Short Block Vs. Long Block Engine (What’s The Difference?)

It doesn't matter if you want to restore your car or if you just need a replacement motor for your vehicle, it is important that you understand the differences in the long and short blocks.

We not only look at what’s different between the two engines, but we also discuss the pros and cons to help you find the perfect replacement motor. Let’s begin with a quick look!

A short block is more powerful than a long-block engine. This difference can be attributed to the number of components included with the purchase. The long block includes a large cylinder head and most of its internal components, while the shorter block only has the lower half of the motor.

Here’re the differences between a short block vs a long block more in detail:

Índice de Contenido
  1. What's a short block engine?
  2. A Short Block: The Pros and the Cons
  3. What exactly is a long block engine?
  4. A Long Block: The Pros and the Cons
  5. The Key Differences between Long and Short Blocks
    1. 1. All parts included
    2. 2. Prices 
    3. 3. Installation Time
    4. 4. Garanty
  6. Choosing Short Block vs. Long Block Engines

What's a short block engine?

Short Block Engine

When it comes to automobile motors, the short block engine can be considered as the smallest package. This package will contain the cylinder block as well some important parts, such as connecting rods. Cam, pistons and crankshaft. However, there could be some variation to what’s included based on the manufacturer. 

Additional components will be required for every short-block engine. These include the oil pump and cylinder heads as well as gaskets. These will need to be purchased separately. 

A Short Block: The Pros and the Cons

These are the advantages and disadvantages of a short-block engine.

There are pros

  • Lower upfront costs
  • More customization possible
  • It provides a great learning experience


  • More assembly required
  • Install time increases
  • The price of additional parts will increase if they are not available.
  • Tuning is required for all parts
  • Complexer
  • Only the block is covered by a warranty

What exactly is a long block engine?

Long Block Engine

Long block engines are a better version of the small block. It’s going to include the same components as the short block, but it also adds the camshaft, cylinder head, valvetrain, valve covers and oil pan. 

Still, it isn’t a complete package. There will be some components that are needed for the long-block engine, including an intake and exhaust manifolds and fuel system, as well as several electronic parts. You might choose a complete engine rebuild if every piece of the engine is being replaced. 

A Long Block: The Pros and the Cons

It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the long block engine as well. 

There are pros

  • The parts that are included in the package have been tuned
  • The entire package comes with a warranty
  • This is a simple plug-and play system that can also be expanded with a few additional components


  • Higher upfront costs
  • Doesn’t allow for a lot of customization
  • Doesn’t include everything a turn-key engine does

The Key Differences between Long and Short Blocks

The most crucial points will be broken down to dive into the details of the block differences.

1. All parts included

One of the key differences between the short and long blocks is the amount of components included with the engine's purchase.

Short block engines include the engine block, pistons rods and crank. These components are all assembled and may include additional parts such as timing chains, covers, camshafts, or other accessories. 

While the engine of a long block is identical to a short-block, it has the usual valvetrain and head installation. A deluxe long-block will include the following: the carburetor/throttle body, oil pan and intake manifold as well any coil packs. 

These aren’t to be confused with a bare block engine, which is just the aluminum or cast iron block that requires machine work before you turn it into your car engine. The rotating assemblies include the necessary bearings for the crank, pistons and rods. 

2. Prices 

A short block engine generally costs less upfront. You can typically expect to pay between $1,200- $5,000 for short block engines. This price will vary depending on the year and make of your vehicle. 

Once you begin adding parts, the savings from a shorter block engine are quickly lost. You will get a complete package if you order these parts as standard with the long-block engine. You might end up paying less for the long block engine.

3. Installation Time

Everything you will need for the long block engine is already installed and ready to go. If you have to add a few parts, it won’t be many. Because of this design, it’s much easier to install a long block engine.

The short block engine permits for greater customization. The installation process will take longer if you have to install all the parts that were purchased. If you don’t perform the installation yourself, you are also looking at higher bills from your local engine shop. 

4. Garanty

The warranty for the longer block is usually more extensive than that of the shorter block. It’s also more extensive, covering a variety of parts that are included with your bundled purchase.

When you add parts to your short block engine, these components aren’t going to be covered by the block warranty. If there’s a faulty fitting, you will be covering the damage yourself. You should ensure that a mechanic does the job for you. 

Choosing Short Block vs. Long Block Engines

What engine should you choose, the short or long block? The long block is better if you want reliable performance and faster installation. Pre-installed parts ensure that less could go wrong. This will allow you to spend less, especially if the parts are being installed by mechanics.

Not all long blocks are compatible with specific makes and models. In order to duplicate the performance of the vehicle as it was when you bought it, make sure that you get a similar long block to match the ECU of the car. 

The short block engine, on the other hand, allows you more flexibility and can be fitted with a wide range of components depending on your requirements. You can upgrade engine components with the shorter block. You can add performance cylinder heads to a short-block engine. A long block has a preinstalled one. You can get more power with a few modifications than the stock engine. 

A short block engine is recommended if the goal is to increase motor performance. Most consumers will agree that the longer block engine provides everything necessary for quick replacement. It is also more affordable.

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