Jeff Smith: The short answer is the system will bolt right up to any '70s or even '60s block. You will need '70-or-later heads that incorporate accessory boltholes in the ends of the heads since the drive mounts require these boltholes. If you have an '86 Silverado, then your heads will have the accessory boltholes already in place. This is one of the tremendous advantages of the small-block Chevy in that it will accept older and newer engine components with no problem, so your block will work just fine for this conversion. The brackets will bolt up to your heads, and one additional advantage is you can change the water pump without having to remove any brackets. That's a nice feature. The block on the 383 was a later model ('88-or-later Gen I) that uses a one-piece rear main seal, but the front of the block is the same as even earlier blocks back to the early '60s, which means you could use later-model heads on an early 327 or even a 283 and still use this serpentine system. The heads on that particular 383 are a set of Canfields, but they employ the same accessory boltholes as any later-model small-block head. The power steering conversion was something we learned the hard way, purchasing an expensive fitting to convert our older power steering system on my El Camino to a late-model serpentine belt system only to discover that changing the fitting will work just as well. As for the A/C system, I've looked into that and it appears that most of the later-model compressors are similar, and often all that is different is the manifold that is bolted to the rear of the compressor. My guess (and that's all this is) is that you could find the proper manifold that would adapt one of these newer compressors over to your older system. If you purchase a compressor, keep in mind that around 1994, GM converted the trucks from the old refrigerant R-12 to the newer R-134A gas. The best thing to do would be to consult a local A/C shop to get an opinion on the swap.
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Michael "Skinny Kid" Heath, Yadkinville, NC; I have a question I'm sure a lot of people could benefit from besides myself. What do correction factors on dynos have to do with horsepower readings? I know when you move this number up or down, it will change the horsepower readings. Are engine builders adjusting this figure to sell engines?
Jeff Smith: This is a great question, Michael, because there's far more to this than just the ultimate horsepower readings. Let's start with the basics. You're probably aware that atmospheric conditions like temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity all play a role in affecting engine power. A combination of cool air (60 degrees F), high pressure (29.92 inches of mercury), and no humidity (zero water in the air) offers the best opportunity to make the most power because this situation will cram in the most free oxygen into the cylinders. The opposite situation of 100-degree-F air temperature with pressure down around 29.15 inches and 90 percent humidity (perhaps a typical day in North Carolina) is guaranteed to drop horsepower. Since engine dynos use ambient air conditions and those conditions are constantly changing, it becomes difficult to establish a true horsepower number for an engine. A long time ago, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created a standard (called J607) that the hot rod industry still uses: standard temperature and pressure (STP), and the numbers are the same as our good air-60 degrees F, 29.92 inches of mercury pressure (or 14.7 psi, the air pressure at sea level), and zero humidity.