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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is this facination with running production components to the ragged edge? There are "Street builds" that sport a list of vendor parts and compoents that a poor backwoods farm boy would sell blood to have on his race car.

If you already know that you intend to push the envelope, spend some money on performance parts. The average racer has finally learned that spending $1500 - $2000 or more will get you a free-flowing set of heads for all kinds of sick horsepower. But we still balk at opening up the purse strings for a block to handle that power?

Comes from the Ron Popiel school of engine building. Set it 'n forget it. Probably not a good thing to do with power adders and ragged edge tune ups?

A decent 302 or 351 aftermarket block is not all that expensive, about the same, more or less, than a set of worked heads.

Since I added this observation on this thread, I apologize in advance for the what may seem like an attack on the original poster. My intention is not directed at anyone in particular...it's just an observation of the increasing number of questions about how far can I push before I break something. As has often been a reply to this question...any block can be broken - its just a case of how hard you try and how persistant you work at it.

Racers can get away with a lot more abuse, mainly because they expect things to break and hopefully spend time and money to prevent it. Street builds, generally consist of seeing how much horsepower we can build into the car...without having to spend every weekend taking it apart or replacing broken parts. Might be better the other way round?

It's not that hard to build a grenade motor, good heads, a great cam, headers, NOS/stroker/blower/turbo; and even a stock short block can touch 5, 6, 700hp at least once. Kamakazi racing has a long an illustrious history.



_________________
Of all the rest..."There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money..."-- Benjamin Franklin, 1738 --

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Beoweolf on 7/16/06 11:06am ]</font>
 

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Spirit of hotrodding, pure and simple. I'm currently building a setup that I kinda stumbled into....used ebay vortech s-trim. I bid a VERY low amount on it, mostly just to amuse myself. Turned out I won it. I built my current motor with good parts, eagle rods, good pistons, oiling, cooling, etc. I made good power N/A. Never had the intention of putting a blower on it until I actually won that auction.

And guess what? Who would have guessed that I can't help myself and wait a couple of years until I have the time and money to build a 750+ hp capable small block meant for supercharged use. I love to tinker. I love to make power. I love to work on my car and if/when I break that block I will build a dart 4.125" block with even better internals than it has now.

Maybe I don't have a good handle on this hobby. Maybe I should be practical, patient and let my car sit while I continuously build with the absolute best parts because Im afraid of breaking it. But then it wouldn't be exciting, rewarding, and fun as it is to me today.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ChicoB on 7/16/06 12:12pm ]</font>
 

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Why spend $2200 on a Dart block when I can put together 3 complete short blocks using production 351w early blocks....for the same price??

The price of the Dart blocks, Ford Racing blocks, and other aftermarket offerings is STILL too high. It doesn't cost that much to cast a block...trust me. Me and a friend just cast a a copy of a Dart SBC head, yes, in his back yard. We have the molds and the stuff to melt aluminum with...and it's VERY simple. The cost would be the machining, but this head looks beautiful in it's as-cast condition, and we have no plans on making blocks or heads for a living...just something we might play with once in a while for fun. BTW, it takes a LOT of aluminum cans to cast one head!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The poit was not that it can't or even that it shouldn't be done. The question was why complain about block cracking, broken parts when you start out knowing you are using production parts.

As you mentioned; you spend money for good rods, good heads, a great cam to get the the power, but stop at spending money for a good block to hold all that power?

I know that many guys are just now accepting the idea that a fast car needs strong brakes too. so, dual master cylinders and disc brakes are a part of many street builds. Thats a pretty good indication that guys are making mature choices, so their rides have a better chance of survival on the mean streets.

There is no correct answer, its just a question about risk vs. reward. I know I don't like the embarassment of pick up my crank off the pavement. So, for a real high power build, I would make the effort to prevent it. If that means building a more conservative engine or buying part that match the potential of the other components - then thats what I would do. Sure, its great to run with the big dogs on a budget, just as long as you know thats what you are doing.

is that logical?
 

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Totally logical, yes.

But, I (for one) find it kind of neat when I have to pick up block parts, cranks, sprags, and other miscellaneous parts off the track....it's a sign that I'm making decent power. Just recently helped clean up the mess from a broken Scat 9000 series crank out of my 414. There is a weird feeling, yes, I broke it...Yes I knew it would break eventually, and yes, I felt that I made PLENTY of power....I knew it would happen eventually.

Now if I went out & spent $2500 on a block, another $2000 on a billet crank, $1000 on a set of custom pistons, and $3500 on a set of heads, $1500 on rods, $1600 on ti valves....and it broke in 300 passes, I would not be heartbroken. I'd be PISSED! Most of us know that sooner or later something's going to break, might as well cheap our way on the block because when it does break, it usually takes out the block. Why spend a couple grand on something that is useless once a rod kicks out the side? It's not something you can repair easily.

Not all of us have the tens of thousands of dollars to build a 600 HP engine. Some of us have to sweat our balls off in real jobs that don't pay jack, relatively speaking. If a production part will last 300+ runs, that's great. Chances are even if they were good billet parts, at 300+ runs something's gonna let go even if the maintenance is meticulous.
 

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Sometimes engine builds just go in different directions. If I break a production block, I will not be terribly disappointed. But when it does let go, I will know that I had alot of fun with it until it broke.

Also, If I treated this hobby as logically as I do most other aspects of my life, then it sure as hell wouldn't be my hobby.

Hotrodding is inherently illogical and impractical. It is fueled by testosterone and lets guys like me get a little crazy at the rare times when I'm not dressed up in a suit in a boardroom somewhere. Wrenching on and driving a car that I build is a cathartic experience that I can find in few other places.

So I will build a stock block. I will drive it and maybe the motor will grenade. I will probably even chuckle a bit when it does. It will have been worth it. Then I will post pics of it here and have one more war story to share with you guys.
 

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Most people who have actually split a production block will tell you that it is the first thing to go. Anyone who spends $$$ on forged internals for a stock block is dumb, that I will agree with. Most of the time it is just as cheap to buy new rods than to R&R the stock ones with new bolts, overbores require new pistons too.

The reason I used a stock block was because it was cheap, complete rebuild shortblock for under $500. That left me with extra cash for the AFR's. If it ever splits, which it probably wont' since I have no power adders, I'll build a 351 stroker.

also, I doubt many would buy an aftermarket block to put in stock internals. So in the end you pay waaayy more than if you just keep the stock block and stock internals

If I wanted 500+ horsepower from a stock small block I'd buy a latemodel crapmaro with an LS1
 

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Personally I agree with Mavman. I also find it much more fun to beat guys who have spend big bucks on the car setup when I use stock parts. Just the look on their face when the know they've spend 5X more then you and you still beat them. Just goes to show you how much a good driver and mechanic can make the difference. That's the problem in NASCAR, it's who can throw the most money at it. What even happened to "Stockcar Racing" ?
 

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These days there is an abundance of aftermarket goodies available so it is relatively easy to exceed the "limit" of a production block and we all see the "carnage" pics plastered around the various forums. Personally, I don't bother reading/looking at them anymore....they usually start as abit of a brag that they were making enough power to break a production block....and end with a tear in the corner of the eye when they realise all the good parts they just wasted and the dollars thats it going cost to rebuild the thing.....and with a decent block this time.
Whilst its cool to bet the guy with a big budget, there is invariably a reason for it....in this "game" the dollars spent is usually directly related to the hp attained BUT you also have to spend some of those hp $'s on reliability as well. Those two figures are also usually directly related....spend too much on hp and not enough on reliability and sooner or later it'll bite you.....the "big budget" guy is still running and has his problems sorted now, while you are doing the rebuild with the "right" bits this time.....and the $'s spent are now in HIS favour!!
But hey, you still have all hose carnage pics to show your friends....
 

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I also agree with Mavman from the above post. It is also more fun to see how fast you can go with as little money as possible. Most of my experience with enginges has been with 500-600 HP small blocks in IMCA type dirt modifieds. Most people would cringe if they knew my engine combinations which consisted of stock blocks with no girdles,cast cranks, cast or hyper pistons, over bored blocks ie. .040-.060, stock rods with stock rod bolts, lots of compression and a tickle of nitro. I would turn the 351 W's no more than 7500 RPM's and they would last an entire season with usually little or no problems. I had one set of Eagle rods, and one of the rods broke at the big end the first night out. It has been stock rods for me since then. I believe that the stock stuff gets a bad rap from novice builders who fail to check clearances and improper assembly techniques. No rod will like without the proper clearance. Since the hyper pistons first made it on the scene in the last 15 or so years, I have seen more rods broken because of improper cylinder wall clearance than ever before. The blocks are not bored properly, the piston gets stuck in the cylinder and all hell breaks loose. A rod or two usually breaks in the carnage, and the rods get blamed. Building engines is like anything else, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, and most people have not broken enough eggs yet to learn how to do it right. Ordering the best parts from a catalog is not a recipe for success.
 

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Oh Lord, Now that's what i want to break .. a BLOCk... way cool...
Knew as i built the 66 up i would break stuff. U-joints, yokes, Tranny pump, Forward drum.. But no block yet.

Bummer. Have done what i wanted to do so far. Brake stuff cause i am making good power and lift the wheels up at launch.
Think i will make block breakage my next goal.
I have $40 in the block, $100 in overbore. $200 in pistons $100 rings, $80 bearings. Cam was a trade, intake was $150 , carb is ebay $110
$230 in shaft rockers and $800 in the heads.
Hot rods are what ya make of them.
Only read about blocks breaking , never seen one. maybe mine will be the first... Where is that bottle..
 

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I don't see what the problem is. Of course, I happen to run a production block at 600 HP, and am going to toss N2O on top of that as well.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
....A decent 302 or 351 aftermarket block is not all that expensive, about the same, more or less, as a set of worked heads. ...

On 2006-07-17 07:23, GregP wrote:
I don't see what the problem is. Of course, I happen to run a production block at 600 HP, and am going to toss N2O on top of that as well.

Greg
* Unless you haven't changed your sig lately, a BBF should easily handle 600+ hp.


I have no problem with "Po 'Boy" engine builds...done more than a few myself. The question was an observation based on the number of recent complaints as to how weak the 302/351 (sbf) blocks are. Yet, when you read off the list of internal engine upgrades (including upgrades to "strengthen" the block. girdles, 4-bolt main caps, Studs in place of bolts). Spending money for better rod, better pistons, better intake...obviously not a "Po 'Boy" build in old definition of the term! After gassing, boosting, carbed and cammed to excess, …we have a real street terror. Then contrast the damage done when the engine self destructs a person might easily start to wonder what is happening? Sure, you might be able to salvage some top end pieces, that'll help recover some of the cost or doing it again, maybe even buy better pistons, better rods...to put in that stock block.

In some cases, the same person admits that he or friend lost a similar engine and at nearly the same horsepower before.

We all heard some urban wisdom, defining a psychotic as someone that continues to do the same thing over and over, despite failure; fully expecting different results.

Wily E. Coyote is the patron Saint of Hot rodders the world over.

We kind'a laugh at "Import guys" and "Bling meisters" for spending all their money on shiny things and little or nothing to back up the statement the visuals are making.

I have no right to condemn anyone, in the past, I've been just as guilty as anyone else. But you have to admit, it is an interesting observation.

Someone mentioned....it is so tempting to spend your money on stuff that directly increases horsepower, why waste hard earned money on stuff that no one can see, stuff that won't impress your friends?

I guess its the difference between burning pine or oak is what you are looking for; one burns brighter, faster...while the other is harder to light, but once it gets going, the heat lasts a long time, less light, put out more heat for a longer time. True, in the end they both will burn out, so it boils down to how much effort you want to spend keeping the fire burning.

While we are waiting on parts, the car is up on blocks; the guy with stronger parts is still driving, still racing; if he is nice, might give a ride to work or down to the parts store to pickup another bottle of NOS.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Beoweolf on 7/17/06 11:22pm ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: beoweolf on 7/18/06 12:05am ]</font>
 

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The best feeling with my 40 year old hunk-o-junk is wasting all the $40,000 + cars. My biggest thrill 25 years ago when I started with my torino building was how my $3000.00 junker was beating the best production cars had to offer.

Now my current build is at $12,000, mostly upgrades to breaks, good wheels, new interier, and other goodies, but the engine build is still on the cheap.

I also went out of the way to build my 302 as hot as I could get it, and still keep it on the street with normal tires.

Easily could have went with a big block, and make more power even easier then what I have now, but it's all about the challange to do what no one else does.

Plus a 302 with the power I have in the car I have, the steering performance is great. The front end is not weighed doen by the Big Block and all the heavy stuff that goes with the pro-builds.

I know my 40 year olf C4 is going to break. I knew that before I mated it, then I will buy a TCI, cause changing a tranni [email protected] while on your back.

It is all about turning the wrench. If I wanted to turn key car, I would save lots of agrivation and pennies and buy one.

Nothing like putting together an engine with dirt and grass in it, and saying....Ford could not have done it as good as me....!!!

My new challenge is getting better gas millage, and still having a screamer. This is very hard to do, but I love the challenge... that is what it is all about, plus a failure, is great too. love to see what happened. I always like bringing in broken parts to work to show them off!!!!
 

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Sorry - I think breaking parts is NOT fun. If I was planning a 600 HP small block, you bet it would get a block that can handle it. Folks can rag on all you like about how your 600,700,800 HP stock block was a ball-o-fire before you blew it up. Enjoy your burger and the view from the stands, I'm going to staging to have fun racing and adding to the 1600+ laps on my 400HP motor. If I build a bigger one, it'll be built to last like that or forget it. You got to have deep pockets to keep building replacement engines. I like building engines, but I also like going rounds. I built it to enjoy, not to work on constantly.
 

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Throwing an engine together from parts you have and making incredible horsepower is one thing if you break your block. Buying 8,000 dollars in parts and putting them in a stock block is another.

Nothing lost, nothing gained in the first, except an appreciation for physics.

Like ckelly said, if you're going to run a track-minded car that you want to have fun with, build it to last. Nobody likes 7 quarts of oil on the track when your garage special grenades.

Theres plenty to be worked on without breaking parts. As far as I know, many people work to avoid that.

Not saying there isn't a strange satisfaction that comes with totally grenading something, especially a "cheap" garage turbo special. But if it ends up costing you a lot, (you ruin your 2000 dollar heads, or whatever) it doesn't feel quite so good. Having fun breaking things is a tenant of masculinity. Nobody breaks toys not playing with them.

I'm just saying, if you have the money to make big power, don't taunt the laws of physics.
 

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On 2006-07-16 20:37, chilly460 wrote:
Pretty simple. $2000 set of heads will generally make a big horsepower difference. $2000 block will make zero additional horsepower, it's no fun.
I have read that there does come a point where the ring seal will be much better in say a Dart block over a stocker. The idea is that the bores will distort much less. Now if you're talking horsepower per dollar, it might not be much of a return for the money. Just don't completely agree with the "zero" horsepower part.

So a guy works overtime to scrape $5k together for a strong street/strip motor, no way he'll put the money in the block.
Couldn't agree more.
 

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I built it to enjoy, not to work on constantly.
Perfectly understandable. But, let's say your $10,000 engine DOES have a problem (and they all do...those who say it'll never happen are usually the ones who cry with the most tears when the inevitable DOES happen). Then what do you do? What do you do if it only has 10 passes on it and your prized posession has a hole in the side of it? NOTHING is going to last forever.
 

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Then you get yourself out of the car hobby, because you obviously don't have the knack for it.
 

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On 2006-07-17 07:23, GregP wrote:
I don't see what the problem is. Of course, I happen to run a production block at 600 HP, and am going to toss N2O on top of that as well.

Greg
That;s my recipe too. When it breaks, I'll build it stronger (and faster) next time. I need to get to work on my idea of marrying for money. I've been slacking a bit lately.
 
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