View Full Version : BBC 454 build up - I can't decide


firebirder
06-07-2011, 09:47:58 AM
Hi there,
my name is Daniel. I'm driving a 1979 Camaro. I need a little bit help because I'm confused about all this head numbers, porting tips, CC(???) and so on. I have the same target like a lot of other people too: getting more out of the bigblock. The car is not my daily driver. For fun, Sunshine and ice cream only :cool:

The car has a 454 BBC (3999289) with a set of 346236 heads on it yet. It is a very low powered engine with about 240-280 hp I think. (I changed the engine, because the SBC has some trouble and I always wished to drive a Bigblock :happy: )

My actually other setup is:
- 750 holley sec. vacuum
- 3" Hedman headers (2,25 tubes to 3" collector I think)
- Edelbrock performer 2.0 intake
- TH350 with a Trans go package

So is it possible to break the 500hp wall or more?

Again and again I read to change the heads to some 049 or 781 heads (???).
I have a second pair of heads in my garage. The number is 6272292. I think they are from a 402 BBC.

- Does the 402 heads fit the 454?
- If yes, what is the better pair for it?
- Are Aluminium heads more powerful from e.g. Edelbrock or other companies?

Who has a good tip for a combination for me? What about the cam, the stall converter and so on?

What other infos do you need to help me.

Thank you...Daniel

Psycledad
06-07-2011, 08:07:10 PM
I searched and looks like the best choices are 049 and 781 heads are the best for street use. I will be following your thread for insights for my 454 rebuild.


ps-I'll welcome you to the site.

1980RS
06-07-2011, 08:32:05 PM
Hi there,
my name is Daniel. I'm driving a 1979 Camaro. I need a little bit help because I'm confused about all this head numbers, porting tips, CC(???) and so on. I have the same target like a lot of other people too: getting more out of the bigblock. The car is not my daily driver. For fun, Sunshine and ice cream only :cool:

The car has a 454 BBC (3999289) with a set of 346236 heads on it yet. It is a very low powered engine with about 240-280 hp I think. (I changed the engine, because the SBC has some trouble and I always wished to drive a Bigblock :happy: )

My actually other setup is:
- 750 holley sec. vacuum
- 3" Hedman headers (2,25 tubes to 3" collector I think)
- Edelbrock performer 2.0 intake
- TH350 with a Trans go package

So is it possible to break the 500hp wall or more?

Again and again I read to change the heads to some 049 or 781 heads (???).
I have a second pair of heads in my garage. The number is 6272292. I think they are from a 402 BBC.

- Does the 402 heads fit the 454?
- If yes, what is the better pair for it?
- Are Aluminium heads more powerful from e.g. Edelbrock or other companies?

Who has a good tip for a combination for me? What about the cam, the stall converter and so on?

What other infos do you need to help me.

Thank you...Daniel


I ran ported 396 heads on my flat top 454 and with the right cam, intake and carb the car ran 11.90@113mph. The heads had big valves and some port work. Car had 11" tci street fighter, 4.10 gears, 282S CC solid cam and a 750 holley dp. Nothing wrong with 396 or 402 heads and the peanut 236 heads are not bad either with some work.

Traded them to my old boss for some other BB heads.

Tia813
06-07-2011, 08:58:44 PM
Going with some big domed pistons with the 049-781 heads?

Thats what I use my 79 for-- Nice days only. My set up--
--KB small domed pistons
--.030 over
--I forgot the stamp on the head but its 105CC(?) oval. Stock size valves with minor head work
--282H cam
--9.7:1 comp
-- 4.11 with a Super T10
Anyway I like that set up. Enough to mess with those BMW M5s that like to pick on me.

Rich Schmidt
06-07-2011, 09:28:08 PM
Going with some big domed pistons with the 049-781 heads?

Thats what I use my 79 for-- Nice days only. My set up--
--KB small domed pistons
--.030 over
--I forgot the stamp on the head but its 105CC(?) oval. Stock size valves with minor head work
--282H cam
--9.7:1 comp
-- 4.11 with a Super T10
Anyway I like that set up. Enough to mess with those BMW M5s that like to pick on me.


Yup,thats the problem. Your engine is low compression. If you switch to the heads that were mentioned you wont gain any compression,just a little more flow. You could go with closed chamber 396 heads and a little port work,but stay with the ovalports. The casting that ends in 1063 is a good casting for the late 60's heads. By the time you get done having them rebuilt with all new hardware you might be into the heads for over $1000 and thats without porting,which really is required,but will make a few more horsepower. For a bit more you can buy the Edlebrock heads that were designed for the Chevy 454SS pickup. They have 100CC combustion chambers which will bring your compression up and will outflowall but the best ported stock heads. With those heads,a cam like the 292 Isky Megacam(hydraulic flat tappet) a Performer RPM intake and 850cfm carb you can make 500 hp with no problem. with this setup you can still use stock stamped steel rockers which saves a few bucks,the engine wont be anything exotic and wont need to spin over about 6000 rpm to make the power you want. Good luck.

Tia813
06-07-2011, 10:25:15 PM
Right now I guess the question is how much you want to spend? lol Thats non of my business but it will determine on which way your build will go. Rich Schmidt is right. You can go over 1k on those heads but at the end its worth it.

Damon
06-07-2011, 10:48:39 PM
Welcome to the board!

And agreed with above- what's your budget? Really determins how far you can go. Breaking 500HP with $1000 is going to be a little tough (short of nitrous). Breaking it with $3000 is not difficult at all.

Gnerally, it's about building some compression, first off, to allow you to use a larger cam. Smaller chamber heads can do that, but you're limiting yourself to some very old factory castings that have since been far surpassed by the aftermarket over the years. But it's the cheapest route to victory since you're going to need quite a bit more cam than stock to hit your goal.

A switch to entry-level aftermarket heads or higher flowing factory large ovals will give you enough airflow to get past 500HP without much problem, but they are all "open chamber" heads that will require some domed pistons to build meaningful compression. And if you're changing pistons that means you're into the bottom end which means MACHINE WORK. In short, more dollars. But ultimately more potential.

So...... what's the budget?

firebirder
06-08-2011, 02:33:32 AM
Hi Damon, hi all,
thank you for the nice welcome on this board.
I wouldn't say that budget is secondary, but I have this car since 9 years and it is a hobby. I have learned that it is better to spent a little bit more money to get quality as to do a thing twice or more. (And by the way: my wife always says: he's not drinking, he's not smoking and he doesn't take any drugs. So let him play with his cars, then he is lucky. I hope that is the correct translation of her quote.)
:shy:

Ok let us think I will spend this 1000$ in original heads or porting and machining the 236er, than I will be limited in more hp in a few years like Damon said, right? And it is very very hard to get this heads here in Germany as I said.
So why not building the 454 with a set of new aluminium heads to have a little clearance to the building the endpower in a few years.

By the way I found two more things in my garage yesterday where I what to know If it could be helpful with the buildup, so pls do not laugh, the second is from my SBC days.

There is a full set of 1.7 Scorpion Tuning set of roller rockers for BBCs and an small NOS system (125 up to 250hp). Are those roller rockers effective without roller lifters and a roller cam or should stay with the stock rockers? Let me ask is there a difference between a "normal" cam and a roller cam, or is it only the stuff on top of this (roller rockers and lifters instead of stock rockers and hydraulic valve lifters)
So what now? Thake a performance package out of the box from Edelbrock or combine parts by our self?

ZS10
06-08-2011, 03:10:27 AM
Combine parts by yourself.

If you have roller rockers, use them. Don't expect any gains, but

Small nitrous shot = :)

A roller cam uses roller lifters, they don't have the wear problems of flat cams, and have much more aggressive lifts in similar duration grinds. Expensive, but money well spent.

Always a debate, heads or pistons to get decent compression.
Preferably both. Ricks new, small chamber, head solution will work, if your bottom end is in good shape it will be very durable.

firebirder
06-08-2011, 07:11:45 AM
The bottom end of the engine is very fine, because it is has been "rebuild" and bored 0.030" over 2 years ago.

@Rich you spoke about 454SS Pickup heads from Edelbrock. Do you mean the number Edelbrock 60479?

The problem is this ("difficult") technical english when collectiong infos for an order.

Ok, lets say I have round about 3000-3500$.
What can I build from that with future aspects? (Do it once, do it right)
Parts I already have are the roller rockers and the NOS.
Edelbrock Intake 2161 and the Holley 750.

(I feel like a little child in the supermarket and somebody has to take my hand to show me the good/right things :shy:)

theflash
06-08-2011, 09:04:57 AM
@Rich you spoke about 454SS Pickup heads from Edelbrock. Do you mean the number Edelbrock 60479?

No, the heads he is referring to are 60499. These are the same heads I used for the last three builds I did. If you use the search and go back a few years you will see each build I did. If I were to do it over again, I'd get a set of open chamber heads and get a dome piston to get me in the 10-1 range.

firebirder
06-08-2011, 09:48:06 AM
Hi flash,
If I were to do it over again, I'd get a set of open chamber heads and get a dome piston to get me in the 10-1 range.

Could that be an other way?
I already have 2 pairs of open chamber heads, but I read that they are poor smokers with low compression:

346236 1975-87 454 Open 113.0cc
(this info is from nasty28, another side says this:
346236.....75-87...oval...OPEN...454, 120cc chamber, 225/116cc ports)
6272292 1971 402 240 LS-3
(OVAL PORT - Valve size 2.06 intake, 1.72 exhaust)

So what should there be changed? Value size? What hardware would I need? What dome pistions could be fine?

Daniel

JONESYFXR
06-08-2011, 10:54:59 AM
Welcome aboard!!!

I would go with a set of 781 heads that were bowl ported and cut for bigger intake valves. You can easily get 500hp with the proper cam, intake and carb combo.

Rich Schmidt
06-08-2011, 01:17:06 PM
Welcome aboard!!!

I would go with a set of 781 heads that were bowl ported and cut for bigger intake valves. You can easily get 500hp with the proper cam, intake and carb combo.

The last set of 781 heads I did,I paid $300 for the castings,and they were opend up for 2.19/1.88 valves and bowl blended and gasket matched. After putting in all new stainless valves,having the guides replaced,having the seats touched up,getting springs and retainers for the roller cam ,hardended guide plates and good studs,and all the machine work,the heads cost $1700. That was with used springs to boot. New Edelbrock heads cost abOUT $1800.

I have a set of ported stock camel hump heads on my 408. I bought the heads back in 1989 for $400 with screw in studs and guide plates already done,but I wont even include that in the price. I had them redone last year and bougt $70 a set cheapie valves,$50 a set cheapie "Z/28" springs,retainers and locks.I sent them to the machine shop,had a 5 angle valve job done,new guide liners done(not even full guides),a milling pass,and a pressure checking. I had $800 into them parts and labor,and they dont even have hardened seats.

What a waste of money on both these heads. I have a fast 408,but I could have bought Darts for a few bucks m0re and had hardened seats and accessory holes. The up side is that both engines are used for street racing,and both are deceptively fast for what they look like.My 408 is just a 'lil junkyard 327 out of an Impala with a Torker intake and 650 carb and runs 15's (wink wink)

firebirder
06-08-2011, 01:48:08 PM
One update on my heads.
I found this on the net:
I discovered that Chevrolet used this casting number through the years 1970 through 1984. What I also discovered was that in the years 1970 - 1973 these heads had a head volume of 113cc, but late in 1973 and through 1984 the combustion chamber was resized to 122cc. Maybe for polution reasons......These heads have 120cc open combustion chambers, 225ccinlet ports, and 116cc exhaust ports. They came with 2.07/1.72 inch valves

My stamp date is J24 75 so is Oktober 24 1975, right?
Bigger CCs! Is that good or bad for the upgrade process?

@Rich: that is really not much what you saved instead of a set new alu heads. And I think it is much harder here to buy this 781 or 049 heads and the machine shop prices hear are a lt higher. :rolleyes:

I need to know if my heads here are a good base for this upgrade or if it should be better to buy a new set of heads.

So what about other companys like Dart heads or AFR. I read this names next to Edelbrock again and again in the boards. Are there any

cubicylndr16
06-08-2011, 10:04:17 PM
I dropped my 454 (468) off for a dyno test on Saturday and it should be ready to run in the next few days. Just waiting on new stud girdles to arrive tomorrow. Holley ultra street avenger 770cmf, air gap intake, ported ovalport heads, solid cam .680, 1.7 rockers. 2 1/8 Hookers super comps. 10.5-1. I'll post what it does asap.

IMG]http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/379/img2065.jpg[/IMG]
By cubicylndr16 (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/cubicylndr16) at 2011-03-19

firebirder
06-09-2011, 02:13:26 AM
Great supprise this morning. After a few calls yesterday I good a mail this night with an good offer for a pair of 781 ported heads. The last problem is the transport. Can somebody tell me the weight of one of those heads?

When I change them and install the nos, do I need some "harder" materials inside the block? E.g. stainless steel push rods or sometning like that?

@cubicyindr16:
your engine looks nice. I love this original look. Pls tell me why is there a fuel line true the firewall behind the dash? I have a line like you from the pump to the first and second ports of the carburator. But where does the line goes from the second port to the firewall?

Tia813
06-09-2011, 04:13:20 AM
I THINK around 60-70lbs.. What type of pistons do you have? Dished, small or large domed?

firebirder
06-09-2011, 08:13:11 AM
Hi Tia,
I'm not sure about the pistons at the moment. (oh my head :confused: ) I think there are standard style but with the 0.030" over. I will have a look at the old invoice from the engineshop.

cubicylndr16
06-09-2011, 09:15:36 AM
fuel pressure gauge and oil press under the cowl.

firebirder
06-10-2011, 11:23:06 AM
I found out that I have flattop pistons and the camshaft is a Enginetech ES1088R.
Description:
Stage 1 high performance .050" Duration-204/214; Cam Lift-.280/.295; Lobe Center-107/117.

So would only the 781 heads instead of the 236 make a big difference?

crome dome
06-10-2011, 04:22:56 PM
One update on my heads.
I found this on the net:


My stamp date is J24 75 so is Oktober 24 1975, right?
Bigger CCs! Is that good or bad for the upgrade process?

@Rich: that is really not much what you saved instead of a set new alu heads. And I think it is much harder here to buy this 781 or 049 heads and the machine shop prices hear are a lt higher. :rolleyes:

I need to know if my heads here are a good base for this upgrade or if it should be better to buy a new set of heads.

So what about other companys like Dart heads or AFR. I read this names next to Edelbrock again and again in the boards. Are there any
Bigger CC's is not what your wanting when trying to raise your compression,the smaller number 113 is better in this case.

Tia813
06-10-2011, 10:48:43 PM
+1^
The more I read about the 781s the more I wanted them. But the short block I bought had small domed pistons. My CC would have been stupid. At the time I wasnt thinking about compression just "I have a BB!".. Since you have 3,000 to play with I would make those 236 heads work and have cash left over for other things that you'll need or want IMHO..