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1964 Chevelle Crate Engine - Ultimate Tanning Machine

The Crate Motor Challenge

By Andrew Schear

All right, we had to say it, we were getting tired our Ultimate Tanning Machine having cat-like reflexes with no muscle behind it. After all, what good are four-wheel disc brakes with 190 hp under the loud pedal? So, we did what any respectable wrencher would do. We got on the phone with GM Performance Parts and ordered the hottest, noisiest, beastly small-block available, the ZZ383. While we knew this meant diggin' head first into a major project, it had to be done.

When doing any major mechanical project, planning is crucial. Take it from us non-planners, if you do your homework you won't be stuck watching Speedvision while waiting for your UPS overnight package to arrive.

Right after ordering our lil' small-block we sat down with a pencil and paper and thought of every conceivable necessity, realizing that we probably only thought of half the necessary parts. As the parts started arriving we carefully catalogued each component making the need-list smaller and the have-list bigger.

With 90 percent of the parts accounted for, we began with the dirty work. It's a good idea to head to the Coin-Op car wash before beginning any project of this greasy magnitude. It sounds silly, but you can thank us later. With 40 years of grease removed, we tore out the tired 283, keeping track of every loose part, just in case. Using a residual supply of GMPP restoration paint we scuffed the engine bay and coated in semi-gloss pigment.

It's always a good idea to assemble the accessories before the motor is placed into the vehicle. Consider it, the code of crate motor installation. You're better off figuring out that your new harmonic balancer pulley is wrong before the installation takes place. Lucky for us, our Zoops pulleys fit like a glove along with the rest of our accessories. Once the accessories are assembled, take a tape measure and wrap it around the pulleys to get an estimate for your belt length. When purchasing the belt, it's a good idea to get three for four sizes as fitment is always more complicated than it seems.

Once the motor is set in place you can drop your radiator in position. For our application, we had US Radiator build us a '67 Chevelle big-block-style radiator to handle the extra horsepower. As luck was in our corner the Flex-A-Lite fan was exactly the correct size as our radiator. We were actually amazed to find out that aluminum radiators rarely outperform copper-brass. So, to save a few bucks we went with the advise of US Radiator owner, Don Armstrong and ordered copper-brass.

After a trip to the local hydraulic hose outfitter we equipped our type II power steering pump with trick Russell hoses and AN connections. Be sure to jack up the front of the car and turn the steering wheel 30 or 40 times back and forth to bleed the system. If not, you'll have one heck of a foam party.

With the carburetor installed and the distributor set, we ran the few necessary wires and prepped ourselves for to hear our 383-equipped beast for the first time. As we had no mufflers and 9.1:1 compression earplugs were definitely in our favor. As you may or may no know, water will do little for an oil fire, so keep a towel and a fire extinguisher handy. As we cranked the key for the first time and pumped the go pedal our small-block roared to life with the soul of a sprint car.

Cracking and popping from no mufflers, we ran the motor for the required 30-minute break-in period, keeping a close eye for leaks, oil pressure and loose appendages. As our motor was outfitted with a roller cam, no cam break-in is necessary, however the traditional bearing and ring break-in still applies. We know you're anxious, but the first 10-12 hours of run time is most crucial to your engines' long-term life. So, order, install and enjoy!

GM Performance Parts ZZ383
Peak hp: 425 hp at 5,500 rpm
Peak tq: 460 ft.lb. at 4,500 rpm
Displacement: 383 inches
Bore x Stroke: 4.005x3.80 inches
Compression Ratio: 9.1:1
Block: Cast iron, four-bolt intermediate mains
Heads: Aluminum Fast-Burn
Valves (intake/exhaust)- 2.00/1.55 inches
Chamber volume- 62 cc
Crankshaft: 4340 forged steel alloy
Connecting Rods: 5.7-inch forged powered-metal
Pistons: hypereutectic aluminum
Camshaft: hydraulic roller
Lift- .509 inches intake/.528 inches exhaust
Duration: 222 degrees intake/230 degrees exhaust at .050 lift

Rocker Arm Ratio: 1.5:1 aluminum roller rocker arm
Timing Chain: 8mm single roller design
Oil Pan: 5-quart stamped steel
Oil Filter: AC Delco part # PF25
Maximum rpm: 6,000 rpm
Spark Plugs: R44LTS
Spark Timing: 32 degrees maximum at 4,000 rpm with vacuum adv. disconnected GM HEI billet distributor
Zoops PulleysBillet 5-rib serpentine pulleys
Outboard alternator mount
Remote type II power steering
Meziere Mechanical Water Pump
Polished billet aluminum reverse rotation pump- PN WPR401UP
U.S. Radiator PN 010690
Chevel-Mal V-8 2 5/8x1 1/2-inch triple flow
Holley 4150 750-cfm vacuum secondary carburetor
Holley 65-gpm mechanical fuel pump
Powermaster 100 amp alternator- PN 27294
Powermaster mastertorque starter- PN 9600
Flex-A-Lite dual electric fan- PN 210
Proform genuine GM aluminum valve covers- PN 141-132

SOURCES
Flex-A-Lite
8-00/-851-1610
www.flex-a-lite.com
Original Parts Group  (800) 243-
GM Performance Parts
www.gmperformanceparts.com
Powermaster
2401 Dutch Valley Dr.
Knoxville
TN  37918
865-688-5953
www.powermastermotorsports.com
Holley Performance Products
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
KY  42101
270-782-2900
www.holley.com
Proform Parts
www.proformparts.com
Meziere Enterprises
20 S. Hale Ave.
Escondido
CA  92029
800-208-1755
www.meziere.com
US Radiator
323-826-0965
www.usradiator.com
MSD (Autotronic Controls Corp.) Zoops Products
931 E. Lincoln St.
Banning
CA  92220
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By Andrew Schear
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