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  • Completing a 383 Stroker SBC build with Holley, MSD, Hedman, and CFR Performance

Completing a 383 Stroker SBC build with Holley, MSD, Hedman, and CFR Performance

1969 Chevy C10 Project, Part 3

Sep 28, 2020
Photographers: Jeremy Cook, Marcel Venable
Getting the best of both worlds is tricky, often getting what you want can be difficult. When we got our hands on BluePrint Engines 432 horse small-block engine earlier this year, we were quite impressed with its numbers and the quality of the machining, assembly, oh, hell, the whole thing. After we drooled over it, like all truck enthusiasts, we wanted more. The Spartan look of the package wasn't a showstopper, and we want to drive the wheels off this C-10, so simplicity had to come into play for this application. No frills, just fun. No extras, just essentials. No fads, just style. That's the name of the game for this install.
The donor for this install was a worn-out '69 C-10 short bed that once sported an in-line 6-cylinder engine, which had finally met its match during a part's run last winter. Seeking a makeover, the ol' girl found a new heart in the form of a BluePrint 383 small-block V-8. The swap included a new engine and transmission mounts from Performance Online to anchor the power plant in place. Once the foundation was laid, the plan to keep it simple commenced.
Now, don't get us wrong over here. We're big fans of technology and are mesmerized by the latest advancements in engine development. Take for example the latest horsepower ratings of today's family grocery getter's, which rival or even crush most muscle-car era engines. The BluePrint 383 is bringing it for sure. Running 432 horses in a small-block is no laughing matter. Most Big Blocks wish they could make 400-plus horsepower for the price BluePrint offers to the public.
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After Thoughts: 1969 C10 Project Update
Our engine came as the dressed version of the line, including a HEI-style distributor, Holley Carb, and an aluminum intake manifold. What it lacked was a few accessories like a harmonic balancer, engine pumps, and a starter and flex plate, fuel pump, and of course, exhaust. What a great way to showcase all the simple, proven, salt-of-the-earth parts and complement this no-frills power mongrel. That's right, no fancy complicated on-board diagnostic systems that require a PhD, just a big amount of suck, squeeze, bang, blow fun.
Our efforts to complete a package that is not only simple to install, easy on the wallet with maximum go power, and the googly eyed looks have begun. Our quest for power, looks, and sanity starts now, as we take a stab at making this late sixties C-10 a modern day sleeper.
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Earlier in the process we installed this 383-cubic-inch small-block engine from BluePrint engines. This engine made 432hp on the company's dyno and was shipped right to our door to install. Once we got it set between the frame rails, we realized we needed to dress it up before running it.
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First up on the list was to address the exhaust system. A set of Hedman's C-10 mid-length headers will allow this monster to breathe while allowing enough ground clearance.
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It's always good practice to use a thread lubricant when threading a steel fastener into an aluminum component. Before we installed the header bolts into the cylinder heads, we brushed some anti-seize compound over the threads to ensure the thread will be protected from the steel bolt galling the aluminum threads.
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Carefully, we slid the gasket to the header flange before lowering the header into place. Next, we installed all the header bolts by hand before we torqued any of them down snug. You'll want to do the same if installing a set of headers, rather than trying to wrestle each bolt by tightening one at a time. Start your torque sequence in the middle first and work your way out. What's the torque spec, you may ask? Well, for all you internet experts, 28lb-ft is about right, but because the cylinder heads are aluminum, you'll need to run the engine for a while to get them warm and then re-check them. Don't try to over-tighten the bolt; it will pull the aluminum threads right out.
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Here's a look at a great carb for this engine. Holley's 3310 Vacuum Secondary 750CFM carb works awesome with BluePrint's cylinder heads. This simple, yet effective, manual choke carb is the workhorse of the street and includes a shiny chromate dip finish, dual-feed fuel inlets, center-hung float bowls, and best of all, a power valve blowout protection just in case she sneezes.
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For fuel to reach the carb, we'll need a few more items. Pictured here is Holley's mechanical fuel pump, along with ARP's hardened fuel pump rod, and fasteners, plus an adapter plate from RPC. It produces 110GPH, at 6.5 to 8 pounds of pressure, which is perfect for the 3310 carb.
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Step one for installing the fuel pump and accessories begins by rubbing gasket sealer on the fuel pump adapter plate. We chose to do this step first to allow the sealant to tack-up a little before setting the gaskets to the plate.
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Step two, rub some grease on the fuel pump rod. Now, there's a method to the madness here. The grease will protect against the initial startup before the oil pressure builds up, but more important, it will hold the rod up inside the block and allow us to fit the fuel pump linkage into place while installing the pump. You can use engine assembly lube if you like, however, it's messier, plus the assembly lube won't hold the rod as well as the grease.
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With the rod smothered in grease, we slid the fuel pump rod up in the block until we felt it touch the camshaft
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Next, we put the gasket on the adapter plate and ran in the lower bolts that hold the plate in place.
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It took a little bit of wrestling to get the pump's linkage under the fuel pump rod, while installing the bolts that hold the pump in place. Once we got it in, we snugged all four of ARP's fasteners down tight.
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To complete the task of getting fuel to the carb, we needed to install three fittings that we picked up from Spectre Performance. Two of them are for the pump that connects the fuel feed line from the tank to the pump, and one for the pump to the dual-feed line. The last fitting is for the dual-feed line on the carb itself.
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We made sure to use ARP's thread sealant paste, rather than using Teflon tape. We prefer using the paste to the tape. The tape over time gets hard and may break off inside the line travelling to the carb's jets and causing them to stick and flood out the carb when you least expect it.
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Moving on to the carb, we set the provided base gasket from our Holley 3310 carb kit on top of the intake manifold.
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After the gasket was set over the carb studs, we installed the lock washers and nuts above the studs and tightened them down just snug.
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This chrome dual-feed line kit from Holley is the perfect choice for what we're going for on this engine.
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For added insurance we used ARP's thread sealant on the carb's inlet fittings and the barb fitting for the fuel feed line before installing it to the carb.
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We paid extra attention to all the fittings during the install to ensure the whole flare fitting seated into the carb's bowls before snugging everything down tight.
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Although we are running a carb for this application, we chose to use fuel-injection hose because it's rated much higher than the max pressure that will result with this application, and it's more resistant to today's harsh fuel blends.
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An old-school hose clamp gives our fuel lines and our engine that nostalgic look, and the clamp will hold the 8 pounds of pressure over that barb fitting with no worry ever.
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Installing the transmission kick down cable was a cinch with the help of this throttle cable and kick-down cable mount from Spectre Performance.
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Here's a look at our kick-down cable, which has a push-through fastener paired with an adjustable cable clamp.
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First, we had to remove the rear nut from the driver's side of the carb.
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Next, we set the linkage over the carb stud and tightened down the nut to hold it steady.
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Then, we pushed the cable housing through the mount until it snapped into place.
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This Edelbrock kit was sourced from Maximum Speed and Performance, in Placentia, California. This allowed us to clip the cable fastener to a stud that fits onto the carb's throttle linkage.
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Fitting the stud into the lowest note on the linkage, we installed the kit as instructed.
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Next, we clipped the kick-down cable's fastener to the stud.
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After we adjusted the kick-down cable, we used the cable clamp stop to maintain the adjustment to the cable.
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Moving on to the carb's throttle linkage, we noticed the stock adjustment rod had seen better days. We also wanted to update the look from the stock example, so we picked up some 1/4-inch rod and a few Heim joints from our local hardware store.
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After we measured our overall length, we threaded both sides for the Heims to thread into.
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Then, we compared our creation to the stock throttle linkage, and it looked pretty slick, if you ask us.
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We adjusted our linkage and checked for full throttle before installing a dual-throttle return spring.
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While the fab shop worked on the throttle linkage up top, underneath there was more work going on as a B&M StarTek mini starter was installed to the engine, mated to its SFI-rated flexplate. B&M's new StarTek starter is designed to provide high torque and power to handle BluePrint's high-torque rating. Using 4.5:1 reduction gears coupled to a high-power 300-amp motor makes hard starting a thing of the past. StarTek uses an ultra-high-strength pinion gear, billet aluminum mounting flange, sealed ball bearings, and a dual winding solenoid to ensure maximum reliability.
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Back up top, we installed a Professional Products Powerforce Plus Harmonic Balancer, which meets the SFI foundation's 18-1 spec, and made it good enough for us to use on the street, as well as at the track. The easy-to-read white timing marks against a painted black background make it simple to check the timing on our engine.
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Next, we installed Professional Products Pro-Drive accessory drive system to the front of our engine. The beautiful chrome looked gorgeous in our engine bay. To make sure things were safe and sound, ARP's crankshaft pulley bolt was put in place to make sure we could really put the hammer down on this engine.
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With most of the mechanical items addressed, we wanted to dress up the look of our BluePrint 383 a bit. We swapped the supplied stamped-steel chrome valve covers for a finned set of aluminum valve covers from CFR Performance. We were happy at the sight of our Comp Cams roller rockers sitting atop of our BluePrint cylinder heads. They were so pretty, it was a shame to cover them back up.
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The thrill of the Comp Cams roller rockers was quickly forgotten once we laid eyes on CFR's finned aluminum valve covers and chrome-plated breathers. We paired them with a set of Fel-Pro's premium valve-cover gaskets to prevent any sort of oil leak.
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We used a few small Allen wrenches to help align the cover with the gasket and the cylinder head, and fit the supplied stainless steel fasteners in place to hold the covers down tight.
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Our next task was to install eight Champion spark plugs. BluePrint calls for Champion's model 792, gapped to .045.
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After the plugs, it was onto the spark plug wires. MSD's Street Fire spark plug wires feature 8mm silicone and synthetic jackets to resist heat and abrasion. The silicone boots protect against high exhaust temperatures, plus an Aramid core provides great strength and durability. First step, lay out the plug wire from the plug itself to the corresponding terminal on the HEI distributor to figure its length.
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Once we determined the wire length, we sprayed a shot of spray lube into the terminal's boot to help push the wire through the boot.
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It's a bit of a struggle, but we were able to push the wire though the boot, like so.
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Now, we stripped the jacket about 3/4-inch back from our cutline, paying close attention to not damage the core wire.
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We folded the core wire backwards over the jacket and placed a connector end over the jacket to hold the core wire in place while making a positive connection. A crimping tool is included with universal sets form MSD, which is pretty straightforward on its operation. Once the metal connector is crimped, the boot is slipped back over the metal connector and is ready to be installed to the HEI terminal.
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Topping things off for this build was CFR Performance's 3-inch oval-style air cleaner. We had to cut 2 inches off the end of the mounting stud supplied in the kit, but that was a walk in the park compared to how good the engine looked afterward.
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Well, that's about enough for now. We're getting tired and still need a cooling system and wiring to make this light up. Stay tuned—
To see the install of the BluePrint 383 in our '69 C10, click here.


ARP (Automotive Racing Products)
Ventura , CA
B&M Racing & Performance Products
Chatsworth, CA
Blueprint Engines
Kearney, NE
CFR Performance
(800) 838-8024
Comp Cams
Memphis, TN
Torrance, CA
Southfield, MI
Hedman Hedders
Whittier, CA
Bowling Green, KY
MSD Ignition
Professional Products
Hawthorne, CA
Racing Power Company
Spectre Performance
Ontario, CA