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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
At a cross roads right now. I recently had a 454 engine built and its having issues with oil pressure. I've notice a lot of successful bracket racers running small blocks. What are the advantages of just throwing a small block in the car till I can rebuild the big block?
 

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A bit cheaper to build it lower HP levels, but otherwise there is no advantage to a small block in bracket racing.
If you are wanting to run in some of the faster classes it ends up costing you just as much as a BBC, and may end up being less durable since you've got to turn it more rpm for the same power.

Maybe detail the problems with your oil pressure and BBC, and we might be able to just help with fixing that situation?
 

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I like them both. The rest of this is fact mixed with opinion, so... just like buttholes....

The SBC is down on displacement, although with enough money you can make a 454 small block. What it lacks in displacement though it makes up for in architecture. There really is no such thing as a good, cheap, factory head for BBC. They have inefficient chambers. Getting to your goals with a BBC can sometimes mean higher octane, more spark lead, and arguably less streetability with the BBC. It's not really a huge jump, just something to consider. Given the huge popularity of the SBC, and the fact that GM put more research into the head architecture, there are more inexpensive heads that really perform well.

I enjoy building both, but the BBC usually takes more money per hp. Most of my builds are pretty mild. With the exception of my current LS, I've never built an engine that was much more than 1hp/ci.

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with a warmed-over SBC in place of a BBC. Enjoy the lighter weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A bit cheaper to build it lower HP levels, but otherwise there is no advantage to a small block in bracket racing.
If you are wanting to run in some of the faster classes it ends up costing you just as much as a BBC, and may end up being less durable since you've got to turn it more rpm for the same power.

Maybe detail the problems with your oil pressure and BBC, and we might be able to just help with fixing that situation?
Well I noticed that on start up my oil pressure only goes to 10 psi. The car sounds fine and runs strong but worried that's too low on start up. When you give the car gas the psi goes up to the 30 to 40 range.

I took the oil filter off and the oil was golden brown but the filter was light gray inside and the oil seemed a little like gel in the bottom. When I checked the oil after I changed it there were really small glitter pieces in it but no metal on the end of the drain plug. I put in fresh oil without any zddp additive and a new filter. I plan to start it today.

Only thing I can think of is maybe worn crankbearings as the tolerance was a little tight when my stepdad put it together. Also not sure oil is getting to the top of the engine as rocker arms are dry on first four on both sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is there a reason you're not tearing it down ?
I'm all honesty I'm intimidated and don't want to screw something else up. My stepdad and I rebuilt the 454 and look how that turned out. I have a two 350 shortblocks laying around. Debating trying to find some stock heads and putting something simple together to race. My friend said the 454 is probably fine and I should run it. I dont think its smart.
 

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Everybody screws up .
If its in the car , get it out . start disassembly , one thing at a time . Get some boxes/ bags etc for parts , lifters must be labeled / kept in order so they go back in the same holes. Buy a book or watch some you tube . The big block is screwed up , good motor to learn on , Its of little value as it sits , might as well use it to learn instead of screwing up something else trying to learn ..If you blow up the engine is your " friend" going to foot the bill ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everybody screws up .
If its in the car , get it out . start disassembly , one thing at a time . Get some boxes/ bags etc for parts , lifters must be labeled / kept in order so they go back in the same holes. Buy a book or watch some you tube . The big block is screwed up , good motor to learn on , Its of little value as it sits , might as well use it to learn instead of screwing up something else trying to learn ..If you blow up the engine is your " friend" going to foot the bill ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I seriously doubt he will. He thinks its nothing major as engines are allowed to have 10 psi when hot. I plan to take it out this weekend. Would you throw in a used 350 just to have something running ?
 

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What are your goals and budget?

Bracket racing? In my world that means consistency. How much power are you looking to make? 400-500hp - a BBC is way cheaper. Past that theBBC money starts getting exponential until a point - somewhere around 1000-1200. Then aftermarket BBC short block parts start getting cheaper than SBC short block parts at that power level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Right now I'll settle for something around 300 hp that I wont have to worry about a ton of maintenance on. I've thought about getting another 454 but the weight and fear that I'll have the same issue once I put in a new cam and lifters has me shying away from it. I've honestly thought about getting a junkyard 350 and calling it a day. Just frustrated the joy of having my first racecar and going to the track to needing to tear it down and see what's wrong has me down
 

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For that goal I'd stick with a SBC (or junkyrad LS).

A stock bottom end 350 with a set of budget heads - compressio in the 11.5-12.5:1 with C16 or 10:1 with pump 93. Low budget single plane and budget long tubes headers will get you into the 400hp range easily with a proper cam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For that goal I'd stick with a SBC (or junkyrad LS).

A stock bottom end 350 with a set of budget heads - compressio in the 11.5-12.5:1 with C16 or 10:1 with pump 93. Low budget single plane and budget long tubes headers will get you into the 400hp range easily with a proper cam.
Which cam? I had a 280h in my 454. The car has a th350 transmission with 4:56 gear. I like the ls but they are work intensive to run a carburetor on
 

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If you'll do some research ( reading) you'll find that their are multiple possibilities . unfortunately , most won't be found without at least some disassembly & testing . The internet is a treasure trove of knowledge , all anyone needs to do nowadays is search & read , READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN until you can form a valid opinion of where to look , what to check . On a big block , there is a plug in the front just above the oil pan , that will tell you the pressure after it come through the engine . Get a priming tool & turn the oil pump with the crank in different positions , check the valve train oiling while doing this . 0 oil pressure at idle & no oil to half the valve train is not acceptable , The more you run it , the more you potentially hurt it ! No one can tell you what's wrong , only possibilities ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If you'll do some research ( reading) you'll find that their are multiple possibilities . unfortunately , most won't be found without at least some disassembly & testing . The internet is a treasure trove of knowledge , all anyone needs to do nowadays is search & read , READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN until you can form a valid opinion of where to look , what to check . On a big block , there is a plug in the front just above the oil pan , that will tell you the pressure after it come through the engine . Get a priming tool & turn the oil pump with the crank in different positions , check the valve train oiling while doing this . 0 oil pressure at idle & no oil to half the valve train is not acceptable , The more you run it , the more you potentially hurt it ! No one can tell you what's wrong , only possibilities ...
Yes sir. I'm going to take it out this weekend. A buddy has a 307 he's going to give me... I know it's going to be a dog.
 

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Yes sir. I'm going to take it out this weekend. A buddy has a 307 he's going to give me... I know it's going to be a dog.
Do some detective work on the 454 and see if the problem isn't something fairly easily dealt with and you could put it right back in and be in great shape...................way before you just go ahead and slap a rotten old 307 in there and run 16's in the 1/4.

Everybody who is a hotrodder or racer has been right where you are now, on the cusp of enough knowledge but afraid to dive in and learn, hands on to figure the basics out.

Maybe we should ask, just how much of the current "rebuilt" 454 are original GM part, and what machine work was done??
What is new in it??
 
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