Four Wheeler May 2005
Guide to Crate Engines & Blocks
Psssst! Junkyard scrounging or rebuilding stuff can be overrated. Yes, we’re admitting that dirty fact. Especially when it comes to the engine. There’s probably no other part of your truck that can be less friendly to the novice or more frustrating to the experienced Gearhead to diagnose, swap, or rebuild, and that’s why man created the bolt-in crate engine. Actually, man originally created the factory replacement engine as a solution to damaged mills, with buyers replacing the block only out of necessity. But naturally that demand turned into an aftermarket monster, and nowadays you can have delivered to your door a dyno’d, direct-drop-in crate motor with brand-name performance parts for any reason you please, whether as simply a replacement or to make more or insane horsepower for towing, racing, or off-pavement play.
Just as there are a zillion tire, wheel, suspension, and body-bolt-on choices, engine upgrades abound, although buying a complete motor can sometimes be cheaper than trying to piece one together yourself. Just remember that big power might require heavier-duty components elsewhere on your truck (transmission and brakes, for example), and that smog laws in your state might poo-poo your swap if it’s going to be used on the street.
Here’s a guide to some of the hottest crate engines and blocks out there.