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Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit's engine parts?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by heavy4x4, Apr 21, 2003.

  1. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Well, I got the go-ahead from my Dad to build/rebuild an engine this summer. I'm sure I've got the ability and knowledge to do so, just not too sure on the whole deciding process. (This will be a TBI 350 that meets emissions by the way)

    Here are my 3 plans (all involve nothing with the block in the truck now - so that I can drive my truck while I'm working on an engine):

    1) Buy an engine (not sure how complete, but probably with the rotating crank assembly at the least) from a salvage yard. Have a shop bore cylinders, bore the main and cam bearings, hot-tank, check for cracks. Then, buy new oversize rings, a comp-cams K-kit, rebuild some heads (maybe go vortec), and install everthing else from the engine that's in my truck now.

    2) Buy a short block from Checker Auto parts (Schucks to some of you). And do what's stated above. I'm thinking increased price for this option (yes or no?) but I'll have a reconditioned rotating crank assembly.

    3) Buy a long block or complete 350 from GM.

    The first and second options will undoubtedly involve buying some engine parts. I've bought quite a few things from Summit and like their service. But, how are Summit's engine parts? Are they good enough quality for a somewhat stock rebuild or should I buy some name-brand stuff?

    I'm up for ideas here guys and gals - let me know if there are any potential flaws with any of my plans. And, most importantly - which one of the three would you chose, if any?!?!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    I've always liked to start with a good core, and build it myself. That way I can choose the parts that go into it. I've mostly bought from Jeg's. I like dealing with Jeg's becouse on big orders, they'll knock the price down. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Always nice to get some parts for less then the listed prices !!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. Poohbair

    Poohbair 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Don't get a shortblock/longblock from a parts house. Sure, they have a warrantee, but generally they are a guarenteed piece of crap. Some people have had great luck w/ them and they run forever...but I have also seen them w/ 4 cyl's standard, 2 @ 20 over, and 2 @ 30 over, etc...
    Your basically gonna get what you pay for w/ a motor. It is worth the extra $$ to do it right the first time and have a reputable shop build you a motor, or do machine work and build your own motor, or get a GM long/short block.
     
  4. Topdown

    Topdown 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    I agree here... find/buy an older short block and have a good machine shop clean it, bore it, align hone it, magnaflux it, etc... because no matter what heads you put on or cam you run, if your block work is sh*tty, you will regret it every time you drive it. Around here to have a block cleaned, "run through", magnafluxed, bored, etc... its about $150.00 - $200.00. I bought a 4-bolt for $100.00 and had it done and saved myself a boat-load.

    Then, you can check summitracing.com, Jegs.com and Speedwaymotors.com... get yourself a good rotating assembly (crank, connecting rods, pistons, bearings, rings, etc...) I got mine from speedway and summit.

    What I learned the hard way is that your engine will only perform or last as well as the cheapest/sh*ttiest part put put into it. Not everything has to cost an arm and a leg though... its balance. I built a very nice 400+/400+ small block 350.00 for under 2500.00 with block work... and scavanging some parts off my current engine (intake, carb, distributor, accessories).

    -Ryan /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Check and see what you've got locally that is like this: http://www.chevy-350-engines.com/warranty.html

    You can get a newer 4 bolt main Vortec headed roller block with a damn good warranty for a decent price. Add your intake and you are good to go. Of course, new flexplate/flywheel will be needed, but thats because you'll have the less leak-prone one piece rear main block /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Of course you'll probably want a non-stock cam, but you can always ask if they'll substitute one.
     
  6. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Check and see what you've got locally that is like this: http://www.chevy-350-engines.com/warranty.html

    You can get a newer 4 bolt main Vortec headed roller block with a damn good warranty for a decent price. Add your intake and you are good to go. Of course, new flexplate/flywheel will be needed, but thats because you'll have the less leak-prone one piece rear main block /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Of course you'll probably want a non-stock cam, but you can always ask if they'll substitute one.

    [/ QUOTE ] But that would take the fun of building yourown motor out of it.
     
  7. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Exactly - I wanna build this for the great experience/knowledge it will provide. Although, if it saves money (which it doesn't sound like it would) I would go with a longblock. Thanks for the link dyeager...hadn't seen that site yet.

    Thanks for all the answers and opinions so far.
    So, has anyone dealt with Summit engine internals, like their rebuild kits and such? How are they for quality?
     
  8. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Oh yeah, what should be done to the rotating crank assembly of a motor I get from the junkyard in order for it to be put back in. Do the bearing surfaces need to be reground or can I just throw some new bearings on it. Do the parts need to be taken to a shop to be magnafluxed or balanced? And, should I reuse the stock pistons or buy some flat-toppers? Other than the rotating crank assembly, everthing else that moves will be new (rings, valvetrain components, etc).
     
  9. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    iF YOU USE A JUNKYARD MOTOR, HAVE THE MACHINE SHOP GO OVER THE ROTATING ASSEMBLY. THE CRANK AND RODS SHOULD BE MAG'D AND RESIZED. BUY NEW PISTONS TO GET THE CR YOU WANT WITH THE HEADS. THE SHOP WILL HAVE TO PRESS THESE ONTO RODS ANYWAY. LOOK INTO 383 ASSEMBLYS, NOT MUCH MORE MONEY, BUT BIG DIFF IN TORQUE. IN THE END, YOUR FINAL ASSEMBLY AND CHECKS WILL BE ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. SUMMIT PARTS ARE FINE, I HAVE MANY LOCAL MACHINE SHOPS TO CHOOSE FROM, I TRY TO KEEP MY BUSINESS LOCAL, EASY TO TRADE WRONG STUFF THAT WAY, UNLESS SERIOUS CUSTOM ORDER.
     
  10. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Add your intake, make sure it is vortec compatible, the one off your current ride won't work.
     
  11. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Plan it well on paper first, then get your parts. making the whole thing work together will net more /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    The "joy" of doing it yourself, basically consists of taking all your parts to the machine shop, waiting for them to do the work you can't do yourself. (pus pistons onto rods, crank work, block work, head work, and so on)

    I'm as much a do-it-yourselfer as anyone, but when you can get better parts, in an already assembled motor, for as much as it would cost to acquire the parts and have them machined, the choice for *me* is clear.

    I'm not trying to force you into it, but start adding up the costs of boring, honing, a complete head rebuild, new pistons, new bearings, new seals, cam/lifters, recondtioning rods, reconditioning the crank, and so on, and see what direction sounds better.
     
  13. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    [ QUOTE ]
    start adding up the costs of boring, honing, a complete head rebuild, new pistons, new bearings, new seals, cam/lifters, recondtioning rods, reconditioning the crank, and so on, and see what direction sounds better.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I've started...and I now see your point. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  14. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Okay, throwing a new idea and question out there. I'm probably going to want to go with vortec heads (even though they weren't originally on my list) and I'm figuring...why not just look for a vortec 350 at a junkyard. Granted I may not find one, but if I do, is there a problem with just getting one of those, putting the TBI/vortec intake on and slapping on my tbi? Is the block different? Can I still use my same starter, distributor, waterpump, etc? And, what do you think a junkyard would charge for a near-complete vortec 350. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif /forums/images/graemlins/ears.gif
     
  15. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Engine rebuilding opinons...how are Summit\'s engine parts?

    Nothing really wrong with the idea, as long as you can get the motor cheap, and it's actually good.

    Never did trust wrecking yard motors or trannies, the warranty is typically 30 days, and you have NO clue how hard that component was beat by the previous owner, which personally scares me. You can check the oil, but thats no failproof indicator.

    If the miles are low, and the price is right, great. But if you spend $600 on a used motor that has 140K on it, and you don't know this, at 160K as it starts smoking, you aren't going to think it was such a great deal.

    That said, I needed an engine once, no time/inclination to rebuild the POS motor I had to replace, so I bought one from the wrecking yard. They weren't real bright, as it ended up being a motor 53 cubic inches bigger than what they said it was, and lasted for 4 years being beaten every day before I tore it down to build it up the way I wanted.

    You don't need the Vortec specific injection stuff, but I doubt you'll find a wrecking yard engine that has known mileage minus the CPI stuff, at least not real likely. That Vortec injection stuff is almost worthless IMO, just because you can buy the complete Vortec takeoff setups brand new some places for $200. (Compare with $400 for TPI if you are lucky)

    Only thing I can think of off the top of my head that would complicate your swap is the flexplate/flywheel (for the one piece rear main seal) but that is not a real tough to fix problem, as both the 4 spd manual flywheel, and 400/700R4 flexplate both were made for one piece rear main motors.
     

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