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69 Camaro SS 396
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Discussion Starter #1
First off,
new guy. Full warning. I'm a 69 Camaro owner. I come in peace. This place has much more engine knowledge than the other places. My 69 is originally a blue/black SS350 car but has become a white/white 396 car. I kind of consider it OEM+. Whole point is that its not numbers matching, but it is period correct. The engine block is a CTW but date stamped 11 of 68, car is a January 69 car, so pretty close. It runs decent (102-3 mph in the 1/4 on a hot day not trying to kill it) but it is eating some oil. compression test shows only 2 cylinders with 150 compression, rest 90-120. So its time for a rebuild. The car (not built by me and incomplete records) has a performer RPM, holley 750, some sort of mild cam that makes power to 5500 etc. So I'm guessing 350-375 hp.

I have another fast car (11.3 @ 126) and kind of like the range its in just in terms of speed so I'd be fine with 4-500 hp. But I'm also in the mindset of do something once and do it right. So spend what you have to.

Options:

1. Refresh the 396. If so, just do a hydraulic roller (maybe a XR282) and port the factory heads?
2. Find a date code 454 or 427, or even a CE block. Not sure if the date code really matters since its not original to the car.
3. Grab any 454 block, use it as a starting point as you'll save some $$ up front. Once again, not numbers matching

Not really interested in going wild with the 396 block. But may put it on a stand for some day if I have to sell the car. 454 Camaros don't do very well.

In terms of displacement, I'd prefer

427 > 396 = 496 > 454

427 is sexy. I know more power can be made but it's the ultimate #
396 is the easy one. Already exists, reasonably period correct, probably the cheapest to do
496 is what I'd really want but its honestly too much power for my application
454 would be very easy.

So from current value, power targets, resale value whats everyone think? And bonus if you tell me part numbers (like a nice heads/cam combo etc)

And as an aside, I had a chance at a 3512 long block yesterday for $800 but passed it to a Chevelle buddy whos been looking for 3 years. So once again, be nice to the camaro guy
 

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Just buy a VortecPro 454 or 496 and be happy. If your not familiar with him google him or read his posts here on the forums.
The 570hp or 620hp 467cu in engines are a great deal. Dress it up to look stock and you can tell everyone it is a 427.
Call him the prices listed on his site are probably old
 

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The 69 396 I have was already bored 30 and 60 were not available, so my engine builder bored it to a 427 with 10.5 standard pistons, performer intake with a Holley 750 VA , long tube flowtech headers and more than a mild comp cam, "built the original heads with roller rockers. That was in 1996 and 20k miles later still has the 475HP with a 700R and 3:73 gears in a 69 short/wide C-10 that I tow my show cars with and the AC full blast. Have a 69 Chevelle and a 69 RSSS Camaro built the same way only started with a early year 454 to a 468. 500+ HP with Air Gap intakes.
 

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1967 Chevelle SS
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273 Posts
Welcome. I am a reformed Camaro guy! :ROFLMAO:

In my youth, I had a '69 SS396 (Frost Green/Green Vinyl top) and a '69 Z-28 (Fathom Green). Wish I still had either! Or both!

I'm also partial to big blocks and, like you, think the 427 is 'sexy'. If my SS motor wasn't the original, I'd have a 427 under the hood.
 

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If I ever build another 396 again I will use peanut port heads and make a 435 cu.in. engine out of it and make everyone take notice of what it would run.
 

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you can get a core 454 engine for rebuilding but you need to be aware later engines use different flywheels, can't use mechanical fuel pumps and other issues you need to account for, such as the oil pan, a 500hp engine would need a big mechanical fuel pump if you don't want the noise of an electric
 

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1970 Chevelle Vortecpro 496, Hotchkis TVS Suspension, TH400, Factory 12 bolt/strange axles
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65 Posts
I just installed a Vortec pro 496 three weeks ago and I couldn't be happier. I'm still waiting on an AED carb to put on in place of the 770 street avenger but even with the street avenger on the dyno in made over 650 hp corrected. Keep that in mind too, corrected numbers are not what your actually going to make if you live at any sort of elevation. -3% for every 1000ft of elevation up from sea level. I live at 4500ft so I figure I'm just over 500hp on a good air day compared to the actual dyno hp it made at Marks shop.
 

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I have had 37 F-Bodies that my company has restored, hence The Camaro Guys, now in retirement its just me, and I have done numerous rectification's. Working on a business of restoring involves determining a goal, a budget, timetable and price comparison and advantages to the money spent for the build. I love the B bodies as well and think they were some of the best cars GM has built. Having said all that, I have bought most all my engines from salvage yards, some call me cheap, but we work hard for out money and waste a lot on useless upgrades for the real purpose of the car. My last acquisition was a 454 out of a early totaled out suburban, with 5000 miles since rebuild, for $600 with the turbo 400. Another 1900 bucks and I have a 500+ HP in a 69 that has been driven 3000 mile in 10 years and never needed the power that it has! Bought a 05 C6 at a bank auction for $9k in 08 with 12k miles and 10k in damage. We used the LS, transmission, bucket seats and then parted out the rest. Enjoy your car and be prudent, unless you have too much money to spend. I help a lot of great guys over the 45 years playing with 65 cars I have owned and never build a car that would lose money when sold. Just some things to think about when you spent $185 for one Viking shock when a $25 Monroe's will do the job for cruising. . . . . .just an old guy talkin and something to think about.
 

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Just some things to think about when you spent $185 for one Viking shock when a $25 Monroe's will do the job for cruising. . . . . .just an old guy talkin and something to think about.
My 69 went [email protected] in the 1/4 mile, 1.559 60' time, lifting the front tires slightly in the air, with 15-year-old parts store $20 shocks, and stock springs, at all four corners. Front suspension totally stock including sway bar. The only modifications were to the rear suspension, with UMI lower control arms, UMI double adjustable uppers, UMI lower arm re-location brackets, and a BMR anti-roll bar.

Lotsa money wasted on trick springs and shocks, IMHO.....



 

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69 Camaro SS 396
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Discussion Starter #13
What is your budget ?
Whatever is appropriate for quality.

Find a Mark IV 454, some 781 heads, and build a 10:1 496 with a mild hydraulic roller cam.
Not a bad way to go, but not looking for 550+ hp based off the rest of my setup

The 69 396 I have was already bored 30 and 60 were not available, so my engine builder bored it to a 427 with 10.5 standard pistons, performer intake with a Holley 750 VA , long tube flowtech headers and more than a mild comp cam, "built the original heads with roller rockers. That was in 1996 and 20k miles later still has the 475HP with a 700R and 3:73 gears in a 69 short/wide C-10 that I tow my show cars with and the AC full blast. Have a 69 Chevelle and a 69 RSSS Camaro built the same way only started with a early year 454 to a 468. 500+ HP with Air Gap intakes.
I talked to the best engine shop around me and they said they wont bore a 396 block...even if i begged

I like high winding small blocks in small cars like the Camaro and Nova.

probably right. but every man must own a big block 4 speed. so thats what I have. for what I spent i could've gotten a LS swapped AC car but I (age 35) wanted to experience the 60s.



I talked it over with family and I think I might just drop a ZZ427 / 480. Good components, 427 engine, warranty. May hold its value better if I decide to sell.

Also, I have a 911 GTS. 11.3 @ 126 bone stock. 26 mpg, 193 mph top speed. Not gonna touch that in the 69, so its just to enjoy!
 

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Whatever is appropriate for quality.



Not a bad way to go, but not looking for 550+ hp based off the rest of my setup



I talked to the best engine shop around me and they said they wont bore a 396 block...even if i begged




probably right. but every man must own a big block 4 speed. so thats what I have. for what I spent i could've gotten a LS swapped AC car but I (age 35) wanted to experience the 60s.



I talked it over with family and I think I might just drop a ZZ427 / 480. Good components, 427 engine, warranty. May hold its value better if I decide to sell.

Also, I have a 911 GTS. 11.3 @ 126 bone stock. 26 mpg, 193 mph top speed. Not gonna touch that in the 69, so its just to enjoy!
Im 33 and already experienced the big block. Then I switched to LS not long after.
 

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Boldly procrastrinating
66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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>> I talked to the best engine shop around me and they said they wont bore a 396 block...even if i begged
Do they have some excuse for their stupidity? Dump them before they screw up your engine and spend all your money.

Find a clapped out 454, build your own 500+ engine. It can be done and it's not a big deal. For a low stress deal you can run a cast crank deal like a Scat. Scat stroker
rods sealed power/FM cast HT pistons. a mild hydraulic roller cam and a set of the Eddie/GMPP roval heads, Perf AG manifold and a Holley Street orientated 750 type carb. All the power you'll ever need and more. buy a carb with screw-in air bleeds and a GMPP HEI and you'll be able to tune it so it gets decent mileage.

DO you have a decent machine shop nearby? Not those guys that won't bore a 396 block. They're lost in space with a bad attitude. Whose car, engine and money is it?
 
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OP- you never specified your intended usage or price range.

With what info you did include, it appears you’re a numbers guy. Reading further, it appears you’d prefer a 427 or 496, but later state a 496 would be more power than you really want.

It seems you want a 427.

I understand. I felt the same way. I don’t think 454’s are appropriate in pre-1970 cars. So I built a 427. You can put in any big block you want and call it a 427, but in your heart, you know it’s not.

Aside from emotional attachments to early engines, from everything I read, MJ builds a very nice engine. Having something complete to drop in and run has value as well. I’ve never seen or heard of anything but nightmare stories about the GM engines. Maybe the people that are satisfied are quiet, but there’s definitely a vocal crowd that is not.

Devin
 

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What is nice about a big engine is the torque. You can then dumb the gear down and have more flexibility on driving it around on highway versus being stuck with a 4.10 or 4.56 rear. Also with a big engine the drivability will be better with a similar cam like say a 290 HR on a 396 vs say the 290 HR on a 454. A 396 is a good engine (and you are not a number matching guy) but if you already have the weight and fitment penalty you might as well go big as it does not really cost any more or very little more to get another 60-100 cubic inches (well the 496 it does add some cost). Now if you do this you just can't stop there - you need to address fuel delivery, transmission, exhaust, tire and rear end issues etc.
 
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