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Vintage SM Block vs Big Block
#1
Steep learning curve!  Long before ready to buy vintage PU capable of hauling anything I choose
(within reason).

Have learned in prior threads to look for long wheel base for better towing: got it.
Nothing under 3/4 HP, engine with high torque to HP ratio, chassis capable of hitch receiver: got it.

NOW:  please give me the gist re small block/big block.  What should I be looking for?

Every day I peruse CL offerings, trying to understand what's on offer.  Help, please!

Huh Charlotte
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#2
If you want a vintage pick up. You will be better served with a vintage sized engine. The engine the truck was designed to have. Avoid any with "upgraded" stuff. "Hey, I pulled the old 327 and stuffed it with a --" whatever, will be a problem down the line.
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Charlotte's Web (11-13-2017)
#3
For older gm trucks the standby engines are the 350 or the 454. The 350 has 200+hp and 300+tq. Decent power and will easily pull small to medium trailers. Mileage will be 15 mpg alone and 12 mpg pulling a trailer. The 454 has 250+hp and over 400 tq. Plenty of power to pull nearly anything. Mileage will be 12 to 14 alone and 8 to 10 pulling a trailer. Both are reliable engines but upgrade to tbi fuel injection. Carbs are more powerful and the mileage will be the same but not many mechanics nowadays can work on them. Efi will get better mileage but way more complicated than tbi. Fuel injection parts are in all the parts stores, carb parts not so much.

My $.02

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
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Charlotte's Web (11-13-2017)
#4
here's something to think about. the newer engines of the same CID as the old ones are lighter. starting in the late 80's and early 90's they began what is called "light weighting" they started modifying the casting of the blocks and heads. a set of light weighted Chevy small block heads will be about 10 lbs lighter then their predecessors. the heads are still interchangeable and it doesn't sound like much but it effects the durability. the light weight heads are more prone to cracking because there is less metal to dispense the heat. this is true of the block also.

also you can bore most blocks to .030 over, no more for the same reason, you are removing to much metal. finding an old block that has never been bored is getting extremely rare. also these blocks are in high demand by hot rodders and engine builders, driving the price up. a never bored 454, four bolt main from the 70's go for about 500 bucks for a core. so you must be mindful about what exactly you are buying.

another point the old heads, pre-unleaded fuel need harden seats and new valves installed. this drives the price up significantly.

so now that I pointed out many pitfalls, I am a believer in the old iron. if done right they are far more durable then the newer stuff.

highdesertranger
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Charlotte's Web (11-13-2017)
#5
(11-13-2017, 02:13 PM)mudbunny Wrote: "...Both are reliable engines but upgrade to tbi fuel injection. Carbs are more powerful and the mileage will be the same but not many mechanics nowadays can work on them. Efi will get better mileage but way more complicated than tbi. Fuel injection parts are in all the parts stores, carb parts not so much.


OK, but here's the thing:  What I am after is a truck for towing/hauling that is old enough to have absolutely
no brains/electronic systems.  In short, a truck that might still run after a CME/EMP. 

Where I am headed, lots of folks drive these vintage trucks, so don't anticipate trouble finding a mechanic.
I just have to learn enough to make an appropriate choice.  Trying to stay away from really old vintage, as
they begin to get really pricey. 

Trucks from 70's to '85 in good shape pricey enough... Confused

MPG not biggest issue, given other priorities.  Thanks for your input!  I will be at this for a good while.
Rolleyes Charlotte
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#6
(11-13-2017, 03:06 PM)highdesertranger Wrote: here's something to think about.  the newer engines of the same CID as the old ones are lighter.  starting in the late 80's and early 90's they began what is called "light weighting" they started modifying the casting of the blocks and heads.  a set of light weighted Chevy small block heads will be about 10 lbs lighter then their predecessors.  the heads are still interchangeable and it doesn't sound like much but it effects the durability.  the light weight heads are more prone to cracking because there is less metal to dispense the heat.  this is true of the block also.

also you can bore most blocks to .030 over,  no more for the same reason, you are removing to much metal.  finding an old block that has never been bored is getting extremely rare.  also these blocks are in high demand by hot rodders and engine builders,  driving the price up.  a never bored 454, four bolt main from the 70's go for about 500 bucks for a core.  so you must be mindful about what exactly you are buying.

another point the old heads,  pre-unleaded fuel need harden seats and new valves installed.  this drives the price up significantly.

so now that I pointed out many pitfalls,  I am a believer in the old iron.  if done right they are far more durable then the newer stuff.

highdesertranger
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#7
(11-13-2017, 03:06 PM)highdesertranger Wrote: here's something to think about.  the newer engines of the same CID as the old ones are lighter.  starting in the late 80's and early 90's they began what is called "light weighting" they started modifying the casting of the blocks and heads.  a set of light weighted Chevy small block heads will be about 10 lbs lighter then their predecessors.  the heads are still interchangeable and it doesn't sound like much but it effects the durability.  the light weight heads are more prone to cracking because there is less metal to dispense the heat.  this is true of the block also.

also you can bore most blocks to .030 over,  no more for the same reason, you are removing to much metal.  finding an old block that has never been bored is getting extremely rare.  also these blocks are in high demand by hot rodders and engine builders,  driving the price up.  a never bored 454, four bolt main from the 70's go for about 500 bucks for a core.  so you must be mindful about what exactly you are buying.

another point the old heads,  pre-unleaded fuel need harden seats and new valves installed.  this drives the price up significantly.

so now that I pointed out many pitfalls,  I am a believer in the old iron.  if done right they are far more durable then the newer stuff.

highdesertranger

Stranger I can see that you know a  *thing or two*  about this baffling business.  Wink

I just hope you've got the patience to see me through this!  I know how you hate stupid questions &
I am sure to have plenty till I get past the point of eyes glazing over  Ha Ha.

One thing I am sure of:  I know I can trust your advice.  Now, I am going to spend a few days ruminating
on your first info installment & try to come back with more questions that won't make you want to tear
your hair out...

Blush Charlotte
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highdesertranger (11-13-2017)
#8
Having both an 1986 C-10 4.3L4V and a 1992 c1500 4.3LTBI at the same time the 1986 was like driving an antique when it came to handling and drivability. I had major issues with the 1986 ignition BS leaving me stranded and finally went to a MSD distributer, MSD coil, and MSD CDI box to correct the GM crap.

The 1992 has never left me down the machine still runs and drives 100% after 25 years of service and 150K miles. I have replaced the starter, two water pumps, alternator, serp belt, wires cap rotor, three exhaust systems and the radiator/hoses that's it.
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Charlotte's Web (11-14-2017)
#9
350 Chevy is probably the cheapest American engine to buy replacement parts of any engine made. An entire rebuilt short or long block is cheap. Plenty of aftermarket parts to give you all the power or torque you need. 454 parts are significantly more expensive, and the engine is much larger size wise, making it more difficult to work on in the engine compartment.

BTW old Dodge pickup trucks can be gotten very cheaply. The 318 engine is bulletproof, the 360 is ok too. The slant 6 has no power but will NEVER die.

For example Chevrolet 350 C.I.D. Remanufactured Engine Assemblies 350G8795 $1400 Cheap!

[Image: fme-350g8795_ml.jpg]
[Image: attachment.php?aid=16152]My Freedom-24' 4,000lb 1993 Lance 5th wheel w/1235 Watt Solar/LiFePo & 2003 4x4 Chevy Duramax

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UptownSport (11-15-2017), Charlotte's Web (11-14-2017)
#10
(11-14-2017, 12:56 AM)Itripper Wrote: ...BTW old Dodge pickup trucks can be gotten very cheaply. The 318 engine is bulletproof, the 360 is ok too. The slant 6 has no power but will NEVER die.



Despite even the mention of Dodge trucks being heresy in some minds, I am NOT against the idea.  In fact,
there's a very likely candidate for what I seek on CL in N CA right now.  I am, however, in no position to buy
a truck now.  What I fear in this vintage truck quest is that I will get in over my head.  I do not want to have
a repetitious *project* on my hands!

Thanks for your input.  Much appreciated. Smile
Charlotte
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