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Old 3rd-July-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
cdahl383
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Engine build

Planning on overhauling my current engine in the near future. Would like to get a rough idea of some of the costs/parts involved as I've never rebuilt an engine before.

1.) How much would it cost to machine/prep a new Dart SHP block?
2.) How much does it typically cost for engine assembly?
3.) How can you tell what is a good vs bad machine shop?

Current engine is a 400hp 383 stroker. Looking to get up to maybe 450hp or so to get into the mid/high 11's. Currently running low 12's, though it's more of a cruiser really, suspension isn't set up optimally for the track, etc.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 5th-July-2019, 06:48 AM   #2
CNC BLOCKS N/E

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Originally Posted by cdahl383 View Post
Planning on overhauling my current engine in the near future. Would like to get a rough idea of some of the costs/parts involved as I've never rebuilt an engine before.

1.) How much would it cost to machine/prep a new Dart SHP block?
2.) How much does it typically cost for engine assembly?
3.) How can you tell what is a good vs bad machine shop?

Current engine is a 400hp 383 stroker. Looking to get up to maybe 450hp or so to get into the mid/high 11's. Currently running low 12's, though it's more of a cruiser really, suspension isn't set up optimally for the track, etc.

Thanks for any input!
If your interested in an SHP block check out my prices I have CNC machined over 350 of those blocks. During the machining process I will send pics of the block being machined so you know its plate honed, Align honed ETC.

http://hinksonautomotive-cncblocks.com/products/

Also I am W/D and Master W/D with most companies if you need a Balanced rotator and other parts for you build.
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Old 10th-July-2019, 12:40 PM   #3
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What is the approximate price differential between machining and prepping an old GM block vs starting with a new Dart SHP block?

I'm trying to determine the cost differential between trying to use an old block vs a new Dart SHP. I'm leaning towards the Dart SHP currently.
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Old 10th-July-2019, 01:23 PM   #4
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What is the approximate price differential between machining and prepping an old GM block vs starting with a new Dart SHP block?

I'm trying to determine the cost differential between trying to use an old block vs a new Dart SHP. I'm leaning towards the Dart SHP currently.
One thing nice about the SHP block is the ability to go big inch and be safe. Mine is a 421 and we did a 434 in my cousins 66. No issues whatsoever. Definitely a nice block to start with.
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Old 10th-July-2019, 02:17 PM   #5
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One thing nice about the SHP block is the ability to go big inch and be safe. Mine is a 421 and we did a 434 in my cousins 66. No issues whatsoever. Definitely a nice block to start with.
It seems like it's the better way to go. I doubt my block will be any good to reuse. I'm not really sold on the idea of starting with some ancient unknown block either.

I wouldn't mind building a bigger cubic inch engine, but I want to keep the cost within reason. Reuse my old crank, rods, pistons, heads, intake, etc. I like the idea of using a brand new improved block though. If I ever want to go bigger later in life, then I have that option with that same block.
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Old 10th-July-2019, 10:00 PM   #6
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Several years ago, I faced the same dilemma.... machine and build an old small block Chevy or go Dart SHP. I also wanted to install a roller cam set-up into the new build.

By the time a would have paid to machine the old block and purchased the retro-roller cam set-up, the cost was very close to going with the Dart SHP block and using the factory roller cam set-up that the Dart already comes with (this saved a lot of money vs purchasing the retro roller cam set-up).

When all was said and done, I am very glad I went with the Dart SHP block. It has performed flawlessly.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 01:50 AM   #7
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There is no way I'd spend the money on a new Dart block only to re use the factory rods and crank. If I was going to buy a new block I would also buy a new rotating assembly. Then you could add bore and stroke to build a bigger engine. If I was going to re use what came out of the old block I'd just machine and reuse the old block after checking to make sure it was all right.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 07:21 AM   #8
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There is no way I'd spend the money on a new Dart block only to re use the factory rods and crank. If I was going to buy a new block I would also buy a new rotating assembly. Then you could add bore and stroke to build a bigger engine. If I was going to re use what came out of the old block I'd just machine and reuse the old block after checking to make sure it was all right.
I kinda agree with this. I would not be buying a 4" bore SHP block and then expect to bore it to 4.125 or more later on. First if you are buying a 4" bore block, then build it as a 4" bore. Why buy one and then throw away .030 of material and money to bore and hone on a brand new block? Sell your pistons and build a 4.125 bore engine now if that is what you want.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 09:25 AM   #9
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There is no way I'd spend the money on a new Dart block only to re use the factory rods and crank. If I was going to buy a new block I would also buy a new rotating assembly. Then you could add bore and stroke to build a bigger engine.
I forgot to mention that this is exactly what I did when I went with a Dart SHP block. I chose the 4.125" bore to build a 400 small block stoker. I installed a completely new, all forged rotating assembly (crank, rods, pistons) for strength and durability since I also planned to do some drag racing (but selected 10:1 compression since my Nova is mainly street driven and runs on pump gas). To take advantage of the roller cam set-up I chose, I also upgraded to AFR aluminum heads.

The OP mentioned that they currently had a 383, so they may already have a decent crank and rods (the 383 and 400 rotating kits use the same crank and rods). As bracketchev70 suggested above, all they would need to do is purchase new pistons for a 4.125" bore to build a 400.

Last edited by RifRaf; 11th-July-2019 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 02:11 PM   #10
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This is where I get stuck when thinking about this.

So everyone says don't waste money on a Dart SHP block unless you're going to build this all out motor. But at that point I could just buy one of the crate engines I've been looking at and just have it delivered to my door, drop it in my car and be done. Rather than cart parts around here and there, deal with machine shops, etc.

My current heads are on the small side, Edelbrock Etec 170 heads with 1.94/1.60 valves and 170cc runners. If I jump up to a 406 or bigger build, then I'll likely want heads with closer to 200cc intake runners I'm assuming.

At that point I'll be paying for the block, the heads, a cam/lifters, and assembly. I don't see that as being much cheaper than just buying a crate engine.

My current block will need some work as I think the previous machine shop that did work to it goofed it up. I think it may have been decked wrong. It's already .040" over.

Maybe the better route to go would be to just pull the engine and take it to the shop, have them examine the block, see if it's still good, and see if they can just clean up the walls and keep it at .040", reuse all my old stuff, get a new cam/lifters, have it reassembled with new bearings and all that, and call it a day. I don't think that would cost much at all.

Maybe I shouldn't be assuming the current block is toast and not usable. It's served me well this long (15+ years).

Any ideas on approximate costs to clean up an old block, hone the cylinder walls, new crank and cam bearings, and reassemble everything?
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Old 11th-July-2019, 03:16 PM   #11
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If your current block is already .040" over, you're probably nearing the limit of what it's able to do in the long run. Suppose something goes wrong and you need to bore it again, but you're out of meat to machine and you've already spent the money on previous machinework?

I get where you're coming from, especially if your old block has served you well. But, if you want to build for the future, "buy once, cry once", and get the Dart block.

Here's an interesting read that you may find insightful: "Your old 350 block sucks".
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Old 11th-July-2019, 03:31 PM   #12
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If your current block is already .040" over, you're probably nearing the limit of what it's able to do in the long run. Suppose something goes wrong and you need to bore it again, but you're out of meat to machine and you've already spent the money on previous machinework?

I get where you're coming from, especially if your old block has served you well. But, if you want to build for the future, "buy once, cry once", and get the Dart block.

Here's an interesting read that you may find insightful: "Your old 350 block sucks".
Good point!
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Old 11th-July-2019, 04:08 PM   #13
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An aftermarket block to make 450hp is a colossal waste of money. I would check the current short block out and fix as needed. Next step would be a better set of Cylinder heads, then a cam swap. Much cheaper than a aftermarket block to make 450-500 hp. And once you get a new block, you will still need new heads and cam to meet your performance goal anyways.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 04:25 PM   #14
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An aftermarket block to make 450hp is a colossal waste of money. I would check the current short block out and fix as needed. Next step would be a better set of Cylinder heads, then a cam swap. Much cheaper than a aftermarket block to make 450-500 hp. And once you get a new block, you will still need new heads and cam to meet your performance goal anyways.
By the time I do all that I could just go with a crate engine that has all that stuff already. Dart SHP block, Dart heads, better cam, etc. Would be a lot easier to just pull my existing engine and drop in the new one, and sell the old one to offset the cost.
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Old 11th-July-2019, 07:35 PM   #15
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Yes, much easier to just buy another engine but much more costly. Doesn't sound like there is much wrong with your current engine, and if you made a cam change and did a little bit of Cylinder head work, and optimized the combination it would very likely run in the 11's.

The aftermarket block is just totally unnecessary at your desired hp level for what you described as pretty much a cruiser.
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