New Kid

#1
Hey guys. Im Matt and im 15 going on 16 in Dec. Ive always liked cars, but musclecars in particularly. In fact, almost only musclecars, with the only exceptions being other American high performance cars. Anyway, im going to be looking for a car soon and I have tons of choices, limits though, of course, are money, money, and money. Whatever I have will be driven daily, but that doesnt mean something with driver quality manners. My dad had one engine in one of his Chevelles that he built cheap and it was basically and oval track engine. Tons of work done to a set of double hump heads sitting on top of a 307 block with a forged 327 Vette crank. Anyway, this was back in the '80s, but the cam was, brace yourself, .560 lif t(he cant remember, it was either .560 something or .580 something but .580 seems too much for double hump heads, no matter how much work was done to them) but was about as much duration as could be packed into that lobe. Anyway, the thing used to scream. Ive heard some crazy stories, one involving the destruction of the reputation of a SS396 Nova in which the Nova managed to pull about 3 car lengths of distance between him and my dad and the 307 hit 4 grand and began to head for the 8000 rpm that my dad shifted at like lightning, pulling like a freight train as it screamed by that Nova. Anyway, being much like my dad, im a little on the crazy side. I want a big block that will rev. And what better big block to rev than a real fine 409? With those huge bores they can breath well because the valves are unshrouded I would assume and its relatively short stroke should also allow it to rev easily. Anyway, I want to put it in a bubble top Bel Air with a 4 speed and some 3.70s or 4.11s. However, there isnt much info out there about 409s compared to other BBCs and I notice alot of the parts, almost all, arent interchangeable. How much could I expect to have to pay to build one. I dont know much about 409s compared to other engines. Did the used forged internals stock? Did only certain versions use forged peices? Also, how much should I expect to pay to build an engine? My dad isnt a hot rodder really anymore, and he was a small block Chevy guy. I want to run low to mid 13s once I can get it to launch well with good tires and the gears I mentioned already. I think I can easily do better than that because I want to employ a Z11 spec cam. Im crazy and love to rev things up, nothing sounds better than a brusing V8 taching up 7 grand, am I right? I would want to obviously build it with all forged internals and aluminum pistons. So can anyone give me a price range? The Bel Air would sort of be a stripper, anything I didnt need wouldnt be on there.
 

rwagon57

 
Supporting Member 1
#2
Matt,

You have definitely come to the right place to learn about the W-engine. All variations, 348 and 409, truck, low performance, and high performance had forged cranks, rods, and pistons. Due to the limited years and production numbers these engines are not as easy to find and are more expensive to acquire and build. Done right they will definitely haul the mail.

Rather than try to answer your question about how much it will cost, I am going to suggest that you hang out here, read the past threads, ask questions, and learn the variations and options. Also don't restrict yourself to old technology like the Z11 cam. It was a good piece in its day, but there are many modern grinds both in flat tappet and roller designs that make big power with lots of area under the curves, yet are far more streetable than that Z11 profile.

Several guys on here have street drivable cars that run in the 11s and 12s easily. Any car with a W-engine in it especially one that is dressed and modified draws a crowd at cruise-ins. Guessing what your budget constraints are, I would suggest starting a bit more modestly with a 348 and a lower end Biscayne, maybe even a '59 or '60, rather than one of the most expensive body styles in the Sport Coupe (bubbletop).

Welcome to the party youngblood.:hug
 
#3
Z-11 cam

Matt that sounds cool to me. I like going fast with old parts too. I recently tried the old 097 cam in my 283. A real dog with my combo, but would have been good if you wanted a 14 second car and had more compatable heads. Mine are Bowtie 2.02s. A much more modern hydraulic would have performed much better and even a good modern solid. Not all factory muscle car cams will let you down though. I have run many high 12 second passes in my 55 Chevy with the "30/30" cam with less than factory comperssion. If you like these factory cams, I would look for something with similar .050 durations and lobe centers, but find one with the least advertised dur and most lift available. I think this is really the best way to go now days. There are some guys on this site with some seriously fast 409s and strokers who could tell you more about building these w motors. Look at the Racing Days and Blown 55 409 threads to see who some of them are.


Have fun.

Henry
 
#4
Ok thanks guys. Yeah, i like to use old parts and have the nostalgia thing going, sort of have the car look like its had what you would expect for regular mods back in the '60s. You know, rims, maybe run a 2 X 4 but use Holley carbs instead (although that would be expensive) etc. Also, I havent seen many aftermarket parts suppliers for the 348/409 engines. Anyway, how much can you pull from the 348s? I know that they were basically originally a truck engine turned into a race engine that eventually went to 409 cubes because of its limitations, so I assumed that they probably would wind up costing me more in the long run. Im going to check those threads out and see what I can find. My budget is going to be kind of odd. Im not worried much about how the car looks, im mainly just planning to get rid of all rusty panels and have it clean. If some parts of the car have primer for a while thats fine. I dont have to have it painted imediately, im all about go, not show. The only thing that will have to be in show quality(not show quality, but in good shape looks wise) will be the interior because I will go crazy if the seats are ripped or the carpet is stained lol. Anyway, I would not have any problem pouring money into the engine. In fact if the engine costs me more than the car, I will love it because when people ask me I can say, "Hey, I spent more on the engine than on the car" and my friends wouldnt even be surprised because thats how I am. Budget wise, its hard to day. I have a 4 bolt main 350 that I got from a buddy of my dads that has literally like 50 miles on it but is dissasembled. He rebuilt it after spinning a bearing and then did something wrong with the oiling system (I dont remember) and spun another bearing. The rods and pistons are in great condition though an I heard they sell .40 over rings for .30 over pistons. Since I have the block, pistons, and oiling system which I will set up right lol, rods, and a crank I could put it together cheap and stick it in the car for a few months to a year while I built the W head (I wont assume 409 for sure yet) and still have it set up with the same rear end I want to use with the 409 which would give me a pretty quick car if the engine could put out 300 hp. Probably mid 15s with 3.70s and good tires. Anyway, what will really be funny is all the ricers I will smoke when its done. I laugh because alot of people tell me musclecars are ugly(everyone who has ever come into contact with me know I love them) when I show them what one looks like. I like the styling, but if I had a '62 Bel Air for instance, people are going to think its slow, of course, because it is a pretty big car compared to todays cars and they will think its ugly. Anyway, rwagon, you mentioned the Biscaynes. I thought about them, how much do they weigh?
 
#5
55Chevy283 said:
Matt that sounds cool to me. I like going fast with old parts too. I recently tried the old 097 cam in my 283. A real dog with my combo, but would have been good if you wanted a 14 second car and had more compatable heads. Mine are Bowtie 2.02s. A much more modern hydraulic would have performed much better and even a good modern solid.

Have fun.

Henry
I see that you had your 283 in a '55 in one of those threads in Racing Days. Anyway, I was pretty encouraged by your time. I know you expected better, but if I managed to get my hands on a 283 bubble top Bel Air in running condition for $5000 that needed some body work, I would be happy. I could find some Darts or something used to throw on the 283 and stick in a similar cam, spin it to 6500 rpms and hope nothing breaks and if it does, oh well. Thats racing. I would use 4.10s though, not 4.56s, but I think shifting at 6500 and the 4.11s would give me around a high 14 or low 15. If I drove a low 15s car for a few months I wouldnt care. Thats enough to stick it to the ricers. I dont know the weight difference between your '55 and a '62, but you said the 283 is driveable which would be great. The first few months I have my liscense I really dont need anything crazy anyway. A 13 second car right after I get my liscense is a bit much.
 

rwagon57

 
Supporting Member 1
#6
Matt,

A 348 core will run from $500 and up. With the right parts, a 348 will make 350+ HP, stroked 348s can make considerably more. Stroker options include using a 409 crank or a 396/427 BBC crank (3.76 stroke). The 348 in my signature is 0.125 overbored with a BBC crank for 427 ci. It is based on a '58 passenger car engine originally rated at 250 HP. Estimated HP for my combo (its not been dynoed) is 400 to 450.

Keep the faith, I love your enthusiasm.
 
#7
Heavy Chevy

Matt, my 55 Chevy weighs 3400 with me in it. I weighed it at the track. My 14.00 pass was with the 097 cam. It didn't feel all that fast till you revved it up but It pulled hart between 4500 and 6200 with that cam. I just put in the old "30/30" cam and the car feels much faster, even at 3000rpm. It took a huge dip in drivability below 3000rpm with this change, and I could no longer stand driving it on the 3.70s. I had to go back to the 4.56 and that was very drivable. I use very tall tires on the street though and that makes it about like you would experience with the 4.11 rear. I will let you know what it runs in the quarter after I go on Fri.

I believe the Dart heads are about like my Bowties, but the new platnums are supposed to be better. I had mine angle milled to 57cc to get compression up to around 10:1. To run 14 second times with the 283 these heads are totally unnecisary. If your dad is anything like mine, he proberably has a set of old cammel hump heads laying around that are good for low 13s without any real work. Just be sure they had a decent valve job and mill to 57cc or so, and use a steel shim head gasket.

If you are just going to through them on an already assembled engine, the 4 valve relief flat tops will requre flycutting for valve clearance with 2.02 heads. 1.94s will be close at best, and should be checked very carefully. Try the Comp 272s or 282s cam and your results should be better than mine were with the 097 cam and still sound the same as the old duntov because the lobe centers are the same. The 282s will be the faster of the two.

If you are putting an engine together on the stand, use the KB 166 hypereutectic 283 piston, and the milling will not have to be so aggressive. They have a small dome and valve clearance to spare. I would recomend getting some steel bushed I beam rods from CNC-Motorsports.com or sometimes there are a cheeper set available on ebay. If you use floating rods with the KB piston, you will save the press in job $ at the machine shop, as well as the reconditioning of the rods. The same money as reconditioned rods will give you strong rods with good ARP rod bolts already included and the failure prone stock rods will not cause the premature death of an otherwise good 283. Stock 283 rods are junk. They fly appart. People use to use the 327 or the 302 rod when building these but now you dont have to.

The place where you will pay is the balance job requied with the new rods. They are quite heavy at the big end and you will have quite a bit of metal added to the crank at least on steel one, and on the 62 cars that is the one that came in it. The extra bob weight will just act as flywheel mass and can only help to launch harder in the heavy car.

I can tell you more if you are really building this engine just ask. Just thought you would have fun reading this.

Have fun!

Henry
 
#8
rwagon57 said:
Matt,

A 348 core will run from $500 and up. With the right parts, a 348 will make 350+ HP, stroked 348s can make considerably more. Stroker options include using a 409 crank or a 396/427 BBC crank (3.76 stroke). The 348 in my signature is 0.125 overbored with a BBC crank for 427 ci. It is based on a '58 passenger car engine originally rated at 250 HP. Estimated HP for my combo (its not been dynoed) is 400 to 450.

Keep the faith, I love your enthusiasm.
Well that is certainly a pretty good place to be. I will have to consider using the 348 for sure since I could probably build one and then reuse some of the interchangable parts when I went to build a 409. I hope you run a faster time on Friday Henry. I dont know if I would take a 283 apart to rebuild it though because I want a W head, but you never know. Thanks for the info though, im sure I will use it in the future whether it be on my first car, or another car I have down the road. I have a good memory, so ill keep in mind that the 283 rods are junk and that with the big valves Ill have to watch out. You guys here are great with resppnses. Thanks.
 
#10
Yeah, they definately are. They sort of look odd at the same time too, if you didnt know much about them it would make it look like a huge V6 almost.
 

dq409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 3
#11
Welcome Z11 Kid !!:D

I call you kid because most of us here are old farts !!!:roll

Sound like you have the right idea in many of your thoughts about your car build up and are not pushing the limits on what is real.

Thats a big right-on when it comes to reality in building a street car so you are half way there.
Now start searching the papers and internet for that special project car and by all means start reading everything you can here on our forum.

After you find that car you might get lucky and it might have a serviceable engine that will work just fine with some bolt on goodies to hold you until you find the right "W" block.

Any good running SBC should be able to get into the 13`s with very little work.
Mean while you can upgrade your interior and suspension and have that stuff done by the time you get the dream engine built and ready to install.

Keep up the enthusiasm as like you say,,, most young kids are into the jap crap and don`t know what a real hot car feels like !!

You`ll get all the help you need right here,,,dq
 
#12
Thanks. I figure I can get the rest of the drivetrain ready to handle what the 409 can dish out with a small block under the hood, and have it set up to get the small block to bring in some good times.
 
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