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Old 12-06-2003, 09:21 PM
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"57" 283 build ideas.using 539 heads

My name is mark I am new to this forum.

I have a 57 belair.It has the power glide and a 283.

I want to keep my engine as stock looking as possible.

I do however need a bit more hp. I want about 280 hp.

I already bought a pair of 539 pp heads.

I also sent them to a machine shop to put 1.94 valves in them.

What cam would you suggest. (I want great road manners and idle,I do not want to lose any bottom end)

I will be keeping my 4bbl wcfb carter carb,ram heads and dual exhaust. I believe my rear has 3.36

Thank yoy in advance.
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Old 12-06-2003, 09:46 PM
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I believe your horsepower expectations to be unrealistic.

Chevrolet only rated their 57 283's at 270 HP with 2 fours, a lumpy '097' solid lift camshaft and a dual point distributor.

You want MORE with 1 carburetor and a mild, smooth idle?




I would suggest a aluminum intake (paint it if you must) and good carburetor, a hidden breakerless ignition and a new camshaft (but smooth idle) to gain more power.


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Old 12-06-2003, 09:47 PM
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Put a stock 400 in it in place of the 283 shortblock.
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Old 12-06-2003, 10:33 PM
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Try an Edelbrock Performer EPS intake and their matching cam. Throw on a K&N and you'll be good to go.
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Old 12-06-2003, 10:38 PM
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I agree, the Performer series will get you close to 1HP/CI. Sounds like a great project.
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Old 12-07-2003, 07:36 AM
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The 539 heads

First off Thanks to everyone who replied.

Does anyone have an opinion about the 539 heads I bought?

I paid $300. for them.The numbers match (its important to me)

Do you think going with the 1.94 valve was wise? or will it shroud.

How about flow?
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:03 AM
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For information about the heads rely on your engine builder. I buy 1.94 heads and have them hogged out to either 2.02 or 2.05 depending on my cash flow. Some porting and polishing will be helping your performance too. There is no replacement for displacement dude but I don't think I would Punch it out if its still in stock condition. K&N air filter KIT will help. A mild Street cam, the engine builder should help there, I think its called and RV cam. Good luck to you.


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Old 12-07-2003, 11:49 AM
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Re: The 539 heads

Quote:
Originally posted by mark anderson

Does anyone have an opinion about the 539 heads I bought?
The numbers match (its important to me)
Do you think going with the 1.94 valve was wise? or will it shroud.

If you want to keep the 'stock' appearance and are concerned about the numbers matching on the heads.............it would be safe to believe you are going to keep the 57 283 block........correct?

The bore on a 57 283 is 3.875
If you bore it .030 ...to clean up the cylinder walls.......you are at 3.905.

A set of 2.02 intake / 1.60 exhaust valve heads will NOT clear the block without notching and most (if any) will not have the staggered valve cover pattern that came on the early SBC ...up to Feb. 1959.


Do not get very concerned about HorsePower numbers.....just try to add torque to the little 283. Torque is what moves a heavy car like a 57 Chevrolet. Plus bigger valved heads give away low speed torque to gain high RPM flow and HP.

A 57 Chevrolet with 283 (w a P/G and a 3.36 gear) will never be quick........just freshen it up and ENJOY the look, style and desirable value of your neat old car......



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Old 12-07-2003, 12:26 PM
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I already own the 539 heads and....

Hi,

I already own the 539 heads. I was going to put 1.94 valves.

The numbers match right down to the month (I did a lot of looking)

The heads never were machined.

Before I dish out big bucks on machining I just wanted other opinions.

These are the heads that rated at 220 hp with the wcfb 4 bbl carb. at 9.5 cr.

Do you believe these valves will shroud or drop my low end?

Would I get the same benefit by leaving the 12.74 and put bigger lift and cam change.

I do not want a race car just something thats not so slugish
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Old 12-07-2003, 12:54 PM
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Perhaps 1.84" intakes would be better. 1.84" valves were used on the 305 camaro heads (416 castings).

1.94's might be a bit big, especially if you want any torque. I would try mild home porting, 30 degree back-cuts on the valves, and any other tricks you know of that are supposed to work.

If it wasn't for the huge price, I would try a solid roller cam (I don't think you can get short hydraulic lifters that will work in older blocks) since that would probably allow less duration with a given lift, and would allow high RPM breathing without a rotten idle.

There was a 283 build-up in Car Craft (I think) a couple of years ago, with a title about Building a Mini Mouse or something like that. If it wasn't Car Craft, it may have been Super Chevy.
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Old 12-07-2003, 12:59 PM
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The 539s were used on the FI 283s, and were probably the best offered at that time. If you're looking for originality, you're limited to what GM offered, at least on the exterior, and 280hp is probably beyond reach. Even that rating was "inflated" by today's testing standards. I've read that the 270hp rating of '57 was actually 190hp.
There was a GM Duntov hydraulic cam available in the latter '50s that revved well and had a smooth idle. A friend had one in his '55 Chevy convertible with a 265 engine. I saw him beat a '60 Pontiac Catalina 389, two barrel, at the drags!
I don't remember the cam #, but someone on this board or a strictly Chevy board may remember.
Good luck.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:28 PM
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A .060" over 283 block with a Small journal 327 crank would give you a 316 incher that uses an over the counter 307 piston. More torque that you wouldn't be able to see from the outside. A 350 crank could also be used after turning the mains down to the small journal size. At .060" over, you would have 339 inches to play with.

A Comp XE256S-10 would be a nice choice for added performance and a near stock idle..........Dan
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
A Comp XE256S-10 would be a nice choice for added performance and a near stock idle..........Dan
Dan this is the cam for my 283 with the scenario you just mentioned.

Or would this be good for my original crank,539 heads and so on.

I really appreciate the help.I think I will put the machinest on hold till I am sure.

My engine was recently rebuilt stock so I doubt I will tear out the crank and rebore.

I at this point will be happy shooting for the power the original FI 283 put out using a combination of stock and new technology.

A Fi set up for this car with matching numbers is about $5,000.00

To much.
On the other hand if I use the 539's I can always go with the dual 4's which will bring up the value.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:58 PM
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I think you're working the wrong way at your project. Why don't you just decide what RPM range you want to drive in, what kind of driving characteristics you want and what idle, then chose some nice parts, build the motor that YOU WANT TO DRIVE, and let the numbers fall where they may. Chances are you'll be impressed by the motor and be happy with the combo. I don't know about "historical ratings" from everything I've read they're inflated, deflated and use a different system (gross vs net, we've already talked about it recently). Today's technology is WAY beyond the lobes, valves and runners they used in the 50's.

Your goal may or may not be realistic, I don't have enough experience with 283's to tell you. I do know that today's technology can get you a lot closer to that goal than the old school parts, and I there's such a jump between today and yesterday, talking about today's hp numbers and yesterday's are pretty much two different ball parks entirely.

K
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