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I am thinking about swapping my 350 for a big block. I was thinking about a 396. Im sure some of you guys have done this swap and I am looking for suggestions. I have my eye on a 396 that is currently in a mid 70's pickup at the local salvage yard. I'm sure it needs an overhaul. Any suggestions on a good streetable rebuild combo? Heads, cam, etc? So far everybody I run into and bring it up with say its not worth it. They say the bb is to heavy and I would need to beef up my front end and that I could get plenty of power out of the 350. There is just something that fires me up about having a bb under the hood. The car is a 72 ss and I have replaced most of the front end, springs, balljoints, tierods, etc. I know there is about 200 # difference but I dont plan on racing it. Just looking for a good streetable bb. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated either for or against the swap. Thanks guys!!
 

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Depends on whether you just want to shoehorn a big block in or do it right. I was going to do mine last winter and came up with over $1500 in incidentals to make it right. Thing like the heater core/box, radiator, frame mounts, fan shroud, headers, alternator mount, power steering mount, water pump, pulleys, z-bar (four speed), and possibly front springs. I finally decided on AFR 195 heads, better headers and a roller cam for my 355 and am happy with the outcome.
 

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That makes sense. The motor I was looking at was complete. All the accessories come with it, alternator and bracket, power steering pump and bracket, etc. I don't have power brakes so the booster isn't there in the way. I didn't realize I might have to change the heater box. I planned on the motor mounts and headers, exhaust. I have a th350 so out should bolt up. Your right there would be alot of additional changes that I would have to do but would it be worth it? You think I could get a significant power increase with a big block?
 

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So I guess what I'm asking is say you had a budget of $2000. Would you get more power from building a bbc or a sbc? My car had a 307 originally so its not a bigblock car. I know that I would have to fabricate or change some things to get it to fit right. I just am unsure of which way to go. The 350 that I have is allready punched 060 over so when it goes I have to start over. Its just a question of where to start. I worlds like to get a jump on it and start building one soon. Thanks for the input!!!
 

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I think you'd notice a significant "seat of the pants" feel. I am old school and wouldn't want a big block in front of a turbo 350 and a 10 bolt, just because they never came that way. There are plenty of them out there though.
 

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I run a T-350 with my 489 and I have run six cylinder springs in the front. Later you can run a 454 or add a stroker crank and make a 496 or using a big bore block make a 540. That should offset the 200lbs of extra weight pretty well.
 

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Well that sounds outright awesome!! A 496 or a 540!!! If I was to get a standard bore 396 it wouldn't take much to push it up to 500 horse or so right? I would have to massage a 350 quite a bit to make it comparable to that right?
 

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I didn't realize I might have to change the heater box.
I don't think it's a "might". If you want to be able to use the stock heater, you'll need the big block heater box & core. You can stuff the BBC in there with the SBC box, but I don't see any way that you'd ever be able to connect the coolant lines back to the box. The BBC version puts the lines in the middle of the box, rather than at the end like the SBC/L6 version.

I faced this decision about 4 years ago when I had to replace the original heater core. The thought had crossed my mind to just replace the whole box with the BBC one, but I decided to stick with the SBC instead.
 

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Since you dont have a booster, the heater housing should be the only thing in the way. Does the heat even work? If not Id just remove it and make the firewall flush. I have a 454 Im putting in my 70. I got the oem frame mounts and got an 8in dual diaphragm booster since I have power brakes.
 

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I don't think it's a "might". If you want to be able to use the stock heater, you'll need the big block heater box & core. You can stuff the BBC in there with the SBC box, but I don't see any way that you'd ever be able to connect the coolant lines back to the box. The BBC version puts the lines in the middle of the box, rather than at the end like the SBC/L6 version.

I faced this decision about 4 years ago when I had to replace the original heater core. The thought had crossed my mind to just replace the whole box with the BBC one, but I decided to stick with the SBC instead.
i put a BB in a 68 camaro with the small block box and the coolant lines hooked up just like with the small block.at the time i had no idea there even was a BB box.
 

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i put a BB in a 68 camaro with the small block box and the coolant lines hooked up just like with the small block.at the time i had no idea there even was a BB box.
I wonder if this has something to do with the mounts?

I've seen a couple of these where there was absolutely no way that any human could connect those coolant lines. Not sure what mounts they were using though. Valve cover size might also be a factor.
 

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I wonder if this has something to do with the mounts?

I've seen a couple of these where there was absolutely no way that any human could connect those coolant lines. Not sure what mounts they were using though. Valve cover size might also be a factor.
Ya, it does, with SB mounts you can force it in with a SB heater core setup, but it's not the best way to do it.:no:

BB Heater core $100 then just drill your box for the tubes
BB Frame stands NOS $200 or repop
Cut the rad support larger, free just some of your time
BB Tranny mount $200 for a repop or redrill yours for free
Accessories for BB water pump,$100, alt bracket $50-100, Pulleys $200 after market deep groove, headers $300 up, used ones from Camaros are easy to come buy for $200

With some looking and effort, $1000 tops, possibly cheaper if you hunt more, plus the engine rebuild. I don't have much money (under $4000) in my BB and it's a healthy 430+ hp, some parts I had and some I bought new. I have LS6 open chamber heads steel heads, with just under 10:1 compression, 2 bolt block and I like it much more then any SB I've owned. I've always preferred BB's to SB's, there will always be someone faster, no matter what you have, so build what you want to enjoy and enjoy it!:yes:
 

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What would the cost difference be between redoing things to drop in a big block vs stroking out your 350 to a 383 stroker? You'd only be short 13 c.i. and be about 200 lbs lighter in the nose of the car.

Otherwise if going to a big block, a 454 would be cool. Way more cubes than the 396 and similar mods to fit the big block in anyway I believe.

Either way you go I think you'll be happy, you'll definitely have a lot more torque to throw your Nova around!
 

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Ya, it does, with SB mounts you can force it in with a SB heater core setup, but it's not the best way to do it.:no:

BB Heater core $100 then just drill your box for the tubes
BB Frame stands NOS $200 or repop
Cut the rad support larger, free just some of your time
BB Tranny mount $200 for a repop or redrill yours for free
Accessories for BB water pump,$100, alt bracket $50-100, Pulleys $200 after market deep groove, headers $300 up, used ones from Camaros are easy to come buy for $200

With some looking and effort, $1000 tops, possibly cheaper if you hunt more, plus the engine rebuild. I don't have much money (under $4000) in my BB and it's a healthy 430+ hp, some parts I had and some I bought new. I have LS6 open chamber heads steel heads, with just under 10:1 compression, 2 bolt block and I like it much more then any SB I've owned. I've always preferred BB's to SB's, there will always be someone faster, no matter what you have, so build what you want to enjoy and enjoy it!:yes:
A bit off on some prices.
BB frame mnts 65
http://www.classicindustries.com/nova/parts/k701.html
tranny crossmember 70
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/OER-3912573/
headers 160
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/HED-68190/
 
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