. The extra stroke will not be a problem.
Buy a complete rotating assembly. It will save you money in the long run.
Depending on which rod you choose you may have to grind some rod clearance in the block. Allow .060 clearance between rod/bolt and block. Do not grind more than necessary as there is water to be found if you grind too much.
Set your block up for zero deck. This will help considerably in preventing detonation.
If your budget allows it go with a hydraulic roller camshaft. Better performance, and no worry's for break in and oil choice.
lastly plenty of choices for heads. If your budget allows it go with aluminum.
There are some very good entry level heads out there for $800.00 a pair.
Most of all, take your time, read every thing you can get your hands on. When ever you have a question, don't hesitate to ask.
One last thing, have fun doing this project.
Best of success on your build.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
You guys are great! Thanks for the info! I'll get looking.

PLANS-

Have the engine looked at, cleaned, and decked, (bored if need be) and then rebuild it to have 350-400 HP. This engine will be running on Premium (93) pump gas and will be seeing mostly street (daily driver) I'm hoping to get a redline of about 5500-6500 RPM.

About the 383, I just don't like the absolutely HUGE stroke that they have. The stroke:bore ratio is a little radical for a race engine (I'm building it for street/strip) I want something that can show up the ricers and other muscle cars but can still get me to school the next morning. A good 350, 355, or yes, a 383 would be good. I don't want to get a stall converter, and I don't want to get some radical cam because I have vacuum brakes. Basically just a rad engine that I can take to shows on the weekends and then take to the strip and have a little fun.

I know Summit has a balanced 383 rotating kit for ~$750.

And you are exactly right, I don't know what I'm doing, so that is why I'm coming.

I have a lot of decisions to make but I don't know what suits me best. Thanks for the help so far everyone!!!

Jon
If a rod left the crank or even hit anything while still on the crank, I would not spend any money on that block - zero. Used 350 blocks are a dime a dozen. Even if the block is undamaged, any decent machine shop will be wanting to at least bore the cylinders and line bore mains (after a bearing failure) in additon to installing cam bearings and possibly decking the block. Any new combo of parts should be balanced, even though Eagle does roughly balance their rotating assembly (additional improvements can be made). This all is a lot of money, especially to put in a questionable 1st gen block that might have damage. A lot depends on what you mean by threw a rod. Was the bearing just spun, or did the rod actually hit something - or do you even know? Is the engine apart and inspected? Like the others said, you might be better of with a crate engine or short block.

As far as what you want to end up with, you can't get there. You can't make a rad street/strip 350 engine that makes 350-400HP using smogger heads and a small hydraulic flat tappet cam while retaining a stock torque converter and requiring high vacuum. I'm sorry but it's just not going to happen.

Below is what I think comes closest to what you want - either building yours like this, or buying something like this. You would have to get a different stall converter to get a heavy 78 Camaro rolling in style. Any way you go, plan on spending at least $4000-$5000 if you are buying everything new. You would be shocked to know what it would cost for parts/machine work to rebuild your stock engine correctly.

Blueprint Engines Small Block Chevy 355ci/ 385HP/ 405TQ - Free Shipping on All Orders @ JEGS

I am personally squarely in the 383 camp, as you can easily get 30-40 more HP over a 350 at RPMs well below 6000 where it counts. 500HP/500 torque street 383s on pump gas are not unheard of with 10.5:1 compression, the best aluminum heads, and the right cam/intake/headers. The 383 in my S10 has really good expensive aluminum heads and a smaller than typical hydraulic flat tappet cam that makes it very streetable on pump premium using a 3000 stall converter and 3.73 gears. Most everyone here makes light of my cam choice for one reason or another, but to me it seems to work well with my combo. Mileage with an 800 Holley DP is quite poor, but it was no better with a 600 Holley vacuum secondary carb that I threw on as a diagnostic. About 10 MPG - can you live with it? Vacuum for power brakes is fine. Times at the strip (11.6/115mph) indicates it's making about 450HP through small tube shorty headers and full exhaust. With the cast crank/pistons in the Eagle rotating assembly I keep it under 6250 RPM.

Don't make the mistake of putting a cam and intake and headers on an otherwise stock smogger 350 in a heavy car with an automatic, stock converter/gears, and an open rear end. Now that would truly be "high school". Many of us did this in our youth and we know that combo simply doesn't work for more than the sound the engine makes. Of course that's all some care about. They are called posers.

If you want all your sphincters (and others riding with you) to tighten when you hit the gas, the people here can help. But you need to re-define your expectations and be prepared to spend the money/make the correct choices/put in the work.

Let us know! Have you taken the engine apart for inspection yet?

Les

Last edited by 2001Blazer4x4; 03-18-2015 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:01 PM
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The engine has no visible signs of damage, if so I do have a spare 350 block handy right now. And if my expectations are... I'll say "not typical and uneducated" then what would you guys reccomend? I have 3.73/open rear end (going with either a Detroit Locker or Auburn limited-slip soon) and a rebuilt Turbo 350. If I do have to get myself a stall converter that's fine, but I wanna save money where I can. Remember, I'm a teen on minimum wage. I don't know squat and I don't have truckloads of money to throw around.

Also, the rod came through the oil pan at about 4250 RPM. Other than that I see no other failures, except two broken valve springs..... Or at least VERY worn valve springs that compress with the push of my finger.......
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildude24 View Post
The engine has no visible signs of damage, if so I do have a spare 350 block handy right now. And if my expectations are... I'll say "not typical and uneducated" then what would you guys reccomend? I have 3.73/open rear end (going with either a Detroit Locker or Auburn limited-slip soon) and a rebuilt Turbo 350. If I do have to get myself a stall converter that's fine, but I wanna save money where I can. Remember, I'm a teen on minimum wage. I don't know squat and I don't have truckloads of money to throw around.

Also, the rod came through the oil pan at about 4250 RPM. Other than that I see no other failures, except two broken valve springs..... Or at least VERY worn valve springs that compress with the push of my finger.......
If the rod came off the crank and actually went through the oil pan, then the block is almost certainly damaged by this rod flailing around.

Maybe we should approach your engine build this way.... How much money do you have available right now to spend on it. That's the reality of the situation, If you simply don't have the money available (and if your parents can't help), maybe a cheap used engine or a different car is in order. My Mom finanaced my first real build 100% back when I was 18 and I paid her back (over a couple of years but I paid her back). Most teenagers can't raise the funds by themselves to do this stuff. Don't know your situation, but if you don't have the money - then fixing this car is nothing more than a dream.

I did give my recommendations for a 350-400HP 350 engine. That was to install the crate motor at the link I provided. Looks like about a $5000 project for the engine itself, by the time you get it in with all the incidentals like intake/carb/headers and exhaust, etc. If you want a 383, add $500.

good luck and best wishes.

Last edited by 2001Blazer4x4; 03-19-2015 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:29 AM
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I have been there before with a tight budget and what I did was buy a junker vehicle and did not care what the heck it was and as long as it got me back and forth to work it was good enough for me as I did that so I could save money over a long period of time so I could get my engine built the way I wanted too without cutting corners.

Trust me its better to just save longer regardless how long it is then to buy on a splurge and not be happy with it in the end. I spent more over the years then what I should have but lessons learned.

I once had a 377 (4.00 bore) with a flat tappet cam but the bottom end was an old crank and reman rods and that did not sit with me since day one as I did not know the history of them plus with flat tappet cam failures on the rise and I finally saved more money to get a new crank and new rods and reused my old pistons and converted to a hydraulic roller cam setup.

It took me about a year when it was all said and done but well worth the wait. A lot of the guys on here has helped me over the years to make better choices about things and also educated me as well. Can't go wrong with them.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:55 AM
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Right now I have $800. I get a good paycheck each Saturday for $150-500 depending on how much I work. My budget is just how much patience I have. My parents don't support my builds whatsoever, they bought me the original car, gave me the keys, and said "Welcome to real life." I pay for gas, oil, tires, insurance, everything. I need to get this thing running as soon as possible, yes, but I don't want to put any engine in it. I want either a 350 or 383. I'm fine with waiting, if it will make the car cool. That block is probably trashed, but I do have an extra one, or I can go with a crate engine after saving a month or two this summer. Depends.....
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