Over 50 years ago, General Motors introduced one of, if not the, most important engines in the marque’s history. That, of course, is the 350 small-block V8. First introduced on the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro as a high performance option, the engine has seen a multitude of uses and derivatives throughout its lifetime, going in everything from muscle/sports cars to work trucks. Now, GM is revamping the V8 crate engine version for 2020, and it has a primary focus on work trucks and vans.
This new 5.7 liter (350 cubic-inch) small-block V8 crate engine is completely new and not remanufactured, as it’s based around an all-new block. It’s essentially intended to be a replacement engine for older GM work vehicles that refuse to die, which is most of them. GM is offering them in three configurations:
- Gen 1, covering trucks, vans and SUVs from 1987-1995
- Gen 1e LD, covering light-duty trucks from 1996-2002
- Gen 1e HD, covering heavy-duty trucks from 1996-2002
The engine also has a number of new features and improvements for work vehicle applications over previous models. From GM:
- Brand-new four-bolt main blocks (not remanufactured) that are roller camshaft ready and mechanical fuel pump capable (Gen 1e has no camshaft eccentric)
- New (not remanufactured) cylinder head and block castings
- Race-proven forged steel crankshafts for durability
- New valve covers, oil pan and timing cover
- Precise, state-of-the-art CNC machining of cylinder heads, block castings and other components
- Dipstick tube provisions on both sides
These improvements, along with the already legendary reliability and durability of the engine allow for a 3 year/100,000 mile warranty for whichever comes first. For business owners who want to keep who don’t want to buy a whole new truck or van, but want the reassurance of a new engine, this is a great option. It’s also appealing to truck owners holding on to their older pickups who may be getting up there in mileage.
GM has sold 268,029 of these 350 small-block V8 service engines since 2005, and that doesn’t look like it’s about to slow down thanks to the 2020 engine’s updates.