View Full Version : To build or crate?

Texas Bob
11-04-2004, 03:20 AM
In general is it more cost effective to have a shop build you an engine or to buy a crate?

11-04-2004, 07:20 AM
My buddy is an engine builder, and has done a few for me in the past. When its time to repower the camaro he has said there is no way for him to compete with crate motors. With the cost of machine shop fees, and the fact that these assembly line type engine builders, or factory crate motors get the deep discounts from vendors(massive quantity). To play devils advocate, you maybe sacrificing quality, and don't forget Trust and reputation. I know my friend stands by every engine he builds, and alwasy helps with the tuning as long as its in the car, and if something should break, he will own up to it if its his fault or not. You might be on your own going the other route.... I'm in the same position as you, I really want my friend to build it for me but I could save several hundred to several thousand by going crate....

11-04-2004, 09:54 AM
I think it depends what you want out of the engine. If it's a mild street motor, I don't think you can build one that's as good as a crate for the same price, unless you are a swap meet hero. If you are going for something wild or unique, then I think that might be a different story. It would depend on how much assembly you are going to do yourself, plus you can spread part purchases out over time, hard to do on a crate motor.

11-04-2004, 02:08 PM
I purchased a GM Performance ZZ383 about 2 months ago and have been extremely satisfied. I would make the same purchase if I had to purchase another motor. With that been said if you are going to modify the motor to run over 600 hp you will need to internally balance the motor so you are back to the machine shop and that would eat up your savings.

11-04-2004, 04:18 PM
Unless you are going for more the 400hp, or something different, I would go crate. I just had this conversation with a friend on his 57 Nomad engine. He thought about rebuilding his 350 and stroking it to 383. We talked about it and he ended up buying a ZZ4 from Jeg's Tuesday. Not only did he save about $1K over the rebuild, he will be without his daily driver over a weekend instead of a month, and has a warranty on a NEW motor.


11-05-2004, 08:47 AM
If you want to get out of the project with less than 400HP than it is hard to beat a crate motor. Once power levels go over 400HP the crate engines stop being really good options due to their components (Hyperutecnic pistons - barf) and machining tolerances.
I generally don't like crate motors because of their mass-produced nature. They just can't be getting that much love from the factory

Texas Bob
11-05-2004, 11:34 AM
Thanks guys. I had a 350 built for a 4x4 a long time back and it was pretty mild and wasn't all that expensive. But like many of you are saying most crates are hard to beat in price to hp ratio. I am looking at the Bill Mitchell 427 sb. The 540 hp version runs right at $9K and will be suffecient for my needs. I thought however I might be able to save some $ by having a shop build something similar.