360/390 Rebuild or Crate?

Old 04-11-2003, 02:30 AM
mikeeep is offline
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360/390 Rebuild or Crate?

Here is the scoop. The old 360 is dead (or nearly). So I'm contemplating building a 390 (or having a friend/mechanic do it).

Or should I go with a crate motor from O'Reilly's or Auto Zone. I see that Auto Zone lists 360 or 390 and the 390 is listed at approx 1200. They don't list much info, so I'm praying that is a long block, they just let you click on "ENGINE" and that is what it gives you.

So here is what I need to know in order to make a decision.

If I rebuild a 360 (turning it into a 390), I need to know exactly everything needed involved with a rebuild. This would be an awesome FAQ for this site too.

I know I need 390 rods and 390 crank but what all else is involved.

*Do I have to have the cylinders mic'd before I order pistons?
*Do I have to have the 390 crank checked to find out what size bearings I need first?

Then what parts are involved exactly?

Complete Gasket Set.
Master Rebuild Kit with Pistons/Rods/Rings

What about the freeze plugs? What about etc, etc...

Now this is where you experts come in. Name every part needed in a complete rebuild and in this case rods & bearings too because if I do it, it'll be the 390 engine when we're done.

I have to figure exact prices to see what is the better deal.

Old 04-11-2003, 07:18 AM
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360/390 Rebuild or Crate?

My .2, ask around your local area for a reputable small rebuilder/machine shop, and work with them, it will cost more up front but you have more control over end product. Spend a little more and get balanced and you can use some aftermarket parts for same price as stock while going back together (cam, intake, hi volume oil pump, dual timing chain, better rockers, etc.). AutoZone type long blocks are strictly stock, and though functional production line rebuilds, not the same quality as a good local shop. Good Luck.
Old 04-11-2003, 07:59 AM
chrowen is offline
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360/390 Rebuild or Crate?

Agreed. My local machininst got me a complete rebuild kit with quality parts for less than I could order one myself. Plus he custom ordered the piston size and bearings based on the work he had done to the bore and crank. In addition, he did not charge much to remove/replace cam bearings, freeze plugs, etc.

Watch ebay for 390 rods. You can have them recondition for much less than new rods, unless you plan to upgrade to aluminum.

As for aftermarket products, edelbrock makes good stuff. Their intake is a must. I am told (by Ford and an FE speed shop) that below 3500, for torque applications, stock heads flow as well as the aftermarket aluminum's, but they are much lighter. They really make their money above 3500 RPM's. Basic valve train jobs to stock heads are pretty cheap. Porting, polishing and port matching is where you spend the big bucks.

I personally would stay away from Edelbrock's cams. You can find a better, custom one for whatever type application you want through crane or comp. For truck applications, I could not justify the expense of going to a roller cam setup.

Beyond this, it depends on how deep your pocket book is. Power costs money; how much do you really need, or desire to spend:-)
Old 04-11-2003, 02:26 PM
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360/390 Rebuild or Crate?

I'm not going to list all the parts needed. Lets just give you an idea since I'm about to finish up my rebuild on my 390.

I started with the block and had all the oil passages opened, one cyl. sleeved, bored .030 over, line honed, had the rods reconditioned, had the crank turned 10:10. Everything else but the timing cover is new, EVERYTHING. Total cost for this motor is going to be over $7000. Some parts bought off of eBay and others from Summit.

Word to the wise, I've been going to the machine shop every weekend for 3 months now. I cannot believe how many crate motors come into the shop with less than 500 miles on them. Seems like everyone has a different issue. After seeing this, I would never buy a crate motor ever. Looks cheaper to just build it yourself.

Feel free to check out my gallery for the pics of the motor as of last weekend. About the only thing I've gone overboard on is the adj. roller rocker assembly. I really didn't need to spend the $800 on it, but what the heck after I've spent all the rest. Might as well just get the best. Feel free to send me an email if you want a list of places to get the best prices. Trust me, I've done my homework and FE parts are just expensive.

Best of luck.
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