building a 406

xtremeclonedss

Amateur Racer
May 22, 2003
228
0
0
Kansas City, MO
alright guys I do not know much about the internals etc of motors.

i have a 400 sbc that is original(i have not taken it apart or to a machine shop yet) and am getting ready to start gathering parts to put it together. I been reading post here and everywhere. multiple combinations but have seen some reoccuring parts.

My goal right now is to build this motor on a budget of $2000 if possible. It will be mainly a street car but in a few years i want to be able to race it and if I get to it maybe spray it(nothing crazy but say 150 shot). Right now i only drive it to a car show once or twice a month.

i am looking at pistons and rods and wanting to know what is a good piston to get.

Rods: 5.7 or 6.0? Seen where extra machining for clearance for the 6.0 needed. then I-beam or H-beam.

Thinking forged on these items with stock 400 crank. is this a good idea or should i just get a forged crank as well.
sorry it is like a book I typed but just asking questions.
 

grizwald

Top Fueler
Feb 21, 2008
3,298
0
36
Ontario, Canada
you'll be $2000K in parts easily. you'll want forged internals if you plan to spray it (including crank). also, just some other stuff to consider...replace the rocker studs with screw in. put a screen kit in the oil return holes in the intake valley (if you plan to ever run roller rockers). maybe consider splayed caps (assuming you have a 2 bolt block). these are all things i haven't done and wished i would have.
 

xtremeclonedss

Amateur Racer
Thread starter
May 22, 2003
228
0
0
Kansas City, MO
I have a 509 block from a van with a 400turbo. the truck only showed 75k on it.

I am assuming it is a 2bolt block and was planning on splaying it on the bottom end.

Thanks for the heads up on the pricing of parts. Momma wont be happy...lol
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
hard to beat this deal but it is probably possible:

http://www.competitionproducts.com/prodinfo.asp?number=BR406D

 

prairiehotrodder

Pro Stocker
Dec 17, 2005
1,571
1
38
43
Melfort Saskatchewan Canada
save money by not buying the forged stuff except for pistons. use 5.7 stock rods with arp bolts. use good forged pistons and arp main studs to keep the 2 bolt caps from walking. buy some good budget iron heads with 200cc intake or smaller (dart iron eagles or similar) shoot for 9.5 CR use comp roll er tip rockers and a cam cut on a 108 if no nos and 112 if using nos. You don't need alot of exspensive stuff to have fun and decent durability. BTW- get it balanced. try and find a piston in .020 oversize, don't go more than .030. have fun
Brian
 

xtremeclonedss

Amateur Racer
Thread starter
May 22, 2003
228
0
0
Kansas City, MO
Guys thanks for the comments!

As far as heads go, I wanted to keep the whole motor old looking and have a set of double hump heads on the motor.

I will keep this in mind when collecting parts.
 

prairiehotrodder

Pro Stocker
Dec 17, 2005
1,571
1
38
43
Melfort Saskatchewan Canada
i think dart or somebody makes heads that have the factory looking camel humps on them. The original heads are a huge cork. i would sell them to somebody restoring something. In no time you will have as much money into them as a good set of sportsmans cost.
Brian
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
xtremeclonedss said:
Guys thanks for the comments!

As far as heads go, I wanted to keep the whole motor old looking and have a set of double hump heads on the motor.

I will keep this in mind when collecting parts.



The vortec heads will wake that motor up a bunch, and are good for a street strip motor on a budget.
 

TNTS79

Dragway Regular
Jan 6, 2006
1,252
0
0
Illiniois
I disagree with the stock rod 5.7 idea. I would go with a set of forged I beam rods, a scat 9000 crank and some forged speed pro pistons... Similar setup to mine but I went with forged H-beams, kinda wish I would have gone with a forged crank and a set of 6" rods. There are a couple sets of 6" H-beams on here cheaper than you could get them anywhere else!! I would def. have the bottom end balanced and have the block checked out, splayed main caps with an arp stud kit is about as strong as you can build a stock 509 400 block. If you do go with splayed caps you will have to have it line honed and prob. decked. Some of the 400's were pretty far off from the factory. Hows the cam tunnel look? Usually if you see much core shift there (off center cam tunnel from the machined area) you know the block is less than perfect... I had around 3000 in parts/machining when I built my 406. Good luck, build it right, keep it cool and you will love it! If you can swing it buy a good set of heads, I am planning on picking up a set of 195 afr's this winter! Just saving cash!!
 

TNTS79

Dragway Regular
Jan 6, 2006
1,252
0
0
Illiniois
xtremeclonedss said:
Guys thanks for the comments!

As far as heads go, I wanted to keep the whole motor old looking and have a set of double hump heads on the motor.

I will keep this in mind when collecting parts.

Be sure to have the steam holes drilled in whatever heads you choose! I will be selling the heads off mine this winter after I get some darts or afrs....
 

grizwald

Top Fueler
Feb 21, 2008
3,298
0
36
Ontario, Canada
i agree with not cheaping out on certain things. i mean, you can save money on heads or big ticket items by getting cast versions or whatever...but when it comes to cranks, rods, etc...you'd hate to find out that the extra couple hundred you would have spent would have saved you a ton of extra work and $$$ down the road when it cooks...especially if you're going to spray it. there's no worse feeling to have in the back of your mind that "will it break THIS time?".
 

JOHNWOJO

Frequent Racer
Jun 8, 2009
402
0
0
New Jersey
My 406 had over $6000 in it. Alittle more then you are looking to spend but here is the run down.
400 4bolt main 30 over
Dart aluminum heads
Rev kit and stud girdles
1.5 Harland Sharp roller rockers
Crane roller cam (pt# 19404 .670 .630 lift)
Callies pro street crank
Manley 6" H beam rods
Wiseco 14.1 pistons
850 carb shop carb
Dart intake
Electric water pump
MSD distributor and 7al-2 ignition box
INTERNALLY BALANCED
im sure i have left something out lol
Not sure what kind of hp and torque #s . In my 69 nova that had a 12 bolt and turbo 400 it ran a best of 10.27 at 130 mph through the 3" mufflers on 10" goodyear slicks and weighing 3520 with my fat butt in there.
 

Gitdowns

Daily Driver
Jan 28, 2007
45
0
0
Wichita Falls, TX. 76308
Dont buy all the hype. I ran a cast crank, stock rod, forged dished piston, unbalanced, with some old 292 castings with a .500 lift solid flat tappet cam for 7 years, never pulled the pan. Had 3.73 gears, turbo 350 trans. with stock converter. Set the governer in the trans to shift at 6300rpm in drive. Ran 82-73 jets in cheater plate. Would run 11.40's all day long on MT SS street tires, not the et streets, but the old SS tires. driving it 200 miles one way to the track. Must have run many hundreds of nitrous on the street through that engine. The crank and rods came out of the same engine like yours. I had $500in the short block and less the 300 ine heads. Most fun I ever had with a street car. Spend what you can afford, Get it built and have a blast.
 

tiedyemike8

Frequent Racer
Oct 28, 2009
658
0
0
Naperville, IL
I have to agree with Gitdowns.
Don't listen to those guys on Horsepower TV or in CHP magazine. They are paid to advertise parts. Nothing else. It's as simple as that.

If you are building the engine for 400 hp or so, and throw a 150 shot on it, most of the stock parts will live a long time. Just remember that when the time comes that you want to go faster, a better crank and rods will be needed. A factory 400 block is good for 550-650 hp or so. It doesn't matter if it has splayed caps installed and plugged deck and steam holes, 550-650hp seems to be the "safe" limit. That being said, I have seen guys pushing over 900 hp with nitrous using factory 400 blocks. But most of them will tell you that they are really pushing their luck.

With the short block, step 1 is to disassemble the engine to see what you have to work with. Depending on the condition of things, you might be able to just replace main and rod bearings, break the glaze on the cylinders for the new pistons and rings, and install a new oil pump. If the cylinders must be bored, honing with a torque plate isn't necessary for what you are doing. Having the rods rebuilt with good bolts would be a good idea and worth the money. I wouldn't put any extra money into the block. Stay away from splayed caps, you don't need them. Yes, longer connecting rods are always better, but with your goals and budget, don't worry about it.

Forged pistons are great, but hypereutectics are fine for what you are doing. A good friend of mine has been spraying a 383 with hyper pistons with a 250 shot for years now. I was convinced he would burn up those pistons, but he hasn't after 7-8 years now. It's a street car that he often drives to work. He has never had any problems with it.

Don't worry about balancing unless you are going to spin it past 6000 rpm a lot. Running it up to 6500 once in a while will not hurt anything. And I can tell you from experience that with heads under 200cc, 5500-6000 rpm is probably all you will get out of the engine.

As for the upper half of the engine, vortec heads would make for a great, torquey street engine. I would run a flat tappet cam with duration in the 235-245 at .050 range and as much lift as the pistons and heads will allow.
A single plane intake will generally work better than a dual plane on your 400, but if I already had a dual plane, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
A basic 750 cfm carb is all you need. Carter carbs are great for street cars.
A stock balancer, flexplate, distributer are all fine.
1 3/4 headers might be beneficial, but I can't remember what those vortec heads flow on the exhaust side.

Anyway, thats what I would do if I were in your shoes, but this is just my opinion! :D
 

slimbo

Moderator
May 21, 2007
4,223
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0
www.yellowbullet.com
tiedyemike8 said:
I have to agree with Gitdowns.
Don't listen to those guys on Horsepower TV or in CHP magazine. They are paid to advertise parts. Nothing else. It's as simple as that.

If you are building the engine for 400 hp or so, and throw a 150 shot on it, most of the stock parts will live a long time. Just remember that when the time comes that you want to go faster, a better crank and rods will be needed. A factory 400 block is good for 550-650 hp or so. It doesn't matter if it has splayed caps installed and plugged deck and steam holes, 550-650hp seems to be the "safe" limit. That being said, I have seen guys pushing over 900 hp with nitrous using factory 400 blocks. But most of them will tell you that they are really pushing their luck.

With the short block, step 1 is to disassemble the engine to see what you have to work with. Depending on the condition of things, you might be able to just replace main and rod bearings, break the glaze on the cylinders for the new pistons and rings, and install a new oil pump. If the cylinders must be bored, honing with a torque plate isn't necessary for what you are doing. Having the rods rebuilt with good bolts would be a good idea and worth the money. I wouldn't put any extra money into the block. Stay away from splayed caps, you don't need them. Yes, longer connecting rods are always better, but with your goals and budget, don't worry about it.

Forged pistons are great, but hypereutectics are fine for what you are doing. A good friend of mine has been spraying a 383 with hyper pistons with a 250 shot for years now. I was convinced he would burn up those pistons, but he hasn't after 7-8 years now. It's a street car that he often drives to work. He has never had any problems with it.

Don't worry about balancing unless you are going to spin it past 6000 rpm a lot. Running it up to 6500 once in a while will not hurt anything. And I can tell you from experience that with heads under 200cc, 5500-6000 rpm is probably all you will get out of the engine.

As for the upper half of the engine, vortec heads would make for a great, torquey street engine. I would run a flat tappet cam with duration in the 235-245 at .050 range and as much lift as the pistons and heads will allow.
A single plane intake will generally work better than a dual plane on your 400, but if I already had a dual plane, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
A basic 750 cfm carb is all you need. Carter carbs are great for street cars.
A stock balancer, flexplate, distributer are all fine.
1 3/4 headers might be beneficial, but I can't remember what those vortec heads flow on the exhaust side.

Anyway, thats what I would do if I were in your shoes, but this is just my opinion! :D



i hate the internet sometimes ](*,)
 

Night Stalker

Dragway Regular
Nov 3, 2009
1,125
0
0
Genoa,Oh
Contrary to alot of the postings,, it doesn't take alot of money or high dollar parts to make a 400 run easliy into the mid or low 11's..
A good set of chevy 5.7 "x" or "O" rods with ARP bolts and even a set of eagle SIR rods will fit the bill.. Either of these rods will support up to the 500 hp levels with keeping the rpms to under the 6,500.. A good stock crank will also do just fine..
The 2 bolt main blocks such as the "509", "511" are the ones to look for as the nickel content is higher..Most of these blocks weigh as much as 18 lbs more due to the nickel.. the 2 bolts are thicker in the webbing of the lower part of the block than the 4-bolt main blocks...Slayed caps are nice but them too aren't really needed unless your spinning the rpms above the 7,000 mark and making 550 + hp..
Clearancing will play a good factor in the life of the block..
 

JP86SS

Amateur Racer
Sep 26, 2004
113
0
0
N.E. Ohio
www.wideopenwest.com
I'm in the same boat right now and figured I'd jump in here.
I'm looking to spin up to 7K with safety. It won't happen much but my foot will disagree with my rational side.
even if I could go 6,500 with allot of saefty I would be happy. Car is a streeter 90% (Hard streets though :) )
I'm figuring a forged crank and pistons but am stuck on the rods.
6" H-beams seem to be the way to go and possibly with the L19s in them.
That set listed in the earlier post is a real good deal compared to what I've seen.
Not really trusting the "imported crank" thought though. Will keep compiling parts lists for now.

Q': If I am to get to 0.035-40 quench, the piston would need to be pretty much out of the block figuring on a 039 gasket.
What is the trick here?

I'm shooting for 30 over, flat tops at 11:1 using the cam to get around 8.5 DCR, cam not figured out yet. I have a 224/230 @112 I could use but want bigger.
Sportsman IIs (65 cc) cut for hyd roller cam already (986s) high 5's lift capable IIRC, maybe getting them pocket ported over the winter,
3" true duals with 1-5/8 LTs. Injected of course with my Stealth ram /36# injectors.
3.73 grears on a beefed 700R4, Precision 3800 triple disk lockup converter.
Probable 100 shot also, kit in the garage is yelling at me to be put in.
Suspension is in place with bigger driveshaft/solids, UMI lowers, Eddy adj uppers with braces. (the 7.5 will not last I know if I apply the balls to this)
A solid 11 to 11.5 is the goal eventually.

I want to build it right the first time and put what is REALLY needed into it, again on a budget.
Any suggestions on parts or building tricks are welcomed, I weigh all the options and do my own research to make the final decisions.
I am building it myself (scary thought) but I've done everything else to the car with MY hands and time, This is to be the same.
TIA
 

Mike Allred

Amateur Racer
Feb 4, 2006
219
0
0
Fayetteville, NC
My 406 has a cast crank, 5.7 stock rods with good bolts, claimer flat top hyper pistons, Old unported Sportsman IIs (72 cc chambers), a Lunati solid pn40119 -- .550/.572 / 250 somethin @ .050, 1 5/8 street headers, Victor Jr with 2" spacer, 750HP Holley, Harland Sharp roller rockers, distributor locked at 36 degrees, mechanical Edelbrock fuel pump and it hauled my 3000lb El Camino to regular 6.80s in the 1/8th. I never planned to run it 500+ passes with cheap parts. It just happened. I shift at 5700 and go through the lights at 5800. A 4.30 gear, 9X30 rear tire and 1.76 glide let the torque do the work. I only recently pulled it to re-ring. It was using a quart of oil every 10 runs or so but still ran great!
 

D&A Machine Shop

Frequent Racer
This is the type of thread that can go on forever and never really accomplish anything.
Yes you could get away with a stock crank and rods but you have to remember that most stock 400 cranks are 30 years old, the same goes with the rods.
You could also use the cast import cranks, if you do at least use a scat 9000 crank
but you will eventually find the limits of that crank also. I like anyting that scat makes
we use them in all of our race engines unless the customer specifys somthing else. You still need to check anything you get 6 ways to sunday, we have rebuilt alot of new and very expensive rods and sent back some very expensive cranks in the past. The point im trying to make is this use the best that your budget will alow.
If you can afford the best of the best then by all means use it if you cant then use what you can but the basics remain the same if it is prepped the right way then it will live longer than it will if it is not. The stock 400 block does have weaknesses but so does anything else stud it line hone it deck it balance it. It will live for a long time if you take care of it.
 

406Monte

Dragway Regular
Nov 30, 2007
1,019
0
0
Hubert, NC
I am in agreement with D&A Machine shop. When I was building my 406 I had the following done to it. I had it sonic checked, decked, line bored, plate honed, and I did nothing to the caps. I am using the factory caps in mine but, I did stud the entire block with ARP studs (heads, crank). I am running a .558 .558 roller hyd cam with a 122 lobe sep. I am running the Trick Flow Heads on this motor, as for the bottom end I used a kit from Callies. I got the Dragon Slayer forged crank, forged Mahle pistons 10.5 comp, Mahle forged 6" h beam rods the kit was all balanced internal from Callies. I use a 750 dp and Victor Jr. I love this motor and if did again I would have a bigger cam and better heads with alot more compression.

If you build this then take all the good info from all the posts weigh your options and money and take it to a good machine shop and ask them what would be the best combo and parts for your money and then decide to follow it or go your own route. The engine shop will lead you the right way for your build.

All of this is running with my stock 7.5 rear with 3.73 gears and Auburn posi. I run a 350th with 3400 stall converter. I have had the tires off the ground on launches and have been doing this for over 4 years now with this combo. Hp 439 trq 437
 

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