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Also by David Vizard
How to Build and Modify Chevrolet Small Block Cylinder Heads

How to Build Max Performance Chevy Small Blocks On A Budget

By David Vizard

This is the Chevy small block book that ties the content together for David Vizard's collection of specialty motor books. Having read a few of his other books, like How to Build and Modify Chevrolet Small Block V-8 Cylinder Heads, and How to Build and Modify Chevrolet Small Block V-8 Camshafts and ValveTrains, I see the principles and techniques coming together and getting applied to building a muscle car engine.

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You would expect to see duplicate content appearing to have been copied and pasted from the other books, but not so with this book. His descriptions of the techniques and principles are again second to none. If you've read the other books you'll find that David Vizard glosses over some of the granular details for complex topics that would otherwise require a book as thick as the phone book. I read the other motor books books first however, so the information embeds well and the topic is easily understood.

David Vizard get's into some very advanced techniques that don't necessarily apply to building a budget chevy small block, but still makes good food for thought. The overriding idea of the book is the same throughout though. You are building a modified Chevy small block using techniques most other guys don't have the time or patience for, and would be costly to have the machine shop do them.

David Vizard makes a good point. You can spend the money on getting the machine shop to do some of the modifications or spend the same money on the tools. If you decide to buy some of the tools he covers in this book you'll have a Chevy small block with a definite power edge over the other guy because you've taken that extra care the rebuild needs, and you'll have tools left over to do your next Chevy small block rebuild.

The last chapter has 10 chevy small block modification examples, a breakdown of each and the total cost. This is kinda like a menu of proven Chevy small block package options. This is pretty useful for someone who doesn't want to work out all the finer details. Keep in mind these prices are based on the market value at the time of writing the book.

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Overall you're going to find that there is a lot of power being left behind by the Chevy small block "engine assemblers". Engine rebuilders however, which is what you'll become if you use these techniques, understand that there is a lot of power in the subtleties of tweaking the parts you have or can afford, rather than buying the most expensive parts.

Inside these pages you can expect to find out things like:

  • Forged steel or cast iron crankshafts, which one is really the best.
  • How important is line boring?
  • Understand what balancing an engine really means and when you do or don't need to bother with it.
  • What to look for when choosing an engine block that can mean the difference in how long it will last and how much power it can produce without the risk of blowing up.
  • High nickel engine castings. Is there such a thing?
  • Why would you choose cast pistons over forged?
  • 2 or 4 bolt mains, when do you need a 4 bolt main block?
  • When buying used can become more expensive than buying new.
  • How to sift through the Chevy small block parts marketing hype.
  • Years of research and testing reveals the truth about how effective some parts or even different part brands are at producing more power.

Here's an outline of the things he covers in each of the chapters:

  1. ) Introduction
  2. The difference between engine rebuilders and assemblers and understanding what you are about to get into, What is torque and horsepower, and a bit of history on David Vizard.

  3. ) Engine Building Practices
  4. All about practical shop equipment and cleanliness.

  5. ) Basic Tools and Equipment
  6. David Vizard covers basic hand tools, machine tools, guages, air tools, and grinding tools such as the die grinder and where to get the best carbide cutters.

  7. ) Sourcing Good Parts
  8. David Vizard covers finding new and used parts and getting them from catalogs/mail order, finding them in the wrecking yards, or at swap meets. He even makes some recommendations of who he buys from when buying new.

  9. ) The Production of Power
  10. This covers the theory and reality of how power is produced, and even lost in the Chevy small block engine. Heat management, Dynomometer testing, and rating standards are covered.

  11. ) Inspection and Preparation
  12. What to look for on an engine block, tearing down your engine, assessing the condition, machining the block, preparations for high performance engines.

  13. ) Cranks, Rods and Pistons
  14. David Vizard covers stock and cast or forged cranks, buying a new crankshaft, modifications for power, vibration dampers, connecting rods and upgrades, stroker engines and rod lengths, and piston selection and balancing, and good choices of piston rings.

  15. ) Lubrication systems
  16. He gets into optimizing oil temperatures, using the oiling system to cool pistons on Nitrous engines, oil pump types and modifications, oil pans and modifications, oil filters, restricting top end oiling, and modifying rear main caps.

  17. ) Cylinder Heads
  18. This chapter is worthy of it's own book, which I've read, but still covers the basics well. David Vizard gets into GM Production heads and valve shrouding, basic overhaul of the cylinder head, 30 degree valve seats, head porting basics, valves, exhaust ports, calculating compression ratios, head gaskets, and a case study in porting several aftermarket cylinder heads.

  19. ) Cams and Valve Trains
  20. Here's another chapter worthy of it's own book, which I have also read. Here he covers the objectives you want your camshaft to meet in terms you can figure out with a calculator, Lobe centerline Angle or LCA and what is means, the effect of valve overlap, dual or single pattern cams, the effect of lift on output, types of valve spring retainers, lifters and pushrods, cam timing, and choosing your LCA.

  21. ) Induction Systems
  22. David Vizard covers everything from air filters, Quadrajet, Holley carburators, carburator bore types, to airflow and intake manifolds.

  23. ) Exhaust Systems
  24. David Vizard brings clarification to the misunderstood exhaust system and how intake can be a product of a well tuned exhaust system. He covers pipe diameters and lengths, headers and header quality issues, mufflers and catalytic converters, understanding exhaust flow requirements, pressure wave tuning and noise control and balance pipes.

  25. ) Ignition Systems
  26. You'll get a good snapshot of some testing David Vizard did on distributors, coils, ignition modules, spark plug and cable testing and timing controls and the results may surprise you.

  27. ) Nitrous Oxide Injection
  28. Optimizing the Chevy small block for use with Nitrous Oxide and choosing a camshaft with Nitorous Oxide in mind.

  29. ) Ten Hot Engine Builds
    • $644 350
    • $1334 350
    • $1888 350
    • $2653 383
    • $2747 406
    • $2966 Nitrous 350
    • $2958 350 Race Motor
    • $2978 383
    • $2997 383 Race Motor
    • $2820 406 Race Motor

Also by David Vizard
How to Build and Modify Chevrolet Small Block Cylinder Heads

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