Decisions, SB or BB - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Decisions, SB or BB

Well i didnt know where to put this so i thought this was the best place. I have recently picked up a couple of chevelles. The first, that im going to start with in the next few months is a 64 malibu ss. was told it was a 327 4 speed car. The 4 speed console and code is there so i know that is right. The engine and trans are long gone so who knows if it was a 283 or 327, maybe it was the mysterious 365hp 327......i kid i kid i dont for one second believe that just messing with you guys. It is a claifornia car that has lived in the southeast for the last 40 years, still has california plates on it. Ill describe the car, then get to my decisions that i am truly struggling with.

It is a palomar red car, all orginal and every piece from the firewall back is there and original. Its got quarter panel rust but only right above the wheel well (like almost every chevy) rockers and doors are great, roof is great, and most of the car is in good shape, even the floors are pretty solid. The catch is the original front end sheetmetal is gone.....in its place is regular old 64 malibu sheetmetal, non ss trim fenders. It is a real SS per the VIN so there is no disputing that, but the frond end has been swapped with non ss AND its missing a fender, which i have learned is going to be fun to try to find a replacement.

The interior is original with every piece there, the seats will actually look nice with a good wipe down, carpet will be replaced. Console and gauges and all other interior trim is there, vent windows still work.

The real decision comes down to how/what to put in this car. I know what the owner had in mind, but at the same time dont want to mess up a good car. Im a nova guy, I have a general idea of what is OK to do to them and what is a sin! Im looking for similar guidance here. With this car there is a running 327, i will still go through it but its a solid engine. the muncie is also gone but there is a 4spd saginaw there. This option is the quickest way to a running and driving car. Eveything is there and can be put in and go. (im not just jumping in this, my first step is brakes and mandatory mechanical stuff)

The other option is a brand new stock 454. It is fresh out of the machine shop with mostly stock parts, stock low compression, and minor head work. This would require a new trans,mounts,etc.... more work.

The catch is this is a very sentimental car, the owner and I were very very close, and im taking the car to get it on the road because he ran out of time. When i first got the big block i got it for him to put in a 65 chevelle, which he was going to do. He never had a big block car and it was his plan to have one. We discussed in detail what he wanted to do to the 65 but not the 64.......the 64 is more saveable at this time and will require the least work to get it going. So do i big block the 64 per his wish as it may be the only car i have time to get to? or keep it "original" with the correct size engine even though its not original to the car?

I am very torn with this and I know that he would want me to do what ever i would want, but im trying to make a heartfelt and economical decision. Are these cars truly better off with the original engine or (since im not planning to sell it.....ever) does it really matter?

Ill say this Im leaning towards the 454 just because its what he wanted, and heck I think that would be a pretty awesome car. If i did I would probably go with a 5 speed just to make it a little more modern.

The rest of the plans are stock body and interior, maybe one day repaint, but as of now get it running and driving, then take care of the body. And find a passenger side 64 fender

Thanks for reading guys, I really do appreciate the time and thought, I just like to bounce ideas and see what others think that have the same interests. I have read and read on this site just to try to get some what up to speed on these cars, and as a nove guy I find myself becoming a chevelle guy too
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 10:26 AM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

I'd put the 327 in, the BB is going to need springs and who knows what else, I'm sure there's some guys here that have done it but I would think it's more $ to do.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 10:40 AM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

327 with a about 375 HP

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 10:44 AM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Rick is spot on. The car is set up for a small block. That is absolutely your path of least resistance, least money, and least amount of time to get the car running.

Also, you didn't give many details, but not all 454s are Herculean pullers. What jumped out was your use of the term "low compression". A 454 built like a truck motor is a totally different animal than a performance oriented 454.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 11:14 AM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

You said you had "a couple of Chevelle's " so what is the other Chevelle ? maybe you could use that 454 for the other car and just get this one going with the 327.The little block with the correct cam and valvetrain would be a nice cruise car.
With the body and paint work that it needs adding the BB to the list might put you over the top on repairs.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Yeah, its definitely not a screamer 454, its a low compression 8-1 engine built for everyday use. I do like the idea of a moderate horsepower 327, and everything is set up for it. Maybe the best option is to go with the 327 and save the 454 to build it up and hopefully get to the 65 as he wanted one day.

Ill have to investigate the 327 a little more, the last i remember was he said "its a 327 with 400 heads" now we all now how memory fades and maybe we didnt/dont remember exactly what something was 40 years ago There are some good rebuildable double hump heads there so if they turn out to not be good heads for the engine then i can go from there. I just need to pull some casting numbers and go from there.

Is the saginaw worth anything in this car? I know power wise they dont hold as much as the muncies but if it has the right gear and shifts fine then maybe it will be ok. I need to get some numbers off of it and see what the gear is before making a permanent decision there. I wish i could remember exactly what he said, i know he said the 327 came out of the car (but its not original) and i think he said the saginaw came out of it too. So what i think happened is that someone took the original 327 and muncie out of the car before he got it....this would have been in the early 70's and then replaced it with a later 327 and saginaw.

the 327 engine stamp is T0117HCH, if i decode this correctly it is tonowanda January 17 HCH is 1966 327 Powerglide with a Holley from a passenger car

Ill have to get the head castings to confirm what they are/arent
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 11:42 AM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

400 heads ? None of the 400 's were performance motors so unless they were rebuilt for high performance they might be a HP loser.Depending on what pistons are in your 327, the 400 heads may cause your 327 to lose compression do to the larger combustion chamber of the 400 heads.
Sorry if that's hard to follow but that's the best I can explain it.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Im with you on the 400 heads, i dont know why anyone would have done it....Im hoping its just a memory thing that I or original owner have mis-remembered. It wont be too much trouble to clean up a set of double humps as they are there if needed.

There are a couple, well 4 total. Two are sentimental and I am trying to save/get back in running shape. Two are purely parts cars. The other decent one is a 65 ss and I know a lot more about that one as i have all of the history since new. The 2 parts cars are 65's one four door and one 2 door, but they are barely parts cars as in beat up a lot!

The owner was someone i proudly called my second dad, and he got me into cars by helping me buy and fix my first muscle car about 18 years ago. He had a plan for both of them and through some very unfortunate events neither plan was ever able to be carried out (health issues) and ultimately our time together was cut short. There has been some debate about selling them, but i honestly cant let myself do that. I was wrestling with what to do with them and had a dream one night where he fussed at me about letting his car just sit in the shop, told me i knew what to do and to go get it I woke up saying yes sir out loud, I thought he was standing right in front of me. I started crying like a little girl and decided to take this on. The only rules he ever had was No fuel injection and it better have a Holley, No automatic in a car that came with a stick! He was set in his ways and the funny thing was towards the end he finally said he had been thinking of going fuel injection on the 65 haha, we all adapt to new technology over time

Im hoping to move the car this fall when it cools off, and start looking for a good passenger fender. If i could find a hood too that would be great but if not i can fix what i have. Thanks again for the input
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 3:52 PM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fayetteguy
I am very torn with this and I know that he would want me to do what ever i would want, but im trying to make a heartfelt and economical decision. Are these cars truly better off with the original engine or (since im not planning to sell it.....ever) does it really matter?

Ill say this Im leaning towards the 454 just because its what he wanted, and heck I think that would be a pretty awesome car. If i did I would probably go with a 5 speed just to make it a little more modern.
Hmmm,

I'd be leaning toward the 454 too.

Sure the 327 may be a little easier, but the 454 is not that difficult or expensive to drop in...

With the 454, you can still use the same Saginaw transmission (just don't hammer it). Its kind of like keeping the stock 10-bolt rearend... May need a different bellhosuing, as I am not sure on what you have or if you can get a "small" 153 tooth for a 454).

The small block motor mounts will work on the 454, placing it in the same place... You will need exhaust (headers?) for the 454, but do you have exhaust for the 327?. For a mild build, the same radiator should likely also work for the 327 or 454.

And IF you are rebuilding the suspension for safety, the springs will probably come out during the rebuild. Big Block spring are not expensive, and the stock springs may need to be replaced anyway (common after 50+ years).

Clutch linkage Z-bar, will need a BB specific part (1966)? Not expensive, but does start to add up... Do you have the small block parts? About the same cost if you need to buy. Carb & distributor will swap, most other parts will be the same cost, SS or BB...

Dropping in the BB won't mess up the car, IMO...


IMO, I'd be looking at the Big Block, since that's what the guy envisioned, what you seem to be thinking about and its not as hard or expensive as it seems...


Oh yeah... Don't believe everything you hear about "original motors" being worth more... All else being equal, original cars are generally more valuable than comparable "restored" versions, but with the engines, a LOT will depend on the actual engine. IF the car could be proven (via documents and paperwork) to have come with the High performance 327, THEN that original engine would probably be worth more... As it stands, you probably can't authenticate the car beyond a V8... was it a 283 or a 327? What HP rating?

Therefore, unless the entire car is an original, unrestored creampuff, most people are probably going to gravitate toward a more performance-oriented motor (350, 454, etc)... The original motor isn't going to matter... And furthermore, if you aren't planning on selling, then don't worry about it... A date-coded 327 versus a 350 (dressed like a 327) is probably not a quantifiable value difference...

Do what makes YOU happy, and be confidant that you aren't going to drastically alter the value of the car with the choice of engines...

Once you go RAT, you never go back...
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Last edited by 1966_L78; Jul 26th, 16 at 4:08 PM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 5:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

and of course your sig says "once you go rat you never go back"

A lot of what you write is true, both engines are complete, I know every part in the BB but would have to go through the 327. Even with the 327 i am probably going to find a muncie/supert10/TKO undecided and plenty of time to think on that one.

I would need headers and full exhaust for both/accessories and pulleys

And your right the sentiment of doing it the way we talked may be the priceless part. Im not looking for a perfect car but one that fills my heart. He built most of my car and I enjoy that feeling when i get in it. The last engine he ever built we built together and it is in my car, and before that we built this 454. Ive got months to debate it but i do appreciate the opinions, I think it will be a bit cheaper to go with the 327 but i dont think it would be by much.

If i go small block im going to say its the only surviving L76 car just to mess with you guys! Heck with a big block ill call it the only Z16 prototype
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 5:32 PM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Chevrolet Performance SP383 Crate Engine, dress it up to look "original stock."

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 16, 5:42 PM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Quote:
Originally Posted by fayetteguy View Post
Im with you on the 400 heads, i dont know why anyone would have done it....Im hoping its just a memory thing that I or original owner have mis-remembered. It wont be too much trouble to clean up a set of double humps as they are there if needed.

There are a couple, well 4 total. Two are sentimental and I am trying to save/get back in running shape. Two are purely parts cars. The other decent one is a 65 ss and I know a lot more about that one as i have all of the history since new. The 2 parts cars are 65's one four door and one 2 door, but they are barely parts cars as in beat up a lot!

The owner was someone i proudly called my second dad, and he got me into cars by helping me buy and fix my first muscle car about 18 years ago. He had a plan for both of them and through some very unfortunate events neither plan was ever able to be carried out (health issues) and ultimately our time together was cut short. There has been some debate about selling them, but i honestly cant let myself do that. I was wrestling with what to do with them and had a dream one night where he fussed at me about letting his car just sit in the shop, told me i knew what to do and to go get it I woke up saying yes sir out loud, I thought he was standing right in front of me. I started crying like a little girl and decided to take this on. The only rules he ever had was No fuel injection and it better have a Holley, No automatic in a car that came with a stick! He was set in his ways and the funny thing was towards the end he finally said he had been thinking of going fuel injection on the 65 haha, we all adapt to new technology over time

Im hoping to move the car this fall when it cools off, and start looking for a good passenger fender. If i could find a hood too that would be great but if not i can fix what i have. Thanks again for the input
You should post up a couple of pics of the cars you don't want.Believe it or not someone may want those parts cars,you never know.Up here in the northeast rust takes a big toll on our cars so the parts may be needed.
Anyways there's a 64 or 65 4 door being parted out right now on Craigs list in case you're interested in one of the fenders.

John
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 17, 6:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Well I spent some time going through everything lately, i know its been a long time since i wrote this. The mystery 400 heads are technically 400 heads but they are the 882's. They are in good shape. The block is a 327 and the saginaw is the 2.8X first gear variety. I have decided to keep my life easy Im going to use the 327 with the 882's. I know this is a low compression deal but the motor checks out as is and will just get rings, seals, bearings just for piece of mind. I have a bellhousing for it as well. The saginaw still has all of the linkage and shifter so im hoping it all lines up and goes through the original 4 speed console. My plan is to get this car running and driving without spending a tone of money. Then ill focus on the full quarter that needs to be replaced, a small hole at the bottom drivers side of the rear window and partial quarter on passenger side. I do still have to find a 64 passenger fender, but at least there is a plan and i know what im working with.

I know that the 882's get a bad rap but i have a set on a hot little 350 in my nova, they got cleaned up and bigger valves and really work pretty well so i will stick with them. There are a pair of humps laying around somewhere but if i dont have to spend money getting the 882's machined then ill just go with them. If the humps look ok ill consider them but we will see!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 17, 10:12 PM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

the Saginaw trans will get the car on the road, not a strong trans, but driveable soonest behind the existing 327, good luck!

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 17, 10:31 PM
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Re: Decisions, SB or BB

Sounds like a good plan. My original plan was a 454 4 speed 12 bolt for my 66. I wanted it on the road more than I wanted a big block. So I used what I had 350-4 speed. And got it on the road first. The more I think about it now, im tempted to leave well enough alone and skipping the whole 454 idea.
Sometimes a running car is more fun than a expensive piece of yard art. Jim

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