by Troy Lambert
Motor – Hot Rod Image by Jeffrey Zalesny from Fotolia.com
The Chevy 350 is a very simple and inexpensive engine to build and add horsepower. As a consequence, this engine is found in applications from hot rods and sports cars to boats and trucks. No matter what application your Chevy 350 engine is in, a few simple steps can give you better performance and more power.
Modify your air intake. This can be done in a number of ways, from simply installing a K&N air filter to installing a complete cold air intake system. A cold air intake system, also offered by K&N, will get the most power, but it is the most expensive. The more cool air your engine can absorb, the more horsepower it can generate, so choose the intake modifications you make based on the horsepower you want.
Modify your exhaust. Once you have increased the air intake, you need to give the engine a place for air to pass through. Exhaust options include a dual exhaust, headers, and pipe diameter increases up to 3 inches. Manifolds are scientifically designed exhaust manifolds that produce the proper back pressure for your engine, while allowing you to “breathe out” more efficiently. More expensive heads do a better job of increasing power and are of higher quality. A dual exhaust is considered the most efficient for power gain, but for aesthetic reasons a single exhaust system can sometimes be designed to provide adequate power gain without detracting from the appearance of a hot rod.
Change your camshafts and valve train. From longer lasting cams to roller rockers and hydraulic lifters, increasing horsepower through valve train modifications is relatively inexpensive. However, some camshafts decrease your Chevy 350’s drivability as a road vehicle. Generally, anything above what is known as a VR camera is too radical for street use and is considered a racing camera. Roller rocker arms and hydraulic lifters increase horsepower by reducing resistance in the valve train. These modifications require a minimal amount of engine disassembly and can significantly improve performance.
Purchase new cylinder heads or have yours ported and polished. There are several companies that offer different cylinder head configurations to improve performance and power. These improve fuel and air flow through larger valves and specifically designed intake and exhaust ports. These heads are often made of aluminum rather than cast iron, so they also reduce the weight of the motor. A machine shop can rebuild their heads and polish the ports too. This may not produce as much power gain as the new heads, but it is generally less expensive.
Have your engine rebuilt and drawn. The blueprint of an engine involves mathematical calculations to make sure the crank, camshafts, pistons, and cylinders meet exact specifications. A rebuilt or factory-purchased engine has a certain amount of error in these areas. If inaccurate, it is still shipped and deemed to meet factory specifications. A designed motor has a smaller margin of error. Exact specifications are required and therefore the engine performs better and produces more horsepower. At this point the engine could be drilled for more volume and the crankshaft can be changed. These steps will result in a significant power gain.
- The more modifications you make to increase the power of your engine, the less reliable it becomes in everyday driving to some degree. There will be constant adjustments and modifications to be made. Once the engine is designed, it can be very reliable.
- Many modifications can make it difficult for your vehicle to pass emission standards, so if you are in a state where emissions testing is required, be careful and research local laws before making modifications to a vehicle that you intend to drive with. regularity.