Help with 1980 Camaro 355 sbc to 454 bbc swap

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by Riley, Dec 29, 2016.

Favorite engine to build in muscle car?

  1. 350 SBC

    0 vote(s)
  2. 454 BBC

  3. Other

  1. Riley

    Riley Veteran Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hey everyone. Could i please get some input on this 454 bbc engine i'm looking into buying for my 1980 Camaro z28, that currently has a 355 sbc. I will post a link to the for sale ad and could you please look at the picture in the ad and let me know if the motor will install into my car. I'd like to swap to the 454 will little modification needed if possible.
    Here is the link to the for sale ad:

    And does anyone know any information on the GM 454 TonaWanda engine? I'd like to be able to find out the specs of the engine. I'm thinking the only way would be to pull all of the serial codes off of the engine itself. The person selling it told me he think's it has 230 hp and 280 lb of torque for the stock engine.

    Any information would be great. thanks in advance.
  2. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ringgold, GA
    What's wrong with the sbc in the Camaro now? I would have to look long and hard before I replaced it with a pig block, especially a low horsepower smog era one. There's a lot of info on this site about 2nd gens with big blocks and LS platforms. Just use the search feature and read away. :)
  3. Randy 81

    Randy 81 Veteran Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    Loganville, Ga
    That looks like a Gen 5 TBI truck engine, 1991-95. Tonawanda is just the plant where GM built the engines. Easy enough to swap it to a carburetor, but the block won't have provisions for a mechanical fuel pump, so you will have to run an electric one. Corky has a good point, it won't be a big upgrade over the 355, unless you put some mods to it.
  4. Riley

    Riley Veteran Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    hey thanks for replies!
    You know Randy81 I never even thought of the fuel pump situation. That makes me not want to get into that haha. Not that i don't like modifications, but i'd like to stick with a mechanical fuel pump. I did plan on upgrading the 454 with a bigger cam and different intake manifold. But now i'm leaning towards not purchasing that particular 454 BBC.
    CorkyE, haha I love the pig block quote. Honestly I have never driven a 454 or any grade, but I got into a conversation with a local guy and I asked him what he thought about 350's and 383 strokers, and his reply was simple, get a Big block like a 454 and you won't look back when it comes to hp and torque. But I don't know myself. Really I wish i could just get my 355 SBC working A1 and be done with it. But it's been 5 years of me owning this car and still I'm not near satisfied with the running order of my 355. I'll get into that below haha.

    There's a bit of a story behind why I want to begin an engine swap. I think the number one reason is because I am not happy with my current setup. Since I bought the car I feel the engine never ran correct or to it's full potential. I have done a lot of research myself trying to fine tune the car and have had numerous people look at it and I can never get an answer to why it acts like it does. I know mechanic work can be quite a puzzle sometimes but I really don't know where to even begin to correct the problem because no one can give a general pin point to what may be worth fixing or upgrading. There's really nothing I havn't tried to correct the engine besides replacing parts on it. But I have replaced the dizzy and carburetor.
    One of the biggest issues are the starting from cold. When i first start the car i can tell the fast idle is engaged and i do have it set a bit high (it revs at like 1500 rpm). But as soon as i tap the gas any amount the fast idle disengages and the car completely dies and when i restart the fast idle no longer will engage and the car will not run unless i work the gas padel for at least 10 minutes. By this time the car is ideling at around 700 rpm, and as the car warms up the ideling rpm rises. To me that is not correct. Something is going on that shouldn't. I thought maybe the intake manifold gasket could be bad.
    There are other reasons for me wanting to consider swapping, I don't really know all of the internal specs of my 355 such as what cam shaft was installed into it, What shape the rings and vales are, just sucks not know what exactly your running and if it's about to explode haha.
    I do find I lose coolant over time, and I do lose oil over time. So it's hard for me to start diagnosing, fixing, and upgrading my current setup, I'd love to know im starting with a good foundation before I start sinking money.

    Any input would be great, I will list all the information I currently know about my setup.

    -1980 Camaro z28, 700R4 transmission, 3.73 posi rear.
    -355 engine
    -Some type of after market cam shaft
    -MSD street fire dizzy
    - 650 CFM Edelbrock Carb
    -Headers are from late 80's (I have center bolt valve covers that are not vortec)
    -Intake manifold is just the stock rochester intake.
    -Flat top pistons (not sure what that means good/bad?)
  5. vegas1974z28

    vegas1974z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Las Vegas,NV
  6. Riley

    Riley Veteran Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Haha thanks for the input

Share This Page