We just finished a 350-cube Vortec that made 447HP for under $3,500 (including the engine core). That's going to be in the November 2006 issue.For our next project, what would you like to see?I am leaning towards doing something with a GM Performance Parts short-block, since a lot of people don't have the tools or skills to do machine shop work or bottom-end assembly. However, most people are quite capable of bolting on heads, stabbing in a cam, and screwing on an intake and carb in their garage.Right now I'm thinking about a 454 big-block, a 502 big-block or a 383 small-block. We'd pick and choose top-end stuff from other companies and try to stick within some budget.We've done so much small-block stuff that a big-block would be nice, but what do you guys think?
I like the idea of doing something besides a small block. It's been done to death.There are quite a few 454's out there, but it seems like I see many that surprisingly are built a lot stouter than they used to be, primarily high compression. Like 13.0 plus. Seems like it's a way to keep up with the bigger motors. To me that's pretty impractical unless it's a very short trip weekend toy.I've often recommended that folks should buy a 502 shortblock when they don't have access to machine shops or the skills to build one. I think a 502 that ended up with 10.5-11.0 compression along with a good set of heads would be fun. Hot Rod did well with the long stroke/short stroke engine tests....so we have an idea what 500" will make with 335 AFR heads. Let's use some different heads...Brodix as cast, Brodix CNC, Canfields.But to go to the next step, I usually always tell people that it's crazy to use a 502 when a 540 can be had for the same price. A 598 only costs a little more. Why not build one....it's been awhile since anyone did one? It would be a great "mule" motor to test heads and cams. Do all the same stuff you do with smallblocks. Intakes, heads, hyd flat, solid flat, hyd roller and solid rollers. There are over .700 lift hyd rollers these days that might be fun to test.I would like to see tests with Dart, Edelbrock Victor and Super Victors, the new Weiand Team G, maybe a huge Sonny's intake etc. Hey get a Hogans sheetmetal single carb one just for the heck of it.Then throw on a set of Big Duke or Big Chiefs and see what happens. Yes very extreme, but as folks move up you can pick up some very hardcore parts like this for decent prices. I'd love to see a set of the new "Big Brodix Ovals" tested on a big motor. Then mess it all up and see what the huge heads will do with a smaller .700 lift cam. All of this is feesible....Reher/Morrison sells kits to do it. Think of it as being along the lines of recent articles talking about buying used NASCAR motor parts and using them on the street. Even Comp Cams has a couple of NASCAR motors in detuned trim in their Power Tour cars. Let's do it with big blocks this time!I would also like to see one of the 572/720 crate motors taken apart and a full blueprint specs given as to what clearances GM used to pass all the stringent tests. Would also like to see what compression REALLY measures in it and to see some other heads tested on it. Also like to know if they used lifters with pressurized oiling to them, or what did they do to enhance life?I liked the FE motor from Engine Masters. It was cool to see it and there are quite a few FE folks out here.I have a buddy who just built a 383 using a GM crate shortblock, Dart iron heads, a GM Hot cam, 1.8 Crower rockers (20+ RWHP increase!) a modified Performer intake and cast iron rams horn manifolds. He uses it in his '67 Vette and it is designed to pass for a stock 327/350 and does a fantastic job of it. He owns his own chassis dyno and has tested lots of stuff. He is just over 400RWHP now through the manifolds and pipes. He has run a 12.15 with it so far in pure street trim. It will hit 11's soon. You would never know it to look at it.Hey, do the oil pump test maybe. Run it with a HV and a std pump and see how much HP difference there really is.Thanks,JIM
Why not a Big Block Ford (385 series)?There are more than a dozen heads available, a handful of intakes, and the stock blocks will go all the way to 572 cubes and 850+ hp with reliability.. The stroker kits don't even require grinding. Put together a nice 532 or 545 and swap HCI's.. (you can even test the use of dual pattern cams and where they are appropriate across the BBF head range) You could have the same 545 cube pump gas short block make from 550 hp with touched up D3 iron heads all the way to nearly 900 with a serious set of heads and a 6800 rpm limit.. Jim
I want to see a small block 454 to big block 454 comparison. Just for fun. I'm more interested in being entertained
That would be interesting.. how much to build a small block and big block to the same power level and displacement.Could compare the cost and the weight.At least I don't think it's been done before.
I'm pretty sure it has been done before, and they were both installed in a Nova to see real world track results.. (It was another magazine, and I don't think it was at the 454" level, but I can't recall exactly)It's all about potential, there are heads available to optimize a 454" SB engine, and the high flowing heads for a BB are lounging at those levels. Basically, a serious 454" SB has limited room to grow hp wise, but a 454" BB can go to 600" and have much more leeway in cyl head architecture for ports to carry those cubes. Engine Masters should be telling, I know there was talk of a couple big blocks being readied for the competition.Jim
Of course everyone can bolt on a set of heads, but to me, "out of the box" means boring. Bolting on a set of heads is not teaching you the true hot rodder's ways, and is more than likely leaving a lot on the table...I don't disagree with getting an assembled short-block, I know these days with the cost of machine work purchased short-blocks aren't a bad idea but if the short-block is going to be so basic, have the top-end get exotic.I would like to see probably a 11-12:1 pump gas, aluminum head big block chevy of around 454-500 C.I.D. I think we want to keep the cylinder heads and cam somewhat feasible so I wouldn't settle for 600+ C.I.D. spinning at 7000 rpm.I vote for getting a set of somewhat budget-minded cylinder heads with plenty of potential in them, take them to Vizard and have him work his magic porting them, give some in-depth descriptions of how it was done and then considering coatings...I would think a big block chevy with a huge open chamber would be a very good candidate for chamber and valve coatings. Hot Rod a while back did an article about applying the TechLine coatings but never followed up anything with it, since you have the Engine Master's using these coatings all over the place bring that technology to your other articles. If you think the TechLine coatings are not the way to go, send 'em off and hopefully still keep the price somewhat down. Maybe add a CNC-ported single plane and a good pressure recovery or anti-reversion spacer under a dominator and make a lot of horsepower and if possible keep the budget around 10,000-12,000.
We've covered so much exotic stuff in the Engine Masters Challenge that there has been a backlash on the newsstand. In the past year, we've covered cutting edge Mopar, Buick, Cadillac, Ford and Chevy big-blocks. These stories have examinded these engines in some depth.Building an engine from an existing crate short-block is more realistic I think. Even for guys who don't need a new short-block. The JEMC is a wonderful resource for the exotic and cutting edge stuff. I don't see a great need to duplicate these ideas in-house when most readers want to see what they can do with ordinary resources.Based on your level of interest in these things, you might want to pursue a JEMC entry of your own. Every year there are several "regular guys" who participate with various levels of help from local professionals. In 2004, our second-place finisher wasn't an engine builder and he picked up something like $30,000 in prize money.
The tools needed to apply Techline coatings are about as ordinary of a resources as their can be but I still see your point about not covering the same topics with PHR and JEMC...I guess my main concern & opinion is don't go and get a set of AFR heads and bolt them on, nothing is more over-done than something like that. At the least get a brand of cylinder somewhat unheard of so there is some new mainstream information on a set of heads, something like Carl Foltz's big chevy heads come to mind. I'm sure they won't be the cheapest, but don't make this motor the cheapest everyone knows horsepower costs money, if you're going to skimp and save on the time & labor on the top-end go with something a little out of the ordinary on the top, but still very functional for the average hot rodder.
What about a big-inch stroker LT1? There are a ton of fairly inexpensive "stroker kits" on eBay these days, it might be interesting to see how the quality of these things stack up against the price. I just bought the Grape of Wrath Camaro, if you guys are looking for a donor car for the story
Congrats on getting the '94 Camaro! I had a lot of fun in that car. The LT1 stroker kit is essentially a gen IIe, single-piece rear main seal SBC, so it's the same kit you'd buy for a Vortec truck motor. It's the top end of that motor that might not be so applicable to readers. Reverse-flow cooling, opti-spark and so forth...
So, I just found this forum, and I feel like being selfish I'm an import (honda) guy and buy your engine masters magazine every time a new one catches my eye. I work in a machine shop that deals primarily with chevy/ford/pontiac... v8 performance. It's only my boss(the owner) and myself there, and I've only been there for a little over a year. I've learned an immense ammount over the time I've been working there, and I'm very grateful to my boss. Anyway, my point is this. I've noticed a leading import drag racer reverting back to "older v8 tricks" in order to gain power in the range he's looking at. Carbs come to mind speaking about him. He's converted a fuel injected motor to run his webers, for the WOT atomization properties, as compared to injection. This is simply an example of some of the things I've seen. An idea you may or may not have thought about is to have a Honda motor gone through with the typical v8 tricks(not very costly for you at all, I'm sure, compared to some of these more extravagant motors you've got in the magazine). Coatings, simple headwork, larger bore, efficient intake and exhaust manifolds... The works. Whenever I buy the honda-oriented mags, I feel like screaming "partslappers!" They simply do not do the things you do in the way you do them. I think I remember you all doing a dart Honda buildup in the past, focused on making a huge amount of power, turbocharged, but these little motors are very capable of 9 second passes naturally aspirated as well. It may have been another mag, though. I've been tinkering with the older ('88-'00 sohc) honda blocks, including a semi-street performance oriented budget buildup at work. My goal was to spend about 1200 max on a motor that will pull a low 14 second pass @ about 95mph in the 1/4mile, and still enjoy 40mpg to and from the track in a fully equipped streetcar. I'll probably surpass this estimated mph, simply because the setup seems really matched. These may not be the best or highest horsepower motors out there, but there were thousands upon thousands produced between those two dates. Meaning there's many who would enjoy reading this article. Now, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, but I know you all could handle something like this. After all, I can drive to the importer and pick out one of the 20 1.6 liter sohc vtec blocks for about 350.00 for the complete shortblock core. Of course, lots of money would go into purchasing parts to develop some kind of power from this, but it's nothing like purchasing an aftermarket big block engine block! Wowzers!I know your readers are used to being drawn by covers like 1000hp easy to build big block, and 800hp small block, but there's a large community of performance oriented enthusiasts that would purchase an Engine Masters with a title like "Honda? And you thought they were for commuting...".(not that it should be a cover story, or anything Anyway, lots of exposure is possible with this type of buildup, and I think THAT is exactly what you are after. -josh-
PHR never did a Honda motor, but Hot Rod sure did and their readers crucified them for it. The important thing is that air and fuel don't care if a motor was built in America or Japan--the rules of physics are the same. If you're into engines, you'll be able to learn from Engine Masters no matter what brand you like.
It's always in the interest of low-budget readers, myself included, to build an inexpensive and relatively easy-to-obtain big block chevy from a pick-up or a Suburban.A prime example would be a 1970-1985 454 with a set of stock 4-bbl heads with no electronics, with the possible exception of a GM HEI. These motors are prime considerations to take any muscle car to the next level without spending $5-10K on just a motor.Keep up the great work,gmbbmc(general motors big block musclecar)
I was kind of leaning that way too. We could pick up a good core for maybe $300 - $400, freshen it with rings and bearings, put a cam in it, put a Weiand Team G intake on, maybe a Holley 750, and a new HEI. The heads would be the interesting thing. Stock ones would need fresh valvesprings, valve guides, valve job and maybe milling. You'd have a lot into them--and for a couple hundred more bucks you could have something decent, like a set of Iron Eagle Dart heads. I figure for $200 - $300 extra, you'd pick up an extra 30 - 40 HP with some iron aftermarket heads. Even with heads, this motor could be done for less than $5,000 and put out 550 - 600 HP easily.