The old V8's are easier to find parts for, but really modern engines are not all that difficult. Our 16v engines have fewer parts because the cam hits directly on top of the valve. Parts are not that cheap though. You can build a V8 for less than what it costs to build either a Zetec or Duratec.
Getting the crankshaft halves together correctly is tricky on air cooled VWs. You'll need to make some special tools (dowel set-up with some wood) and use a few tricks. Those engines are light though. You can pick them up without much assistance. Don't catch one on fire or drop it though. Magnesium is not forgiving. Cast iron is more forgiving, but will break stuff if it falls on anything. Typical weight for a bare V8 block is around 200 lbs, complete is over 500- except FSBs that are like 450 depending on if you have aluminum heads.
If you find the right vehicle, and the condition of the sleeves is good, you can rebuild one of these engines in the vehicle. That saves some pain and suffering. It's not exacto perfectomundo, but it will run fair to middlin as long as the cam bearings are ok and don't get screwed up. You can probably get those out and back in with it still in the vehicle, but I haven't done it. Likewise, crank bearings don't usually have to be replaced unless there was severe oil loss or extreme age. That's your junkyard build there. If you do go removing stuff you need to be careful how you store the crank and cam. I would remove those last after you have your new parts- that's the easiest way to store them properly. If the rod bearings were really worn out, then you won't be able to do that because the crank will need to be turned.
LOL who's paying to have a carb tuned? I can understand paying someone to tune and sync webers on an old MG, but not a quadrajunk, thermoclunk, or motorcrap. I send a big F-U out to Holley for power-valves and stupid people, and another F-U out to Edelbrock for being tuned to a 350 out of the box but damn near impossible to tune right for a 340. Maybe it works on a 302, I don't know. Japanese carburetors do not tune. Yes you can do it, but to do it correctly you need to have a propane sensor which is a $400+ tool if you can even find them any more. Once someone messes with one of those, it's junk. I've never been able to get one right. 99% of the time, the carbs problems were caused by one of the 40+ vacuum lines being bad- usually close to the carb. The idiots who messed with the screws are the same idiots who mess with throttle plate stops on EFI cars nowadays.
You want advice from an online forum? Sometimes you get the throttle plate Jap carb killers, and sometimes you get experts. Most of the time it's in-between and you have to figure out what's up.
OOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I know one, easy to find: locate you a mid 80's to early 90's S-10 with a 2.5 (151 cid) 4 cyl- the Iron Duke! That's a wacky pushrod 4 cyl that is not difficult nor expensive to build. Cranks can be bought for about $90 on that S-10 version which doesn't need a balance shaft drive like the FWD Buicks/Olds do. If you can find a Pontiac, it has the 2.5 with a cam driven oil pump also, and doesn't need the balance shaft drive. Those are fairly straightforward, lightweight, but it's 2/3 of a I6 not half a V8. For that matter, a Ford with a 2.3 is not hard to find, and that engine is not difficult to build either. Performance parts are available for both of those engines.
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