Need a new Engine - Chevelle Tech
LSx Engine Discuss the LSx engine & associated components here.

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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 3:13 AM Thread Starter
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Need a new Engine

Looks like the old 283 in my ‘64 cranked over for the last time. What would be the easiest, cheapest engine and transmission for a newbie? Is it doable by watching YouTube videos to do it on my own? I don’t have a mentor but I recently bought an LS ebook by Chris Werner.
An aluminum block is appealing but dealing with an ECM of an LS and electronic transmission seems intimidating. But at the same time I don’t want to look for a 350 then wish I had an LS down the road.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 5:59 AM
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Re: Need a new Engine

It's your decision. Buying a crate 350 is an easy solution, and will bolt in. An LS conversion for a novice could wind up laying your car up for a long time.

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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 7:03 AM
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Re: Need a new Engine

What's wrong with the 283? to far gone to repair? if it is then ATK, Summit/Jeggs 383 will bolt right in and use a lot of existing parts, LS swap is Holley oil pan I believe and $$$, trans and mods plus wiring so if it's your daily driver I'd stick with a SBC if your up for a challenge and have time and the money & tools go LS


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Last edited by shovelrick; Dec 9th, 19 at 7:21 AM.
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 7:42 AM
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Re: Need a new Engine

The 383 Rick is talking about is a very stout motor. Your car will have twice the power it has now if you get the 383.
Instead of LS, I would go 454/th400. A low compression stock truck motor would work nicely... That way you would have tremendous torque and power, keep the Quadrajet and the points, just a few connections and your home free and have all this fun on 87 octane..
I have a stock 1978 454 and I really enjoy it!!! It is also very simple to tune and work on..

Given what you said in your original post I'd go the 383 route... If you want more, go the 454 route. Its real cool opening the hood and seeing those big valve covers under there...
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 8:36 AM
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Re: Need a new Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by jelco View Post
Looks like the old 283 in my Ď64 cranked over for the last time. What would be the easiest, cheapest engine and transmission for a newbie? Is it doable by watching YouTube videos to do it on my own? I donít have a mentor but I recently bought an LS ebook by Chris Werner.
An aluminum block is appealing but dealing with an ECM of an LS and electronic transmission seems intimidating. But at the same time I donít want to look for a 350 then wish I had an LS down the road.
Youíre sending pretty strong mixed signals. You need to get realistic about your desires and their attendant realities before you do anything else. It used to be that you could get a remanufactured small block 350 for less than $1,000. You will have to add a few parts but that will put you in a better position than you were in and can be done in a weekend.

Big blocks and LS conversions are exponentially more time, money and difficulty. My advice would be to spend the cheap dollars and short time getting your car back on the road. Then spend the time to research, plan and prepare for your upgrade.

Iíll bet you can sell the small block and recover most of your money in the future. Good luck and happy motoring. Weíre here for you.

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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 10:06 AM
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I’m kind of in the same position with my ‘66. LS for mpg and reliabilitg is tempting, but I’m leaning towards 383, car is a cruiser so reliability is essential, I’m not afraid to start the 283 and take it anywhere, hope a 383 will be as reliable.

I’m also getting the Powerglide out of there, it really is not fun. Problem with all that is that the stock 10 bolt has to also go so before I know it I’m looking at $10K project!

If you went the LS route, it’d also be expensive and, as others said, would require more modifications (trans, wiring, fuel system, etc.)
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 12:59 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

I have no regrets about my LS swap and learned a lot. Still tweaking it a little, in fact. But it was more expensive and took more time. My original 350 two barrel had major block cracking from frozen wintertime water which made my decision somewhat easier.

But yeah, more difficult and expensive.

Rick

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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 1:39 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

jelco, its hard to beat "production line" engines versus rebuilding one that likely needs major machining, in terms of cost. Rebuilding your own is a very cool excersize, but without a mentor, or a local car club to lean on, it may be over your head. Plus, over one's head or not, you will need a machine shop and their speciality tools and machines at some point. Some of us have done it with Pastiguage in our garages, but that also assumes some level of knowledge.

For the record, the cheapest complete 350 from ATK is $2800. ASSUMING you dont need new pistons and a re-bore of the block, you could rebuild the 283 pretty inexpensively. Again, I would STILL consider bolting on a new fresh, setup, pair of heads. Vortec's preferably. With these assumptions ( no new pistons), you could be well under the $2800.

You'll clearly want at least a three speed trans ( T350), unless lots of highway cruising is in the mix, then you'll want either a 200- 0r 700-R4 with OD. Rebuilt T350s are the least expensive option.

So , I think the cheapest solution, assuming no block boring and new pistons, is to freshen up the 283 short block, and bolt on a fresh set of more modern heads. Mate that with a T350.

You wont be able to tell that until you remove the cylinder heads on the 283 and inspect each of the 8 bores.


Why is it dead? Or how did it die specifically? That could give us a better clue.

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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 2:01 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

Here's a 350 on sale for $1,195 plus core charge.
https://spprecision.com/products/che...yABEgJTZPD_BwE

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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 2:15 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by jelco View Post
Looks like the old 283 in my Ď64 cranked over for the last time. What would be the easiest, cheapest engine and transmission for a newbie? Is it doable by watching YouTube videos to do it on my own? I donít have a mentor but I recently bought an LS ebook by Chris Werner.
An aluminum block is appealing but dealing with an ECM of an LS and electronic transmission seems intimidating. But at the same time I donít want to look for a 350 then wish I had an LS down the road.

Where do you life in Southern CA? I may be able to help out if you're close.
As for what you want, the LS will cost more money than another small block or probably a big block.(watch these LS band wagon people jump on me lol) but the LS is not a cheap swap in comparison. Sure they can make great power, but so can a small block and big block.
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post #11 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 3:47 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by jelco View Post
Looks like the old 283 in my Ď64 cranked over for the last time. What would be the easiest, cheapest engine and transmission for a newbie? Is it doable by watching YouTube videos to do it on my own? I donít have a mentor but I recently bought an LS ebook by Chris Werner.
An aluminum block is appealing but dealing with an ECM of an LS and electronic transmission seems intimidating. But at the same time I donít want to look for a 350 then wish I had an LS down the road.
Im in a similar situation. I need to replace my "old and busted" 400 with some "new hotness". I think you should be asking yourself what kind of HP you want in the end. You can get a 350 with a small amount of HP, or some pretty big numbers. Replacing your 283 with some type of carbed engine will be the easiest and fastest in my opinion, if being back on the road in a reasonable amount of time is a concern of yours. I played with some LT1 engines, but i know nothing about LS engines, and i like to drive my cars, so something carbed will go back in it.
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post #12 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 5:22 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by jelco View Post
Looks like the old 283 in my Ď64 cranked over for the last time. What would be the easiest, cheapest engine and transmission for a newbie? Is it doable by watching YouTube videos to do it on my own? I donít have a mentor but I recently bought an LS ebook by Chris Werner.
An aluminum block is appealing but dealing with an ECM of an LS and electronic transmission seems intimidating. But at the same time I donít want to look for a 350 then wish I had an LS down the road.
You need to ask yourself if you really feel as though you can do this LS swap.You also need to go by what your experience level is and what is the biggest project you have started and successfully completed ? If this is your first time ever replacing an engine then I think the SBC 327 or 350 or 383 would be your easiest project.
IDK what trans you have behind the 283 but whether you pick SBC or LS it sounds like a trans swap or repair could be needed too.
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post #13 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 5:59 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

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Originally Posted by Alan F View Post
Here's a 350 on sale for $1,195 plus core charge.
https://spprecision.com/products/che...yABEgJTZPD_BwE
Fancy website, but I didn't see any power estimates. Did i miss them, or is it a big secret?

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post #14 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 6:48 PM
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Re: Need a new Engine

LS swaps are pretty easy now...everything is made to do them. Running a carb setup is fairly simple. I fully rebuilt mine with mostly stock parts other than forged pistons, double valve springs and cam...stock crank and gen4 hbeam rods...including all the swap stuff and buying the 6.0l am in it for just under 4k. Should be right around 475-500 hp with the stock heads. Plus a decent shot of nitrous.

Around here 5.3ís are cheap...$250-500 range. Are they cool? Probably not, but they are cheap to do and make power.

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post #15 of 66 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 19, 7:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need a new Engine

I'm in San Diego. It overheated, was still able to move the flywheel with force, coolant spilled out after removing the first spark plug so I guess it hydrolocked. Doesn't turn over after removing the spark plugs. I haven't been able to investigate further.
Where are all the cheap 350s? I could pick up a LQ9 for $450 at the salvage yard and figure about $1,000 more to machine it. There are 200-4R transmissions for sale online for $1,000. Mount and crossmember kit ~$500. According to my estimates if I knew what I was doing I could do a LS swap in the ballpark of $3,000-4,000. However, I don't know what I'm doing and figure it would be easier to install a 350 SBC and TH350 but I haven't been able to find good deals on any.
I'm not looking to race or get 30mpg, more interested in building something reliable that doesn't get <10mpg.
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