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Technical discussions specific to 1964-1967, 1968-1970, and 1971-1973 Classic Mustang. Discuss all tech related to in-line six cylinder and V8 powered Vintage Mustangs here.

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Unread 11-06-2010   #1 (permalink)
shogun506 is offline Apprentice


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Default Engine blocks and their names

Can anyone explain to me what people mean when they say "big block, small block, long block, short block" etc.? I hear it on all the muscle car shows but I have no clue what they're talking about.. All I know is theyre talking about old engine sizes. What's an example of a big block and a small block? Thanks.
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Unread 11-06-2010   #2 (permalink)
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A big block is a bigger cubic inch motor and larger in size then a small block, a small block is smaller. a shorthblock is just a motor thst has the block, cranks and pistons, thaats it. longblock has all the same as a shortblock plus heads and other dressings.
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Unread 11-06-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nokturnalstang View Post
A big block is a bigger cubic inch motor and larger in size then a small block, a small block is smaller. a shorthblock is just a motor thst has the block, cranks and pistons, thaats it. longblock has all the same as a shortblock plus heads and other dressings.

is there a line drawn somewhere? imean like i wouldent call a 4.6 a big block, as opposed to a 460.


but a 4.6 is more than my 4.1.... so by your definition its a big block.
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Unread 11-06-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Techncially no, there is not a line but.......... with regards to fords, anything bigger than a 351 is usally a big block but there may be a few minor exceptions.

Check out the link below, it can maybe give you a better idea as it covers the ford engne family.

And for the record, the 351C, 351CJ, 351HO are "small blocks"

351M 400m are "big blocks" due to deck height and bell housing fitment

Ford V-8 Engine Workshop
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Unread 11-07-2010   #5 (permalink)
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Ok well this is pretty plain and pretty simple.

BIG block (also known as a RAT motor) uses a larger crank journal (this is what I have always been told)

small block (also known as a mouse motor)uses a smaller crank journal (this is what I've always been told)

short block-a block that is a rotating assembly (not fully dressed)

longblock is pretty much a complete motor that you just drop in and connect your accessory drive up

READ THIS link, as there is no displacement factor in whether it is a big or small block Cylinder block: Definition from Answers.com

according to this a block is defined as being big or small by the distance between the cylinder bores...not by the DISPLACEMENT.

also:

Ford

Ford does not categorize its engines using the big/small block nomenclature. Rather, Ford literature distinguishes engine by its series, or family. Enthusiasts unaware of this fine point will nonetheless classify the larger families as big block engines. Third-party equipment vendors, following suit, have adopted the practice as well.[1]
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Unread 11-07-2010   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RF Mustang View Post
Techncially no, there is not a line but.......... with regards to fords, anything bigger than a 351 is usally a big block but there may be a few minor exceptions.

Check out the link below, it can maybe give you a better idea as it covers the ford engne family.

And for the record, the 351C, 351CJ, 351HO are "small blocks"

351M 400m are "big blocks" due to deck height and bell housing fitment

Ford V-8 Engine Workshop

Actually if you had to classify the 351 cleveland it would be a mid-block. Whereas the 351 windsor is a small block.


Big block and small blocks refer to the physical size of the block and it wasn't till the 90 degree family(windsor) was created that the terms even came about. Since manufacturing advances allowed for thinner cylinder walls the overall size of the blocks shrank and were dubbed small blocks.
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Unread 11-07-2010   #7 (permalink)
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Just as a little history from an old guy, the "small block" and "big block" nicknames originally came from the Chevy guys and indicated the differences in the physical dimensions of Chevy's two lines of V-8 engines. It has become over the years a handy way to indicate cubic inch displacement within a manufacturer's V-8 engines. As someone said earlier, in the Ford line up, pretty much 351 and smaller are "small blocks" and 352 and up are "big blocks" but there are exceptions to each rule. (351M and 332 FE) Mopar 360 engines are small blocks and 361engines are big blocks. Pontiac seem to split at 389 cu in but all of their V-8 engines have basically the same physical dimensions. It's all kind of a subjective thing.
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Unread 11-08-2010   #8 (permalink)
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well how about the new LS7 in a corvette...a 7.0 liter motor and it's a small block...it's not cubic inches that define what is and is not a big or small block.

read this article and scroll down to LS7

GM LS engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And just so you think WIKIPEDIA is misedited....how about the national CORVETTE MUSEUM calling a 7.0 LITER a small block...I'm telling you it's distance between the cylinder bores.

here's the link for the Corvette Museum
LS7: The Largest, Most Powerful Small-Block Ever Built

and it is stated everywhere that a small block is in the new chevy...thats right a small block 7.0 liter thumping 500+ horsepower
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Unread 11-08-2010   #9 (permalink)
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Nothing is really carved in stone some call a 351m and 400m a big block but they are kinda not.
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Unread 11-08-2010   #10 (permalink)
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The only difference between a small and big block is the physical size of the motor. Cubic inch doesn’t matter, journal size doesn’t matter, the 327’s had large and small journals available. It is over all the size of the motor block.
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Unread 11-08-2010   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
Just as a little history from an old guy...
If only I were as young as the 'old guy'. I hate to think what that makes me. Can't disagree with what he said though.

About the only real rule is that 'big' is bigger than 'small'.
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Unread 11-09-2010   #12 (permalink)
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Just another old man chiming in.

Lets not forget how small blocks can spank big blocks all day long at the drags.
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Unread 11-10-2010   #13 (permalink)
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I always thought it had to do with the bellhousing pattern, dont know about chevy or dodge but 351C and down shared a "common" small block pattern and 351M up a Big block pattern is ther such a cutoff for the Chevys??
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Unread 11-10-2010   #14 (permalink)
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Gm used the same bolt pattern on everything big block small 4 banger v6 etc etc lol.But like early buick and olds used a different bolt pattern then chevy.
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