What You Should Know Before Buying A Crate Engine?
With so many options for crate engines out on the market, how can a person be sure they don’t buy some piece of junk and end up wasting money? Let’s review some simple things that are important considerations when purchasing a Chevy small block crate engine.
What Is Your Budget?
Deciding on a budget before searching for an engine is always good. Small block engines come in all shapes and sizes with different displacements and components. Remember, an engine installation sometimes goes in a direction other than people envision (there are always additional expenses for parts or labor for outside work that might be needed). The amount of money you spend for the engine is only a portion of what will be needed for an entire restoration project. Spend some time thinking about your budget, and go in armed to stick to those figures.
What Kind Of Engine Do I Need?
A crate engine can be a new or remanufactured powerplant, and this is often the biggest determiner of the price. Prices can vary greatly, but if a brand-new crate engine is going to bust your budget, consider purchasing a reconditioned or remanufactured motor. You want to double-check the warranty and be sure you purchase from a reputable source.
What Warranty Is Offered?
Many engine purveyors offer limited warranties on their engines, and you should familiarize yourself with the details. Should something happen and the engine fails, you want to have some recourse to help get some of your money back.
What Does The Dyno-Test Say?
A dyno test will help ensure your purchased engine meets its horsepower and torque values. Knowing whether your engine has been dyno-tested can help ensure the quality of the build and give you confidence as you place the engine into your project vehicle.
What Are The Most Popular Crate Engines?
There are lots of different small-block Chevy engines that can be purchased, but there are some that are more popular than others.
The 350 ci V8 engine (L48) was developed in the latter part of the sixties, first appearing in the 1967 Camaro SS. Over the production years (‘67-’80), the L48 would appear in almost every car that Chevrolet made, including the Camaro, Caprice, Chevelles, Novas, El Caminos, and the ‘75 - 80 Corvette. In addition, the 350 morphed into many variants, including the LT1 (1970 - 72 Corvette and Camaro Z28). Other popular versions are the LT1, L98, and L31 (5700 Vortec engine).
Chevrolet Performance 350 HO Base Engine
This base 350 is a fully assembled long-block engine from Chevrolet Performance offered from Jegs. The motor produces 330 hp and is designed for any pre-1976 rebuild. The engine includes chrome steel valve covers embossed with a bowtie logo, an oil pump and pan, a front timing cover, and a right-hand tube and dipstick. The engine needs an externally balanced flywheel for manual transmission and an externally balanced flexplate for an automatic. Jegs does offer 36-month warranties on most of its 350 engines, but this one is available for an extended protection plan for an additional cost.
- 330 hp
- 381 lb-ft torque
- Hydraulic flat tappet camshaft
- Compression Ratio 9.0:1
- Cast iron block and cylinder heads
- Good Solid High Output engine
- Designed pre-1976 models or off-road vehicles
- No warranty
BluePrint Engines 350 C.I.D. Cruiser (BP350CTCK)
This versatile Blue Print engine can fit into many different models and produces 341 hp with a compression ratio of 9.2:1. The engine has a cast iron block and aluminum heads, which look great bolted to the engine block. With four-bolt mains, hydraulic roller cams,
Hypereutectic pistons, and a 4-inch bore, the motor is perfect for street cruisers. We appreciated the additional parts, like a 600 cfm carburetor, oil pan, timing cover, spark plugs, and wires. BluePrint offers a 30-month/50k-mile warranty on its crate engines. While the price is over $6k, it makes our list.
- 341 hp
- 371 lb-ft torque
- 9.2:1 compression
- Cast Iron Block
- Aluminum heads
- Fits multiple cars - a variety of small blocks available
- Complete Engine with multiple parts
- Excellent warranty
BluePrint Engines GM 383 C.I.D. 436 HP Base Stroker Long Block
A stroked-out engine is a joy to put in and even more fun to drive. The GM 383 is a stroker version of the 350 that produces a screaming 436 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The engine has aluminum heads and hydraulic roller cams designed for pre-1976 models. It has a new oil pan, timing cover, and valve covers. The crate engine is priced at about $5k, but it is a great way to get more power out of a Chevy small block.
- 10.1:1 compression ratio
- Aluminum heads
- 436 hp
- 443 lb-ft TQ
- Good stroker engine
- Warranty for 30 months or 50,000 miles.
ATK High-Performance GM 350 390 HP Stage 3 Long Block
ATK Performance is a company that specializes in custom, crate, and rebuilt engines out of Texas. This GM 350 comes with a dyno-tested EFI, making it great for cars with fuel injection systems. The engine has a new throttle body and is designed to install easily.
The engine has hypereutectic pistons, moly rings, dipstick, seasoned OE 4 bolt main, and cast iron Vortec cylinder heads. The motor produces 390 hp with 400 lb-ft of torque on a 9.5:1 compression.
- 390 hp
- 400 lb-ft TQ
- 9.5:1 compression ratio
- Cast iron cylinder heads
- FITECH Go Street EFI
- Reputable builder
- Good EFI system
- Only 90-day warranty
Chevrolet Performance LS 376/480 LS3 Long Block
Take a great Corvette engine, add a new racing-inspired camshaft, and you have the making of a motor pushing 500 hp as easy as Sunday morning. The Chevrolet LS3 long block produces 495 hp and 473 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2L engine has a cast aluminum block with aluminum LS3 heads style with 68 cc chambers and six-bolt main caps. The compression ratio is 10.7:1.
The engine is the perfect way to get even more power from an already finely-tuned beast.
- LS3 engine
- 495 hp
- 473 lb-ft
- Aluminum cast block
- Dynamic engine with even more power
- Great warranty (50k miles)
Edelbrock 416 C.I.D. E-Force Supercharged Long Block
This Edelbrock 416 E-force is a supercharged banshee that screams 720 hp and 695 lb-ft of torque. The engine is built on a new LS3 aluminum block, with forged H-beam connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons. The supercharger kit includes everything you need to provide safe and reliable performance. The supercharger has a driver's side throttle body orientation for easier installation and intake routing. While this supercharged long block will set you back a ton, this engine will deliver for those looking for the absolute best way to get more hp than anyone else on the street.
- 720 hp
- 695 lb-ft TQ
- Supercharger component
- Aluminum LS3 block
- More power but street capable
- Great warranty
- Reliable Corvette motor
- Expensive as (you know what)