For Dirty Jobs - 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevy Silverado: For Dirty Jobs

March 25, 2014

2014 Chevy Silverado

I could have put the greasy engine block in the trunk of a car or in the back of a crossover. Heck, almost any vehicle could have transported the 35-year old chunk of cast iron to its destination, but some jobs are just right for a pickup truck. And this was one of those jobs.

I've had the small-block Chevy sitting in my garage for about five years. It once lived in the engine bay of my father's 1969 Camaro. He installed it back in 1979. Nothing radical; 350 cubic inches, cast iron block, heads and manifold, a single four-barrel carburetor and a very mild 8.5:1 compression ratio. It was perfect for the boulevard cruiser Rally Sport convertible and it ran perfectly for nearly 200,000 miles.

And it was still running well (a little smoke) when we pulled it from the Camaro and replaced it with a new 350 H.O. crate motor we bought from General Motors about five years ago.

With delusions of grandeur I commandeered the engine from my father. I envisioned rebuilding it bigger and stronger for my '55 Chevy hot rod. My seven-year-old daughter and I put it on an engine stand, tore it down and shoved it into the corner of the garage. And that is where it has been for five years.

It turns out machine shop work is expensive and I'd be better off financially buying a new short block from GM rather than reboring and rebuilding this one.

Two weeks ago a friend told me that Team C Performance, an old-school style speed shop in Bellflower, CA about 20 miles from our office, buys good small-block Chevy blocks. They only buy blocks with 4-bolt mains and two-piece rear main seals, which is exactly what has been sitting in the corner of my garage. They refurbish the block and then rebuild them into the 383 cubic-inch crate engines they sell.

What the heck. A found $125. Plus I get the corner of my garage back. But first I had to haul the greasy engine block the 20 miles.

"Hey Mike, where are the keys to our long-term Chevy Silverado." Like I said, some jobs are just right for a pickup truck.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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