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Chevy Small Block questions


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10 replies to this topic

#1 [HTi]Johnson

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:01 PM

Hello all. I know this definately belongs on the off topic forum.

I respect chevy small blocks, I don't know much about them. But, they have such a huge support base with aftermarket parts and such. I just have a few questions.

As the only engines I've ever rebuilt have been Subaru, I think rebuilding a small block will be kind of the same but mostly different.

Here's the story: My fire chief has a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air with original everything. It has the 283 in it. He wants to get it rebuilt, he wants to keep the original engine. I know of where to get the kits for it. I was reading and most people say "just drop a 350 in it", but that would take the original engine out of the car. He wants to keep it original, but he doesn't plan on selling it, ever, so swapping engines is a possibility. He's not too big on high performance, high horsepower, just wants it to last for the rest of his life.

So, should I rebuild the engine or have him buy a 350 crate engine?

If I do rebuild it, what intake manifold and carburetor should I install on it, if the 283 stays.

Also, I've already suggested on dropping an STi engine in it;).

#2 Qman

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:33 PM

This has two options. One is obvious, rebuild the original motor with the original intake and either rebuild the carb or get a OEM replacement.

Option two.

Remove the original motor and place it in the corner of the garage, under cover. Place a crate motor in it with a basic Edelbrock intake and carb of your choice. I prefer Holley but others do not.

Considerring he has already stated that high performance isn't his thing. Keep it simple and it will be very enjoyable for him.

#3 screwbaru2

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:51 PM

I'd rebulid the 283. They are great motors. They give good performance, super reliable with better gas milage then a 350. I rebuilt and used 350s most of the 70's and 80's good motors also but if ya got a 283 go with it!

#4 Hotshot

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:02 PM

For how cheap the you can get a brand new 350 crate engine, I would really have to consider it if I was in his position. My dad just put one in his van as opposed to rebuilding the original, and I think it was only about 1200$ for the engine and everything else needed. With the amount of work needed to rebuild an engine, it made sense for him to just buy a new one instead.

I also have to attest to the reliability of the 350. The one we pulled from the van had well over 400k miles on it without ever being rebuilt, and it is still running today in one of the farm trucks.

If he is worried about keeping the car original, he could store the original engine in case he ever decides to swap it back for any reason.

#5 Dakota Dave

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:32 PM

I would rebuild the 283. Unless you're trying for more preformance, the original engine is more valuable. Parts are easy to get for any small block chevy. I would also stick with the original Carb and intake. about the only upgrade I'd do is install a Pretronics unit in place of the Points. It's a very easy and well hidden mod that makes life easier.

#6 3eyedwagon

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:18 AM

Johnson']
Also, I've already suggested on dropping an STi engine in it;).


If you had been near me when I read that; you'd still be rubbing the sore spot on your head.

The small block is about as easy an engine you are ever going to rebuild, but still, my vote is this.

#1
Mothball the 283, prepare it for a long sleep, and store it in a good dry location. The historical value of this motor to the car is of good signifigance after 50 years of roaming this earth.

#2
Find another 283 or 327 2 bolt main. These motors are a dime a dozen, and since he doesn't want a big horsepower jump, finding a suitable motor would be super super easy. I recently bought a small journal 327 2 bolt main off of Craigs List for $100, and I got to hear it run, in the truck. You can't beat deals on early small blocks. Once you find a suitable mate, rebuild it! Then you have a little wiggle room to play, if he decides he wants a lumpy cam, or anything else; it's no big deal AT ALL.

That way the guy is getting the best of ALL worlds, a fresh motor that he isn't at all nervous to trounce on. He can maintain whatever degree of originality he desires. He can even dress it up some if he likes, all the while knowing he has the original equipment at home. The possibilitys are endless. Plus, in the end he may not be as concerned about wearing on a matching numbers motor, and that will put his mind at ease. This results in him enjoying his car even more. Like I said, it opens doors to possibilitys, and decreases the anxiety of blowing a 1957 motor.


I pulled the original 300 horse power pack (IE 4bbl) 327ci out of my 1964 SS Impala to freshen it up. I ended up rebuilding it back to stock, and opted to replace it with a slightly hotter 327 I was rebuilding around the same time. It made the car funner to drive, and IF (god forbids) something ever happened to the motor in the car, I wouldn't feel nearly as bad as if it were the stock motor.

That's just my opinion anyways.

#7 Nug

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:36 AM

I vote for mothballing the 283 and dropping a 350 in it. Whatever you do, do not get rid of the original engine.

#8 ahole

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:06 PM

I used to have a 65 Malibu with 283. I rebuilt it with a 206/214 cam, Holley 600 carb, Edelbrock Performer Intake, and performance everything else in or on the motor. I couldn't have been happier with the performance boost. It was still reliable, got decent mileage (18-20 w/o overdrive), and I could rev it up to 6500 RPM no problem. What good is a worn out 283 in the corner of the garage anyway? I say use it.:banana:

#9 screwbaru2

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:21 PM

. What good is a worn out 283 in the corner of the garage anyway? I say use it.:banana:


Yeah like he said

#10 Alaska Style

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 03:57 AM

I've got a set of 896 "Power Pack" Heads for that 283. It's been awhile since I've played with V8's but I think they had a 59cc Combustion chamber and 1.72" intake and 1.50" exhausts valves? They are the ones they put on Vette's in the early 60's. Also..... a 283 block with a 327 crank is a 307!!! I've built one of those in my old truck and it had LOTS of low torque and a bullet proof idle. Great for a 4x4. The best thing for a heavy car with a small C.I. motor is a deep stroke, skinny bore with small fast flowing heads, and with the original 283 block you and your chief will be the only ones that knows it's relly a stump pullin 307 on the inside. Oh, and it'll be very wise of you to gasket match all the runners between the manifold/head/exhaust.

I built a 307 combo in my old 71' 4x4 with 40's and 5.13 gears, 10.5:1 pistons, Torquer II cam/manifold and a 1.7 rockers and a few others was faster than my buddys 04 V6 mustang from O to about 60..... and I got very good milage for a truck on 40's

#11 screwbaru2

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:48 AM

I do miss those V8's and the bigger ones too 427 ..... Lots of torque @ low RPM's the exhaust is like music:burnout: :)




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