Engine Price Info
So you want to get a price on an engine? Well, first and foremost, I'm retired now and no longer build engines, but back when I did, I didn't have any generic, "pre-built" engines or prices. In other words; I didn't have any generic, cookie cutter engines sitting on the shelf ready to go, which means I didn't have any specific / pre-determined prices on my engines either.
Everyone has a different kind of car and has different driving needs and styles, which require different kinds of engines. It's hard to give (or get) a price on something until certain things are known first. What you want, and what you need, may be two entirely different things.
The best thing you can do is to watch the 2 videos that I put together below on what you need to know, and consider, before buying an engine from anyone. I made these videos back when I was in business and building custom engines for people, but you'll still get some great information out of them.
As far as what an engine might cost goes; good quality components cost what they cost. 90% of an engine’s cost is all from the parts. It is pretty much the same amount labor wise to build a stock engine as it is to build a 500+ HP engine. I pretty much do the same procedures for a stock engine as I do a basic "performance" engine, except for adjustments in machining finishes, clearances, etc to compliment whatever the build is and a couple of added procedures I do for more serious engines such as torque plat honing, parallel decking, etc, but all of the rest of the cost is in the parts, and they aren’t cheap these days. With that, there are several variables that greatly sway the price of any engine, such as a roller cam & lifters vs. a flat tappet cam & lifters, forged crank vs. a cast crank, forged pistons vs. cast pistons, aluminum heads vs. cast iron heads, what "caliber" of heads you might want, such as "as cast" or fully CNC'd, how "complete" you want it, ie; a long block vs. a complete "turn key" engine, etc, etc. Again, 90% of the engine's cost is in the parts, and what KIND of parts you go with pretty much dictates how much it will be. ALWAYS REMEMBER; if an engine is going to make good power, then it HAS to be built strong enough to withstand its own power and be reliable. Good / strong parts aren't cheap. Cheap parts are cheap for a reason, and they WILL fail in any healthy engine. You get what you pay for.
An engine is a big investment, so you want to do it right once, and be done with it, rather than “cheap out” and have a failure that will ultimately cost you 3 times more to do it all over again the right way. That won't happen with any of my engines because I won't build a "cheap" engine that is destin to fail. There are plenty of other shops that'll be glad to build you one of those piles of crap.
As far as cost goes, as I said, it can vary greatly depending on what components you go with. A stock rebuilt small block can run in the $3,000 area, where a serious, full roller, aluminum headed, all forged internal small block capable of making 450 – 500 HP can run in the $10,000 - $11,000+ area REAL fast. Go with an aftermarket race block and you just jumped that cost up another $2,000+! Just remember this; if owning a super strong, custom built engine was cheap and easy, then EVERYBODY would have one in their car, and that's just not the case.
Just for some comparisons; a stock crank only costs about $150 after I've reground and polished it. An aftermarket cast steel crank runs about $200, but as soon as you go to a forged crank they immediately jump to a starting cost of $750 and can jump to $1,500 or more REAL fast.
A set of stock re-sized rods with ARP bolt upgrades only cost about $150 a set. Go to a set of 4340 “Pro-Comp” rods and you just jumped up to $350 a set. Go to a more serious set of H beam rods and the “bargain priced” ones start at $450, and a set and the good one’s jump right on up to $550 or more a set, and CAN run into the $1,500 a set range if you want to run something like a set of Carrillo rods.
Stock pistons only cost about $100 a set. Go with a set of Hypereutectic pistons and you just doubled the cost, (or more). Jump to a "decent" set of forged pistons and you are in the $375 or so range. Jump to a nice set of JE pistons and you are instantly in the $650 or more area. Custom made pistons for serious / custom builds can easily reach $1,000+ a set!
Rings are no different. A stock set of rings only costs about $30. Go with a set of single moly rings and you just jumped to $60. Go with a set of plasma moly / iron ductile rings and you just jumped to a $140 a set. Go with a set of gapless rings and you are now at over $200+ a set.
A stock replacement harmonic balancer only costs about $49. Jump to a nodular iron performance type and you just jumped to the $125 - $175 area. Go with a race ready SFI balancer and you can easily jump into the $300 - $350 area!
Even bearings add up. A standard set of main & rod bearings can run $50 for the whole set. Go with a set of Clevite P series and you just doubled the cost. Jump to a set of sturdy H series race bearings and you more than tripled the cost. You can quadruple the cost by going with a set of coated bearings.
Cams are no different. A standard flat tappet cam runs about $100 - $125, and flat tappet lifters typically run about $60 or so a set. Go with a good, aftermarket roller cam and you instantly jumped to a $375 cam and upwards of $400 - $500 for a set of lifters! The Crane light weight hydraulic roller lifters we use in our Ford stroker engines run between $530 - $630 a set! Super Light solid roller race lifters can instantly jump you over $1,000 - $1,500 a set!
Stock remanufactured cast iron heads with a few upgrades typically run about $400 or so a set. Go to something like Edelbrock RPM aluminum heads and you just jumped to $1,250 a set. Go with a better breathing set of fully CNC'd AFR heads and you just jumped into the $1,700 - $2,000+ price range! Get into some more serious Brodix heads and you are in the $3,000+ range for a set!
A stock remanufactured distributor costs about $75. A decent new HEI electronic distributor can run in the $150 area, but jump into a self contained MSD billet distributor and you just jumped into the $400 area.
Carbs are no different. A basic 600 cfm Holley runs about $260 or so. A typical Holley 750 vacuum secondary carb runs in the $290 area, but jump to a real carb, such as a Quick Fuel Technology and you just just put yourself in the $650 price range. Hardcore "race" carbs can easily get into the $1,000+ price range!
We don't just pull these prices out of our butts or gouge on pricing. All you have to do is pick-up a Summit Racing catalog or a Jeg's High Performance catalog and look this stuff up. It adds-up REAL FAST! ALL of the prices we charge for parts are right at what those two large mail order houses charge, so it isn't like we're gouging on parts prices. In fact, we're lucky if we make anything on parts at all. There is simply NO WAY to take a magic wand and make an engine less expensive without sacraficing quality & strength by going with lesser quality parts. It's just that simple.
Now add in balancing, machining, fit 'n finish, assembly and all of the other things that add-up like ARP main bolts & head bolts, gaskets, timing assembly, timing cover, oil pump & pick-up, intake manifold, port matching the intake manifold to the heads, freeze plugs, cam bearings, etc, etc.
This stuff adds up FAST and can take an engine from $3,000 to the $10,000+ area REAL fast... and now you know why. If an engine is "cheap", it's cheap for a reason! You get what you pay for! Start adding other components such as polished aluminum pulleys, aluminum accessory brackets, aluminum high flow water pump, a high flow fuel pump, braided stainless fuel lines, a high torque mini starter, a high output chrome alternator, polished aluminum valve covers, billet breathers, sparkplugs and wires, wire separators, a nice oil pan, stainless steel outer bolts, etc, etc and you can INSTANTLY add an easy $1,500 - $2,000 or more to the cost of a basic engine! Now that $10,000 engine is in the $12,000+ price range.
Just remember, 90% of the components in an engine have NOTHING to do with how much power it can make, BUT they have EVERYTHING to do with how much power and abuse it can HANDLE, and how long it is going to last. You pay for strength, quality & reliability, not how much power it makes. We didn't get our flawless reputation by building engines that are weak or that fail, and we're not about to start now just to save someone a few hundred (or a few thousand) bucks on the price of their engine.
Watch the 2 videos below to hear first hand what TYPE of engine you might want to consider, and how much it might cost.
For the best deals on your performance parts and accessories with the best service, choose where I order all of my components from... Competition Products!