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Thread: Crate motor versus rebuild (help)

  1. #1
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    1980 Corvette Coupe

    Default Crate motor versus rebuild (help)

    Ok it's time to refresh the motor and transmission in my 80, and I would like some input from all of my fellow car owners. I am thinking about getting a crate motor from Summit Racing or Jegs, something like a 383 with 420 HP. I have rebuilt motors before but I don't feel confidant or have the time for this rebuild. My questions are has anyone purchased a motor from these places and what kind of luck did you have dealing with these companies? Is this a good stree-able motor? Will this motor fit under my stock hood? Is this a good economical choice crate motor rather than a rebuild to get this kind of HP? I will be getting my transmission rebuilt for this motor. I would appreciate any comments or questions if you think this is the right path to go. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Mac
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    yellow 1973 coupe L82 4 spd with no power options

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond Don View Post
    Ok it's time to refresh the motor and transmission in my 80, and I would like some input from all of my fellow car owners. I am thinking about getting a crate motor from Summit Racing or Jegs, something like a 383 with 420 HP. I have rebuilt motors before but I don't feel confidant or have the time for this rebuild. My questions are has anyone purchased a motor from these places and what kind of luck did you have dealing with these companies? Is this a good stree-able motor? Will this motor fit under my stock hood? Is this a good economical choice crate motor rather than a rebuild to get this kind of HP? I will be getting my transmission rebuilt for this motor. I would appreciate any comments or questions if you think this is the right path to go. Thanks.
    Hey, Don!

    The question of crate versus rebuild is always a difficult one. It really depends on what you're planning to do with the car.

    If you have a notion of keeping your Corvette original, rebuild is the only way to go... but you need to be careful to protect the signs of originality (ie: the block ID). If you are nervous about doing a rebuild yourself, most towns have a good machine shop who can do the work for you.

    If you want to drive it, crate is the way to go. Most vendors offer some form of guarantee and their engine packages are made of parts all designed to work together. Companies like Summit and Jegs put together a good product... or you can go directly to GM and get good streetable crate engines. GM's crates are competitively prices.

    As far as a crate engine fitting under the hood, that depends mostly on the induction system you choose. If you put an oversized intake and monster carb, it ain't gonna fit!

    Good luck with your choice!

    -Mac

  3. #3
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    I got a 383 from Blueprint for my 1979, 420hp runs great much power. Can not build for the price and have a warranty. JAY

  4. #4
    Member 6880 Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    ...If you have a notion of keeping your Corvette original, rebuild is the only way to go...


    I agree.

    ...If you want to drive it, crate is the way to go...
    I disagree. The L-82 in my 80 is original and stock. It drives fine and gives me no problems.

    Mac likes this.

  5. #5
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    I recently purchased one of the GM 290hp 350 crate motors from Jeg's as a temporary replacement for the original 360hp 327 in my '62. Jeg's frequently has a free shipping deal on the GM crate motors, which will save you about $150. My only compliant about the whole process was the delivery driver wasn't happy about piloting a 40' tractor trailer down the narrow streets where I live to deliver it. When he unloaded it, he dropped it off in the middle of the street and took off leaving it there. He could have dropped it off a little closer to the curb so as not to block the street. Guess he was having a FIDO moment. Anyway, A crate motor can be a good way to go, if you use the items that dress the motor from your old motor. I wanted to leave my old motor intact until I can get it to the machine shop to be rebuilt. Which meant that I had to come up with all the little pieces to dress the motor. For example, my crate motor didn't come with a fuel pump, so I needed to round up a fuel pump, fuel pump rod, gaskets, bolts, fuel pump mounting plate, fuel pump line fittings. Same thing for the ignition system, water pump, water pump pulleys, exhaust manifolds, and so forth.

    If you have access to a good machine shop and can remove the motor yourself, they can do a rebuild on your original motor. You just need to be clear on what parts you want used on your rebuild. Tell 'em what you want & write the check. If originality means anything to you, you will want to make sure the machine shop does not "deck" the block. "Decking" or machining the head mounting surface will remove the original stamped numbers from the engine pad.
    I used to be with it, then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with, isn't it and what's it seems weird.

    NCRS Member 1071

  6. #6
    Member TimAT's Avatar
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    There are a bunch of decent crate motors out there. All the way from high end race shops to stock as a stick. Looking for a SBC, I'd hunt for a 383. Loads of torque, make good HP too. And with some shopping, you can get a good warranty on just about all of the crate engines.
    If anyone has extra horsepower not doing anything, I can always use more.

  7. #7
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    YELLOW 69 modified GM Crate ZZ383, LS2 TBSS

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    I bought a ZZ383 from the GM catalog some years back. Tons of power, but the motor only lasted 8,000 miles when #5 reached up and cracked the head. There was so much play I could rock #5 back and forth with my thumbs. I had to have it pulled out and rebuilt, now it makes so much power that my 69 is a total death trap. I wouldn't have it any other way.
    KANE likes this.
    The best sound my L48 ever made was when it hit the garage floor!

  8. #8
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    YELLOW 69 modified GM Crate ZZ383, LS2 TBSS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond Don View Post
    Ok it's time to refresh the motor and transmission in my 80, and I would like some input from all of my fellow car owners. I am thinking about getting a crate motor from Summit Racing or Jegs, something like a 383 with 420 HP. I have rebuilt motors before but I don't feel confidant or have the time for this rebuild. My questions are has anyone purchased a motor from these places and what kind of luck did you have dealing with these companies? Is this a good stree-able motor? Will this motor fit under my stock hood? Is this a good economical choice crate motor rather than a rebuild to get this kind of HP? I will be getting my transmission rebuilt for this motor. I would appreciate any comments or questions if you think this is the right path to go. Thanks.
    Will the rear end in a 80 stand up to a 383?
    The best sound my L48 ever made was when it hit the garage floor!

  9. #9
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    Bought my crate motor from NYES Automotive. I did alot of research b4 I bought and they are great to deal with.
    383SBC 400HP

  10. #10
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    Buy the crate. I have an 80 and went with rebuilding.... what a head ach!! Just buy the crate and stuff it in. Have a blast. 383 should do it and it will fit fine. You have a carb already that will work.

  11. #11
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    YELLOW 69 modified GM Crate ZZ383, LS2 TBSS

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    The 383 fit in my '69, but there were a few minor changes. The standard pullies don't work and all the extra power is brutal. You might consider the ZZ4 if you don't want the brute of a 383 to break stuff. I'm sure mines 450+HP and 500+TQ. The rear end in mine is starting to make a frightening noise.
    The best sound my L48 ever made was when it hit the garage floor!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koop View Post
    Will the rear end in a 80 stand up to a 383?
    The rear in my '78 will!

  13. #13
    Member frank_nesta's Avatar
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    The pulleys are the same if you change the water pump to a short neck. The ZZ4 and 383 comes with a long neck.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tektrans View Post
    The rear in my '78 will!
    I would hope it would take a 383... seems like a 573 would be just as happy with that rear end!!!

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    Default 1960 Rebuild vs. Crate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    Hey, Don!

    The question of crate versus rebuild is always a difficult one. It really depends on what you're planning to do with the car.

    If you have a notion of keeping your Corvette original, rebuild is the only way to go... but you need to be careful to protect the signs of originality (ie: the block ID). If you are nervous about doing a rebuild yourself, most towns have a good machine shop who can do the work for you.

    If you want to drive it, crate is the way to go. Most vendors offer some form of guarantee and their engine packages are made of parts all designed to work together. Companies like Summit and Jegs put together a good product... or you can go directly to GM and get good streetable crate engines. GM's crates are competitively prices.

    As far as a crate engine fitting under the hood, that depends mostly on the induction system you choose. If you put an oversized intake and monster carb, it ain't gonna fit!

    Good luck with your choice!

    -Mac
    Hi, Mac.

    I have a 1960 Vette, but the engine is not original; it's the right engine, but came out of a '55 or '56. I decided when I got the car not to invest in a full restoration, as many other parts are not original. So when I had the transmission and rear differential rebuilt, I did not do so with original parts.

    Now that the engine is nearing the point where it would need to be rebuilt, I'm feeling like it's not worth rebuilding a non-matching engine, when for maybe a bit more money I could put in a new crate engine. This car is for my personal enjoyment, not some future resale. And rebuilding a non-matching engine probably wouldn't do much for my resale value anyway, right?

    In that situation, doesn't the crate sound like the better idea?

    Thanks.

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