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Old 05-19-2010, 08:33 PM
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454 carb and other upgrade ideas needed

Hello all

A few years ago I had a 454 put together and installed in a '80 Camaro in hopes of running in the mid to high 11s and still be able to do some limited street cruising. I managed to do a best of 13.78. I had (still have) a limited budget so I skimped in some areas plus I didn't know all that much about cars at the time so I took the advise of local speed shops where I purchased my parts.

Here's my specs
1980 Camaro. weight I'm guessing 3800lbs or so.
454 2 bolt mains w/ stock bore and stoke.
Cylinders were honed and new cam bearings and freeze plugs installed at a machine shop.
Reused stock cast crank, cast pistons, and rods.
Short block was put together with new rings, rod and main bearings, and oil pump.
Cam is a Comp Cams 294S solid mechanical. 294 advertised duration and .595 lift.
Cloyes double roller timing chain.
Heads are 396 closed chamber..I don't remember the casting number off the top of my head, but I remember being told they did not have hardened seats (if that helps).
I had the heads machined for new larger Manley Raceflow valves with under cut stems and swirl polished. 2.19int 1.72ex..was told by the guy machining the heads that a 1.88ex would not fit.
Comp Cams springs, locks, retainers, and guide plates.
New hardened push rods.
Crane aluminum roller rockers.
Stock HEI distributor.
Standard Edelbrock performer intake.
750 Holley 4010 double pumper.
1.78" headers.
Turbo 350 w/ 3000rpm stall converter.
12 bolt posi w/ 3.73 gears.
G60 street tires.

The car had about 10 passes at the track and then sat in my garage for the past 3 years because money got to tight.

I want to get it going again and need some help on choosing some parts.
The old Holley 4010 is shot so I thought about replacing it with a 750-850 cfm 4150.
I also wanted to get a better intake. Which would be better for racing a Performer RPM or a Weiand Team G? My cam rpm range is 2500-6500 and according to summit a Team G oval port rpm range is 2000-8000.
Would the Team G be the best option or would I be giving up to much low end torque?
Do you think I would benefit from changing my converter to a 4000-4500 rpm stall?
I was recommended at a local speed shop to swap out my rear gears for 4.10-4.30s..does that sound about right?
I recently picked up a like new set of 275/60/15 Mickey Thompson ET drag radials which should be a big improvement over my old G60 street tires..I'd roast the tires quite a bit outa of the hole with the G60s.

any other thoughts, or suggestions on what parts would give me a good bang for my buck would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

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Old 05-19-2010, 10:09 PM
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I think I'd spend my money on improving traction first, by the sound of things.
If the carb is worn out, I think I'd replace it with something a bit larger ... 850 cfm.

I'd also suggest that you post the average data from all of your time-tickets with the ET / speed at different locations on the track, as well as your engine RPM and MPH as you go through the trap.

I'm not the guy to analyze that info for you, but I'm sure there are several others that would be capable of it.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:20 PM
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Off the top, I'd say more converter and gears will definitely help- along w/the RPM (my choice), or even the Team G and more carb.

You didn't say if the pistons are FT, dome or dish, so do you know the CR? Need to know the chamber volume and the deck height, gasket thickness.

Headers are too small if they are really 1.78" and not 1-7/8". 1-7/8" would be OK, 1-3/4" aren't really large enough, IMO.

What is the timing curve set up?
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:30 AM
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Edelbrock RPM or Weiand Stealth.

This is another case of picking a cam out of thin air.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:38 PM
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@ 66GMC
I was hoping the ET drag radials would take care of my traction issues..you dont think they will be sticky enough?

@ cobalt327
My pistons are flat top..I don't know what the CR is but the speed shop I bought the heads from claimed they should be somewhere around 10:1 with a flat top. After further reading on the subject I doubt my CR is quite that high, but I have no way of finding out for sure short of tearing down the engine and taking measurements.

@ techinspector1
Thanks for the suggestions on intakes..I'm leaning towards the performer rpm air gap for which I've seen some decent ebay deals on.

In hindsight you are right about the cam..I didn't intentionally pick a cam out of thin air as u suggest..The same speed shop dude that sold me heads that he claimed would give 10:1 CR with flat tops is the same dude who recommended the 294S cam..Since he was a so called professional I took his advice.
bottom line is it's still my fault for being ignorant....what size cam would you recommend?

thanks everyone
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:12 PM
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To select a cam, you need to know the CR. As a place to start, get the casting number from the heads. That will at least narrow it down some, i.e. open or closed chamber.

If they're supposed to yield 10:1 CR w/FT pistons, they're very likely closed chamber heads that have been milled (also means not peanut port heads), a simple glance will tell you what ports they are. If you're unsure, measure them and post the dimensions H x W and rectangle or oval.

If the guy you got them from is still around, give him a shout- he may remember the details on them.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:18 PM
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That stock HEI stood-out.
At least put an aftermarket coil in there.

BTW, what are your 60ft. times?

Last edited by a1supersport; 05-20-2010 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatTweaker
@ 66GMC
I was hoping the ET drag radials would take care of my traction issues..you dont think they will be sticky enough?

@ cobalt327
My pistons are flat top..I don't know what the CR is but the speed shop I bought the heads from claimed they should be somewhere around 10:1 with a flat top. After further reading on the subject I doubt my CR is quite that high, but I have no way of finding out for sure short of tearing down the engine and taking measurements.

@ techinspector1
Thanks for the suggestions on intakes..I'm leaning towards the performer rpm air gap for which I've seen some decent ebay deals on.

In hindsight you are right about the cam..I didn't intentionally pick a cam out of thin air as u suggest..The same speed shop dude that sold me heads that he claimed would give 10:1 CR with flat tops is the same dude who recommended the 294S cam..Since he was a so called professional I took his advice.
bottom line is it's still my fault for being ignorant....what size cam would you recommend?

thanks everyone
Traction:
You said you were on a limited budget, and that you were roasting G60's with the HP / TQ that you have now. I don't know if tires alone will be enough to improve your traction problems or not ... but it's a VERY good place to start.
Adding more HP/TQ isn't going to help if you can't get those ponies to the pavement.
My point is to put your money where you KNOW it will help first.

Compression:
Pull off a valve cover and look for the cylinder head casting #.
"3964290" is just one common example.
Go to Mortec website and look up the details.

Quote:
3964290....69-70...oval..CLOSED..396, 402, 427, 454, 101cc chamber
Large or small hex spark
plugs used
Assuming that this is indeed your stamping number ... The Clevite piston chart
shows 8.62:1 compression for a forged flat-top piston with a 100.9 cc combustion chamber.
But how important is the compression ratio alone?
Another member here has recently supplied me with a link to a CR to HP Calculator.

Speed Shop Guy:
Sometimes the guy behind the counter will tell you want you want to hear just to make a sale. I have been in the auto parts biz for 30+ years and tried very hard not to do that. The problem is that if someone else HAS told a customer "what they want to hear" ... it's very hard to bring them back to reality.

The very best thing you can do is to get as second, third, fourth opinion and to keep in mind any motivation or experience behind those opinions. I have found that the guys that have the strongest opinions often have nothing to back them up at all.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:15 PM
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I finally got time to pull a valve cover today and found the casting number 3856206.
According to the MorTec website they are 65-66 396 oval port closed chamber with 97cc combustion chambers.

Someone asked about my 60' times..here's the info on my last 3 runs.
1. .241 r/t, 2.148 60', 9.081 1/8, 14.010 1/4 @ 100.21 mph

2. .196 rt, 2.519 60', 9.075 1/8, 13.977 1/4 @ 100.70 mph

3. .171 rt, 2.058 60', 8.910 1/8, 13.787 1/4 @ 101.18 mph

Also when I had the valve cover off I noticed that a few of the rocker arms weren't centered on the valve is that normal?..I'll try to attach a pic so you can see.

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b2...ker/rocker.jpg

thanks
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:16 PM
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Well, I'm no expert ... but .5 sec difference in 60 ft times seems to say quite a bit about traction or lack thereof.

A member here helped me to determine my approx CR, because I thought that my machinist had over-stated it.

Here is the math that he used:
Quote:
this is how to figure compression ratio. It is the biggest volume divided by the smallest volume. the biggest volume is when the piston is at the bottom of the bore and the smallest volume is when the piston is at the top.
a 454 has 930 cc/cylinder
heads=97cc
standard 0.040" head gasket=9cc
valve reliefs= 5cc
piston typically below deck 0.015"= 3.5cc

(930 + 97 + 9 + 5 + 3.5)/ (97 + 9 + 5 + 3.5)=
(930 + 114.5)/114.5 = 9.12

which is probably pretty close, unless those heads have been shaved.

There are numerous Horsepower calculators based on vehicle weight and trap speed (and/or ET)

According to NastyZ28.com's specifications You may have overstated your vehicle weight a bit, unless it's a Z28 which wieghed in at 3600 lbs ... about 300 lbs heavier than the other two models. Also not sure if the 3800 lbs included the driver or not, but you should when doing the calculation.

HTH ...

PS:
Those rocker arms do look mal-aligned alright. I'd try spinning a few pushrods with your fingers first, and if I didn't like what I saw there ... take them out and roll them across a flat surface.

Last edited by 66GMC; 05-23-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:36 PM
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Hello all..hope everyone is having a good memorial holiday.

I checked the push rods and they don't seem to be bent.

since I seem to have a mismatched cam would it be wiser for me to have a smaller cam installed or have my heads milled for more compression?

keep in mind that a 4.10 gear and 4000-5000 stall speed converter are going to be added to the mix as well.

thanks everyone
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:10 PM
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Was any port work, bowl blending, or short side radius work done on the heads when the larger valves were installed?? This will make or break your performance, heads are key.

I'd say bigger intake and carb also.

Not showing very much hp by the 1/4 mile mph, only 310 flywheel based off MPH. What is your fuel system like/parts used?? Air filter size??

Cam should make more power than that if the air and fuel is there, cam is not the problem. 1-3/4" headers wouldn't hurt much either, should be good for close to 500 hp with that size.

Much easier to figure out he engine with wheelspin under control, shocks, traction bars, sticky tires and don't forget spring age, they wear out too.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:40 AM
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By the 1/8 mile ET, one conversion table suggests you should be well into the 12's, like 12.64 ET w/an 8.1 1/8 ET.

This makes me wonder if the valves might not be floating at the upper RPM. Were the valve springs swapped out to match the cam, and checked for installed height, coil bind, etc.?
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:25 PM
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I've got his best 1/8 mile of 8.91 equalling a 13.98 1/4 mile, right where he is at??? Used 1.57 as conversion factor from 1/8 mile ET to 1/4 mile ET, which has always come pretty close for me in the past.

Just seems like power isn't there, seems really flat for a 454.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:18 PM
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no porting was done to the heads..they were just cleaned and machined for the larger valves and new comp cams springs and other related hardware installed to match the cam.

My fuel system consists of a stock tank and lines, stock style mechanical fuel pump, 750 cfm Holley 4010 double pumper, a standard low rise performer intake and a cheapo 14" air cleaner.
What would your recommend for a new intake and carb combo?
I was thinking of either a performer rpm or weiand team g (or professional products equivalent) for the intake and a 850 cfm 4150 rebuilt and moded by a reputable carb shop.
I was also considering switching to E85 since I need to buy a new carb anyways..or do you think it would be to much expense and hassle for my current setup?

I noticed my heads have 2 extra intake bolt holes as compared to aftermarket heads...am I limited to intakes that include those extra 2 holes?

To cobalt327 yep I bought and had installed matching comp cams springs but I dont know if they were checked for installed height or coil bind.
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