2022 Cost to Rebuild Engine Vs Crate Motor Vs LS Swap

severum17

Member
Sep 5, 2001
96
South of Dallas TX
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. In fact, the last thread I had going was very similar, but life took over (baby) and so I had to put it off. Now I’m getting the itch again after having saved up some money. My coworker has a 400 from a truck sitting in his backyard he’d be willing to sell. He also has a 327, and I’m tempted to build a 8000+ rpm motor out of it.

Last time, I had my mind set on just going with a Blueprint 400 sec and calling it good. Now, in late 2022, they seem to cost a couple thousand more than they did a few years ago. This also makes me believe machining costs have gone way up, so finding my own 400 and building it myself, like I want to do, will be just as, if not more expensive. Both of these factors make the higher cost of doing a complete LS3 swap seem not so high any more.

Anyone have any sage advice? Take these points into consideration (I want, at least, 2 out of the 3):

1.) I’ve never built and engine, and I REALLY want to take this opportunity to make that happen.
2.) I’m saving up to buy a home… in 2022… in California, so budget-friendly is a huge factor.
3.) I want to reliably make 450-550 hp, capable of 7000 rpm, and plan to use it mostly for autocross, but still want streetability.
I am retired but my guy Tom is running our website. crateenginedepot.com GM crate engines. He knows whats up and is a straight up honest guy. Give him a calll and he can guide you along. Good luck with your build.
 

Bentley

Veteran Member
Aug 14, 2020
283
Biggest problem I had ( 302 ford) with crate engines were they all had cast pistons... LOTS of money for cast piston engines just didn't float my boat.. For forged pistons it was HUGE money.......
And Hyper pistons are CAST........
 

sandlapper

Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2020
1,760
SE CSA
Biggest problem I had ( 302 ford) with crate engines were they all had cast pistons... LOTS of money for cast piston engines just didn't float my boat.. For forged pistons it was HUGE money.......
And Hyper pistons are CAST........
yes, hypers are cast --- and their hypereutectic alloy is more brittle than and expands less than typical cast alloy. Hypers' minimal expansion can accomodate a tighter fit in bore & adjunct improved sealing.
Spring for forged if at all possible.
Everything's a tradeoff.
 

Billy 30548

Member
Jan 31, 2017
55
LaMarr racing built me a 383 that makes 524 HP for $8700.00 , create engine will cost about same but believe that a custom engine builder does a better job , just my opinion
 

linenoise

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Apr 17, 2000
268
CO
I Went through this for decades. I have a 1970 SS camaro. 350 300 hp. all #s matching from front to 12 bolt. I saved NOS parts forever. you know what I eventually came to? 300 hp is no fun in these cars really. ok fun not great fun. I would never be able to sit on the car I love with a tranny (4 speed muncie) that cannot go on the highway and hear the radio at once. I cannot go with out AC in it. It was impossible in summer in colorado. no fun, do not want to even drive it. Soo I took it all apart. Put in a 427 all aluminum big block stroker from texas speed. 610 HP no bolt ons. 6 speed magnum. 9" detroit speed 4:11 4 link. 12" rear wheels. 6 pot caliper brakes on all wheels on 14 rotors. Its a 6 figure car but its getting close to done and I have finally done test drives in it. Vintage Air. Awesome. Totally worth it.
 

pooch400

Member
Feb 21, 2012
40
waterbury


Destroking a 400 is what really has me enticed, honestly. I heard the 400/406 is better to build than a 377, but a 329 sounds unique and fun.

I’d really rather not do the LS. I want to keep this car carbed and leaf-sprung. It’s fun competing well with or besting the big-budget CAM cars.

A destroked 400 to 377 is much better than a 400 build especially for auto cross that requires constant high RPMs. Using a 3.48 inch stroke and 6 inch rods will give you a 1.72 connecting rod ratio. Much better for high RPMs than the 400s 1.48 rod ratio and just shy of the 327s 1.75 rod ratio. There are a couple of benefits a 377 has to offer that have been lost in our current stroke everything modern hotrod mentality. Rod ratio is the biggest one. Not having the oil control ring going through the piston pin, being able to use big valves, and grinding down the combustion chambers giving the valves room to breathe in those big bores too. Use total seal rings and a oil separator/catch can for oil control. You’ll rev up much faster than any stroked combination and the engine will last longer too. I had a thought to add. A 3.25 stroke with a .030 overbore is 352. With 6.2 rods the rod ratio is 1.91. That’s nascar and Smokey Yunick territory.
 
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sandiego74

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 23, 2009
1,189
San Diego, CA
A destroked 400 to 377 is much better than a 400 build especially for auto cross that requires constant high RPMs. Using a 3.48 inch stroke and 6 inch rods will give you a 1.72 connecting rod ratio. Much better for high RPMs than the 400s 1.48 rod ratio and just shy of the 327s 1.75 rod ratio. There are a couple of benefits a 377 has to offer that have been lost in our current stroke everything modern hotrod mentality. Rod ratio is the biggest one. Not having the oil control ring going through the piston pin, being able to use big valves, and grinding down the combustion chambers giving the valves room to breathe in those big bores too. Use total seal rings and a oil separator/catch can for oil control. You’ll rev up much faster than any stroked combination and the engine will last longer too. I had a thought to add. A 3.25 stroke with a .030 overbore is 352. With 6.2 rods the rod ratio is 1.91. That’s nascar and Smokey Yunick territory.
I originally wanted to do a 377, but from all the research I’ve done on 377 Vs 400, everyone says go for the 400, even the old 377 guys.
 

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,543
Canada
I dont feel like the 3.75 stroke is so huge that its gonna hurt in any way. Just more attention to detail, assembly, measuring, using good parts and choosing the right pistons. 5.7" rods make the last item easier
 

76z28

Veteran Member
Jun 29, 2009
2,725
bakersfield
So I was in you shoes(no baby) but wanting to go with a blueprint for a while.. then I found a 6.0

The 6.0 I am building will have a forged rotating assembly, LSA heads, and a near stock cam(still deciding)
BUT will turn 7000rpm and will be boost ready. This is all for around 5500 bucks(machine work was somehow 250 bucks, but I think the guy at the counter screwed up, 2300 rotating, 1200 for heads, 1500 for cam/valve train/400 for pan). It should make a solid 480-500 at the crank and take ANYTHING I can throw at it.
The turbo system will be another 2000 roughly. The fuel system, that should handle anything I want is going to be around 1000. Then finally the computer system is about 1700.
I can always upgrade the turbo and make more too!
I should be able to make 800rwhp(my is 700 but I am going to crank it up!)
So for about 10k I can have pretty much any power level I want with an engine that I can throw anything at. Sure it isn't "cheap" but it's "future" proof. I am building this for a c10. I was going to use it in my camaro, but a big block and t56 magnum(that I cant seem to sell) is just going to stay in it and I'll build something else!
 




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