Short Block vs. Long Block Engines: Comparing Auto Engine Performance

January 27, 2012

A short block engine and a long block engine are two different engine states. While they are both the same in external dimensions, they differ in the amount of parts they contain.  Both short block and long block engines are potential components to the best car engines.

Short Block Engine

Short block engines are not complete but they do come with a cam pistons, connecting rods and a crank.. They do require the installation of additional internal parts which include but are not limited to: an oil pump, cylinder heads and gaskets. Some short blocks are made available with camshafts and timing parts.

Long Block Engine

This type of engine is almost complete and comes with the head which is bolted to the short block. The long block engine will need to have some additional external parts installed. These parts include but are not limited to: valve covers, manifolds for the exhaust and intake, a timing covers and an oil pan. 

Short Block and Long Block Comparison

The car engine performance provided by a long block engine is potentially better than that of a short block due to the state in which it is installed into a vehicle.  Having more parts, there are fewer situations where problems could arise in the installation process.  At the same time, the short block engine allows for more choice and potentially quality performance, in the additional parts that are necessary to the installation.The need for a short block replacement indicates that the engine block and some major internal parts have been damaged beyond repair.

However, the existing and working systems such as the intake, exhaust manifold and heads can be connected to the new short block. The need for a long block replacement indicates that the short block and the head have been damaged beyond repair. The cost of the additional internal parts for a short block are more expensive than the cost of the additional external parts for the long block. The short block parts also require more time for installation than the long block parts. When considering the costs of parts and labor, the short block will be more costly than the long block which comes almost complete.


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