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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at an idea cost of building a cast prodiction 400 sbc. I plan on keeping it a 2 bolt main with a 4.155 bore/3.76 stroke and keep the stock main caps.

For the internals I plan on running a balanced Scat 9000 crank with Scat 5.7 rods with 7/16 cap screws.

Since I don't plan on running nitrous I think I'm going to go with either cast or hypereutetic pistons.

For heads I plan on running a set of GMPP Vortecs with a matching 4 bbl intake topped with either a Q-jet or an Edelbrock carb.

For the cam I plan on running a hydraulic roller and for ignition I plan on running a new GM HEI distributor.

I plan on running a stock style oil pan, stock style water pump, stock style alternator and starter. I am hoping to make 425 hp and at or over 500 ft lbs of torque.

Can anyone give me a ball park figure on how much this will all cost? Thanks.
 

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I'm starting a 400 build for a friend, also. If I can offer some advice, don't skimp on the pistons. I would spend the extra couple hundred now, get the forged pistons, and be done with it.

As for an estimate, Doug is not far off, but he left off the $800 it will cost for the Hydro roller cam ($300 for cam, $430 for lifters, $80 for pushrods)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why run forged if I don't plan to run nitrous? it's a street engine for a street car. ;) Are hypereutetics really that bad?

I'd like to know if Doug is trying to say $2500 is only going to buy the rotating assembly and machine work?

Yes I'd be doing the assembly.
 

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Since the early 70s, I've built about 25 SB400s. None were really hardcore race engines (if that is what someone wanted, I ALWAYS encouraged them to go BB). All the 400s I've built were healthy street/performance versions.
Probably the most extreme 400 that I've built is a 420 for my jet boat.
There are four SB400s in my family, all are doing fine. BUT, as I mentioned earlier, if you want a really hard core killer engine, step up to a BIG big block. If you are not careful, you will be DEEP $$$$$$$ into a SB400 which CAN total more than what you would spend on a VERY nice 454.
DO NOT let me discourage you from building it, just be aware of what the expense can become versus a nice BB.
Al of the information/acvice above is good. The only thing that I would add would be a recommendation to conside an aftermarket head such as the Dart Iron Eagle. For a long term, dependable, durable street engine, I'd stay with iron rather than alum heads.
I personally like the Dart heads because you can get them in multiple versions, both different port volumes and valve sizes and with or without steam holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well first off this is going into a car that will be driven daily.

It's not going to be a hard core engine, just one that would perform like an LS1 would, minus the hack job.

I'm shooting for 425 hp and have a fairly smooth idle. I don't plan to run NOS or forced induction. Also I plan to keep the c.r. around 9.5:1 so it can run off pump gas.

Plus I want to keep the engine bay looking stock, so no chrome this and that, just a solid painted black engine and it would use typical sbc brackets and accessories.

One of the car mags did a build up on a 400 sbc and got 425 hp and 525 hp....if anyone knows which one it is please post, but that's sort of what I had in mind.
 

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with 406 and 64cc head you'll need to consider pistons carefully.

with flattops you're at 11:1

KB has big dish D-cup pistons, either 18 or 22 cc. that'll get you down to 9.7 or 9.4.

forged is better, but I don't know who has the D shaped dish you need.
 

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Tom, do you really think a D-cup design would be necessary? I was thinking a full dish would work fine with any of the good heads. I think Probe has forged pistons that are -15cc dish (puts compression right around 9.6 or so).

Junkyard Dawg, I always look at forged pistons as good insurance. They will take a ton more abuse and later on if you want to step the horsepower there is no problem or worry. I look at cast and hypereutectic's as good low performance parts and I would use them for a near stock build JMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I see where you're coming from and didn't think forged would be needed for a street car build up...

Also on the Scat crank notice the 9000 like I want is not a forged crank either....

Of course if you've noticed I was thinking Vortecs for intake and heads (stock parts) and then running the Scat crank and rods since I've heard so much good about them...

Also notice many build the 400 to be a wide ass open track engine. I'm building mine to be a torquey street engine, probably won't even see 6000.
 

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Dawg, you want a forged crank but are willing to go hyper on the pistons?

I would be opposite, the scat 9000 series is a great hardened steel crank and will handle way more HP than you will throw at it imo.

And get forged pistons, way better and as said, if you ever decide to spray it, the 9000 crank, forged rods and pistons will handle it.
 

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I agree with Carl. From all I hear, the Scat 9000 crank is plenty strong well beyond the power you are looking to make. I'm going to be looking at the same crank, forged pistons, and Scat I-beam rods with cap screws for my friend's 400 build. I'm looking at a similar goal as yourself (~425 hp +/-).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dawg, you want a forged crank but are willing to go hyper on the pistons?

I would be opposite, the scat 9000 series is a great hardened steel crank and will handle way more HP than you will throw at it imo.

And get forged pistons, way better and as said, if you ever decide to spray it, the 9000 crank, forged rods and pistons will handle it.
Ok none of you obviously understand what I'm trying to do. PLEASE READ CLOSELY AND CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No where did I ever say I was going to go with a forged crank. The Scat 4340 is forged. The Scat 9000 is not a forged crank. I am going to run the 9000 so no I am not going to run a forged crank

Now with that said this is going to be a pump gas only street motor. No nitrous, no blowers, no turbos, it's going to be all naturally aspirated on 91 octane pump gas. So naturally my goal is to not spend money foolishly where it will never count.

I'll keep the forged slugs in the back of my mind for now. Remember this is a street engine so if I can get away with better than stock but not the top of the line parts that's what I'm after.

 

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I like the D-dish because it preserves the quench area. I think it is almost beyond discussion by now that a bigger, tighter quench area is good for everything with the possible exception of marginal increase in HC emissions.

that said, when I built my 406 I was really short on cash and found a Sealed Power 400 piston that was full compression height (not a junk cheap rebuilder with short compression height) and an extra wide quench band. It's not a wide under the deck of the head as a d-dish would be, but close.
 

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I've got about $2,000 into mine from carb to pan with forged pistons and all of the machine work but I built it 10+ years ago.

LK
 

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OK, I'll stay with your input.
You can build a VERY nice, healthy dependable, long lasting (may outlast you) SB400 and do it fairly cheap. If you have the stock cast crank and a pair of 70-74 400 heads (DO NOT use ANY production SB heads later than a 74 model), that will be plenty good for what you want. Also, a set of hypereutectic pistons, moly rings, resized 350 rods and have 2.02/1.6 stainless valves added to the heads with a good valve job. Have the block bored/honed with a torque plate and then of course have it all balanced.
A SB400 can easily handle a cam with something in the range of .500in lift and a duration in the range of 225-235deg @.050.
This will make you an EXCELLENT engine for your needs. If you HAVE to buy a set of heads, again, I prefer an aftermarket head such as a DART or World over the Vortecs.
Not only have I built several 400s like this, but even the 420 in the boat has a stock cast crank, hyper pistons, resized 350 rods DART heads and it's never had a problem due to any of the parts.
 

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I had one built in 2001 that was bored, line bored, balanced, decked and assembled that ran $2200 for the short block. This was really "basic" in the fact that I reused the stock crank, used good fasteners, stock rods, and a sealed power piston that put the compression at 9:1 with 76 CC heads. For the long block I used a set of Dart/world SR torquers and a Comp 270 cam. HEI, Performer RPM, and a Holley 650 DP to finish it off.

I used this car as a daily driver for 2 years and that motor is still running strong and burning no oil for a friend of mine who drives it to work daily as well. It has survived dozens of runs down the strip and countless thrashings on the street. In 2001 that motor put down 305 horse power on a Chassis dyno in Lubbock, TX.
 

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All I have to work with is the block.
Well, if that's the case, then your options are wide open. Frequently, you can pick up a decent stock crank for $50 or less. A set of good, resizeable 350 rods might be rounded up for free-$25. I would recommend spending a little money on the heads. Since you have to round up a set, the next expense will be having all the machine work done on them and I would REALLY ENCOURAGE you to go with stainless valves. By the time you've spent several hundred dollars on a set of heads, you could have spent just a little more for a new, in the box pair of aftermarket iron heads and had the best. For a street SB400, heads with 190-200cc intake ports and 2.02/1.6 valves would be just perfect.
After that, you are going to have to round up flywheel, balancer, pan, intake, carb, dist, valve covers, all the bolts, headers, etc, etc, etc. Oh ya, for a good dependable distributor, ANY Chev stock point type, vac advance dist with an aftermarket electronic conversion will be just fine for a street engine. You can pick up a dist core at just about any swap meet for $ 5-10. Rebuild it yourself and install one of the electronic conersions yourself. This kind of stuff is toooooooooooooooo easy to do at home on the workbench.
 
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