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1957 Bel Air sport sedan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is an article in the November 2006 PHR magazine about a budget 350 build that produces a 447HP motor for less than $3500 bucks! Anyone able to do this? It says that they were able to get a junkyard Vortec 350 core for $300 and just have the cylinders honed and deck resurfaced. Any opinions on this one?
Eldon
 

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I built a 420HP 350 for around $3500. I didn't use any junkyard parts either, all brand new. The Vortec heads are a good bang for the buck.

Breakdown of my build:

Block: New gm 4-bolt from PAW -------------------------- $1800
Pistons: Forged, 10:1, included with shortblock
Crank: Forged, included with shortblock
Rods: Modded stock rods good to 600HP, included with short block
Oil pump: High flow, included with shortblock
Gasket set: Felpro, came with shortblock
Cam: Mild street cam .488/.488 , included with shortblock
Oil pan: 8qt Miloden ----------------------------------------$130
Dampner: Fluidampner Streetdampner -----------------------$180
Intake: Performer RPM for Vortec heads ---------------------$160
Carb: Edelbrock 750 reman from summit ---------------------$225
Heads: New Vortecs with screw in studs, and roller rockers -- $680
Chrome dress up kit (valve covers, air filter, timing cover) --- $120
Distrubitor: Summit racing blueprinted HEI---------------------$95
Waterpump: High flow Aluminum ------------------------------$60

I left out a few little things, and the accesories (alternator, PS pump, A/C) were used off the old engine. But that's all the major components and it's a little under $3500. Shipping on everything was around $200, only because the shortblock was ordered with a trans also and cost $150 to ship to my door. I did put it all together myself which saved some cash, and since everything was brand new there was no machine work involved. The only exception is the tapping for screw in studs for the rocker arms, but that was done for free from the company I ordered the heads from.

With a hotter cam there's no doubt it could have made 27 more HP. The cam was mild because that's the way the guy I built it for wanted ti that way.

If I were to do it again I could probally shave around $800 off the total price just by using more economical parts. Like cast pistons and crank like OEM would be. And a standard dampner would save almost $100. This was also 4 years ago and Vortec heads and intakes have come down in price since then.

So i'd say it's very possible to build their engine on that budget, or even for less.
 

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1957 Bel Air sport sedan
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! That sounds like a good plan! It is amazing how much horsepower we can get out of a small budget!
Eldon
 

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So cast pistons and crank would be sufficient for that power level? How much stronger are hyperuetetric (yikes, that's tough to spell) pistons vs. cast? And stock rods are fine for that much power? If I can get away with using the cheaper OEM stuff, awesome!
 

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1957 Bel Air sport sedan
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think cast pistons are good until about 400hp. Not sure about that though, someone here knows for sure though. The hyper pistons are just another version of cast pistons. I have seen stock rods used up to 500hp. As for PAW, you have to pay for their catalogs? Nothing online? They would need to have REALLY good prices for me to pay for a catalog. (I know... I am cheap!)
Eldon
 

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So forged pistons it is. I would rather have it stronger than I need than marginal. Just means it will take me that much longer to get it built, I should have it ready to go by the time gasoline is phased out!
 

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I would trust Hypereutectic pistons, a cast crank, and beam polished stock rods with good aftermarket bolts to about 450-500HP as long as I made that power under 6000 RPM.

I have a 350 in one of my cars that I used all stock components in the shortblock and I hit 6000 RPM all the time with no problems.

Yeah it sucks the PAW catalog is $5, but it's refunded with your first purchase, or if you make a purchase from them they will send a current catalouge for free. So if you order a $1 part, the catalouge is free. The catalouge is about 3 inches thick and has a ton of parts at prices usually a little better or the same as Summit or Jegs.

You can get about the same price on the shortblock elsewere, I was just citing my sources.
 

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That's good news, it is very unlikely that my engine will ever even get close to 6000 rpm.

Any particular piston company that you recommend, or recommend I stay away from?
 

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1957 Bel Air sport sedan
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, that sounds a little more reasonable about the catalog then.

Hypereutectic pistons are good pistons as long as you don't run a blower/turbo/nitrous. As long as it is naturally aspirated and under 500 horsepower you are fine. Not sure the best ones though.
Eldon
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I see in the magazine that the block they started with was a '98 350 that needed only a honing. They say this is typical of the newer blocks. Am I to assume that I would be safe in buying a $300 short block from a wrecking yard and could expect to have minimal maching work to do? Anyone have experience with the newer bottom ends?
Eldon
 

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You could probably get the complete engine. I would check the crank and rod bearings. You could look in the paper for an older car that still runs good and possibly pick up the whole thing and then have other parts to adapt to yours.
Dave
 
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