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Discussion Starter #1
I'd love to drop a BB 396 or 454 into my Malibu, but the total cost for me personally is prohibitive, given the going rate of $1-2K for the engine, and another $1K for the miscellaneous swapover parts (oil pan, radiator upgrade, coil springs, etc, etc.).

As mentioned in another post recently, I too keep seeing big block truck motors for sale for under $500. Excluding rebuild costs (let's assume the motor runs good), this would make the overall BB swap economically realistic. But I seem to recall reading postings suggesting that truck engines are not "the same" as car engines, different hp or???

Could someone please summarize the differences between the two, i.e., why I wouldn't just go with a BB truck motor? Many thanks, TK
 

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Truck engines can be physically a different design. The 427's and 366's out of trucks will probably have a taller deck height which means that lots of your normal BB parts will not work on it. Like intakes, headers, and it probably just won't fit. If your going to get a truck motor go with a 454 because there is no "truck" 454. The only bad thing about a truck 454 is that it will probably have crappy heads as far as performance is concerned. Depending on what you want to do that is, if all you want is low end grunt then maybe the truck heads will work fine for you. If you can score a running 454 out of a truck for less than 500 bucks then go for it. I personally got mine from a guy i know who runs an all chevy junkyard and got it for 200 bucks canadian, and it even had a forged crank


chris

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Chris Dagenais
Saskatchewan
'71 Malibu with a home built 454!
member.xoom.com/Gandalf80/
 

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I have seen a lot of 1984 - 1986 454 truck engines with passenger car heads on them. Just check the casting #'s before you buy one if you plan on using the same heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chris, thanks for the explanation. That's what I was looking for. Sounds like you're a step ahead of me. JT, you too. Glad to hear you both made out ok. Gives me the incentive to check some out.
64, thanks for the tip. I'll definitely be jotting down and researching casting numbers before buying. I've got a small block now, so I won't be reusing any heads. Thanks.
 

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I think the early and mid 70's big block 454 had the regular oval port heads and went to the peanut ports in late 70's on. Can someone else say they know for sure?

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69 SS 454
69 Malibu 406
ACES Member #3635
 

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A few steps ahead? I dunno about that, i usually take more steps back than forward
.
I just got my 454 finished about a month before it snowed so i only got to drive it for about a month, then they started spreading salt so it got parked. I also did the SB to BB conversion, dumped the 350 cuz i wanted more power and boy did i get it. You won't be disappointed.

Good luck and happy hunting


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Chris Dagenais
Saskatchewan
'71 Malibu with a home built 454!
member.xoom.com/Gandalf80/
 

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First, don't confuse "pick-up" with TRUCK. Light duty trucks, one ton and less, use the passenger car block. Yeah, that dually 4X4 is considered a light duty truck! 10-20-30 series were "light duty". Until '75 or '76, they came with the "real" oval port heads. After that, they got the crappy round "peanut" ports.

Blocks with "TRUCK" cast into them came in 40-50-60 series "medium duty" trucks. They have the taller deck height, and they came from GM with the tiny round port heads. The pistons were TREMENDOUSLY HEAVY because they have four rings not the usual three. The block is taller because the pistons are taller! They will have 4 bolt mains and a forged crank, BUT IT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR HP USE until it is rebalanced for "normal" pistons.

366 engines all are TRUCK blocks, and are a waste of time. Thinwall castings, and no performance potential. 427 truck engines are not thinwall, in fact they are a poor man's "Bowtie block". As far as I know, there were 454 TRUCK blocks in '84-'85.
 

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So the 454 I have that is marked as a truck block (1974) did not come in a pick-up and will be a tall block? How much taller and will this cause clearance problems on a stock hood, what about the SS hood?

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Rod Jamieson
Team Chevelle Gold #22
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The 454 in my '70 SS came from a 1978 pickup. The "peanut-port" heads were replaced, as was the intake/carb, and a the cam was switched to a mildly-aggressive cam. Did not have to replace anything else on the motor. With a few rear-end modifications, I run ET's in the 12.9 - 13.2 sec range @ up to 107 MPH. No problems with hood clearance, even with a 3" K&N air filter. Not bad for a truck engine, eh? I'd go with the used truck 454 block and save your money spent otherwise on a brand-new block for new heads and a good stroker kit.

[This message has been edited by Doc Willis (edited 01-24-2000).]
 

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I can add only 1 thing over the other guys "There is no replcement for displacement".

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The pickup engines are some of the most overlooked engines. What most people fail to realize is that you can buy a complete truck for what a lot of people want just for a big-block alone. I purchased an '81 one-ton standard cab for $800 with a standard bore, never been rebuilt 454 and manual trans (granny gears but it has a big-block flywheel). The truck is really clean, no rust or body damage. I'll get the $800 back from selling off the cab, bed and one-ton rearend. The engine was running but back firing through the carb so I'm guessing it's a timing chain or bad cam. Look for cheap trucks that way you'll also get all the engine brackets too. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great info guys, thanks. I certainly learned alot about the mysterious "truck engines". I too thought it was a different beast. Thanks Schurkey for the education and everyone else for the vote of support. Congratulations on your smart shopping you guys who have already done this.
I got the classic question yesterday when I told a couple of guys at work that I have a Chevelle. The first (novice) question out of their mouths was - "Is it a 454?"
Funny how that expectation is there...

Thanks again.
 

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Ok stop buying puckups and suburbans with 454s, cause they wont fit in a chevelle...

just leave em for me to by and put in "storage"..heh heh

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70 chevelle ss396 conv
66 chevelle ss396 hdp/conv
55 chevy prostreet
 

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The few tall deck truck engines that I have seen had dual thermostat housings on the intake. Where the legs of the water pump bolt to the heads you will see about 3/8" between the pump leg and the head deck surface definitely identifying a tall deck. The low deck heads have a head deck surface that is about flush with the water pump leg.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Keith, thanks for that last tip. That will help.

Ok, so it's unanimous. They won't fit in a Chevelle unless you promise not to tell anyone else
In the voice of Sgt Schultz - "I know nothing..."
 

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I bought a 76 454 passenger pick-up motor and it had the 781 heads with it. I had them ported by a friend and they are fine with me. I dont think that 781s are peanut ports.

Chris R.
 

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The numbers on my 454 show it's out of a 1973 (probably light duty) truck. It has oval port heads and didn't need the oil pan and other stuff changed. Only problem I had was getting proper p/s pump brackets, but even that wasn't a major problem. I couldn't use my SS hood because of clearance problems, but only because I have a one inch spacer under the carb. If not for that, I would've been okay.

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Don - Chicago 'Burbs
'67 Malibu Street Machine
"Under Construction"
Gold #43
I've heard that the memory is the second thing to go.
I don't remember what the first thing is!?


[This message has been edited by DaDon (edited 02-02-2000).]

[This message has been edited by DaDon (edited 02-02-2000).]
 

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Originally posted by Doc Willis:
The 454 in my '70 SS came from a 1978 pickup. The "peanut-port" heads were replaced, as was the intake/carb, and a the cam was switched to a mildly-aggressive cam. Did not have to replace anything else on the motor. With a few rear-end modifications, I run ET's in the 12.9 - 13.2 sec range @ up to 107 MPH. No problems with hood clearance, even with a 3" K&N air filter. Not bad for a truck engine, eh? I'd go with the used truck 454 block and save your money spent otherwise on a brand-new block for new heads and a good stroker kit.

[This message has been edited by Doc Willis (edited 01-24-2000).]
Please tell me a little more detail about your 454! I have a pretty fresh 454 out of a 78 pickup and would love to hit high 12's! What heads do you have on there now, any mods to the heads, what cam, what tranny&stall?

Please, please, please give me the details. I really do not want to mess with the short block other than cam.

thanks in advance
 
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