How streetable would a 540 BB be? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 20, 8:39 PM Thread Starter
Steve
 
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How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Hello everyone. newb here. I am in the market for a 65 or 67 Chevelle SS 4 speed. I ran across a car that has a low compression 540 crate motor. The owner in an e mail said it was built to be a driver. Its rated at 540/600. I have seen some you tube vids of some 540's and they seem to be really hipo if you know what I mean, like in the 650-750 HP range, which is not where I want to go.
Does anyone have knowledge if this is a good motor to run in a local hot rod? Or would be finding a 396 be a better option? Thanks for any help. Such a decision here lol!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 20, 9:12 PM
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jeff
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

You can make 800" streetably if you can afford the 540 I would do it.
600 HP is like 1.1 HP per cube that would be like a 396" making 435HP.

BUT the TQ on the 540 will be much appreciated over the 396".

Talked with a guy that built a 496" with peanut port heads he ported and a 280H comp flat tappet cam.
He said over 625 TQ and he had it in a 4 door dually chevy truck Pulling a huge trailer with a car and lots of blocks heads and other car stuff from Dallas to Chickasha Oklahoma. he got 12 MPG.. But he said empty it also gets 12.

Way more than 1 way to build something.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 20, 10:15 PM
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Gene
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

The answer is , as streetable as you'd like, And this one sounds purposely a "docile" build. A few members here roam with such beasts , and they'll likely pipe up.

And then there's the old addage: " Run what ya brung son! ".

Welcome to Team Chevelle Steve! You may find 600 ft lbs to your liking, or simply too much. ( in my limited experience, I can no longer maintain traction at anything above 1/2 throttle on street meats using a race 850 Holley. Hoping a well prepped Q jet softens the hit some )

BTW, its not quite a 540 cubic inch engine. Around town smoothness notwithstandng, its a matter of fact that the bigger it is, the more it eats. Overdrive or not, your highway milage wont be good. And you may be happy with the 350/400 ft lbs of torque from a smaller engine, which would clearly need less fuel to "roam".

for a local hot rod.... spot on perfect! The epitome of diesel like BBC torque with out a blower or a shot!

Be careful man, its a HANDFUL! ( E.g with an old style but good suspension; can only hit it WOT when its "on a string" straight, or ELSE! )

good luck with your quest !

Gene
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 20, 11:04 PM
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

If I were to use a 540 in my street car I sure would use a P/G to try and keep it hooked up.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 20, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
Steve
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Thanks guys for the replies. Im returning to a 60s car again. First time was a 65 Ranchero father/son project that started from the ground up, until he lost interest. I remember finding parts was much more of a PITA than finding Chevy parts. Hopefully I can find a 60-75% completed car. Don't have the space like in the past.
Told the wife I need a retirement hobby, so this should fit the bill. This particular 540 is in a 65 Malibu, that has to be a beast! It has a 1000 CFM on it, frankly I would look to go FI on an engine. Thanks again, appreciate the feedback.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 8:41 AM
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Jeff
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

In my 69 el Camino I have a stock 1978 truck 454 with low compression 781 heads. The drive train is a basic th-400 with a 2.73 rear end.
Before driving the car, I figured I was going to HAVE to do work on it to get some performance out of it, boy was I wrong! I have more fun with this car and motor then all the lumpy idling, gas guzzlers I had in the past all put together.. I'll never go over 9:1 compression again..
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 8:46 AM
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Any engine can be built to be docile. Size means nothing. Boats use mild big inch motors for torque and can cruise for HOURS on 87 octane gas.

Ray


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 9:39 AM
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Allen
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

My 752hp pump gas 540 pulls overdrive (4l80e) without issue and runs high 10s at (4913ft elv track ~7000ft da 10.71 best so far) in a ~3900lb car (with me inside). High quality radiator/fans = runs cool on the street.

If I were to build it for a 100% street application I'd go milder on the cam but it' pretty good on the street as is. Given the limited specs provided (no cam or gear ratio info) I'd say that is likely a very streetable combo.

If you buy it and later decide it's too much a cam swap could mellow it out even more or you could sell the 540 and downgrade to a milder engine. Something tells me you will become addicted to the 540...
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 9:50 AM
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Gene
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

7000' DA and I want to move to CO. WTF is wrong with me? Don't ski, aint a pothead, and my new 467 loses 125+ HP! But its so close in topography to my father's ancestral homeland, its not funny.

Allen, is Bandimere the only track around?

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 10:06 AM
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Allen
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 427L88 View Post
7000' DA and I want to move to CO. WTF is wrong with me? Don't ski, aint a pothead, and my new 467 loses 125+ HP! But its so close in topography to my father's ancestral homeland, its not funny.

Allen, is Bandimere the only track around?

4 that I know of: Pueblo (south of Colorado Springs) is at 4913, Bandimere (Denver) is worse at 5813, Julesburg (northeast Colorado) is better at 3526, and Western Colorado (Grand Junction) is 4996. I'd like to try Julesburg this summer.


I don't ski or do the MJ thing either but I like it here anyway


Maybe look for something else when I retire or just use this for a home base and check other areas out (with car in tow of course).
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 10:41 AM
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Gene
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Thanks Allen. I cant retire early if I move out there, as NY property ( with his high carry cost) , doesnt compare to CO property. ( and I'm not a super wealthy guy) But I'm willing to forgo any early retirement and work my butt off a bit longer for a little ranch in a gulch somewhere!

Dang brother, I want to hop atop my horse, with my .300 win mag ( which I dont own yet - useless here), and go find some elk! And if I die out there, as I told wifey, I'm so close to heaven - its all good!

My wife and two sons are AVID skiiers. Son #1 is an instructor at Brek right now. My "airborne" knees can't hang with the program! But I can hike and hunt, forever!

Funny, the only MJ I love, is my new MJ467! ( and Mark would prefer to move out of CO, it would be better for biz).

Sorry to clutter your thread Steve!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 10:52 AM
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Lew
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Torque is your friend. What will be nice is you can run like a 2.73 or a 3.08 with that low rpm 540 and it will still go great. Torque in the naturally asperated form only comes (assuming all other factors are equal) in one form with cubic inches. With that kind of a mild build you will have great low end power. The other hidden benifit of the big bore is unshrouds the valve better allowing for better hp/tq per cubic inch ratios. I have had my 540 now for over 25 years and has had a few changes and broken parts. A nice conservative build like you have there should last a very long time.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 10:57 AM
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Gene
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Lew is one of the folks I was thinking of Steve, and Jackie Schmidt down in TX.

Gene
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
Steve
 
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 427L88 View Post
Thanks Allen. I cant retire early if I move out there, as NY property ( with his high carry cost) , doesnt compare to CO property. ( and I'm not a super wealthy guy) But I'm willing to forgo any early retirement and work my butt off a bit longer for a little ranch in a gulch somewhere!

Dang brother, I want to hop atop my horse, with my .300 win mag ( which I dont own yet - useless here), and go find some elk! And if I die out there, as I told wifey, I'm so close to heaven - its all good!

My wife and two sons are AVID skiiers. Son #1 is an instructor at Brek right now. My "airborne" knees can't hang with the program! But I can hike and hunt, forever!

Funny, the only MJ I love, is my new MJ467! ( and Mark would prefer to move out of CO, it would be better for biz).

Sorry to clutter your thread Steve!
No clutter at all. In fact Ill add to it. I ride a touring motorcycle, and for the last 11out of 12 years a group would go on a 10-14 day interstate backroads trip. Besides Sturgis 1 year, Ive been all over 11 western and western Canada. The best place I love out of everywhere I have been is Southwestern Colorado (South West Canada close 2nd). If my wife wasn't hooked on the coastal ocean, we'd consider moving there.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 20, 1:56 PM
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Re: How streetable would a 540 BB be?

I"d love to live on the coast but it's in Ca.
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