Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,658 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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.
 

·
Registered
Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
Joined
·
1,754 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,189 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
Joined
·
1,754 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
440 Posts
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".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
I built my first engine when I was 15 years old. I'm now 53. I can't tell you exactly how many I've built but it is more than a few. I've built seven second quarter mile engines all the way to stock rebuilds. A couple of years ago when we did my car I bought a ATK crate engine. It was cheaper to buy the crate long block instead of buying the parts and building it myself. Now, I didn't think I was ever going to build another car so I didn't have anything to start with. I don't see how these guys build and sell the engines as cheap as they do. My ATK engine is now out of warranty and has almost four thousand miles on it. It is still running like a top. I'm very satisfied with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Who is ATK? I'd love to have a 383 stroker myself. I'm still stuck in the 70's with the bone stock 350 and edelbrock intake and carb setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,189 Posts
Who is ATK? I'd love to have a 383 stroker myself. I'm still stuck in the 70's with the bone stock 350 and edelbrock intake and carb setup.
ATK crate engines.

https://www.high-performance-engines.com/Default.asp

One of the guys that works there Brandon, goes by Notalent used to be on here, and is on the Chevelle site. I had talked to him about getting a Ford small block for a project. Its hard to beat the cost for the HP that you are getting. I am seriously considering a crate engine for my 80 Malibu project. I can't justify a $5000 300 hp 350 by the time I get all the parts and do the machine work. It is really easy with higher cost parts to wind up with an $8000 street engine. My 355 in the Nova had and Eagle crank, Scat rods, SRP pistons, Lunati retro roller cam, Morel lifters, AFR heads, Harland Sharp rockers, etc, etc, and it was a street cruiser. Its not worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
The crate engines are hard to beat.

I did some rough estimates last night.

1.) Engine rebuild with all existing parts: $1000-1500
2.) Engine rebuild above plus cam/lifters: $2000-2500
3.) Engine rebuild above plus new pistons: $2500-3000
4.) New 500hp 406 crate engine for $7500 less selling current engine and parts I don't need off the crate engine: $4500-5000

So if I want to rebuild my engine and upgrade the cam and pistons, it's only $1500 or so more to just get the crate engine and be done with it. No hassles, just shows up at my driveway, drop it in, done. Seems like the easier route to go.

The crate engine has a Dart SHP block, Dart heads, Howards roller cam, Edelbrock intake, Quickfuel carb, MSD distrbutor, Scat 9000 crank, forged pistons, etc. Seems like all decent parts in it for the money. I don't think you could build that for the same money, would likely cost more, and you'd have to cart all the parts around, deal with machine shops, etc.

The way my engine is now is fine, it uses some oil, but runs great. But it could use a freshening up. If it were on it's last leg or just died on me and I didn't have the money, I'd just rebuild what I have now. But if I can keep it running for another year or two, I could easily save up the dough to pop for a new crate engine.

There seems to be a middle ground where there is a tipping point that leans towards crate engines being the way to go.

I've had that short block in the car for nearly 20 years, and the top end for over 10 years, so it's served me well. I think if I'm going to go through the bother of pulling the engine, I want to drop something back in there that is at least a little more powerful. Preferably, I'd like to get a nice kickass engine in there that I can keep for many more years.

This is my first car, bought it at 15 years old, so I plan to keep it forever. So spending a little more up front to have something I can enjoy for many more years would be worth it to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
The crate engines are hard to beat.

I did some rough estimates last night.

1.) Engine rebuild with all existing parts: $1000-1500
2.) Engine rebuild above plus cam/lifters: $2000-2500
3.) Engine rebuild above plus new pistons: $2500-3000
4.) New 500hp 406 crate engine for $7500 less selling current engine and parts I don't need off the crate engine: $4500-5000

So if I want to rebuild my engine and upgrade the cam and pistons, it's only $1500 or so more to just get the crate engine and be done with it. No hassles, just shows up at my driveway, drop it in, done. Seems like the easier route to go.

The crate engine has a Dart SHP block, Dart heads, Howards roller cam, Edelbrock intake, Quickfuel carb, MSD distrbutor, Scat 9000 crank, forged pistons, etc. Seems like all decent parts in it for the money. I don't think you could build that for the same money, would likely cost more, and you'd have to cart all the parts around, deal with machine shops, etc.

The way my engine is now is fine, it uses some oil, but runs great. But it could use a freshening up. If it were on it's last leg or just died on me and I didn't have the money, I'd just rebuild what I have now. But if I can keep it running for another year or two, I could easily save up the dough to pop for a new crate engine.

There seems to be a middle ground where there is a tipping point that leans towards crate engines being the way to go.

I've had that short block in the car for nearly 20 years, and the top end for over 10 years, so it's served me well. I think if I'm going to go through the bother of pulling the engine, I want to drop something back in there that is at least a little more powerful. Preferably, I'd like to get a nice kickass engine in there that I can keep for many more years.

This is my first car, bought it at 15 years old, so I plan to keep it forever. So spending a little more up front to have something I can enjoy for many more years would be worth it to me.

Putting a cast crank in an 1800 block is not a good choice IMHO
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top