355ci Small Block - The Spruced Goose

A Power-Packed 355 Small-Block For The Street

Sean Haggai Jul 13, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Quick Notes

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What We Did
Give an old-school 355ci a new look and a lot more power

Bottom Line
We gained 111 hp and 600 rpm on the dyno with a simple top-end kit

Cost (Approx)
$5,600

Mystery engines are always more entertaining than their crate/off-the-shelf brethren; not knowing what's on the inside can make them more or less interesting real fast. Our mystery motor could have high-compression pistons with forged internals ... or it could have a less-than-willing stock bottom end with a set of beat-up main bearings-it's just part of the deal when getting into a running car or engine secondhand. Originally, this little goose sat between the framerails of a second-gen Camaro, Henry D's project F73, to be exact. And as most of you know, we pulled this old slug from the car to perform a perfect summer makeover and also to give us as much room as possible for the chassis to be retrofitted with an all-new Detroit Speed suspension.

1009chp_02_z 355ci_small_block Engine_exterior 3/22

Considering our little mill was in perfect running order before we pulled it, we couldn't think of a better way to showcase its power potential than with a complete makeover-all of which would only call for bolt-ons while leaving the bottom end alone. We wanted to keep the costs down and keep the work performed to a minimum. The 355 featured a set of vintage cast-iron Corvette heads, a leaky oil pan, a stamped timing cover, and an older dual-plane manifold. Not exactly modern, but a solid performer nonetheless.

We outlined this build with a few basic rules: increase breathing with airflow, supply ample fuel, and maximize the power for the street. The major makeover components consisted of a set of heavy-puffing aluminum CNC-ported Brodix heads, single plane manifold, and a Comp valvetrain. While our unkown cam was pulled, we relied on a high-lift 0.520/0.540-inch intake/exhaust with 236/242 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch. It all sat on 110 degrees of lobe separation.

1009chp_03_z 355ci_small_block Fin_styled_valve_cover 4/22

Topping it off is a gasket-matched SP1 single-plane manifold, also from Brodix. For good measure, we replaced our oiling system with all Moroso pieces, including a high-volume oil pump and pickup, and a deeper sump pan with screen. To maintain our street creed, we upgraded the fuel delivery with a 750-cfm Quick Fuel Technology carburetor and placed our confidence in a drop-in, ready-to-go MSD distributor.

We enlisted Westech Performance Center in Mira Loma, California, to get us baseline numbers from the original setup. With numbers in hand, we tore down the small-block and took care of its aging looks with a fresh coat of Chevy Orange paint.

Was it worth the effort? Considering it took all of two days-one for the teardown and rebuild and another spent on the dyno-111 additional ponies was well worth it, almost too easy to be honest. Tag along to see how we did it and how to do your own small-block makeover.

Spray Booth
We're sprucing this powerplant not only for power, but for looks as well. We steam-cleaned our 355 small-block before it was torn down to remove all the oil residue and road grime. A trip to the local auto parts store scored us a couple cans of Dupli-Color DE1620 Chevrolet Orange spray paint. Nice and bright, just the way we like it-and it only took us about an hour to paint the block, using a piece of cardboard to avoid getting overspray on the internals. Note: Wipe down all gasket surfaces with a solvent or lacquer to remove overspray.

1009chp_08_z 355ci_small_block Chevrolet_orange_spray_paint 9/22

The Goods
Brodix did all the hard work, making our decision to use this top end kit easy. Their IK (Iron Killer) small-block combo package comes with off-the-shelf components that act like custom one-off pieces. The intake and exhaust ports have extensive CNC work and even come with cleaned and blended bowls. The IK cylinder heads come completely assembled with 11/32-inch intake/exhaust valve stems. Brodix takes it to another level by match-porting the intakes to mate up perfectly to its SP1 single-plane manifold. The combo kit comes complete with intake, exhaust, and head gaskets; NGK B8ES spark plugs; and taller "BRODIX"-cut valve covers. Brodix also flow-tests its valve job-you can't beat that!

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Fuel Delivery
Our Quick Fuel carburetor was a no-brainer. Not only does it look the part, but our Q-series performed as well as we could have hoped. The Q-series comes with extended jets for easy changes, mechanical secondaries, and a billet throttle body assembly, all good for 850 cfm. Using the supplied carb gasket we tightened it down with a 1/2-inch wrench.

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Q-850
Primary Main Jet 76
Primary Nozzle 33
Secondary Jet 84
Secondary Nozzle 33
Pri Idle Air Bleed 70
Needle & Seat 120
Hi Speed Bleed 33
Power Valve 4.5

The Shopping Cart

MFG DESCRIPTION PN COST
BRODIX Iron Killer CNC 210cc cylinder heads 9991014 $2,840
Port match intake manifold PS MI M 172
COMP CAMS Hydraulic roller lifters "R" series 885-16 466
Ultra Pro Mag rockers 1604-16 324
Billet timing set 7100 89
Fiber cam button 202 3
Cam lock plate 4605 5
Front two-piece timing cover 210 216
XR288HR-10 hydraulic roller camshaft 12-433-8 266
MOROSO Oil pan with screen 20191 200
Oil pump with pickup, including shaft 22138 138
MSD Pro-billet V-8 small-block distributor 85551 222
Black distributor cap 84333 30
QUICK FUEL 850-cfm 4BBL carburetor Q-850 676
Total $5,647

STREET WORTH
Fuel: 91 octane • Timing: 34 degrees

BEFORE AFTER
RPM TQ HP TQ HP
3,000 363 207 358 204
3,100 363 214 358 211
3,200 365 223 362 221
3,300 370 232 370 233
3,400 375 243 377 244
3,500 379 253 384 256
3,600 383 263 390 267
3,700 387 272 397 280
3,800 388 281 403 291
3,900 389 289 406 301
4,000 389 296 407 310
4,100 390 304 407 318
4,200 390 312 408 326
4,300 390 320 411 336
4,400 388 325 415 348
4,500 384 329 421 361
4,600 382 334 425 372
4,700 379 340 427 383
4,800 378 346 431 394
4,900 375 350 435 406
5,000 371 353 438 417
5,100 366 355 440 427
5,200 362 358 439 435

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5,300 358 361 438 442
5,400 354 363 435 448
5,500 348 365 432 452
5,600 342 365 428 456
5,700 335 363 424 460
5,800 ~ ~ 420 464
5,900 ~ ~ 416 467
6,000 ~ ~ 412 471
6,100 ~ ~ 409 475
6,200 ~ ~ 403 476
6,300 ~ ~ 391 467

BEFORE AFTER
AVG TQ 373 409
AVG HP 308 318
PEAK TQ 390 @ 4,200 440 @ 5,100
PEAK HP 365 @ 5,500 476 @ 6,200

Sources

Brodix
Mena, AR 71953
479-394-1075
http://www.brodix.com
Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
800-999-0853
http://www.compcams.com
Quick Fuel Technology
Bowling Green, KY 42101
270-793-0900
QuickFuelTechnology.com
Westech Performance
Mira Loma, CA 91752
951-685-4767
www.westechperformance.com
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