Purchased a 402/396 to rebuild - recommendations?

5thTimeAround

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Oct 8, 2020
204
Calgary, Alberta
I have a 72 SS original BB car that currently has a sleepy mid-80's 350 in it. I recently purchased a period correct (ish) 396 block with the original crank, 292 heads (no valves), valve covers, rods/pistons, intake, exhaust manifolds and the correct Q-jet. It was listed for a good price (in theory) so I grabbed it. The block and heads were hot tanked and magged and the crank has been turned to 10 under.

I'm going to pick away at a rebuild as time and budget permits, and wanted to get some opinions on parts recommendations for building a street only engine to run on pump gas with a little more oomph than stock.

Should I have it bored over regardless since I am starting from scratch? Do these heads need to be ported or are they ok as-is? Cam and valvetrain recommendations? Can I run the stock intake?

Would like to get it over 350 hp at least.

Thanks in advance!
 

1980RS

Veteran Member
Jun 17, 2006
6,264
MN
Here is what I would use if I has another 396 engine to build again. I would use either a set of mild re-worked 781's or a set of re-worked 236 peanut port heads. Built a few 396's for people with those heads over the factory semi-closed chambered heads, the OC heads even with the small peanut port heads made more power. After all if I can get those junk truck heads to run 11 teens, they should be good enough for a 396. Yes bore the block and just run a set of Hyper pistons on the street.
 

suds788

Member
Dec 26, 2018
55
Fort Morgan, CO
I have a 72 SS original BB car that currently has a sleepy mid-80's 350 in it. I recently purchased a period correct (ish) 396 block with the original crank, 292 heads (no valves), valve covers, rods/pistons, intake, exhaust manifolds and the correct Q-jet. It was listed for a good price (in theory) so I grabbed it. The block and heads were hot tanked and magged and the crank has been turned to 10 under.

I'm going to pick away at a rebuild as time and budget permits, and wanted to get some opinions on parts recommendations for building a street only engine to run on pump gas with a little more oomph than stock.

Should I have it bored over regardless since I am starting from scratch? Do these heads need to be ported or are they ok as-is? Cam and valvetrain recommendations? Can I run the stock intake?

Would like to get it over 350 hp at least.

Thanks in advan
 

suds788

Member
Dec 26, 2018
55
Fort Morgan, CO
Really need the engine ID letters so we know what your working with originally. As far as the 292 heads they should be fine as they were used if I remember right on the 396/375hp so flow should not be an issue. Need to have a machine shop check your cylinders to determine if you need to bore. If you bore it will take you to 402 @ .030 over. Then you can decide what compression you want. Comp cam makes 485 lift 216/216 duration which will be good for the street and the 350 hp. at least. Stock intake for street will flow just fine.
 

5thTimeAround

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Oct 8, 2020
204
Calgary, Alberta
My first thought was pick up a 454 block and use the 396 crank to build a 427. I do understand if you are wanting to keep a more "original" type block/engine displacement in your '72.
Yes wanting to use the block. Not sure why really as it’s not numbers matching…just like the idea of the original 396 cid in there. Plus it’s what I bought 😉
 




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