We’ve heard all the stories through the years about crate engines: missing parts, poorly machined or bad castings, and even the hassle of having to replace a failed crate engine and fighting with the rebuilder over warranty issues. The frustration goes on.
But, what if we told you it doesn’t have to be that way?
Rebuilding engines on a mass scale has been a brutal learning curve for engine rebuilders from coast to coast. They’ve had to refine engine building techniques and search high and low for better talent in order to come up with competitive warranties. And even with all that, builders don’t always hit the mark. You may buy a rebuilt engine from a discount auto parts house or a local rebuilder and wind up with considerably less than you’d hoped for.
Chevrolet Performance has all-new, high-performance crate engines available for your classic car building project. These are brand-new engines built to Chevrolet’s toughest factory OEM standards only it doesn’t have to be expensive. Just imagine, a new crate engine custom-built to your order on a custom engine assembly line for virtually the same amount of money as an engine rebuild. All you have to do is order it from Chevrolet Performance or Summit Racing Equipment and it’s on the way from Detroit.
How does Chevrolet do this?
It does this via a serious commitment to a system of checks and balances in the build process that make every one of their crate engines the same as the last. We’re talking tough OEM standards and more. And because Chevrolet Performance sells a lot of hand-built, one-at-a-time engines, these engines become the most affordable and certainly the most rugged in the industry.
Chevrolet Performance offers new long-blocks, such as the LSX376-B8/476hp crate engines with forged pistons. You get incredible performance at an unbelievable price for all that can be had with this great setup. While lighter blocks were built for improved gas mileage, they’re not a great option for serious performance applications, as the bottom ends cannot withstand the extra pressure. The strength of these LSX-B8 bottom ends for forced induction will tolerate the increased cylinder pressures and prevent strain on the other components.
The same can be said for traditional small-block Chevy crate engines available from Chevrolet Performance. They also offer terrific drop-in replacement small-block engines for your classic Chevy car-building project that arrive on your doorstep with a warranty, ready to go.
Chevrolet Performance begins with new LS blocks that are fully machined, painted, and good to go. New blocks enter the system like this, ready for assembly.
Parts are laid out as shown with strict attention to detail. We’re talking forged and coated pistons, heavy-duty forged I-beam connecting rods, high-performance hydraulic roller cam, and the best hardware. The rods are checked for correct alignment and journal bore sizing.
Each LS crate engine gets a steel forged crankshaft and bottom end that has been checked for runout, journal dimensions, and is then dynamically balanced for smoothness.
Dynamic balancing of the reciprocating parts like the pistons and rods is checked for unequalled smoothness.
This LSX short-block has been assembled with a new crank, rods, pistons, oil pump, seals, and gaskets.
This LSX short-block has dished forged pistons for a conservative static compression should you be looking to supercharge it with boost.
Here are some LS cylinder heads lined up for assembly and installation on Chevrolet Performance crate engines. Note that these are bare head castings, which will get the same close attention to detail during assembly as the short-block. These are really nice pieces custom-assembled on a low-production line.
Chevrolet Performance engines are hand built using specially calibrated torque wrenches, which means precision assembly without guesswork. Here, an LSX cylinder head is getting its rocker arms installed before it moves down the assembly line.
The production line is set up with an excellent communication system whereby builders know exactly what is in production at the time. Everything from 350- to 572ci engines are built to Chevrolet’s toughest OEM standards. This helps ensure that the assembly specifications are followed to the letter for each type of engine built at that station.
Here’s a 350ci four-bolt main short-block that has been hand-assembled and inspected. The block has been filled with a steel crankshaft, heavy-duty I-beam forged connecting rods, and hypereutectic pistons.
A high-performance steel hydraulic roller cam is lubed and installed along with the rest of the valvetrain.
The blueprinted oil pump and rear main seal have been installed. We’re ready for the oil pan. Note the composition oil pan gasket. No leaks here.
Fast Burn aluminum cylinder heads are installed using new composition head gaskets for the best sealing. Dowels in the block make installation easy. Head bolts are precision torqued to specifications, which means every build gets the exact same treatment.
After each bolt is torqued it is marked to ensure that nothing gets missed. Here, an assembly technician marks head bolts prior to installing the roller rocker arms.
As each engine is wrapped up it is thoroughly inspected to ensure everything meets Chevrolet OEM standards. This is a Circle Track CT400 engine getting buttoned up before moving down the line for a critical inspection.
A completed CT400 engine awaits cold testing where oil pressure, compression, and overall engine sealing are checked. Pressure testing ensures quality.
Each engine is pressure tested for leaks using air pressure. If any leaks are found, the engine is sidelined, checked, and corrected.
Cold testing includes a check of oil pressure to ensure it is within standards.
Engines are cold-tested where they get a compression check along with close attention for any noises. They are fired for the first time when you install them.
These engines have been cold-tested, thoroughly checked and have been returned to the production line for crating and shipping.
Chevrolet Performance’s SP350/385 Turn-Key uses new-casting Fast Burn cylinder heads equipped with LS-style beehive valvesprings for greater high-rpm stability and performance. The lightweight aluminum cylinder head casting is based on the time-proven “Fast Burn” chamber design with large intake runners and 2.00/1.55-inch valves. New beehive-style valvesprings allow the SP350/385 to rev higher, making the most of every intake stroke. Each SP350/385 gets a brand-new block with four-bolt mains along with a forged-steel crankshaft, aggressive hydraulic roller camshaft, and durable high-silicon pistons.
The HT502 big-block is rated at 406 hp and a whopping 541 lb-ft of stump-pulling torque. That’s more than the factory ever offered back in the day. The HT502 is uniquely suited to pre-1978 Chevy and GMC trucks, but is also adaptable to a variety of classic Chevy vehicle applications. Chevrolet Performance builds the HT502 with a forged crankshaft, rods, and pistons for maximum durability and strength, and they’re installed in a fresh version of the big-block cylinder block. A conservative 8.75:1 compression ratio ensures pump-gas performance at all altitudes and loads.
For builders who want to stretch the performance of a turbocharged or supercharged combination, Chevrolet Performance has just the foundation you need in the new LSX376-B15, which has a durable all-forged rotating assembly to handle up to 15 psi of boost. We’re talking forged aluminum pistons and a forged steel crankshaft. The block is topped off with high-flow, rectangular port LSX-LS3 six-bolt aluminum heads with 68cc combustion chambers and 2.16/1.55 valves. They also offer the LSX376-B8 crate engine, also with an all-forged rotating assembly, for those looking to add boost up to 8 psi. These terrific powerhouses are applicable to classics and late-models alike.