September 2011 Chevy High Performance Q & A

Knowing When To Say When

Kevin McClelland Jul 28, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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A: Your resto build plan has a couple of problems. Mainly it’s your cylinder head selection. These were originally used on both 350- and 400-cid small-blocks with 76cc combustion chambers. The chambers would overhang the small bore (3.875 inches) of the 283, and the large combustion chambers would kill the compression ratio of your Mouse. With the small displacement and low compression, it would kill any slow-speed power your little engine thought it would have.

Most 283 offerings from Chevrolet came with 60cc combustion chambers. This pegged the compression in the mid-9:1 range with flat-top pistons. Unfortunately, the aftermarket never stepped up to the small-bore engines. There were S/R 305s offered by World Products many years ago. We couldn’t even find information online on these very rare heads. The best bet would be to pick up a set of Power Pack casting from an original 283 and have them freshened for your mini Mouse. A couple of casting numbers you can look for are 3817680 and 3795896. Contact Tony Knight at Cylinder Head Exchange in Sylmar, California. He has a deep inventory of these early castings and we bet he has a set on the shelf, ready to go.

A set of fresh cylinder heads with the Performer manifold would give you 270-280 hp and around 300 lb-ft of torque. Also, you can use your stock rocker arms with 0.460 inch of max lift. Good luck.


Not a Chance

Q: I was wondering if Chevy ever made a ‘90 SS 350 truck. If they did, any information on it would be helpful. Thanks.

Adam Beckmann
Via email

A: Nope! They only produced the SS 454 trucks from 1990-93. These were equipped with L-19 TBI 454s, which didn’t really deserve the SS moniker. Sorry we couldn’t help with your quest for a 350 SS pickup. If they did build one in those model year ranges, the L0-5 TBI 350s were even worse! CHP


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