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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is not a brand c vs brand d vs brand a etc. post (notice I said post, my post). But I can not help but to think about this when wana be engineers re-ngineer their 350 into a 383 or larger dimension. This is a excerpt from an article by David Reher. I don't know him nor do I care but some things just make sense. Ponder this if you will:

"too many racers insist on using a "good old block" as the beginning point for a competition engine, but in my opinion, that's a major mistake. The truth is that there aren't any "good old blocks" - at least when the subject is big-block Chevrolet V-8s.

Though drag racing technology has changed dramatically since the big-block Chevy was introduced in 1965, some racers remain stuck in the past. They still believe that an original 4.250-inch-bore factory block is the ideal beginning point for a big-- block racing engine. Unfortunately, they're wrong, and that costs them time, money, and horsepower."

What I take from this is that if you take a 350 for example apart and have a good crank that can be cleaned up with some 4-600 grit and leather string along with one thou over bearings, why do some insist on throwing money at 33 cubic inches when there is tremendous potential to be spent on the heads?

Ok, in Greek, throw money at stroker kit vs. applying stroker kit money at the best heads you can buy for your money.

I am relating the block in the excerpt to the best darn heads you can buy on your budget.

Now I know this is going to pop a nut with the 383 crowd but before you pop that nut, establish a budget here and use economic dollar/HP logic here. We are dealing with a good running low mileage stock gen 1 350.

Here is the rest of the article and it is rather entertaining read: http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cach...8+aftermarket+blocks&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1
 

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Well, first, David Reher is one of the most respected engine people in the business.

Second, think of the heads vs. stroker thing this way ---

cubic inches are great, but if the aperture that fills them and exhausts them runs out of breath, their effectiveness is capped at that point. So a big cube engine might do great down low but run out of breath before you can rev it up to peak power.

Sort of like a 350 lb. defensive lineman -- stronger than a 225 lb. back but can't run 100 yards with him.

But, if the heads will handle the 383 cubes, then a 383 will be stronger than a 350. And if you have enough bucks, you just go to someone like Reher, or Coast High Performance, or any one of a number of reputable engine builders, and tell them what you want to do, and write the appropriate size check!

It seems to me his remarks are in the context of "what is the most reasonable cost effective upgrade for someone who isn't redoing the whole engine..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
pmeisel said:
Well, first, David Reher is one of the most respected engine people in the business.

Second, think of the heads vs. stroker thing this way ---

cubic inches are great, but if the aperture that fills them and exhausts them runs out of breath, their effectiveness is capped at that point. So a big cube engine might do great down low but run out of breath before you can rev it up to peak power.

It seems to me his remarks are in the context of "what is the most reasonable cost effective upgrade for someone who isn't redoing the whole engine..."
Would you agree then that a lot of projects are not finished or compromised by the eyes to big for the stomach (wallet) syndrome? After all most of us are not the government where we can just throw money at a problem and hope it goes away. That Capitol 1 commercial comes to mind with the old vikings sitting around the round table.
 

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I believe it comes down to WHAT you want your new motor to Do..........

I don't post here very often,... but I do spend Hours here Reading.....
I'm not a Hot Rodder per'se,.... I'm a Boater, who likes to build motors and such.......
In the Boating World,... For several reasons, you're limited to a WOT, or Redline of about 5000rpms.......
And,.... In the Boating World,... The saying,"There's No replacement for Displacement" Still holds True....

So,..... While I won't argue your Point,.....
It does need the clarification, that once the Goals of a rebuild are determined,......
You're Absolutely Right.......Sometimes..........
 

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While I believe you are absolutely correct on the fact that cylinder heads are a critical peice of engine performance, I believe that a build must be considered from the whole combination point of view. You can buy a set of AFR 220's for your stock 350, and have an absolute slug. You could build a killer 383 bottom end, with stock heads and have a slug. The heads must work with the displacement, the cam with the heads, ect, all to meet the performance goal you are looking for.

Just my .02 :)
 

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I'm not sure what point you're trying to make but I'd have to say I have to agree "somewhat" depending on the application. If you're trying to use Mr. Reher's statement to argue that there is no good reason to build a 383 SBC I'd have to say you're very wrong but I'm not really sure that's where you're headed........ ????

In my case a 383 is the best choice for what I want. I have good heads for what I'm building and a good 350 block but my crank needed turned. I was able to pick up a Scat 383 crank for just a little more than what it would cost to get my stock crank turned and I was going to buy pistons anyway so it was pretty much a no-brainer. 28 more cubes and easily 50 more Ft. Lbs. with a torque curve that is as flat as Kansas through 4,000 RPM for about the cost of a dinner for 2 at Applebee's more? Sign me up!

I built a 383 back in the early 80's that my friends and I thought worked pretty darn good. A couple of them still use it as a benchmark to compare other street motors to. There were faster cars and more powerful engines but they all cost a LOT more and didn't last as long under the abuse that thing took. By modern standards and practice and a lot of what I read on here I built it all wrong. Wrong pistons, wrong rods, wrong heads, wrong cam, wrong intake manifold, wrong carb, wrong ignition and wrong headers and for all that being "wrong" the thing still hauled freight. This one I am building "right" for the most part. One concession to "wrong", I'm using 400 rods. Yes, I know all the arguments but it will never see the high side of 5,000 and it's not a race engine, it's a low and mid-range stump pullin' street motor. I used 400 rods in my first 383, mainly because there weren't any off the shelf 383 pistons available then, there also weren't any good rod bolts for 400's either so they cut down a set for a 350, I was a little nervous about that but it saw 6,000 a LOT after I sold it and it wasn't the rods that finally let go. A later owner melted the cast pistons after about 2-1/2 years of frequent "Nitrous Abuse". I never intended it to use nitrous OR rev to 6 Grand!

Using DD2000 to compare my first one to the new one.... well, there's no comparison, the new one would chew my first one up and spit it out yet it has a milder cam and should run on 87 Octane, 89 for sure and should get considerably better mileage. They have the same bore, stroke, rod length and within 2/10ths of a point of static compression but camshafts and cylinder heads have come along way in the past 20-25 years and you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes a little longer. ;) Hopefully by summer my friends will have a new "benchmark". :D

OK, I got off track a bit but I agree that a good set of heads can add more power than stroking but when you already have the right heads why not go ahead and add the extra cubes, especially if you have to spend the money anyway? Guess it comes down to which is "better" an apple or an orange? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
sbchevfreak said:
While I believe you are absolutely correct on the fact that cylinder heads are a critical peice of engine performance, I believe that a build must be considered from the whole combination point of view. You can buy a set of AFR 220's for your stock 350, and have an absolute slug. You could build a killer 383 bottom end, with stock heads and have a slug. The heads must work with the displacement, the cam with the heads, ect, all to meet the performance goal you are looking for.

Just my .02 :)
This is the head I am going to baseline this discussion on so we can eliminate slug factors and keep the budget initially as low as possible for the budget grass roots builder: http://store.summitracing.com/partd...840140+4294867028+4294889107+115&autoview=sku
From Summit "These cast iron Vortec cylinder heads will fit 1958 and later small block Chevy engines, and offer a 20 to 40 HP increase over earlier cast iron small block heads. Features include 64cc fast burn combustion chambers, 170cc intake runners, and a high-velocity LT1 port design. They require the use of a Vortec-style intake and self-aligning rocker arms, and come complete with 1.94 in. intake/1.50 in. exhaust valves, springs, and retainers."

Seeing how the AFR's you mention are just over $2000 (unless I am looking at a different AFR 220cc head) kind of blows the budget thing out of the water.
 

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If building a high rpm engine, the heads will make a better investment than the 383 stroker kit. The extra stroke will increase low end torque even though the heads will limit high rpm power. Torque gets you off the line quicker. If I had a bottom end that needed building and couldn't afford the stroker kit and better heads or porting, I'd still buy the stroker kit -- for now. Putting the kit in while the bottom in is apart is just good sense. The heads are easy to replace later without removing the engine. So "next year" the heads can get replaced IF I decide I need more top end power. Geared right the extra torque at the bottom and relatively flat torque curve might be all you really need. Big HP numbers aren't everything -- torque is worth more on the street and usually in bracket racing.
 

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I'm sure I'll probably regret posting here but I'm going to do it anyway.

Quench, in your original post you're asking why people feel they have to "re-engineer" their 350s into 383s. Farna did answer part of your question very well. Upgrading to a 383 first and adding heads later is far easier than upgrading heads heads first and ripping the engine back out one or two years later to increase its size. Also, don't forget that many, many people perform both modifications at the same time.

Stroking a 350 to a 383 really does not cost a whole heck of a lot more that it would if you just plan on sticking with a 350.

In your initial post you say, "...throw money at stroker kit vs. applying stroker kit money at the best heads you can buy for your money." Then in your most recent post you say "This is the head I am going to baseline this discussion on so we can eliminate slug factors and keep the budget initially as low as possible for the budget grass roots builder", referring to the Vortecs.

So are you targeting this thread at the grass roots engine builder or the engine builder that really can afford the best heads that can be bought for the money? I think you might be contradicting yourself a bit.

Yes the Vortec is a very good cylinder head for the money but there are plenty of other heads out there that are even better not much more money. Remember that upgrading to a Vortec head also requires a different intake manifold and different valve covers which you also have to figure into the price so that $280 each ($560/pair) still turns into $700+ in the end anyway.

I really think that for a budget engine builder adding the extra cubes is the way to go. Here's why. There are new cast 383 cranks from major, reputable retailers out there for less than $200. The builder can clearance their own block if they so choose and only have to pay maybe $40 for materials vice having a machine shop do it. If the engine does not have to be bored then the builder can use the original 350 pistons if he/she goes out and searches for a good set of 5.565" connecting rods from a 400. Doing this will not change the compression height of the piston so the compression will not change. If the engine does need to be bored then any cost issue there would be moot because you can get new pistons for either engine for about the same price.

Finally, don't forget that while older factory heads are becoming a thing of the past they can still be made to flow some decent numbers if the builder is willing to do some research and port his/her own heads. Many heads were used on both 350s and 400s so they would work just fine on a 383. I think you could get into a 383 with older stock heads for far less than you could a 350 with Vortecs.

Don't forget that people have been "re-engineering" their engines to suit their wants, needs, desires, wildest fantasies or whatever you want to call it since before most, if not all of us were born. There's nothing wrong with building what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Blazin72 said:
Farna did answer part of your question very well. Upgrading to a 383 first and adding heads later is far easier than upgrading heads heads first and ripping the engine back out one or two years later to increase its size.

In your initial post you say, "...throw money at stroker kit vs. applying stroker kit money at the best heads you can buy for your money." Then in your most recent post you say "This is the head I am going to baseline this discussion on so we can eliminate slug factors and keep the budget initially as low as possible for the budget grass roots builder", referring to the Vortecs.

So are you targeting this thread at the grass roots engine builder or the engine builder that really can afford the best heads that can be bought for the money? I think you might be contradicting yourself a bit.

Yes the Vortec is a very good cylinder head for the money but there are plenty of other heads out there that are even better not much more money. Remember that upgrading to a Vortec head also requires a different intake manifold and different valve covers which you also have to figure into the price so that $280 each ($560/pair) still turns into $700+ in the end anyway.

Finally, don't forget that while older factory heads are becoming a thing of the past they can still be made to flow some decent numbers if the builder is willing to do some research and port his/her own heads. Many heads were used on both 350s and 400s so they would work just fine on a 383. I think you could get into a 383 with older stock heads for far less than you could a 350 with Vortecs.

Don't forget that people have been "re-engineering" their engines to suit their wants, needs, desires, wildest fantasies or whatever you want to call it since before most, if not all of us were born. There's nothing wrong with building what you want.
Good info that CONTRIBUTES to a discussion Blazin. This thread is not about me but is meant to provide reference material for what I see is still a lot of the same questions threaded about building this and that.

Farna did an excellent job at presenting a budget minded build, good job.

I did not say "applying stroker kit money at the best heads top dollar engine builders can buy for your money". I said "applying stroker kit money at the best heads you can buy for your money" and that is directed at the grassroots guy/gal with holes in the soles of their sneakers. There is not contradiction there.

I have seen people re-drill the holes in gen 1 intakes and use alum. round stock to make angled stands on shoestring budgets for the different intake bolt angle.

I have been told that if you can not afford a second pair of heads that you really should just leave the porting up to a pro or buy the next better set of heads or leave well enough alone. Guess thats up for debate as well.

Your right about its what you want but lets remember having something puts on a bigger smile than having nothing. In other words smiles per dollar are more important to the first time builder than buying into the latest fad. A first time hotrodder may read this thread and go for the vortec heads rather than dive into the bottom end re-engineering things.

Remember, keep help, reference and contributing in the back of your mind. You did a pretty good job on this post.
 
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