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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I'm going to put a new crate engine in my 63'.

I've narrowed it down to the L31 Vortec 350.

Model 12681432 at Summit for $2,019.99

https://www.summitracing.com/ga/parts/nal-12681432/overview/

I checked out Ebay & there's a Chevy dealer in Virginia (Radley Chevrolet) that is offering this engine for $1,900.00 shipped (including taxes) plus a $100.00 visa gift card.

That puts me at $1,800.00 delivered.

Anyone know of a better deal?
 

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Are you going to lock yourself in to using an electric pump? Neither of the L31 replacement blocks are drilled for mechanical fuel pump provisions. Food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses.

The 4 bolt is supposed to be a stronger build?

It's listed for $200 more.

I'm building a weekend cruiser that I may step on the gas every once in a while. Nothing that would cause problems with the 2 bolt, I think. Unless there's some other benefit to the 4 bolt that I'm not aware of.

The electric fuel pump should be a straight forward addition. It's worth it to me to get the Vortec performance.
 

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Are you going to lock yourself in to using an electric pump? Neither of the L31 replacement blocks are drilled for mechanical fuel pump provisions. Food for thought.
I bought that engine from summit about 3 years ago. I bought it for the roller cam feature. I didn't like the electric fuel pump idea but after weighing the two options I went with roller cam. (no cam break in worries). I put in a chevy "HOT" cam. I'm very happy with the engine
 

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Thanks for the responses.

The 4 bolt is supposed to be a stronger build?

It's listed for $200 more.

I'm building a weekend cruiser that I may step on the gas every once in a while. Nothing that would cause problems with the 2 bolt, I think. Unless there's some other benefit to the 4 bolt that I'm not aware of.

The electric fuel pump should be a straight forward addition. It's worth it to me to get the Vortec performance.
For most folks I'm sure a two bolt is fine. For me it seems I always want to increase power at some point. :rolleyes:
 

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There are plenty of companies offering a non vortec short block with vortec heads. The main reason to want the vortec stuff is the heads. There really isn't any advantages in just the short blocks. If I could swing it I'd try to find a one piece rear seal block with the vortecs and add a hydraulic roller. Throw in a RPM Air Gap intake and it would be a reliable performer that should even get decent fuel mileage. Probably not going to find that in the two grand range but shouldn't break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are plenty of companies offering a non vortec short block with vortec heads. The main reason to want the vortec stuff is the heads. There really isn't any advantages in just the short blocks. If I could swing it I'd try to find a one piece rear seal block with the vortecs and add a hydraulic roller. Throw in a RPM Air Gap intake and it would be a reliable performer that should even get decent fuel mileage. Probably not going to find that in the two grand range but shouldn't break the bank.
Respectfully, I'm trying to follow your logic.

The advantage to going this route would be that I could use my mechanical fuel pump?

Otherwise, isn't the new L31 the same thing? Short block, vortec heads, roller cam....
 

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The mechanical pump would be a advantage. I guess what I was trying and failing to say is that there are lot's of choices. There are a lot of people making a lot of different engine combinations and I would try to pick the one that suited you best within your budget. While the L31 does come with a hydraulic roller it is a very small roller. Never met a car guy who wouldn't enjoy a little more HP. Heads and camshaft is where power is made with the SBC. The Vortec is a very good head for building good cheap hose power. With a engine just like the one you are looking at a little more camshaft would make a huge difference in performance.
 

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On the issue of electric fuel pumps, can anyone here name a modern car that doesn't have one? I wouldn't see the lack of a fuel pump boss as a major shortcoming to a crate engine.
 

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On the issue of electric fuel pumps, can anyone here name a modern car that doesn't have one? I wouldn't see the lack of a fuel pump boss as a major shortcoming to a crate engine.
Not really a major shortcoming but an extra expense that has to be taken in to account. Especially if you want to have a reliable electric fuel pump that isn't super noisy.
 

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On the issue of electric fuel pumps, can anyone here name a modern car that doesn't have one? I wouldn't see the lack of a fuel pump boss as a major shortcoming to a crate engine.
Added cost. In order to run an electric fuel pump, you'll have to add a sump to your existing tank, buy the fittings, but the pump, re-plumb it and hope it doesn't burn up, etc... By the time you're done, it's easily a $500 venture.

Most, if not all, budget electric pumps aren't meant to "pull" fuel out of the tank via a higher pickup, they're meant to be mounted at the bottom of the tank and "push" it along. I learned this the hard way when I kept starving my Holley Blue pump and eventually smoked it along the side of the road.

Mechanical pumps are cheap, very difficult to break, and require no additional hardware to be functional.
 

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Added cost. In order to run an electric fuel pump, you'll have to add a sump to your existing tank, buy the fittings, but the pump, re-plumb it and hope it doesn't burn up, etc... By the time you're done, it's easily a $500 venture.

Most, if not all, budget electric pumps aren't meant to "pull" fuel out of the tank via a higher pickup, they're meant to be mounted at the bottom of the tank and "push" it along. I learned this the hard way when I kept starving my Holley Blue pump and eventually smoked it along the side of the road.

Mechanical pumps are cheap, very difficult to break, and require no additional hardware to be functional.
If absolute cost is going to be addressed, is there a less expensive brand new crate motor with a pump boss? A 350HO is about $1K more.

If you are running a carbureted street car and a 250 hp crate motor there is no need to sump the tank, you merely install the electric pump back by the tank as low as you can get it and use the stock pickup. A $75 Carter pump kit comes with all the fittings and works very well.
 

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If absolute cost is going to be addressed, is there a less expensive brand new crate motor with a pump boss? A 350HO is about $1K more.

If you are running a carbureted street car and a 250 hp crate motor there is no need to sump the tank, you merely install the electric pump back by the tank as low as you can get it and use the stock pickup. A $75 Carter pump kit comes with all the fittings and works very well.
I agree. No need to sump the tank unless you are going fuel injection.
 

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My first question is why do you want a crate engine? The reason I ask is that having an engine properly built by a reputable machine shop may cost a little more, but will be a better built, more powerful, more reliable, and smoother running engine.
 

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If absolute cost is going to be addressed, is there a less expensive brand new crate motor with a pump boss? A 350HO is about $1K more.

If you are running a carbureted street car and a 250 hp crate motor there is no need to sump the tank, you merely install the electric pump back by the tank as low as you can get it and use the stock pickup. A $75 Carter pump kit comes with all the fittings and works very well.
I only somewhat agree. If all you are doing is cruising to a car show in your town, or down to the local burger or ice cream joint, then yes, you can get away with the cheap Carter electric pump. If you want to take longer drives or more spirited driving you're going to want a better fuel system, if for nothing else increased reliability. A good electric fuel pump need to be gravity fed and a dumped tank is the best way to do that. You can also run a tank designed for fuel injection in your car that runs an in tank pump. Submerging the pump keeps it cool, which is the key to longevity in an electric pump. Either way, electric pumps don't like to deadhead against the carb. Run a pressure regulator and a return line back to the tank. This constant flow keeps the pump from over working and keeps it cool (lasts longer). Even electric pumps that say they don't need a regulator or a return line will benefit from this set up. When you deadhead and heat up en electric pump, the motor carbon fouls and they quit working. They can be cleaned and repaired, but being stuck on the side of the road sucks.

The best route for a driver is still a mechanical pump. As for the comment about all new cars running electric pumps, well, when's the last time you saw a carb on a new car? Electric pumps produce the needed high pressure a fuel injected engine needs easier than a mechanical pump can.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
My first question is why do you want a crate engine? The reason I ask is that having an engine properly built by a reputable machine shop may cost a little more, but will be a better built, more powerful, more reliable, and smoother running engine.
That is a great question.

The car had a 350 in it when I bought it but the engine was in terrible shape.

It's an older block - 3970010 - which I think is a decent block. It has smog heads - 462624. Not the best but still drivable.

The engine was clicking and clacking & the oil pressure was up and down all the time so I knew I needed to deal with it.

I considered my options... rebuild it or buy new.

I decided to have it rebuilt. I thought it would be cool to have an older rebuilt 350 and also cheaper because I had most of the component parts on the car already. It made sense at the time.

I knew I couldn't rebuild it so I looked around and ended up going with a local mechanic who promised to rebuilt it to the 9's.

The agreement was for him to disassemble it, have it sent to the machine shop for reconditioning & boring, and then he would rebuilt it with all new parts including a new cam.

He had it for 6 weeks.

He texted me pics of a fantastic looking block, bright and clean, and the all new cam, the pistons, lifters, springs..... the whole works.

I was very excited.

One small problem. The pics that he texted me were not of my engine.

I show up at his shop the day before pickup and find the engine still sitting out of the car and nothing done to it except new head gaskets and a Walmart rattle can spray-paint job.

It was still covered in old oil and grease and pieces of old gaskets stuck to it. He didn't even bother to scrape off the old flaking paint. He just spray painted right over it. LOL. It was completely horrible. A drunk monkey could have done better.

I was the opposite of excited.

I ended up having the car towed back home. It's now in my driveway looking at me everyday wondering when it will be back on the road.

I've been busy filing a small claims suit against the guy. I'm sure I won't get any of my money back but it makes me feel better knowing that I at least tried to get him to take responsibility for this.

Regardless, that's why I'm looking at the new engines.

I haven't pulled the trigger on the new one yet. There's still some small part of me that wants the 350 that I have to come back to life.

I'm gun shy at this point however.
 

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Did you go to a reputable shop with insurance, or did you just go to "a guy" who had an ad somewhere? The problem with modern social media is that just about anyone can "catfish" a reputable shop, but only the real deal places get good word of mouth reviews.

Going to a reputable, well-known, trustworthy shop is paramount for a rebuild. Go to a cruise-in or a local car show and talk to guys with hot rods or fast cars, they'll know where the good shops are. Some shops may even have a refreshed block taking up space in a corner somewhere, all ready to go; you never know.

It may be a little more expensive, but live by the mantra of "buy once, cry once" for a build or a rebuild. An OE crate motor is okay, but realize that these things are slapped together on an assembly line by workers who are just there to collect a paycheck and go home. They aren't people who live and breathe the hobby like speed shops.
 

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An OE crate motor is okay, but realize that these things are slapped together on an assembly line by workers who are just there to collect a paycheck and go home. They aren't people who live and breathe the hobby like speed shops.
I wonder if this also applies to all those guys with the numbers matching L79's made in the 60's? You have an extraordinarily valuable car with a junk engine slapped together on some assembly line somewhere?
How about all those guys running junkyard LS motors slapped together by uncaring paycheck gatherers? Imagine the worry...
Do you think about this when you're out on a trip in your daily driver, the one with the engine not meticulously crafted by a speed shop?
 
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