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Chevy 396 engine


rollin tank
04-21-2011, 09:59 AM
Hi there, I'm looking into buying a '79 Silverado, dually, quad-cab. Its in really good condition but I have never heard of the 396 motor. He told me it was equivalent to the 454. Its also 410 geared, and he said the fellow that owned it before him had rebuilt the engine, he rebuilt racing engines and the truck had been used to haul the race trailer.

Can anyone tell me more about this motor? I'm going to see the truck Sat, is there anything with the motor that I should look for? He used the truck to pull the horse trailer and the back hoe for work, a few times.

Thanks

777stickman
04-21-2011, 10:38 AM
Very interesting reading, even for an old "Gear Head" like me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Big-Block_engine

rollin tank
04-21-2011, 11:51 AM
Thanks, I read the article, very confusing for someone that doesn't know what any of that stuff means. I did get that its really big and powerful, but its not comparitable to the 454, like the man said.

777stickman
04-21-2011, 06:19 PM
Thanks, I read the article, very confusing for someone that doesn't know what any of that stuff means. I did get that its really big and powerful, but its not comparitable to the 454, like the man said.

I apologize if you found that article confusing, but, you asked for info on the 396. Do a Google "Chevy 396" for more info. Maybe take a good mechanic with you to have a look at the plugs and other motor conditions, such as evidence of tail pipe smoke on cold start up.

With that said, now I'm confused:

In your 1st post: "He told me it was equivalent to the 454."

In your 2nd post: "but its not comparitable to the 454, like the man said."

Just leaves me :screwy:

rollin tank
04-21-2011, 06:51 PM
What he told me over the phone and what I read are two different things. I know a 454 is a liter larger, he didn't explain it well at all. I'm taking a mechanic up with me to see it, he says its to big of a truck for me, lol!! Not possible! I was just hoping to get info about this motor that I could understand. I have a hunch from what I read this isn't stock, I would think they would have stuck a 454 in the truck originally.

I love old trucks! 70's the earlier the better!

Don't you love dealing with sellers? :rofl::rofl:

534BC
04-22-2011, 08:15 PM
It is not equivalent to the 454 , but it is in the same family. Rat motor. There should be no shortage of info on the 396 Chevy. There never was any shortage of info when we had to read it from paper pages.

MagicRat
04-24-2011, 09:55 PM
Rollin, you seem to think that the 454 is better than the 396. This is not always the case. All 396 engines were high performance, high revving items, and plenty stout.
But only some 454's were high performance, but most were low compression high torque truck engines.

The 396 is a great engine. Your biggest concern should be mismatched parts. A 396 that is too radical won't have the low end torque a dualie needs.
Also, 4:10 gears are a bit short for highway use, unless there is some kind of overdrive in this. Expect to pay a LOT for fuel in this thing. That's okay if you are getting real hauling work out of this, but not great for commuting.

Tony Silva
06-21-2011, 07:12 PM
Gas hog...and check your local smog laws. I don't think the 396 was available in ANYTHING in 1979. I think it was available up till 1969, and then Chevrolet came out with the 402. Oddly enough, chevy still advertised the 402 as the highly popular 396 up till 1971...I think. But I can't be sure about that because I hadn't even been born yet.

Ol'Jim
06-22-2011, 09:44 AM
...Its in really good condition but I have never heard of the 396 motor...
Can anyone tell me more about this motor?

...Oddly enough, chevy still advertised the 402 as the highly popular 396 up till 1971...I think. But I can't be sure about that because I hadn't even been born yet.

Man, I feel really old now.:frown:

Just curious, did you buy the truck? The 396 is a GREAT engine. Really never heard of an SS396? Bruce Springsteen even sang in one of his songs, "I got a 69 Chevy with a 396...":sunglasse
Back in the "Good Old Days", when musclecars rolled freely off the production lines in Detroit, the manufacturers proudly placed emblems on the fenders/hoods/rocker panels of their cars, (and often front and back, too), proclaiming the size of the engine under the hood. When you pulled up to a traffic signal, you always looked over at the car next to you, to see what might be brewing when the light turned green. Seeing that classic "396" on the Chevy next to you, meant you were in for a handful if you didn't have some serious muscle.:uhoh:
The 454 has a larger bore & stroke, (4.0 x 4.251", vs 3.76 x 4.094"), but otherwise virtually identical engines. Even the same exact block castings, (with different machined bore, of course), heads, cams, intakes, oil pumps & pans, etc, can be found on either engine. Crankshaft and pistons are only real difference. Because the 396 has 58 fewer cubic inches to feed, (6.6 Liter, vs 7.4), it can be significantly more fuel efficient than the 454.

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