454 with oval port build - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 16, 5:15 PM Thread Starter
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454 with oval port build

OK so here's my deal. My 68 Chevelle is currently running a 396 that needs to come out over the winter. The car has an aftermarket oil pan that rests on the crossmember and I'm concerned about rubbing a hole into the oil pan. My original plan was to pull the motor, replace the oil pan, install a new clutch and go.

Then a buddy of mine told me about a 454 he has for sale. It's a 72 454 bored .030 over with a hydraulic roller cam and a set of 1970 290 oval port heads. My buddy says that it was a 500HP motor. Apparently the keyway on the harmonic balancer went and the balancer damaged the snout of the crank. So I am buying the motor knowing that it needs a new crankshaft.

I've already spoken to a machine shop about replacing the crank and he says it will not be an issue. But while I'm there I'm going to have everything else checked. I don't have the specs on the cam so since I'm going to do a new timing chain anyway, I'll find out what cam is in there.

So my main question is this? Can I get 500-550HP out of a 454 with the 290 oval port heads? If so what's involved? Will I need any port work on the heads or should I just find another set of heads?

My car is a 68 Chevelle convertible with a 4 speed and a 9" rear with 3:70 gears. It will NEVER see the track and is mainly used as a weekend cruiser. I'd just like to get some more HP than my current 396 has. I figure that since the motor has to come out this winter, I might as well increase the cubes.

Any suggestions or advice on building this 454 with a good powerful combo???

Greg

68 Chevelle convertible. 396, 4 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:70 gears

69 Camaro SS 427, TKO600 5 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:89 gears
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 16, 5:58 PM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

I'm certainly not a pro engine builder, but from what I understand you have plenty there for 500 hp. If those heads aren't already ported there's a lot more power left in them if you do.

I have a similar combination, but with Edelbrock ovals and a non roller hydraulic cam. Even with low compression and a turbo 400 I'm hitting mid 12 qtr mile times with the same rear end gears as you.

I would think getting your heads ported and of course fixing that oil pan would be a great combination in your car.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 9:14 AM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

Fix/swap the crank and enjoy the motor as is. The torque difference/seat of the pants between a 396 and 454 is quite noticeable.
Also, the 1970 290 are one the best closed chamber oval port castings.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 11:17 AM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

If you are going to swap the crank, I assume you are prepared to get new pistons and freshen things up. At that point, you might as well go with a stroker kit and get a 496 out of the deal. The extra stroke of the 496 will give that heavy convertible something to think about out of the hole...and won't have any impact on reliability, just a lot more torque and HP across the entire rpm band. You can get a solid street worthy full stroker kit online for $2K...includes crank, rods, pistons, bearings, rings, etc. Of course, all of this depends on your budget, but it sounds like you are going to spend a bunch already...going to the 496 won't cost a ton more, but will make a lot more power. The question at that point is will the clutch need an upgrade...likely...and you will be burning through those rear tires more frequently for sure

My two cents. Best of luck.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 3:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 454 with oval port build

Here's the story on the 454: The guy who sold it to me had it built for his 69 Chevelle. It's a quality build with .030 over forged pistons, hydraulic roller cam, roller rockers, Edelbrock Torker intake, and a tricked out Holley 770 carb. The whole build has less than 1500 miles on it and is supposed to have over 500HP. The bad part is that the crank keyway gave way and the balancer spun and damaged the snout of the crank.

I picked up the complete motor from carb to pan along with a set of Hedman Headers, an engine stand, and an extra set of valve covers for $1000.00. That money came out of the cash I had set aside to do a Tremec 5 speed swap. I'm hoping to be able to drop this 454 and a Tremec 5 speed in this spring so my funds for the motor are somewhat limited. Eventually, I'll also be able to sell my 396 and Muncie trans once everything is said and done.

However, I don't want to cheap out on an engine build either. Basically, once my machine shop digs into the motor, I'll know what direction I am going to go in.

Greg

68 Chevelle convertible. 396, 4 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:70 gears

69 Camaro SS 427, TKO600 5 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:89 gears
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 6:49 PM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

Got it...I didn't realize the build on the 454 was that fresh. In that case I can see just replacing the crank. As you said, let's see what they find once they tear it down. Let us know how you make out.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 7:20 PM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

with only 1500 miles,swap out the crank. Easy fix.Do nothing else. If you are going to build it,no sense in buying it.
It will be a huge difference over a 396


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 7:21 PM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr 4 speed View Post
Fix/swap the crank and enjoy the motor as is. The torque difference/seat of the pants between a 396 and 454 is quite noticeable.
Also, the 1970 290 are one the best closed chamber oval port castings.
You and I think a lot alike. This is a sound plan.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 8:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 454 with oval port build

In a perfect world, he's going to tear the motor down and all it's going to need is a new crank. I figure since he's removing the crank, at a minimum I am going to replace the timing chain simply because I'm there. I'd also like to make sure that the cam is right for my motor and compression ratio, because this will be the time to do a cam swap.

The guy who sold it to me said it had 10.5:1 and I'm wondering what you guys would suggest as a good hydraulic roller cam for my set up? I'm looking for about 550HP and I'd like a slight lope to my idle but I don't feel the need to have an idle that sounds like a popcorn popper.

I'm going to be running hopefully a Tremec TKO600 back to my 9" rear and a set of Hooker headers to a 3" exhaust. The car will be a weekend cruiser only.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Greg

68 Chevelle convertible. 396, 4 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:70 gears

69 Camaro SS 427, TKO600 5 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:89 gears
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 9:31 PM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

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Originally Posted by gmw468 View Post
In a perfect world, he's going to tear the motor down and all it's going to need is a new crank. I figure since he's removing the crank, at a minimum I am going to replace the timing chain simply because I'm there. I'd also like to make sure that the cam is right for my motor and compression ratio, because this will be the time to do a cam swap.

The guy who sold it to me said it had 10.5:1 and I'm wondering what you guys would suggest as a good hydraulic roller cam for my set up? I'm looking for about 550HP and I'd like a slight lope to my idle but I don't feel the need to have an idle that sounds like a popcorn popper.

I'm going to be running hopefully a Tremec TKO600 back to my 9" rear and a set of Hooker headers to a 3" exhaust. The car will be a weekend cruiser only.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Why change the timing chain? It only has 1500 miles on it? Remove the crank gear with a gear puller and reuse it on the new crank. Since the motor is fresh and it sounds to me that your friend just had it built, why not just ask him what cam is in it? You said it has a hydraulic roller in it already. FYI, a crank kit with bearings is only a few hundred dollars. Replacement balancer is less than $100 and as cheap as $50
Keep it simple..
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 9:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 454 with oval port build

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr 4 speed View Post
Why change the timing chain? It only has 1500 miles on it? Remove the crank gear with a gear puller and reuse it on the new crank. Since the motor is fresh and it sounds to me that your friend just had it built, why not just ask him what cam is in it? You said it has a hydraulic roller in it already. FYI, a crank kit with bearings is only a few hundred dollars. Replacement balancer is less than $100 and as cheap as $50
Keep it simple..
I guess it's just a weird mentality of mine that I'm there and the motor is apart. I'd love to have to not change a thing. Every penny I save is a penny I can put towards my pending Tremec swap. I know that I'll have to get a new flywheel because 454's are externally balanced and that's OK. Obviously I will also be installing a new clutch.

My buddy says it's a Crane hyd roller and he can't seem to find the cam card. He claims that he called Crane and told them what motor, what CR, and what kind of car/trans/gears her was running and they suggested this cam. I was thinking that I could have my machinist remove the upper timing gear and get me the cam number off the front of the cam. If he does that and the cam works well with what I'm looking for then I won't change a thing.
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Greg

68 Chevelle convertible. 396, 4 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:70 gears

69 Camaro SS 427, TKO600 5 speed, 9" Ford rear with 3:89 gears
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 16, 11:57 PM
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The numbers on the cam are not on the gear end, you have to pull it.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 16, 2:19 AM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

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Originally Posted by pockets View Post
The numbers on the cam are not on the gear end, you have to pull it.
bingo!

500 real horses are better than 550 boasted horses
500 real horses can take you deep into deep into the 11s in a street car at full weight, lots quicker in a well set-up drag car

I had closed chamber ovals, big valves, bowl work, .600" hyd roller I had ground up. At 3995# car/fuel/driver 3.42 street gears 3000 stall, through 2.5" exhaust 11.80/114.9 was a good dial. This was on crap DRs.

George Kettler
o SOLD 8/2016 my beloved 1970 Elky 496.
o 68 Vette 427/M-20/3.36 23 year owner

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 16, 5:07 AM
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Re: 454 with oval port build

I'd stick with repairing the crank and the possible cam change personally.
You might want to look into a Eddie RPM intake.
I think it would drive better.
But hood clearance might be an issue verses the Torker.


Stroking it to a 496 would be cool, and would make more power than the 454.
Just like the 454 will be to the replaced 396.


Everybody is always jumping on the new fad or popular trend.
Like stroking it to a 496.
It's a cheap upgrade.( ya right by the time its all said and done.)
Cheap to whom?


Nothing against 496's.
But there not paying for it, and it's your budget not there's.


Look at what Vortecpro does with 454's.
With seemingly nothing.


My solid FT 468 with 25 year old tech cam, oval ports and dual plane intake just did 11.42 @ 117mph spinning out of the hole.
And its nothing special.


You have a good base package.
Just be honest with your self about usage and the RPM range you'll be using.
Then pick your cam to fit that RPM range and coincides with your compression ratio.


Just another 2 cent opinion.


PS. After you put the 454 in the Tim Taylor theory will start to take over. ( MORE POWER )
Have fun.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 16, 9:08 AM
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How bad did the balancer spin? You might be able to just pin it.
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