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Old 04-12-2008, 07:24 PM
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BBC vs SBC

I am sure this has been on here before...but I have a question...If you can build a 406 plus inch SBC WHY build a 454 or slightly larger and suffer the weight and cost issues...The stoke will be the same or close...sooooo whats the advantage????I am looking at this from a foot brake drag car perspective....

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Old 04-12-2008, 08:24 PM
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My vote (I'm first) BBC
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:47 PM
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but way???

Thats the ????
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:53 PM
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Cubic inches are cubic inches, no matter how you look at it. Big blocks have big heads and often very large ports compared to small blocks and they tend to flow a lot more air/fuel which means more power potential.

I'd take a 454 over a 406 if I had the choice. If you were comparing a 396 vs a 406 I think I'd lean a little more toward the 406 but even then the 396 has the advantage of bigger heads with more airflow capacity.
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:04 PM
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Hmmm, good question. Well, no big secret SBC's are lighter. Conventional lore has it, 1000 lbs. is a second on the 1320, so do the math. Nowadays SBC's are displacing 454 c.i. in totally aftermarket form, BBC's can be had from the crate at 572 c.i. so it boils down to your wallet. When comparing apples to apples on tuning and induction, there's no replacement for cubic displacement. A big block can pull it's own weight without a doubt. Usually they are less stressed and will last longer cube for cube. If you give me 454 c.i. I WILL find a way to outrun 406 c.i.

The war rages on...
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:21 PM
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Big Block, definately .. no question ... more torque ... more power ... will withstand a lot more abuse. I'll take the weight with reliability. just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:36 PM
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Squeezing 454 CI out of a SBC is difficult and expensive. Sure it can be done,
however everything is very close together, bore spacing is to close, the camshaft
is too close to the crankshaft.

454 big block on the other hand is already there, just add high performance
parts as needed. The wide bore spacing will accommodate large valves for good
cylinder filling (production head casting are all thats needed). Cam location will
allow what ever camshaft specs required. Two negatives, weight and size.
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:45 PM
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Score BBC 5 SBC 0
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:53 AM
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I'm casting my vote for the small block...but thats only because personally I likely would not be building high performance engines for drag racing, I'd want the car to still be able to corner good...however, if I WAS building the engine for a truck or a drag car then I'd go with a big block all the way, no question about it
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:55 AM
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I'll vote for the small block. Dollar for dollar, you can get more ponies per peso with the smallie. Plus, if you're comparing like displacements, the SBC typically gets the job done with much smaller ports, which means drivability is up. SBCs also take advantage of MUCH better chamber designs meaning you can do it with less ignition lead, better MPG, and more compression on cheap gas. Add in the fact that they're lighter, and its hard to compare.

But, as has been said before, BBCs offer more cubes. A simple 60-over 454 displaces 468, so if its big cubes you want, you have to go BBC. But if we're comparing a 400 SBC and a 396 or 402 BBC, Hands down, I'd pick the SBC.

Its all in what you want. There are displacements that cross over, but if I want big cubes I'm not going to spend 5 figures to get a 454 small block when I can build a 454 BBC for $800.

One of my hot buttons is efficiency... not MPG necessarily, but thermal efficiency. I've had my share of BBCs, but the chamber design is far superior on SBCs. I can burn 87 octane in my 8.5:1 BBC with minimal detonation at 38* advance. I can run 87 octane in my 10:1 vortec SBC and never hear a ping at 32*.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:47 AM
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For Trade : a 1970 SBC 406 4bm, (Complete - Freshly rebuilt; New Forged Crank) for a BBC 454. BBC - Build it once and forget about it.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:54 AM
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Big block. Weight isn't that drastic, a SBC weighs approximately 575#, BB about 685#.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:01 PM
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I cant find the site right now but it said a bbc with aluminum heads weighs as much as a sbc with iron heads. The only downside to a bbc that I find is the price.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:37 PM
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I say BBC, a 454 with good compression, a stout cam and some good GM cast iron heads, will put some power and torque down.


I said right after we broke in and got on the 400 hard it reminded me of the ole 396s. but I would like to see a well built 400SBC against a well built 454 BBC run against each other in same or similar cars.


I just built my son that will be 16 in june a 400 (aka. 406SBC) for a 74 camaro, it's a M21 4 speed 342 10bolt posi, it has forged pistons and #186 camel hump heads and a stout bump stick with 10.76:1CR, Weiand alum intake, 750 Holley DP and that thing surprised me, it puts the Big Ole Horse Power Grin on yer face (I took a little timing out of it and pulled the secondary linkage off the 750). my son drove it again yesterday and said it don't get it like it did B4 you adjusted the timing ! I said HuH, as he don't know I pulled the secondary linkage off the carb. but as the 400 is basically a 2 barrel carb it is strong ! and is still barking 3rd gear.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:25 PM
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I throw my hat in the ring for a Big Block. One of the reasons is that you can build a 505 for the same price as a 427. Huge space in the crankcase, crazy angles of valves, and when you pop the hood all you can see is motor.

Big Blocks are just cool. Over the past year and a half I have built a 496, 383, 355, 358, 360, and messed around with some junkyard 350's for Ice racing. I am most proud of the 496 and can't wait to build another one.

I am not just talking about power, driveability, or efficiency but it takes some serious know how to build one and when you fire it up everybody in a 5 block radius will know you have something special.
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