2022 Cost to Rebuild Engine Vs Crate Motor Vs LS Swap

sandlapper

Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2020
1,629
SE CSA
I searched and couldn't find the build. any chance for a link ? thanks.

*** I found it, August 26/2022 author Jeff Smith.

that ain't a Vortec motor.
Author Jeff Smith's says pal Bill Irwin pulled it from 1990 Suburban. What'd that cost? & what happened to its heads & valve covers? What'd the machine shop labor cost?
Smith used those dang cheap hyper rebuilder pistons w/ short 1.540" compression height and thick tractor rings. Pizz-Poor.
No mention of decking block (&yes I read specs); if not, pistons likely ended up some ~ 0.045" below deck. Because Smith got new deck pins, it was probably decked. Pizz-Poor.
Smith got some china kinda-sorta copies of vortecs. Perhaps OK
Smith states Vortec heads have 110 lb springs; maybe the chinesium heads are 110, but OE GM Vortecs' springs are still about 80 lbs on seat --- like pre-roller springs --- different springs but same seat pressure.
Smith states it's a roller-ready '90 block (can accept affordable OE roller lifters) but opts for cheap hyd flat tappet cam. Smith spent about $115 on cam kit BUT might've gone roller for some $250-$300 more. Pizz-Poor.
Smith picked summit M55 pump w/ 5/8" pickup --- should've picked melling M155 w/ 3/4" PU. Meh!
Nothing really wrong but but me thinks it might've been Much better for not much more $.
next time, begin w/ a real Vortec L31 junkyard motor.
 

Rustbucket350

Veteran Member
Sep 4, 2013
1,298
Oviedo, Florida
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 must have missed this thread but this goal can be reached on a budget although it may not be the "right" way.

You can easily build a 450 horse 400 for 3 grand or less if the bores are not totally trashed.

Hone it until it looks presentable with a 3 prong hone. Not the ball hone. The 3 prong will also straighten the walls a bit.

Use a factory rotating assembly. Depending on lift, you may need new pistons which can be weight matched at home.

If the crank journals look rough, they can be polished with a flat shoelace, 1000 grit, and wd40. However, this only works for pitting and normal wear. Not for chewed journals due to bearings being gone. If the crank is chewed, a new cast crank is roughly 200 bucks or so.

Rods? Factory rods are fine to 7 grand.

Standard volume oil pump. If concerned with decreased pressure due to hand polishing the crank (increasing the journal to bearing clearance) just run a thicker weight oil such as 10w40.

Personal advice for a budget build is don't mess with the cam bearings. As long as they are there and you can't see any obvious chunks removed. Up to you.

Other than that if you want 450 hp you'll want a solid flat tappet in the 230-250 duration range. The lift will vary based on head choice. These are cheap. Maybe 200-250 bucks for a Summit or KMJ kit with lifters.

Heads. Super budget I'd use factory. Spend another grand and get some 220cc Chinese heads and assemble them yourself. That will add quite a bit.

Intake and carb. Single plane Chinese. Quick Fuel Brawler or Proform mechanical secondary.

All in all with gaskets, it should roughly add up to 3 grand or so. Less if you buy some parts used.
 

Rustbucket350

Veteran Member
Sep 4, 2013
1,298
Oviedo, Florida
Almost forgot. If you're planning on 7 grand it's totally fine to use stamped rockers. Nobody will know but you and your wallet if you put roller rockers in. Oh, and don't forget to match your valve springs to the cam. Stock springs are OK to around .500 lift and 7 grand but you'll probably be looking at more lift. Also stock springs vary widely in rate, especially with age. Safer to get new ones.
 

Evilredcamaro

New Member
Mar 31, 2022
16
Scoggins Dickey Chevrolet sells a brand new GM performance block #10105123 for $1315 w/free shipping.That eliminates machine work costs. Put a good new forged crank,forged pistons and rods. Get it balanced and buy some good quaility aluminum heads. Or they have a ZZ4 GM performance short block #19419042 with forged crank,forged rods and hypereutectic pistons for$2625. And it's got a 12 month GM warranty! Edelbrock and others sell a "matched top end" heads,intake and cam. Eliminate the machine work!
 

sandiego74

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 23, 2009
1,189
San Diego, CA
Th
Scoggins Dickey Chevrolet sells a brand new GM performance block #10105123 for $1315 w/free shipping.That eliminates machine work costs. Put a good new forged crank,forged pistons and rods. Get it balanced and buy some good quaility aluminum heads. Or they have a ZZ4 GM performance short block #19419042 with forged crank,forged rods and hypereutectic pistons for$2625. And it's got a 12 month GM warranty! Edelbrock and others sell a "matched top end" heads,intake and cam. Eliminate the machine work!
That’a definitely something to think about! Thanks for the heads up!
 

chevynick1958

New Member
Feb 10, 2022
22
For me, I'm going to build a 383 so I don't have to mess with all the modifications, I just need a solid rotating unit balanced and some good heads, if I was going to race only I would start with a tube frame, roll bars 4 link and alot of fiberglass but I want to enjoy driving it and smoke the tires ocassionally
 

kdsracing

Member
Mar 13, 2009
74
Apple Valley, CA
I personally watched a LA Sherriff go through a young mans s10 and send him the referee to confirm he was emissions legal. I also worked as a smog technician for about 15 years of my 35+ in the industry and very shortly for the B.A.R. I can tell you without a doubt there are emissions requirements for a 1974 vehicle. By law the vehicle cannot be altered from the factory configuration save CARB approved parts. It's not tested so everyone get's away with it. If an officer suspects the vehicle has been altered he can write a citation the vehicle will have to be inspected by the referee to confirm compliance. Where or when this was allowed I don't know. I have first hand knowledge it happened to the guy in the S10 and the LA Sherriff.

Just because your agency didn't participate doesn't mean it wasn't/isn't a thing.
Apples and oranges. Any S10 will be new enough to require testing therefore the original emissions system must be intact unless it is an LS swap. Then then appropriate LS system must be there. As for a 1974 vehicle, if it isn’t subject to biennial testing, then effectively there is no requirement. I have never heard of anyone having a problem with a pre-1977 vehicle.
 

Knuckle Dragger

Mayor of Simpleton
Staff member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 2, 2002
16,937
Waddell AZ
Apples and oranges. Any S10 will be new enough to require testing therefore the original emissions system must be intact unless it is an LS swap. Then then appropriate LS system must be there. As for a 1974 vehicle, if it isn’t subject to biennial testing, then effectively there is no requirement. I have never heard of anyone having a problem with a pre-1977 vehicle.
OK
 

G72Zed

Veteran Member
Sep 8, 2015
4,228
Canada
oh, that's sweet --- can even see a reflection of its eyebrows in its dish --- nice work!
those are some right pretty cockeyed jewels! 💓 I just love pretty motor parts!

Yep, that's what happens when you use a 23* piston with 21.5* heads, valve relief porn pic's LOL.
 




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