Thread Number: 73532  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Chevy 350 small block V8
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Post# 971052   12/2/2017 at 01:11 (261 days old) by Maytag85 (SoCal )        

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My first car is a 1986 Chevy Camaro Z28, and I am getting a Chevy 350 small block in it. Has anyone here on AW ever had a car or truck with a Chevy 350 small block? If so how reliable were they, and how easy are they to work on?

I'll put a couple of pictures of my '86 Camaro, and 350 small block.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size

Post# 971055 , Reply# 1   12/2/2017 at 01:45 (261 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Well, I have a '67 Chevy van with a 283 small block. Essentially the same motor, although mine doesn't have much in the way of smog equipment (It does have an added on EGR valve). The 350 was a direct descendant of the 283, which in turn came from the 265 that first appeared in Corvette in the 50's.


These motors have a reputation for being indestructible. Plus they are so popular it's probably no problem finding parts and people to work on them.


They are also relatively easy to work on. Mine is a bit more of a challenge because of the tight confines of the '67 van doghouse - but a full size car engine bay should be much easier.


Mine wasn't running too well when I got it around 2008. After trying a lot of things, I finally adjusted the valves, and found they had not enough clearance. Once I adjusted that (again, pretty easy), it ran much much better.


There are also all sorts of mods you can do with a small block. The one I  probably will eventually do is to replace the two bore carburetor with some sort of fuel injection. I'm sure  yours has fuel injection already. On mine, a previous owner upgraded the points style distributor with an electronic unit,which has been problem free. The one thing I don't like about the motor is the placement of the distributor at the rear of the engine, which is a bit awkward on the van. Fortunately the electronic unit needs little to no maintenance.


Post# 971074 , Reply# 2   12/2/2017 at 05:45 (261 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

Are all basically the same block size, a 350 was a good powerful engine, I'm not a GM person, but my pick is a 327, 300 horsepower.

Post# 971091 , Reply# 3   12/2/2017 at 06:45 (261 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
My dad used to say;

take care of a V8, and it takes care of you. He was a Chevy man, Buick, then Dodge.
Chevrolet, and or corporate Chevy design small blocks are very dependable. Short stroke crank design. They can handle high r.p.m.'s.
The main flaw was rear main seal leaks. Not every engine affected, and usually above 80,000 miles. Some had two piece seals, and some one piece, requiring a transmission drop to change the seal. I think he 2 piece lower seal can be changed by removing the oil pan only.
The Olds V8 was my personal favorite. Very smooth.
A 1986 Chevy V8 was black from the factory, and had roller lifter cam followers.
Corvette and Camaro Iroc engines had cross fire throttle body fuel injection by then. The others had a 4 barrel Quadrajet with mixture control solenoid.
The one in your photo has an after market intake manifold and carburetor. May be a rebuild also.

Post# 971093 , Reply# 4   12/2/2017 at 07:08 (261 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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nice ride!

I'm preferential to Pontiac myself.....

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Post# 971128 , Reply# 5   12/2/2017 at 11:16 (261 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
familiar territory :)

my first car-'74 nova-came with a 350,2 barrel rated at 145 HP...140000 miles,the camshaft was badly worn and timing chain had been replaced.A couple simple modifications got it to well over 200HP.Nova engine ended up in a '69 Camaro I bought without engine:)'77 Blazer has 350,4 barrel q-jet,185HP rating,engines painted blue '77-82.My '82 z28 came with 305,but swapped that for 350 out of '84 'vette-with forged flattop pistons,windage tray in oil pan,and topped with "CrossFire injection",engine rated at 205 HP.Once swapped into Camaro,modifed the injection and did some other modifications to get up around 250 HP-pretty mild,but just how I like it-cruise RPM ~2500,you are surfing a huge tidal wave of torque :) And the sound is awesome too. 4 other 350s,'69,'72,75,'83,sit in storage in various condition.

Post# 971164 , Reply# 6   12/2/2017 at 16:31 (261 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
our '68 Chevy Caprice

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has a 327 4 bbl 250hp, which directly preceded the 350 which was introduced in the Camaro and was replaced the 327 by '69. Ours has never been touched and after 50 years still just purrs. I'm in total agreement with those who call the Chevy small block one of the 2 or 3 greatest engines of all time, if not THE greatest. It came in many versions from the 1955 265 cu to the early '70s 400 cu in. small blocks and all were can still by a new crate motor from GM for about 1500$, hard to go wrong!

Post# 971240 , Reply# 7   12/3/2017 at 08:32 (260 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Yeah, the small block Chevy is probably the most widely produced automotive engine ever... GM literally made millions of them, and parts of all sorts, ranging from factory replacements to full-up racing parts, are widely available. In Sportsman-level stock car racing, you hardly see anything else.

Post# 971344 , Reply# 8   12/3/2017 at 19:20 (260 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Perhaps the other American post war car engine that rivals the Chevy small block in reliability is the Chrysler Slant Six.


The main drawback of the /6 is that it's never been a favorite of hot rodders, so there isn't the plethora of performance enhancing options that there are for the Chevy or V8's in general.  It's also a long stroke motor so it can't be run to as high revs as an oversquare motor could. But it's very smooth and torquey, and can last virtually forever.


Post# 971377 , Reply# 9   12/3/2017 at 22:53 (259 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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The Chevy 350 small block is the easiest to work on, most versatile and run damn near forever if taken care of. It's probably the most popular engine GM put out. There are many different performance parts both OEM and aftermarket for these engines to make the engine as economical or as powerful as you want. The possibilities are endless.

Post# 971396 , Reply# 10   12/4/2017 at 01:38 (259 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Remember Chevy 350 motors used a lot as inboard and inboard-outboard boat motors.Was a marine version.Seems like that motor was used in other things besides cars.

Post# 971420 , Reply# 11   12/4/2017 at 08:15 (259 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I don't think the 350 has seen much duty in fork lifts and such, though.


I know the /6 predecessor, the Chrysler inline flathead six, was used extensively in industrial applications. Probably the /6 as well, since it's a simple torquey low vibration motor (all inline sixes have perfect primary balance, unlike fours or eights).


Post# 971621 , Reply# 12   12/5/2017 at 00:57 (258 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Chrysler flathead six-one time a woodchipper was in my area-at a neighbors house.I had a pile of limbs in my backyard.asked the folks who owned the Bandit chipper if they could grind the limbs-they say sure if I bring them over-I did and they disposed of them.The tree conrtactor cut down a tree that was at least 8 in thick and the chipper ate it with ease.Asked what type of motor their chipper had-Was indeed a Chrysler Flathead six!I have a chipper with a 1.5 hp electric.Could not even touch most of those limbs.
and then there is the Belsaw one man cirlcular sawmill that could use almost any carmotor as a power source-some were even powered with VW motors!They came in 4' and 5' blade sizes.Have seen these work.Also they can be powered by a tractor PTO.

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