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Technical 383 heads

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Trikerider, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Trikerider
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 30

    from Madera,Ca

    I am looking to build me a 383 and have questions about head selections.
    I have a pair of factory 194 heads,someone told me a set of Vortec heads would be better.
    I dont plan on building a monster motor,just need more power to pull my trailer,etc so dont need something real potent...
    The 194 heads were part of the engine and a set of Vortec's would be around 500.00 rebuilt and that is a bit much so thus the reason for asking for opinions... Any help would be appreciated...
  2. Vortec heads require a vortec manifold. With the limited info provided, and limited budget, you might be better off building a 350. I'd say it's pointless to spend money on the rotating assembly (stroker crank / machining the block for the crank) if your budget falls short. Spend your money on a great cam, intake, carb, and heads first.
    drifters cc likes this.
  3. If you need more torque, put an RV cam in the 350 (?) you have now. If you need more cubes, a 396 might be cheaper than a 383 which requires "special" parts.
  4. drifters cc
    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
    Posts: 178

    drifters cc

    Seriously stop with the 383s guys.
    Find a 400ci SBC. These motors with just a 4bbl carb and intake (and an RV cam if you like) will pull over buildings.
    Most over looked SBC out there. Little torque monsters.
    I ran a basic 400ci SBC with a 4bbl and RV cam in a Vega years ago. It would pull the front tires off the ground, hole shot (admittedly not much in the MPH dept) ANY street legal car around. And whipped up on lots of built 383s.
    The 400 SBC was made to pull or tow what ever you want it too.

  5. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    Big fan of the 400SBC. I have not found a used core that didn't need a bore job to clean up the bottom of the bore. The short rods seem to be the problem. Check the price of new GM performance Vortech heads. They are cheaper than rebuilding your old heads but you do need the matching intake manifold.
  6. You can't even find a useable, economical 400 bare block around here any more the short track guys have used them all up. That said if one of you fellas is giving a 400 block away I need to freshen up my 355 and a bore heavy small block wouldn't be much more then a general freshening. LOL

    Nothing wrong with a 383 motor, they are affordable to build these days and are or can be a very dependable truck motor. But a mildly built 350 will pull a trailer just fine, they have been doing of for decades. Hell the 326" LS in the wife's Silverado pulled our 18' camper just fine from here to Washington and back and there are lots of big grades between here and there. One does not always need cubic torque to pull a load.

    As for heads, if I were building a 383 truck motor to run on modern panther piss (pump gas) I would just snag a pair of open chamber truck heads, give them a thorough cleaning and run with them.
  7. 383 - the motor Chevy should have built!
    Joined: Nov 10, 2005
    Posts: 846

    from Holly

    A comment on 400 blocks..

    The worst of the small blocks in terms of case strength. The two bolt blocks are the strongest. As mentioned the usable cores are just about dried up.. High mile cores are subject to cracks in the decks. Thru the head bolt holes and steam holes. Cracks from deck into the upper bores. Cracks above the lifters in the valley. Main bearing cracks and distortion. Most need a line bore and special rear seal. Decks restored, heli-coils. Bored, not more than .040" and a deck plate MUST be used on the hone. Everything moves around on these things..
  9. The all mighty internet is full of proven 383 combos and budget builds. Do your search and pick the best package for your need and wallet. 194 head doesn't mean anything.
    Larry T likes this.
  10. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,690

    Larry T

    I'm building a 383 race motor for my Anglia right now. If I trusted a oem 400 block to have thick enough cylinder walls or could afford an aftermarket 400 block, I'd build a 400 (+) engine for it. I can't, so I'm going with the 383.

    As far as the original question goes, I'd go with Vortec heads and aftermarket intake for your setup.

    Camshaft selection, call the manufacturer. Who's gonna know more about camshaft selection than them?

    And I don't think any of this is HAMB friendly. :D
  11. GRX
    Joined: Mar 28, 2014
    Posts: 68

    from MD

    Right on about the sbc 400. They had a limited run for a reason. If you want a 400, consider the Pontiac. Same bore & stroke, and makes it's torque down low. The aftermarket has blossomed, and prices have fallen.

    As for the heads. Agree about running a set of truck heads. Vortec are good runners, but in addition to intakes, it also requires center bolt valve covers. And self aligning rocker arms as well.

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