PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 1:46 AM Thread Starter
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PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

Here's an update on PHR's budget 468 big-block build-up. The goal is to put this into our '68 Chevelle and run 11s on pump gas. At first, I thought we could build a 600+hp engine for under $4,500, but unless we resort to swap meet s or used eBay parts, I don't think we can get there. In the past, some readers have been pretty critical of found bargains, so I think we need to stay with all new stuff, except the core (4-bolt Mark IV block, crank, rods).

The assembled heads are Summit's new private-label pieces (2.25/1.88 valves, 308cc runners, 119cc chambers, .300-inch raised ports), which you may recognize as the small square-port Dart Iron Eagles. These are the same ones Vizard used in the Sept. issue, only with the Summit name. He got 675hp using a solid roller cam, a Dominator carb, and lots of valve lift. This new motor will be quite a bit cheaper (by about $2,000), and I think 550 hp is reasonable.

You'll also noticed that I largely resisted the urge to go "Chinese." Some pieces are imports, but the important stuff is US-sourced.

Feel free to comment, ask questions, or offer alternatives. If you do have alternate ideas, please post your part numbers, sources, and real street prices as I have done here. (Mostly Summit and Jegs pricing listed).

Let it fly...

"The Howitzer"—468 BBC Parts List:
Part: Price:
454 Mark IV core $600
KB Hypereutectic pistons, .060-over (10:1 comp) $292.69
Rings: $207.95
Main Bearings: $17.39
Rod bearings: $13.69
Cam bearings: $19.95
Cast iron heads, complete: Summit/Dart $1,291.90/pair
ARP Head bolts: $55.95
Edelbrock Performer RPM Airgap $235.88
ARP intake bolts $24.95
850-cfm “Crate” Speed Demon $459.99
Carburetor stud kit: $3.69
Cam: COMP Magnum 292/292, 244/244 @ .50 $163.69
Balancer bolt kit: $7.95
COMP Pro Magnum lifters $89.95
Timing set: $37.95
PRW 1.8:1 rocker arms $234.50
Pushrods (intake, 3/8 dia.): $56.95
Pushrods (exhaust, 3/8 dia): $56.95
MSD Street Fire HEI $159.99
MSD 8.5 Super Conductor wires $75.95
PRW flexplate $59.50
PRW alum. water pump $94.50
Autolite plugs $27.76
Intake gaskets: $10.95
Head gaskets: $79.90
Exhaust gaskets: $16.95
Gasket set: $58.95
Water neck: $7.95
Expansion plug kit: $14.99
Valve cover breathers $13.76
Timing cover: AAMidwest $14.02
Oil pan: AAMidwest $60.44
Valve covers: AAMidwest $35.52
Engine paint: $5.99

Machine Work
Jet wash block: $95
Block bore & hone: $250
Cam bearings: $40
Deck resurface: $80
"Build-it-yourself" Total: $5,074.09
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post #2 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 2:38 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

OK I'll reply let me get my flame suit on first....

I don't really like that cam had one lost a lot of power from my crane pick just me.
I feel like theres a good 20-25hp in using gapless rings.

If I were buying heads I would be hard pressed not to buy aluminum heads for a few hundred more.
The weight savings alone will be worth speed at the track.
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post #3 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 4:13 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

When is this going to start being published?

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post #4 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 5:44 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

I agree with 2cool on the cam. Why not use a newer style cam such as the Comp XE,Lunati voodoo or Cranes zcam series? your leaving power & drivability on the table.

72 ss 454 "W" code,w/cowl induction (how many left?)
matching # LS5 454+.060" 9.2 :1, 2.19/1.88 valves,Comp HR cam 289/295 234/240 .613/.613 110* (dyno'd @ 557hp @ 5400 & 583tq @ 4100)
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post #5 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 6:18 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

are you going to balance the engine?
we did a deal on going cheap-we bought a used engine, only needed a fresh up, came in around $3500 total, made 561 hp on the consv. side, but had a street friendly cam

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post #6 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 6:33 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

Some of these prices are a little out of wack aren't they??

Rings- $207
but Main bearings are only listed at $17 and Rod bearings for $13

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post #7 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 6:39 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

The core's rods and crank were left untouched? I'd think replacing the rod bolts with ARP's and recondioning them would be very wise. A $5k build isn't what I 'd consider low budget.

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post #8 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 6:56 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

I agree on the cam.
A total of $486 for a f/t tappet cam,lifters and roller rockers???

The Lunati cam/lifter kit LUN-60205LK is $189 (241/249 @.050 .572/.590 110 LSA)
Summit long slot rockers SUM-G6803 $77
Savings is $260 and you get a better cam.
Roller rockers aren't needed.
What is the deal with $108 in gaskets plus you bought a gasket set for $58?

Everything else looks good.
..and what is up with those rings??
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post #9 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 7:30 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

This will be interesting, I've been wanting to know how the Dart/Summit Iron heads run for quite a while. Seems there's a lot of mis-information about them. Looking forward to the article. I think the general feeling about these heads is that they are a little big (308CC) for a mild 454, but I have a feeling they will surprise us. They've got to be an order of magnitude better than just running a stock rec port. My prediction is that they will have similar performance to the "roval" heads that are out there but with a little more RPM capability.


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post #10 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 8:17 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

I had a set of the early Merlin heads here that I never used and ended up selling. They were the same as the Dart (before Dart and World split - if I have this right). The ports were an overall smaller rec port. I always thought that head with a piston to get a true 10/1 CR and a decent cam in the 230- 240 range would have made a real nice street motor.
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post #11 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 8:36 AM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

Not gonna say anything except 5 grand is NOT a budget motor, unless your a mag editor on a 6 figure income. You still have assembly and install expenses, so really your around 6-6500 complete. Oh yeah add another 2-300 for balancing, and I would think you are going to dyno it so add another 500-1000 and now your well over 7 K.

3-4 K is more of a budget buildup imho.

Otherwise Johnny, go for it, we all want to see what you do on this one.
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post #12 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 8:41 AM
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Hi John, some guys up here take ALL the facts religiously, you got to be real careful. There's definitely "whittling-room" available, but there's going to be addition's as well. I doubt you'll get a 454 MK-IV core around here anymore for any price, they've mostly dissappeared!

Just some missing labor, pressing pistons, balancing, rod recon, highly possible crank grind, and parts, (possibly) "SFI" balancer, but I figure being "in the business" you're aware of most of this already. Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. (O/T) Just for my own info here, are you the "editor"? Last people I remember there was a "Pete", then a "Doug". And Steve R. (I believe) was doing the "photo-shoots". He "hung" out here on Long Island with a good friend of mine, Tommy V (Super-Pro). Tommy's STILL street driving his unit as well, a '62 SB Vette (10.50's) with a 1990 built unit. Years ago, between 1990 and 1996(?) I had a "whole mess of units" in PHR. Two specific's come to mind here, the July, '92 (Evolution/Pontiac) and the Sept. '94 issues. If you have access to the Sept. issue specifically, check out the Red/White (black & white photo) '56 Chev. Back then his car ran 10.35's @ 133 MPH at about 4000#, with the 427" under the hood. Very same car, different unit, this past year running 9.30's on some "streeters". This one I'm doing a new unit for at this time. BDS at the time helped "donate" an updated blower. The car now leaves 3 ft. in the air and comes up 1 ft. again when he bangs 2nd! It's a real "crowd-pleaser" still. I mention this info briefly here because I assume this would be the kind of "stuff" you still "hunt" down? Correct? Gary
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post #13 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 8:56 AM
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Smile Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

I was going to say use real forged pistons regardless and stock rockers is all.

Cam, that's anybody's guess as to what they like and how much power and "knarliness" you can stand for a street motor..

And btw, for more easy power, build a 496!! And I 've got like $38 to $4000 in my per D2k, MILD, 9.8 to 1 CR., homemade 550hp/496........

And there's a lot more power to be had out of it if I want to step up later....


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post #14 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 1:19 PM
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

As for heads why not run what most of us budget guys are, 049 or 781 with bigger valves. and a little home clean up.
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post #15 of 229 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 07, 4:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PHR "Howitzer" Budget 468 BBC Build-Up

As far as budget goes, unless I go "Chinese," this parts list looks pretty legit. Keep in mind, I'm itemizing most everything. The bottom line is, when it comes to big-blocks, not much is truly "budget." Insofar as a big-block can be built cheaply and still make any power, this is right at the limit. As a point of reference, a 502 HO crate motor makes 450hp, costs $6,100, and still needs a carb, ignition, and an electric fuel pump.

To answer other questions:

Ring sets vary widely in price, these are on the high side because we felt there is power in superior sealing. I will look into some cheaper rings. We could save potentially $100 or more.

Aluminum heads: Other than the Edelbrock heads (which are just over $1,500 assembled), anything decent costs another $800 a set--enough to pay for the intake, carb, and most of the gaskets. I've seen iron-headed cars run in the 9s, so I'm not convinced aluminum is a panacea.

Cam profile: We decided to use a milder Magnum lobe based on the valvetrain loads. This could turn out to be a bad decision, but we have a trick up our sleeve in that we're having this cam ground on a 108 degree LSA. Vizard thinks this will be worth 20hp over the "box stock" 110 LSA. The magnum lobe is a decision based on lengevity. We are giving up power though.

Balancing etc: Based on the low rpm of this engine (under 6,000 peak), we can save big bucks by going external balance and reusing the stock damper and flexplate. When we put it in the car to race it, we may upgrade, but for a street guy just wanting the power, it ought to be fine.

Rod bolts: stock Chevy rods are practically indestructible at this power range. Rod bolts and resizing will add about $150 to the overall price.

Press-fit pistons: Easy to do at home. Put the pistons in the oven and the pins in the freezer. You've got about 30 seconds to assemble 'em in before they lock up. Having them done professionally isn't that expensive anyway ($50 - $60)

Gaskets: You can buy a one-size-fits-all gasket set to get all the little stuff, but you still need special exhaust gaskets, head gaskets and intake gaskets regardless. There will be left-over pieces, but at least we'll have all the right parts. The object is to avoid a hundred trips to the auto parts store.

Rockers: Based on initial flow numbers from the Dart-version head, a 1.8 ratio rocker will pay off. I wanted to use some cheap Magnum-style roller tip rockers, but they're only made in 1.7s. The $100 extra will pay off with another 15 - 20 hp (based on the extra cfm we expect to get at .582 versus .550 lift). I also think that optimized pushrod geometry might boost this ratio to more like 1.82.

Whittling room on price: This morning, I discovered I could probably squeeze another $100 out of this with a Summit brand HEI and plug wires, and use a Holley Avenger 870 for the Demon 850. A cheap set of rings might shave another $100. With this, the bottom line would go below $5,000.

Should I dial Chairman Mao? Or do you prefer domestic? In any case, budget for a big-block is bound to be pretty close to $5K. Keep in mind, we haven't built anything yet--we're still in the planning stages, which is why I'm asking these questions now.

Still looking for legitimate places to save dollars...
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