First Time Crate Engine Buyer’s Guide

To Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Buying Your Crate Engine, Always Ask the Following Questions

These questions are guaranteed to help you make a well informed and smart decision so you get the best crate engine value for your money, regardless of where you choose to buy your crate motor from.

Know Exactly What Are You Paying For

What Quality Of Parts Will Be Used In My Engine Build?

Be wary of suspiciously inexpensive crate motors.


Because like with most everything you can buy these days… you get what you pay for. Your engine can only equal the quality, strength and warranty of the parts used to assemble it.

Fact. It’s impossible to build a high-quality crate engine with inferior offshore, no-name or low end parts.

That’s why it’s absolutely critical you know the quality of all key components being used and installed in your engine. If you have to ask the seller what parts are included (and do if they are not published) it usually means they are trying to hide inferior, low-quality parts used in their builds.

Canadian Crate Engines only uses premium, high quality brand name components which have all been tested and know to be of the highest quality resulting in a high-performance, powerful, long-lasting and trouble free engine you’ll enjoy for years to come.

What Brand/Type Of Heads Are Used In My Chosen Build?

The cylinder head is one of the largest pieces in the complicated horsepower puzzle.

Good cylinder heads can make or break an engine component combination.

Not only will good cylinder heads add power, they also create good usable power in the lower to mid RPM range.

Get clear on what heads are being used in crate engines you are looking at. Do your homework on them or be stuck with an disappointing power plant.

At Canadian Crate Engines we only use quality tested heads known to work well together with ALL the other build components.

This is how we produce the proven, dyno’d horsepower of our builds.

Will My Engine Have A “Flat Tappet” Or “Roller” Camshaft?

This is a very important question to ask if you want a high performance crate engine.

A roller camshaft engine is far superior to a flat tappet engine and costs more. Make sure you know what you are paying for because flat tappet camshafts are used in some higher performance crate engines to save costs.

All high performance crate engines should have a roller camshaft.

All of our stage 3 and up engines come fully rollerized.

Do You Use ARP Fasteners Throughout The Engine?

Because your engine is only as strong as the hardware holding it together you want to make sure the highest quality bolts/fasteners are used in the assembly of your crate engine.

We recommend you don’t trust anything other than the best fasteners on the market for your crate engine, “ARP” Automotive Racing Parts and here’s why.

I’m sure you’ve all heard someone say I “spun a bearing” or “blew the head gasket” or worse yet “it threw a rod.”

These terms are often associated with a failed engine due to low quality hardware (connecting rod bolts, head bolts, and main bolts).

We wouldn’t dare build you an engine with generic “hardware store” grade 8 bolts to cut costs.

ARP fasteners are the highest quality available – even superior to what is considered “aircraft quality” and are expensive.

ARP fasteners have a 220,000 psi tensile strength to handle even the most demanding racing engines. They are heat treated and shot peened for the utmost strength without being too brittle.

The peace of mind and confidence you get from having the highest quality hardware manufacturer in the industry holding together your crate engine is well worth the extra cost. Look at using ARP as cheap insurance.

Do I Have To Pay An Additional Core Charge & Ship You My Old Engine?

Unlike other crate engine suppliers who charge you an extra fee or “core charge” Canadian Crate Engines prices include a core. This means NO additional fees for a core, shipping costs or hassles of packaging and shipping you old engine.

A “Core Charge” is like the deposit on a pop bottle. You are charged an additional fee or “deposit” when you make your purchase.

IMPORTANT: With engines, you can get your deposit back when you return your old engine core, usually after the condition of your old engine has been assessed to see if it is suitable for re-use. If it is not suitable (at their discretion) you will NOT get a refund or full refund on the extra “deposit” you have to pay for their core charge.

There is also the hassle of shipping a greasy old engine and the added cost of shipping – all with no guarantee of getting your money back.

At Canadian Crate Engines there are no hidden fees or  hassles and uncertainty that come with having to ship your core.

Proof of Build Components & Specifications

Has My Exact Engine Been Dyno Tested For Accurate Horsepower & Torque Figures?

It is extremely important the package is thoroughly tested on the dyno before ever making its way into a vehicle.

Not only does it give you a power number it allows the builder to see exactly how the components of the build are working together and if it is making optimum usable horsepower.

Our engine packages have been thoroughly tested.

We have tested 26 different camshaft profiles in our proven builds to make sure you are getting a maximized and optimized engine component combination.

Do You Provide a “Balance & Blueprint Sheet” Which Precisely Documents My Engine Build Specs?

Every good engine builder will have a blueprint sheet to document every engine they build.

Without a Blueprint Sheet there is NO way for you to know EXACTLY what you are getting or what corners may have be cut to save time and money building your engine.

There’s many hidden reasons other engine builders do NOT include the build specs. You’re making an investment in your engine and you want it to last. Don’t settle for not knowing exactly what you’re getting.

Your Canadian Crate Engine build will come with a balance and blueprint sheet for your specific engine, as well as your builds dyno sheets.

How Do I Know What Is Being Used In My Engine?

With Canadian Crate Engines, we take photos of your engine during the assembly process so you can see all of the components that are going into your build. This is also great to have for your records and for insurance purposes.

Questions About The Company

How Many Years Have They Been In Business?

If a company that has been in business for decades it must be doing things right.

What’s more, you can have full confidence that in the case something goes wrong, they’ll be there to back up their warranty so you’re not left high and dry.

So make sure the company you buy your engine from has been in business for at least a decade or more because it’s highly unlikely a company that doesn’t build solid crate engines which satisfy its customers fully could stay in business.

Canadian Crate Engines parent company has been in business since 1948, which is over 70 years now!

How Many Engines Has Your Company Built & Sold?

It is important to know the company’s history and how many engines they have built.

More experience yields a better product, plain and simple.

In our 68 years as a leading engine machine shop over 11,000 engines have been successfully built and stood behind with our warranty.

How Many Engines Of THIS Type Have You Built?

It is important to ask how many engines of this type they have built – and by “type” we mean targeting the desired horsepower, torque and power band.

Don’t be used as a guinea pig to test an unproven build because NOT all components “play well” together.

We have built several hundred engines like our build options and in the process have tested 26 different camshaft profiles for optimum drivability and performance.

What Is The Warranty?

You’re making a sizable investment in your crate engine, so it’s important it includes a solid warranty.

Canadian Crate Engines stands behind our crate engines for 36 months or 60,000 kilometers/36,000 miles whichever occurs first, subject to the terms and conditions spelled out in the warranty agreement.

Certifications, Associations & Qualifications

Is Your Company A Certified Member Of The Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA) or The Automotive Industries Association (AIA)?

Check to see if they are affiliated with the engine rebuilders associations listed above. These affiliations provide the latest up to date information on professional engine building techniques.

Without them they are likely building engines using outdated information, procedures and standards.

Canadian Crate Engines Is a certified member of both AERA and the A.I.A.

Are Your Machinists Certified By by A.E.R.A?

Ask. This is one area companies can cut build costs by using non-certified, inexperienced machinists.

Without specialized and current knowledge of the components, systems, processes and tools used in machining your crate motor – any non A.E.R.A certified worker does not bring the same machining training to your build.

To guarantee only the highest quality finishes, and lowest tolerances of machining are produced consistently, Canadian Crate Engine machinist are certified by the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association A.E.R.A.

What’s more, as members of the association, our machinists stay current with the latest engine building information provided by A.E.R.A.

What Are The Qualifications Of Those Assembling My Crate Engine?

All of our engine builders must have a minimum of 15 years experience in engine machining.

They must follow our stringent 29 step CCE assembly process that covers every aspect of your engine assembly.

After documenting and completing this process, Rob Borden (The owner) personally signs off on the build sheet.

Quality of Their Equipment

Does The Machining Equipment Used Meet Industry Standards?

The last thing you want is to have an engine built in a substandard shop, a dirty environment, or worst of all in someone’s home garage.

Is the equipment they use current to industry standards?

Are they using the highest quality digital torque wrenches?

What are they using to precision hone the cylinders?

Whether it be our diamond precision hone or our $700 torque wrenches, we have all the quality equipment required to guarantee your engine is built to the highest quality standards.

Ease Of Installation

Will I Have To Do Any Modifications To My Engine?

Because every vehicle is uniquely different, some external components may need to be added such as headers but you should never have to do any internal modifications.

Our engines come with the ignition timing pre-set and the carb adjusted for you.

Will My Engine Arrive Fully Tuned Or Do I Have To Tune It Myself?

To avoid hassles, frustrations and delays make sure your crate motor of choice has the carb adjusted and the ignition timing pre-set.

We are here to help, and want you to be completely informed before you make your crate engine investment.

Simply give us a call at toll free at  (866) 440 3850 or submit any questions you have via email to make an informed decision on the purchase of your crate engine.