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ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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Bob Hollinshead
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Bob Hollinshead » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:27 am

Well there are different hardnesses in blocks, anyone that's been boring blocks for awhile will tell you this. So they are not all the same.
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Dan Timberlake » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:53 am

Right now I'm thinking thicker decks (BowTie) might be required for a block to be high Nickel/Tin.

Some of the SA Design books of the 70s and 80s mentioned higher nickel iron replacement blocks from Chevy.
In a 2010 post here Schurkey offered - "Chevy Power, 4th edition lists p/n 366246 as a "350 CID Iron Cylinder and Case Asm. Bare, 4" bore, 4 Bolt Main, High Tin Alley" (sic) Of course they meant "High Tin Alloy".



Smokey and the current edition ( 7th, 1994) Chevy Power book make reference to better geometrical features like "thicker" decks, cylinder walls and main bearing webs on bow tie blocks.

That Chevy Power book has a table describing 9 different non-aluminum SBC blocks.
the block material for all is just listed as "cast iron." I found no reference to different iron recipes in the text.
(The main caps for all production and Goodwrench blocks is cast iron. Even the non-splayed 4 bolt caps are listed as cast iron. The splayed 4 bolt bow tie blocks list nodular iron caps. The 'race prepped " bowties are all splayed 4 bolts with 8620 steel caps)
The part number 366246 does not appear in the current Chevy Power book. All the part numbers start with 100, 101, or245 (for "race prepped blocks")

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Jeff Pancher » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:45 am

I have nothing to add to the "casting numbers versus nickel content" portion of this discussion. But I do know a thing or two about materials and what certain alloying elements do. My area of expertise is in high temperature stainless steel castings, not iron...so take this for what its worth.

Nodular iron refers to the shape of the "flakes" in the material. Nodular has rounded flakes (usually done through an addition of magnesium...but not only magnesium). This makes the iron more ductile (resistant to cracking and crack propogation). Magnesium can also cause shrinkage and other issues in the casting.

Hardness does not equal wear resistance...at least not always. Carbon content, shape of the carbides and the other alloys that are present come into play. Also, the difference in the two materials wearing against each other is a huge factor. Nitronic is a "wear resistant" stainless steel...until both surfaces are nitronic! In that scenario, bad things happen quickly. Generally, increasing carbon is good for lower temperature wear resistance. Increasing chrome is good for higher temperature wear resistance.

Adding nickel (even in small quantities of .2%) can have an impact on wear resistance at elevated temperatures. I know this, because we have an alloy sheet steel that we use and we specify .2% Ni and it makes a difference when it isn't there. The Ni plays a part in the carbides that are formed.

You need to be able to measure better than .2%. When I call for boron or niobium additions in stainless castings, they are a lot less than .2% and someone needs to meaasure it (sometimes as low as .01%).

Tin and silicone help with getting the metal to flow into the pattern. Silicone helps with wear, but it makes things brittle. Tin has the opposite affect.

Steel is technically an alloy and it is made from pure iron and carbon addition (and other alloys). The carbon is less than 1.5%. Once it goes over that 1.5% mark, it becomes a metal that is only suitable for casting and we call that metal cast iron (I hope I am remembering that correctly from college 20 years ago! :shock: ).

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Eric68 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:08 pm

I am not normally one to repeat things "I've heard" on the Internet, however, several years ago there was quite a lengthy discussion on another forum with a gentleman that actually worked at one of the GM foundries that cast the SBC. He specifically stated that the numbers 010 and 020 under the timing chain cover had nothing to do with the metallurgy of the casting. These numbers had to do with the pieces of the mold they used.

I'm sure there are differences in metallurgy in OEM SBC castings over the years and that some blocks wear better than others. I just don't think that there is any correlation between the mold numbers and the high nickel / high tin thing.
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Dan Timberlake » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:24 pm

I see in David Vizard's 2009 SA Design "How to build max-performance Chevy small blocks" he states without qualification (page 23, block material) that pre 1987 blocks with numbers 10 or 20 in the timing chain area have something extra. The description of 10 AND 20 vs 10 OR 20 confused me.

Normally I consider Mr Vizard worth listening to, at least until better info comes along. He seems to form his conclusions based on more testing than some other authors.

I'm surprised the modern Chevy power doesn't talk more about block metallurgy, since the older versions did.

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by JoePorting » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:26 pm

What kind of iron does Dart use in their blocks? Seems to be alot harder.
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by sjvalleydave » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:40 pm

"Have something extra" LOL Sounds like Vizard is just joining on the urban myth deal on this...I think I will pass on his recommendation on this subject..

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by RAS » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:34 pm

You guys can believe what ever you want but it's all hooey. If you saw the tooling at Flint where these blocks were machined and how it was patched together you would be glad it ran. This was some really old tooling. GM did not make any special cast iron blocks that went into production cars. There were a few MkIV BBs cast that were pre 502 design castings (I had one) that went to R&M for some tests but not small blocks. If there was, Jenkins would have been doing the snoopy dance. One of the reasons for the LS build was the tooling was not runable any longer. Junk. If you have a block with minimal core shift it's gold. Have fun. Richard

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Bob Hollinshead » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:19 am

From Jenkin's book The Chevrolet Racing Engine: page 8, for racing use it is valuable to select a block that is "hard". There is some variation in the production casting material, and we often use a portable Brinell tester to find "hard" blocks. Page 6. The best factory block casting to obtain is part number 3970016. This case has the thick main webs and 4-bolt caps for added crankshaft support.
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by OILEAKY » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:10 pm

Anyone old enough to remember boring a Hudson Hornet 6 ? Back in the day, folks used to joke about those being so hard , you could wear out a boring bar on them ! Just stirring the pot.

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by keeks » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:40 pm

The people that know the answers to these questions are the same people that know if UFO's are real.

It's just better that we don't know.....lol.

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by BrazilianZ28Camaro » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:37 pm

One time I was milling down the stud towers to install rocker arm studs on a set of 283 heads with the exact same casting number.

I was operating a vertical mill ... first head milled nicelly ...second head was way more hard to mill.

Same everything, carbide edges ok, just changed heads.

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Crepitus » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:48 pm

OILEAKY wrote:Anyone old enough to remember boring a Hudson Hornet 6 ? Back in the day, folks used to joke about those being so hard , you could wear out a boring bar on them ! Just stirring the pot.
I belive the manual called out a Flint wedge on a Bison horn bar. How old are you?
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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by Nick Campagna » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:14 am

Does anyone KNOW what the composition is for the 'high-nickel' blocks / heads ? The 68-79 Cadillac blocks and heads were all 'high nickel', and they are hard, but I don't know the composition. There are many grades of cast iron.
Is the defect in what I see, or what I'm seeing with ?

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Re: ARE ALL sbc 010 BLOCKS HIGH NICKEL????

Post by dfree383 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:15 am

What I'm taking away from this thread........

1) Factory SBC blocks suck reguardless of the metal.
2) The stock stuff is a waste of time for racing (Thank you Dart, World, Bowtie and Others)
3) A bunch of old guys just won't let go of the urban myth.
4) Who Cares ain't no more being produced....... Everybody knows they are dicey over 500-550 hp move on.

Oh yea almost forgot....... The machining hardness differences in the stock blocks are because of cooling time of the castings not the metal itself.. :mrgreen:

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