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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, I want to start building an engine that I can drop into a hot rod sometime. Hopefully soon. So I need some help building a strong engine. I know I want a 454, with at least 400hp? Maybe 550 with a shot of nitrous?

How would I go about building this engine. What would you do if it was you?

What is a good transsmision to go with it, manual or auto, and if auto what stall torque convertor.

What kind of carb set up? 4 barrel? 2 4 barrels?

Use a 4 bolt or 2 bolt?

Roller cam and rockers? No?

Maybe a super charger?

What kind of heads? Pisons? How much compression to run it on pump gas (premium at best(91 octane))

Basicly, what would you do if you wanted 400+ hp on a budget?

It will be going in a 50's style car by the way, my new rice killer project.

Please forgive me becasue I'm a noob, I just want to know what parts I should keep an eye out for.
 

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I think for that power output you'd be better off going with a smallblock. Perhaps a 383 or a 400. Easily able to produce the power you are looking for and you wont have the weight of a BB.

Definitely want a 4barrel.

4 bolt mains are going to be stronger for your bottom end.

If you are on a budget I'd stick with a hydrualic flat tappet cam unless you go with a later year block that will accept the change without a retrofit kit. Even then you are looking at 500+ bucks for just the cam and lifters.

If your going to supercharge it, it must be built for the supercharger. Determine if this is in your future BEFORE you build.

Heads and pistons are going to be determined on what RPM range and what compression you'll want to run respectively. That will be determined on if you want to run a blower or not.

Many people have gotten away with 11:1 compression using aluminum heads running premium but someone will chime in with more information on that.

What I have said is pretty general. I suppose in responce to a pretty general topic post.

What do you want out of this vehicle? How often and where will it be drive? Whats your budget?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I will be driving it almost every day during the summer, but will park it for the winter. Most driving will be in the city.
I want a 454 because I love the sound and torque. My buddy has one in his pickup and I love it.
A super charger is probably out of the question, my bugit is under 4500.
I deffinatly want to build a bigblock.
What hp could I get with 4500$ includeing nitrous?

Basicly I just want to roast the tires, kill some ricers and have some fun.
 

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400HP out of a budget 454 is a piece of cake. no need for 4 bolt mains, no need for forged crank nothing fancy at all.
build it as a low (8.5:1-9.5:1) flat top . You can probably even get by with stock type cast pistons, no need for forged for this application. pick a mild hyd. cam, something to operate to about 5500 RPMs. you have a ton of choices for cylinder heads, depending on what 454 you end up with, you may even be able to use the stock heads.
The late 70s-up peanut port heads arent as desirable, but Ive been told with porting & bigger valves, there great ,cause the small ports make great torque, Ive never done it, so dont know first hand. If you use production oval port heads, they respond well to 2.19/1.88 valve upgrade.
As far as roller rockers, if its a daily driver, only way Id use em is good quality set like comp cams Pro Magnums.
 

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hahahahahahaha 400 hp out of a 454, way too easy man


4 barrel carb, 4 bolt main, lose the nos it will kill your engine, roller cam, hydrolic lifters,vortech super charger. this engine will blow your pants off. with an old big car like that, you need some power to move it, if you only want 400 horse, go with a 350 small block, there cheap, every where, and are easy and cheap to build up



jj
 

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rat_guerue said:
hahahahahahaha 400 hp out of a 454, way too easy man


4 barrel carb, 4 bolt main, lose the nos it will kill your engine, roller cam, hydrolic lifters,vortech super charger. this engine will blow your pants off. with an old big car like that, you need some power to move it, if you only want 400 horse, go with a 350 small block, there cheap, every where, and are easy and cheap to build up



jj
No need for a 4 bolt main. N2O doesnt kill your engine if you know how to use it(but not needed for this application).no need for a roller cam( im a little confused,are you talking about a hydrulic roller cam ?) no need for a supercharger for this application. 400 HP from a 454 is probably cheaper, & more reliable than 400 HP from a 350. + hes already said he wants a 454
 

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stepside454 said:
No need for a 4 bolt main. N2O doesnt kill your engine if you know how to use it(but not needed for this application).no need for a roller cam( im a little confused,are you talking about a hydrulic roller cam ?) no need for a supercharger for this application. 400 HP from a 454 is probably cheaper, & more reliable than 400 HP from a 350. + hes already said he wants a 454

350 small block is the most used engine out there, therefore it has the largest market and is by far the cheapest. you would spend around 2000$ for a short block 454. 400 horse is not much for an old heavy car like that, and a 454 would just add more weight to it. if you want this thing to be a rice eater, you need more hp, i know of a few rice burners( hate to say it) that would blow the doors off of this car, hands down. dont embarrass your self


jj
 

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Remember guys, torque is what moves you, not hp. And a BBC is needed for the extra torque for that heavy car. You can look around and see 396/402's all day long for around $$1500-2k, and having 450 lbs of torque easily. A 454 will have even more so, but the point is, torque is what moves you, and then worry about getting it to the ground. A mild BBC does not have to work as hard as a SBC due to the cubic inches, so it will be more streetable to obtain the power levels.

Love this board.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Wildman exactly my point. less work also means less revs, less revs means less money, no need for forged crank, good rods & pistons & valve springs etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, I think I'm going to start with finding a block. Where should I look (what old vehicles)?

I only said 400hp becasue I thought that was resonable for a small build up. What would it take to make 500hp?

If I used nitrous, it would only be very occational. What extra hp could I expect from a decent kit?
 

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Mollard, dont take offense to this. baby steps.
Clearly your new to all this, & you have alot to learn,get a grasp of what 400 HP & gobs of normaly aspirated torque is.. John
 

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Mollard, have you ever driven or ridden in a vehicle with 450-500+ lbs of torque? You don't understand what it feels like unless you have.

Nitrous is not needed for what you just said your intentions were.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Haha, yeah, I am a totaly noob.

My buddy has a 454 in his '80 4x4 chevy with 39" tires. And it moves that thing around awesome. I'm told it's around 500hp.

So what is the first baby step to making lots of torque?

I'm only suggesting nitrous becasue it seem like a easy way to get an extra 150 hp when needed. I will know I will ad it someday, so I want to build an engine that is prepared for it.
 

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Like people are sayin, take it slow and easy. First learn to build the engine . . . then learn to destroy it with the nitrous lol ;). Actually like was also said, its safe when done right. However can be very dangerous in the hands of a novice. If you are going to run a small shot of it in the future (100hp shot or so) then I'd suggest getting forged pistions for the safety. Dont need a forged crank or rods however.

400-500 hp and equal torque is gonna feel great. You'll love it. With that power it will take a little time before you get bitten again with the bug for more power.

Save your money for the 454 NA setup . . . later on consider the nitrous. With your limited budget you'll need it all for the engine. Most of my projects end up costing 1.5 - 2x what I planned. Just the way it goes.
 

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The first baby step is READ READ READ, go take a couple classes on it maybe. There is more than you could possibly imagine involved.

Would you prefer an auto or manual trans?

Can you weld?

I would say the easiest way to go about this would be to find a complete BB and trans in good condition, put it together, and make it work before you get crazy about power. If you don't have access to impact tools it will be alot tougher also. The more power you make, the more things break which could nickel and dime you to death.

Nitrous isn't a very good idea at all for street use. It would be more practical to get the power NA out of that big block over time unless you want to wrap it around a tree or get arrested for felony speeding and or drag racing?

Just some food for thought
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK, here's a new question. What type of block do I look for (year and stuff), and what type of vehicles do you find them in? Like a suberban or some ****?


That's a good start isn't it?
 

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Yes that would be a good start. You could also trying lookin in the classifieds and online for a 454 shortblock. You could get one already machined and assembled leaving you the top end to complete.
 

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Here is a basic daily driver friendly combo for a 461" bigblock that will churn out 500hp with mostly stock parts,and will handle a 200 shot of nitrous with no problem.Start out by getting yourself a stock 454 junkyard shortblock out of a mid 70's thru late 80's pickup truck,or an early passenger car.Try to find a complete assembled shortblock.When you find your shortblock,you need to measure the deck height of the block before you disassemble the engine.You can do this by cleaning off the tops of the pistons and using a straight edge across the bore and a feeler guage between the straight edge and the top of the pistons when they are at the top of their bore.Slide different feeler guages into each one to figure out how far down the stock opistons are in the deck,and then when you find the one that is the closest to the deck,write down the measurement,and tell the machine shop to deck the block and to remove at least that much material off the decks.Then have him bore and hone the cylinders,and check and correct the main cap bores if they are not in spec,and then finish prepping the block with the core plugs and cam bearings an such.
Then have the stock crank checked and if it isnt damaged or cut more then .030",have it ground to the next lower undersize,and have it gorund to the "low side of spec",your machinist will know what that meansget decent replacment bearings like the CL77 or FM HP series bearings.Have the stock rods fitted with aftermarket bolts and resized.You are now going to need to buy pistons.I would go with a set of TRW #2399 pistons,these will give you about 9.8:1 in the combo I am about to propose.Use new stock replacemnt rings that match the piston application{1970 LS6 454),and have the block honed to fit the pistons and finished for the rings.You can then have the bottom end balanced with a stock damper and flexplate,or you can upgrade to SFI spec stuff if you plan of running the car at the track with the nitrous on.
Now you need to finish off the shortblock with a mild hydraulic flat tappet cam such as the Isky 280 Mega cam.This is about as big as you can really drive every day without getting tired of the lope.Install the cam with new stock replacement lifters,and a good steel roller timing set.Button it up with a stock timing cover and a Moroso 6 quart trap door pan and matching pump.pickup.If you have a 55 chevy you might ned a special pan for this swap,so look before you buy.
Now you need to add a top end to it.I would splurge and get a set of the GMPP oval port aluminum heads,such a the ones that are put on the 502/502 motor.These are a great bargain for alloy bigblock heads and can be had for about $1700 fully assembled.You could install these heads as is and get good results,or for about $300 you can have a shop disassemble them,check all the critical specs such as valve spring height and pressure and guide clearance,and also have them back cut the intake valves,and touch up the stock valve job.Such a move could be worth another 20 or 30 hp,which is money well spent if you can afford it.With the shortblock ready for the heads,you have to measure the deck heigh of the new shortblock.If the pistons are all in the hole,and none of them are above the deck,then you would do well to bolt the heads on using a set of the felpro blue type gaskets made for the aluminum heads.If the pistons are out of the deck at all,then you need to buy gaskets that will give you .040' clearance between the pistons and the heads,so if for example the pistons are .010" out of the hole,you will need a .050" thick gasket.Such gaskets are available from shops that specialize in building race engines,as well as from some mail order houses.With the heads bolted on with new bolts,you need to top it off with a set of stock replacemnt stamped rockers,and then get youself a pushrod length checker{cheap plastic ones can be had for a few bucks},and figure out what length pushrods you need.You will need to order new pushords for this combo,and they will need to be hardened and also be the correct width to match the guide plates that come with the new heads{3/8" I think}.
With that done,you need to add an intake such as the edelbrock performer RPM air gap,and an 800 cfm double pumper carb.Finish it off with an MSD ready to run HEI distributor,and a set of 1 7/8" headers and you will have the overall combo to make about 520hp on pump gas with a moderately choppy idle,and good street manners.In a 3500# car with a 3000 stall covertor,a th400 trans,30" tall tires and 4.10 gears you should be able to get this thing well into the 11's on just motor and into the 10's on a 125 shot.The entire engine minus the nitrous will set you back a little under 5 grand if you shop right and build it yourself,but since it makes 520hp without nitrous,you should need to add the nitrous right away anyhow.Good luck and let us know how you make out.
 
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