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Rigging up my small block?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by DavyDave, Mar 15, 2001.

  1. DavyDave

    DavyDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Anyone have any suggestions as to where to start souping up my 350. I have a 74 Chevy custom deluxe 20. I just bought it from my uncle for $500 with no engine in it and I'm having a new 350 put in, but while I'm at it I'd like to throw in a few extras. Any suggestions on how to improve any aspect of the truck are appreciated.


  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Hi Dave - welcome aboard!

    Where to start? There's so much available for the SB Chev you can pretty much do what you want - within the emissions regs of course. Older trucks, especially 3/4 and 1 ton, didn't carry much (if any) pollution control equipment as built, but make sure whatever you do won't cause you to run afoul of the "law". (I'm from Canada, so I don't have a clue how strict things are in your area) As well, the sort of things you intend to do with your truck will dictate what sort of buildup will be best for your engine.

    I've got a '75 C-35 with a 350, my engine is pretty much stock but I have an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and an aftermarket cam intended for truck applications: low & mid-range power - I have mine built so I can plow, tow or trailer. I ran headers for a while, but here the salt does 'em in pretty quick and I always found it a nuisance to change plugs with headers on too. Now I run the older style "ram-horn" exhaust manifolds into two glasspacks & stacks I fabbed up from stainless pipe.

    Lots of possibilities, that's just one way to go about it. Let's hear what the others out there have done!
  3. plowjockey

    plowjockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 332


    Did I hear you say "stacks".. It must look like a big diesel when you start it up in the cold that you have up there in the great frozen north. LOL

  4. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Yes, "stacks" - fabbed them up from 3" stainless tube & a couple of elbows. The 3" stainless ends under the deck on my truck, the rest of the way is plumbed in with 2-1/4" pipe. I HATE exhaust work, so this was one job I let someone else do! The muffler shop did a nice job on it.

    Bruce - on a cold day, they sure do puff plenty of (white) smoke! With the glasspacks, they have a nice "bark" to them too. Only problem is, if I take on any residential accounts next season for plowing, quieter mufflers may have to go on...............Better stick with industrial lots!
  5. RTallday

    RTallday LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    DaveyDave, Sounds like a nice little ride you picked up. First things first, you said you were having a new 350 put in. Is it a crate motor, or a rebuild. Where did you come across this motor? If you want my opinion, i would run the motor as is for a while, because you never know how the motor might run. She might run mint, and you might not even want to change things. You know? But if you want to make it a little sweeter, id start with exhaust, and NO HEADERS!!! 75 is right about the spark plugs. NIGHTMARE, depending on the brand of header. I would start with nice beefy pipes into glasspacks or canisters with some nice thick tailpipe. After that, id go with an intake manifold, and carb. I am running the edelbrock performer intake and 650 performer carb. By the way, if u do go the exhaust route, you DONT need cats. Another easy performance upgrade would be a heavier cam. Thats really it for now. Individually, these fix-ups arent too expensive, but all together, they get pricey. Good luck and let us know how things go!!
  6. DavyDave

    DavyDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    My engine is a crate and I got through a friend of my father-in-law's. I think I will ride it for awhile before I start tweeking it, thanks for the suggestion. What I am going to do is upgrade to bucket seats, any suggestions. Thanks for the replies everyone.

  7. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Rich is right - I LIKE them older trucks!

    As far as buckets go, a good friend of mine (faithful to the cause, he's got an '80 Silverado) just scrapped a Hyundai Stellar (the "upscale" Hyundai) and he kept the seats to go in his '80 because he liked them from the standpoint of comfort & range of adjustment. In mine, I'm running the 60/40 split bench out of a '79 Monte Carlo. Both installations involved some custom fabbing for mounts.

    One other idea would be the seats out of a Blazer/Jimmy that had factory buckets & the centre console. That should be a straightforward bolt in job.

    Just tossing some ideas your way - good luck no matter what you decide on!
  8. RTallday

    RTallday LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    Glad I can help you out. Its funny how 75 reccomended the hundai seats, cause im going to reccomend nissan seats. I have a 1987 nissan, i am donating it, but i swapped seats. I am going to throw them in my truck i think. Not too bad as far as having to fabricate mounts. Go with whatever you feel comfy in, there are a million different styles of seats out there. Also, to clarify, i have a 79 K-20, i LOVE that body style and the round headlights. But, after i finish my other conversion, im going to do switch to the other style, like a 70-ish pickup. Either that or its time to furnish a 69 camaro with the ol big block. I havent decided yet. Good luck whichever path you take.

  9. Chopper Lover

    Chopper Lover LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    The best way to get an engine to perform is to let it breath. That means low restriction intake and exhaust systems. The most "bang for the buck" would be a K&N air filter & cleaner assembly and a quality dual exhaust.

    I love the sound of an "uncorked" exhaust. Proof of that is the drag pipes on my Harley. But... (and there is always a "but") For performance glass packs leave a bit to be desired. You need a little back pressure to get the full power from your motor unless you are going to run full throttle all the time. I would recommend something like a Flow Master muffler. By the way, the carb will have to be adjusted after the exhaust is altered so it does not run to rich or to lean.

    Next consider a higher voltage output ignition system which will send more energy to your spark plugs. Fuel won't burn without a good fire to stoke it.

    Still not enough? Install an aftermarket cam. There are many to chose from. Almost anyone you pick that is not far from stock specs will improve your power and fuel economy.

    While you have the intake off for the cam, it may be a good time to swap to an aftermarket intake manifold, maybe a carb, too.

    Keep in mind that after a while you cross that fine line of "economical" performance. It is easy to do so much that you can pass anything on the street EXCEPT a gas station.

    Now that we have spent about $1500 of your money, let us know what you do...

    Good luck!

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