BBC 454 build up - I can't decide

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by firebirder, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. firebirder

    firebirder New Member

    May 17, 2011
    Hi there,
    my name is Daniel. I'm driving a 1979 Camaro. I need a little bit help because I'm confused about all this head numbers, porting tips, CC(???) and so on. I have the same target like a lot of other people too: getting more out of the bigblock. The car is not my daily driver. For fun, Sunshine and ice cream only :cool:

    The car has a 454 BBC (3999289) with a set of 346236 heads on it yet. It is a very low powered engine with about 240-280 hp I think. (I changed the engine, because the SBC has some trouble and I always wished to drive a Bigblock :happy: )

    My actually other setup is:
    - 750 holley sec. vacuum
    - 3" Hedman headers (2,25 tubes to 3" collector I think)
    - Edelbrock performer 2.0 intake
    - TH350 with a Trans go package

    So is it possible to break the 500hp wall or more?

    Again and again I read to change the heads to some 049 or 781 heads (???).
    I have a second pair of heads in my garage. The number is 6272292. I think they are from a 402 BBC.

    - Does the 402 heads fit the 454?
    - If yes, what is the better pair for it?
    - Are Aluminium heads more powerful from e.g. Edelbrock or other companies?

    Who has a good tip for a combination for me? What about the cam, the stall converter and so on?

    What other infos do you need to help me.

    Thank you...Daniel
  2. Psycledad

    Psycledad New Member

    Jan 21, 2011
    I searched and looks like the best choices are 049 and 781 heads are the best for street use. I will be following your thread for insights for my 454 rebuild.

    ps-I'll welcome you to the site.
  3. 1980RS

    1980RS Veteran Member

    Jun 17, 2006

    I ran ported 396 heads on my flat top 454 and with the right cam, intake and carb the car ran 11.90@113mph. The heads had big valves and some port work. Car had 11" tci street fighter, 4.10 gears, 282S CC solid cam and a 750 holley dp. Nothing wrong with 396 or 402 heads and the peanut 236 heads are not bad either with some work.

    Traded them to my old boss for some other BB heads.
  4. Tia813

    Tia813 Veteran Member

    May 3, 2007
    Going with some big domed pistons with the 049-781 heads?

    Thats what I use my 79 for-- Nice days only. My set up--
    --KB small domed pistons
    --.030 over
    --I forgot the stamp on the head but its 105CC(?) oval. Stock size valves with minor head work
    --282H cam
    --9.7:1 comp
    -- 4.11 with a Super T10
    Anyway I like that set up. Enough to mess with those BMW M5s that like to pick on me.
  5. Rich Schmidt

    Rich Schmidt Veteran Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    Denville NJ

    Yup,thats the problem. Your engine is low compression. If you switch to the heads that were mentioned you wont gain any compression,just a little more flow. You could go with closed chamber 396 heads and a little port work,but stay with the ovalports. The casting that ends in 1063 is a good casting for the late 60's heads. By the time you get done having them rebuilt with all new hardware you might be into the heads for over $1000 and thats without porting,which really is required,but will make a few more horsepower. For a bit more you can buy the Edlebrock heads that were designed for the Chevy 454SS pickup. They have 100CC combustion chambers which will bring your compression up and will outflowall but the best ported stock heads. With those heads,a cam like the 292 Isky Megacam(hydraulic flat tappet) a Performer RPM intake and 850cfm carb you can make 500 hp with no problem. with this setup you can still use stock stamped steel rockers which saves a few bucks,the engine wont be anything exotic and wont need to spin over about 6000 rpm to make the power you want. Good luck.
  6. Tia813

    Tia813 Veteran Member

    May 3, 2007
    Right now I guess the question is how much you want to spend? lol Thats non of my business but it will determine on which way your build will go. Rich Schmidt is right. You can go over 1k on those heads but at the end its worth it.
  7. Damon

    Damon Veteran Member

    Nov 16, 2000
    Philly area
    Welcome to the board!

    And agreed with above- what's your budget? Really determins how far you can go. Breaking 500HP with $1000 is going to be a little tough (short of nitrous). Breaking it with $3000 is not difficult at all.

    Gnerally, it's about building some compression, first off, to allow you to use a larger cam. Smaller chamber heads can do that, but you're limiting yourself to some very old factory castings that have since been far surpassed by the aftermarket over the years. But it's the cheapest route to victory since you're going to need quite a bit more cam than stock to hit your goal.

    A switch to entry-level aftermarket heads or higher flowing factory large ovals will give you enough airflow to get past 500HP without much problem, but they are all "open chamber" heads that will require some domed pistons to build meaningful compression. And if you're changing pistons that means you're into the bottom end which means MACHINE WORK. In short, more dollars. But ultimately more potential.

    So...... what's the budget?
  8. firebirder

    firebirder New Member

    May 17, 2011
    Hi Damon, hi all,
    thank you for the nice welcome on this board.
    I wouldn't say that budget is secondary, but I have this car since 9 years and it is a hobby. I have learned that it is better to spent a little bit more money to get quality as to do a thing twice or more. (And by the way: my wife always says: he's not drinking, he's not smoking and he doesn't take any drugs. So let him play with his cars, then he is lucky. I hope that is the correct translation of her quote.)

    Ok let us think I will spend this 1000$ in original heads or porting and machining the 236er, than I will be limited in more hp in a few years like Damon said, right? And it is very very hard to get this heads here in Germany as I said.
    So why not building the 454 with a set of new aluminium heads to have a little clearance to the building the endpower in a few years.

    By the way I found two more things in my garage yesterday where I what to know If it could be helpful with the buildup, so pls do not laugh, the second is from my SBC days.

    There is a full set of 1.7 Scorpion Tuning set of roller rockers for BBCs and an small NOS system (125 up to 250hp). Are those roller rockers effective without roller lifters and a roller cam or should stay with the stock rockers? Let me ask is there a difference between a "normal" cam and a roller cam, or is it only the stuff on top of this (roller rockers and lifters instead of stock rockers and hydraulic valve lifters)
    So what now? Thake a performance package out of the box from Edelbrock or combine parts by our self?
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  9. ZS10

    ZS10 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2003
    BC, Canada
    Combine parts by yourself.

    If you have roller rockers, use them. Don't expect any gains, but

    Small nitrous shot = :)

    A roller cam uses roller lifters, they don't have the wear problems of flat cams, and have much more aggressive lifts in similar duration grinds. Expensive, but money well spent.

    Always a debate, heads or pistons to get decent compression.
    Preferably both. Ricks new, small chamber, head solution will work, if your bottom end is in good shape it will be very durable.
  10. firebirder

    firebirder New Member

    May 17, 2011
    The bottom end of the engine is very fine, because it is has been "rebuild" and bored 0.030" over 2 years ago.

    @Rich you spoke about 454SS Pickup heads from Edelbrock. Do you mean the number Edelbrock 60479?

    The problem is this ("difficult") technical english when collectiong infos for an order.

    Ok, lets say I have round about 3000-3500$.
    What can I build from that with future aspects? (Do it once, do it right)
    Parts I already have are the roller rockers and the NOS.
    Edelbrock Intake 2161 and the Holley 750.

    (I feel like a little child in the supermarket and somebody has to take my hand to show me the good/right things :shy:)

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