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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
My Chevelle is going to need a heart transplant and I am looking at a GM 502 crate. I was just wondering if I could get some opinions from all of you. If you have one? Likes/dislikes? Performance numbers? The motor will be going into a 1970 Chevelle SS454 (dont cringe #'s block is long gone) The engine will be backed by a TH400 and 3.55 posi 12 bolt.
Thanks in advance!
-Brian
:beers: :beers: :beers: :beers: :beers:
 

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For not that much extra you can get into a streetable 540 that will make more power easier.
You may regret it one day (maybe not) if you go 502. Be pro-active....it can save you in the long run
 

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Brian,
Which 502 are you looking at, the ZZ502 or 502HO?

Both nice motors, but need electric fuel pumps. I would also consider a ZZ454, which is an alum 454 pushing close to 500HP, and uses a mechanical fuel pump. I think they are less than 6000.00 or around that. Great deal IMO.

But if your handy, build one yourself. You'll get better parts and power.
 

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502's work really good . The only 2 drawbacks I have encountered ,they run a truck oil pan , so the first thing you have to do is spend money on it to buy a Moroso or Miloden oil pan . They also don't have a boss for a mechanical fuel pump , but if you are already have an electric pump you got it made. We put a 502 in a 71 Chevelle it ran 11.90's with a simular gear ratio and a turbo 400 with a 3000 stall converter.
 

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Brian,
I have a ZZ502 and like it quite a bit. It has significant power and torque right out of the box. You must run an electric fuel pump (no provisions for a mechanical one) and it uses some oil (on the older ones, mine seems fine). It is a very streetable engine and I get about 15 MPG if my foot isn't in it. Mine dyno'd at 540 HP (a bit more than they claim) and 560 ft lbs torque (a bit less than they claim) with headers, Edlebrock intake, Edelbrock 800 carb and MSD 6AL ignition. In a way I can't wait to make it a 540 but it seems pretty bullet proof. I had to use a smaller oil pan kit available from GM (tried a Moroso but it kept leaking, actually we tried two) but some folks say it's too small for the motor, I've had no oil pressure drop problems while using it under any conditions. I would probably use a bigger oil pan if I had to do it over again and will if I ever see even the slightest problem. The TH400 will work great (I have one after tearing up 2 350's) and I run a 9 inch Moser w/325 gears and it will get rubber as long as you want it to. Good luck driving it in wet weather...tire spin is hard to avoid. We only have a 1/8 mile track here so I haven't run it to get numbers but I think it should run low 12's all day long as it sits and my gears are very conservative. Hope this helps.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate the feedback. As far as a 540 goes as mentioned by Chris Stanwyck, who offers one in crate form? I would be interested in weighing my options? And do the 540's come with a warranty. What is appealing about this 502/502hp ( I would actually like to be 550hp) is that it is bolt in and go with a combo that is proven. I have had to many experiences with machine shops in my area that dont know what they are doing. I am almost positive that the motor that is in the car now has a broken steel crank, that motor being less than 5 years old and having under 10,000 miles on it. In fact it seems as I havent had a full season yet without something breaking. This would lead some of you to believe that I am rough on my car, and dont get me wrong I like power and speed like the rest of you. But I had paid a lot of hard earned $$ in the past to have people who apparently didnt know what they were doing do work to my car and im kind of fed up with that. I just want a great sounding big block that is reliable and gives me low 12's to high 11's And to possibly make it a full season after having the car for almost 8 years. I would like to get the car back on the road this season and im sure I will be asking all of you many questions so thatns in advance.
-Brian
 

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Brian,
I don't know of a "crate" 540...it's just what I plan to do to mine after (if it ever) it gives up. Based on what you're looking to do, I would say you will be extremely happy with a ZZ502 crate motor. I sure don't baby my motor and like I said earlier, it seems bullet proof!

Mark
 

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Little bit more power than I want for a street car, Id like to be at 550 not close to 700 but thanks for the link..........

I like my 502 alright.....if I were to do it again, though, I'd get a 502 short block, stick some RaceRites on it, a little more cam, and be right at that 550hp mark you're talking about (maybe even a tad more). It wouldn't have the crate motor warranty, but I think it would be a better combo.

In reference to Dave427's comment about the oil pan, I used a Moroso 20411 and have had no leaks - no problems.

Just FYI - the swap turned out to be a bit more work and $$ than I expected. The first time I got on it hard, my TH400 went to tranny heaven. When I put in a stronger one, I added a beefier driveshaft, too. To plumb properly for the electric pump, I bought a new gas tank and had a sump welded on. The cooling system wasn't up to the challenge, so I swapped in an aluminum rad with dual electric fans. Of course, the electrical system wasn't up to that, so I put in a larger alternator and rewired most of the engine compartment. Swapped out my 2 1/2" exhaust for a 3" system.......I think you get the idea.

I'm absolutely not trying to discourage you, but you need to go into this with your eyes wide open.
 

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World makes a 509 that produces 540HP that sells as a complete engine dyno'd and ready to go turn key. It uses a hydraulic cam and 850 Holley so very little maintenance. This "complete" engine is $8,795.00 in summit.

If money is less of an object they also have a nice 630HP 540 turn key street engine for $11,495
 

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Well, after going to the Shafiroff site, they have a 540 shortblock for the same price and a ZZ502 shortblock, with better components.

But, by the time you get heads, gaskets, bolts, valve covers etc, I'll bet it will cost you the same or more w/no warranty.
 

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If you go with a ZZ502 make sure the rocker studs are torqued correctly. I didn't and all hell almost broke loose. I had 3 back out of the head but luckily I pulled the valve covers after hearing some rattling and fixed the problem.
 

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Well, after going to the Shafiroff site, they have a 540 shortblock for the same price and a ZZ502 shortblock, with better components.

But, by the time you get heads, gaskets, bolts, valve covers etc, I'll bet it will cost you the same or more w/no warranty.
That's true, it will cost more. But look what you are getting. Better rotating assembly, better block with a provision for a fuel pump, choice of compression ratio and rings, balanced, better bearings, etc. The list goes on and on. Not to mention that Shafiroff in many ways has a better reputation for putting together a reliable large cubic inch big block than the General.

True their short blocks don't have a warranty per se, but in my indirect experience with them they have always backed their work. Even in a race car. Lastly, if you buy one of their ultra street long blocks you do get a 2 year warranty.

Bill
 

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The cooling system wasn't up to the challenge, so I swapped in an aluminum rad with dual electric fans.
I totally forgot about the cooling...I had to go with a Griffin aluminum radiator but didn't need electric fans, mine runs 180 even on hot days here in Florida.

Mark
 

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I wonder if anyone has had to use the gm warranty and if so how good is it . I mean if the warranty is the main reason to buy gm then just how good is it ?
I think that may be some of the beauty to this motor. I haven't had to use it and I've never been real easy on mine. I plan on upgrades when it decides to grenade but to date it's been rock solid.
 
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