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Old 07-30-2009, 07:27 PM
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Tall deck 427, first motor build?

hello, this is my first post here. i am no noobie to wrenching, but my engine building skills have not yet truly been tested. google is my friend, and led me here. i have recently found a tall deck 427 sitting in a forlorn dump truck, and as of right now all i know is that it turns over. i can have the motor (and the whole truck) for free, so i immediately started thinking about how sweet a big ol truck engine would be in place of the tired 350 in my work truck/dd/tow rig. my truck is an 89 3/4 ton GMC, not a hot rod but that doesn't mean it can't tow one some day...

i just want a basic, reliable, strong motor.
so i need to know a few things:
can i swap the TBI efi setup from a 90s 454 truck?
should the heads be swapped too?
where can i find a rebuild/rering kit?
if my target power was 325hp and 450 ft/lbs, how crazy would i need to get with cam, heads etc?

it would be even better if it got decent mileage too, i think its possible since in the 2 ton truck chassis people report 8-10, and i'd be happy to see 15 in OD on the freeway in my "little" truck. the crappy part is it will have to pass smog, but from all the reading i have done, it sounds like this is the block that i would like to start with (and eventually build a stroker motor) and for now i can just swap all the top end/emissions controls onto the block.

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Old 07-30-2009, 09:54 PM
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Tall deck blocks are great for high horse stroker motors or stock dump truck motors. Anything in between requires so much compromise that it isn't worth the great expense.

Rebuild kits are everywhere. I recommend Northern Auto in Iowa. The pistons are HEAVY and have 4 rings. No compression. The heads have heavy small valves and ports. STRICTLY low rpm (below 3650 rpm) high torque setups

454 tbi will not work without intake spacers and a compatible distrib. (+.400 deck). Your hp. figures are easily reached with aftermkt common parts. But, I would start with a short deck for such a mild build. You would be money ahead to Ebay the tall deck block and start with a 9.800 block.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:36 PM
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i can't remember the last time i had my small block over 4 grand, same with the vortec 8100 in my pops 2500HD. i think the low powerband heads will be fine for what i want to do.

i will keep the tall deck block. sounds like it will have a forged bottom end, thicker walls, more drilling in oil galleries etc. i'd like to keep it stock displacement for now (probably .030" over). which pistons and rods should i be looking for if i wanted to change to 3 ring car pistons? i'm thinking this will go a long way toward making the motor rev a little more freely, and shed some weight too.

so heres where i am heading in my mind:
427 tall deck, standard crank, +.030" bore
oval port, open chamber 80s era heads w/ 2.06 in 1.72 ex (i want to do my own port matching job)
8.5:1 cr ratio with 3 ring cast pistons (need help here)
Cam: Lunati VooDoo 60200LK or Comp XE256H
454 TBI EFI system, performance chip
TBI manifold with spacers (need help here too)
HEI billet distributor
truck exhaust manifolds (or shorty smog headers?)
aluminum water pump, hi-psi oil pump, windage tray etc

-what is considered a "peanut port" head? all oval ports or just the really small runner ones?
-for the intake spacers, where do you find those, i am assuming they go in the same place as the intake gasket?
-for the distributor can i machine down the intake manifold .400" or do i need to buy a taller distriubutor? i can't find any for a tall deck on jegs/summit etc...
-do i just order longer pushrods, or can i reuse the ones from the truck block?
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:05 PM
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If you insist. Here is the way to go.

3 ring 427 pistons can only be used with +.400 rods. In a tall deck.

Oval port heads. Look for 74-78 light truck, 049 or 781 castings are proffered. The eighties heads have "peanut ports" VERY small intakes. About 1/3 the size of earlier oval port heads.

Best bet for manifold spacers is E-bay. I buy three or four sets a year for around $40-50.00. Average price is usually $70.00. Spacers LEAK!

Distrib can be modified by turning the mount flange off and buying a collar from MSD. MOST intakes cannot take the .400 cut. A 1/4"plate must be welded to the bottom of the dist area. Even then you have to place a spacer on top of the mount flange to get the dist hold down to hold correct position.

NO high pressure/high volume oil pumps on street Big Blocks! All they do is cause excessive wear on the backside of the cam gear/face of block.

NOW take a look and all you have from the original tall deck is the block, pushrods and crank. I was under the impression this was going to be low buck first engine. BOB

Last edited by BOBCRMAN@aol.com; 08-02-2009 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeninetynine
i can't remember the last time i had my small block over 4 grand, same with the vortec 8100 in my pops 2500HD. i think the low powerband heads will be fine for what i want to do.

i will keep the tall deck block. sounds like it will have a forged bottom end, thicker walls, more drilling in oil galleries etc. i'd like to keep it stock displacement for now (probably .030" over). which pistons and rods should i be looking for if i wanted to change to 3 ring car pistons? i'm thinking this will go a long way toward making the motor rev a little more freely, and shed some weight too.

so heres where i am heading in my mind:
427 tall deck, standard crank, +.030" bore
oval port, open chamber 80s era heads w/ 2.06 in 1.72 ex (i want to do my own port matching job)
8.5:1 cr ratio with 3 ring cast pistons (need help here)
Cam: Lunati VooDoo 60200LK or Comp XE256H
454 TBI EFI system, performance chip
TBI manifold with spacers (need help here too)
HEI billet distributor
truck exhaust manifolds (or shorty smog headers?)
aluminum water pump, hi-psi oil pump, windage tray etc

-what is considered a "peanut port" head? all oval ports or just the really small runner ones?
-for the intake spacers, where do you find those, i am assuming they go in the same place as the intake gasket?
-for the distributor can i machine down the intake manifold .400" or do i need to buy a taller distriubutor? i can't find any for a tall deck on jegs/summit etc...
-do i just order longer pushrods, or can i reuse the ones from the truck block?
You can tell peanut head's,small valve's,and small port's..
You can buy the spacer's at Jeg's..
You can run a reg Distributor,You have to machine the collar off,And make a slip collar..Are just buy a dist with the slip collar..

This was my 57 Chevy with a 427 tall deck.I had 18.50 tire's and a 300 gear.9''ford.At around 45 MPH It would fry the tire's.I hit it one time in front of my house from a dead stop,Laid down two ''BLACK'' mark's well over 150 feet The car got side way's in I had to get out of it.But they can be made into a very hot motor..Believe me...

If you look good at the picture,You will see the two black marks I was talking about..
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:21 PM
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That engine is not a smog legal replacement for your '89 truck- only a similar or newer engine w/revised smog gear would be allowed in your truck, not an older engine- even if used w/newer smog control. It would never pass even a visual inspection.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBCRMAN@aol.com
NOW take a look and all you have from the original tall deck is the block, pushrods and crank. I was under the impression this was going to be low buck first engine. BOB
i guess not so much low buck as "low" performance. i don't want a mega motor with 500 hp above 5k, i just want a healthy stockish big block that will live in my daily driver and tow like a ****. i'm not opposed to spending a little extra coin to do it right, i've got 230k on my stock 350 and i want this motor to last just as long. as the motor sits right now, i'm sure the heads are less than desirable, and new pistons are a given on a rebuild i thought? i can pick up peanut port heads on craigslist under $100 all day long, the block is free and a good start. i read an article comparing heads in car craft and a 496 with peanut heads still made 600+ lb/ft. seems pretty impressive to me?

getting past smog in CA is not as hard as you would think. if you have ALL the emissions controls in place, then it shouldn't matter that the block is from the early 80s, it will just look like a 454 with a fresh paint job. i think i would just need to make sure i get the computer from an 89+ 454 TBI truck to control it all. i have spoken with a referee and they are much more helpful than the average smog tech at the corner shop. i think if you do a clean job, pass the sniffer test and go through the effort to make it as legitimate as possible (and make them feel like the boss lol) i will be free in the clear.

so are there any other options to the intake spacers (tig weld them on?)?
the distributor issue doesn't sound very hard to solve. is there anyway to retrofit HEI components onto it?

of course, i am waaaay jumping the gun on this. i haven't even taken a look inside the motor yet, let alone pulled it and had a machinist check it out. thanks for all the help so far, i'm beginning to think this is possible and not just a pipe dream.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeninetynine
getting past smog in CA is not as hard as you would think. if you have ALL the emissions controls in place, then it shouldn't matter that the block is from the early 80s, it will just look like a 454 with a fresh paint job. i think i would just need to make sure i get the computer from an 89+ 454 TBI truck to control it all. i have spoken with a referee and they are much more helpful than the average smog tech at the corner shop. i think if you do a clean job, pass the sniffer test and go through the effort to make it as legitimate as possible (and make them feel like the boss lol) i will be free in the clear.
I think you are deceiving yourself. There is nada that they have not seen trying to be foisted off as legit.

This engine will not even pass visual (tall deck w/spacers to let the intake fit, remember?), so you had better have your ducks in a row, in writing (good luck w/that, BTW) BEFORE you sink coin in this tall deck engine. What some ref tells you on the phone will mean absolutely nothing when the bullet hits the bone- you need the rules to say in black and white that what you are proposing is legal. To do otherwise is setting yourself up for spending a lot of time and money on something that will not be legal in that '89 truck, so you had better make sure first!
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:55 AM
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For all the money you're getting ready to drop on it it would be very advantageous to just run a 400sbc with Vortec heads, use a small cam (around 256-262), and some very basic hop up parts- you'd easily match the torque, surpass the power, and have better milage- all while being able to pass most visual inspections.

It'd be a lot cheaper too.

If you really want to go with a bigger enigne I'd atleast keep it a sbc for simplicity's sake. You're 427 has compromises written all over it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
What some ref tells you on the phone will mean absolutely nothing when the bullet hits the bone- you need the rules to say in black and white that what you are proposing is legal.
the refs are the ones you go to when you have to get things written off, not sure why he would tell me incorrect information. they seem pretty reasonable, he even said i could put a diesel from a newer model truck in.

if it really comes down to it and i can't get a ref to pass it off, i have a rock crawler that could use the motor just as well maybe even better, and it is soon to be titled as a 73 Ford pickup. hows that for sacrilege

i don't see what i am compromising that anyone else who builds one of these motors would be compromising (aside from running low rpm heads? and a stockish fuel system). is there absolutely no way to tig weld some spacers onto a standard deck manifold and just make them "manifold extensions." what kind of intakes do people use to build a tall deck stroker motor, no way do they all reuse stock dump truck intakes...
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:09 PM
How fast is fast enough?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeninetynine

i don't see what i am compromising that anyone else who builds one of these motors would be compromising (aside from running low rpm heads? and a stockish fuel system). is there absolutely no way to tig weld some spacers onto a standard deck manifold and just make them "manifold extensions." what kind of intakes do people use to build a tall deck stroker motor, no way do they all reuse stock dump truck intakes...
Your manifold is a compromise, your fuel system is a compromise, your heads are a compromise, your pistons are a compromise, getting it to fit will take a lot of work... And for the same money or less you could have made a stronger power plant that has much less compromises.

But sometimes each man likes to march to his own drum, even if he's marching in the wrong direction.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeninetynine
he even said i could put a diesel from a newer model truck in.
Don't take MY word for it- or the verbal assurances from some ref over the phone, either. Research the laws- they are very clear on older engines put into newer vehicles as being taboo. But, for the final time- that engine IS NOT a smog legal replacement. Period. NEWER engines into an older vehicle (w/proviso's) are another thing altogether.

Quote:
is there absolutely no way to tig weld some spacers onto a standard deck manifold and just make them "manifold extensions." what kind of intakes do people use to build a tall deck stroker motor, no way do they all reuse stock dump truck intakes
If you don't even know what is available for intakes (yes, there are intakes just for tall deck BBC's), then I know you've not done squat for researching anything, just poking around to see what the forum comes up with doesn't equal doing "research", IMO.

Anyway, good luck w/your rock crawler engine.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:43 PM
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If you live on this rock long enough, you'll come to realize that even if something is free, spending money on it can come back to bite you in the ying-yang.

If your 350 isn't a roller cam block, search out a roller block (for instance, '96-'99 L31 Vortec 5700 in Chevy trucks) and build a new 350 for your truck.

Trust me, you don't want to have more money into this tall deck motor than you intended, only to have the State say "sorry bud, yank it out".

Now, if you want a playtoy, then get the dump truck and squirrel it away until you can spend some money and time on it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:33 PM
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i don't want another 350, i don't want another small block period. i've yet to see a 400 SBC that didn't have over heating issues. small blocks belong in cars and short bed trucks, not long bed extra cab 4x4s with big tires. my truck weighs 6000lbs empty. i think mileage wise a very mildly built big block will be nearly the same as a stock 350 thats working twice as hard as the big block. obviously i won't swap the motor into my truck until i am sure i can get it past smog. my truck doesn't require ID number or VIN for the engine tho, so i doubt they would pull block numbers. i have spent all morning brushing up on the California vehicle code.

i still don't see what i am compromising so badly on for a motor that will spend 99% of its life below 4000 rpms (and probably 50% of its life below 2500 rpms)? basically just a stock big block with a cam and EFI to hop it up a little bit. car pistons with longer rods will give a very good stroke to rod ratio, lighter rotating assembly than the stock truck, and the chance to dial in my compression a little better too. finding a little better set of heads shouldn't be a problemi read another thread on here where someone mentioned stock power for one of these motors was 200hp, 400 tq. sounds like a welcome improvement from my stock 350s 200hp and 300 tq., and i bet with a cam, EFI and non-peanut port heads i would be over the 290hp/450 tq of a TBI 454 with peanut heads.

how does a set of 113cc chamber 2.19/1.88 heads sound?

i am just starting my research, thats why i posted here. guess i will just look harder for a tall deck aluminum 4bbl manifold and run a adapter for the TBI. or is TBI in general a compromise? i fail to see why. sorry, i'm not gonna run a carb, and i'm not going to go with vortec/some other MPFI for simplicitys sake. TBI is plenty fine for my needs, plus i can get parts for it from autozone in baja. that right there is a deal breaker alone.

why is everyone so against this idea? i guess i just don't see what makes it a terrible idea to use a free TRUCK heavy duty block instead of a CAR block for a new powerplant for my TRUCK. i'm not doing anything to this block that i wouldn't do to a junkyard motor. i'd rather build a motor myself than spend the 5+k on a crate 454 "towing" edition that is basically the same thing and still have to get parts to complete that.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:45 PM
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If you aspire to have 300 HP and 400 ft/lbs. torque, that is so damned easy to achieve (w/durability and reliability and EZ parts availability) w/a SBC- even at 350 cid- that it's child's play.

For what you can foist the TD BBC off to somebody for, you'd be 75% of the way to having the 300 X 400 SBC.

While you are daydreaming about "free" TD 427's, be sure to wake up long enough to realize that to run TBI you will need either a complete custom harness and ECM or the entire harness, all sensors, a BBC TBI set of injectors and ECM (likely along w/a custom chip) from a BBC truck that also had TBI to make it even think about heating its own water and passing any kind of smog test- but that won't be a problem, it'll NEVER PASS VISUAL!!!
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