Is it worth buying? 231 out of an 85


Mr. Fix It
Jan 8, 2006
I have a guy selling me a complete engine out of a 1985 Grand National. He says all he knows is that it needs to be rebuilt. Its only $150. Is the LongBlock from the 84 and 85 the same as the 86 and 87? I was wondering f i could just rebuild it and have it as a backup. Please give me some advice, im going to look at it this afternoon. Thanks.
The 84/85 block is not the same. The differences are few but to some guys significant. When I did my conversion to hot air I used the existing 85 engine (with under 45K miles)with no internal mods and I am very pleased with the performance. If you were to rebuild the 85 block and drop it in the only difference you would notice on the install is that there is no oil cooler and of course the intake is different and there is no hole for the turbo oil return line.
These pics will show you the difference:
Block Photo Guide

IMHO, $150 is cheap for a long block. Hope you never need it but if you do, where else you going to get one? I would think the heads alone are worth $150.
Buy it. Unless you are trying to hit single digit ET's it should be fine. I dipped into the 12's with a broken tranny with my stock 85 long block converted to IC'ed stuff. If it has 8445 heads, they are worth about $50 as bare castings. Block is easily work $50-$150 if it is .030 or below. STD crank, even without the rolled fillets is still worth $50-$100. You may get lucky and find it has a good crank and rods in it already. I picked up an older carb'ed turbo setup for $45 once from intake to pan and it was previously rebuilt using a good turbo crank. Those are worth $250 - $300 usually.
if you were close to me i'd offer up my completely rebuilt with all new parts and has 0 miles on it motor from my 84, but it'd be a little more than 150
JWIW, a hot air GN went 10.55 at Nationals last month! She was running E85, port matched stock hot air intake with a larger turbo, MT drag radials and the car was well sorted out. Check our the E85 Forum.
Hot Air
Check the oil pan. (Correct me if I'm wrong) Some of the later 85's had the 20 bolt oil pan like the 86/87's. The 84's and most of the 85's had a 14 bolt pan. Wheather or not that means that the earlier blocks are weaker is up for debate. It just depends on who you ask I guess, but like several have already said, unless you are looking for 9's it should be fine.
Good point on the pan. My stock 85 has a 20 bolt, and the ones I have seen at the salvages were 50/50.