Lifetime Premium Member
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Traverse City, MI
Re: Picking up a 400 SBC
I feel your pain!
As I mentioned earlier, I am done buying 400 factory blocks - I will go with a Dart SHP instead. In my area, if the block checks out ($125 for a clean and crack check) you still have another $600 in machining - add to that the cost of acquiring the block and you typically have $1,000 if not more into a factory block. If you can find a Dart blem block, the can be had for $1,300 and it is a better block.
I did acquire another 400 a couple of months ago, but it was motivating the truck I purchased. I bought the truck because it was a 1978 GMC from Arizona and has a solid body, it just happened to have a 1972 400 under the hood (original 350 truck). I am not hopeful that the engine is useful, I know it blew head gaskets twice before I got it, it has a 1973 - 350 head on one side and a 1972 - 400 head on the other, have not torn it down enough to see if steam holes were put in the 350 head. There was no antifreeze in the oil when I drained it, but there was oil in the cooling system!
I currently have a 1974 - 350 I rebuilt myself that is still on a stand ready for break-in. My current plan is to put that engine in the GMC, but there is that side of me that wants to check out the 400 before I condemn it. At this point I will not even consider selling the 400 until I have it torn down and crack checked - if it is good I can sell with confidence, if not I saved someone from being mad at me! If it does turn out good, I can see I may want to rebuild it and use it in the truck - torque is my friend in that chassis.
As for my Chevelle, I am dusting off a 427 big block I had laying around to put in my sons 1966 Caprice - he is selling the Caprice and I am not selling the 427 with it!