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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in the 3rd generation section but I haven't got much of a response. Maybe I will here.
I have a 1974 Nova Hatchback. The motor in it is out of a 1975 Camaro. We were haveing trouble with the backfire and with power so we decided to take a look at the heads. Well the rocker arm bolts were torqued down as tight as they could be and my dad went to losen them because I couldn't and he broke one off!!! So we then decided to take the heads off and have them machined no big deal. Well when we got the heads off we could see that the piston lobes are pitted really bad. So my Dad told me I would need to get it rebuilt or buy a new one.
Now my question is, would you keep the old engine and have it rebuilt or just by a new crate engine. Maybe some insight can help me decide.
Thanks,
 

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I'd ask a couple questions before I decided what to do. What do you plan to do with this car? Daily driver, race it, fix it up nice and drive it on W/Es, or what? When you say the piston lobes are pitted did you mean the piston domes or tops of the pistons? This motor shouldn't have domed pistons unless someone has already done work to it. It should have flat top or dished top pistons. If I was on a budget, wanted to drive it everyday, if the oil pressure was OK, it wasn't smoking, using alot of oil, and had satisfactory blow by, I would ignore some pitting on the pistons, fix the heads and put it together and drive it. If I was fixing it up nice, could afford a crate motor or a total rebuild of the present motor either would be a good choice. So I'd compare the cost to rebuild verses the crate motor. If you have no experience rebuilding a motor, or no place to do it, or no equipment to do it, or have to pay someone else to rebuild it, I'd do the crate engine. That should give you something to think about while you wait for some others replies. Best of luck. RM
 

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novachick said:
I posted this in the 3rd generation section but I haven't got much of a response. Maybe I will here.
I have a 1974 Nova Hatchback. The motor in it is out of a 1975 Camaro. We were haveing trouble with the backfire and with power so we decided to take a look at the heads. Well the rocker arm bolts were torqued down as tight as they could be and my dad went to losen them because I couldn't and he broke one off!!! So we then decided to take the heads off and have them machined no big deal. Well when we got the heads off we could see that the piston lobes are pitted really bad. So my Dad told me I would need to get it rebuilt or buy a new one.
Now my question is, would you keep the old engine and have it rebuilt or just by a new crate engine. Maybe some insight can help me decide.
Thanks,
Why were the rocker arm bolts tightened all the way? Chevy's have adjustable rockers and they are not supposed to be torqued or tightened all the way.

What's the history of this car? I'm guessing that the cam lobes were going flat and the previous owner kept adjusting them until they wouldn't go anymore. Then sold the car (or did you buy the engine and put it in?) to you.

As far as what to do that depends on what you want and what you can afford. Rebuilding an engine can be more expensive than just buying a replacement and bolting it in. There are a lot of bewildering choices and it can be hard to choose. Not all rebuilt engines are the same. Quality and what you get can vary. GM has a good line of quality crate engines that are made with brand new parts. In the rebuilder arena I think Jasper has a good rep but your aren't limited to those two.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, from what the previous owner told me the engine had been bored over to a 355 but, the is just what the person they bought it from had told them. They didn't do anything to the car after they bought it from a dealer in Ohio. So I don't even know how much the dealer knew about the car. I am sure it was just a trade in. So it is the piston domes that are pitted. Not the top of the pistons. It is just all around rough looking. I would like it to look as nice as I can afford. I don't believe in half a**ing things so I am either going to rebuild or get knew. And it did smoke pretty bad and used a lot more oil then my other Nova I had. And I haven't even driven this one much.

Paul,
I don't know why they were tighten so far down. My Dad was surprised when we found them like that. He said they were not supposed to be like that. When he started to losen them one broke. Probably from so much pressure. I have a new cam and lifters already so that is now big deal we planned on putting those in anyways. The engine came with the car. My Dad called a local machine shop and he said that he thought he could rebuild it for $1200 and then he told him we already had the cam and he said it would be even cheaper then. So, is that a good deal.
I still don't know what to do. What would be the best in the long run.
Thanks again,
 

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The choice is going to be yours on what to do,a rebuild is probally going to be cheapest route if your builder is reputable and offers warranty.The better choice is crate engine if it fits your budget.You could buy used engine BUT if you don't know the history you won't know what your getting,not my favorite idea.

With that said your engine now will probally going to have to come apart cause if cam lobes are pitted possiblly the lifters are mushroomed and have to come out from the bottom,I've done this on a engine in the car and its tricky without dropping the oil pan.Another thing is the filing from worn parts are now in the engine.

I think if I was in your shoes I'd do the rebuild your cam will save you some money,unless money is no issue then buy the crate engine.


Ask local garages and speed shops who the recomend you can weed out bad one that way.(if you don't know any).

Good luck and keep us updated Paul
 

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What cam did you buy? Why did you choose that cam? (please don't say for a lumpy idle).
What is your goal with the car? Do you want to race or want just drive it around? Is fuel economy more important than power?
How long do you want to keep the car?
 
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