Pontiac GTO Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What is a good price for an engine rebuild? How much should I budget? My machine shop quoted me a price of X dollars, why so much?

Now this is not about should I use forged or cast pistons, forged or factory rods, iron or aluminum heads, flat tappet or roller cam, cast exhaust manifolds or headers. That kind of stuff is determined based on the horsepower expectations or 1/4 mile times you might want to shoot for - you may want factory stock or an all-out 10-second ride. These are the things you discuss with your engine builder and parts suppliers. But, there are costs involved as horsepower costs, period.

So I found this discussion which gives you an idea of what parts might cost with comparison style examples of parts & labor. Pontiacs are not Chevies or Fords so parts are already going to be higher than the far more inexpensive Chevies & Fords, and rightly so because of their numbers and available aftermarket offerings.

There are also 2 videos you can watch for additional info. :thumbsup:

Just click on this link - Engine Price Info
 

·
64-67 Expert
Joined
·
8,561 Posts
I spent about $1800 on a stock rebuild of my '67 400 in 1988, upgrading to forged pistons. No other frills. I was re-reading a 1988 issue of High Performance Pontiac magazine yesterday, and noticed an ad for Len Williams crate 455 engines, ready to run, for $1800. had I noticed the ad when I bought the magazine, buying one of those and bagging my original engine would have been an excellent choice. He's still doing crate 455's, and you can get one for less than the cost of a DYI rebuild. Funny, even 28 years ago, he was setting the CR to 9.2:1 to run on pump gas of the day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I spent in the neighborhood of $2500 for my rebuild 5 years ago. Had to bore the block out and use standard 400 pistons (no longer 389), but all else is stock. When I had the heads done, I had my guy put hardened valve seats in so I can run unleaded gas without additives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
If you go with the basics, of 5140 RPM forged rods & SP forged pistons, with a Summit cam kit, and a good valve job, don't think you can have it built correctly, for under $3000, unless you do some of the assembly work yourself, or have a friend who'll help you, for free.

Len Williams was mentioned. While you're searching prices, better include Len's crate engines in your search. He builds good engines, and supplies the core, for less than MANY shops charge to build, using your core parts.

Len's cast rod 400 is $4000 + shipping. I assume he can add forged rods for a couple of hundred more.

400 Long Block

Or you can buy just a shortblock, and have your heads done locally.

400 Short Block

455 Short Block

pontiac crate engines

Old stock valves can break, wiping out your engine. So you probably should include the cost of new one piece stainless valves, in your cost. But, you said you weren't asking about what parts to use--OK.

"...this is not about should I use forged or cast pistons, forged or factory rods, iron or aluminum heads, flat tappet or roller cam, cast exhaust manifolds or headers...What is a good price for an engine rebuild? How much should I budget?..."

I personally don't see how you could possibly expect to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a build, without knowing what parts you plan to use. For example: forged parts cost more than cast parts, roller cams cost more than flat tappet cams, new SS valves cost more than using the stock valves that are already in your heads, etc, etc.

Also, some shops, like Len Williams, bore and hone with a torque plate, and know Pontiac engines. MOST local shops build mostly Chevy engines, do not even have a Pontiac torque plate, and know very little to nothing about a Pontiac engine. I know 1st hand how bad a Chevy shop can mess up a Pontiac engine :(

So, given the question you've asked, I don't see how we could possibly give you the exact answer you're lookin for. But, good luck with your build, anyhow ! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
oldskool: "So, given the question you've asked, I don't see how we could possibly give you the exact answer you're lookin for. But, good luck with your build, anyhow!"

You missed the point. This topic was aimed at a general discussion to which many will ask on this forum as to what it will cost to rebuild their engine.

PontiacJim: "Now this is not about should I use forged or cast pistons, forged or factory rods, iron or aluminum heads, flat tappet or roller cam, cast exhaust manifolds or headers. So I found this discussion which gives you an idea of what parts might cost with comparison style examples of parts & labor."

My engine is already done and waiting assembly by me when the time is right, so its in pieces at this moment. I elected to use some of the higher priced pieces due to the HP level I hope to get out of the engine, but didn't go too exotic with aluminum heads, roller cam & lifters, or Holley carb - because I felt no need for these pieces when it came to the ratio of HP gained/price paid. Have not added up the total of which I have invested, but I can tell you that it is the most money I have ever spent on an engine. I have more money in it today than all the cash I spent for the '67 GTO convert, '68 GTO hardtop, '70 Judge, '65 GTO convert roller, '56 Pontiac, '57 Pontiac, '54 Buick, '51 Lincoln, '73 Mercury Capri, and '67 Firebird all put together - which I bought throughout the late 1970's and early 1980's! :lol: :thumbsup: I'm thinking I am up around the 4K mark (or so) with me doing the head porting/polishing and assembly of the engine.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,496 Posts
Mine was $4,870.01 + $1,400.00 shipping both ways then I had to tear it down to a long block to remove the rust from the valley and oil pans source another timing cover that leaked and replace the cracked harmonic balancer and all the missing bolts, new gaskets, paint, rust remover etc and a dist. which was supposed to come with the rebuild but didn't.
Then I had to buy another set of magnum roller rockers and a set of polylocks when the nuts backed off and hammered a couple of them.
I only needed two but after driving all the way to Riverside they didn't have a pair so I bought another set.
Probably another 15 hundred 2K for all that stuff, at this point I don't even want to add up the receipts.
So somewhere between $7,870.00 and $8,100.00

:mad2:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,744 Posts
The difficulty in picking a 'fair' cost results from the variances in overall goal. When I built mine, I wanted a 'reasonably healthy' cam shaft without having to go overboard on overlap, so as to not sacrifice drivability too much. Getting the duration I needed for the power level I wanted without getting too much overlap meant going with a roller profile. I also chose mechanical over hydraulic to save mass in the valve train. Rollers are quite a bit more expensive than flats, plus since I went mechanical it was a good idea to install oil restrictors in the lifter oil feed passages. I did all that work myself, but it would have added quite a bit to the build cost if I'd had to pay a machine shop to do it. Similar situation on the windage tray. I wanted one, but the factory tray wouldn't fit with my stroker crank so I had to find an aftermarket one then (as is usual with aftermarket parts) had to spend quite a bit of time fitting/modifying it to fit correctly. Then the block needed a little clearancing to make room for one of the crank counterweights.
Point is, it doesn't take much to have a significant impact on the cost of a build.

Bear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
"oldskool: "So, given the question you've asked, I don't see how we could possibly give you the exact answer you're lookin for. But, good luck with your build, anyhow!"

You missed the point..."

Yes, you are absolutely correct. I reckin I miss the whole point. I'll just plead ignorance, from my age, I suppose. So, I won't make any more comments about it, on this thread.

Hope the thread accomplishes your goal. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
94 Posts
I'll have ~$6,000 into my rebuild but that also includes the cost of tri-power carb rebuilds. Still waiting for the call from Jim that the motor is ready for pickup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
"oldskool: "So, given the question you've asked, I don't see how we could possibly give you the exact answer you're lookin for. But, good luck with your build, anyhow!"

You missed the point..."

Yes, you are absolutely correct. I reckin I miss the whole point. I'll just plead ignorance, from my age, I suppose. So, I won't make any more comments about it, on this thread.

Hope the thread accomplishes your goal. :)

Your good. No harm, no foul. :thumbsup: You still provided build info which fits the bill. The cost of an engine build is a tough one even IF you sit down and crunch numbers thinking "OK, it'll cost me $$$$ to do a complete rebuild." Then something comes up you did not necessarily count on OR you decide to upgrade on a part or two..........and there goes your budget build.

I think the only way to get an exact quote is to buy a crate engine complete and have it shipped to you. Other than that, its like trying to get a quote from a mechanic on how much it'll cost to fix the car. You know that always seems to go up. :cryin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I over paid

When I first got my car I had it for like a year the engine went and I took it to a shop and they over charged me for a basic rebuild it was around 5K I got robbed I didn't know better but it happens. Wont happen again
 

·
64-67 Expert
Joined
·
8,561 Posts
I'll pipe in again: Len Williams has been building Pontiac crate engines for over 30 years, has an excellent reputation and product, and can do it cheaper than you can do your own, most likely. Something to consider. Location also plays a big part in machine work and who is doing the work, when 'rolling your own'. I've had good luck in the past locally, but I always double check all the machine work and assemble the engine myself. Still, it never has been 'cheap'. That said, the two engines in my GTO's have been in service for an awful long time (35 years and 28 years) with no issues and still running strong, so well worth the effort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Looking at the latest Summit catalog. Doing some comparisons on the assorted engines available. Many are long blocks and then you upgrade to complete engines - so you really have to read what you are getting for the price. One of the cheapest priced complete small block is listed for $3,499 BUT, the catch is it starts from $3,499 and goes up depending on what you want to select for parts or upgrades. No HP or Torque numbers listed on these.

Moving on, here is what I find that would match what a good Pontiac might put out for HP & Torque. These engines listed are complete with HEI, intake & carb.

A 355CI Chevy, 375HP/400TQ and a 383CI Chevy, 405HP/440TQ -both for $3,795. Got a 408CI Mopar, 375HP/460TQ for $4,695. Ford doesn't seem to offer anything in this range.

But what if we go with a stroker kit in our Pontiacs or a 455CI? Comparable engines might be the Chevy 496CI, 480HP/550TQ for $5,795. Ford 351 based 427CI engine, 450HP/520TQ for $8,639.

Although more on HP and less on TQ, here is the LS3 for the LS fanciers, 525HP/489TQ for $7,699.97.

I think the bottom line is that a Pontiac engine rebuild is not all that out of line when you compare it to engines having near the same performance - and the Pontiac engine produces this "naturally" while the other makes have to "build" their engines to compete. And like any engine, as you seek higher HP numbers, it costs way much bigger $$$. :thumbsup:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
776 Posts
I'll pipe in again: Len Williams has been building Pontiac crate engines for over 30 years, has an excellent reputation and product, and can do it cheaper than you can do your own, most likely. Something to consider. Location also plays a big part in machine work and who is doing the work, when 'rolling your own'. I've had good luck in the past locally, but I always double check all the machine work and assemble the engine myself. Still, it never has been 'cheap'. That said, the two engines in my GTO's have been in service for an awful long time (35 years and 28 years) with no issues and still running strong, so well worth the effort.
You're right. With his years of Pontiac expertise, you can't go wrong with Len Williams. He is highly rated on several forums. Even more amazing is on his 455 long block, he offers Eagle crank and rods for only $200 more!

455 Long Block
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
I guess I am a snowflake. I am trying to get this 389 rebuilt and was actually having a tough time finding some one to do it. So I decided to look at the forum. And rather than just post, "who could do it and how much would lit cost?" I figured look thru the archives. I found this thread clicked the link and started reading. I started thinking this guys sounds like a jerk. But I read on and he makes compelling arguments for his cases. The stuff costs what it costs and there is no bargain basement hunting on this stuff now adays. To begin, I cant even find people who will want to rebuild it, let anyone who I know will do a decent job.

There is no way around it. This 389 is going to cost 3 to 4 k to build. And I want it as stock as can be.

My wife is going to be pissed..... I guess no vacation this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
This wasn't for a Pontiac but here is my recent experience with a machine shop for reference...

I just got done building a 306 with a buddy for his mustang. We had the bottom end rebuilt by a reputable machine shop. Here is the price break down:

Stock 302 block
Hot tanked
New brass freeze plugs
line bored mains
new cam & rod bearings
ARP rod bolts
race main bearings
Crank turned
cylinders bored .030" over, honed
new .030" over cast flat top pistons
new .030" over rings
Block zero decked, .030" off
heads milled .012"
~9.7:1 compression
hi temp paint for block

- $1700

We did final assembly of the rest so we saved $500 bucks.


Top end cost:

We purchased the cam ($90), 170cc 2.02 holly systemax aluminum heads ($800 assembled with springs and roller rockers) , and intake ($300 Trick flow street heat) off craigslist. Motor makes ~ 350-360hp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I guess I am a snowflake. I am trying to get this 389 rebuilt and was actually having a tough time finding some one to do it. So I decided to look at the forum. And rather than just post, "who could do it and how much would lit cost?" I figured look thru the archives. I found this thread clicked the link and started reading. I started thinking this guys sounds like a jerk. But I read on and he makes compelling arguments for his cases. The stuff costs what it costs and there is no bargain basement hunting on this stuff now adays. To begin, I cant even find people who will want to rebuild it, let anyone who I know will do a decent job.

There is no way around it. This 389 is going to cost 3 to 4 k to build. And I want it as stock as can be.

My wife is going to be pissed..... I guess no vacation this year.
The price of an engine rebuild in today's day and age is not what it used to be. Just a basic rebuild is not inexpensive. Start adding any "trick" parts or work, and the price climbs quite quickly. The only way to save is assembling the engine yourself, but then you have to know what you are doing. If you want to go inexpensive, Ebay offers these master kits: https://www.ebay.com/i/191902498946?chn=ps You will need to do all your usual machine shop stuff like hot tanking and magnafluxing, boring cylinders, rebuilding the cast rods, check/turn the crank, possibly balancing the assembly, and rebuild the heads using as many of the old parts as possible and doing a single angle valve job and not a 3-angle job. Do not know what the cam spec is that they are offering. If you assemble it yourself, you might keep it under $2500. This might be an option for you and something to discuss with whatever machine shop/engine builder you select. Some times the shop can get you a good price on a complete rebuild kit which will be cast pistons. Used one on my previous 400CI build to save money and did not have any issues.

Whatever you do, nail down a price with the engine shop and don't leave it open ended. They already know what the costs are for disassembly, hot tanking, magnafluxing, boring cylinder, installing cam bearing, rebuild rods, valve jobs, etc.. If he runs into any situation that you did not agree upon, make sure he stops at that point and informs you so you can make the call to move forward or come up with another plan -its your engine and he is working for you. Learned that lesson when I dropped off my previous 400 just to have the block inspected and to know what bore size I was looking at. The guy went and bored it out and align honed it without my knowledge. I had a 455 at the time that I would have brought down to be worked instead. But at that point, I was committed by his hand.

It is like all things the minute you bring in an engine for a "classic" or "muscle car", they get you over a barrel on prices and if it is not a Chevy or Ford, get ready to bite your lip when you see the bill - I don't like it either, but what are you going to do? :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
This wasn't for a Pontiac but here is my recent experience with a machine shop for reference...

I just got done building a 306 with a buddy for his mustang. We had the bottom end rebuilt by a reputable machine shop. Here is the price break down:

Stock 302 block
Hot tanked
New brass freeze plugs
line bored mains
new cam & rod bearings
ARP rod bolts
race main bearings
Crank turned
cylinders bored .030" over, honed
new .030" over cast flat top pistons
new .030" over rings
Block zero decked, .030" off
heads milled .012"
~9.7:1 compression
hi temp paint for block

- $1700

We did final assembly of the rest so we saved $500 bucks.


Top end cost:

We purchased the cam ($90), 170cc 2.02 holly systemax aluminum heads ($800 assembled with springs and roller rockers) , and intake ($300 Trick flow street heat) off craigslist. Motor makes ~ 350-360hp.
Not too bad a price, but you saved a chunk buying the used top end parts. I still see about $2,900 in it and you also saved a chunk by assembling the engine yourself as well as the removal and install - some can't do this and have to farm that work out as well. That said, if you did not save in the areas that you did, the engine could have pushed the price closer to $3,500. It doesn't take long to add up quickly. :thumbsup:
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top