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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my dilema. I ultimatly want a 454 in my Chevelle. It currently has a 350 from the early '80s of unknown performance (you certainly can't feel any with the 2bbl). The engine is running poorly with about 100K miles on it. I want to fix this situation by Spring.

Money is commming in slowly but surely (new job and only paid once a month). I don't want to be without the 'velle come Spring. So do I rebuild the 350 and save some bucks and ensure some good cruizing come Spring or get a 454 and hope I can afford all the other parts I'd need with it (radiator for one)?

I hate buying something that I'll replace later but a rebuilt 350 with low milage could be easily sold. I'd prabably also be converting from auto to manual and don't want to by small block only transmission stuff and have to replace that, too (is that even a problem?). I'll probably be visiting an engine builder tomorrow to see about pricing and such. Keeping in mind I'd have a 350 core for the builder but no 454 core.

Do I live out the dream or play conservativly?

Tim.

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Proud Owner: '69 Chevelle
Malibu: 350, PG, 3.36 open dif.

"ALL YOUR RICE ARE BELONG TO US!"

http://www.wyatts-torch.com/~dienadel/chevelle/index.html
 

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Well I'm kinda partial to SB but I know where your coming from. I think with money coming in slow do a rebuild on the SB and gather you parts for a BB while you drive the SB. There cheaper, parts and everything else, plus more times than not the gas mileage is better to. Also most people that i know have problems of some kind, starter goes $$ then its something else $$$ it could snowball, at least if you start out cheap you'll have some extra dough to fix the problems quicker. Thats my suggestion but the BB thing sounds like a plan if thats what you onto


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1970 chevelle
406 - TH-350 - soon to be 411's
engine
Interior
"When life hands you lemons, ask for a bottle of tequila and salt."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by riskyvt:
Tim-

Perhaps these pictures would help you in your decision?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You're a jerk
Those pictures make me want a BB so bad...I'm drooling on myself here. But it also looks expensive (but TOO expensive?)...the dilema continues.

Tim.


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Proud Owner: '69 Chevelle
Malibu: 350, PG, 3.36 open dif.

"ALL YOUR RICE ARE BELONG TO US!"

http://www.wyatts-torch.com/~dienadel/chevelle/index.html
 

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Well, you'll really hate me after seeing all of the photos on my website (URL listed below). Expect a streetable, pump-friendly 400-450 horsepower out of a well prepared SBC, add another 100 HP to that for a big block. Because of the popularity of small blocks, and vast selection of parts, they can be built fairly inexpensively. Big blocks are always more, but depending on where you start, perhaps with a solid core motor, you can end up with a strong mill cheaper than a crate or new.

Anyway, it will be a FUN journey....on that you can count!

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Gregg Haskin
72 Chevelle SS
ZZ502 Crated RAT
Muncie M-20 4 speed
TEAM CHEVELLE #726 ACES #4486
"PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!"
“What the heck are all these extra nuts & bolts for?”

My 72 Chevelle SS Restoration Website: www.wcvt.com/~ghaskin
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 68-bb:
Tim

I was curious which engine builder you are going to visit?I may be looking for one down the road.

Tony
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Don't think I am recomending the place as I haven't talked to them yet let alone done business with them. T.C. Auto Machine in Waltham. Got a flier dropped into my car during a car show and the prices looked pretty good. They are open late on tuesdays so I'm gonna go down and check them out after work. If anyone has heard good or bad of this place or any others around Mass. I'm all ears.

Tim.

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Proud Owner: '69 Chevelle
Malibu: 350, PG, 3.36 open dif.

"ALL YOUR RICE ARE BELONG TO US!"

http://www.wyatts-torch.com/~dienadel/chevelle/index.html
 

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i would build that big block you want ,you can go to salvage yards and pick up a 454 from a pickup truck and start with that it's not that bad ..small blocks are little power houses and are lots of fun but the torque and sound of the Big Block is well worth the cost of expense ,small blocks can run you in cost just as much as a big block all depends on what your building,,my 66 chevelle has a 454 and my 67 has a 396 the 396 ran deep in cost but the 454 was close to the previous small block that was in the car (383 stroker)i just say if you dream of a Big Block than do it right the first time

THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACEMENT

[This message has been edited by 4MyChevelles (edited 12-10-2001).]
 

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Tim-

Rick (don't remember last name) used to do the machine work on my alcohol-injected, blown BBC race motors back in my pro mud racing days of the 80's & 90's. Here is his address in New Hampshire only a short drive up I-93:

R & R Automotive Machine
1 Commercial Ln
Londonderry, NH 03053
(603) 434-0579


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Gregg Haskin
72 Chevelle SS
ZZ502 Crated RAT
Muncie M-20 4 speed
TEAM CHEVELLE #726 ACES #4486
"PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!"
“What the heck are all these extra nuts & bolts for?”

My 72 Chevelle SS Restoration Website: www.wcvt.com/~ghaskin
 

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Good aftermarket long connecting rods for small block---$450 and up. Add at least another hundred for stroker clearance.

Standard on big block. No need for stroker rods. Even rods with 3/8 rod bolts work fine up to 6000 rpm and 550+ horsepower.

Good flowing aftermarket large port heads for small block---$450 and WAY up

Standard on big block. (Be careful to not buy a core engine with round intake ports, though! You'll be limited to an intake port that's only as good as the best small block heads!)

Higher ratio rocker arms for small block---$65 and up.

Standard on big block.

Stroker crank for small block, 3.75 stroke (or larger)---Chinese junk starts at $300 or so. Used GM casting with lots of machine work---$300 or so depending on machine shop charges. Decent aftermarket forging made in an industrial nation---$550 and up

Standard on big block. Even a cast big block crank is similar in strength to a high dollar forged small block crank because of the larger journals and increased overlap.

Machine shops don't charge extra to bore a big block over a small block. Crank machining is the same, so is line honing, decking, and valve grinding.

Can you afford to NOT build a big block?

Isn't that what you wanted to hear?
 

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I know what you're going through. It was a tough decision for me, but I went the BB route.

What made it hard for me was that my 350 was like new. I thought about Vortec heads & new intake but decided against it.

My thinking was, if I was going to spend more than $400-$500 on the SB, might as well wait & put that money toward a BB, so that's what I did.

It's slow going. Seems like everything takes priority over my project, but hopefully I'll get there. Have most everything now.

Just because your 350 has a 100k mi. doesn't mean it's completely gone. It might still be worth using. If it is, get a good used intake & carb, new timing chain set, and work on the ignition system. Any more than that & I'd put my money toward a BB.

Good luck, Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Of course that's what I wanted to hear.


The 350 needs some work...leaks and burns oil all over the place. Used a quart a week...2 weeks if it's not running. And the 2bbl carb has been a pain since day one. If I was to fix up the 350 it will probably have to be taken apart for new rings and such and I would hate putting it back in if it wasn't rebuilt well. ie. If it needed to be bored, I'd want it bored. I also don't want to rebuild something and end up with disappointing power (where are my priorities...horse power or money?) as it has unknown heads which may be crappy. But...I do have the block to start with. I have no BB to start with and the last trip to the junk yard didn't even yield a Q-jet.
I'd have to find one somewhere.

If it comes down to money...I guess it'll be a choice between an ok SB (say 350hp) or a low end BB which would probably still cost more and I don't know what I'd get for power. If I want a top power BB or no BB then it would be SB = drive the car real soon or BB = no engine (or this tired 350) until I can save the cash.

I guess I'll talk to a couple machine shops and look for cores and see what the dollar amount comes to. Then decide if I can wait to drive a kick ass BB or if I can't be without my car and get the SB.

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Proud Owner: '69 Chevelle
Malibu: 350, PG, 3.36 open dif.

"ALL YOUR RICE ARE BELONG TO US!"

http://www.wyatts-torch.com/~dienadel/chevelle/index.html

[This message has been edited by TronDD (edited 12-10-2001).]
 

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Tim, I've never dealt with them but I've always thought these guys had very reasonable prices and they're right here in Mass. Check 'em out www.golensengineservice.com

As far as BB vs SB? Life is better on the dark side


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Mark
1970 SS454 LS6 (nom)
TH400/4.10 posi
Formerly Cranberry Red now War Bonnet Yellow
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"Fight Apathy - the disease no one cares about."
 

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I'd go with the big block myself.454's can be found cheap.However,most of the ones you find are 73 and up with the peanut port heads.I wouldn't pay more than $300 for one that has to be rebuilt,because the heads are useless for performance build.I'm building a 454 myself right now,and this is what the cost is:
Block prep $190
Bore block $250
Valve job $160
Cut crank $125
My rebuild kit costs $600,and it comes with Hypertectic pistons,oil pump, bearings,228/238 duration .540/.540 lift cam/lifters,springs/retainers,gasket set,double roller chain..the whole deal,including ARP wave lock rod bolts.I didn't get the price on having the rods resized/condtioned nor to hang the pistons on the rods.I do my own assembly (always have) so I save a little there.
The motor cost me $300.I also bought a pair of bare 215 heads for $125.Good thing,the heads on the motor had all new valves and guideplates,but they are truck heads,so I'm just putting the valves/guideplates into the 215 heads.They're stock size,but that's fine with me.So,totaling this all up,comes to $1750,plus the cost to recondtion the rods,hang pistons,etc.I'm figuring 2K total.Now,this no race motor,but I'm sure it will be fun in a street car,and probably provide a fair ET at the track with the right convertor/gear selection.

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1970 Chevelle SS396/M20/4.10 My 70 SS396
Engine pic
1970 Chevelle SS454My 70 SS454
1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible
1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass 350 Olds,TH350(daily driver)
Chris Corwel,TC Member 785



[This message has been edited by mr 4 speed (edited 12-11-2001).]
 

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If you really want a big block, then that's what you should get. Every dollar you put in your SB puts you that much farther away from your dream. The way you sound, if you do get into the SB, you'll have $1000 into it in no time at all. Then you'll be stuck. Limp that bad boy along for a few more months and get your BBC going.

They way I see it, to get what you want, a fast Chevelle
, you're gonna have to lay out some cash. Just as well put a few extra dollars in and get what you really want!


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Paul Hesco
www.chevelles.net/nfc
 

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also look in the newspapers, if you can buy a complete big block (yes im also telling you to go BB
) that way you dont' get nickel and dimed to death with the pulley's, brackets, etc. then even a good stock rebuild with a mild cam and maybe some higher compression pistons would be cheap to do. heck you may even find an old rusty truck with the TH400 bolted to it also cheap enough.

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1970 SS396 AKA 454/4spd
My Chev-Hell Page
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I had the same dilemma. I took out my late 70's 350 and dropped in a 402. I ran out of $ before I finished. It's been off the road for almost 2 months now. I finally have the last of my parts comming from summit this week. It took a lot longer than planned, but every time I walk by my parking space, I pop the hood. And F it looks good in there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
After talking to the engine builder in Waltham it seems that not having a BB core is gonna kill me money wise. And as someone said, it also leaves me without brackets and other little things. But...the prices are pretty much on par with an equivalent crate motor (if I get the core from them). So...I think I'm going to take some time to look for a rebuildable 454 block and start saving the money up. By Spring, I want a big block.
Either I find one to rebuild or I'll save enough to buy a crate or core from a builder.

Note to anyone in the area, they seem like a real good shop. Showed me around and knew their stuff (knew more than me anyway
). He really wanted to work with me to get me what I could afford and what I would enjoy. Worth looking into if you're shopping for a builder.

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Proud Owner: '69 Chevelle
Malibu: 350, PG, 3.36 open dif.

"ALL YOUR RICE ARE BELONG TO US!"

http://www.wyatts-torch.com/~dienadel/chevelle/index.html
 

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Well, if you ask me to choose between being sensible or living out your dreams - I'm gonna vote for living out the dream everytime!

Be patient, scour the various classifieds and go to all the swap meet type events etc. I've always been amazed at the stuff that comes my way when I'm not really in a hurry.

As many people have said in various ways: if you want, you can spend big or small money on just about any project. You can flip through the catologs and run up the Mastercard, or you can build one of those BSE big block powerhouses as advocated by Racer1320 (look for the posts). Done smartly, I think you can make more naturally aspirated power for less money with a big block than with a small block. And remember, on a less than ideally geared street/strip car, having a broad torque curve is more important than high peak horsepower.

Thomas

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"Bomber" '67 El Camino, Beater comes back to life.
Was 350/TH350 14.90 @ 93mph, 360,000+ miles on car
Now 406 roller, 340rwhp, more hp coming, 3.08 gears
Street radials, left in drive, 13.20 [email protected] mph
8/1/01 added Plum Mist '67 to collection
*New* 468 on its way - going Big Block!
 
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