Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 20 of 144 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello men. Had a rough time with covid. Got two little guys at home. Haven't worked on my Nova in months. BUT after finally doing some research and thinking hard. I'm ready to spend some time and $$$$ on my Nova again.

I've come up with the idea that I am going to pull my engine and tear it down to the block.

I've never done this before but I am very eager to start. I've watched about 10 videos of engine tear downs multiple times and I have gathered a few different things. And one of those things is that I know nothing about my engine. So I bought a used engine stand and engine hoist.

So here are my questions/concerns..

1. I got a quote to get my block baked, cleaned, bored, honed. .30 over for $450 does this sound right? If I do this I need new pistons or no?

2. I am looking for 062 or 906 heads. I know I'll need a new intake manifold. What else will I need. I have a 650 holley. If I can't find any what are a good set of heads around $400-500?

I'm just ready to start learning about my engine and upgrading it. Not looking to get 400hp but I'd like to get as much as possible.

Tell me what I need to know. There's some really good and a lot of misleading info out there. It's hard for a new guy to differentiate.
407719

Feel free to be mean, I can take it as long as you're helpful. Haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
976 Posts
The first thing you want to do is get the casting number off the driver side rear of the block. This will give you an idea of what block "size" is in your car. You don't want to start with a 307 or a 305. Once its bored, yes you will need new pistons. A good shop will want the pistons beforehand to set the piston to wall clearance as part of the finish hone. It is also good to have the block decked and align honed. This makes the block fully flat and square to the mains, and then resets your main bearing bore sizes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
If I were you, I'd find a reputable machine shop near you and talk to them. Tell them your block number, then listen to the many questions they ask and options they offer. A good machinist is a very valuable person to be friends with!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If I were you, I'd find a reputable machine shop near you and talk to them. Tell them your block number, then listen to the many questions they ask and options they offer. A good machinist is a very valuable person to be friends with!!!
I totally agree. The only problem I have with that is that I've called 4 shops around me and all except one didn't want to give me the time of day. One guy was very nice but he costs twice as much. So I'm hoping I can not go in totally helpless and have a shop walk all over me. If that makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The first thing you want to do is get the casting number off the driver side rear of the block. This will give you an idea of what block "size" is in your car. You don't want to start with a 307 or a 305. Once its bored, yes you will need new pistons. A good shop will want the pistons beforehand to set the piston to wall clearance as part of the finish hone. It is also good to have the block decked and align honed. This makes the block fully flat and square to the mains, and then resets your main bearing bore sizes.
So would these be a good starting point?
407720

407721
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
This sort of thing can spiral out of control very quickly. You definitely want to have a good plan going into it but be prepared to spend 2 to 3 times what you may think. If you tear down an engine to all its components and start replacing things as you should, things can add up pretty quickly. That's not to discourage you. It just is what it is.

Yes when you bore your block you will need new pistons. Make sure you are buying pistons that are assembled, meaning they have the connecting rods already pressed in so you don't have to deal with that.

Do you have any idea the condition of your crank? If it's a steel crank you're probably okay but you may not know this until you get it out.
Obviously you'll be installing new crank bearings either way.

That seems like an ok price for the block. It's been awhile since I had any work done by a machine shop but maybe somebody here has a better idea. I would suggest having them install new cam bearings while they have it. I personally have always had that done by them. Have them thrown some new freeze plugs as well if that's not already included in the price.

Are you replacing your cam? Because that's going to have a huge effect on what top end components you'll need. Bigger isn't always better. As long as you match your top end components with your cam you will create a very happy engine that will create more power than you'd think.

Of course after that you will need a new timing gear set. Make sure you read up on how to properly set cam timing. You don't have to go crazy with "dialing" it in but you just want to make sure your number one piston is at top dead center and your cam gear is lined up correctly with the crank.

With a new cam you'll obviously want new lifters. These can be fairly inexpensive if you just stay with standard hydraulic flat tappet. Some cams may even come with new lifters if I'm not mistaken.

If all your pushrods are not bent they can be reused but that's another item to consider especially if you wish to pay attention to rocker arm geometry, which you should. Check out some vids on YouTube. You can buy an adjustable push rod on summit to determine correct length.

I don't think you're going to find a new set of heads for that price but I'm sure you can get them secondhand for that much. If you do buy new try to get a set that's already assembled, otherwise you'll more than likely want to have a shop do all the work for you which may negate some of the savings of buying a bear set.

And then on to rocker arms with correct ratio. This will all be determined once you choose your cam and will fall in line with getting your geometry set properly. I bought the stamped steel comp cam roller tip rockers which seem pretty nice and aren't too expensive.

The next part would be choosing an intake and the right size carburetor as I said this will be determined by the rest of the components that you choose, most importantly the cam. Don't over do it with the carb. That's a pretty common mistake that will make your engine run like ****.

I'm not sure if you decided anything on your ignition but that would leave your distributor and the coil and possibly an external ignition box if you wanted to go that route.

I believe that covers most of the major parts. Don't forget about all the hardware and gaskets, sealant, bearings and assembly lube etc that you will need. You can buy a sbc rebuild kit which includes mostly gaskets and some other stuff.

Oh and don't forget to put sealant on all your blind cylinder head bolts, meaning they go straight through into a water jacket. If you don't seal them they will leak and it will be a mess.

Definitely know all your torque specs and torque patterns as it's a very important step when you're rebuilding an engine.

And lastly gear ratio and torque converter, if you're running an automatic, will have a huge effect on putting all that new power to the rear wheels, so don't forget about that ;)

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Be cautious of when you have your block decked. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do it but only do it if absolutely necessary. For starters it will wipe off the serial number on your block if you care enough about it you should be aware of that. Also this can dramatically affect the type of heads and intake you can have as it lowers the height of your heads. Now maybe mine was just decked severely or was decked more than once but that's what happened to me and it wasn't till later that I realized how much that affected everything else. Just a warning. You could be fine if it's the first time getting it done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
This sort of thing can spiral out of control very quickly. You definitely want to have a good plan going into it but be prepared to spend 2 to 3 times what you may think. If you tear down an engine to all its components and start replacing things as you should, things can add up pretty quickly. That's not to discourage you. It just is what it is.

Yes when you bore your block you will need new pistons. Make sure you are buying pistons that are assembled, meaning they have the connecting rods already pressed in so you don't have to deal with that.

Do you have any idea the condition of your crank? If it's a steel crank you're probably okay but you may not know this until you get it out.
Obviously you'll be installing new crank bearings either way.

That seems like an ok price for the block. It's been awhile since I had any work done by a machine shop but maybe somebody here has a better idea. I would suggest having them install new cam bearings while they have it. I personally have always had that done by them. Have them thrown some new freeze plugs as well if that's not already included in the price.

Are you replacing your cam? Because that's going to have a huge effect on what top end components you'll need. Bigger isn't always better. As long as you match your top end components with your cam you will create a very happy engine that will create more power than you'd think.

Of course after that you will need a new timing gear set. Make sure you read up on how to properly set cam timing. You don't have to go crazy with "dialing" it in but you just want to make sure your number one piston is at top dead center and your cam gear is lined up correctly with the crank.

With a new cam you'll obviously want new lifters. These can be fairly inexpensive if you just stay with standard hydraulic flat tappet. Some cams may even come with new lifters if I'm not mistaken.

If all your pushrods are not bent they can be reused but that's another item to consider especially if you wish to pay attention to rocker arm geometry, which you should. Check out some vids on YouTube. You can buy an adjustable push rod on summit to determine correct length.

I don't think you're going to find a new set of heads for that price but I'm sure you can get them secondhand for that much. If you do buy new try to get a set that's already assembled, otherwise you'll more than likely want to have a shop do all the work for you which may negate some of the savings of buying a bear set.

And then on to rocker arms with correct ratio. This will all be determined once you choose your cam and will fall in line with getting your geometry set properly. I bought the stamped steel comp cam roller tip rockers which seem pretty nice and aren't too expensive.

The next part would be choosing an intake and the right size carburetor as I said this will be determined by the rest of the components that you choose, most importantly the cam. Don't over do it with the carb. That's a pretty common mistake that will make your engine run like ****.

I'm not sure if you decided anything on your ignition but that would leave your distributor and the coil and possibly an external ignition box if you wanted to go that route.

I believe that covers most of the major parts. Don't forget about all the hardware and gaskets, sealant, bearings and assembly lube etc that you will need. You can buy a sbc rebuild kit which includes mostly gaskets and some other stuff.

Oh and don't forget to put sealant on all your blind cylinder head bolts, meaning they go straight through into a water jacket. If you don't seal them they will leak and it will be a mess.

Definitely know all your torque specs and torque patterns as it's a very important step when you're rebuilding an engine.

And lastly gear ratio and torque converter, if you're running an automatic, will have a huge effect on putting all that new power to the rear wheels, so don't forget about that ;)

Good luck!
This is what I needed!! A big picture explanation. Im not needing this done asap. I want to be patient and do it right the first time. I'm not intimidated to take this on or to spend the money.

BTW I have a th350 I'm pretty sure! I haven't the faintest idea if that's strong enough. Not against upgrading that as well. Anything newer I can pull out of a truck or something?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
There's absolutely nothing wrong with a th350. That's a good strong trans as long as it's in good condition. You can always have that rebuilt as well. I don't have too much experience with stall converters but, depending on your engine setup and gears, you'll want that to be matched as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Oh and check out ProMaxx cylinder heads. They are Chinese made heads that flow pretty well and won't break the bank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
If you are looking for opinions I would just drop a GM crate motor in there. You get a built right dependable motor with a warranty.
I'm not against that. If I went that direction what's easier. That or an LS swap?
 

·
Premium Member
1968 Chevy II Nova, Central Arkansas
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
There is no question that replacing your old motor with a crate motor is way easier and cheaper than doing a LS swap. You didn't ask which is better and I'm not getting into that debate. You can get them anyway you want. More or less HP. More or less accessories. Click here
 

·
Registered
1972 Nova
Joined
·
281 Posts
Last I checked with my brother, he was about $4k into his 5.3/4L60E swap on his Monte Carlo, and wasn't done. He also did all of the rewiring himself, so that saved a lot of money over buying a swap harness, as well as saving money by doing the labor himself. That's also a motor with 150k on it I think, versus a brand new crate motor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Ok. So if I did go that way then I'd hit up the crate motor. I still really like the idea of tearing my engine down to know it's ins and outs. So if I just left my engine the way it was and tracked down some 062 heads for a quick gain. What would that entail?

I have a guy that has a good set of 906 heads for $200. Is that resonable?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,394 Posts
There is no question that replacing your old motor with a crate motor is way easier and cheaper than doing a LS swap. You didn't ask which is better and I'm not getting into that debate. You can get them anyway you want. More or less HP. More or less accessories. Click here
I like this as well. If you are determined to tear down your engine and rebuild it you also have to consider the overall time including the time at the machine shop and time spent in the garage putting your engine back together. the idea of a warranty is also something to consider. If you were to go with a crate engine you could still tare down your old engine at some point or sell it outright to help pay for the crate engine.
 

·
Registered
Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Who was going to assemble the engine after the machine work was completed?
If you were considering completing the assembly, you also need to add the cost of all of the special tools needed... and the skills needed to use those tools correctly. Just one mistake or over-site during the assembly process could destroy the newly rebuilt engine. If the machine shop was going to assemble the engine, you need to factor in those extra costs.

I agree with BLYOTH and acd65post. It's hard to beat the "bang for buck" of a crate engine.
Take a look at GMPP (General Motors Performance Products) or Blueprint Engines. Both companies offer several levels of crate engines to suit your needs, come with a warranty , and have good reviews.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I like this as well. If you are determined to tear down your engine and rebuild it you also have to consider the overall time including the time at the machine shop and time spent in the garage putting your engine back together. the idea of a warranty is also something to consider. If you were to go with a crate engine you could still tare down your old engine at some point or sell it outright to help pay for the crate engine.
Very good point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Who was going to assemble the engine after the machine work was completed?
If you were considering completing the assembly, you also need to add the cost of all of the special tools needed... and the skills needed to use those tools correctly. Just one mistake or over-site during the assembly process could destroy the newly rebuilt engine. If the machine shop was going to assemble the engine, you need to factor in those extra costs.

I agree with BLYOTH and acd65post. It's hard to beat the "bang for buck" of a crate engine.
Take a look at GMPP (General Motors Performance Products) or Blueprint Engines. Both companies offer several levels of crate engines to suit your needs, come with a warranty , and have good reviews.
So after reading this I'm definitely thinking that is the way I'll go eventually. So now my notes immediate question is basically right now I can't just get new vortec heads and a matching cam and intake that fits. Right?
 
1 - 20 of 144 Posts
Top