Buy Complete Or Piece By Piece A Short Block

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by biggyfan1, May 13, 2013.


  1. biggyfan1

    biggyfan1 Member

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    Guys after looking and looking on the Internet i see so many options for a 408 stroker. i don't know if its just best to get a complete 408 from TRE performance or Coast etc etc or if i should get a use block and buy a kit then have a shop assemble it and machine it. As of right now im thinking about just buying a complete short block and they seem to run about 2500 bux. would i really be saving a lot of money by piecing it out? im not sure what a shop would charge to do the work either. just looking for your thoughts.
  2. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    i have about $1400 in my 393 including machine work. i bought good used rods and an early block cheap from a buddy. I got my crank for $300, 2 set of SRP pistons for $600 and machine work and misc parts for $200 and assembled it myself. not even including the extra parts im selling that I got as part of package deals. so it will be cheaper in the end. if you are going to have to buy all new stuff anyway, and dont have a block you might as well buy a shortblock. AD performance has always treated me right. woody at ford strokers is also a good source. i just dont like any of the probe or kb pistons (personal preference) so i tend to want to run a little higher end piston, which is another reason i built my own. by the time i woulda bought a shortblock and upgraded my pistons it woulda been almost $3k for a shortblock + shipping. and thats just with a cast crank. so i saved probably about $1600.
  3. iskwezm

    iskwezm Advanced Member

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    Theres 2 sides to this.1, is that if you buy everything yourself, you know what your getting. 2, the shop that assembles it, might not cover anything should anything happen.

    I had a VERY reputable shop build my short block, used some parts thats i didnt specify and after i found out, i had them re do it. After more issues i tore it apart myself and replaced what i should have had in the first place.
    rbohm likes this.
  4. horse sence

    horse sence SN Certified Technician

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    i agree with clement , i by mine in pieces that way i know exactly what is going into it. i can take more time on the assembly and check all tollerances
    stroker kits have come down in price a lot and you can save a lot of $$ doing it your self.
  5. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    this is a kind of pick your poison deal. if you buy a short block from a reputable builder, you get a warranty, and you minimize the work you end up doing. on the other hand you have little control over the parts that get installed in that short block. can you save money by building a motor yourself? yes, sort of. you have to be able to do a lot of the assembly and detail work yourself, including things like making sure there is clearance between the cam and rods, the rods and the block, deburring the block, etc. the more you can do yourself, the more money you can save, but the more work you have to do.
  6. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    my buddy ordered a shortblock from one of the big reputable builders. He wanted a 418 with main spacers and a cleveland main crank. he got a 408 with 3" windsor mains. would it have been warrantied? yes, but it already took the builder almost a year after receiving payment to ship the shortblock and it was going to cost shipping to return in to the builder 5 states away. and do you think they are going to be very picky about bearing clearances, say if they need to pull the crank and polish the journals to get another .0005"? doubt it. time is $. i mean you could take the butchers word for it, but i prefer to stick my head up the cows ass and find out for myself.
  7. biggyfan1

    biggyfan1 Member

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    Well i think im going to go with a pre assembled shot block. I don't have all the correct tools for measuring clearances and i would NOT feel comfortable revving out a 3 thousand dollar motor knowing that i am the one who checked all the measurements. So with that decesion made do you guys have recomendations for a place i can buy a short block? So far ive looked at CHP, TREperformance, AD performance. They all seem to have the same price and thats 2500 for a 408 stroker.
  8. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    I know for a fact AD performance does a great job. I started dealing with them a dozen years ago and have never had a problem. in the past 18 years ive seen shortblocks from all the places, and all have their occasional problems. I would either do AD, or since you are in CA get a CHP shortblock since they are local to you.

    I have 2 guys locally that do a great job, which is why i use them. One is the former crew chief for a very well known pro stock team, and as such charges a lot for assembly time. machine work can take a little while but he is reasonably priced for machine work. the other guy doesnt really do anything out of the ordinary, but since he only does what is in his comfort zone he is very good at it, reasonably priced and has a quick turn around. you could always talk to local racers and see who does good work.

    i would also seriously consider running a higher end piston like a wiesco, mahle, srp, je..... i have had a few problems with the cheaper 4032s and the cheaper 2618s.
  9. iskwezm

    iskwezm Advanced Member

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    You have A LOT of choices being California.A friend has a CHP 347 street fighter and its been very reliable except for a broken rocker stud, but its a strong 11 second motor. You can also check out Smedding Performance, they have a really good warranty. If you have deep pockets, check out Nelson Racing Engines, look on you tube for them.
  10. biggyfan1

    biggyfan1 Member

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    I gave AD a call just now and shipping is only 165 dollars so the 408 short block will be $2564 shipped. thats still a few hundred less then CHP. I just sold my F150 so picking it up is not an option. Clement: I might have them upgrade the pistons to Mahle. I used them in a 347. Should i run a flat top piston with some AFR's? this will be a N/A car so i want as high of compression as i can with pump gas.
  11. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    with flatop and a 4" stroke with a 64cc chamber you are going to be in the mid to high 11:1 range. depending on your cam and timing you may or may not be able to run pump gas. your HG thickness will also effect it.
  12. biggyfan1

    biggyfan1 Member

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    would you recomend a dished piston then? then go with a 64cc AFR head.
  13. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    if you ran a dish it would drop the compression a lot. with the 64cc chamber, if you had a typical flat top with 5cc valve reliefs, a fel pro 9333 that's .047 you would be at 11.5:1. with a typical 19cc dish you'd be at 10.1:1 with a .039 FP 1011-2. with the 22cc dish which is the another common piston you'd be at 9.8:1. with the 64cc chamber, id probably try to get away with a flat top and a 9333 and run less timing if it were mine.
  14. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    you can go two ways, one-tell the company what compression ratio you want to run, two-tell them you want to run on 87 or 89 octane gasoline. either way tells the company how much dish they need in the pistons to get a comfortable compression ratio.
  15. iskwezm

    iskwezm Advanced Member

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    You can tell them, but you wont know what in it unless you take it apart.

    This happend to me, i was supposed to have a 27cc(i think) dished piston and when a head gasket blew and we took it apart, we found out it had a 5cc dish.In order to get my compression to what will work with my turbo, i had to go to a 70cc head.From then on i will never recommend them to anybody
  16. clement

    clement Founding Member

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    the problem is if you specify a certain compression and they are using a shelf piston, you are gonna get whatever brand has the required dish, and if its a garbage piston then you have problems. if you want a specific piston, you are stuck with what they offer for shelf unless you want to go custom, and then you go from spending $500 on a set of pistons to $1k.
  17. horse sence

    horse sence SN Certified Technician

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    i always heard good things about the 350 hp motor sport long blocks untill a friend brought me one to put in his 48 ford.vibrated so bad the engine stand would move when it ran. sent it back

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