Rebuild 400 or buy a crate 350? - Chevy Nova Forum
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Old 13th-January-2013, 09:23 PM   #1
HVAC Mech

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Rebuild 400 or buy a crate 350?

Hello everyone,
First off this site is awesome, full of great people and alot of information. This is my first post, so bear with me. I started this project as a hobby to step away from work (I own a HVAC company, that is stressful) and so far working on the bodywork is the only thing that helps me relax.

I am building my first project car and have good common sense, but not much knowledge about the details. My project is a 72 Nova, has a solid body, 8.5 rear end, not sure of the gears. Multi-leaf. I picked up a virgin 400 SB. I am wondering if I should rebuild it and put it in my car mated to my turbo 350 or just buy a crate motor. The 400 is a 4 bolt (71 model, I think), it came out of an Impala wagon. I am looking to build a mild motor. I don't need more than 400 H.P. As this is my first car my knowledge is limited and I am looking to do this on a budget, however I want to do it right the first time and not make any costly mistakes (if that is possible). I am looking to build a good looking car to drive to shows with my family. Won't really be racing it, but would like it to sound good, represent the muscle car era and be fun to drive.

If I stay with the 400, here are a few concerns or obstacles that I may encounter: I am going to have power brakes and and the auto trans, so I think vaccuum may be an issue. I woudl prefer to stay away from a stall if I can. I want to use pump gas and am looking to do as much work as possible myself. I am thinking maybe stock lower end, cam, some decent heads, good intake and carb, headers and exhaust.

With all of that being said, what would you recommend for me to do? Any things I should worry about? Any threads on here you can refer me to? Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing your input.
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Old 13th-January-2013, 09:34 PM   #2
Ryan V64SS
 
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Sounds like you would get all your goals from the 400 with a mild cylinder head, mild hydraulic roller cam, a dual plane intake, and a 750 cfm vacuum secondary carb. This motor if built right would be a very torquey so a basic 2000 rpm stall converter which is just over stock would be all thats needed. You wont even notice the stall speed. There would also be plenty of vacuum to use power brakes. No need to spin it past 6k RPM. JMO

I am also in the HVAC industry as a Metasys control install tech. I love this trade
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HVAC Mech View Post
Hello everyone,

I am building my first project car and have good common sense, but not much knowledge about the details. I picked up a virgin 400 SB. I am wondering if I should rebuild it and put it in my car mated to my turbo 350 or just buy a crate motor. The 400 is a 4 bolt (71 model, I think), it came out of an Impala wagon. I am looking to build a mild motor. I don't need more than 400 H.P. As this is my first car my knowledge is limited and I am looking to do this on a budget, however I want to do it right the first time and not make any costly mistakes (if that is possible). Won't really be racing it, but would like it to sound good, represent the muscle car era and be fun to drive.

With all of that being said, what would you recommend for me to do? Any things I should worry about? Any threads on here you can refer me to? Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing your input.
Contact Philip here on the Forum and ask him about his home re-built 400. His motor is very well thought out, strong, budget minded and he has all the answers you will need to build a KILLER street 400 motor if you decide to go that way.

Otherwise buy a turn key crate and just drop it in and go. There are so many good builders here to choose from, mild to wild. Jack
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Crate Engines - What's really inside and where did it actually come from?

1000x
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Rebuild the 400, that is the funnest part. That 400 sbc will surprise you with what it can do.

My last mild 400 ran 11.60s(Driven daily to work and drove to and from the track - 50 miles round trip)
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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I would go with the 400. You have mentioned that you are looking for a pretty mild engine (stock near/stock stall, want good vacuum for accessories, pump gas, etc.) That being the case, you'll get more power and torque out of the additional 50 cubic inches of a mild 400ci than you would from an equally mild 350ci. Plus, you already have the 400.

Seems like an easy choice to me.
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:44 PM   #7
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Do you have the skills, knowledge, abilities, and the tools to rebuild the 400 engine?

https://www.yearone.com/Catalog/1962...-crate-engines
https://www.yearone.com/Catalog/1964.../crate-engines

YearOne has two 400 hp crate motors with a one year, 12,000 mile warranty and for as low as three grand. They have many more available, including the RamJet engine, and ZZ4 engines.

GM performance parts has crate motors of like horsepower with up to three years of warranty. If you're acquainted with a GM dealer perhaps you can work a discount.

Unless you can get that 400 engine rebuilt for a really reasonable cost, you'll have more into it than a quality crate motor, based upon my experience. Will your machine shop warranty the engine? Fortunately, you have lots of time to do the research and make a decision.
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Old 14th-January-2013, 12:46 PM   #8
HVAC Mech

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Thanks everyone. That is what I wanted to hear. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Justin
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Old 14th-January-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
asteeler4life
 
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I'D BUILD THE 400, THIS WAY YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S IN IT AND NO GUESS WORK! I HAVE A 400, VERY STRONG MOTOR! I LOVE IT!
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Old 14th-January-2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Crate Engines - What's really inside and where did it actually come from?

1000x
That's easy... Heche in Mexico!
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Old 14th-January-2013, 08:43 PM   #11
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That's easy... Heche in Mexico!
Oh boy!

Pay a guy a few beans to put off-shore parts into my next build!

Yeeeeee Hawwwwwww!!!!

2000x
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Old 14th-January-2013, 08:43 PM   #12
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Some people I know are worried about building engines because they don't know much about them. It's not hard at all. Grab an engine building book from a local parts store or look online just so you don't miss anything and also do it in the easiest order. That 400 should be fun, I had one that ran really well, then I went to a more built up 350, and now I'm building my first blower motor 😄. Plus it's nice to say you built it yourself and you know every nut and bolt to it.

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Old 15th-January-2013, 12:24 AM   #13
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As all have already said go with your 400....I had one in a 71 camaro with a 4spd and 4.10 gears ran 8.20s in the eight mile all day and drove it to the track...it was standard bore dish top motor with dart iron eagle heads and a comp 292 501 cam..so the 400 will definitely get you where you wanna be!!! Good luck with ypur build!
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Old 20th-January-2013, 12:40 PM   #14
HVAC Mech

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Thank You everyone for the response. I have contacted Phillip and he gave me all his information on his 400. I can't thank you enough for the recommendation to contact him! I am going to run with the 400, should tear it down soon and have it at the machine shop within 2 weeks. I will keep everyone posted.

Thanks,
Justin
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Old 20th-January-2013, 02:29 PM   #15
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I think you'll be very happy with the 400 for your goals. Torque output should be excellent for your street application.
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