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Engine Swap

Posted By: NolesAlumni

Engine Swap - 08/27/19 02:16 AM

Including labor, realistically how much would it cost to swap a mild 350 crate motor (all parts) into an 86 MCSS (nothing crazy maybe 350-400hp)

The suspension and transmission have less than 50k miles on them and the alt, distrib, clutch fan etc less than 2k miles.

Just a rough estimate...

TIA
Posted By: 86ttop

Re: Engine Swap - 08/27/19 03:09 AM

Depending on the labor rate at the chosen shop, guessing at $100 p/h and a flat rate of 16 hours, adds up to $1600.00 if there are no other problems. Good luck!
Posted By: upflying

Re: Engine Swap - 08/27/19 01:28 PM


Add another $2000-$2500 for the "mild 350 crate engine" to the labor charge.
Posted By: Hollisterclay

Re: Engine Swap - 08/28/19 07:48 PM

I would check around for quotes from local shops, I had a local machine shop rebuild the 350 from my 4x4 (basic long block) for about $1500.00. A local Ma and pa type of Auto shop pulled it and reinstalled it after rebuild for $1,200. plus oil, plugs, distributor etc..
RC
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/29/19 02:31 AM

I was looking at the brand name places (jegs/summit) and they have complete engines for like $2000-4500 depending on how big you want to go. Ideally I’d go somewhere else for it, preferably locally. I don’t need a 12 second car, just want it to have a little balls and be reliable. The motor in it now (original 305), got about 50k original miles, but hasn’t been driven in 6-7 years, but has been garage kept and no gas in the lines/tank. I feel like putting money into it is pointless. Not sure who down here even still wrenches on these cars and won’t anally gape me financially.
Posted By: 86ttop

Re: Engine Swap - 08/30/19 01:15 AM

There must be some car club members you can talk to, have you gone to any cruise spots??
Posted By: BadSS

Re: Engine Swap - 08/30/19 01:46 AM

86 has the right idea. I'd also suggest going to the local race track - doesn't have to be quarter mile either. Check out the faster running cars and drop by the pit area and complement them on how well the car is running then ask who does their machining and engine work. Most don't mind telling you and I'll bet you'll find most all the faster cars are using the same place. Good luck with the swap!
Posted By: upflying

Re: Engine Swap - 08/30/19 01:57 PM

Make sure you keep the 305 to keep the "numbers matching" drivetrain intact. Could be important when you sell the car.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/02/20 07:15 PM

Anyone have any links to affordable mild 350s, still need to get this car running.
Posted By: 86ttop

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 12:39 AM

Your local Chevy dealer should have access to the goodwrench 350 engine. Check with local machine shops too!!
Posted By: Travis Jones

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 01:13 PM

I'm going to be the guy that says in 2020 putting money into a Gen I small block is a waste of money.

Get a 5.3 LS, you can find running motors for $200-$300, the other components will cost more, but you could complete the swap for $3000-$4000
Posted By: 1 Slow SS

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 03:26 PM

Originally Posted by Travis Jones
I'm going to be the guy that says in 2020 putting money into a Gen I small block is a waste of money.

Get a 5.3 LS, you can find running motors for $200-$300, the other components will cost more, but you could complete the swap for $3000-$4000


X2, Everyday I regret not buying a LS7 for the Camaro back in 2018, I just cold fork up a complete swap at the time.
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 04:54 PM

Originally Posted by Travis Jones
I'm going to be the guy that says in 2020 putting money into a Gen I small block is a waste of money.

Get a 5.3 LS, you can find running motors for $200-$300, the other components will cost more, but you could complete the swap for $3000-$4000


I am going to be that guy that says in 2020, putting money into a poorly and cheaply built, outdated 1980's grannymobile is a waste of money. Better to sell it off and use the money towards a used factory LS powered car which will be completely better in every regard. Also I am going to be that guy that says in 2020, LS engines are so passe, LT (Gen 5) engines are the new hotness. In reality, $200-300 running LS engines are rare, the price is more likely going to be triple that or more for even a 5.3. In my area you can't even get a non running 5.3 core to rebuild for less than $800. Gotta pay more than the smelters.

50k is just a drop in the bucket for a 305, pretty silly to swap a good motor with that amount of miles out. Just change the fluids and run some Marvel Mystery Oil in the crankcase to clean up any sticky parts. The biggest concern is if there is any Jerry rigging in the car. Especially in a emission hating Southern state, there is very likey going to be a lot of Jerry rigging to sort out. 059 Vortec heads will bump that 305 into the 300 hp range. A head swap is a lot easier than a complete engine swap, especially engines not designed for the car.
Posted By: Travis Jones

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 05:31 PM

Originally Posted by Buick Runner
Originally Posted by Travis Jones
I'm going to be the guy that says in 2020 putting money into a Gen I small block is a waste of money.

Get a 5.3 LS, you can find running motors for $200-$300, the other components will cost more, but you could complete the swap for $3000-$4000


I am going to be that guy that says in 2020, putting money into a poorly and cheaply built, outdated 1980's grannymobile is a waste of money. Better to sell it off and use the money towards a used factory LS powered car which will be completely better in every regard. Also I am going to be that guy that says in 2020, LS engines are so passe, LT (Gen 5) engines are the new hotness. In reality, $200-300 running LS engines are rare, the price is more likely going to be triple that or more for even a 5.3. In my area you can't even get a non running 5.3 core to rebuild for less than $800. Gotta pay more than the smelters.

50k is just a drop in the bucket for a 305, pretty silly to swap a good motor with that amount of miles out. Just change the fluids and run some Marvel Mystery Oil in the crankcase to clean up any sticky parts. The biggest concern is if there is any Jerry rigging in the car. Especially in a emission hating Southern state, there is very likey going to be a lot of Jerry rigging to sort out. 059 Vortec heads will bump that 305 into the 300 hp range. A head swap is a lot easier than a complete engine swap, especially engines not designed for the car.


I can get 5.3's all day up here in Michigan for $219+tax, the local you pull is full of race engines. LT gen5 engines can't be easily swapped on a budget.

If the 305 is running my advice is to drive it for the time being and save for an LS swap. The problem with Modern LS powered vehicle is their weight. 500-700lbs heavier, weight spoils everything.
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 05:51 PM

Prices do seem to vary by region, most of my local junkyards want $800 or more frim for a bare high mileage LS engine, less than that they rather smelt it. Supply and demand I suppose. One article I found on LS engine prices says that in some areas, used high mieage 5.3s go as high as $1,600 from yards.
Posted By: Travis Jones

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 06:10 PM

Originally Posted by Buick Runner
Prices do seem to vary by region, most of my local junkyards want $800 or more frim for a bare high mileage LS engine, less than that they rather smelt it. Supply and demand I suppose. One article I found on LS engine prices says that in some areas, used high mieage 5.3s go as high as $1,600 from yards.


Those are crazy prices. Maybe i should start pulling engines and selling them in those areas.

Summit has a $3499 450HP 5.3 crate motor. Considering GM wants $2399 for their base 350 that makes ~250hp. There's nothing else that even comes close in $ to power figure.
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 06:50 PM

Originally Posted by Travis Jones
Originally Posted by Buick Runner
Prices do seem to vary by region, most of my local junkyards want $800 or more frim for a bare high mileage LS engine, less than that they rather smelt it. Supply and demand I suppose. One article I found on LS engine prices says that in some areas, used high mieage 5.3s go as high as $1,600 from yards.


Those are crazy prices. Maybe i should start pulling engines and selling them in those areas.

Summit has a $3499 450HP 5.3 crate motor. Considering GM wants $2399 for their base 350 that makes ~250hp. There's nothing else that even comes close in $ to power figure.


A crate 350 has the benefit of bolting right in keeping original factory parts and systems, an LS crate will require additional parts to adapt it in and some custom fab work, mostly exhaust which ups the final cost. The cheapest LS swap would be carb, but then you downgrade from the factory computer Qjet on the SBC to a aftermarket gas dumper. Keeping the LS EFI makes more sense but adds to the complexity and cost. They do sell some direct plug and play LS crates like the Erods, but those are not cheap. In the end, high HP isn't cheap.

We are sidetracking the OP's thread. Considering the OP wants to hire out for a swap, he is kind of at the mercey of whatever the installer wants to do. Likely the installer will want to rip everying out and install whatever his jobber is pushing him to install. With a SBC, he will likely want to ripout the CCC and instally a Holley carb or aftermarket EFI of some kind as he will likely not have the training, knowledge, skills, tools, and other equipment for working on CCC cars, nor would he even want to have any of it.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 06:52 PM

I’m not putting in a used motor, if/when I swap it’ll be a factory new motor. The 305 ran okay before I parked it...about 8-10 years ago. I just want it turn key, with a little balls..nothing crazy. I’m not racing anywhere, just a weekend driver. I’ll keep my eyes out for any reasonable priced new 350s in the 290-350hp range, I wasn’t sure if the prices had come down at all since there’s so many newer gen Chevy Motors, clearly they haven’t. Issue for me it’s gonna be labor, I don’t have the time, tools, or wherewithal to do any of the work myself.
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/03/20 09:49 PM

Do you plan to keep it CCC Qjet or switch to non CCC carb or EFI? Most modern mechcanics are clueless about carbs and helpless with anything that predates OBD2.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/04/20 12:03 AM

Whatever is the most cost effective/reliable. I’d prefer carb since that’s what’s already in place, but I’m not close minded about it.
Posted By: 86ttop

Re: Engine Swap - 08/04/20 01:11 AM

I have a carb guy that is awesome, www.customrebuiltcarbs.com I use and recommend him, turnaround is usually about 7-10 days!!
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/04/20 02:19 AM

Originally Posted by NolesAlumni
Whatever is the most cost effective/reliable. I’d prefer carb since that’s what’s already in place, but I’m not close minded about it.


The stock fuel system is the CCC Qjet which is a computer controlled carburetor setup. Even a rebuilt CCC Qjet will need final fine tuning on the engine which requires special tools and equipment that are discontinued. Most important is a analog dwell meter which are no longer made but can still easily found used. You would also need idle jet adjusting tool and a TPS adjusting tool.

A non computer carburetor setup requires less special tools, but requires more parts such as non CCC distributor swap and some sort of lockup control. This conversion will reduce power and gas mileage besides easily snowballing. This is what a professional mechcanic will likely push on you. It still will require final fine tuning but less specialized tools will be needed.

EFI conversion isn't cheap or easy. You could go with either GM EFI systems such as TBI or TPI or go aftermarket EFI. This route has the most options and expense. This conversion can snowball even more than a non CCC carb conversion as it requires the most parts. There are no real easy choices.
Posted By: Hunter79764

Re: Engine Swap - 08/04/20 01:27 PM

If you want to stay carb, I think the general consensus would be to keep the CCC. Putting a carb on an LS is generally more money and more work than leaving it EFI. If you are going to go EFI, it will be more money and work to put it on an SBC than it would to swap to LS. I hear you on not wanting a used engine, but just keep in mind that the newer stuff can have 150K, get thrown into a swap with maybe a new water pump and spark plugs, maybe valvesprings, as "cheap insurance" and go many many miles without issue. Most folks are looking at 300k before even thinking about bearings or rings being worn.

Having a shop do the work opens a big can of worms. It really depends on who they are, what they are used to, and what they charge. Generally I'd say you can do the swap for $2000+ engine/transmission and that should give you a nice setup. Doing everything yourself can get the cost including engine to $2000, but that's tricky. $2000 plus a $1500 takeout engine/trans puts you at about the price of a crate motor SBC, then you have labor. Overall tough call but enjoy it either way.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/05/20 02:45 AM

Thanks for the info. I’d love to do the work myself, but I don’t have the time, tools, or space to do it.

I do find it fascinating that in 2020, it still costs thousands of dollars to get a small carborated pushrod motor installed in a 34 year old car.

I’ll keep my eyes out for anything, I figured by now their be a default 350 sbc swap everyone does on these cars. For now it’ll just sit and continue to collect dust
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/05/20 04:09 AM

Originally Posted by NolesAlumni
Thanks for the info. I’d love to do the work myself, but I don’t have the time, tools, or space to do it.

I do find it fascinating that in 2020, it still costs thousands of dollars to get a small carborated pushrod motor installed in a 34 year old car.

I’ll keep my eyes out for anything, I figured by now their be a default 350 sbc swap everyone does on these cars. For now it’ll just sit and continue to collect dust


That is part of the reason, few mechanics are able yet alone willing to work on old carbed engines in 30+ year old cars. They manly only want to work on current stuff as they often lack the tools and equipment to work on old stuff.

There is nothing wrong with driving a 305 poweredcar around. Don't believe all the 305 bashing on the net, as the net likes to blindly bash everything. Most of its based on the low CR early LG4s, your SS has the high CR L69. Headers with a O2 sensor bung, Bitflipper's ZZ4 chip, and a heated O2 sensor will wake that 305 up, plus they can be transferred to a 350 later on. Even just building a dual snorkel aircleaner will add 10 hp. 305s can easily last to 300k with good care.

The biggest issues with these cars are not the powertrains, its the weak floppy frames and poor front suspensions.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/06/20 02:06 AM

So I got my first quote back from a local shop:
Blue print 350 - 373/400 $4000
15 hours labor $1800 plus fluids

So roughly $6000 and a 30 month/50k mile warranty.

It’s not grossly expensive, but not something I can afford unfortunately.

Crazy that in 2020 these archaic motors with no bells and whistles are still so expensive. Good thing I have other hobbies lmao.
Posted By: Buick Runner

Re: Engine Swap - 08/06/20 03:22 PM

Its always expensive to hire someone else to do the work for you. Even with professionals, you never know how professional their work will be. With only 50k, your 05 should have plenty of life left in it. Also being an SS, the 305 you have should be the high compression one which responds to mods much better than the low compression 305s which is the version most people b#### about.

Forgot to say, your car being an 86 means its the first year of having the one piece rear engine seal. Something to remember if you ever do replace the engine later on, the one and two piece seal blocks each use different flexplates. So you must match the flexplate to the style of block.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/07/20 01:34 AM

Maybe I’ll, hit power ball 🤷🏼‍♂️
Posted By: BadSS

Re: Engine Swap - 08/07/20 02:16 AM

If the car doesn’t hold any sentimental value, then it probably would be best to do what you need to do to get it running and sell it, putting that money and the “swap” money towards a newer LS powered car. If the SS is in good shape at 50K miles, then you should be able to get decent money for it – add $6,000 (more if you include exhaust mods) to it and you’re in range for a decent LS powered Z/28, T/A, Camaro, GTO, or G8 GT.

That would kill a few birds with one stone – getting you a more modern platform that more people can work on as well as having a better handling car right out of the gate. Minor mods like a cam, headers, and tune can add upwards of 100HP on most LS engines and most shops are capable of doing those mods – suggest you get HP Tuners so you can tune it yourself (if you have a couple weeks to learn how).

If you’re set on keeping the SS, with only 50K miles on it (and if it was running fine before), I think I’d lean heavily towards doing a head swap (use stock intake) along with a mild cam (requiring little tuning to the stock carb). Add some 1.625” long tube headers and true 2.5” dual exhaust with Magnaflow or Borla Pro XS mufflers (if emission laws allow).

Here’s a cost breakdown for engine parts for pumping up the 305 to around the 300HP mark. It’s under $1600 (not including exhaust) – labor would probably be half of swapping an engine.

Trick Flow 175 Aluminum Heads - TFS-30310001 - $1,100
ARP High Performance Series Cylinder Head Bolt Kits 134-3601 - $83
Chevrolet Composition Head Gaskets 10105117 $26x2 - $52
Trick Flow Intake Gaskets TFS-30400921 - $15
Lunati Voodoo Cam and Lifter (207/213, .466/.484 -112) 10120700LK - $180
Cloyes Timing Chain Set C-3023X - $23
Summit 1.6:1 Long Slot Steel Rocker Arms SUM-G6801- $63
SCE Timing Cover Set Gaskets 11103 - $11
Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gaskets VS12869AC - $12

Cam above using the stock rocker arms and adding headers and exhaust would give you about 245 – 250 horses but once you have it torn down enough to do all that, adding heads probably wouldn’t add more than 1-1.5 hours to the labor.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/08/20 01:21 AM

Originally Posted by BadSS
If the car doesn’t hold any sentimental value, then it probably would be best to do what you need to do to get it running and sell it, putting that money and the “swap” money towards a newer LS powered car. If the SS is in good shape at 50K miles, then you should be able to get decent money for it – add $6,000 (more if you include exhaust mods) to it and you’re in range for a decent LS powered Z/28, T/A, Camaro, GTO, or G8 GT.

That would kill a few birds with one stone – getting you a more modern platform that more people can work on as well as having a better handling car right out of the gate. Minor mods like a cam, headers, and tune can add upwards of 100HP on most LS engines and most shops are capable of doing those mods – suggest you get HP Tuners so you can tune it yourself (if you have a couple weeks to learn how).

If you’re set on keeping the SS, with only 50K miles on it (and if it was running fine before), I think I’d lean heavily towards doing a head swap (use stock intake) along with a mild cam (requiring little tuning to the stock carb). Add some 1.625” long tube headers and true 2.5” dual exhaust with Magnaflow or Borla Pro XS mufflers (if emission laws allow).

Here’s a cost breakdown for engine parts for pumping up the 305 to around the 300HP mark. It’s under $1600 (not including exhaust) – labor would probably be half of swapping an engine.

Trick Flow 175 Aluminum Heads - TFS-30310001 - $1,100
ARP High Performance Series Cylinder Head Bolt Kits 134-3601 - $83
Chevrolet Composition Head Gaskets 10105117 $26x2 - $52
Trick Flow Intake Gaskets TFS-30400921 - $15
Lunati Voodoo Cam and Lifter (207/213, .466/.484 -112) 10120700LK - $180
Cloyes Timing Chain Set C-3023X - $23
Summit 1.6:1 Long Slot Steel Rocker Arms SUM-G6801- $63
SCE Timing Cover Set Gaskets 11103 - $11
Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gaskets VS12869AC - $12

Cam above using the stock rocker arms and adding headers and exhaust would give you about 245 – 250 horses but once you have it torn down enough to do all that, adding heads probably wouldn’t add more than 1-1.5 hours to the labor.


I owned an LS1 SS camaro about 15 years ago or so. Did some minor bolt ons wound up putting down like 360/370 or something. It was getting up there in mileage so I dumped it and have been leasing ever since.

I won’t be selling the MCSS, more than likely just let it sit until I come into money or someone locally wants to cut a nice check. Cost me next to nothing to insure for the year,
Posted By: 86ttop

Re: Engine Swap - 08/08/20 01:52 AM

https://www.chevrolet.com/performance-parts/crate-engines/small-block-engine/350-290-hp
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 08/08/20 02:46 AM



Thanks, I saw this one while searching. Of course there’s no price listed.
Posted By: 86SS86LS

Re: Engine Swap - 08/15/20 10:50 AM

Originally Posted by NolesAlumni
So I got my first quote back from a local shop:
Blue print 350 - 373/400 $4000
15 hours labor $1800 plus fluids

So roughly $6000 and a 30 month/50k mile warranty.

It’s not grossly expensive, but not something I can afford unfortunately.

Crazy that in 2020 these archaic motors with no bells and whistles are still so expensive. Good thing I have other hobbies lmao.


If I were in your shoes, I would buy a used 350 off of CL/FB. As an example, a year ago, I sold a low mile turn-key 350 HO crate motor for $1k. Then find someone local to swap it in their garage over the weekend......around here, it wouldn't be hard to get it done for $5-700. If you are resourceful your total cost would be in the $2000-2500 range.
Posted By: kevins88ss

Re: Engine Swap - 08/16/20 12:39 PM

You should look up on CL for someone offering automotive work that doesn't change $120 per hour. I'm sure they'd help you find a 350 for you and replace your 305. Identical motors - all your stuff will bolt on to the 350, provided it's 80's-90's vintage. You could even look to pick up some 062 or 906 casting Vortec heads and bolt them up while you're at it. Keep your CCC system, that way you don't have to buy a carb, distributor, or transmission controller.

My two cents.
Posted By: NolesAlumni

Re: Engine Swap - 09/09/21 01:55 AM

All good points, a year later and still scouring for the right motor and a garage to do it 🤦🏼‍♂️
Posted By: Hunter79764

Re: Engine Swap - 09/09/21 04:58 PM

If the 305 was still operational etc, you might check out Brent's build thread on hopping up the 305. You could do just enough to pep it up and make it worth driving while you figure out what you want from then on. Even just getting it going as-is with a cam and headers will probably make it worth your while, the headers would continue to be used with a 350 later on, probably could do an intake as well (although I'd guess you would want to use Vortec heads in the future. Just a thought to let you do something now without spending too much money twice.
Posted By: Fred SS

Re: Engine Swap - 09/13/21 02:55 AM

Originally Posted by NolesAlumni


Thanks, I saw this one while searching. Of course there’s no price listed.


Jegs has the long block version of this motor, part # 19355658, for $2100. You should be able to swap over your oem intake and CCC. Link is below:

https://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/sto...logId=10001&langId=-1&q=19355658
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