Yeah, we’d all like to have a nice, shiny crate engine to toss between our 4x4’s fenders. But in this economy of doom and gloom it’s probably wise to save some pennies wherever you can. Having your engine delivered to your house in a crate will cost you at least $2,000. And that’s if you’ve already got some of the major stuff like the carburetor or injection and front accessories. On the other hand, pulling your engine from some derelict crate in your local junkyard will cost you as little as $200. And that’s for a complete engine, top-to-bottom with accessories and a flex plate or flywheel. So here are some junkyard engine scrounging bargains that make sense for the budget builder. The ubiquitous small-block Chevy is always a good choice. This one is a Goodwrench replacement engine, which surely has the ’70s-’80s-era pedestrian 76cc iron heads, iron spread bore intake, and Q-Jet carb. Its 8:1 compression will almost run on kerosene. Stab a cam in it and an aluminum intake and it’ll make an easy 265hp and 335 lb-ft on 87-octane. The ’86-up blocks have one-piece rear main seals and, if not already equipped from the factory can be retrofitted with roller camshafts more easily than older two-piece rear main seal engines. GM put roller cams in cars receiving one-piece rear main seal blocks, but the light-duty trucks got flat-tappet camshafts. However, these blocks have the taller lifter bosses and three cast-in perches for the roller lifter spider, and the two-bolt cam retainer plate so the factory roller stuff will plunk right in.The ubiquitous small-block Chevy is always a good choice. This one is a Goodwrench replace Don’t discount vans when scrounging since chances are rain hasn’t been pouring down the carb. This ’96 has a 305 Chevy, but a Vortec 350 could just as easily have been in there. There are too many serial numbers to run down here, but the engine block number and displacement are cast on the driver-side rear block between the cylinder head and the bellhousing. Visit www.mortec.com before you head out and write a list of good four-bolt main, one-piece seal candidates.Don’t discount vans when scrounging since chances are rain hasn’t been pouring down the ca If you see centerbolt valve covers like this and there’s “5.7L” stamped on the rear of the block, pop the valve cover off and check the head casting numbers. The ’96-’99 350s received GM’s excellent Vortec iron heads. Based off GM’s LT-1 Corvette heads, the 170cc ports and 1.94-inch intake/1.50-inch exhaust valves will support big power. Look for PN 12558062 or PN 10239906. Despite some internet claims, the centerbolt heads on the 305s aren’t true Vortec castings and have smaller valves and ports.If you see centerbolt valve covers like this and there’s “5.7L” stamped on the rear of the Beginning in 1992 for the 230hp 5.2L and 1993 for the 245hp 5.9L, Mopar engines were redesigned and given the moniker, Magnum. With great cylinder heads, multiport injection, roller camshafts, and a bellhousing pattern that can easily be mated to many Jeep transmissions, they’re a natural swap for Wranglers. We spied this 5.2L Magnum complete from throttle-body to oil pan. Check the side of the block under the exhaust manifolds for the casting numbers. The 318 engine will end in “318” and the 360s will end in “360.” Easy, huh?Beginning in 1992 for the 230hp 5.2L and 1993 for the 245hp 5.9L, Mopar engines were redes The 4.0L Jeep engines found in XJs, ZJs, YJs, and TJs are all good. But if you’re looking for an easy swap with great aftermarket support, the ’91-’95 engines have a user-friendly OBD1 computer that can withstand modifications without going all 2001 Space Odyssey on you. Look for block casting number 53008405 to identify the ’91-’95 and 53020569 for the ’96-’99. The later blocks will also have NVH after the casting number. As for the cylinder heads, the ’91-’95 7120 castings are almost as good as the ’96-’99 0630 castings, so don’t knock yourself out.The 4.0L Jeep engines found in XJs, ZJs, YJs, and TJs are all good. But if you’re looking Looking for an AMC V-8? Forget checking Matadors and Gremlins. Go straight for the Wagoneers, Cherokees, and FSJ pickups. AMC block displacement numbers are cast into the side of the block in big numbers below the exhaust manifold, so stick your head under. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble onto a 401, but who cares? You can easily make the 360 from a ’80s smog dog into a performer with a few well-chosen aftermarket parts.Looking for an AMC V-8? Forget checking Matadors and Gremlins. Go straight for the Wagonee Although you should never take it as fact, the Vehicle Emission Control Information sticker affixed to virtually every car and truck’s underhood area since the early ’70s will state the vehicle year and engine size. It’s a decent tool to augment your scrounging, but don’t forget components may have been swapped in the vehicle’s past, so check closely before you start yanking partsAlthough you should never take it as fact, the Vehicle Emission Control Information sticke Whether even- or odd-fire, the Buick V-6 is a natural choice for smaller 4x4s and early Jeeps. The dead giveaway is the front-mounted distributor. This is a rare late-model 231 odd-fire. The earlier 225 odd-fire from ’63-’74 and the 231 odd-fire from ’74-’75 are more highly sought after, however you can use their 50-pound flywheels on the ’77-’82 even-fire engines if you have them balanced to the crankshaft. The quickest way to tell the difference is to check the distributor caps if they’re still there. The odd-fire engines will have two dummy plug wire towers at 2 and 6 o’clock, while the even-fire will not.Whether even- or odd-fire, the Buick V-6 is a natural choice for smaller 4x4s and early Je Since Jeep used Buick 225 V-6 and 350 V-8 engines in some models, Buick, Olds, Pontiac, and Cadillac engines can mate to some Jeep transmissions rather easily. For torque kings, look for the ’60s and ’70s land yachts. Although the 350hp/510lb-ft 455 was already gone from this ’70 Buick LeSabre, the ’66 Olds 98 next to it was still sporting its 310hp “Super Rocket” 425 big-block. For Buick, the engine displacement is cast into the back of the block between the intake and bellhousing. For Oldsmobile, check the cylinder heads for either a big cast letter or number. Letters are for big-blocks and numbers are for small-blocks.Since Jeep used Buick 225 V-6 and 350 V-8 engines in some models, Buick, Olds, Pontiac, an To hammer home our point of always looking before you leap, here’s a nice little Olds small-block. But wait; it’s not a snortin’ 403, 350, or even a pedestrian 307. It’s a 260, as indicated by the heads’ 2A casting. What’s worse is that this dog is bolted in the engine bay of an early ’70s GMC pickup and some poor schlub had already made off with the tranny. We just hope he realizes it’s a BOPC bellhousing pattern and not a Chevy before he drops it at the rebuilder.To hammer home our point of always looking before you leap, here’s a nice little Olds smal Early ’68-’69 Cadillac 472s needed a bit of block notching to accomplish it, but otherwise you can turn any 472 into a 500 by running the 500 crank, rods, and pistons. Casting numbers are on the top of the bellhousing near the oil sending unit. The 6238 casting indicates the aforementioned early 472s, but any 5200 block will be the later 472 or 500 with better oil passages. The 8.5:1 low-compression engines came out in 1971 and lost about 40hp compared with the earlier 10:1 engines, but relieved of their smog equipment any of these is a 400-550 lb-ft monster.Early ’68-’69 Cadillac 472s needed a bit of block notching to accomplish it, but otherwise Don’t forget to check the Ford offerings if you’re interested in frame-twisting torque. If the valve covers have seven bolts each, then it’s gotta be a 429 or a 460. However, the only real way to tell the difference is to yank the pan and check the crank casting numbers since Ford used the same block to build both, just plan on visiting www.summitracing.com for a 4.30-inch stroker crank to turn either into a 514-cube beast.Don’t forget to check the Ford offerings if you’re interested in frame-twisting torque. If We stumbled over at least six 4.6L engines in wasted Lincoln Town Cars and Ford Crown Victorias. Although the 4.6L doesn’t sport the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the 5.0L, it’s close enough to work on a 4.6L by drilling out some of the dowel pin holes. Still, with power levels in the low 200hp range and weak aftermarket harness and electronic support it may not be the best bet out there for an easy, cheap swap.We stumbled over at least six 4.6L engines in wasted Lincoln Town Cars and Ford Crown Vict Although the Mustang versions may have been flogged like a wet dog on a new carpet, you can still find good, injected, roller-cam 5.0L engines in Mercury Cougars, Ford Thunderbirds, or any other number of rear-wheel-peel Ford products from 1986-1993. Granted, the Mustang’s 5.0L put out 225hp compared with the others’ 150-200hp offerings, but if you’re looking for an injected engine with a ton of aftermarket support, nice power, and good mileage, just about any 5.0L should get the job done.Although the Mustang versions may have been flogged like a wet dog on a new carpet, you ca We’re back out on a limb here, but why not install a Mazda rotary in a lightweight sand or mud 4x4? The ’78-’85 12A and the ’86-’96 13B engines can handle heavy turbocharging, they wind to the moon, and they’ve got very few moving parts to fail out in the field. In 1987 the 13B got a turbo for 185hp, which ultimately grew to 200hp by 1989, 255 by 1992, 265 by 1996, and 280 by 1999. Not bad for an engine that weighs less than 275 pounds. And you can adapt them to a Ford T-5!We’re back out on a limb here, but why not install a Mazda rotary in a lightweight sand or By Christian Hazel Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!