We’ve been having a discussion in the Corvette Forum on my engine project and it’s now a fact I need to get some aluminum cylinder heads to complement the rest of the engine. I ofcourse want the best ones, but I need to stay within a budget. I’m trying to acquire a pair of assembled cylinder heads for around 1200 bucks. They can be slightly used but they must be a good brand. Can be Dart, but I prefer AFR. An important factor choosing the heads is the intake chamber volume rating which needs to be around 180-200 cc in my case. The larger engine you have or the more HP you want at high RPM, the larger cc you need. However, in my case I don’t want to RPM too high (just around 6000-6500) and the engine is 350 and maybe 383 later in a year or two. When I get too big chambers like 230 cc or so, I will donate a lot of the low end torque which is important when driving on the street and perhaps not gain that much extra HP since I won’t rev it very high.
As promised, here are the photos of the Corvette engine bay I just took in my garage. As you can see, the engine bay has been cleaned and repainted. We did spray-painting there since I’m no good with paintguns and didn’t want to try my luck. We applied two coats of black metal primer, then two (three in some areas) coats of gloss black metal paint and finally two coats of semi-gloss varnish. The results can be seen in the photos below. I also attached photos of the engine as it’s almost fully apart and before cleaning the block. The block was so dirty outside it looks like a diesel tractor engine from old times. I have now almost cleaned it and it will be washed by specialists, too. Then I will paint it orange, I guess :)
I thought I should give an update about the Corvette, specifically the current status of the ongoing project. As you might already know, I’m restoring the engine compartment and rebuilding the engine, adding more power at the same time. The engine and the transmission are off the car, the engine bay has been taken into pieces so most of the stuff has been removed for cleaning and repainting the surfaces. The engine is currently sitting on the engine stand and everything except the crankshaft are off the block. What we found out was that a couple of the pistons were considerably damaged! There were pieces off from the lower sides of the piston skirts and a few other pistons had cracks in the same areas. The possible causes for these issues are most likely worn piston rings and cylinders, resulting in piston slap. The cylinders didn’t have remarkable damage although they need to be drilled and honed which will make the engine a 355.
Am I still planning the stroker? Actually, no. I am hoping to get away with the old crankshaft since my goal is a street car with 400-500 hp under the hood and the 350 cid engine is perfectly capable for that. I don’t want to put a fortune on the engine – I want to build it well and out of pieces suitable for the particular setup, not a complete overkill. I ran the possible future engine through a software called Engine Analyzer and I should be able to get 350-380 hp out of it when leaving the cylinder heads to be the same (58cc heads from Chevy 305). The compression ratio is 10.8:1 and the camshaft will most likely be from Comp Cams bought in a kit with the chain and hydraulic roller lifters. Since the roller lifters actually need a specific block to make them work, I will need to install a retro-fit kit which is still a mystery for me but I’ll find out about it in the near future.
Next week I’ll try to send the block for drilling once I know where to actually send it. There should be a place here in Tallinn but I might also have to send it to Finland instead. I hope the block ends up fine and they won’t find any cracks in it.
I will post images of the engine compartment within the next few days.
I wish you all a wonderful and successful 2013! For me the year is certainly going to be interesting since the Corvette is getting the engine overhaul and I don’t know what’s gonna come out of that. I’m hoping the rebuild works out and I get everything ready in time for Spring.