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...