the basics

the basics

Postby grumpyvette » October 18th, 2010, 1:43 pm

if your posting an engine build or power combo most guys want to know the basic details on the parts used, you can use this as a guide

youll want to post details on,
the engine family
compression ratio....
rotating assembly....
int/ex port vol.........
flow at .200 .300 .400 .500 .600 .700 lift.
cam type..............(roller lifter/flat tappet, LSA ETC.)
intake manifold.......
carb/injection type..
oil pan...................

and post rather extensive notes on combo

IF I started listing all the books and reference materials Ive collected over the last 50 plus years, I'd be typing for the next 3 -to-4 hours (minimum) and still ,be likely to have missed 70% PLUS of the books and manuals and research papers Ive purchased.
you will need to do rather careful ,research before you start spending money on tools and engine components if you expect to get good results!
ITS just a fact that not a single one of us will live long enough to gain all the experience that we as a GROUP will experience so its simply reasonable to look into what other people have done and compare results VERY CAREFULLY, with the full understanding that MOST articles on the subject printed in MOST magazines are designed to promote the sale of some particular parts they may be getting paid to advertize so you can,t assume all claims are realistic, but over time you will see solid trends develop.
just this last week alone, I spent $80 on a few books ,and its a darn rare month where I go more than a week or two between reference material purchases, simply because I enjoy looking for references to find NEW proven advancements in the art and science, and enjoy reading thru books on the subject, and occasionally laughing at the older ideas that keep being brought up as the "NEW HOT TRICK" that was proven DECADES AGO to be a TOTAL WASTE OF EFFORT
following a WELL PROVEN FORMULA, and using a trusted list of known components, that's worked well before, many times in the past is obviously the safest route, obviously, it may not result in true cutting edge tech, but it also prevents dismal and expensive failures

david vizards how to PORT AND FLOW TEST

jay k millers TURBO real world high performance turbo systems

Jefferson bryant LS swaps

you can simply go to AMAZON, and type in search words like

"BIG BLOCK CHEVY" ... Caps%2C325




"Pontiac performance" ... ormance%22



"flow bench" ... flow+bench

fuel injection ... +injection

chevy LS engine ... +ls+engine ... rankshafts

engine math ... ngine+math

holley tuning ... ley+tuning

automotive performance ... erformance

racing automotive suspensions ... uspensions

in the book section, and trust me AMAZON is HARDLY THE ONLY PLACE TO LOOK, theres also a huge selection of constantly upgraded engine simulation soft ware and new tooling and related info

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Re: the basics

Postby grumpyvette » April 22nd, 2011, 10:07 am

Performance Small Block: Chevy Engines

By Dave Emanuel

Small block Chevy engines long ago became mainstays in both the traditional and high performance marketplace. So many of them have been rebuilt over the years, and so much has been written about the rebuilding process, it would appear that nothing more need be said.
But the small block engine has changed over the years and so have consumer preferences and orientation. Consequently, many long standing rebuilding techniques are due for a change, or at least some refinement. That is, assuming a "high performance rebuild" is more than a standard short block with high performance heads and a high lift cam.
Points to keep in mind are that many customers for high performance engines are much more informed than their counterparts of 10 or 20 years ago. As opposed to a still wet-behind-the-ears teenager, the current high performance customer will likely be 30 to 50 years old with some racing background and basic knowledge of proper machining practices.
It's also probable that he or she has been down the road before, may have had a bad experience with a previous shop and is a bit gun shy. The flood of questions gushing forth from the mouths of many high performance customers today is often a consequence of previous experience; they're looking for some verbal reassurance before spending money.
Being the most popular engine in the world, the small block Chevy presents a number of high performance opportunities. Originally introduced with a displacement of 265 cubic inches, the small block Chevy has grown over the years, ultimately reaching 400 cubic inches. Two economy versions, one displacing 262 cubic inches, the other a "whopping" 267 cubic inches were also produced, but these are entirely unsuitable for performance use.

Small Block Specifications
CID Bore Stroke
265 3.750 3.00
283 3.875 3.00
302 4.001 3.00
305 3.736 3.48
307 3.875 3.25
327 4.001 3.25
350 4.001 3.48
400 4.125 3.75

Since the 1950s, all bore/stroke combinations have been rebuilt in high performance form. However, at this late date, blocks with 4.00" bores constitute the lion's share of the performance business. There's also a sizable demand for 4-1/8" bore blocks from which 400+ CID small blocks are built.

Cylinder block

As with any rebuild, one that will produce a high performance engine starts with the block. In the overall scheme of things, only two types of cylinder blocks exist - those with two-bolt main caps and those with four. But over the years, dip stick position has changed, rear main seal configuration has been updated, and a variety of alloys have been used.
Dip stick position isn't much of an issue, unless you've ordered the wrong oil pan. Then you wind up with the dipstick on one side, the notch in the oil pan on the other, and an engine with a severe oil leak. Alloy content is a somewhat different matter. Thousands of high performance small blocks based on a standard alloy block casting have run successfully for years. But for maximum strength and longevity, a "high tin" block is preferable.
A block's alloy content is denoted by two figures cast into the front face, just above the main bearing bore, in the area normally concealed by the timing cover. Many production small blocks have the numbers "010," "020" or both cast into their front face, just above the main bearing bore. If both numbers are present, one above the other, it indicates that the block alloy contains 10% tin and 20% nickel. A single number, either a "010" or "020" represents the amount of nickel and indicates negligible amounts of tin.
No numbers, other than the casting numbers that are typically found beneath the timing cover, translates to only minor amounts of tin and nickel being present in the block alloy. (Tin and nickel are two metals that are commonly alloyed with cast iron to improve durability, hardness and heat dissipation.)
Although a "010"/"020" block is most desirable, it's not always possible to find one that's suitable for high performance use. Alloy composition aside, cylinder wall thickness is the overriding consideration in block selection, and one with no tin or nickel and thick cylinder walls is generally preferable to a high-nickel block with thin walls. Truck and older Chevy II blocks are reputed to have thicker than average cylinder walls, but there are no guarantees; sonic testing is the only way to be certain that wall thickness is adequate.
Beginning with the 1986 model year, Chevrolet began producing blocks with a one-piece rear main seal. There's enough difference between 1985 and earlier and 1986 and later blocks that oil pans and crankshafts are not interchangeable unless an adapter is fitted to the block. Most commonly, a crankshaft and oil pan designed for the older-style, two-piece seal is installed in a late model block with one-piece seal. Adapters allowing this to occur are available from a variety of aftermarket companies and through GM Performance Parts as p/n 10051118.
The introduction of hydraulic roller lifters for the 1987 model year brought about other cylinder block changes. To accommodate original equipment hydraulic rollers - which are of a different design than aftermarket types - the tops of the lifter bores were raised and machined flat. The tapped bosses were also added in the lifter valley so the sheet metal "spider" that holds the lifter link bars in place could be attached.
Standard hydraulic or mechanical lifters can be installed in a "hydraulic roller" block, but original equipment roller lifters cannot be installed in a "non-hydraulic roller" block. "Hydraulic roller" blocks also have a tapped hole on either side of the camshaft hole for attaching the retaining plate that's installed to prevent the camshaft from "walking" forward.
Another variation that can ruin an otherwise well-planned engine building party is main bearing diameter. Beginning with the 1968 model year, main journal diameter was increased from 2.30" to 2.45". On the other hand, all 4-1/8"-bore production blocks are machined for a 2.65" main journal diameter. Consequently, it's advisable to verify main journal, bearing and bearing saddle diameters to assure proper fit.
It's also advisable to disregard model year when determining block characteristics. Considering that new cars are typically introduced in September or October of the previous calendar year, it's not at all unusual for a casting date to disagree with the model year of the vehicle in which it was originally installed. Prior engine swaps can also confuse the issue, so accurate measurements should always be made.
For the 1992 model year, Chevrolet introduced a Second Generation small block known as the LT1. (Installed in 1992 and later Corvettes and 1993 and later Camaros, Firebirds and 1994-'96 GM "B" and "D" bodied full-sized cars). Within the Second Generation family, most major components are interchangeable. However, a 265 CID version of the engine was also produced, (the base Caprice engine) so don't be surprised if you come across an LT1 block with 3-3/4" cylinder dimensions. With the LT1's reverse flow cooling system, neither the block nor heads are interchangeable with a First Generation small block.
Irrespective of the block selected, a performance rebuild should include align honing. Many machinists either overlook or disregard the importance of align honing. But every critical block dimension is taken off main bearing saddle alignment, so align boring and/or honing should be the first machining operation and it must be done accurately.
When a block is align honed, you absolutely must have the oil pump installed and the bearing caps tightened to the required torque, using the same type of fasteners (either studs or bolts) that will be installed when the engine is assembled. This is critical because when you tighten the main cap bolts or studs, or the oil pump bolt, it distorts the cap.
It is obviously possible to build a high performance engine and forego align honing. But if the engine is "hammered" very often, or if the owner installs a nitrous oxide system, you may very well end up with an unhappy customer.


Of course, the best choice for a high performance engine is a forged crankshaft, but these aren't readily available at low cost. In truth, small block Chevy cast cranks are more than adequate for most high performance applications. From 1969 until 1986, when Chevrolet converted to a one-piece rear main seal, c/n 3932442 was installed in virtually every 350 small block not equipped with a forged crank.
But the casting number doesn't tell the whole story. The same crank casting is used as the basis for 305 crankshafts. Although a 305 crank can physically be bolted into a 350 block, it's best to avoid doing do. The 305's lighter reciprocating assembly weight translates to a considerable difference in the balance factor.
Unless a 305 crankshaft is completely rebalanced with the appropriate bob weight, it will cause severe vibration if installed in a 350. If there's any question as to a crank's identity, it should be checked so it can be used in the appropriate engine assembly. It's also advisable to check any cast crankshaft for cracks. As a general rule, a crankshaft should pass magnaflux inspection before it's installed in a high performance engine.

Pistons and rings

The best deal in town on small block pistons can be found in the Keith Black and Speed-Pro catalogs. Both companies offer hypereutectic pistons which are ideal for high performance street (and some race) engines. These pistons are typically cheaper than their forged counterparts and are actually better suited for long term operation in a high performance street engine.
The hypereutectic material is extremely hard and has a very low expansion rate so it can stand considerable abuse. Since it is installed with .001" to .002" piston-to-wall clearance, it can handle the abuse over a long period of time without the clatter associated with most forged pistons. Both flat top and domed varieties are available so just about any compression ratio can be achieved.

Piston rings

Most seasoned performance and race engine builders have very strong opinions regarding brand and type of piston ring and the required cylinder wall finish. However, for long term durability in any type of engine, a Total Seal ring set with a plasma moly top ring, Gaplessâ„¢ second and stainless steel low tension oil ring is tough to beat.
Cylinder wall preparation can also be a hotly debated topic with various preferences for honing stones, and final surfacing procedures involving specific plateau finishing specifications, etc. However, at many shops, the standard cylinder preparation for the ring combination cited above includes boring the block to within .005" of desired finished bore size then traveling the rest of the way with a hone. The typical procedure involves removing the first .0035" with 220 grit (500 series) stones, then removing another .001" with the 280 grit stones (600 series). A final finish is then achieved by removing the last .0005" with 400 grit (800 series) stones.Although some engine builders use a super-slick cylinder wall finish, many others do the final hone with 400 stones, which knocks the peaks off the ridges left by the coarser stones. Many rebuilders feel this type of finish is best for quick ring seating and long term ring seal.For optimum sealing, rings should be fit to the individual cylinders and end gaps filed to fit. In lieu of manufacturers' recommendations otherwise, the top ring should be given .020" to .022" end gap with forged pistons and .026" to .028" with hypereutectic pistons.A 5/64", 5/64", 3/16" ring configuration is often preferred for street and recreational marine engines. (Wider rings deliver better long-term durability.) Although a 1/16", 1/16", 3/16" ring combination will provide improved ring seal at high rpm, such considerations are unwarranted in a street or recreational marine engine because the engine doesn't spend enough time in the tachometer's "Twilight Zone" to justify the trade-off of reduced ring life. Another consideration is that with a 1/16", 1/16", 3/16" ring package, oil consumption tends to be higher than with wider rings.
The latest trend in oil rings is low tension. The oil rings are the most significant contributors to ring drag, so reducing tension significantly lowers internal friction. In a low tension oil ring, improved ring conformability (the ability of the ring to stay in contact with the cylinder wall) is achieved by manufacturing the oil rails from material with reduced radial thickness. Some companies are also experimenting with rails that are .015" thick rather than .024" in thickness.

Cylinder heads

From the time the small block was introduced, Chevrolet has offered a variety of cylinder heads. Most of the pre-emissions era high performance heads have 64 cc combustion chambers. Note that this is a nominal engineering dimension; in real life, most "64 cc chambers" actually measure 67 or 68 cc. Head milling is usually required to achieve a combustion chamber that actually measures 64 cc.
For a typical, lower-cost performance engine, 186, 462 or 492 castings are the most commonly used heads. These are the tried-and-true "double-hump" castings of the type originally installed on fuel injected Corvette and '60s era Z/28 engines. Nothing has changed much in this area of small block Chevy high performance. However, amongst owners of late model fuel injected engines, Corvette aluminum heads have taken the spotlight.
In stock form, the Corvette aluminum head (c/n 10088113, p/n 10185087) has good air flow characteristics which are sufficient to support the needs of an engine producing a maximum of about 330 hp. Properly ported, however, these heads are suitable for 400+ hp engines. Another consideration is that these heads were designed for use on fuel-injected engines. As such, they have no heat riser passages to bring heat to the bottom of the intake manifold, which can cause cold start problems if an engine is equipped with a carburetor.
Strange as it may seem, there is quite a demand for CNC-ported Corvette aluminum heads for installation on street-driven small block engines. In fact, some shops specializing in late model performance engines install CNC-ported heads on virtually every engine they sell. With a price of more than $1,200 per pair, CNC modifications are obviously targeted at the high end of the market. But the strong demand for this type of porting indicates the diverse nature of consumers who spend money on small block Chevy rebuilding services.
Along with aluminum heads usually goes a tuned port or LT1 aluminum intake manifold. For all intents and purposes, an intake manifold should be an intake manifold and the procedures used for installation should be the same. But that doesn't seem to hold true for late model fuel injection manifolds. Every time one of these manifolds is removed from an engine, the cylinder head mating surfaces should be checked for warpage and angularity. For some reason, these manifolds are extremely prone to distort, thereby causing sealing problems.Many engine builders who specialize in tuned port and LT1 engines will not install an intake manifold unless its condition has been verified. They've been burned too many times by oil consumption problems caused by internal vacuum leaks which allow manifold vacuum to pull oil in between the manifold and head surfaces.

Prior to the advent of electronic engine controls, a high performance engine just had to have the type of camshaft that rattled the fenders and scared small children. These types of cams are not compatible with a stock ECM (electronic control module, also known as a powertrain control module and vehicle control module, depending on year and model). Consequently, a more conservative approach is required to ensure reasonable idle quality and driveability - while remaining emissions legal.
Emissions legality has become a major consideration in performance engine building. While acceptable exhaust emissions and high performance may seem mutually exclusive, they can co-habitate successfully in the same engine. The key to this harmony is proper camshaft selection and as luck would have it, newer designs are much more appropriate for current performance requirements.
The best choice is an hydraulic roller camshaft, which is the reason that since 1987, they have been factory installed in an ever increasing number of small blocks. Roller profiles are capable of opening valves at a much faster rate and lifting them higher than a flat tappet cam, and this is precisely the requirement for not only keeping emissions in check, but for achieving maximum power while maintaining compatibility with computerized engine controls.
The faster opening rate and higher lift translates to more effective use of duration, so cams with comparatively short duration (which keeps the computer happy) produce excellent horsepower and torque over a wide rpm range. The most aggressive production hydraulic roller cam is the one installed in 1994 and later Camaro and Corvette LT1s. It features intake and exhaust durations of 203 and 208 degrees respectively for intake and exhaust (measured at .050" lift) and raises the intake valves .450" and the exhaust valves .460". Aftermarket performance cam-
shafts with similar duration will have up to .500" lift. These lift specs make checking retainer-to-valve guide clearance essential. They also require that proper valve springs be selected so that the possibility of coil bind is eliminated.
Another consideration is camshaft retention. Late model blocks which were originally equipped for an hydraulic roller cam incorporate a retainer on the front of the block to prevent the cam from walking forward. When retrofitting an hydraulic roller cam in an older block, some form of retainer must be added. Most performance camshaft manufacturers offer such a component.

start by buying these books and watching the video

JOHN LINGENFELTER on modifying small-block chevy engines

READ THRU THESE LINKS, AND SUB LINKED INFO.....yes it will take some time, but it will save your thousands of dollars and weeks of work and give you a good basic back ground knowledge ... index.html ... 1160755224



these threads have good related info, that you should read thru before starting the block prep, and rotating assembly process



















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Re: the basics

Postby grumpyvette » June 1st, 2011, 4:04 pm

when you build an engine you generally have some idea as to its intended operational rpm range and the octane level of the fuel you want to use.
normal quality blended gasoline tends to produce its best power at about a 12.5:1 fuel/air ratio, and lowest exhaust emissions at about a 14.7:1 f/a ratio
the higher the effective compression ratio (up to about 13:1) the more torque you can expect to produce from an engine,if you use, high octane gas or race fuels, but the octane of the fuel currently available from pump gas drops the max effective dynamic compression ratio to about 8:1
obviously the components selected must work in the desired rpm and intended power range.
you need to select a cam duration and LSA , and static compression that BOTH matches the static compression ratio and your cars gearing so the effective dynamic compression ratio falls in that range, and intended rpm/power band
obviously if your willing to run race octane fuel and operate the engine at higher average rpms you can increase the cam duration and static compression ratio
if youve already built the engine and can,t quite figure out why its not running up to expectations, ..a logical step bye step approach is best, youll need to verify cylinder compression, ignition, spark strength and ignition,timing ignition,advance,and fuel and air delivery, ID also suggest a compression test and a general checking over,each potential engine and drive line sub-system carefully, with a timing light,vacuum gauge, fuel pressure gauge, VOM meter , ETC. and adjusting valves, checking for vacuum leaks, check fuel pressure and post clear pictures of spark plugs as they give a ton of info if you know how to read them, etc.
Id also be pulling and changing the oil filter and inspecting the old one for metallic debris indicating a worn cam lobe
basically an in depth tune-up and system verification is whats needed








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Re: the basics

Postby grumpyvette » February 13th, 2013, 9:35 am

I get asked all the time whats the best project car, what engine to build and should you build a small block or a big block,
well Im a bit prejudice, as I easily build 3-4 big blocks for every small block I build, but a good bit of that decision should be based on what you want to DO WITH THE CAR once its built! and your expectations and budget limitations, and I can tell you one rather common mistake made is guys wasting time and cash on a car thats not the dream car they actually want, its stupid in my opinion to waste time and cash modifying or making car payments on a car you really don,t love!
now I can assure you that you can build a good performing car with either engine, provided the cars set up correctly and you pay attention to details like gearing the car to match the engines power band,and using the correct matching transmission.
Id suggest you start by being realistic in your expectations and weighing your car of choice, most cars are a good deal heavier than you might imagine and you might want to step back and make a totally new selection, as the lighter in weight the car is the easier it will be to get it to accelerate , handle and brake efficiently.
don,t waste time or money on building a car your not going to be proud to own once its complete!
if you want a corvette or a camaro, cobra or road runner its senseless to build anything but what you want, find a way to buy the project car you want and consistently work toward your goal, it might take you a few years but at least youll have what you want once its completed!

think of it as a ratio of horsepower per pound.
lets say your looking at two cars that are common , a early nova or camaro, and a larger pontiac GTO, or chevy, chevelle, the nova or camaro weights about 3380lbs and the chevelle weighs about 3730 lbs (about average)and lets say you make about 1.1 hp per cubic inch of displacement in a mild, but well thought thru performance build with either a 350 or a 454.
the big block should easily make 70-100 hp more with its better heads and larger displacement, but that larger engine usually also weights about 100 lbs more, yet in a car that weights at least 3400 lbs adding an additional 70-100hp easily more than compensates for the extra 100 lbs of weight, thats only about a 3%-4% weight penalty for a 25%-33% power gain. for the big block
people jump into projects without thinking thru the projects cost and potential, parts availability, the cars weight, the project cost and what you want to have once your done should be a huge factor in what you build, but most guys just start with the car they currently have rather than think it thru and go out and buy a car based on what they would really prefer to have once its complete.
I can assure you its a whole lot easier to build something like a T-bucket or COBRA kit car , and have it be fast and agile that if you start with a 1972 buick with a 350, or 1970 olds 442 ,just because you got a killer deal on the car.
yes you can build a 500hp 383 small block or a 600hp 496 stroker big block,either will make for a much faster car, costs will be higher, but even though the power to weight ratio, and cost will be higher , the power too weight ratio, will still favor the big block.


step one
locate and join at least two local hot rod or corvette clubs and offer to do free labor in exchange for instruction on how to do paint and body, electrical and mechanical repair work, try to make friends with the older guys that have rather extensive experience and don,t be afraid to get your hands dirty doing actual work and don,t shy away from learning new skills even if you don,t see an instant use for them. if you don,t know how to do a brake job, or replace a water pump or install a rear differential,install a window regulator or repair an air conditioner or re-upholster a seat, LEARN those skills you would be amazed at how many times youll find you can trade work for other work on cars in a car club

step two
find a local trade school or a mentor you trust to teach you several types of welding, and only after your familiar with equipment buy yours.
but youll find MIG and TIG covers the vast majority of work youll need

step three
read thru all the books and web sites you can, and ask a ton of questions,and don,t take a single source as 100% correct there's usually at least two ways to do something, and having a shop manual on the car you decide to build, and a few basic tools like 4 6-12 ton rated jack stands, a floor jack, multi meter, timing light and basic mechanic tools helps a great deal, yet it knowing what your doing or being willing to research it and follow thru and actually learn the skills that maters.


READ THRU THESE LINKS, AND SUB LINKED INFO.....yes it will take some time, but it will save your thousands of dollars and weeks of work and give you a good basic back ground knowledge





















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