A: Maybe I was a little strong when I said Gen IIIs will never be small-blocks in my mind. I guess it comes from when I started working on these engines for GM back in the mid-'90s, before they were released in the Corvettes in 1997. They were completely foreign to us back then. With its four head bolts per cylinder, Y-block crankshaft placement, and crankshaft snout-mounted oil pump, we thought it was more of a Ford engine than a GM. A small-block Ford engine's head gasket fits almost perfectly on the deck of an LS engine. Yes, over the years they've grown on us, but with all the history of the original Gen I small-block from 1955 to 1995, it was a 40-year-old engine and it makes it hard to call the LS engine a small-block.
For instance, I'm not trying to draw parallels with the small-block Ford, but here I go. The small-block Ford was released back in 1962-1963. When Ford came out with the Modular engine in the trucks and the Mustang, the engine wasn't called a small-block; it was called the Modular engine. Was its weight, size, displacement similar to earlier small-blocks? Yes.
It doesn't really matter. The Gen III-and now Gen IV-engines are great powerplants. We're about to use Gen IV engines in two projects at our house. One will be used in a racing application, and another in a very hot street conversion project. When we're done will I call them small-blocks? I doubt it. That's my two cents' worth.
Panning For Gold
Q: I spent the winter putting together an awesome, built '96 350 to install in my '69 Malibu. Tonight I tried to drop it in and discovered that the oil pan is too deep and rests on the crossmember. The stock pan off the original 350 won't fit the later-model block because of the dipstick location. Who makes the correct pan for this application? And more importantly, what is the part number and where can I get one? Thanks.Jerry ZimmermanElma, WA
A: There's nothing worse than having your fresh engine build on the engine hoist and it won't fit into its new home. All the anticipation of the first drive and the sense of satisfaction knowing that you built your own engine... We have the answer.
Milodon offers a complete line of oiling system components for all makes and models, including direct-fit pans for all Chevy small- and big-block applications. The proper pan for your late-model ('86-and-up) one-piece rear main seal, righthand dipstick is PN 30902. This is a low-profile, 8 1/4-inch-deep pan featuring a 7-quart, triangular-shaped sump. This fully baffled pan will give you extra oil capacity and keep the oil pump pick submerged in fresh oil all the time. The proper oil pump pick-up is PN 18314. To round out the installation, we recommend going with the louvered windage tray, PN 32102, and the windage tray installation kit, PN 81150. This kit consists of the extended-length main studs to mount the tray properly. This package of components will give your oiling system a bulletproof setup. Also, Summit and Jegs both stock Milodon products and can have them out to you the next day.
Sources: jegs.com, milodon.com, summitracing.com