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Sleeving an engine block question? (good or bad)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MoonMan, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. MoonMan

    MoonMan Registered Member

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    Hello, This is my first post here so before the question I'll give a quick intro to myself. I'm a convert over from ORC since they are becoming a bit lacking in the tech area over there. For those that were there my user name was 73K20.

    I have a 1973 K20 that has been in my family since '74. Two years ago I did a frame off rebuild of the truck because it was in such horrible repair (PO's were father and grandfather /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif).

    Truck originally came with 350/350/205 and D44 front, 14 bolt rear. About two months ago I swapped out the TH350 for a SM465. Now that the tranny is in that i want (the TH350 was horrible) I'm in the machine work stages of rebuilding a 350 for it. I had a two bolt core at my house that i took to the machine shop last week to get the standard work done: hot tanked, baked, bored, decked, and alignment of mains checked. Yesterday I called the shop to check on the engine. Guy tells me that he hot tanked it, baked it, checked everything and was boring the next to last cylinder (number 3) when he discovered that this particular cylinder was bored crooked from the factory (the brief history of the core is that it came out of a '77 Monte Carlo my dad bought new and was never rebuilt). About half way down the bore he said that he heard the tool start to skip and by the time he reached the bottom the tool was only engaging approximately 1/2 the bore. The engine was being bored .030" over btw. So he overbored the cylinder and sleeved it (without consulting me first).

    Now the question: Whats the scoop on sleeved engines? The good and the bad? Seems to me that this should only be used as a last resort in a special engine or something where that particular block needs to be saved and reused, but not in an engine as common as a 350. I think that the main issue that is plagueing my mind are head gasket leaks. Another question is what is the deal with a misbored cylinder. Is this possible? Anyone out there hear of or experience this?

    For what its worth, I'm having him assemble the engine because he gives a 12 month/12,000 mile warrenty with his work. I have however got his word that the cylinder sleeve will never cause me problems and if it does he will repair/fix the engine free of charge. I have talked to MANY people that have had work done by this particular engine builder and no one had a bad thing to say about him. All were shining remarks. The point I am at right now is I'm willing to take his word and use the block, but I'm still unsure about it Sorry about the long first post but I'm going to have quite a bit of money tied up in this and just wanting to know previous experiences and suggestions on what to do.

    Thanks.
     
  2. slimlynn1

    slimlynn1 1/2 ton status

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    I've got a sleeve in my 400 block. No problems soo far. Since it was his fault and didn't ask before doing the work he shouldn't charge you for it. If it is done correctly you should be fine.
     
  3. yellowK20

    yellowK20 Well Lubricated Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I have a 350 in my 78 Gmc 3/4 ton that has 3 sleeves in it It has not given me any problems if you think about most heavy duty diesel engines have sleeves and they run forever /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif..... oh and welcome to CK5!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  4. cegusman

    cegusman 3/4 ton status

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    Welcome to CK5. Sleeve should be no problem.
     
  5. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I would not sleeve a 350 block. they're too cheap.
     
  6. yellowK20

    yellowK20 Well Lubricated Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Well when you live in a town that is huge into stock car racing at the local tracks 350 blocks become a hot commodity especially 4-bolt main 010 020 blocks like this one is you can actually get bigblocks here cheaper than 350's and 400's because off the damn stock car racers it's gotten so bad guysare punhin' out 305's and 307's and puttin 400 cranks in them the first 3 classes here requrie you to run a 2-barrel carb on a stock intake .... which means NO BIG BLOCKS and the classes that can run 4-barrels run dart or brodix blocks (still small blocks cuz the big block is to heavy) so any sources off small block chevy parts are dryin' up quick so we make do with what we have and in my case the motor was rebuilt with the gaps on the rings installed all in line on 3 cylinders and gouged a groove in they wall since the engine was already .030 over and I didn't want to go .060 over( and they might not have cleaned up at .060 anyways) I decided to have the 3 bad cylinders sleeved and rebored to .030 over oh and the sleeves only cost me 20 dollors a piece installed as oppsed to 500 for another 350 4-bolt main
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    From a former friend who had partial ownership of a machine shop, he said that there are no real problems with sleeving, except cost, and installation. Pretty easy to crack the cylinder when installing them.

    IIRC, locally it's about $80/cylinder to have them sleeved, so as was mentioned, for that kind of money, if you hadn't already done work on the block, it would be easier/safer to get another block to start with, if they were available.
     
  8. chevystepside

    chevystepside 1/2 ton status

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    that cylinder hole will out last the other 7. the sleeve is made of harder material. you will be ok.
     
  9. yunit

    yunit 1/2 ton status

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    Honestly, it is not even worth rebuilding the older 350's anymore. You can get a BRAND NEW 350 from GMPartsDirect for under $1300 with a 30K warrantee; I believe. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  10. MoonMan

    MoonMan Registered Member

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    I have talked to a few people today that know engines and all of them said that there should be no problem with the sleeve and if he is willing to warranty the sleeve get it in writing.

    The sleeve should be made out of the same material as the block to keep heat dissipation and coeff. of thermal expansion the same, right? If the sleeve was made of harder material wouldn't that make the pistion rings wear more or quicker?

    This may be true about the GM Parts Direct for a brand new 350, but what fun is there in buying a preassembled cookie cutter engine /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif. I know that I could buy a crate engine from GM Performance Parts (and other places) and get a nice warranty, but then the engine has no character. I also don't know how those companies would feel about changing cams, etc. After the engine is in the only thing on the whole truck that i have not worked on is the front and rear gear sets (and i hope that I never have to /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif). I dont know that much about engines and I want to learn. I guess that my method of thinking is the best way to learn how to swim is jump in the deep end with the sharks.
     
  11. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    [ QUOTE ]
    350's and 400's because off the damn stock car racers it's gotten so bad

    [/ QUOTE ]I hate it when I see 400's in stock cars because they are already rare motors and they just blow them up anyway instead of putting it in a vehicle that will use a 400 for years. /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

    As far as the sleeve I would find another core and start over if you can afford it. I have heard some bad things about sleeved gas motors before, but hey it may last for 200,000 miles...who knows.
     
  12. yellowK20

    yellowK20 Well Lubricated Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    that's the way I feel about it to I'm not a big camaro fan but it seems like every damn 73-80 camaro gets turned into a F---ing stock car nomatter how nice it was to start with the same with the same era firebirds /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif
     
  13. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    Since you already had that much work into the motor at the point he found out it needed to be sleeved it was worth sleeving it. He should have contacted you first and got approval though so you may want to bring that point up with him and make sure it is included in the written warranty, maybe even insist on a price break for the sleeve since it was not approved work.

    If you would have found it needed a sleeve before starting work on the motor I would have looked for a new core at that point since 350's are fairly cheap (guaranteed cores go for about $100 around here).
     
  14. 99firehawk

    99firehawk 1/2 ton status

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    My car has 8 sleeves in it from the factory I know of another with 350k miles on it and never even had a valve cover off, nothing wrong with sleeves, but around here for 80$ a hole versus 100$ for a core, id buy a core
     

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