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We all,myself included,have done this.Suggested to get a L31 1996 to 2000 engine for the benefits of a roller block and the Vortec production heads.Yet warn people about the vast number of cracked heads out there because of Vortec's 8 bolt intake manifold gasket leak problems and overheating.Yes I know the aftermarket has addressed this gasket issue,but that is for us to use after the fact of the OEM gasket.

Comments??.
 

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How about an LS engine? you can buy it from a truck, it comes with aluminum heads over an iron block, if you dont want the EFI like in the L31 you can carb it, it's a little lighter than the old SBC (I think so) and its has great potencial. The downside its that you need buy or to build engine brackets to mount it, use the exhaust manifolds from the factory or buy the headers and the ignition system if youre gonna use a carb, not to mention some items to connect it to the trans. Just my opinion, I cant decide if I want to move to another SBC or use this engine Chevrolet Performance 19244096 Chevrolet Performance LS 327ci/327HP Deluxe Engine
 

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Caveat emptor...

Unless it's a running engine the deal is half now, half when the heads are verified to be OK.

Not fool proof, but if a core is bought w/a bad bottom end, the chances are better the heads are OK. If the engine has a sound bottom end but it's "not running", be suspicious.

Sometimes a cracked head will manifest itself by allowing coolant into the combustion chamber- this'll scour the plug clean (easy to see) along w/the chamber. If a bore scope is used, the chamber can be seen. Of course, this could be from a blown head gasket (possible water in oil and vice-versa), but I'd be leery of a blown head gasket as well- too much chance it was run hot.

If the engine is in a junkyard some things to look out for is straight water in the radiator. Pass it up- if it had an intake leak, etc. few people will continue to refill the coolant tank w/antifreeze at $12-$15/gallon.

I'm always surprised by how many guys will go to a 'yard looking for an engine and not bring a battery to turn the engine over with. Often a bad bottom end can be heard even using just the starter motor.
 
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