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BB or SB-need your input

SB or BB

  • Install small block

    Votes: 5 100.0%
  • Install big block

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Well-known member
Jul 3, 2001
Auburndale, Florida
1969 Killer Shark
Here is my question. If you read my intro you know exactly what I am doing with the 69 convertible. However, I am having a hard time making up my mind. Let my know what you think.

Here are the facts:

I already have a sweet 355 1990 full roller SB motor. It has Edelbrock alum heads, Crane hydraulic roller cam, Erson 1.5 roller rockers, Edelbrock Perf intake, Holley carb, double roller chain, and runs right at 9.6:1 compression. I also have a complete serpentine belt system for the SB application. It has about 3k miles and was built for my V8 Fiero project. I ended up selling the Fiero but saving the motor.

I have a 454 short block, TRW pistons .030 over, steel crank, and double roller chain. My goal for this engine is the Edelbrock power package and Edelbrock multi port fuel injection. To get this all together, including the sidepipe exhaust, computer, brackets, etc. etc. will set me back an immediate $6,000.

There is overlap between the two--Lakewood bellhousing, clutch, QM starter, distributer and a few other odds and ends.

NOW, I can move forward with the small block and possibly have this car road worthy in the next 4-6 months. I can save my $$ and slowly build the BB. Install it in the future.

Or, I can borrow the $$ and launch the BB. This will set me back a couple of months (mostly on the $$) and then set me back further in the future as I am able to get $$ to finish off the rest of the car. The 17" plus wheels and tires are going to kill me. At least they are one of the last things to do.

I have not really tried to sell the SB, but doubt I can come close to getting my $4k out of it. I would be happy with $2k.

Let me know your thoughts.

Take this into consideration.....when you stuff a big block into a car that originally had a small block, you had better beef up the front suspension. The reason I say this is because I had a friend who had a 77 small block and he put a 454 in it, but he never upgraded to a heavy duty suspension. As a result, he was driving a little fast one day and took a turn, but the car decided that it still wanted to go straight........into a tree. The extra weight of the big block does make a difference. For my money, I'd put the original block in it, if you have it. If you don't, then put that small block in it, and you'll be much better off. Sell that big block. On another note, I do have a 72 Suburban with a 402BB, and I need a motor.......hmmmmm.......lol


Thanks for the input,

I already installed the complete performance plus VB suspension including the custom upper and lower front A arms and oversized sway bar. The suspension is ready for either motor.

Knowing that, would you still vote for the SB?

BTW-I do have the original numbers matching 350 300 hsp bare block and crank. It came with the car. However, it makes no sense spending any money on that as I might as well pursue the BB. Albiet, the numbers matching sb would not cost near as much as the BB the way I want it.

I'd still go with the small block, especially if you have the original motor. That's just me, though. I'm an originality fanatic, but the only time I deviated from originality was when I put the TH700R-4 in my 79, mainly for the gas mileage increase. Other than that, my car is bone stock.

If it was an aluminum block I might vote differently but I like the twisties as well as the G-tech pro test runs. Lighter is better. I might actually build an aluminum small block.$$$$$$$
Engine choice

Even if you have upgraded the suspension the 2 different engines will require dirfferent front springs. If you go BB make sure the springs are what VB recommends for a BB. Even then you will be giving up handling for power. The small block car is almost a perfect 50/50 weight distribution but the BB will be nose heavy and will push in hard corners. Just a fact of life. Sure, it can be minimized with further suspension tuning to eventually get it close to SB handling.

When you build the BB get everything you can in light weight components. Aluminum heads, water pump ect. Every pound you can shed will improve the BB handling.

Thanks for the input.

The VB suspension I have is tuned for the BB set up. That has been my direction all along.

However, I want to drive this thing and I have a fantastic motor sitting in the garage wrapped in plastic doing nothing. The roller small block (we call it the red motor as it has base coat clear coat Dodge Viper red paint on the short block) really cranked the Fiero. In fact, the centerforce dual friction clutch could not hold it when I punched the secondaries. That has a lot to do with why I yanked it out. I put a late model roller 350 from a police car in the Fiero and took care of the clutch problem.

Okay, the plan for the 454 is the Edelbrock oval port aluminum heads, Edelbrock cam package and the Edelbrock multi port fuel injection. This is light weight, dependable, and strong. The suspension is ready for it, and the rest of the car is ready as well.

A couple of my friends have suggested I run the small block since it is such an awesome motor, would autocross well, and I have already spent the money.

I am still on the fence. However, it looks like the tide here is swinging to running what I have.

I am making my full and final decision this week-end of story.

Nikki supports me either way. At least that is not part of th consideration.

Keep the ideas coming--I am listening.

Chris, did ya see the new (Sept) issue of Super Chevy? The ZL-1 is back! Of course I had to go to the internet: Sallee Chevrolet :D

:upthumbs Check it out. It's only the block (so far), and not cheap ($5350 :eek) but it's nice to know they care. :L
This girl voted for the small block...

...but then again, I have a fond memory of a peppy 327 I once knew!

In the end, you need to do what will please YOU, yet not break you down with cash-flow problems. Waiting to drive is HARD!


1987 Z51 said:
[The ZL-1 is back! Of course I had to go to the internet:

That is awesome. Could you imagine how cool that would be? Light as a feather and strong as an ox.

I am actually picking the BB up tonight from the welding shop. The cracked bolt hole was repaired.

I have all the part numbers to set up the BB package.

As I said above, the decision is to be made this week. A big part of that is the financial end. I should have word on that soon.

The vote is swinging to the SB. However, if the "$$" comes through, hang on to your seat.

Di you consider dropping in the SB and building the BB as $s allow? That way if you're not happy with the SB you can change it later. Just a thought. Either way , enjoy your ride. :cool
Two Cents

Just my opinion, but I love a high revin' sb.. I'm puttin bb ponies out of my sb and I've yet to be embarrassed by a bb. I say you got it built and waitin, drop it in and build the bb as the $$ comes in, if in the future you want the bb, make the switch:upthumbs

The voting is still swinging for the SB. Seems like most feel that I should go ahead and run with what I have while I wait for what I want. Not to mention, this is no ordinary run of the mill SB that I have collecting dust in the garage. When I apply reason and logic to the decision, the SB keeps coming up on top.

Then I realized, if this was all about reason and logic, we would all be driving a Volvo. My local Credit Union has been very helpful (although they must think I am crazy) and I can start ordering the go fast parts for the BB very soon.

Here are the plans:

454 .060 over---468 cid
Steel crank
Stock rods
Edelbrock 6045 oval port alumn heads
TRW/Speedpro Forged pistons- 10.5:1 (approx)
Edelbrock Perf RPM Cam
Edelbrock PRO-FLO multi port fuel injection
MSD 6AL ignition
Quarter Master clutch/flyweel/hydraulic release bearing
Tilton high torque starter
Hooker ceramic coated sidepipe headers and chrome sidepipes
Crane full roller rockers
Lakewood steel bell housing

That should get me running, less the usual items like hoses, plugs, wires, fluids, radiator, fans, air filter, dress up items, etc. etc. etc. You know, the parts we always forget to budget for that get us in trouble with the wife. Oh yea, water pump, power steering pump, pulleys, blah, blah, blah.

Now I have a new delimia-leave the front clip on, or off during the engine/paint process. I will start a new thread on that one.

Anybody need a sweet 355???
bb vs sb

If it were me I would put in the small block that you already have and build the big block as you can afford it. If you didn't already a
have the sb it would be a different story. Swapping the engines later on is no big deal.
I agree with the temp mounting of the SB while I gear up for the BB. However, the SB would use a different flywheel, sidepipe headers, brackets on the accessory mounts, water pump, belts, hoses, and some other odds and ends. These parts will not cross over to the BB and will end up costing me about $1,000 more for the total project. That was a big factor in my decision making. Plus, if I ever get off my tail and run an ad in the paper for the roller small block, that would offset my total project.

I spent about $4k building the 355. If I could get $2k out of it, I think I would be doing alright. The small block that was in the car when I bought it is a Type I, so I can't transfer the flywheel or a few other small things over to the roller 355 either.

I agree with the 74Stingraydster that small blocks are awesome. They cost less to modify and are easier to get parts. They weigh less and leave more room to work around the engine bay. I have never had a big block car. We had a motor home (454), and we have a 3500 truck (454), but never a car. More and more, I hear people tell me that there is nothing like stomping a 500 plus hsp big block and feeling the torque pound you into the seat. A good friend has a 71 BB with the four speed. I never got to ride in that car either, as he started his own restoration project about the time I started thinking BB. He tells it is an awesome experience.

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