Author Topic: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?  (Read 753 times)

Offline mattevandavis

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Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« on: March 05, 2019, 11:54:52 AM »
I have a low mileage used 350 GM 195 HP motor (8.5:1).  I've been debating upgrading the cam and heads, possibly bumping it to a 383 or selling it and picking up a 383 mid dress.  This woudl be for my 73 C10 W/ SM465.

Budget wise i'm obviously not opposed to the cost to the crate motor, but I do want something that is street-able if not daily driver ready. 

So thoughts, opinions, comments?

Keep Stock Motor
Option 1
$2500
trickflow aluminum or dart steel heads
Howards MC112011-11DL or Comp 12-234-2 cam
engine work bearings etc
etimated 350 lbs-ft

Option 2
$3500
Add Eagle 383 stroker
estimated 400 lbs-ft

Crate Engine
$3700
ATK HP94
470 lbs-ft

Offline 75gmck25

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2019, 06:06:39 AM »
Last summer I upgraded my 350 with Blueprint aluminum heads and a Howards Retrofit Roller CL110235-12 Cam kit (213/217 @ .050).    The result should be about 325-330 HP with my stock exhaust manifolds, and should probably run about 350 HP if I had used headers.  It runs about 17"-18" of idle vacuum, and pulls smoothly on the street (slightly rougher idle than stock).

Everything went well, but I spent a lot of time hanging over a high 4WD engine compartment getting all the parts installed.  The total bill was more than I expected because I chose to make other upgrades (full roller rockers, which needed tall valve covers, timing cover with adjustable cam button, etc.).    In retrospect, it probably would have been easier and just as cost effective to buy a new crate Vortec 350 for about $2,600 and replace the entire engine.  Or buy a crate 383 at 430HP/450 torque for $4,000.  Even the upgrades would have been easier if I had pulled the engine and did it all in the garage.

Its hard to get the old 350s up to a good compression ratio if you don't change pistons.  Most of them run closer to 8.2 compression, and the 64cc heads add about 1 point of compression.  I used a thinner head gasket to get about .2 more, but that still only gets me up to about 9.5. 

For the cam you listed, 9.5 compression should be find, but for higher lift cams (for example, 224-228 @ .050 and up) you really need closer to 10.0 compression to make it work effectively.  Big cams and low compression don't work together well.  I also strongly suggest using a roller cam, and preferably with a roller-ready block to make installation simpler.

I learned a lot by adding parts to the old engine, since I had to research all the combinations of parts, and I was was doing all the wrench work myself.  However, buying a new crate with a nicely matched set of parts is also a great solution.

Bruce

Offline Irish_Alley

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2019, 08:11:13 AM »
http://forum.73-87chevytrucks.com/smforum/index.php?topic=32168.msg271442#msg271442
read that, they talk about buying a gm crate motor 260 for around 2k and swap cams to push 290/420.
If you canít tell yourself the truth, who can you tell it to?~Irish_Alley

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Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2019, 07:40:17 PM »
Last summer I upgraded my 350 with Blueprint aluminum heads and a Howards Retrofit Roller CL110235-12 Cam kit (213/217 @ .050).    The result should be about 325-330 HP with my stock exhaust manifolds, and should probably run about 350 HP if I had used headers.  It runs about 17"-18" of idle vacuum, and pulls smoothly on the street (slightly rougher idle than stock).

Everything went well, but I spent a lot of time hanging over a high 4WD engine compartment getting all the parts installed.  The total bill was more than I expected because I chose to make other upgrades (full roller rockers, which needed tall valve covers, timing cover with adjustable cam button, etc.).    In retrospect, it probably would have been easier and just as cost effective to buy a new crate Vortec 350 for about $2,600 and replace the entire engine.  Or buy a crate 383 at 430HP/450 torque for $4,000.  Even the upgrades would have been easier if I had pulled the engine and did it all in the garage.

Its hard to get the old 350s up to a good compression ratio if you don't change pistons.  Most of them run closer to 8.2 compression, and the 64cc heads add about 1 point of compression.  I used a thinner head gasket to get about .2 more, but that still only gets me up to about 9.5. 

For the cam you listed, 9.5 compression should be find, but for higher lift cams (for example, 224-228 @ .050 and up) you really need closer to 10.0 compression to make it work effectively.  Big cams and low compression don't work together well.  I also strongly suggest using a roller cam, and preferably with a roller-ready block to make installation simpler.

I learned a lot by adding parts to the old engine, since I had to research all the combinations of parts, and I was was doing all the wrench work myself.  However, buying a new crate with a nicely matched set of parts is also a great solution.

Bruce
Thanks for the good info.

If I dont buy a crate motor i will shoot for 9.5:1 as well.  The motor is out of the truck so no late nights of leaning in over the top of an engine while i wrench.  Not until it goes in any way.

Still learning a lot about SBC.  I've built 4cyl fi motors with a boat load of sensors and computer tuning.  It took months to find the combo i felt good about and there were about 1/10 of the choices for sbc.  Once i wade through the choices i still have to learn to be a real mechanic to get it all running right.  Luckily i will have help.

I like the crate motor for a few reasons:
1. Proven combos - not trying to find a magic combo based off of vauge information from dealers
2. No machine shop needed.  I have had a time finding quality shops and had work done more than once on 3 motors.  Each at a different reputable shop.
3. Less likely i make a mistake during assembly.   Been bit by this one too and spun a rod as a result
4. Warranty.  This is probably wool over my eyes but its nice to think id have a 2(+) year warranty.

Im looking at ATK and Blue Print.  I know everyone has different opinions but Summit Racing sells them.  I figure they are probably as good as anything i can build and Summit is in my backyard.

The major benifit to using the current motor is the enjoyment. I cant say it would be less money, budgets creep up quickly especially when you find out you need a new tool. 


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Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2019, 07:44:54 PM »
http://forum.73-87chevytrucks.com/smforum/index.php?topic=32168.msg271442#msg271442
read that, they talk about buying a gm crate motor 260 for around 2k and swap cams to push 290/420.
Thats a good read.  If i dont go 383 im thinking more and more about the XE250.  Runs out of breath around 4800 but im going to do some light towing and street driving not racing.  420 ft-lbs isnt quite 470 but it would come at $2000 less.

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Offline Irish_Alley

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2019, 08:09:27 PM »
50 hp for 2k? the only time i turn over 3k is when im mudding. towing you wont be going that fast and you want Tq for that. street driving even 420 sounds like fun. but you also have to think about at what point will other parts like your trans fail due to the power increase.
If you canít tell yourself the truth, who can you tell it to?~Irish_Alley

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth ~Sherlock Holmes

Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2019, 08:23:53 PM »
Seeing a graph always helps me.  Blue print sent me a sheet with actual data.  The ATK and XE250 i did some educated guesses bases on what i could see on their charts.

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« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 08:37:26 PM by mattevandavis »

Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2019, 08:36:09 PM »
50 hp for 2k? the only time i turn over 3k is when im mudding. towing you wont be going that fast and you want Tq for that. street driving even 420 sounds like fun. but you also have to think about at what point will other parts like your trans fail due to the power increase.
Its really closer to 1k.  Forgot to add the cost of heads in my quick math.  Still an expensive.  And not worried about hps at all.  Its all about torque; More and low as possible is what im looking for.

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Offline 75gmck25

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2019, 06:35:46 AM »
The cost of various new tools can definitely add up.  For example, if you change to a different type of rocker (e.g. full roller rockers) you will need a pushrod length checking tool, and then you will probably need to buy new pushrods. And to do the job right you need to install weak valve springs during the length check, and then put the real springs back in afterwards.  Since you probably have high performance dual springs on the new heads, the cheap valve spring tools from Autozone won't work and you need a good quality Proform valve spring compressor.  However, most of the camshaft gear and balancer remove/install tools can be borrowed from Autozone or Advanced Auto.

I also thought it would be good to degree the cam, so I bought the store-brand degree wheel from Jegs - bad choice if the engine is in the vehicle. The Jegs tool only has a small hole in the middle to bolt it to the crankshaft.  However, once its in place you have nothing accessible on the front of the engine to turn the crankshaft.  In your case your engine is out and you could still use the flywheel to turn it, but I could not.

If I had bought the more expensive degree wheel (Comp Cams, etc.) they are designed so that you bolt on a crankshaft turning tool, and then the degree wheel has a large enough hole to bolt on over it and still leave space for the 1/2" drive ratchet fitting to turn the crankshaft.  When degreeing a cam you do a lot of turning the crank back and forth, and you are working around the crossmember and other braces in the engine compartment.  I had to jury rig a setup that allowed me to turn over the crankshaft tool with a pipe wrench on the outside of the crankshaft tool instead of just plugging in my 1/2" ratchet handle.  I should have spent the extra $30-40 for a better degree wheel.

Bruce

Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2019, 12:12:31 AM »
Thoughts on the ATK HP94M vs the BluePrint BP38313ct1.

Green and black atk (from their graph)
Orange and green BluePrint


The ATK is more but includes:

Water pump

MSD HEI

Balancer



ATK also is now using Dart Heads and Scat internals vs BluePrint's house brand

Blue print has better literature on warranty.


https://www.high-performance-engines.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=HP94M&CartID=1


https://blueprintengines.com/products/383-ci-stroker-crate-engine-small-block-gm-longblock-bp38313ct1




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Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2019, 08:17:10 PM »
Leaning toward the atk.  Lower price and no tax make it hard to beat.  Looks like my credit card company will even extend the warranty for a year at no extra cost.

Offline mattevandavis

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Re: Crate Stroker or 350 upgrade?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 06:12:52 PM »
I pulled the trigger on the ATK HP94 yesterday.  They say about 4-6 weeks to build and 3-4 days delivery time.  So looking like I will have it in May.  I will probably give it a proper Chevy Orange paint job and install it shortly after.  Still debating on keeping my 600cfm or using Holley 680cfm that they spec'd.  Either way should be a nice motor.