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Old 02-05-2011, 01:53 PM
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455 Build

hey everyon its been awhile but im back.

i just have a few question..

im finally about ready to build my motor, its a 455 out of a '73 bonneville that will be going into a '73 firebird. i have the stock rear end with 373 in it and i have yet to choose what transmission im going to go with, i was thinking maybe a muncy or a th400. anyways the real questions i have are what should i put into this motor? it has already been bored .030 over due to some rust it had. the guy i got it from had it sitting outside for awhile. anyways i am keeping the crank, pickup, pump, pan, timing cover, and water pump, 6x8 heads, and 2 intakes, one from a '77 400, and the one that came with this motor, both are 4bbl, although i can get a different intake if i need to. i have a 4bbl qjet i plan to use. i am thinking i will need new rods, and i KNOW i need new pistons. boy were they a pain in the *** to get out. i do have the cam that came with this motor but it has seen better days, so im going to need/want a new one. this is a budget build and i am looking to get the most out of my money, it has to be a pump gas friendly motor. i want to build it more than street, but less than strip. a street beast i suppose. its not going to be a daily driver but more of a fun car around town to beat up on ricers and the such. anyways, any help is appreciated

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Old 02-05-2011, 08:47 PM
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guess im asking what should i put in it
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PyroManiacUSMC
guess im asking what should i put in it
I guess before anyone can really help you decide and pick the combo, We will need to know what your budget is. JMO

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Old 02-06-2011, 12:21 PM
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I have built many Pontiac motors and what I have learned over the years is Pontiacs don't really like RPM's. They do very well at low to mid RPMs. They make a pile of torque. Best results are below 5500 RPM. Try to locate a pair of RamAir IV heads. Use a dual plane intake. If you are on a budget Summit has a couple of good cams for your app. The Summit SUM 2801 or the SUM 2802. They should give you a lope at idle but offer great low end and midrange power. This is a big as I would go. Try to stay under .480 lift if possible. Take advantage of their steep torque curve. I really like the Lunati BMII cam also. Use a very good ignition! Get all your advance in by 2000 or so. Fight the urge to change the charactoristics of the motor. Select your components wisely. Build it to perform at or below the 5000>5500 range and you will not be dissappointed. Your 3.73:1 rear ratio is about as low as you should go also. This will help keep proper engine RPM and utilize the engines torque well. Good luck with your Indian!
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:53 PM
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To touch base on what I mentioned about intake manifolds. The Edelbrock Performer or PerformerRPM dual plane intakes would be very good choices. Also a 2500 stall converter would support my cam recommendations. When selecting your camshaft try to limit your choices to something around 220* duration @ .050 and less than .480 lift. This would work well with the factory/stock components. I believe that the factory RamAir III cam was less than .450 lift and around 220* duration @ .050, very similar to the Lunati BMII 284 cam. Talk to a tech at any of the big cam manufactures and he can make camshaft recommendations based on your specific engine and components. These are just what have worked well for me for years.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:46 PM
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Couple points that may have been misunderstood:

The Pontiac engines generally speaking, have a flat- not steep- torque curve.

You can VERY easily over stall speed a Pontiac. I wouldn't use a 2500 RPM stall speed TC on a 455 street engine, and only on a 389/400 if it had what verged on too much cam.

RA IV heads are WAY overpriced for what they deliver, flow/performance-wise, they're rare and expensive as hell for what you get.

For a Pontiac street engine, there's little point in going small. The 455 engine will run mid 12's w/nothing more than 6X-4 heads w/stock valves, 4-tube headers and a cam. Rear gears can be as high as 3.08, 3.31's is what my engine liked best.

This combo will do mid-12's shifting at 5K RPM, in an all-steel 2nd. gen F-body.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:04 PM
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Im building a 455 right now too, have a few others running around the yard. PPR, Butler, Kaufmann and others have inexpensive forged rods, they usually go for about $240 a set for press fit pins. I dont have anyone who balances engines up here so I ordered a crank kit from Butler, more expensive than using the stock crank I have but I get 6.8" rods and Ross slugs with the 4.25" stroke. You can get by just fine with the stock crank, decent rods, and some inexpensive forged pistons.

The Summit 2802 is a good cam, Ive run them in 400s and 455s, they dont really lope in a 455 but it isnt a stock idle either. They make good power from idle to 5500, which is about all you need from a 455. The 2802 is the cam I am using for the current build and its intent is a mileage mule on ethanol. I tend to shy away from the Comp XE grinds, they work good in low compression 350 sbcs, but leave a bunch on the table with a 455. Bullet Cams have the grinds for the UltraDYne cams and they work very well. Call them and tell them you want an UltraDyne 280/288, or a 288/296 if you port your heads. Both of those make great power and idle nice with the latter cam being a bit rowdy. You could also go with a RAIV cam with ported heads, but I like the UD288/296 much more.

As for heads, well you have a choice of aftermarket heads, but you dont really need them like Cobalt said. 72cc heads (like RAIV) will give you 11:1 compression which is too much for pump gas in these engines. the 6X-8 heads will have low compression which is ok if you want to run 87 octane. However a set of 6X-4, 5C, 7K3 (without headers), 4X-4, or 96 D ports will give you pump gas friendly compression. If you have E85 available you can run that with any of the small chamber heads. Mine is getting milled 48s for right at 13:1. If you dont get enough octane in it you will knock the upper rod bearings out, or start breaking pistons.

The intakes you have will work. The Performer RPM will not fit under your hood, the only way it will work is with a shaker and a drop base under it. With what you want to do it is overkill anyway. I assume you have EGR intakes, they work fine and dont lose much power from the 67-72 intakes. The Performer is a bit small for a 455, but with very tall (2.41-2.93)highway gears it works ok. Stay away from single plane intakes on a low compression 455 with stock heads. You will go slower, burn more gas, and it will load up at idle.

You dont need lots of gear, the 3.73 is a bit steep for a 455. Cobalt was dead on with 3.08 but you can run a 3.42/3.55 if you cant find 3.31. 3.55 is the absolute most you want with a 455 like you are building. If you have more gear than that you are going to run slower, that engine will pull a heavy car with a highway gear no problem, it isnt a 350. A bud of mine was running mid 12s with 2.56 gears, the 280/288 cam, stock 6X-4 heads, and a Performer intake in his 80 Formula. You dont need the gear, the 455 has grunt.

I like the 400 high stall you can pick up at pretty much any transmission shop for $100-$150. Its a copy of the L88 Corvette converter and it stalls between 1900 and 2200. I have run 11s with a 455 and this converter in a 3700lb Firebird. More stall than 2400 is not using the thick bottom end grunt the 455 produces, so you will not pick up as much. The high dollar route is a Continental, they are very nice converters and will drive around normally until you whack the throttle. One set up for your cars weight, gearing, and the engine combination you decide on will outrun the L88 copy I have used.

The GTO in my project journal has a 455 with 5C heads, 280/288 cam, stock intake, Qjet, 2004R trans, stock converter, 2.93 gears, and 1 5/8 cheap Summit headers. Its a 4100lb nose heavy traction limited barge that runs 13.50s all day long on 87 octane. it drives nice, and with the OD trans got over 20mpg highway between Nebraska and South Carolina.

If you want to run ethanol I can help you out with that. Some people dont have it near them, I make my own.
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