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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need advice on what 350 I should get for my 71 nova. I'm completely new to this so I don't know what years are good, which ones to avoid, what to look out for, how much I should expect to pay, etc.. I don't have a huge budget to buy it and build it up so everything counts
 

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If you don't know what to look for, my advice would be to call a reputable engine shop and get their advice. Blueprint engines makes a very affordable "cruiser" crate 350 that is perfect for most people. 9:1 compression, aluminum heads, roller cam, and 1-piece rear main seal. The fact that is has a warranty with it should be strongly considered, too.


Crate 350's are available everywhere, and are usually cheaper than starting out with a questionable core and doing machine work with the current cost of labor, especially if you're not familiar with what works well for an engine build.
 

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If you want a rock solid 350 with a warranty go with a GM crate engine.
A good start:
A little warmer:
Yee Hah!

I toyed with the thought of a Blueprint engine but after talking to them on the phone I left unimpressed. They would not give me very specific information on things such as the block, crank, rods etc and they were vague on purpose, much of their stuff is offshore manufactured.
I ended up going with a builder who gained my confidence, they were great to talk to, really cultivated a two way conversation and were just a pleasure to deal with, Nyes Racing out of Indiana.
 

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I went with a GM crate SP350/357 which is all new components with warranty for about $4700-ish. Its expensive but I wanted a turnkey roller motor for piece of mind and to avoid dealing with any flat tappet beak-in snafu's. Also it removes the potential labor creep with machine shops or mismatched parts which quickly erodes any savings you may have gotten. You could build a decent SBC on your own for half the price, but I wanted a street cruiser I could just drop in and confidently drive (hopefully) for the life of the car.
 

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Is the 010 350 block still highly favored to build a race motor with? Wasn't there a 020 block also?
010 / 020 high nickle blocks are a myth... still to this day people swear the 010 / 020 blocks have a higher nickle content and are better although the metallurgists from GM have dispelled that long ago...


still busted... to this day...


Enjoy David! He won't be around long...
 

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Is the 010 350 block still highly favored to build a race motor with? Wasn't there a 020 block also?
You’re thinking of the “coveted” 010 020 block, denoted by the 010 & 020 under the timing cover and rear of the block.
Urban legend has it that they had a higher nickle content which has been debunked repeatedly. To the best of my knowledge the 010 & 020 signify which cores were used in the casting process and this set were less prone to core shift therefore yielding more consistent wall thickness’s.
I have a 4 bolt 010/020 block and a 2 bolt 010 block.
I don’t see a perceptible difference between them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you don't know what to look for, my advice would be to call a reputable engine shop and get their advice. Blueprint engines makes a very affordable "cruiser" crate 350 that is perfect for most people. 9:1 compression, aluminum heads, roller cam, and 1-piece rear main seal. The fact that is has a warranty with it should be strongly considered, too.


Crate 350's are available everywhere, and are usually cheaper than starting out with a questionable core and doing machine work with the current cost of labor, especially if you're not familiar with what works well for an engine build.
A crate engine would be great but I can't afford to drop $5k at once. I'd really like to have a decent motor with mostly stock parts and then upgrade as I go along. I really need to buy something just to get it rolling
 

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You would be hard pressed to build one any cheaper than this, especially when you consider parts cost and machining.
Buy once, cry once.

 

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Serious southern boy living in Jax Fl.
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You would be hard pressed to build one any cheaper than this, especially when you consider parts cost and machining.
Buy once, cry once.


Yep, and the ease in which you can modify it is ridiculous.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A crate engine would be great but I can't afford to drop $5k at once. I'd really like to have a decent motor with mostly stock parts and then upgrade as I go along. I really need to buy something just to get it rolling
For example I found one out of a 1994 truck that runs but smokes for dirt cheap. Is that something worth getting? It definitely 100x better than what I have now but I'd like to know how upgradeable the block is
 

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For example I found one out of a 1994 truck that runs but smokes for dirt cheap. Is that something worth getting? It definitely 100x better than what I have now but I'd like to know how upgradeable the block is
Runs but smokes... 1994 truck is a TBI engine and the heads won't allow you to really bolt on a usable intake manifold without modding the holes in the manifold for the intake pattern. The intakes on those engines are a TBI fuel meter pattern and can be modded but not without quite a lot of trouble... And then you still have a smoking small block...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Runs but smokes... 1994 truck is a TBI engine and the heads won't allow you to really bolt on a usable intake manifold without modding the holes in the manifold for the intake pattern. The intakes on those engines are a TBI fuel meter pattern and can be modded but not without quite a lot of trouble... And then you still have a smoking small block...
Is it still not worth it if its only $200?
 

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If you just want something to move your car and you can facilitate an intake manifold for it, and a carb, and a distributor (go HEI for simplicity but you'll need pure 12vdc 12 or 14 ga wire), some headers... Other stuff then yeah, you could do it with used craigslist parts for under $450-500 i bet.
 

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Also my concern at that point would be you have a 30 year old motor prob with a couple 100K miles that smokes, bad enough that the seller has to mention it. So you'll need to go down the rabbit hole and open it up to investigate. Could be a $100 fix or a $1000 fix or worse.
 

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You can buy the Scoggin Dickey engine I noted via Affirm. Factory GM and a warranty. You make monthly payments on it and if you pay it off early you hardly pay interest.

What is your time, aggravation and frustration worth to you?
With the GM crate you have thousands of trouble free miles ahead of you and as Pragmatist noted, easy to hop up.
With your $200 oil burner?

As the old saying goes: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten
 

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You know, if I haven't persuaded you enough to go with a crate or bptacticals suggestion, then I do have my old 350 in a new wheeled cradle looking for a new home. I dropped it in new/rebuilt 30 years ago in high school and drove it for 10. It ran well enough with no smoke when I parked it. I drove it around with the old motor a bit recently and was going to rebuild it but went with a crate for all the reasons above. If you're in socal, I'll let it go cheap to get it out of my garage.
 

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You know, if I haven't persuaded you enough to go with a crate or bptacticals suggestion, then I do have my old 350 in a new wheeled cradle looking for a new home. I dropped it in new/rebuilt 30 years ago in high school and drove it for 10. It ran well enough with no smoke when I parked it. I drove it around with the old motor a bit recently and was going to rebuild it but went with a crate for all the reasons above. If you're in socal, I'll let it go cheap to get it out of my garage.
Now THAT is what SNS family is all about! You Rock!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You know, if I haven't persuaded you enough to go with a crate or bptacticals suggestion, then I do have my old 350 in a new wheeled cradle looking for a new home. I dropped it in new/rebuilt 30 years ago in high school and drove it for 10. It ran well enough with no smoke when I parked it. I drove it around with the old motor a bit recently and was going to rebuild it but went with a crate for all the reasons above. If you're in socal, I'll let it go cheap to get it out of my garage.
I'm on the east coast. But thanks for the offer, I wouldve definitely taken it if I was nearby
 
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