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Crate engines

thatK30guy

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I was told the BBC Vortec heads are great performers even in stock form. I'm okay with getting them worked over but I'm also okay with shelling out the coin for some Merlin heads, too.
 

1-ton

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I'm not aware of the '96 and up Vortec port injected big block heads being prone to cracks.
I am aware of it. I bought a high milage used 1997 Vortec big block for $200, and was fully aware that the heads might be cracked...they where. At least the block was still good. The stock cylinder bore was still nearly perfect, but the heads where cracked. The Vortec big block heads are good performers as long as they are not cracked from old age.
 

bp71k5

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Got a question to ask what you guys have experienced or heard about the Vortec systems on the 454's. I have a complete '99 BBC Vortec minus the crankshaft and have thought about getting a stroker kit for it but I'd only be interested in doing so if I can retain the big old Vortect intake, etc. Is there anything that can be done to modify the intake and injection to make it perform more and better than stock due to a larger bore and stroke? I could see building this motor up to 496 cubes but in order to retain the fuel injection what else needs done besides programming the computer?
They do make TBI injector trees that let you use more modern high pressure injectors. Mine has been running well after I figured out how to tune it.

Post in thread '71K5 - BP71K5's Just for fun build'
https://ck5.com/forums/threads/71k5-bp71k5s-just-for-fun-build.212062/post-3813945
 

Tnsejed

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I know this thread seems to have changed but I just got back into town and saw the tag. We used to use some crate engines for builds and customer cars. I also have been running my crate LS3 which hasn't hiccuped. We put in alot of gmpp crate stuff as well as Jasper crate and reman. This was also a long time ago. My tranny is a Jasper reman I installed in a rez bus that I then ripped back out more than a decade later for my build. We had very good luck with both.

I think the highest mileage gmpp engine I know of personally was my uncle's 572 in a chevelle which did powertours every year and was driven all over the place before he passed. Took some time getting it tuned as back then it was a marine based management system, but then it ran without issue.

Sure it can be alot of money, but if your looking at something mild and want reliability I don't think you can go wrong at all with a full crate setup. It also cuts serious time off your build timeframe. And getting stuff running and driving is of vital importance to having a build finished instead of one partially completed sitting for years.
 

vandelay industries

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About the connect and cruises: (and i'm looking at them as well, because.......i'm just not an engine person......)

1) How much larger are the 6 and 8 speed transes compared to a TH-350? Will the trans tunnel have to be "massaged?" Not actually a serious issue in my case.

2) Won't there have to be something on the brake pedal in order to disengage the torque converter?

I know this thread seems to have changed but I just got back into town and saw the tag. We used to use some crate engines for builds and customer cars. I also have been running my crate LS3 which hasn't hiccuped. We put in alot of gmpp crate stuff as well as Jasper crate and reman. This was also a long time ago. My tranny is a Jasper reman I installed in a rez bus that I then ripped back out more than a decade later for my build. We had very good luck with both.

I think the highest mileage gmpp engine I know of personally was my uncle's 572 in a chevelle which did powertours every year and was driven all over the place before he passed. Took some time getting it tuned as back then it was a marine based management system, but then it ran without issue.

Sure it can be alot of money, but if your looking at something mild and want reliability I don't think you can go wrong at all with a full crate setup. It also cuts serious time off your build timeframe. And getting stuff running and driving is of vital importance to having a build finished instead of one partially completed sitting for years.

This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 

folkenheath

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Got a question to ask what you guys have experienced or heard about the Vortec systems on the 454's. I have a complete '99 BBC Vortec minus the crankshaft and have thought about getting a stroker kit for it but I'd only be interested in doing so if I can retain the big old Vortect intake, etc. Is there anything that can be done to modify the intake and injection to make it perform more and better than stock due to a larger bore and stroke? I could see building this motor up to 496 cubes but in order to retain the fuel injection what else needs done besides programming the computer?
We can use the stock intake and parts and put a Holley ECU on it to give you modern self tuning and fully programmable EFI with most of the old parts.
 

folkenheath

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I figure I will add my opinion on the crate engines. They are good engines for a drop in and go customer. Typically I don't recommend them because most of the time you can build an engine for cheaper that has more application specific parts. Just like I am not a fan of the "Stage 1,2 blah blah" cams, I also don't think you should have to pick between only two 572 engines, either high or low compression, with no other cylinder head, piston, camshaft, intake, options, etc.

I like to hand select the parts for each application. So generally I help people pick out parts that better suit their application.

With that said, I can get some GM crate engines shipped truck freight from my distributor or directly from GM through my distributors. (I am not a direct GM parts dealer).

If I wanted a 572 I would order the block and all the parts and assemble it myself and know the compression, cam, heads, everything was directly matched to my application. That doesn't come with a warranty, but I know its done right. If it wasn't a forced induction application I would build a 615 or a 632, total price isn't any different it has even more power output.

If that's not for you and you would rather just put an already done engine in, then I hear you and completely understand. I'm not sure what to say on the warranty, it sounds like you could get parts warranty for your install and not a labor warranty.
 

AJs72K5

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Depending on what you’re looking for @thatK30guy, I’ve been considering selling the 496 and FAST EFI that’s in my K5…

FWIW.... @folkenheath helped me spec it out and select the parts for the build.
 

AJs72K5

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Full specs for the 496....
Mark IV 454 4 bolt main block bored to 4.310"
Rotating assembly:
Scat forged crank (4.25" stroke)
Scat forged H-beam rods (6.385")
Mahle forged pistons (18cc dome, 2cc valve relief)
Brodix Race Rite BB-O heads (115cc combustion chamber, set up for solid roller cam)
Comp solid roller cam 11-771-8
Duration - Intake 280* Exhaust 286*
Lift - Intake 0.646" Exhaust 0.653"
Lobe separation 110* (it'll be lopey)
Brodix single plane intake
Static compression 10.0:1
Dynamic compression 8.17:1
ARP main and head bolts... I did head studs originally, but couldn't get them to seal. Switched to bolts and no more leaks.
Melling high volume oil pump.
All Felpro gaskets



https://ck5.com/forums/threads/72-k5-ajs-overbuilt-cruiser-build.225250/page-31#post-3642723

If I had to guess, it doesn't even have 250 miles on it as I've never gotten the EFI fully tuned (that was next, but life keeps getting in the way). Going a very different direction with the K5 build. PM me if you want more info on it.
 
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wasted wages

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Some of you may recall my story about purchasing a new GM performance 454 HO. I swear this is the God's honest truth.

I paid my hard earned cash to a Buick dealership in Houston at the time as they were the local performance parts dealer near me. Picked up my new crate motor, took it home and put it on the stand to prep everything for installation.
Before I installed it, I decided to pre lube it on the stand. I wasn't happy with the oil pressure I was seeing ( seemed low )
So I contacted GM performance directly.
The tech was an ass, and basically tried to tell me that my 1/2" Milwaukee drill couldn't possibly turn the oil pump fast enough to make more than 10 lbs of pressure. I knew this was BS as I had spun plenty of pumps on a drill and made 60+ psi..

Anyway, I wrote down his information after he told me " just install it and fire it up... it's fine " Everything is tested before it's crated up.

Well I'm here to tell y'all ... that's bullshit.

I installed the motor, and when I cranked it up,, the oil pressure gauge went from 60 to zero in about 3 seconds. I double checked everything,,, swapped gauges and even hooked up an electronic gauge I have for work purposes with a recorder strip readout... I restarted it... same thing.

At this point I called GM performance back and got to the same guy that told me,,, you did something wrong or just have a bad gauge... and because GM didn't install it,, there basically was no warranty other than parts.

At this point I knew I was going to have to go it alone and decided to drop the pan in the truck to take a look. I knew I hadn't run the motor long enough to hurt anything... 20 minutes later I was down to the point of getting the pan out of the truck but the oil pump and windage tray had to come off first.
I dropped the pump into the pan and was removing the windage tray nuts when the wrench slipped and fell into the pan.
I reached into the pan to get the wrench and came up with a hand full of plastic wrap....I couldn't believe it.
Fishing around some more produced more plastic wrap,,, and two squares of cardboard.. exactly the same size as the sump...one had the impression of the oil pickup screen on it...

I got the pan out and took pictures,,, called dumbass back and we had a very lively conversation including emails,, his boss, and the dealership on a three-way.

I was so pissed off !!!!

End of story is they gave me any parts need to correct the problem,, including the pan, pump, windage tray pan gasket, oil etc.. as they wanted me to drop off the original stuff at the dealership just as I had found it... And they gave me an extended warranty on the motor for any issues for two years....
Never needed it, once buttoned up, the motor made 60+ lbs oil pressure and has been fine ever since...

Trust your instincts!!!!
I knew better when the motor was on the stand and I wasn't happy with the oil pressure... I should have dealt with it then and there.
 
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sweetk30

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kid at a local high school vo-tech program years ago did a full gasket set on a sbc engine and couldn't get oil pressure . he talked with his teacher and they pulled it and put it on a stand and the class watched and learned how to slowly pull apart and diagnose a problem .

didnt take long to find the problem from the top down . . . . :whistle: the teacher friend of mine said there must of been 3 full tubes worth of BLUE RTV used on the gaskets and ozzed in to the engine . thankfully he was slow at his work and it had cured up to the point the pickup screen couldnt suck it up in side . so they cleaned all of it out and used a fresh set of gaskets and a tiny bit of RTV in the needed points and it had a TON more oil pressure .

i had a weird problem with my L31 cooling and i called GM tech warranty line and got a great guy who told me how to fix it and problem solved . so there is good and bad as we all know .
 

wasted wages

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At Thermo King I did all of the engine and compressor rebuilds for our shop.
So I was used to finding strange things wrong when I tore them down for rebuild... stray nuts and bolts were common in the oil pan or valve cover, things like that...

One day I tore down a fairly new X426 compressor, failure tag said it had no oil pressure. I removed the throttling valve for the inlet of the comp. and there sat a full size "Marks-a- lot" That was weird I thought...when I knocked off the oil pan I found the remains of a second one!
this one was ground up pretty good and the "felt" that was inside the marker had plugged up the oil pump inlet..

Never figured that one out.

I also found many polishing stones from inside of compressors...had a small collection of those!
 

Big Ray

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As I recall THUNDERUSONE had issues with the 572 he bought for that epic build he had back in the day.
 

SPLATT

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I have no issues with crate engines but I like being able to build my own tailored to my exact application where in some cases a crate engine will be close.
 

scottsdale86

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Purchased and installed a GM 350 to replaced the windowed 305 in my 86 K10. If memory serves me correctly it was a Goodwrench 350 290HP unit. 65K miles and 15 years later it still fires up on first crank and runs well even after sitting for months. It was my daily driver for several years up and down the Cajon Pass but I doubt it ever had 290 HP with all the factory smog and emissions stuff on it require here in Ca but it never failed a smog test and always runs clean. I believe it was a still made in the USA version and not the later made in Mexico version out today. I recently replaced my parents LY2 4.8 in their 07 silverado and went with a powertrain products motor and I was very happy with them and the engine.
 
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thatK30guy

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Anyone heard what kind of price tag the new 632 will have?
 
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