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Old 01-30-2004, 09:03 PM   #1
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motor home 454 engines (motors)

was doing a little surfing for a new motor today. came across a situation five different motors . five different prices and also five different set of specs.
the lowest price was for a rebuilt 454 the specs were a little loose two bolt mains. nothing i would consider for a replacement motor for my unit $1500 plus core
the second was the same motor with a little better specs and two bolt mains.and a little more warranty
the next was a heavy duty truck engine four bolt mains, not bad on the spec side but still not what i was looking for $ 2000 plus.
the next motor was a motor home engine four bolt mains nice specs could be punched to 40 over on the cylinders. dyno run the price was almost $3300. alleged gm uses this one for crate motors less the rv heads.
and of course the racing motor. didnt even look at the specs was $8000.
my question was why is there almost$1500 differenc in the heavy duty truck motor and the rv motor. after almost an hour on the phone the answer was the rv motor has a different set of heads that cost big bucks. the casting for a rv head has water jackets that cool the head around spark plus holes??? is some one pulling my leg?????????????????????????????????????????????
seems i have developed a leak down problem on my hydrolic lifters. when i start the motor (cold) i have a knock . after warm up knock goes away. also put lucas in the oil and that stopped the knock. lucas makes the oil soo thick there is no way the lifters can leak down. dont care for that . so going to schedule a rebuild or replacement in the near future. probably march .
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:33 PM   #2
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454

Have you thought about having the engine you that's in the rig now rebuilt?
A few of the advantages might be:

*Cost might be less than a crate motor. You could spent the savings on stuff like roller rockers, bigger cam, polished heads, headers, etc
* You would know how many miles were on it. Unlike an exchange short or long block that may have alot of hard miles.
* All accessories will fit.

If you don 't know of a good shop just ask around the Auto Parts stores, or if you have any racing buddies ask them. A good shop will be able to advise you on what to do and what the cost will be.

HTH
Don
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:24 PM   #3
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If your engine isn't seriously damaged, you're likely best off with a rebuild. I didn't have that option, since my 454 blew up (apparently broke a piston at about 120,000 miles). I replaced it with a Chevy 502 crate engine - the 340 hp version, which is billed as a replacement truck engine. It has heavy-duty everything - forged crank, rods & pistons and roller cam. There are Vortec and non-Vortec versions available. Not cheap at around $4600 for a long block, but, for me, the best solution in the long run.

We had a few minor accessory issues. This engine uses the new, smaller starter, which you'll have to buy. And it has no machining for a mechanical fuel pump, so you have to go electric.

You definitely don't want the high-buck racing engine. The torque curve is all wrong for our application, since you'll never see over 3000 rpm in your motorhome.

I don't think there's any such thing as motorhome-specific heads. The cam maybe extra torquey, but motorhomes are just trucks, after all. Having said that, though, Grooms Engines, a Nashville-based engine rebuilder, told me they didn't supply engines for motorhomes, no explanation or rationale offered!

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Nashville
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Old 01-31-2004, 07:12 AM   #4
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Big blocks are basically 2 or 4 bolt mains, or tall deck truck blocks. Cranks can be cast nodular iron or forged steel. Heads oval port or square port.

Mine is a 2 bolt main block, forged crank, oval port heads (hi perf). I would guess this was a fairly standard configuration for the day. I know Chevy took a lot of heat at the time for using a 2 bolt main block; their rationale was (besides being cheaper) that the engines did not turn a very high rpm and did not need the lower end stability.

If the heavy duty truck motor is a tall deck truck block don't go for it unless you want to change intakes and the distributor. The pistons in these have 4 rings and the block is taller. They are a better heavy duty configuration but you will need parts.

I just went through the engine castings number book (1955-1993) and they don't list a rv head. Different performance levels, standard and heavy duty, square and oval port. No rv, no extra cooling. Ask them for a casting number and I will look it up. To me cooling is more a problem of the confined space these engines sit in than the actual engine.

How is your engine other than the lifters? If it is not leaking, good compression and power, lifters are cheap and a lot easier to change.

John
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:12 AM   #5
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Rattling lifters to me means that they are covered with a varnish build-up.
Had that problem a long time ago, amd resolved it with a powerful detergent added to the engine oil. Dont remember the name of the product but believe that it contained lacquer thinner.
Hope this helps.
Dick
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:15 AM   #6
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i think my engine has more miles than i can verify.the rv heads had me i never ever heard that one.
i havent abandoned the new lifters job up yet . cost $50 and it would be a bunch less work to do.
i also have a estimate to rebuild the motor i have $1700. i think that is a bit high. but i would know what i have when i get it installed. and $1650 more than the lifter change out.
before i do the lofter change out i would do a compression check and depending on that i could make a decision , which way do you go.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:26 AM   #7
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collapsed lifter is the best description for the problem. the lifter releases the oil and collapses . will pump up when started. im told this is a common problem with the 454 motor. i would bet you can not find any varnish in the motor. i have used mobil one for four years and it removes all the crud. i replaced the fuel pump and the push rod was clean no varnish or sludge. and they are usually nasty with sludge.
i dont think i will do anything untill i get back from my florida trip, it will be a bit warmer outside on the driveway. and my helper will be back from iraq "i hope".
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