Best Crate Engines
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A Guide to Choosing the Best Crate Engines

If you are having a difficult time searching for the best crate engines, you have to check this article out. You will find everything you need to know about crate engines. We are going to talk about what it is and its benefits, as well as some of its types. We will also provide you with the top three recommendations for the best crate engines. We hope you will be able to make a better decision once you are done reading.

What is a Crate Engine?

Before we proceed with the discussions, let’s first talk about what a crate engine is. A crate engine is basically a replacement engine used to swap a classic car engine. It may be because your engine is already in poor condition. It may also be because you want to install a more powerful engine in your vehicle. They can significantly improve your old vehicle and make it more reliable for everyday driving.


Crate engines are usually purchased when the vehicle owner does not want to rebuild his existing engine. These engines are purchased in turnkey condition and are ready to be placed in the compartment. Buyers choose to buy one than to go through the expensive cost of buying a new car. You may also want to purchase one if you really like your current car but its engine is no longer performing as desired.

Purchasing a crate engine may offer you a lot of benefits. Not only will it be a worthy investment, but also it can enhance the overall performance. They can also improve your vehicle’s lifespan and allow you to get more years out of your starting investment. It should be noted that building your own engine might cost more than actually buying a crate engine.

Top Three Picks for the Best Crate Engine

Product (Amazon Links)Brand 

Genuine GM (10067353) 350ci / 5.7L Gen 0 Engine

GM Performance Parts


Genuine GM 12499529 Economy Performance Engine

GM Performance Parts


Genuine GM 19166393 Engine for Big Block Chevy



In this section, we will discuss the top three recommendations for the best crate engines available right now. We will give you a rundown of each product’s key features, pros and cons, which we hope will be helpful in reaching a well-informed decision.

1. Genuine GM (10067353) 350ci / 5.7L Gen 0 Engine


The Genuine GM Engine is a perfect entry level, high-performance engine for older vehicles. Don’t be mistaken, as all of the parts in this engine are brand new. For its specifications, the engine has approximately 8.5:1 compression ratio. It has a base rating of 195 horsepower and it will be able to accommodate up to 260 horsepower. Of course, it can mostly depend on the injection setup and the engine intake.

One great feature of this crate engine is that they include painted valve covers, timing covers and oil pans. Another one is they are already drilled for right and left-hand dipsticks. Cylinder heads are made of cast iron that comes with intake and exhaust valves. This crate engine also includes 76 cubic capacity combustion chambers and 7-bolt style exhaust flanges.


  • Base horsepower rating is set at 195 and is capable of up to 260 horsepower rating
  • Comes with timing and painted valve covers and oil pans
  • The material is made of cast iron with intake and exhaust valves
  • Drilled for right and left-hand dipsticks


  • May not work as expected or receive what is expected
  • May not be best warranty

2. Genuine GM 12499529 Economy Performance Engine


The GM Economy Engine is a small block engine V-8 350. It has 290 HP and 332 torque. This automatic transmission engine can fit a variety of models and has cast iron cylinder heads. 

One great thing about this crate engine is that you can talk to the seller and find out if this one will work for your car. Sometime simple modification are needed, but then it may work. ​


  • V-8 350 cubic inch engine
  • 290 horsepower
  • Automatic transmission
  • Economy Performance engine 


  • May need to make several modification to your car
  • May have valve cover issues

3. Genuine GM 19166393 Engine for Big Block Chevy


The GM Performance Engine for Big Block Chevy’s is one of the largest horsepower engies you’ll find. It is a great replacement engine when you need it.

This V-8 ZZ427 has 427 cubic inches and 480 horsepower. It is an automatic transmission and is designed for street vehicles before 1976. This has a cast iron block and 4 main caps.

It comes with forged aluminum pistons, Holley carburetor, HEI distributor, aluminum water pump, balancer, 14 inch flex plate, and spark plug wires 

most reliable and high-performance racing engine in the market right now. The material is made of custom grind steel and its pistons are custom forged. The engine uses a 4340 6.000” H-beam connecting rods and it has glossy aluminum valve covers. In addition, the oil pan comes with a wind tray and the front cover is polished with aluminum.

You’ll also notice it comes with high-flow oval port heads, a high-lift camshaft, and an aluminum intake manifold.


  • Big motor that has great power
  • Has most parts for ready to use engine
  • 480 HP and 490FT/LBS @ 3800 RPM
  • Can be used in pre-1976 or offroad vehicles
  • Should have 24 month or 50,000 mile Warranty on GM parts


  • May take a long time installing this engine
  • Heavy engine (900 lb shipping)

Types of Crate Engines

What is the best type of crate engine for you? If you have no idea of what works best for your needs, below are some of the types that you will be confronted with. Each of them has their respective pros and cons, so evaluate carefully to reach the right decision.

  • Remanufactured Engines: This engine can also be called “reconditioned” or “re-engineered” engine. Based on the word itself, remanufacturing means rebuilding a product according to the specifications of the original. It uses a combination of repaired and reused, as well as new parts.
  • Rebuilt Engines: This type of engine should never be confused with remanufactured ones. Rebuilt engines that the parts are first disassembled and damaged or worn parts are replaced with better-performing ones.
  • Used Engines: Used engines are the ones without any modification or customization done on the engine. This may also be advisable if you are on a budget. You just have to make sure that the engine you are going to buy performs well.
  • New Engines: It was mentioned earlier that it is cheaper to just buy a new one instead of manually assembling separate parts. It is recommended that you buy a new engine based on the reviews discussed in the earlier section.

Essential Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Crate Engines

Before we conclude, let’s first talk about some of the essential factors to look for in crate engines. This section is very important, as we will provide you the things you should search for in crate engines. This will also help you narrow down your options so you can make a better decision.

  • Price: This has always been a defining factor in buying a crate engine. These engines gained popularity because they provide decent power at a very reasonable cost. It is now up to you to choose the one that will make a great value for your money. You have to thoroughly review the top three picks presented above and decide on the basis of your budget.
  • Durability: This might also be considered as one of the most important factors to look for in a crate engine. We all know that these engines don’t come cheap. Buying one can be an expensive but if you chose the right one, you can consider it as an investment. Buy a product that is proven to last long, to be durable and capable of withstanding the conditions of your vehicle.
  • Features: Based on the reviews above, you have to pick the one that offers great features. It may be the offered horsepower rating, inclusions of additives and the like. You should also consider the material used, as it also dictates the quality of the engine. Lastly, you have to choose the crate engine that you can install with ease and minimal effort.


Choosing the right one can be very frustrating, especially if you are not sure what you are looking for. We have provided you with an informative guide and it’s now up to you to choose one for your needs. You just have to thoroughly review each product’s key features, pros and cons. That’s all you need to do in order to choose the best crate engines.

Are you looking for similar products for your vehicle? Click here to learn more about other options that are available in the market right now.