how much $ to build a 500 hp 454? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 04, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Garden homes, il, united states
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Hey guys I am wanting to build a 454 for my 56 belair. I do not have any parts for the engine at all. I was wondering how much everyone has spent for a 500-600hp big block? And I would like to use forged pistons and good crank and rods(don't have to be forged). Will stock crank and rods be good enough or should i buy aftermarket? also cost to power wise should i buy aftermarket heads or stay with stock heads? do i want recangular/oval, open or closed chamber?

Also I would like this engine to be reliable because it will be street driven a lot during the summer. it will be raced and beaten on, but isn't going to be strictly a strip car. I would like to run 11's? is that possible with traction and somewhere around 500 hp and 500+ lbs of torque?

Sorry for all the questions, but I don't know much about building big blocks.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 02:09 AM
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I'm no pro engine builder, but this is what I think about your questions. It won't take very much to get a 454 up to 500hp. If they are in good condition the stock crank and rods can be reused after a fresh up. Cast and forged cranks are both strong enough to handle this kind of power.
After some porting almost any stock head will do, just stay away from the "peanut" port heads which have really small intake ports. Rectangular heads want a high revving/high compression engine and a high stall converter or a manual transmission, but if you don't mind this they will go over 500hp without porting and can be found relatively cheap.

If you want it to run on pump gas go with oval port heads. These heads are most likely to be on any 454 you will buy. Peronaly I would look for a later model 454 like a gen IV or gen V. They have 4 bolt mains and forged cranks and pistons.

Aftermarket heads are only needed if you want to go beyond 600hp and are pretty high $$.

Total cost depends on how much you can do yourself and what parts you already have, maybe you already have a good carb for it?

Again I'm no expert but this is what I know, maybe someone else will have something to add.

...and now I want to see a pic of that '56! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 03:42 AM
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Why not go for the GM crate ZZ502 motor? You get 500 horses and a warranty to boot. the only downside is the expense...about $7000 for a completely assembled motor with carb.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 04:17 AM
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I seen ya post on another site and so I'll give ya a recipe 454 30-60 over 10:1 or more with good rod bolts. Oval port heads of your choice as long as they're not peanut port. Edelbrock Performer RPM , 10 inch 3500-4 conver. 1 7/8 or 2 inch headers. 850 carb. 250-260 @.050 108-110 .lift depends on head choice but around .600 should be good. 3:73-4:10 gears.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 09:20 AM
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well 500 horse is a lot different than 600 horse. So you kinda got to make up your mind. 500 horse is relatively easy. You can use a stock cast crank and regular rods,(better rod is better but not necessary. As ususal it all needs to be put together right. You don't need forged pistons either but just like the crank and rods, it won't hurt to get good stuff. about 9.5-1 compression with a cam that will work good with the compression you are using. Some decent oval port heads, 049's, 781's, or 063's, you will also need to decide if you are going to go open or closed chamber depending on what piston you are using. I would highly recommend a decent but basic port job on the set of stock heads. A perfomer rpm/air gap, 750 double pumper, 1 3/4- 1 7/8 headers and a cam of your choice something with about 230-240 @.050 durtaion with about .550 lift. hydraulic or solid. Get a good recent grind cam, like a LUnati or comp extreme. THat will get you an easy 500 horse. If you want 600 horse go with something like a Brodix oval port, AFR 305CC, edelbrock roval port 290CC(bottom of the barrel head) Canfield 310CC, bump the compression up to 10.5-1, bump the cam up accoridngly and go with a solid flat tappet or roller, and maybe a 950HP carb. OBviosly there are more ways to go, but those are pretty basic setups, let us know what your HP goals are exactly and how much money, what kind of use, and drivetrain

71 formula firebird, 468; AFR rectangle port, 11-1 compression, Isky Solid Roller 290/294,...620HP, Viper T56 six speed, 19" CCW rims, Hydroboost, C5 corvette brakes.. currently being built(almost done)
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 10:00 AM
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I'll second Cody's recommendations for a good streetable BB build-up!
Those combos, and 'Dutch's' recommendations would prove easy to assemble parts for and keep running correctly for street cruisin'.
If you'd like to consider slightly more performance and Cubic Inches - you may want to look into the new 496 kits being offered by Coast High Performance ( ). These kits (with a cast crank, forged rods & pistons, rings and bearings) are retailing in the $2k range - which is a deal for the added CI and HP. The internals are specially engineered for dependable street/marine performance without some of the drawbacks of the other stroker combos.
600 HP should be no problem with mild heads, good intake/carb and headers.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 11:17 AM
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whoops... mispost.


- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 11:54 AM
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A few years ago, I started with a block from a machine shop that had already been machined and the person did not pay for their work. It cost me $600 for the bill, that was a .030 over 454 new cam bearings, bored honed, align honed. By the time I bought all the other parts, and assembled it, it was around $2500 to $2800. That was for a motor that probably made around 375 to 400 hp (a stocker). I found another bargain block at a machine shop to do for my own car and picked it up for $100 dollars, and had the machine work done. This time I went with 496 forged crank, Eagle H-beam rods, forged pistons, ported 049 heads, roller cam, Fluidampr, etc. etc. You get the idea. $6000 later I have my 496. It just depends on what it is you want. If you want to add the carburetor, starter, distributor, pulleys, brackets, engine bolt kits, shiny pans and covers, etc. count on another $1500 to $2000. The nickel and dime crap adds up fast! My advice is look at the crate motor deals. By the time I got mine done, I could have had a crate motor.

1923 T-bucket 406ci
1956 Chev 150 2dr sedan 302ci
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 05:38 PM
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Yeah a crate motor is definately worth looking into. A 454HO in summit is about 5Gs and worth 425hp. With the low compression (8.75:1) Milling the heads to bring up compression to lets say to like 10:1 would definately help just for starters. Im not so good w/ bb but the cam looks a little small @ .510"/.540" lift and 211*/230* @ .50 I think you could find something better. It has the forged pistons you want (alluminum) forged steel crank and rods. I don't know how the heads are (im completely clueless) but this may be something to think about...
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 06:00 PM
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 1st, 04, 07:28 PM
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I built a little 433 bbc a few years ago that ran easy 11.70's in my 3450# 67'.I'm guessing 450 to 475 hp. Here are the parts I used. A 74' 454 2 bolt block bored .030, 396 cast crank, 3/8 factory rods w/arp bolts, Sealed Power forged closed chamber pistons pt.# L2268F (10.5:01 compression with open chamber heads), 049 open chamber oval ports with blended bowl area, stock size valves ( 2.07, 1.72 ) Camshaft was a Crane pt.# 10313 flat tappet hydraulic .569/.595 238/248 . I used a Dart single plane intake with great results. Headers were Hooker 2" x 36 with 3" collectors. I also used a Carb Shop 926 cfm Holley double pumper carb, MSD 6AL with 36 Degrees Advance all in by 3000 rpm. This engine ran in my car for three years witrh countless street races and several track passes. I finally ended up breaking the cast crankshaft, probably had a lot to do with not having the rotating assembly balanced. But the engine was cheap to build and a lot of fun!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 04, 10:04 PM
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Edelbrock claims 540 HP out of a 9.5-1 454 with thier Performer RPM Kit (heads, Cam, intake, & Carb). I second Cody - that's about my setup - You're gonna have minimum $4K +\- in it if you do the edelbrock kit and machine + parts work etc etc etc. Or you could do a stock rebuild - add forged pistons and stick a Weiand 177 Blower on it - Either way you be out a few $ - Check out Speed-O-motive - they have a 496 short block for $2200....

Rat Touring 1969 Camaro X44 496 Richmond Super T10 Plus 4-Speed 3.55 4 wheel disc
..and sporting all new suspension, wheels, etc etc... take a look...
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 04, 02:56 AM
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Before you go and buy a crate motor look into Ed Bigley's old 468 combo. He used GM oval ports which flow enough for 600 Hp with minor port work and 2.18/1.88 valves. RPM intake. Forgot his old cam specs from when he was running a flat tappet cam. Definately a low buck build.

My point is that if you are only looking for 500 HP and 500 lb/ft of TQ out of a 454 there is absolutely no reason to get fancy -- factory oval ports will easily do the trick. Save the 2 grand you'd spend on aftermarket heads and put a good converter and gears into the car.

E85 racer and E85 carb builder

68 Camaro, E85 powered 427" small block. 9.96 @ 133 MPH, 1.319 sixty foot on motor. 5.92 eighth @ 116 with a 1.42 sixty breaking beams with back tire on the bottle
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 04, 05:00 AM
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And may I add, if your 454 core motor has a bad crank in it, then you might as well step up to a 496 rotating assembly b/c one is not all that much more then putting new stock 454 stuff back in your motor and then you can make big power EASY!!!!

I only have like $3800 to $4000 in my about 550hp at 5500rpm, great big homemade 9.8 CR., "tow-truck" 496 motor per D2K even if it is a sim. program..

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 04, 03:59 PM
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Hey Tom - Eric has a good point- select your parts wisely - I steppped up to the Performer RPM heads since my old Oval ports were on thier last leg and the machine shop butchered them - I was just done messing around with parts on thier way to becoming junk. A good port matching will free HP - here's my suggestion after my build: cam selection - 280H or 292H Comp Cams, Converter that has a minimum 2500 Stall,3.73 gears - (3.55's will get ya about 2400-2500rpm cruising at 60MPH with a 26" tall tire....assuming you use a TH350 or TH400. But before you take anhy advise - ask a ton of questions - you'll find alot of info here.

Rat Touring 1969 Camaro X44 496 Richmond Super T10 Plus 4-Speed 3.55 4 wheel disc
..and sporting all new suspension, wheels, etc etc... take a look...
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