Assembled Motors Buyers' Guide - Power In A Box
Assembled Motors Buyer's Guide
From the May, 2009 issue of Sport Truck
By Calin Head
Photography by The Manufacturers
To build or buy? It's one of the most important questions to ask yourself when it comes to engines. If you are going to build a motor from scratch you will need a bunch of specialty tools, a decent recipe of parts, and a good machine shop in your back pocket. Now if you already have things like a rod bolt stretch gauge, piston ring filer, and so on, then you my friend most likely will be building your own. For the guy who can install a motor but maybe not build one from scratch, buying an assembled motor might be the best option. Let's face it, it's hard enough to build a truck let alone have to come up with a recipe that will produce power and stay together for more than a few miles.
Luckily, today there are complete motors available that are built by professionals that won't put you into the poor house. Well, there are some motors out there that are expensive, but power cost money. We have compiled this guide to help you find the right engine for your project. If you just need a simple stock replacement engine, it's here; if you want a ground-pounding, pavement-shredding power plant, it's most definitely here. Most of the content is pretty abbreviated, but full details can be found on each of the company's websites. Once you are finished drooling over the engine here, make sure to check out the accessories story Mike put together so you can pair your new motor with the proper goods.
1. Apple Chevrolet
Available at Apple Chevrolet is GM Performance Parts' recreation of the classic L88 big-block combination, now called the ZZ427/480, rated at 480 horsepower. Like the original, it features an iron-block, forged steel crankshaft, and high-flow aluminum cylinder heads. GM upgraded the camshaft from the original's mechanical flat-tappet design to a more contemporary hydraulic roller, giving this 21st-century L88 modern drivability characteristics and a greater rev range. A lower 10.1:1 compression ratio makes it pump gas-friendly, too. The ZZ427/480 comes complete with high-flow oval-port heads, a high-lift camshaft (0.510-inch intake/0.540-inch exhaust), an aluminum intake manifold, 870-cfm Holley carburetor, an HEI distributor, aluminum water pump, balancer, spark plug wires, and a 14-inch flex-plate. Apple also offers a wide range of engines in-stock and ready for pick-up or shipping. It doesn't matter if you want a partial engine or turn key engine, Apple Chevrolet has you covered.
Apple Chevrolet Cadillac
When it comes to crate engines for your truck, ATK High Performance Division has what you are looking for. As seen on the popular TV show "Trucks!", the company's Performance Engine Packages range from mild to wild and are built custom for each customer. One of the most popular engines is a small-block 350 that puts out 325 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque for under $2,000. This unit consists of a four-bolt, cast iron-block topped with cast iron heads and a flat tappet cam. Since it is a performance engine, it comes with hypereutectic skirt coated pistons with moly rings. It features an 8.9:1 compression ratio, so it will run just fine on pump gas and comes with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty. Need it as a drop in? All of the performance engines can be customized with fuel systems, pulley kits, and even engraved custom valve covers with your name on them. If this isn't enough power, ATK builds engines that produce upwards of 1,000 hp. The company specializes in domestic applications and can even rebuild your engine should you want to keep a matching VIN number.
3. Chevs of the 40's
GM 355ci "budget stomper" crate engines from Chevs of the 40's will put new life into your ride without breaking the bank. 355ci or 383ci stroker GM small-block engines come standard with four-bolt mains, one-piece rear seals, cast iron, center-bolt heads (2.02 intake, 1.60 exhaust valves), premium cast iron crank, flat top, and hypereutectic pistons with GM heavy beam rods with 150,000-psi bolts. Every engine is dyno-tested and shipped with results, and is backed by a 30 month/50,000 mile warranty. The base short-block engines include new valve covers, oil pan, and timing cover, while the dressed version also includes an aluminum intake, MSD HEI distributor, and Edelbrock carb. The fully dressed 355ci puts out 330 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque for $3,295. The fully dressed 383ci puts out 350 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque for $3,695. Aluminum head upgrades are also available.
Chevs of the 40's
4. Ck Resto
Does your '86-'00 5.7L Chevy need a new heartbeat? Everyone knows that 200,000 miles on a Chevy 350 is possible, but maybe your truck has lost a little power and needs a replacement motor. C/K Resto carries several rebuilt short-blocks and long-blocks with a limited warranty to satisfy your truck's needs all for less than $2,000. Don't buy a new truck, keep your old one running strong with the help of C/K Resto.
Latemodel Restoration Supply
Dart's Special High Performance Group has developed pre-engineered, dyno-tested combinations that make it easy to build a powerful and durable performance engine at a very affordable price. Short-blocks and top end kits are available for Chevy and Ford small- and,big-block engines. All of these combos feature Darts cast iron block with four-bolt mains, forged steel rods, cast steel cranks, and hypereutectic pistons. Crank and piston upgrades are available. The top end kits come with Dart's Iron Eagle or PRO1 aluminum heads, aluminum intake manifold, chrome valve covers, fasteners, gaskets and spark plugs. If these won't satisfy your engine needs Dart has a forged billet aluminum big-block that is completely CNC machined from a solid billet of 6061-T61 aluminum for ultimate strength and versatility.
6. DSS Racing
Any of the Ford Lightning owners not familiar with the Super Modular engines from D.S.S. Racing have been missing out on one of the best upgrades you can make for your truck. When you really want to start throwing some more boost at it, you know the stock engine won't handle the extra power. The 5.4 Super Modular from D.S.S. Racing sets you up with a forged crank, main support system, and forged H beam rods, along with the company's top-quality Extreme X forged fly-cut pistons. CNC-ported cylinder heads and a set of Anderson Ford Motorsport blower camshafts complete the combination. This same combination with 18-psi of boost makes 630 hp and almost 700 lb-ft of torque on pump gas with much more available in racing combinations. As shown, the motor costs $8699.95 and is also available in two, three, and four-valve configurations in 4.6, 5.0, and 5.3L sizes.
Edelbrock's RPM 347s deliver up to 440 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque (dual-quad) or 437 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque (single-carb). These 347ci engines feature a 4.030-inch bore and 3.400-inch stroke combo and are built from 8.2-inch deck height Dart Iron Eagle blocks, SCAT cast crankshafts, forged steel connecting rods, and KB pistons. The heart of the performance is Edelbrock's Total Power Package combination of a roller camshaft, Performer RPM or RPM Xtreme cylinder heads, RPM intake manifold and carburetor or Pro-Flo XT fuel injection. Like all Edelbrock crate engines, these Ford packages deliver a street-friendly balance of broad torque and high-end horsepower on pump gas. Every Edelbrock crate engine is backed by a two-year unlimited mileage warranty and is hand built to order.
8. GM Performance
After only a few short years, the LS7 7.0L engine of the Corvette Z06 is a legend in its own time. It's got more than 500 naturally-aspirated horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, with exceptional high-rpm performance and low-end grunt. The LS7 features a unique big-bore cylinder block that is anchored with a forged crankshaft, featherweight titanium connecting rods, and durable, friction-coated pistons. But it's the airflow capability of the LS7's cavernous, CNC-ported heads that enables its tremendous power. Large-volume, straight-passage intake runners channel air directly around 2.20-inch titanium intake valves. The mixture is burned in large, 70cc combustion chambers and what's left exits through 1.61-inch sodium-filled exhaust valves. This is a serious engine for serious enthusiasts. GM Performance Parts' LS7 7.0L crate engine package includes a production style engine with the dry sump oil pan, manifold assembly with injectors, electronically controlled throttle body, and log-style exhaust manifolds.
GM Performance Parts
9. Indy Cylinder Head
Indy Cylinder Head now offers a complete line of short-blocks, long-blocks, or assembled engines. Engine assemblies are available for all 5.7L Hemi, 5.2L or 5.9L Magnum powered trucks. The 5.7L Hemi can be updated to 392 or 426 cubic inches. These short-block assemblies are built with Callies/Compstar forged crankshafts, 10:1 forged pistons, and Callies/Compstar forged connecting rods. The cylinder block main studs are also upgraded to ARP studs and nuts. For those needing a complete engine, Indy will assemble a 5.7 with heads that feature full five-axis CNC porting (327 cfm). This complete engine is rated at 500 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. For truck owners with Magnum 5.2L or 5.9L engines, Indy offers short-blocks up to 408 cubic inches. Again complete engines are available from 375 hp to 550 hp. All complete engines are dyno-tested and you are encouraged to come and watch yours being dyno'd.
Indy Cylinder Head
10. Joe's Engine Shop
Joe knows power and can build custom-assembled engines from classic stock applications to blown, show-quality mills. The 489ci big-block Chevy shown features a 10:1 compression ratio, Competition Cams hydraulic roller camshaft and valve train, KB forged pistons, Speed Pro molly rings, Dart Pro 1 cylinder heads with mild porting, Eagle H-beam rods, and 850cfm Holly on a Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold. This combination pumps out 575 hp and over 590 lb-ft of torque. Joe even has a blown 572ci big-block Chevy engine that produces 950 hp on 91 Octane fuel. Turnkey engines can also be dyno-tested and tuned on Joe's SuperFlow Dynamometer.
Joe's Engine Shop
The 427ci Air Attack LS7 supercharged crate engine produces up to 750hp and 700 lb-ft of massive stump-pulling, flat-lined torque. Katech lays a solid foundation with a Callies forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, plus the manufacturer's forged aluminum pistons with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coated pins. It also uses a stock LS7 block with a billet steel girdle to tie the bottom end together. An upgraded camshaft designed for boost actuates the stock LS7 titanium intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Magnuson handles the compression of the air change with its M122 twin-screw, high-helix intercooled supercharger. In addition to the standard features, optional Katech valve covers and TVS-based superchargers are also available.
12. LC Engineering
LC Engineering offers 2RZ/3RZ engine packages from mild street engines to 800hp turbocharged powerhouses. LCE's 3RZ Pro long-blocks start with a seasoned OEM iron block that has been fully inspected and cleaned, a forged crankshaft, chromoly lightweight connecting rods, and custom high or low compression forged pistons depending on application. The heavily ported cylinder head is packed with stainless steel oversized valves, dual valve springs with chromoly retainers, and 35mm buckets to work with the custom-ground camshafts that hide under the powdercoated valve cover. The stock balance shafts are removed to reduce the amount of parasitic drag and weight under the timing cover. LC Pro long-blocks come complete from valve cover to oil pan, and are all custom-built to your specification.
13. Roush Performance
The Roush 427ISR crate engine is based on a 351 Windsor, but is bored and stroked to 427ci, and is built off a Dart iron or aluminum four-bolt block (your choice). With fully-CNC ported aluminum heads, forged pistons, crank, and H-beam rods, the engine develops 525 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque at 3,000-rpm. In the sweet spot, the engine develops more than 460 lb-ft of torque. New for '09 is a Roush ECS (electronic control system) package which has the sensors pre-installed in the engine so a simple five-wire hookup is all that is needed. The appearance is enhanced with the eight-stack throttle body style fuel injection. You have your choice of finish to match the vehicle, and all engines are hot-tested and come with a dyno sheet. The engines are backed by a two-year/24,000 mile warranty and come with a Roush engine bay plaque.
14. Street and Performance
The LS3 from Street and Performance kicks out 436 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. The LS3 has revised cylinder heads featuring rectangle ports borrowed from the vaunted LS7 with 63cc combustion chambers, 2.16-inch intake valves, and 1.59-inch exhaust valves. The camshaft features an aggressive 0.551 inches of lift on the intake side with less overlap (than the LS2) for even greater airflow and power. Rocker arms with a 1.7:1 ratio sit on top of the heads. In the bottom end, the aluminum 6-bolt main block features 4.06-inch bores and a 3.62-inch stroke nodular iron crankshaft. Powdered metal rods and aluminum pistons (10.7:1 compression ratio) round out a rev-happy short block. Redline for the LS3 comes at 6600 rpm and you will get there very quickly. The turn-key LS is detailed by Street and Performance with the company's accessories, paint, and chrome.
Street & Performance
15. Street Rod Headquarters
Street Rod Headquarters now has aluminum-block HEMI crate engines for the ultimate in show and go. For the baddest of the bad street engine the company offers a fully polished, aluminum-block 540 HEMI with supercharger creating over 900 hp. Built with the highest quality performance parts available it is setup to run on pump gas and designed with streetable cam profiles and compression ratios. Base specifications include: All new components, 4.500-inch bore, forged 4340 nitride stroker crank (4.250-inch stroke), 4340 H-beam performance rods, 2.20 intake/1.94 exhaust stainless steel valves, high-performance double-spring valve springs, 7.75:1 compression ratio, 871 roots style blower in aluminum case. Other Mopar, Chevy and Ford crate engines are available.
Street Rod Headquarters
16. Stylin' Trucks
Stylin' Trucks has you covered with these brand-new drop-in GM Replacement Engines that will set you back $1,799.99. These engines are specifically designed by GM as a new, direct-replacement truck engine, not a remanufactured, beefed-up car engine. They are manufactured using the latest high tech computer-controlled equipment and utilize the latest metallurgy technology. If that doesn't convince you, these engines also have a three-year (36 mos.) 100,000 mile transferable warranty (if installed at an authorized GM service center) that not only covers parts replacement cost, but also covers labor.
17. Summit Racing Equipment
Summit now offers a huge selection of BluePrint Engines, including a Chevy 355ci Vortec long-block. The iron-block features a four-bolt main, cast steel crankshaft, heavy beam rods with 150,000 psi bolts, and Keith Black hypereutectic pistons. The top-end includes cast iron Vortec cylinder heads, a flat-tappet hydraulic lifter camshaft, double roller timing chain, dual plane intake manifold, and chrome valve covers. The 9.5:1 compression long-block is rated at 385hp and 405 lb-ft of torque and comes with a high-volume oil pump and oil pan for $2,899. The engine is also available in a fully-dressed version which also includes an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor, MSD distributor, coil, and wires, harmonic balancer, 110-gph fuel pump, and ACDelco spark plugs for $3,895. Both engines are backed by a 30-month, 50,000-mile warranty.
Summit Racing Equipment
18. Turn Key
Turn Key Engine Supply offers a variety of LS-based crate engines, like the 5.7L LS1 engine. This V-8 features a cast aluminum-block and heads, forged pistons, forged powdered metal rods, and sequential fuel injection for an 10.1:1 final compression ratio. The motor has a composite intake manifold and comes with Turn Key Engine's five wire hook-up, making this motor truly turnkey. Included with the package is almost everything you need to get your project going like the wiring harness, complete EFI fuel system, Delphi ECM, oil and air filters, mounting hardware, Vortec engine covers, and a comprehensive installation guide. The Street Package version also comes with a flywheel or flexplate, a starter, and headers, making the install that much easier. Performance numbers are 390 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, making this a great motor for a budget. Prices start at $7,500 and include a one-year/12,000-mile warranty.
Turn Key Engine Supply
Bolt-in 610 ready horses with the new Wegner Motorsports Street Performance 415 LS small-block Chevrolet engine packages. Available as a short-block, a long-block, or two complete turnkey engine packages, these LS-family engine offerings make it easy to add reliable power to your truck. All four of the Street Performance 415 LS Crate Engine levels utilize the new GM L92 block with a forged 4.0-inch stroke crankshaft, 6.125-inch connecting rods, and custom-forged aluminum pistons fitted with high performance rings. Wegner Motorsports engine professionals have selected the appropriate custom-ported cylinder head assemblies, along with just the right camshaft, valve train, and induction system components to get you down the road with the best possible combination.
20. World Products
World Products has developed a series of lightweight "Man O' War" all-aluminum engines designed to significantly improve the performance and handling of any Ford truck. Weighing only 399 pounds complete, these 460, 427, 371, and 349ci engines are an ideal replacement for 289, 302, and 351ci powerplants. The block incorporates key features like priority main oiling and provisions for two extra head bolts per cylinder. The bottom end also features splayed billet steel main caps, ARP hardware, a 4340 forged steel crank, 4340 forged steel H-beam rods, and Mahle or Manley forged aluminum pistons. All engines are dyno-tested, performance-certified, and backed with a two-year warranty.
21. Year One
This 351W crate engine from Year One is rated at over 400 hp and has a good idle and produces 12hg inches of vacuum at 800 rpm, which is perfect for power brakes. The engine features a cast iron block with two-bolt main caps, a cast iron crank, hypereutectic pistons, aluminum heads with 2.02/1.60 valves, a dual plane manifold, and a hydraulic roller cam with 0.571 intake and 0.574 exhaust lift. Each engine will run on pump gas and is balanced, blueprinted, and backed by a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty with no core charge required.