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Help me build up a 350

This is a discussion on Help me build up a 350 within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; The engine is out of a 69 camaro SS. The plan is to swap it into a 1938 chevy pickup ...

  1. #1
    talonvoodo
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    Help me build up a 350

    The engine is out of a 69 camaro SS. The plan is to swap it into a 1938 chevy pickup truck. The engine is totally stock and has never been opened up. I've read that stock, the engine is rated at 295 hp. I'm thinking that was with the old gross hp method so by today's rating, its probably a lot lower. The engine ran strong without burning any oil when it came out of the car. Even so, I would like to tear it down and do a rebuild with new rings and rod bearings. I would like to keep it as streetable as possible and retain something above 10 mpg. I would not want to spend anything more than 2K with new parts. I would like at least 300 honest hp with as big and fat of a powerband as you can get without falling off too early. So with that said, are there any particular head / cam / intake / carb combos that work particularly well together that are within that dollar range.

  2. #2
    your parts guy!!! 1fastcamarosss11's Avatar
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    well there are plenty of head and cam choices out there, i don't know too much about the late 60's motors but with some good heads and a cam using the stock crank you can do that easily. not sure if you need oval ported heads or not. i would go 2.02 heads and a medium cam. not to choppy but good mid range. get a good carb, and call it a day. hope this helps. if auto get a small stall. don't forget gears. let us know what you do. thanks jeremy

  3. #3
    talonvoodo
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    Cool thanks. I'm leaning towards just doing the basics to the engine (rings, bearings, etc.) and then some bolts ons like you suggested. The truck with the original I-6 only weighed 2540 lbs so even with a very basic 350, it should move along pretty good if it ever hooks up. Because it's light, I think it can get away with using a fairly low stall on the tranny with a decent ratio rear end (3.73?).
    Once it's running, if it can handle more power, I'll look into other bolt on options.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Best bang for the buck with an engine like that would be a set of vortec heads off an L31 '96-'99 Chevy truck. Unported, those heads flow better than even some of the Bowtie castings. You'll have to get a compatible vortec style four barrel intake and valve covers, but otherwise they are a direct bolt on. Also, the combustion chamber is still relatively small, but very efficient (for emissions reasons). These make great performance heads. Check some of the site sponsors, as often you can find heads with aftermarket springs and retainers good for .570 lift for around $700.

    As for a cam, check into comp cams Extreme Energy series. With headers and good exhaust, even the smallest of those should get you 300hp and tire shredding torque. In a truck that weighs less than 3000 lbs, you might be suprised how good the mileage would be too. You'll give up some mileage potential as you move up to bigger cams, but an XE274 should get you right near 350hp.

    Good luck!
    Hammer - hammertime.us
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    K&N, SLP Lid, SLP y-pipe, GMMG cat-back, Lou's Short Stick - more to come!

  5. #5
    talonvoodo
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    Yeah, I've heard good things about the vortec heads. The only issue I've heard it that they raise the compression too high for normal pump gas. Might just be talk though. Any insight to that?
    Last edited by talonvoodo; 03-20-2006 at 09:21 PM.

  6. #6
    igofast Brandon35thSS's Avatar
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    werd on the vortec heads. best bang for the buck by far!

  7. #7
    your parts guy!!! 1fastcamarosss11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    Cool thanks. I'm leaning towards just doing the basics to the engine (rings, bearings, etc.) and then some bolts ons like you suggested. The truck with the original I-6 only weighed 2540 lbs so even with a very basic 350, it should move along pretty good if it ever hooks up. Because it's light, I think it can get away with using a fairly low stall on the tranny with a decent ratio rear end (3.73?).
    Once it's running, if it can handle more power, I'll look into other bolt on options.

    Thanks again.
    pm, me if you need any parts i have all kinds of new stuff for a small block started doing what you are put know have two kids and one on the way so my time is limited, plus with just buying an 98 ss vert. i can't ask for to much more from her. i have new heads cam, lifter ect. only thing installed is crank, rods and pistons. everything else is brand new, i have one new stall also. just pm, sorry to get off topic. thanks jeremy

  8. #8
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    Yeah, I've heard good things about the vortec heads. The only issue I've heard it that they raise the compression too high for normal pump gas. Might just be talk though. Any insight to that?
    Vortec's should have 64cc chambers, which is what all the good heads had back in the day. So you won't be loosing any compression like you would with a lot of later 76cc smog heads. Check out this link from Chevy High Performance

    Check out your '69 350 to see what heads it has. You may have the same size chamber, especially if it's a high compression motor from a camaro or corvette.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Street Lethal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    I'm leaning towards just doing the basics to the engine (rings, bearings, etc.) and then some bolts ons like you suggested.
    Do you have the block numbers available?

  10. #10
    Senior Junior Member warpwr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    Yeah, I've heard good things about the vortec heads. The only issue I've heard it that they raise the compression too high for normal pump gas. Might just be talk though. Any insight to that?
    I don't know what the compression ration on your engine is but my '67 327 was originally 12 or 12.5 to 1. 350HP Corvette with 64cc #291 GM heads.
    I used flat top pistons to reduce the ratio to around 10.5 for pump premium and it doesn't knock or ping.

  11. #11
    talonvoodo
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    I really appreciate the responses! The block number is 3970024. I ran the number and found it was actually a 307 cid. The guy that I got it from said he was sure it was a 350. Damn! I took the exhaust manifolds off and was amazed how small the ports were. They were literally only about 1x1 inches. I was pricing parts on jegs and was astounded to find that the prices for pistons and rods were about half of what I expected. So I guess if I'm going to open up the engine, I might as well get some nice forged rods and a good set of pistons. That's always how it starts right?

    Around Idaho, we have 91 octane at the highest. For just driving around, would it be possible to dial back the timing to run 87 for putting around town or am I stuck with high-octane gas if I build a 10 or 11:1 comp engine?
    Last edited by talonvoodo; 03-21-2006 at 10:36 PM.

  12. #12
    Awaiting Activation Liquifire's Avatar
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    ten to one would probably be OK but I dont know about 11:1 that is pretty high for 87 octane.

  13. #13
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    I really appreciate the responses! The block number is 3970024. I ran the number and found it was actually a 307 cid. The guy that I got it from said he was sure it was a 350. Damn! I took the exhaust manifolds off and was amazed how small the ports were. They were literally only about 1x1 inches. I was pricing parts on jegs and was astounded to find that the prices for pistons and rods were about half of what I expected. So I guess if I'm going to open up the engine, I might as well get some nice forged rods and a good set of pistons. That's always how it starts right?

    Around Idaho, we have 91 octane at the highest. For just driving around, would it be possible to dial back the timing to run 87 for putting around town or am I stuck with high-octane gas if I build a 10 or 11:1 comp engine?
    Your '69 307 crank will fit right into a '68 + 350 block to make a 327, but if you come up with a good 350, just leave the crank in it for the extra torque.

    There is nothing wrong with a 307, but I don't know how well a vortec combustion chamber would match the smaller 3.875" bore. It would be tough to properly match a head with that smaller bore. However, if you are on a limited budget, a 307 responds to mods the same as any other small block.

    11:1 compression is not necessary to get to your HP goals, so save the expensive parts and fuel. A 350 with decent exhaust, a mild cam like a comp XE256H and Vortec heads will make 300+ hp on 87 octane all day long.

  14. #14
    talonvoodo
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammertime
    Your '69 307 crank will fit right into a '68 + 350 block to make a 327, but if you come up with a good 350, just leave the crank in it for the extra torque.

    There is nothing wrong with a 307, but I don't know how well a vortec combustion chamber would match the smaller 3.875" bore. It would be tough to properly match a head with that smaller bore. However, if you are on a limited budget, a 307 responds to mods the same as any other small block.

    11:1 compression is not necessary to get to your HP goals, so save the expensive parts and fuel. A 350 with decent exhaust, a mild cam like a comp XE256H and Vortec heads will make 300+ hp on 87 octane all day long.
    I know of a 350 block that I might be able to get my hands on. I'd like to go with the 3.875" bore of the 350 just because the vortec heads are proven. I'm not crazy about putting together head/block combos that no one has ever done before. I think a 327 is a destroked 350 correct? Any reason why I would want to go with the 327 over the 350? I'm guessing what you'd loose in low end torque; you'd gain in rpm's of the 327. I'm thinking either would be fine. I actually kind of like the idea of a 350 with the 327 crank out of my existing 307 with vortec heads, a good midrange cam, rpm intake. Should be making plenty of power. Any idea what type of numbers I could expect?

  15. #15
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talonvoodo
    I know of a 350 block that I might be able to get my hands on. I'd like to go with the 3.875" bore of the 350 just because the vortec heads are proven. I'm not crazy about putting together head/block combos that no one has ever done before. I think a 327 is a destroked 350 correct? Any reason why I would want to go with the 327 over the 350? I'm guessing what you'd loose in low end torque; you'd gain in rpm's of the 327. I'm thinking either would be fine. I actually kind of like the idea of a 350 with the 327 crank out of my existing 307 with vortec heads, a good midrange cam, rpm intake. Should be making plenty of power. Any idea what type of numbers I could expect?
    350 has a 4.00" bore, 3.48" stroke. A 327 also shares the 4.00" bore with a shorter 3.25" stroke. You'll at least want the bore to be 4.00" to match up to a vortec head.

    327 would be giving up a little lower end, and in a driver, you want gain anything worth while back on the big end unless you cam prep it to do so, in which case you lose more low end. If your truck is really as light as stated, then you may not miss the torque, but usually its torque that you feel most in around town and off the line power. I'm guessing you're giving up 25-40 lb/ft of torque on the bottom end. But I've also seen people claim the extra .250" stroke a 383 has over a 350 is worth 80-90 lb/ft.

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