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Old 05-06-2011, 09:21 AM
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Good morning everyone,
Originally Posted by
Now there is an impossible combo. Cheap drag racing or cheap big block.
I suppose no racing is every cheap. I guess what I am ultimately after is cheap thrills while learning something. My thinking was that perhaps buying a used 454, investing a in good transmission and keeping my expectations low might be a nice combo.

Originally Posted by techinspector1
Any 4.250" bore block would be a good starting point, I would think. I haven't done any of the Gen V or VI big blocks, but maybe one of the other fellows who dabbles in them will post experiences.
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
Now on the 80`s 454`s. Dead players. By the 80`s rolled around the emissions standards were in full swing so they only came in low performance smog versions that have dirt low 7.9:1 compression. The base models also came with "peanut port" oval port heads which are awful flow wise as the small runners are made for torque. The high performance 454`s were gone by the time 1972 rolled around. The rest of the 70`s, 80`s and part of the 90`s were all awful dirt low compression smog engines. This is why most buy a 454 for the crank, rods and block, the rest they pretty much throw away. The Vortec 7400 would be what I`d be looking for, they came with factory hydraulic roller cams and since they already have roller tappets you can order a bigger roller cam for it without breaking the bank. From what I understand the Vortec big block heads aren`t that great so you`d be stuck trying to find some used older performance heads. It`ll all come down to what your looking to spend. Since I`m not a big block guy I can`t tell you which heads to look for but I`m sure someone else will chime in behind me and be able to tell you
I would personally like to keep everything under $2500. Now, that is what my wallet is telling me, and it doesn't know what a realistic budget for what I am trying to do is. I am willing to search, barter, and scavenge for good deals in order to keep the costs low. Now that I think about it, I am looking for a nice junkyard jewel. I would've never thought of the Vortec motor so I'm glad you brought that up.

Originally Posted by Bowtie man
The heads of choice as far stock heads are the 049's an 781's. There could be some other heads out there that would work also, but time has proven what flows better. The two numbers I have listed are a good start.

If you go with a 4.250 bore then you have a good starter block. The 3.76 stroke will net you a 427 an the 4.00 stroke will get you a 454. The 454 combo with .060 bore makes for a puller at 468 cubic inches.
Any ideas what year motors those heads came on? or would I be better off just searching for a good set of heads with those castings?

Originally Posted by cal1320
A mild 454 with a 3 speed trans would be reliable and fun. Cast crank, 781 heads with 2.18/1.88 valves, around 9 or 9.5 to 1 compression(pump gas), RPM intake, 750/800 holley, 3500 stall, cam around 245 @ .050 and .570 lift will be easy on the valvetrain, rear gear depending on tire size
This should get you about 525hp at the wheels. Mid to high 11s and will last forever as long as you dont over rev it
That's two votes on the 781's. As for the three speed transmission, in your opinion, a TH-350 will do? The rear end has a spool. I need to find more information on that and report back.

Originally Posted by matts37chev
seems like there are always late 70s and rearly 80s, 2wd 3/4 ton trucks with 454s and t400 trans.
for $500-$2500 this would be a good cheap combo
the problem is most have low perf heads
See that's exactly what intrigued me. The prices are low, and I imagine will only continue to fall given the current economic situation and gas prices. So I figured, as uneducated as it may sound (but hey, that's why I am here ), that I could plop one of those set ups into the Camaro for cheap and just simply have fun with it. As for the low-performance heads, I've reading about those. I imagine a swap to better flowing heads shouldn't be over complicated?

On a related note, this article definitely got me hooked. The featuered shop uses the peanut heads: "Cheap Big-Block Chevy Engine Build - $2,650 Big-Block Chevy"..


Originally Posted by techinspector1
A Glide is the transmission of choice today, but not a stock one. Most of them today are highly modified by professional builders or are completely new aftermarket units. The fellows used to tell me that up to 2800 lbs, a Glide works good. Heavier than that and the car will probably go quicker with 3 gears.
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
A stock glide won`t last behind a big block worth it`s skin. The reason for PG use is for drag cars that are interested in running consistant. Since the PG only shifts once and the first gear is so high then the car, depending on weight, will need really deep gears. If the car is almost full weight then it`ll need around 5.13 or lower gears and alot of stall converter.
One advantage of it is, the higher first gear reduces the chance of wheel spin but that shouldn`t be a concern if a TH350 or TH400 is used if the rear end is set up properly with good sticky tires.
Originally Posted by Bowtie man
The powerglide if built will hold up. But have to be built with different performance parts. If the car is heavier then you need a built TH350 or 400 turbo.
I am seeing similar rules in my research as the ones you guys have mentioned.

I believe the car is around 3000 lbs in stock trim. The interior is going to be gutted. The stock gas tank has been replaced with a 5 gallon fuel cell. The car itself is a T-Top so it may be heavier than a coupe. I might possibly install a roll bar.

The car came with M/T slicks. Also, I was told by the previous owner that the car has a "spool" rear end.
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