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Discussion Starter #1
just so you can get to know me i am 20 and just grad. college to do auto-body. i have some money saved up and want to build a 383 and hope to get 550 hp at the wheels. if so that means it will be about 615hp at flywheel. although i want to build this motor everyone i know is saying buy the car you want to put it in first,get it ready then build the motor. what would you do?
 

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I dont see a problem in building the motor.The only thing is remember that some parts should be bought after you know what car it's going in(Like headers,oil pan,accessorys,Distributor).
You also need to remember that without knowing what car it's going to go into.It's a lot harder to chose the parts that will work well with youre application.
You will need a lot of cam and compression.If it were my 383 I would
10.7:1 forged pistons and moly rings
H-Beam rods bushed pins(ARP bolts for insurance)
You really need the best of the best cranks maybe a 4340 forged crank
Aluminum E-Tec heads
Roller rockers 1.60 ratio
A comp cam a solid roller might get you closer to that goal maybe one of
their new hydraulic roller Thumper cams or a 294 solid roller
A good strong double roller or gear drive.
Victor jr intake
850cfm double pumper
But to get into those levels It might be easier to use a good old fashioned supercharger.Is this vehicle going to be street driven.Because if it is You might want to go a little less.Also think about other factors like strengthening the transmission and rear end
 

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Discussion Starter #5
yes this car is going to street driven but only on ocation. i am thinking about going with a early late 60's nova. that is what i want to build the motor for. the weight of the car and the power i am trying to get shouldnt be that hard. and to answer another question i do have a block just laying around. i bought it form a machine shop a long time ago and never got around to building on it. it is a 70's 350 with a .040 bore.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
this will also be my first motor i have ever built. i am wanting to learn more than anything. any info on building motors would help. the cam i am planning on using is a comp cam kit. it is a roller cam with just about ever accessory than you can get, but valves. im looking at a Duration 304/304, Lift .612/.612.
 

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Tryin2MakeIt said:
this will also be my first motor i have ever built. i am wanting to learn more than anything. any info on building motors
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I would suggest buying a early Nova or other light car ... and try to get a running, driving vehicle. IMPROVE on it ... and learn :D

A high horsepower engine is NOT the place to learn IMHO ... make your beginners mistakes on something a lot less expensive ... Just my nickel ...

Deuce ... Moderator
 

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I personally would buy the car first, whether its running or not, once you buy the car, you will have an idea of what trans your going to use, how much the car weighs which will tell you*if it needs to be built to be a torque motor or a top end power motor* and what gears your going to run...build and engine for your car not a car for your engine..... :p

and that seems to be a lot of cam for a street car........
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yea it is a lot of cam, the other cam is a lot lower lift i believe like a 535 or something like that. i have it wrote down somewhere. and far as building motors, i have done rebuilds but when i said first motor i will have built i meant from bare block up. i know with this one there is far more to know far as making sure everything matches up ... just not sure how to figure everything up. i am reading a lot on it and my moms b/f is a mechanic. just i want to do this one on my own. i will post pics to keep you all up to date
 

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I agree with the car part.If you're dead set on that kind of nova.You've got an idea what to work with but it is better to have the actual car first.If you're looking for stroker kits power house has o.k deals.
www.enginekits.com
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i have looked at powerhouse kits. they are cheap but i hear that they hold up good if you install everything right. i have a local machine shop that is offering really good deal on putting my heads together. $60 not bad huh? they are also going to balance my kit for $150. so far looks like i will have it built by April or may
 

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Ok I,ll bite here......615 hp 383....and the machine shop is going to put your heads together for $60?? What kind of heads are you putting together, they better be some high dollar, huge runner aluminum items if you think you're gonna pull 600+ hp. Sorry but I think your dreaming, I,m not saying it cant be done but just throwing around hp numbers does'nt mean much. Lets hear the rest of your combo. How much did you plan on spending for this engine?
 

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A 400 hoss 2600lb car with a 3grand stall and 4.10s turning g60 drag radials can be a handfull to a novice. Every car is a 'package' from the tyre pressures to the seatbelt bolts. Plan what you want to achieve before you decide on a car - let alone the engine.
Gen 1 small blocks came in power ratings from around 140hp to 375hp and most suited their application - a Z28 302 would be a dog in a K30 but worked great on a race track.
 

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buy a car first and start there. Even if you do scrape together the $6-8000 dollars its going to take to build that motor, you sure don't want it just sitting in the corner of your garage for the next 3-4 years while you save, find and buy a car and get it ready.

Reality check: You could probably find a solid shell of a car for 4000 dollars. You're going to need about 6-8 for the motor. A decent rear and trans, radiator to cool the beast, decent tires and suspension to hook you up will be (conservatively) 5,000. Now if you want a car that looks nice, plan on buying an interior and a paint job for (conservative) 2500-3000 dollars. This is a pretty basic interior with a pretty bare bones "OK" looking paint job. Then there are rims and other things to think about etc.

Shell: 4000
Motor: 7000
Driveline: 5000
Cosmetics: 3000

That's $16,000 dollars for a 615 horse car that looks kinda ratty with a trans that wont explode on launches and will hook and go. $19,000 dollars for a car that looks ok doing it while its doing all that. You're 20 years old right now. If you want to have this car done by the time you're 25 you'll need to put 315 dollars a month into it. Can you afford a 315 dollar car payment for a car that you're not driving and when its done can only be driven weekends? Are you comfortable being halfway to 30 before your project is done?

I'd start smaller. Buy a second or third gen F-body with a 350 and an 8.5 out back and chip away at it. I'll bet for less than 6000 dollars you could have a 12-13 second car that you can drive all the time and looks decent.

Hope that helps. I've bitten off more than I could chew in the past and it ruined my project. Hope you dont do the same, but best of luck either way-

K
 

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If you just want to go fast, get a 500 hp 383 (much easier to build) drop it in a gutted S10, and mate it to a 12 bolt with a tH350 trans. It's still going to cost about 10G's to get it done, but it'll be great at the tracks- that and third gen F-bodies are about the only way to go fast for cheap. (not really the ONLY, but the most widely available)
 

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Get the car first. Sometimes life gets in the way so you'll still have a cool car to drive in the meantime.

I drove mine for years while I assembled my special engine, it actually was kind of cool having the new engine on the stand while I still drove my car.
Driving the car will also help keep your interest level up.

An engine by itself is just a conversation piece.
 

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I agree with 428ho. It is nice to be able to drive a car while you get the motor built. I also agree that 600+ hp is a really steep goal on a 383 unless you have a really good set of heads and 13:1+ compression. My dad had a 358 with ported brodix 11X heads ($1450 bare with no porting), 14.7:1 compression, 274 282 @.050 .660 lift solid roller. It made 608 hp at 7900 RPM. Your motor would be bigger, but even if your 383 made power at the same rate, you would be looking at 650 hp, and usually if you use the same parts on a larger motor, the hp/ci goes down a little bit. Getting 600+ is probably possible on pump gas, but not easily N/A with 23 degree heads even if you have all the money in the world to spend. If you are serious about spending the kind of money it takes to make that much power, you would be way ahead to buy a Dart iron eagle block and build a 434. That with some nice ported heads ($2000-$2500 range) 10.5:1 and a properly sized solid roller would put you around 650hp. Also, you may be underestimating how much power is lost to the rear wheels. If you run an automatic, you are looking at at least a 20% loss. At 650 motor, that puts you at 520 at the wheels.

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter #18
yes i know it is hard, and yes i have high hopes,but it can be done. i am a manager at a local store and lets just say i don't have to worry about money really. money is hard to come by but i work my *** off to get it. also like i said i just got out of college for bodywork and paint. that is not big deal for me. i can do bodywork and paint a car through-out and have less than $600. so that cuts cost a lot. i do know that the motor will cost a lot and the more i get into the motor wanting just about good of parts as i can afford, i know thats going to cast even more. so ... i think its time i start really doing some calculations on how i am going to get it out of my motor.
 

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Is there a reason you are set on a 383? It would be a lot easier with more cubic inches. Also, are you planning on running this motor on pump gas?

Adam
 

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I might be the only guy on here that says build the engine first,but that is usually my way of doing it.It has more to do with the fact that I build race cars as a hobby and horde engine stuff,so I tend to have piles of good engine stuff laying around waiing to be built,but it always seems to work out well for me.The fact is that in my case I usually dont have anywhere to keep another car that I cant use to it's potential.In your case you are dreaming about a 10 second early nova.If you buy the car first your reality will be that you will own a dead slow straight 6 or small V8 turd that you have no interest in driving and no place to store.Best case you are looking at 100 bucks a month or more to store a multi thousand dollar investment that you have no use for.I say build the engine,build the trans and build the rear.Buy all the fuel system parts,the wheels and tires,the seats,and anything else you can think of.The truth is that you can hide all these parts in an apartment if you got hard up for space,and have a few buddies to help you lug it up the stairs.Buy the car first and you will be out of a bunch of money,still not have anything you want,and you will have an awfully big pile of something that will require an awafully big daily commitment to own.

Another factor in this equation is the level of car you are looking to build.You arent talking about a basically stock car with a warmed over crate motor and a stock posi rear in it.You are talking about a 600 hp 383.In a 3200 pound car that kind of power{ at least if it is normally asperated} is best matched to a set of 4.88:1 rear gears,and a 4500 stall convertor.You cant exactly stab a spooled 4.88:1 rear behind a 6 banger or 283 and figure that it will still cruise like it is stock.The car will be slow AND undrivable.Same thing goes for that full manual valve body th 400 or 'glide and the 4500 stall convertor.Dont waste your time on a $300 set of 2" duals on that stock engine to spiffy it up because the big dawg you are planning for is going to want some 3.5" pipes with turndowns and some 2" primary tube headers.

Think of it like this.You need to make a huge investment to own the car that you want at the level that you want it at.No matter how you slice it you wont truly be happy until you have spent every last dollar that you need to spend to make the car exactly what you want,and however long it takes for you to gather that kind of money is how long you should plan on waiting before you get behind the wheel of your car.If you do it my way you could have most if not all of the mechanical parts gathered and ready to go before you ever go car shopping.When you find and purchase the body that you want you will still have to have it sent out and have a roll cage and frame connectors put into it,and any other body/paint work you want.Even if from the day you buy the body until the day you get in it and drive it away takes a full year,you could in no way have ever expected to get it done in any less time had you not gathered all the mechanical parts first.

And one last thing.Buying the car last leaves the most exciting and important part of the project until the safest time to execute it.It sounds like you are a chevy guy,or you at least like GM stuff.If after a few years of piling up parts you decide the early Novas dont float your boat,it wouldnt be a stretch to build any of a dozen or so other types of GM cars that most of your parts would fit into.If you get the car first you will want to enjoy it right away.You will go out and buy a bunch of stuff to make it more enjoyable,and none of that stuff will be anything that you really wanted on your finished project.Doing this will set you back years in the gathering of the parts you want,which means that no matter how you slice it,you added time betwen you and your dream.Take it from me,hindsight is always 20/20.I learned a lot from all the junk I built in high school,but had I known then what I know now,I could have finished senior year while driving a totally badd azzed bigblock powered 73 camaro with a fresh red paint job and 4.11 gears,but intead for the same money I ended up finishing out that year with a non running car with a primer body because I made a handfull of attempts to keep the car running with junkyard parts and "just for now" fixes.That was more then a few years ago,but it is just one pretty good example of how easy it is to misuse time and money on a project car and end up totally sidetracked.If nothing else,during the entire time that you spend gathering parts,you happen to luck into the deal of a lifetime on a car that you want,you can buy it then.If you buy the car now,I would be willing to bet that by the time you are finished with it you will have found a half a dozen other better deals that you had wished you waited for.

Good luck.
 
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