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Thread: Building a 383 sbc as opposed to a 396 bbc

  1. #1

    Building a 383 sbc as opposed to a 396 bbc

    This has been in my mind for quite some time now, so I thought I'd ask.

    We've all heard the saying "no replacement for displacement"....

    I've got a built 396 bbc in my Chevelle. It's not been dynoed or ran at the track but it is very healthy, has alot of torque (enough to pin you to the seat) and I'm wanting to set my car up for track. Most think it would pull off an easy 12 second pass. It's a fairly fresh 396.

    I've had some folks tell me I should build a 383 sbc and drop it in, that even a 355 can spank a 396 bbc so a 383 would definitley do the same....

    So I'm wondering if I should pull the 396 and build a 383?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MASTER BUILDER
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Rutherfordton North Carolina
    Posts
    192
    You could make more power than your existing engine with a small block but the cost to do so would be high,you wont do it with average parts and would need high dollar cyl heads.for 1/2 of what it would cost to build a small block that would put out more power than you have now you could improve your existing engine a bunch and have something thats far more reliable.Bill
    Hendrens Racing Engines
    1310 U.S. Hwy 221 North
    Rutherfordton N.C. 28139
    828-286-0780 Bill, Steve, Mike
    www.hendrensracingengines.com

  3. #3
    Thanks Bill. It seemed to me according to some folks I'll call "the supposed engine gurus" that 396 bbc's are really useless engines in terms of making any power.....

    ......stuff like "nobody makes a decent head for a small bore engine" and "my buddy has a 396 powered car and he couldn't keep up with my 355 powered car"....and of course the weight penalty for the extra 100 or so lbs for the small bore engine.

    I'll go on to say it now, the 396 in my car still has the original closed chambered oval port heads and rods and that's about it. I went with a forged crank and forged pistons, arp rod/main/head bolts, then added a .574/.578 lift cam, then topped it off with a Performer RPM intake/750 Holley and a Mallory HEI. It breathes thru a set of 1.75 primary headers thru dual 2.5 inch pipes out the back fitted with Ultraflow mufflers.

    With a 3000 rpm torque converter and a 4.10 ring and pinion out back it's nice and torquey and pins you to the seat from a dead stop. But it still has me thinking "what if I pulled it and did a 383"....

    I've got roughly $3k in my engine, which i thought was rather cheap as everyone says "buiding big blocks is expensive"....what would be a ball park on building a 383?

  4. #4
    Senior Member DYNO OPERATOR
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    VA Hospital, Dallas, Tx (214 302 1924) cell-972-464-7400
    Posts
    540
    Few suggestions;

    If you tear into it, change rod bolts to ARP and get rods resized.

    Keep the cam and intake and headers you have. Buy a set of Open chambered Oval port heads from a 402 that have the same combustion chamber size you have now. That way you can use your same pistons. Get 2.19 Inatke and 1.88 exahust vlvs put in them with Hardned seats if they don't have them. a few did and most didn't. That should pick you up some without much money spent.

    Or;
    Keep your cam and rods and buy a 454 block and crank, cast is ok to above 600 hp and above 7,500 rpm. Buy a set of oval port 049 or 781 castng heads you can run them as they are with some pocket porting but it is better to change valves to 2.19 and 1.88 get a set of pistons to give you appx 10.50. - 1 compression, and really enjoy more torque and power and at the same time let the know it alls see that you still have the same old engine and just did some better tuning on it. A good single plane intke would help too. You can get Team G 's on ebay for maybe $75 to $100 dollars and they work good.

    Ed
    " Let all things that hath breath, praise the Lord. Praise Ye the Lord" Psalms 150 vs 6.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by edvancedengines
    Few suggestions;

    If you tear into it, change rod bolts to ARP and get rods resized.

    Keep the cam and intake and headers you have. Buy a set of Open chambered Oval port heads from a 402 that have the same combustion chamber size you have nows. That way you can use your same pistons. Get 2.19 Inatke and 1.88 exahust vlvs put in them with Hardned seats if they don't have them. a few did and most didn't. That should pick you up some without much money spent.
    Ed,

    The rods already have ARP chromeloly bolts in them. :wink: The main caps are also secured with chromeoly bolts.

    The rods were reconditioned....not sure if that's the same as "resizing" them.

    Never heard of a "set of Open chambered Oval port heads from a 402 that have the same combustion chamber size I currently have"....the heads I have now have a 101-105 cc chamber...isn't that why they're called "closed chambers"?

    Open chambers are like 119 cc's....at least all the ones I've seen.

    I've gotten mixed thoughts on the 2.19/1.88 valves....some say they help others say it's a waste of time on a small bore bbc.

    I had considered getting a short block 454 and transferring the heads and intake...the thing is this is an actual 1970 Chevelle SS 396 engine, so i kinda wanted to keep it all together....maybe one day someone will be the owner of the car it went to and would be willing to pay some money to get the original engine back.


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