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Projects SBC 350 or 400 to re-ring, port and polish

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by John Reed, Aug 23, 2017.

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  1. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    I have a 350 in running condition but ready for a overhaul. And a 400 that has sat for about 15years in the garage, and was "starting to smoke and leak a little" says the previous owner (Father).
    I'm considering rebulding one, so some questions I have are;
    Not bored or stroked, which would you prefer 350 or 400?
    What grit cylinder hone should I use? 60, 120, 180, 240 etc?
    Lifter valley oil baffles, opinions?
    Engine oil cooler?
    I have an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, should I drill/tap for a rear coolant cross over?
    Phenolic or aluminum carb spacer?
    Block/heads? Orange or Flat black?

    I believe I will do is; use the SBC 400, hoping it does not need any machine work and all the old parts are reusable. Port and polish the heads. Use Lifter valley oil baffle, buy or copy out of Stainless steel. Sandwich style oil filter to run a oil cooler. Phenolic Carb spacer.
    I have seen some guys would make a side to side rear coolant cross over that T's off to a 1 inch spacer under the thermostat "allows air bubbles to easily work there way out".
     

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  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,633

    squirrel
    Member

    I have an older version of

    https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/.../glaze-breaker/23500/4413585/1996/ford/escort

    I don't know or car what grit it is...it works...but it's not going to do what I would consider to be "rebuilding" an engine. It's more like an "overhaul" or a "ring job".

    the other mods you're considering making, I would not bother with. The head work...not sure what you expect to get out of polishing the ports? but those 70s heads could use some careful cleaning up in the ports, under the seats, to smooth out the radius.

    Do you plan to get the guides replaced, and a valve job, too? New cam and lifters, new valve springs, etc?

    I would probably go with the 350, but then again I'd probably take both engines apart and use the best one, if I were going to try to get the truck going without spending a bunch of money. And I am a fan of doing a quick overhaul, just replacing what's needed to get it to go down the road for a while, vs a complete rebuild that costs a few grand and will make the engine good as new, but probably won't get driven enough to justify.

    Neat 58.
     
  3. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,004

    Budget36
    Member

    Both need a rebuild, a hone isn't going to make it happen...so you're looking to do a backyard rebuild, fine, if so, and you want the extra oomph, go with the 400...either way, refurb or rebuild, I'd do the 400
     
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  4. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,370

    jimmy six
    Member

    Bleeding the back is good. If you can get a thermostat housing spacer and run a -6 style hose from the back to the spacer, one on each side our circle track engines all have them. Get push-on fittings and GY hose good for over 125psi.
     
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  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,633

    squirrel
    Member

    maybe it's a circle track pickup truck? :)

    millions of 350s lasted billions of miles without all the modern tricks...but I guess we gotta reinvent the wheel
     
  6. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Yes, "circle track" pick up....but by circle track I mean circling from home to work and back home (which is only 13miles both ways).
    Essentially I have everything already, minus gaskets/bearings/rings. Even though it will be no more then cruiser and joy rides, I obviously still want to go fast. And I like the idea of keeping things cooler.
    Maybe I'll skip the port/polish.
    Yes, pretty much just a clean and rebuilt
     
  7. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,341

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There's no replacement for displacement. build the 400 with a mild torque producing cam and you will be happy. torque is what moves you on the street, not stratospheric HP. and a lightly loaded large displacement motor is actually fuel efficient.
     
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  8. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,131

    Torana68
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Australia

    Is this for towing? You say you want to go fast well put the cost of guides and valve work into a new set of alloy heads, forget the oil cooler (unless heavy towing) forget the lifter valley thing and get a very mild cam kit . Go with the 400 if it's not dead.
     
  9. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,014

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Neither a 350 or a 400 will have a provision for the valve lifter, galley baffle. Also, a 400 has the short 5.565" long rods as compared to the 5.7" rods all the other gen 1 small blocks use. Less side loading of the cylinder walls with a longer rod. Cylinder wall finish will depend on the type of rings you use (cast VS moly). Build a long rod 400, and go with a neutral or internal balance job; just makes everything easier when it comes to flexplate/flywheel selection and cost. Any head, other than the stock 400 heads, will need to have the steam holes drilled. If anything major turns out to be wrong with the 400, you could always go with a cut down 400 crank in a 350 block (with a .030 overbore on a 350, and a 400 crank, you get the popular 383 engine). You don't really need to port/polish the heads on a street engine; just port match the heads to the gaskets, and clean up any casting lines/flaws. JMO.
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
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  10. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,347

    southcross2631
    Member

    Tear down the 400 and check for taper and the ring ridge at the top. Check the heads for cracks and do a good valve job. A good clean and hone and check the cam bearings for wear . Clean and polish the crank. Mic the crank .
    Put a mild cam and forget all the tricks. Otherwise do it right and bore it with new pistons and use the 5.7 rods with new rod bolts out of the 350 . Mild port match on the heads with 1.6 exhaust valves and build a real torque monster.
     
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  11. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    No not for towing. Im hoping to reuse most, and only replace as really needed. But I do see some fair Cam kits that are decent deal.
     
  12. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    If something bad does come up with the 400 you bet I'll be saving it to make a 383! And I would love to do the 5.7 rods in it but that means new rods and new pistons and bored, that'll sure add to the grand total.

    *56sedan I see your from Everett, sort of close by I'm in Burlington. Do you know of any good trustworthy machine shops? I've found a couple down south of Everett but lots of really bad reviews.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  13. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,014

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    MY machinist is Dave Peyton/Performance Machine, 130 107th St. S.E. Everett, Wa. 98208, (425)355-6363. He is a one man show, and therefore, EXTREMELY busy. He even has a crankshaft grinder, balancing equipment, and engine dyno; the bigger shops send him work they can't handle. Then there's Perpetual Balance in Arlington, Jay's in Everett, Bill's in Lake Stevens, and Bill's in Lynnwood (NOT related to the other Bill's). There are also 1 or 2 in Marysville. Dave does ALL my work though, and sometimes, there's a W-A-I-T to get your parts back! He's been my machinist for close to 40 years, and even delivered my BBC shortblock to me. And your truck; I had a 58 Chevrolet, 3/4 ton truck once. Ex-NAVY truck (was still gray), had the extra long step-side box, and a 55 4 barrel 265 in it. Probably should have kept that truck. I am Butch/56sedandelivery
     
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  14. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Thank you, I will be in touch with him. When it comes time.
     
  15. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    I think I'm getting a little excited. Spoke with my Old Man and he is insisting I take #2 SBC 400, it hasn't been stored as well as the #1 SBC 400 but #2 has "way under 100k miles" but I convinced him to let me have the better of all parts. He wants them gone, so I may get them both.
    Is it mean of me to fixer up my truck just so he gets jealous and wants to fix up his 57?
    This picture is when we put a power steering conversion kit in my truck. His is 57 4x4 with Big Block.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
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  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,633

    squirrel
    Member

    I've been working on my 59 lately. My son has a 59 also.
     
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  17. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,004

    Budget36
    Member


    What did you guys use for the power steering? (box mainly)
     
  18. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Ok long story short! A gear box from a 1976 3500. But to complicate everything, once upon a time on Ecklers Trucks I found a power steering conversion kit for 55-59 Apaches selling for $36! Pump, gear box, linkage, tierod ends, brackets, the whole shabang (Kit was made my Classic performance products). We began the installation, made an awesome custom-stock steering column. Custom front motor mount / pump mount. And we double measured it out, drilled the holes and bolted up the gear box! And we discovered this kit must've been made for Nascar because the gear box was perfectly placed to block the tire from turning right. So we called Ecklers, they didn't know anything. We called CPP and they said Oh yes you will loose a little of your right turn radius (80% or more). So we tossed there instructions and pushed the box foward 11 inches made a new heavier duty drag link and matching tie rod. Finished it all up, and drove it around. It Was nice. Drove to my in-laws house to get the family and take it home. And test drove once more, and I thought man sure is hard to turn right all of a sudden. Got back and a red stuff dripping out? I inspected the box and found the front cap and blown out. Called Ecklers they wouldn't cover it because I was over the 30day return policy (by 1 year and 11months). CPP won't help unless I pay $50 to mail it them to inspect and $50 to mail it back to me or the new one if they found it to be there fault. After complaining and explaining this could killed someone they won't help. So I bought a used one off a 76 and will install and test it soon.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  19. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Pop quiz! Can anyone guess what my shifter knob is?

    God sorry for the huge post!
     
  20. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,004

    Budget36
    Member


    Looks like a piston out of a lawn mower?

    Or do you mean the original one ya have on the dash? ;)
     
  21. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    That is everyone's first guess! Its a 40mm grenade casing from the MK19 heavy machine gun I used in Afghanistan. Not installed at the time of the picture is a blinker lever made from a 7.62 casing and a extra long stainless steel bolt
     

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  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,633

    squirrel
    Member

    the geometry on those power steering kits is pretty bad. I am still using manual steering on my truck, you get used to it after a few decades.
     
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  23. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Here's the screenshot of the page when I ordered the Gearbox, $36 for the kit, $24 shipping.
    And the "brand new remanufactured" box from CPP.
     

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  24. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Hello again, wondering on opinions of intake manifolds. Comparing "similar" manifolds which would be better choice in your opinion?
    Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap (RPM) Vs Dart SHP Dual plane (#42811000)
    Both Aluminum, air gap style and tapped for rear coolant cross over.
    Dart averages $25-30 cheaper.
     
  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,633

    squirrel
    Member

    what is the cam you plan to use?
     
  26. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Possibly one of these;
    Lunati Barebones Camshaft and Lifter kit 10120101LK (280/290, Lift .443/.465) $108
    Summitracing Classis Cam and Lifter kit Sum-K1103 (288/298, Lift .444/.466) $104
    Summitracing Classis Cam and Lifter kit Sum-K1104 (298/298, Lift .466/.466) $104

    All com with Hydraulic Flat Tappet Lifters. And it would be for the SBC 400.
    Also if curious i planned to use either one of my Holley 1850s or 4777
     
  27. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,131

    Torana68
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Australia

    are we still using the stock iron heads? stay on the mild side with the cam
     
  28. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,544

    sunbeam
    Member

    As a driver I'd go with the least amount of cylinder wall taper and cast rings.
     
  29. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,400

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm going to suggest that before you buy too much stuff that is oriented towards using the 400 that you very closely examine the decks after a thorough cleaning. They seem to be prone to cracks from head bolt holes over to water passages and even to the cylinder wall.
    Don't know if it's the larger bore, the siamesed cylinders, the increased piston side thrust because of the shorter rod and longer stroke, or a combination of all 3, but a totally crack free 400 sbc is a rare item in my area.
     
  30. John Reed
    Joined: Aug 23, 2017
    Posts: 26

    John Reed

    Yes, stock iron head unless they need replacing.
    Haven't disassembled yet, so unsure of any wear.
    Yes of course, I planned to tear down and check over everything before buying anything.
     

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