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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting a free running Chevy 454 and want to build a cheap 1/4 mile car or truck. What would you do with this engine? I'm thinking new rings, bearings, and oiling system and intake. Does anyone have a 454 and a timeslip time to share.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will let you know when I pick it up. But it's running so I plan on running it after a MILD build. I don't want to put more than $350 in parts in it. And I want to run it right away because of a small budget with new rings and then make changes. It will be a dragstrip only car.
 

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Most likely a very low compression engine (7.5:1 cr) with the stock pistons and heads. In order to run a long duration cam, the compression will need to be raised a lot. If you have 781 or 049 heads (123cc) then swapping them for some 112cc semi-open heads (820's) would help get the compression up to 8.0:1. You should be able to run a moderate cam with 8:1cr, like 210 to 220 degrees duration at 0.050". 220 degrees isn't a drag racing cam but it is much better than stock . Otherwise, you will need some new domed pistons.

For a drag only engine, you should try to make about 10.5:1 cr and use a cam with about 240 to 250 degrees duration at 0.050". Of course this will also require stronger springs, push rods, and rocker arms. BBC's eat cams so makes sure to use diesel engine oil for more protection. Better rod bolts will also be a good idea.

Then you will need a better intake, carb, and a set of headers. Then you will need a high stall converter if it is an automatic transmission and lower gears with a LSD center section if you plan to get any traction at all. So, it looks like you will need to multiply your budget by at least ten times to get it going.

Another option would be to spray a 300 hp shot of n20 on that engine in it's current configuration. That could get you some pretty good times at the strip for about 350.00.

FYI, you could find some cheap BBC racing parts (intakes, carbs, headers, ect) at your local swap meet.
 

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JPEGEngines said:
I'm getting a free running Chevy 454 and want to build a cheap 1/4 mile car or truck. What would you do with this engine? I'm thinking new rings, bearings, and oiling system and intake. Does anyone have a 454 and a timeslip time to share.
You need to find out exactly what you have, heads, block, etc. Which deck height block is it?

You can easily go anywhere from 300 hp to 800 hp, how much $$$$$$$$ is in those pockets???????? :D

Cheap and BIG BLOCK don't fit together. Consider what you have and what you want.

If you start hopping up a truck engine, figure $ 15 per total horsepower until you get up there a ways, then $ 20 per total horsepower.

If you figure hop up stuff only ... figure $ 35 per horsepower added.
 

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killerformula said:
What about putting a mild street cam in his motor and milling the heads down to get about 9.0:1 out of it? Maybe something like an XE274?

K
If its a real low compression engine you can't get 9/1 by milling.

Even if you could, what you are suggesting will cost $1000.
Milling the compression surface, milling the intake surface, notching the pistons, correcting the valve train geometry, special pushrods, etc. Then the headers might not fit.

He should bore it and go good pistons.

But all we are doing now is speculating about a hypothetical situation.
 

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Some Punk Kid
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He says he only wants to spend $350. Which elimantes every thing you could possibly do besides basic rebuild and maybe wax the fan blades.
350 is not a realistic budget for a drag only car. To be completely honest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey thanks for all of the advice. I dont want to spend alot right up front. But I want to build a solid short block, then move on from there. Does anyone have any information on the $310 kit from Powerhouse? What is it's compression? The engine is in a 1985 3/4ton pickup. I will give numbers when I pick it up.
 

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As a few others have said, a $350 budget is not leaving you much room to go through the engine and do some performance upgrades. Assuming the block doesn't need to be bored and the crank is on good shape you're looking at $100-120 for bearings, a hydraulic cam and lifter set is $150. A complete valvetrain kit complete with matched springs, retainers, locks, and timing chain as well as the cam and lifters is $350+. A good intake is $150+. That's just a few things. Some things you can get used off Ebay for less but other things are best when purchased new.

$350 isn't even enough for a good stock rebuild, let alone a race only engine....
 

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On the upside, those are some of the good heads. With the right combination (high compression) and porting, they are capeable of 650-700 HP. Two of the good oval port heads are ones with casting numbers ending in 049 and 781. They have pretty small valves in stock form, I think something like 2.06 intake and 1.72 exhaust. Upgrading to 2.19 and 1.88 valves makes a decient improvement, but that would probably be a future upgrade. With the heads in stock form, I think with something like the xe274h cam (as long as you have enough compression), performer RPM intake, headers... you would be in the 375-400 hp range. With bigger valves, porting, and a larger cam, and 10:1 compression I think you could see mid 500's. Below is a motor with heads very similar to yours except with the larger vlaves. It also has a much smaller cam than the xe274h though.

This motor made (with 7.9:1 compression) ~400 hp and 460 ft lbs.
http://www.compcams.com/Community/Articles/Details.asp?ID=-1989283802

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Could I port and install larger valves in the heads I have and match them to the intake? Would that do the same as some better stock cylinder heads? I really don't want to buy new heads but I am willing to have all of the correct machine work done. What do you think?
 

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The stock truck heads are junk.The ports are so small that you cant even find a mild performance intake that will match them.Here is one way to wake up a dead truck engine.You need to score a set of late 60's closed chamber oval port heads.Dont let the vintage fool you,these heads are not sought after and can be had for under 200 bucks but are often given away.These heads have the same small valves as your truck heads,but the ports are bigger and the chambers are smaller.Have them rebuilt with the stock valves using a good 3 angle valve job and back cut both the intake and exhaust valves.Mill them .030" and intall them with felpro gaskets.This will give you a 9.25:1 engine with much better flowing heads.Purchase a cam kit such as the Isky 280 mega cam with lifters and springs.Have the heads assembled with the springs.Add a new high volume oil pump,passenger car oil pan and steel single roller timing set to the shortblock.Finish off the top end with new stock replacemnt rocker arms and replace any damaged pushrods.The best intake combo for this setup would be an RPM air gap and 750 double pumper,but in a budget you could do well with a used Torker and rebuild used Holley,or even a good q jet.A stock Early style HEI distributor with a good tuneuo should handle the ignition duty.

Here is a little advice about the shortblock.If it didnt smoke or knock,dont take out the pistons.Removing the pistons will only asure that you break the rings or damage the pistons on the wear ridge on the cylinder and if you arent boring the egine,then new rings wont seal any better then the old ones.I would take each rod cap off one at a time and inspect the bearings.As long as they arent discolored,I would reuse them but make sure they go back on the jounral they came from.Check the way the bearings fit into the ends of the connecting rods.If the bearing doesnt snap in tight,you can tweak it a little bit by speading it with your fingers to get it to fit snug in the rod.The same goes for the main bearings.It is possible to get the mains out with the crank in the engine if you know how to slide the top half of the bearing around the crank.Bearings that fit loose in the bores are a sign of overheated oil,and while they should be replaced and the crank reground,the tweak job will give you a lot of added assurance against a spun bearing once you start abusing this thing.There are a lot of variables here,but the combo I outline here could make 425 hp with headers and a set of good mufflers.

So good luck,and have fun with your junkyard dog.
 

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$350 is not a lot to work with, certainly not enough to "go racing".

The traditional "best bang for the buck" is usually a set of headers and dual exhaust, which will likely come close to spending all of that.

That engine (unless it has been modified previously) will have what is known as "peanut port" heads. After buying the headers, it would probably be the next hurdle. You might find a set of 781 or 049 heads in decent shape at a swap meet in that price range.

Once you get that big-block some breathing room ... then you can start adding horsepower with things like:
Camshaft
Intake
Carb
Ignition
etc
 
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