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Banned
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6,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After seeing some recent threads and looking at some engine builders websites and prices i am just blown away. OVer 6K for a long block stroker without an intake carb etc-you must be crazy. I built by 302 with cobra valve covers, oval air cleaner, chris richards mass-flo system, 30lb injectors, chrome oil pan, billet pulley kit, afr aluminum heads, crane cam, etc etc. for right at $5,000. If i need to go up in power i plan on building a 408W and i have already added up the price of parts and machine work and it will only cost me around 2,500-3,600 with new heads. These people must charge a fortune for labor.
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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2,435 Posts
While I could probably assemble an engine for $5000, I am still drawn to the crate motors. I don't know enough of the tips and tricks on engine building that it's highly possible I'd do something wrong and have to re-build again. Suddenly, the engine I initially assembled for a mere $5000 will cost me $7000 or more! Plus I'm out all the time and still not sure I've missed something else that will rear it's ugly head later...
That's why I personally will still consider a crate motor.

-Mike
 

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2,931 Posts
I decided to go crate because
A: I was offered a good deal on an new engine/transmission set;
B: I wanted the heart of the car to be as reliable as possible.
C: I see my car as an evolution of the earlier cars, which means that I wanted recent engineering in the mechanical components;
D: I wanted cats, which seems easier to do with an engine that comes ready from the factory;
F: (The worst reason)If the engine is a Ford Cobra, that means that my car is a "Real" Cobra, doesn't it? (take THAT Mr. Farmer!) :D MWWAAAHAHAHA!!!
 

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Super Moderator
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29,364 Posts
Remember, an engine builder not only charges for his labor, but the cost of doing business (employees, insurance, rent, etc.). Those costs are passed on to the customer plus some profit for the engine builder. If you added similar costs to your build, the costs would be very close if not slightly higher for you since the builder gets the parts at wholesale.

To make the comparison fair, you have to make it apples to apples
 

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Moderator Ad Nauseum
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18,585 Posts
Warranty?
Making sure all the components (i.e deck height) are compatible.
Specialized tools.
Specialized skills....
I could go on.

I'm afraid I'd do something like 2Fast (sorry Bill, you know I love you man) and put my pistons in upside down and ruin my rods. Believe me, I'm fully capable of doing it, I'd just rather pay to take advantage of someone else's experience. Gordon Levy knows what works and what doesn't. So does FMS.

I admire your skill and ability. I'd just rather share my wealth with someone who can share their skill. Good trade-off IMHO.


d



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Interesting. Every time I price out the parts to build my own, then compare to a major builder's crate motor, the cost for the parts alone comes out about the same or more, at least if I remember to add in the machine work, gaskets, ARP fasteners, etc. It's like getting the labor and warranty for free from a crate motor builder.
I've always assumed that they get parts cheaper via the volume discounts.
Right now, I'm liking the Ford Racing 450hp 347 stroker, with all forged internals, including even a baffled roadrace oil pan and distributor for just over $6k. I don't think I could gather the parts for that price.

Forrest
 

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5,042 Posts
I note that in his build, CobraStang did not mention the cost of pistons, rods, bearings, bolts, gaskets, hot tank, decking, boring, honing, plus any other machining and balancing. Did this 'engine build' include a full freshening of the rotating mechanism?
 

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Banned
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6,100 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
All was included in the etc etc. I spent right at 900 for the block pistons, rods, crank, .03 machining etc. I added up everything included my head gaskets, arp bolts, and so on. I just didnt want to make the post too long. People that offer the same engine i built with the mass flo system charge 10,000. I built three other small blocks before this build, but this was my first Ford. i wasnt trying to bash the engine building companies out there, it's just that i enjoy the process of assembling the engine and find it gratifying. A great way for any inexperienced person to do this is to buy a ford small block book and then purchase this dvd-if you follow the dvd you wont miss a thing. It covers break down, the details that the machine shop should cover, and then the entire assembly process step by step-very good dvd.
http://www.eastwood.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&itemID=10323&keyword=engine+dvd
 

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Senior Member
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5,470 Posts
With my other car, I did the engine myself except the actual building of the bottom end. This time I went the full turnkey route. As others said, piece of mind, warranty, doing something wrong, etc. Also, I know that the engine has been properly broken in, tested, etc. Yeah, it's a lot of money, but I also know exactly what I am getting, no hidden surprises.
 

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Super Moderator
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You still haven't factored in your labor and overhead.
 

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Over Engineerer
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2,921 Posts
If you want to justify buying a crate engine then fine, but don't try to do it based on the costs being the same. Barring mistakes and re-do's, you can "rebuild" a motor for less money. A rebuild uses an old block, main caps, crank, connecting rods, timing cover & intake - most everything else would be new. It would also include a dip in the hot tank, cylinder bore & hone, mill the deck if needed and align bore/hone if needed. I rebuilt my bottom end (machine work & assembly done at the shop) with an E cam then added new Power-heads and assembled the top side myself for at least $1000 less than a comparable crate from Ford. This DID NOT include the cost of the donor engine, but thay can be had cheaply enough. All-in-all, I think you can roll your own for about $500~$1000 less than a crate motor.

That said, all of the points made by Don (warranty, special tools, special skills, matched parts) are valid and may be worth the extra cost to most folks.
 

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Senior Member
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2,987 Posts
Are you kidding me?

You have to place some value on your time. Warranty, cost to build it yourself....lots to consider.

Its just way easier to go the crate route anymore. And if you don't have experience building engines you have no business doing it.

Just my 2 cents....
Kurt
 

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Over Engineerer
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2,921 Posts
Originally posted by The Gess Brothers:
Are you kidding me?

You have to place some value on your time...
Not exactly. You (being a pro builder) have to place some value on your time. I (being an amatuer builder who enjoys the build) do not. If I put a value of even $5/hour on my time, I would have been better off buying a finished car from you or one of the other Pro's.
 

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Cone Killer
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1,726 Posts
well, if we all followed some of the suggestions above, we would not be building our own vehicles. With the value of my time, I could have bought a new Z06 for less.

I DON'T put any value on my time for things I enjoy. The $1000 you save rebuilding an engine (if you enjoy it) would be like getting to play golf for free. It's a hobby, a sense of accomplishment AND you get to save some money.

Just my $0.02 (or $1.02 crate)

(edit) You beat me to my own point FFRed!
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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4,257 Posts
To answer your original question.....for me, I would never build my own engine because I don't know enough about engine building to get into it myself. Personally, I wouldn't get a new engine/crate either because I seem to hear too many reports of guys blowing them up (along with built engines). With $1k low mileage explorer engines all over, I can't personally find a reason to go any other way. So....that's what I did. Mine had 5k miles on it when I put it in.
 

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FFR Craftsman
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5,834 Posts
IF I had to do it over again: CRATE! The cost is the biggest factor. My time is worth more these days.

Having said that, what I did gain from building a motor is :

1) Being able to say I built it myself (didn't do the machining; bought a short block.)

2) Sure, it took me 8x longer to build than a pro but I learned a lot about fasteners, oil pumps, why that little plug out back under the intake is there, and how to degree a cam just to name a few.

3)Whether or not this engine will start and stay together is to be determined. No warranty to save me if it doesn't. But that thrill and agony put's me back to my High-School days. Not that I can't replace my motor if it fails miserably, but how many time do you get to "go back" and feel that young and excited again (ok,, driving this thing will do it too!!!!)

Summary: I learned more building this motor and if I never do it again, that's fine. I can now talk to motor builders a lot more intelligently than I could have 2 years ago. I simply wanted the full experience, good or bad.
 

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Registered
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546 Posts
I think engine building is a lot like paint and body work. Some people are comfortable just diving in and others are not. If money is tight and you have the time, you can do it. If your budget allows or you just don't want to mess with it then go with a pro.
 

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Premium Member
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10,220 Posts
The points about this being hobby is a very valid point. We do this because we love being able to learn something. Everyone has hobbies, and no one puts a value on the time spent doing them.
I think I'm going to build my own...
But then again, I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night... :D
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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4,046 Posts
I'm with "RedJoker" . I plan on redoing my motor myself just for the "fun of It" & to see if I can still do a motor after not touching one for 30yrs! If my motor doesn't work out --I can always go & buy a pro-built one.

P S
Thats what these cars are 'bout--FUN!!!
 
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