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Thread: 454 build. Opinions on build.
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    V8orBUST is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    454 build. Opinions on build.

     



    Ok. So I'm starting my 454 build. 2 bolt main. Now I've heard from a lot of folks that the cam is the heart of the engine and was hoping that you all could share some knowledge on which parts to use with the cams I am considering. I'm not going to go over 600 in lift. So I have the magnum: COMP Cams K11-430-8, Comp Cams 'Magnum' Hydraulic Roller Camshafts | COMP Cams
    and the thumpr: COMP Cams K11-601-4, Comp Cams Thumpr Hydraulic Flat Tappet Cams | COMP Cams
    right now I also need a rotating assembly and heads. I'm looking at a budget build. If you guys could shed some light on what I need to pair with these two cams, I'd appreciate it!

  2. #2
    rspears's Avatar
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    I'm not the guy to advise you on parts, but there are experts here who can. I will offer that you'd be well advised to ignore any flat tappet cam, and focus only on roller cams. Today's oils, other than a handful of "racing" oils marketed, are stripped of zinc and phosphorus which are critical to the life of a flat tappet cam. Also don't fall into the marketing trap, selecting the cam for the way it sounds at idle (thump, thump, thump). You can easily have an engine that "sounds mean" at idle, but doesn't have the power to pull your hat off in mid-range and above. Like you say, the cam is the heart of the engine, and you've got to coordinate your block, rotating assembly, heads and gaskets and then select the optimum cam.
    There's been a ton of threads on here for BBC build advice, but the guys who know the magic generally jump in and explain soup to nuts. Good luck on your build!
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  3. #3
    V8orBUST is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Thanks rspears! Looking at pro comp heads. Any opinion on lunati voodoo cams? seems the rotating assembly is going to hurt the wallet the most.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by V8orBUST View Post
    Thanks rspears! Looking at pro comp heads. Any opinion on lunati voodoo cams? seems the rotating assembly is going to hurt the wallet the most.
    You're welcome, no problem. On the heads, I've got ProComps on my 347 stroker, but they were bought bare by my engine builder because he likes the amount of extra meat on them for custom bowl work in the chambers, plus he checks and corrects any machining anomalies before he installs the valves and springs of choice. I still ran into a couple of PITA issues, like the cast valve covers from ProComp didn't lap enough to seal, and I had to replace them with ProComp's fabricated valve covers, suggested by ProComp's owner. To their credit they gave me a super deal, selling them at cost and shipping free. Second, the spark plug holes are tight, and only the thinnest wall socket will fit down in the bore. Not a killer issue, but a hassle when a "standard" 5/8" plug socket gets stuck. I would NEVER consider buying a pair of ProComp heads complete, supposedly ready to run. Too many horror stories out there about cheap valves, springs and retainers and that's a sure way to ruin a new engine. With what I know today I would opt for one of the main line heads like AFR, Dart, or Edelbrock for example.

    I'll leave the cam question to someone else who has personal knowledge. I'm running a CompCams roller.
    Roger
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    Rrumbler is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Sorry for the preachy rant - deleted it.

    Roller cam.
    Last edited by Rrumbler; 04-12-2015 at 11:11 PM.
    Rrumbler, Aka: Hey you, "Old School", Hairy, and other unsavory monickers.

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  6. #6
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    Flat tappet cam in a BBC is a recipe for disaster. Pat McCarthy, BBC guru, will not build one for a customer unless the customer signs a release. Good enough for me.

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  7. #7
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    First of all welcome to CHR – I live on Bull Mountain so we’re practically neighbors! I would echo the flat tappet comments and would be very leery of building such as one miss step in the break in and the cam and lifters are toast. If allowed to continue, the wear on the lifters can be disastrous to an entire engine as they come apart and bits of metal are ingested - scarring and scraping their way through the oil system.

    The picture below is not one of my builds; however, it is similar to several I have seen when the person building the engine was not aware of the danger associated with today’s oil and lack of proper additives to allow proper break in of a flat tappet cam. I know rollers cost more, but they are definitely the way to proceed with your build.

    As mentioned by others, defining the objective, i.e., what vehicle and how you’ll use it will help us determine what advice to give. If you could share such and we can walk you through the process starting at the rear end moving through the transmission and building forward with tips on piston types, compression ratio, head selection and then cam selection. Stay away from rumpty-bump and huge loping cams as they typically indicate a very poor selection for the street and will allow a rice rocket with a fart can to embarrass you on a regular basis.

    Give us all the particulars and what your realistic “budget build” numbers are. Horsepower and inexpensive are nearly mutually exclusive terms, but if you have realistic expectations and are willing to save for the proper components, we can help you build something that performs well and will last a long time.

    Best,
    Glenn
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  8. #8
    V8orBUST is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennsexton View Post
    First of all welcome to CHR – I live on Bull Mountain so we’re practically neighbors! I would echo the flat tappet comments and would be very leery of building such as one miss step in the break in and the cam and lifters are toast. If allowed to continue, the wear on the lifters can be disastrous to an entire engine as they come apart and bits of metal are ingested - scarring and scraping their way through the oil system.

    The picture below is not one of my builds; however, it is similar to several I have seen when the person building the engine was not aware of the danger associated with today’s oil and lack of proper additives to allow proper break in of a flat tappet cam. I know rollers cost more, but they are definitely the way to proceed with your build.

    As mentioned by others, defining the objective, i.e., what vehicle and how you’ll use it will help us determine what advice to give. If you could share such and we can walk you through the process starting at the rear end moving through the transmission and building forward with tips on piston types, compression ratio, head selection and then cam selection. Stay away from rumpty-bump and huge loping cams as they typically indicate a very poor selection for the street and will allow a rice rocket with a fart can to embarrass you on a regular basis.

    Give us all the particulars and what your realistic “budget build” numbers are. Horsepower and inexpensive are nearly mutually exclusive terms, but if you have realistic expectations and are willing to save for the proper components, we can help you build something that performs well and will last a long time.

    Best,
    Glenn
    Well I'd say I'm willing to spend around 2500-3000 in the long run. It will be a slow build. But I'd be happy around 500+ hp. I've been told with a 2 bolt main I'd be better off getting a 496 stroker rotating assembly to better my odds of reaching those numbers. doesn't sound all that bad considering I could get that assembly for the same price as a 460 +.030 bore assembly. Advice?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by V8orBUST View Post
    Advice?
    Power is in the cylinder heads. Buy the best you can afford.
    If your plan is to keep the motor between 454 and 466 cubic inches, I would recommend a set of aluminum heads with 270cc or 280cc intake runner volumes such as Trick Flow PowerOval 280, Brodix RR BBO 270........ 300cc's and larger intake runner volume on these relatively small motors will require spinning them to the moon to achieve high velocity in the ports, which will require expensive parts in the valvetrain and the reciprocating assembly if the motor is to perform properly. COMBINATION, COMBINATION, COMBINATION. No part stands alone.

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    Tech tells you the truth, and it's a voice of experience. You'd be well advised to read and understand everything he offers (except for that da#ned 3 word story that he started)

    I think that you'll find your $2500 to $3000 total outlay is going to be light. I'd say you'll be very fortunate to keep it below $5000, but that's just a shot in the dark, and I could be all wet.
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    Roger
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  11. #11
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    $5K will be more realistic if you want a real runner. Figure on a thousand dollar bill at the machine shop.

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    How fa$$$$t do you want to go?
    There is a reason most cars can't run the quarter mile.

    These guys telling you to $pend more have your best welfare in mind.

    RS and tech really know their stuff.

    If I had it to do again, I'd have asked tech to 'build' the 318 in my dodge, and I would have probably more power with fewer greenbacks.

    Fact.
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    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
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    V8orBUST is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Say found some 049 large oval cores and had them worked on at a machine shop? I have a friend that said for a budget build they are the best flowing stock heads GM had. And with a little bit of work and stronger internals they would do well.

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    Ok – If you’re going to build a 496, this is the way I would approach it. Others will chime in and you can balance all the input and let us know what you opt to do!

    Let’s take it from the ground up and assume that you go the U-Pull-It and buy a 454 from a truck – two bolt small port that’s still readily available for about six hundred bucks. I’ve bought several cores from these guys over the last twenty years and they’re good about any issues with cracked heads or broken blocks so you know you’ll get a buildable base. Drag it home and completely disassemble and cart the block and main caps off to a machine shop for a thorough clean and test for integrity. If the machinists say’s it’s good, then have them do all the necessary work, i.e., bore the cylinders to.060” over the stock 4.250” measurement and hone to accept the new 4.310” pistons, square the decks, align bore the crank and camshaft bores and grind necessary clearances for the stroker (4.25”) crank. Have them install new cam bearings, brass freeze plugs and all of the necessary oil galley plugs. Also have the machinist install your new pistons on your new rods (part of the rotating assembly kit). Spend a bit of time with the machinist that will be doing the work and be sure he or she shows you where all the work has been accomplished and where all the plugs are. Be prepared to write a check for at least $1,000 to the machine shop.

    While your block is being worked on, buy this book - How to Rebuild Big-Block Chevy Engines: Tom Wilson: 9780895861757: Amazon.com: Books and read it, especially the assembly portions.

    Take the block home and bolt to a four caster engine stand. If you don’t have a stand – go to Harbor Freight and buy one – Item #69520, $60. Get a drip pan or a deep cookie sheet to go with the engine stand and secure to the base of the stand - -trust me here, you’ll be glad you did this as you will drop parts and spill liquids in the build and this really aids in the recovery and cleanup. Scrub a dub the block with hot water (I take mine straight from the bottom of the water heater) and Dawn dish soap. Use lots of soap and repeat this until there is absolutely no trace of grease or contamination visible in the rinse water and then do it one more time. Use stiff brushes (Harbor Freight – couple bucks) to make sure you’ve got all the nooks and crannies. Dry the engine block with compressed air – wear goggles please as we do not want to visit the ER. And regardless of any other advice you hear, do not come anywhere near this project with WD-40!

    Paint the galley of the block with Glyptal – Eastwood, about $50 a quart and worth every penny. Use the cheap Harbor Freight China bristle disposable 2” brushes 12 bucks for a box of 36. Mask the flat surfaces and bottom of the block and spray paint with VHT engine paint (about $5 a can – get two). While you wait for the paint to dry (at least a day) – re-read the book.

    Now the fun begins. Eagle (and others) makes a 496 stroker kit. Summit has them for about $1,600. This is a complete and balanced rotating assembly. Before you start make sure everything is spotlessly clean and that you have a good assembly lube. I like Red Line as I used it for years to build two-stroke race motors. It’s good for anything that moves in the assembly process. As you set the crank, consult the book often and take your time. The crank should move smooth and free. Check it often using a crank turning tool as you snug the mains as per the book.

    Piston rings are tricky if you’ve not done them before and they will break. Your rings will come as part of the Eagle kit. Each piston set wrapped in plastic. I recommend opening them one-at-a-time and wiping them down with lacquer thinner and inspecting each one. If you find one that is damaged in any way, don't use it and call for a replacement set. I also very lightly sand all the edges of the rings with 400 emery paper to smooth any rough edges. The rings should fit the cylinder bores perfectly, but it doesn’t hurt to check just to make sure. Use lube and square the ring in the cylinder and measure the end gap. Rule of thumb is .004 inches times the bore diameter for the top piston compression ring (4.310 x .004 = .017) and .005 for the second ring (4.310 x .005 = .022). Go slow installing the rings on the pistons to avoid scratching the pistons. Do all of the pistons at one time before starting to place them in the engine. Use a piece of rubber hose over the rod bolts and check for continued smooth crank rotation after installing each piston. There will be increasing drag as each piston goes in, but there should be no hard or tight spots. Again, use lots of lube, read the book, keep your work area and your hands spotlessly clean and take your time. No alcoholic beverages are allowed during this process – only after you’ve quit for the day!

    Before closing the bottom of the engine up, install a new stock volume/pressure oil pump, drive shaft, and pickup – about $125. You’ll need a new oil pan to clear the stroker – Milodon seven quart deep sump is another $250.

    I’d also buy complete heads rather than rework used ones. I know others will disagree – but unless you know the heads are perfect cores, they can consume a lot of time and money only to be disappointing in the performance. Summit sells a knock off GM performance cast iron set for about $1,600 that looks pretty good. Get a new set of ARP head bolts - $85 well spent. Note that these heads will require longer pushrods.

    Howard Cams part number CL110255-12 is a roller retrofit kit that includes the cam and lifters. Looks to be a good fit here in terms of lift and duration for a streetable engine. Cost is $600. Timing set is another $40. Rocker arms and push rods are probably another $300 – depending on how fancy you want to go. I like roller tips, not roller rockers. Soak the lifters in 50/50 lube engine oil for 24 hours prior to installing them. Do not use any molly grease on the rollers. Read the book for installation help with basic timing to make sure everything opens and closes at the right time.

    I like Edelbrock Performer RPM -7562 for this build. About $300. Throw away the funky end gaskets pieces and use black RTV silicone to make a good seal at the ends. I like Gaskacinch for intake manifold to head seal – about five bucks for a small can with the handy dandy brush applicator. The Edelbrock 1411 is a 750cfm vacuum secondary, electric choke unit that should work well out of the box for $350. A Holley 4160 would also be a fine choice for the same money.

    Distributor – HEI from MSD (just say, “No!” to anything from Accel). Nice billet unit is about $350. Wires and plugs will add another $65.

    Valve covers, front cover, breather air cleaner will set you back $200-$600 depending on how fancy you want to go

    Seven quarts of Royal Purple and a filter another $65 and we’re getting pretty close to seeing 500 plus horse power. I built a little spread sheet for this and we’re north of eight thousand with all the bits and pieces. If you go e-bay or swap meet you can save some on the carb and intake as well as the distributor; however, I’m real cautious about heads at a swap meet as they are a crap shoot and unless they’re from a known source with a money back guarantee, they can be expensive boat anchors. If you don’t have some of the necessary tools, i.e., micrometers, torque wrenches, ring compressor, etc., it’s easy to add several hundred to this total.

    If you’re still excited about this I’d say, “Go for it!” but you may want to ping Pat McCarthy and see what he can do for you as he is a renowned big block guy.

    Regards,
    Glenn
    "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty." John Basil Barnhil

  15. #15
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    do not buy parts of any kind until you have the entire build on paper and know that everything will work with everything else.............for sure.....

    1. When I buy a boneyard motor, most of the time I will leave the cam bearings in and clean the block at home so that the caustic soda that the machine shop uses will not destroy the bearings. I have yet to see a used stock motor that needs the cam bearings changed.

    2. Use oil-based modeling clay from a hobby shop or craft store, shaped into a cone and affixed to the bottom of the oil pump pickup to check clearance between the pickup and the bottom of the oil pan. Oil the clay so it will not stick to the pan. Shoot for 3/8" to 1/2" clearance. If the pickup is too close to the bottom of the pan, it can suck the pan up onto the pickup, shutting off the oil supply to the pump. If the pickup is too far away from the pan, the motor could run out of oil if the oil level is low. Do not use Play-Doh for this operation. It will not hold its shape. Ask me how I know.

    3. Measure your stack of parts to be used, for instance 1.525" piston compression height, 6.135" rod length and 2.125" crankshaft radius adds up to a stack of 9.785". Using a composition gasket, Fel-Pro 1037, that compresses to 0.039", cut the block decks to a new block deck height of 9.790". The new piston deck height of 0.005" (piston down in the bore by 0.005" with the piston at top dead center) added to the 0.039" gasket thickness will make a squish/quench of 0.044", ideal in my opinion for a BBC. A tight squish/quench has been called "mechanical octane" due to the anti-detonation qualities it adds to the motor, so it is often possible to run the motor on a lesser grade of fuel without detonation if you engineer a tight squish/quench into the mix.

    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 04-14-2015 at 09:01 PM.
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