Looking at a used 383 - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion



LT1-LT4 Modifications 1993-97 Gen II Small Block V8

Looking at a used 383

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Old 01-12-2018, 12:07 PM   #1
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Default Looking at a used 383

So I have found a pretty good deal on a used 383 setup that I can swap the heads out on for some AI heads I got on a trade. I was wondering if anyone here might be able to tell me what I should look for when I go to look at this thing.

It's an old engine, supposedly it's been sitting for a few years, but it looks fairly rust free. I plan on rebuilding it either way. It's got an old Callies Racemaster crank in it, Callies rods, and JE pistons. Not that it matters that much, but it's a 4 bolt block. Supposedly it has 64cc heads on it, running mid 9:1 compression, but I plan on tossing on my AI 200s on it to try to run it up to mid-high 10:1.

Is there anything I should check other than the obvious when I go to look at it? I will make sure it turns freely, nothing looks chewed up, and that it looks pretty clean. Is there any way I can check to see if the water jacket has been broken through? Are there any other small things that are easy to miss that could toast the engine? Thank you!
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:15 PM   #2
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Buying used motors has risks perhaps even more on rebuilds. If the motor came with a "build sheet" showing bearing clearances, block decking that would be some assuring info

Otherwise you really don't know until you pull heads and pan and look at bearings and cyl walls.

the rotating assembly has good brand parts
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:33 PM   #3
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You know for a fact it has those parts? the motor is disassembled? look for notches where the oil pan mounts, this will tell you the block was clearances for the stroker crank
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:50 PM   #4
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Is the seller willing to pull the oil pan off?
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:29 PM   #5
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The engine has the heads off, and I received pictures verifying the parts. I will be making the drive one day soon to either buy it or pass.

The walls looked clean, but as for the bearings, how can I tell if they're good or bad? Would I need a feeler gauge or something of the sort to tell? Or would that still leave the crank up in the air?

Almost forgot, the pan is off, as well. I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic that this is a good base and I'll be able to push mid 400s through a 6 speed once this is done.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:33 PM   #6
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when you pull the pan off to check for the stroker clearance, the only way to tell if the bearings are ok is to pull off one of the main caps and a couple off the rods.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:08 PM   #7
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I would need new bearings anyway, right? I'd rather know that all the parts in the engine are gonna be capable of handling 500 at the crank, and maybe one day another 100 so on the juice.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:53 PM   #8
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heads and pan off would be simple to just pull a main cap or two and a few rod caps to look at bearings. If they look good you are fine...if there are groves in the crank or bearings you will need new bearings and have the crank ground...assuming the groves are not to deep (less than .010)

the rods and pistons would be marked and should say callies/JE respectively

IDK what marking a Callies crank has but would suspect some form of ID on it # or something

assuming all checks out you could put new bearings, hone cyl walls and re-ring it. Motor would be "fresh" then
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:27 PM   #9
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Awesome. Does anyone have experience with this model of crank? From my understanding, it was an entry level forged crank back in the day. My goals for now are pretty much 410-450 at the wheels through a 6 speed, and maybe in the future, I'll add a nitrous system with up to a 150 shot.

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Old 01-13-2018, 03:16 AM   #10
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If you can verify that it's a stroker, and if the seller will state in writing that the block's not cracked and you can see that the crank is solid......buy it. All issues mentioned previously will be addressed during a full, quality rebuild.....which must include new bearings.

As for the crank.....if it's not damaged, it'll hold up to what you wanna put to it.

Also.....if it's just a short block, well.....speaking for myself, I wouldn't spend more than $1500 for it.

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:06 AM   #11
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If you plan on rebuilding it anyway, I would focus my attention on the pan rails to see how much was clearanced, and verify part numbers. The parts will be inspected during the rebuild and tear down, and wear items will be replaced either way.

I am usually hesitant to recommend used motors, but in this case as long as it is as described it seems like a good choice since you plan on having it pulled apart before running.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:20 PM   #12
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It depends on the seller, I brought a used all forged 383, splayed billet caps, custom supercharger cammed shortblock from Jason Short and it was everything he said it was.

I only had to replace the bearings and I'm boring it to .040 with new pistons and cam for my turbo build but I got a great deal and it's saving me some time and money as the machinework for a stroker is done as is the splayed cap conversion.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:59 PM   #13
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My 383 is used also.. All forged SRP pistons, Eagle H beams and Eagle crank.. Iím going to do a compression, and a leak down test and send it..
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:38 AM   #14
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Just so I know what to be prepared for, assuming the engine was properly stored and there's little to no surface rust, would the rings be reusable? Or would that be something to replace instead of reuse?
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:26 PM   #15
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I would buy new rings and bearings and have the block re-honed at a minimum.
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