Register now to get rid of these ads!

Cams, performance, new #'s for old grinds?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by DrJ, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    A few days ago I bought an old SBC from an old friend that he'd had sitting under his work bench for forever and he just wanted to get rid of it.
    He wanted $100 for it but mostly just wanted the space, so I bought it.
    He said he was pretty sure it was a 283" and came out of a '57 but didn't remember much more about it.
    It's got the front mounts still on it and no side mounts so I figured that was good for the year so I just pulled the valve covers to see what heads are on it... 3731539 castings....MorTec says it's a 283HP 283 with FI heads!!!
    Yippieeee!

    Now, for the question, A while back AV8 posted a number for a currently made cam that's the same or close to the same grind as the old FI grind.
    I figure this thing's going to need a freshen up so does anyone have the number?
    AV8, you reading this?
     
  2. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    dammit DrJ!!

    I just bought a pair of those heads just minutes ago!

    but I paid exactly twice what you did for a whole motor!

    believe it or not I just logged on to ask the very same cam question!!

    what a quinkiedink!
     
  3. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    Well, mine are still on the engine so I'm still in crap shoot territory about the condition of the valves...You paid a little extra for clean heads you can see the condition of.
    Still worth it!
     
  4. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    yeah, visual inspection passed, I bought a steel cranked '58 long block a week or so ago that will get these heads.

    the motor looked almost this clean,
    I'm hoping I can do a minimal freshening up and go...

    wait a minute...

    I don't have anything to put it in!

    anybody got an old Austin Healey laying around?

    Paul
     
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,307

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    Those 539 heads are not '57 FI heads, just plain 'ol Power Pack 283 heads. You can tell just by looking at the triangular casting mark projection.

    The '57 FI heads have a rectangular casting mark projection on the ends of the heads.

    The '57 FI 283 used the 3736097 solid cam, lash set at .008 intake & .018 exhaust.

    Cam specs.

    NOS 3736097 cam for sale here.
     
  6. 22 track
    Joined: Mar 23, 2001
    Posts: 271

    22 track
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here are some specs from NHRA on the 283:

    Deck Piston Type
    H.P. Disp. Cl Dish/Dome Ht/Vol Valves Cam Lift Springs

    270 283 .015 Flat 1725/1505 394/400 Outer w Damper
    283 283 .015 Dome .122" 1725/1505 394/400 Outer w Damper
     
  7. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,653

    av8
    Member

    Yes, I'm reading it but I don't recall talking about current equivalent camshafts, John. I did comment on the '57 heads for the high-compression motors, but that was probably a year or two ago. Anyway, FWIW and to refresh what I said earlier, the "good" motors for the SS Corvettes and "Black Widow" and Super Stock passenger cars were 'select-fit' supervised by A-D's operation if not actually produce by his guys. Compression ratio was 11.5:1 to 12.5:1, depending on the application, and I believe that most of the motors destined for drag racing were 12.5:1.

    The motors ate spark plugs like they were popcorn. Sunday morning at San Fernando I'd make a couple "qualifying" passes on the plugs I'd been running on the street since the previous Sunday's racing, and then change plugs before the "old" ones broke down during eliminations. Plug life was really horrible early in the '57 season, until Autolite gave us a plug they called the ETR for extended-tip resistor. These plugs were much colder than the "race" plugs Autolite offerred at first and the extended tips permitted them to burn clean. It was a nice gesture on the part of Autolite, and they actually would last a week or two more of daily driving, but they didn't eliminate the weekly plug renewal if one was even halfway serious about winning in Super Stock.

    The problem with the '57 heads is that they did not have coolant channels around the spark-plug bores. For 1958, Chevy modified their patterns to include a channel above the plug bores that was then joined to the cooling system for the rest of the motor with a couple of small drillways -- end of spark plug problem in very-high-compression SBCs!

    So, my advice is that if your heads are genuine '57 hi-po pieces, sell them at a pretty price to a restorer who needs the correct numbers and buy a pair of '58 or later heads that will breathe as well or better and not eat spark plugs like they were popcorn . . . But then. what do I know?:D

    Mike
     
  8. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    so my two hunert dollar clean enough to run 539 heads are junk?

    how about my quad benjamin 461s?
    clean as a whistle never run since gone through, them junk too?

    damn, old technology just aint what it used to be.:rolleyes:

    Paul
     
  9. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    60's Style,
    Before jumping off the Puyallup bridge, take a picture of the gasket side of one of those heads right at the area below the spark plug and post it so I can see what it looks like on yours, OK? :)
    Even if it doesn't have the passages drilled maybe it can be "inVENTed"
     
  10. FWilliams
    Joined: Apr 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,983

    FWilliams
    Member

    , Mike.......interesting on the auto light plugs.....



    the 539 castings were used on the 57 vette motor, but there was actually 4 different motors available...being that you have the block there Doc you can tell by........

    if the suffix numbers are still readable on the block, the last 2 letters will tell you which engine it was

    EA was the dual 4 barrel
    EB was the dual 4 with high lift cam
    EJ was the fuel injected
    EX was the fuel injected -highlift cam

    i believe the high lift cams were 10.5 to 1 motors and the others were 9.5 to 1 but i would have to dig out the old GM books to be sure......


    Fred
     
  11. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    Also,
    can anyone tell me where to look up a stamped block number to see what the block was in?
    I tried nastyz28 and it wasn't listed there.
    It's a '57 3731548 casting with a flywheel and clutch, with a stamped serial # with a "F###GC" GC suffix.

    HELP! Thanks for the what's up so far!
     
  12. FWilliams
    Joined: Apr 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,983

    FWilliams
    Member

  13. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member


    Thanks for the link.
    I looked in a couple of spark plug holes and saw low compression? flat top pistons with four "either bank" valve reliefs, so for me that's a plus, we gots shit gas here in Paradise! :D :cool:

    It's got a flywheel and clutch on it, and I looked and saw a pilot bushing, so if/since it was a turboglide, someone converted it to a stick. (or the application list is incomplete.)
    One things for sure, it's not an E* series :(
    Anything this old, who knows how many times it's slept in different beds?
     
  14. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    Doc here's the pix,

    if I get your drift, the area is solid, no drilling into a water jacket in the head there.

    who needs another hole in their head anyway? :rolleyes:
     
  15. FWilliams
    Joined: Apr 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,983

    FWilliams
    Member


    the heads have such a small combustion chamber that flatops would easily still get you into the 9to 9.5 to 1 area
     
  16. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    OK, Damn I hate it when AV8's right... (not really, thanks for the heads up Mike!)
    Now the solution...
    I wonder how far and how straight one would have to drill to hit water?
    The "worm hole" water jacket below the plug just goes across there where that rust spot is on the head in the first picture. That would be easy to grind in a little channel to let some coolant in there but if it doesn't have an exit it will just boil and percolate. so it either needs the holes drilled up into the head or, just maybe, a second hole drilled down into the block and the gasket too of course.Won't be exactly as done at GM but it will get some cool in that area right?
    I'm going to put some fluids in this engine and take a compression test and if it seems ok I'm just going to fire it and if it sounds ok, run it in something, like maybe Wife's '55 second series instead of the original never been out 235, or maybe the 1800S Volvo?

    AV8, RACEFAB, anybody!
    Is the water jacket not there on these heads or just that lower chamber that's drilled to missing?
    Can it be invented?
    I carve holes in solid stone ya know.... :cool:

    Also, do plugs go away just as fast if ya DON'T race it?
     
  17. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    New day...

    Anyone know if it's possible to drill these older heads for water passages around the plugs?

    Or if it's definitly not possible?
     
  18. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 14,825

    Roothawg
    Member

    Anyone have the specs for the Engle 95?
     
  19. Thumper
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,603

    Thumper
    Member

  20. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    Been there many times, That's where I looked up the numbers I have to know what I have.
    Thanks anyway! :D
     
  21. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    how much of a detriment is this hot spot?

    does look like one could grind a small worm hole and drill a small diameter steam vent to the head water jacket, might be enough to reduce spot temps a few degrees...

    might also trash some good power pack heads trying..

    Paul
     
  22. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,653

    av8
    Member

    You could probably modify the heads, DrJ, milling a transfer passage like that in later heads, and then drilling up into the main coolant chamber above the spark-plug bores, but that's a great deal of work on some potentially valuable heads whose sale to a restorer could cover all your costs and then some.

    That said, I learned about the source of my on-going spark-plug agony with my ’57 SS from Ray Brock, not directly, but by reading his excellent intro of the 1958 Chevys in the December 1957 issue of HRM (’58 CHEVY . . . A NEW BREED OF CAR). The big news, of course, was the 348 and the X-frame chassis, but Brock talked about SBC updates, particularly as they related to high performance. Connected guys who were running SS Chevys no doubt had a handle on this situation, but I was a struggler and was just damn glad to have occasional help from the resident high-performance tech at Pollard-Carrell Chevrolet in San Fernando who would bring all of my motor’s variables back into spec after I’d slowly fettled them out of range during a few weeks of racing.

    Anyway, here’s what I learned from Ray Brock and HRM . . .

    One important change has been made to the heads on the '58 283 engine. A small groove is cast in the surface of the head alongside the plug hole and the groove connected to the water jacket in the head by drilled holes. This gives a full 360-degrees of water passage around the plug seat which cools the plug much better and permits the use of a hotter range plug which will not fuel foul. This solves a problem often encountered with the dual-quad equipped Chevy engines during the past couple of years. A fairly hot plug had to be used for town driving to keep the plugs from fouling while a much colder plug was needed for competition or highway speeds. The better plug cooling will permit the same set of plugs to be used in the city and out on the highway.


    I don't know if this will help you, John, but understanding a problem is almost as good as solving it.:)

    And on behalf of SBC lovers, thanks for starting this thread. It may help recent arrivals to hot rodding begin to understand that the SBC is a traditional hot-rod powerplant of the first order and probably more responsible for keeping our much-loved movement alive and growing than any other single piece of hardware. We've been screwing around and improving Ed Cole's motors since I was in my mid teens, and that's my personal test for the traditional credentials of the SBC.

    Mike
     
  23. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member



    Thanks Mike,
    I just dug out the two head "corners" I band sawed off a cracked head years ago to use as welding jigs for welding headers together from the inside of the tube when the flange is bolted to the head. :cool:
    I conveniently managed to cut right through the discussed drilled passage on the one shown. What you are looking at is #1 (or #7) culinder crossection with the head gasket surface at the bottom of the pic and the exhaust port cut away at the top.
    The drilled hole is that rusty looking diagonal channel that goes from the gasket surface to the water jacket right below the exhaust port. It's a distance of about 1.3" that needs to be drilled, straight, right between the walls. (Looks like it'd be a piece of cake in a mill, but I don't have a mill.)
    The cylinder chamber is to the lower right in the picture.
    This was cut from a low compression head too so a high comp would be wider in that area I think.

    I'll think about it, gonna fire this puppy before deciding if I'm going to tear it down at all...
     
  24. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,653

    av8
    Member

    Once again, John, I urge you to "shop" your heads on the enthusiast boards. If they have the good numbers they'll be worth more than a few bucks to a restorer. About 25 years ago I saw some production figures on the '57 "Black Widow" and SS Chevys and they totalled no more than around 1,100 units, FI and carburetted, representing somewhere less than a tenth percent of total passenger-car production for the year.

    Mike
     
  25. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,972

    fab32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mike, could you verify the 11.5 and 12.5:1 compression ratios in these early engines? I'm stumped as I don't remember that high a compression ratio on those engines. Our shop prepped some record holding short blocks and heads for some of the early SBC's and my memory just doesn't come up with anything approaching those numbers. somewhere in the 10:1-11:1 is all my grey matter recalls. I've got the old data sheets buried somewhere and I'm not going to dig through 40 years worth of information just to satisfy my curiousity. Since you were so close to these I'll rely on your memory/information bank. Thanks,


    Frank
     
  26. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,401

    DrJ
    Member

    Mike,
    OK, I won't fuck them up with my Dremel ;)
    (Sheesh, you get to streamline and "Polish" flatty cranks and ya won't even let me drill a hand full of little holes in a cheap old Chevy head...) ;)
    Someone mentioned at the start of this thread that there is a "triangle" casting and a "rectangle" casting.
    Do you confirm this?
    The ones I have look like the heads "60's Style" posted with the raised triangle (pyramid?) at the end of the head.
    Also, do you know of a "Black Widow" enthusiast site?
     
  27. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,653

    av8
    Member

    I'm probably mis-remembering the compression range by a whole bunch. I recall that the tech at P-C Chevrolet said my 283 was 11.5:1 and set it up and tuned it accordingly. There were some, the really serious guys, who were running even tighter. The early period of super-stock racing in SoCal was very competitive, certainly more so than I could afford to participate in with skill or dollars. I stuck it our for one year, even though I knew I was outclassed by mid season. I got into a lot of final rounds but never scored the big win at San Fernando, in spite of running quicker and faster than nationals winners were logging in the mid-west.

    Looks like you caught me . . . I should have kept better records, or maybe not have allowed my memory to run wild.

    Mike
     
  28. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 12,229

    Paul
    Editor

    I am looking too for confirmation on the raised bump as designation.

    all my books and what I can find on the net do not show designs for this vintage.

    the nearest I get is a simple list that says:

    3731539....57......283..........283 HP FI

    no pictures..

    Paul
     
  29. FWilliams
    Joined: Apr 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,983

    FWilliams
    Member

    if your heads have a date casting for 57 then they are from the vette motor


    58 and on used the triangle over rectangle as the marking for the power pack 283 ho hum heads

    to many people get caught up in the out side marks on SBC heads...the same marks have been used over and over for different applications...you need to go by casting number AND date code to find the exact use

    a lot of the hipo 57 vettes used the 997 casting which had a vertical bar over rectangle....and the same casting number also came with 2 rectangle bars over rectangle cast on the end of the heads...these are the ones that guys will tell you are the GOOD heads, 539,997 and a couple others were all used in the FI.. 2X4 and single 4 vette motors

    heres another good sight ...while not gospel it help determine a little more.....

    http://www.angelfire.com/tx5/randysresume/Headguide.html


    remember casting number and date code are your best identifier for these things

    Fred
     
  30. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,307

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    When I owned '57 Bel Air Sport Coupe some years back I did some research. I can't remember exactly, but I do remember the rare 270 HP dual-quad heads as well as the 283 HP FI heads had rectangular casting marks, both differing from each other and definitely not triangular.

    Those 283 HP heads are rare, the chances of two HAMB members finding set for next to nothing in the same week are nearly impossible.

    Below is a listing of casting #s that says they're common '57 -'61 truck heads. Every list on the 'net that I've looked at says something different, but I can say almost certainly that the triangle casing mark IDs them as a fairly common Power-Pack 9.5:1 283 head. Not trying to whiz in anyone's Wheaties, just trying to share what I hope is good info. :cool:

    Chevy cylinder head ID chart
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2013 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.