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Goodwrench/Target Crate Engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by FuelRoadster, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Im retired now,but after 28 yrs working on stockers I should remember this.

    When GM first came out with their crate engines,I believe they were called Target or Targetmaster,,they were painted blue.
    Later on,they started calling them Goodwrench engines that were painted black.
    I cant remember the difference,other than one of them said "hecho in mexico" on the inside of the heads & somewhere on the block.
    I cant remember if there was a desireability difference in the two,,(in seemed like we wanted to stay away from the hecho in mexico?)
    Anyway,the reason Im posting this,is that I have a friend that is in pretty bad shape(dying)and his girlfriend recentley asked if I could help.(Ive known his GF for about 20 yrs)
    The guy has had a crate motor for several years now,and his GF cant seem to describe it to me.
    I also know that he's got a couple of cars they need to get rid of.One of them is an El Camino that might not be HAMB friendly,and the other is a truck that *is* a HAMB friendly Chevy truck of some sort,,cant remember.
    I know this because he was a student at the College where I worked,& would always come by & chit chat,,neat old guy that I prob havn't seen in 10 yrs.
    I put a call into his GF today to go look at everything & I can just about guarantee the stuff will sell pretty cheap.I agreed to help her with this & am not out to make a buck.They live in Buena Park Ca by Knotts Berry Farm.
    I called 2 separate GM dealers & they want around $1800.00 & 1900.00 for the latest crate engine.
    I'll wait til I see what he has & then repost in classifieds.(I hope this post doesn't get me in trouble,,just trying to help an old friend out)
    Troy Cagle
    EDIT--350 crate engine
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  2. From what I remember the Target Master were a generic non smog replacement motor that came out first. I had one installed in a Chevy Van in Pennsylvania when the stocker blew up towing the rally car (we were from California). That Target Master ran much better then the original stock 350.
    The Goodwrench ones were I think just the next generation crate replacement motor, just a marketing name change.
    By that time I think all small blocks were Hecho in Mexico.

    The GM Goodwrench 350 crate engine comes in several variations. The cheapest version produces 195 net horsepower (with accessories), and 260 gross horsepower (without the alternator, power steering, A/C compressor, catalytic converter, factory exhaust manifold, and muffler) when used with a four barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, and headers. The low output is the result of the relatively low 8.5:1 compression ratio, restrictive cylinder heads, dished pistons, and stock camshaft profile.[citation needed]
    All of the GM Goodwrench engines use the pre-1986 four-bolt casting molds with two dipstick locations; pre-1980 on the driver's side and post-1980 on the passenger's side. This engine was produced in Mexico since 1981 as the Targetmaster 350, and now the GM Goodwrench 350
  3. When I called the GM dealer a few minutes ago,the guy said they are now brand new engines with 4 bolt mains.
    I know I installed a few of them in some work trucks.
    I just seem to remember that the first version Targets were not desirable for some reason,maybe the fact they were cast in Mexico?,low nickle content?,,,,cant remember a fkn thing

    EDIT--I know this guy has had the same crate engine for a LONG time.
    When I go over there,I'll pull a valve cover & take pictures.
    Thanks for the reply up there.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  4. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,633

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Just bought a new GM 350- 290 HP longblock crate motor, got it at a dealer who ordered it by mistake (they wanted a newer engine with serpentine accessory mount locations)

    So I got it new in the crate for $1800. It will be great in my 36 sedan.

    Made in Mexico does not mean they are bad engines. They are built to standards set for new engines by GM and are quality controlled by GM.

  5. The Target Masters were fine for low performance basic 250-350 HP applications.
    Some of the original Mexican blocks got a reputation for being junk, but i think half of it is typical internet hype.
  6. 35mastr
    Joined: Oct 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,899

    from Norcal

    I recently put one of those new crate SBC in my 35. All new that I bought from Scoggin Dickey Chevrolet shipped to my door for 1649.00 with a 3 year warrenty.
  7. The Target motors (maybe it was target master) retailed for about 1200 bucks here in KC you could get one for 1100 if you knew the parts counter guy. They didn't make much zot but they were good for getting you back on the road.

    There is nothing wrong with a mexican block they have been producing them for decades. I have seen mexican Chevys with well over 200K on them and never had a head off.

    not much help I know but it is what it is.
  8. wildearp
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 522

    from tucson, az

    chevy has a lot of different hp ratings with their crate motors and some have different cams, heads, cranks, rods, etc. You will need to look at it, see if you can find a part number, and then do your research.

    The truck I had a target motor in, needed valve guides in pretty short order.

    The last "crate motor" that I bought off Craigs list was not a crate motor at all. It is a common mistake for people to throw terms on something out of ignorance. If the block has temperature stickers on the freeze plugs, it is a remanufactured motor. This may not be a bad thing, however, some remanufacturers have piss poor building ethics. Bonded Motors in Los Angeles is one of those companies and their motors are pure garbage.

    The thing I remember best about the Target motors is that when chevy was going to thinner castings (crack-o-matics) to meet CA emissions, the Target heads were still thick castings. They were a 4 bolt main with a cast crank.

    I will bet someone around here can find an archive article from about 1985-1990 where a car magazine (HOT ROD) did a story on one.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  9. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    They are one of the best values out there. You can't do a good rebuild on an engine for that amount of money. I installed one in a Vette some years ago and it was the easiest swap I have ever done and it was nice working with a new longblock.

    Some friends have them in thier hot rods, they just put in a hotter cam for a lumpy idle and one guy drives his car all over the country with zero problems.

  10. I bought a GMC truck with a 350 target master from Mexico in it . It ran excellent in the pickup for a few years,pulled it out and put it under the bench.That was 15 years ago,gave it to buddy who is building a model A .He pulled it apart because it had been sitting so long looked good inside .We put a good cam in it runs great.
  11. hotrod_32
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 496


    Bought a crate engine from Jim Pace in Ohio in 2002 350/330 hp guess what,Mexico stamped on it ! 18000 trouble free miles. Would buy another.
  12. wildearp
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 522

    from tucson, az

    I am running two crate goodwrench motors, the 290hp 350 and an older Vortec head 300hp 350. These are rock solid motors.

    <--has the 290hp

    Summit racing usually has most of these engine variants in stock and can truck freight them to you very quickly. They beat the dealer price, although, the dealer will argue that he is a better source if you have a warranty claim.....I don't know if this is a valid argument.
  13. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,669


    I have a ZZ3 that I bought in '94 (rated at 340hp, I think) and have 30-odd thousand miles on it. It has been generally good, but it has twice had valve spring failures and I think the cam is going away now. My tuneup guy says that the valve train was a weakness of the ZZ3, and was corrected in the ZZ4. I'm in no hurry to replace the valve train, so I live with a little lifter noise when it's warm.

  14. i was told that the "hecko in mexico" blocks are the old heavy casting "good guy" blocks better than most production motors.
  15. whiskerz
    Joined: Jul 7, 2011
    Posts: 148

    from Ga.

    I used to work in a chevy fleet shop we installed tons of the GM crate motors never had an issue . We even bought one of the 300hp motors for a truck that always pulled a trailer . they are worth the money and kick mystery rebuilds in the butt for life and quality
  16. terryble
    Joined: Sep 25, 2008
    Posts: 541

    from canada

    I was told once that the old Target Master engines were rejects sent back from the line for various reasons and completely redone to be sold as crate engines for warrantee etc. The idea of a complete engine direct from the general caught on.
  17. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    targetmasters where the remanufactured engines ( made from good cores all rebuilt internals ) , used block hot tanked , rebuilt heads( new valves and springs) , and small undersize cranks and rebuilt rods ,new cam lifters ,oil pump . they where a real good replacement motor we used alot of them for fleet rebuilds ( from 305s to 454's ) , the Gm crate motors ( black ) , are all new from Gm , no reused parts , and the blocks on the 350s where cast in Mexico , I have used them in tow truck applications and they hold up pretty good ,only had one take a dump thats due to a operator overheating it while towing ( blew a heater hose) , cracked a bore , unless your racing it they will last a long time ,only if I know it was goig to be beat todeath racing I wouldn't use one , I would then use the GMPP blocks or a old truck core
  18. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,253


    Just for what its worth, there's a jet engine overhaul facility licensed as a U.S. FAA Certificated Repair Station in Queretaro Mexico that overhauls engines for U.S. registered aircraft. Think about that the next time you fly. If a Mexican 350 craps out at least you can get out and walk.
  19. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    Got an acquaintance who lists everything he sells as having a 'crate motor'. I called BS on him one day and he said "Well it was in a crate SOMETIME".

    I worked at a couple GM dealerships back in the late eighties/early nineties, the Goodwrench/Target motors were all black. Sold and installed a bunch of them too.

    Back to the OP, if you can get the casting numbers off the block it might help, or it may even still have the stickers on the block. I've got a 300 HP GMPP crate motor in my '33 Plymouth and you can still see the numbers on the decal.
  20. Rich Wright
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,922

    Rich Wright

    I bought a Goodwrench 350 in '97 for a '55 I built. The thing ran like a bastard. I drove it for ten years before selling the car with not trouble and great performance for the HP rating.
  21. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,102


    We had one of the mexican crate motors in a friends shop truck that went a couple hundred thousand miles with routine maint. and timing chain replacements. We pulled the motor down for overhaul for a Chevelle project and it still had standard measurements.
  22. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,102


    Third party maint. is a new trend and isn't going away. I just sat through a class this week with a prop shop owner from Argentina ( whose shop was nicer than the ones we have been using) and a guy from a MRO from Panama that is doing Delta's MD80's.
  23. Ran the numbers on my "heco in Mehico" motor and it checks out to be 1973. Heco stamped on block and heads. Didn't realize they were making them down there that long ago.
  24. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    When the term crate motor first came into usage in the hotrod community it meant that an engine was taken off the assembly line before it was installed into a car.

    I remember touring the Baltimore assembly plant and seeing all of those engines stacked up in their crates waiting to be pulled down when it was needed on the line.

    Lustine Chevrolet in Hyattsville Md.was once the largest high performance Chevrolet parts dept on the east coast. They were like the warehouse for all the mid Atlantic area dealers.There was always a HP Corvette crate motor sitting on the floor in the waiting area. I spent a lot of time studying them while waiting for my number to be called. They came from the factory just as they were delivered from the engine assembly plants to the assembly line.


    I'm pretty sure that this is a "crate motor". They came with the lifting lugs and the plug wire bracket already bolted on. I'm pretty sure this was once intended to be put into a HP Camaro. Do you know any hotrodder that would build a SBC with a high rise intake and add them before dropping it into a Deuce roadster? I don't. This appears to be an 71 LT-1 with the factory high rise intake just as it came from the engine assembly plant. There are no serial numbers or engine codes that would have been in place if this engine was ever installed in a car at the factory.

    I remember when target masters came out. They were not HP engines. They were just replacement motors for fleets etc. Lots of hotrodders bought them because they were cheap. Yeah they came in a crate but I don't believe that they came with the intake installed. I could be wrong about that. I never saw one in the crate. Target masters were target masters and crate motors were crate motors...not the same thing. Deserved or not they did not have a very great reputation at that time.
  25. dorf
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,087

    from ohio

    sounds like u guys have better luck than i did . i bought one from pace pontiac 9 lbs of oil pressure, they sold me a new pump bring the other one in we will reimburse u , 12 lbs of pressure replaced it with low volume high pressure pump ,normal oil pressure. 4000 mile blew a head gasket piece of mexican shit . gm said tough shit
  26. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,152


    If the Mexico built motors were truly bad (% wise), it would have been verified.

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