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Hey guys I currently daily my 4 door 72 however the sbc 350 in it right now have so many problems I do believe it has a blown head gasket in it. My plans with the car is to make it a great daily driver but also a awesome road trip car with the extra pony’s for fun. What type of setups are y’all running with y’all novas I want all the details from front to back. Also what size engines could possibly be great for the application I’m new to engine building and currently a broke college student who works on everything to keep the car running
 

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If you want a daily and a cruiser I'd go with a 5.3 or 6.0 LS truck engine and a 4L60E tranny. Dependable and great mileage. You can go to lt1.com and rework the harness yourself. In most cases you can easily hook up cruise control. With the overdrive you ay have to address your rear gear.
 

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Simplest swap is to build a mild 383. The longer stroke will help with torque to get it moving and cruise easily.
 

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You can rebuild your 350. They're a classic, budget friendly and you already have one!

Any good, corrosion free 5.3 from a junkyard would work great too. More power than a typical 350 build, better mileage, and of course being an LS the options are limitless. The cheap-o cammed 5.3 in my 68 Nova is a blast to drive and decently quick.
 

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For my build I bought a complete 2001 Denali that had rusted out. That way I got the engine, tranny, harness, TAC module and peddle assembly that was all matched and I knew would work together. I reworked the harness according to the site I listed and sent him my ECM for some slight tuning and to get the vats and other unnecessary stuff deleted. Cranked first try on the engine stand. I did upgrade to an LS6 intake, 799 heads, injectors and a stout cam but that's just me. A stock 6.0 is pretty strong in alight car as is.
 

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My current car has a 383 with a 700r4 OD transmission with 3.55 gears. It is a fun, fairly quick car that will drive any where I want to point it. I've already found a 6.0 engine for my next build. My plans are to put a 408 stroker kit in it with a set of CNC'd LS3 GM heads and a nice sized Hydraulic roller camshaft and then decide on some form of fuel injection. I would love to find a real LS3 fairly cheap for the larger bore size but it's probably not going to happen. It really comes down to how wild or how much money you want to throw at your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another question I have for y’all is geared toward buying a used LS engine. How can y’all tell the good engines from the bad ones out there? Is there a certain website or place y’all go to find y’all engines ? And lastly are there any books Y’all recommend I read to gain some knowledge on engine building and swapping ?
 

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I'm building a junkyard 2004 4.8 with a 4L80e which can be found in 2500 Express vans. Mine had 93K on it and I heard I run and yard drove it. Paid $900 for a "drop out" which basically means I got the engine, tranny, and all the accessories including PCM and harness. I compresssion tested #7 and #4 and called it good, If something is going to be bad and that is rare, 7 is a known bad hole.

I'm tossing a turbo on mine but these little 4.8's are cheap and can easily support 300-350 hp for next to nothing. Pretty much just exhaust, Cam, springs, and a good tune will do it.

Try looking around at the Sloppy mechanic site, some good info over there. There is also a ton of parts in the classified real cheap too to get you going. Great thing is once you get the LS in your ride if it ever does let go a replacement can be found super cheap at your local yard.
 

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Well, I'm the one seeing broke college student that works on everything to keep the car running so go buy head gaskets and replace it or buy a set of jegs heads,throw them on and be on your way again.
This WILL be the quickest,cheapest thing for a college student.
ESPECIALLY if you want the cheapest, 1 gasket and re install the head.

The LS option is a good one....but ask the ones that have done the swap,
1) exactly how much did it cost. EVERYTHING Every little nut and bolt,every pc of the puzzle.
2)How long did the conversion take?
3)Was this their daily driver

We (myself included) tend to "forget" how much we exactly spent and how long it took.
We get amnesia and tend to forget all the nickels and dimes. :yes:

Again, not saying it's not worth it.....but def NOT something to start while your IN school! :no:
 

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Another question I have for y’all is geared toward buying a used LS engine. How can y’all tell the good engines from the bad ones out there? Is there a certain website or place y’all go to find y’all engines ? And lastly are there any books Y’all recommend I read to gain some knowledge on engine building and swapping ?
www.car-part.com is a aggregation of salvage yards with available parts/engines. Usually they will grade them and plenty will guarantee the vehicle was running a driving at the time of dismantling. The only bad luck I have had is with LKQ junkyard motors a few times, but they are relatively cheap and I can part them out and make a small amount of money on them if they are bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
changing the heads

I am all for changing the engine to a 5.3 or 6.0 ls in the near future (probably next year). i do however think changing the heads on the car right now would be best so i can atleast use it without worrying about messing anything up. any tips on heads in terms of sizing and all. all i know about the car is that there is a sbc 350 in there. what heads would be a good match for the block or size wise.
 

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Couple things that might get some ideas rolling. How much you want or better yet have to spend on a set of new heads. Also, if the only thing you know is that it's a 350 might be a good idea to pull a valve cover off and get the casting numbers off a head so you can post what is on there now.
 

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Well, I'm the one seeing broke college student that works on everything to keep the car running so go buy head gaskets and replace it or buy a set of jegs heads,throw them on and be on your way again.
This WILL be the quickest,cheapest thing for a college student.
ESPECIALLY if you want the cheapest, 1 gasket and re install the head.

The LS option is a good one....but ask the ones that have done the swap,
1) exactly how much did it cost. EVERYTHING Every little nut and bolt,every pc of the puzzle.
2)How long did the conversion take?
3)Was this their daily driver

We (myself included) tend to "forget" how much we exactly spent and how long it took.
We get amnesia and tend to forget all the nickels and dimes. :yes:

Again, not saying it's not worth it.....but def NOT something to start while your IN school! :no:
Exactly.
If you know nothing about engines, the last thing you wanna start tackling is an engine swap to ls platform while in school. Buying a used engine may get you into electrical issues and or actual component repairs. Plus all the little things (not so little) exhaust, rad, mounts, fuel pump...list goes on.. and on.
 

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Broke college student?

Buy a gasket kit from Rock Auto, such as the Fel-Pro KS2600, and have at it.

All of the other options that have been tossed will cost significantly more money than is claimed by the time it's all said and done. Wait until you've graduated and have a job before you dive into a 383 stroker, LS swap, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I took the cover off and looked at the casting number on the heads which is 333882 I looked over what they represented and it showed on a few sites intake valve 1.94 exhaust valve 1.50 with the combustion chamber size of 75cc. Production year is 1974-1980 do I just find a matching head at this point and swap along with the gasket while I’m at it the heads are not to much financially.
 

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I took the cover off and looked at the casting number on the heads which is 333882 I looked over what they represented and it showed on a few sites intake valve 1.94 exhaust valve 1.50 with the combustion chamber size of 75cc. Production year is 1974-1980 do I just find a matching head at this point and swap along with the gasket while I’m at it the heads are not to much financially.
Just take your head to a machine shop to have it checked. Unless it was run hot it should clean up with minimal money spent. Then you will just need a set of gaskets.
 

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Exactly.
If you know nothing about engines, the last thing you wanna start tackling is an engine swap to ls platform while in school. Buying a used engine may get you into electrical issues and or actual component repairs. Plus all the little things (not so little) exhaust, rad, mounts, fuel pump...list goes on.. and on.
So true but that's not what the OP asked. He asked for options to replace what he had to make it a better daily and cruiser.
 
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