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Old 09-15-2012, 12:30 PM   #43
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Good choices of Books Dean...
I am a huge Vizard fan, as he was the the BMC A series Engine Guru and I built a bored and stroked 140bhp 1450cc 4 cylinder Mini engine from his blueprints!
Will add those to my want/gift list!

Here is my M/H related selection...
I get them used off Amazon mostly..






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Old 09-15-2012, 02:50 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair
Good choices of Books Dean...
I am a huge Vizard fan, as he was the the BMC A series Engine Guru and I built a bored and stroked 140bhp 1450cc 4 cylinder Mini engine from his blueprints!
Will add those to my want/gift list!

Here is my M/H related selection...
I get them used off Amazon mostly..
Steve, your library is bigger then mine! LOL
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #45
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For now maybe...

In fact I have tons of books... that is just my Motorhome related books.
Its maybe 10% of what I have...
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:42 PM   #46
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Steve,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
I heard that the later Vortec heads are the best factory heads..... and should be cheap!
I'm curious as to why you think the later Vortec heads would be cheap? I've always found that the newer the product the more expensive it is. Just curious...

Quote:
I would be interested in some opinions about the TBI vs carb in terms of power and fuel economy...
Good question! I'd like to know more about TBI as well.

Quote:
Anyone have an opinions on Waterpumps?
I heard the high flow Aluminum units are the best for cooling...
Something like this one...
Holley Performance Products Action +Plus Water Pump*9242
The only comment I can make on water pumps is I've been lead to believe there are two types of water pumps, short and tall and the motorhomes require the tall version. Does the holley pump come in the tall version?

Brad
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #47
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Brad,
Your question is a good one and I did some research...
It seems that I might be wrong about the Vortec heads being better... I now read that the BBC heads are not that great... and the 781 head casting are better. maybe the 350 Vortecs are good..
I read an article on the 502 towing crate motor but I think that might be a better head.
My thoughts about the Vortecs being cheap were based on the fact I have seen a least one later model Suburban at my favourite pick and Pull yard and they charge $60 per head..... unless you go on a half price day!

Water Pumps...
You are correct, there are 2 types of pump for the BBC... long and short... and I assume that is the same as short and tall... I think the short is for cars like the corvette or chevelle, etc.
here is how to tell... paragraph taken from the Ebay ad below..
If your pump is still mounted on the engine, the way to tell long from short, will be that there is nearly no space between the timing cover and back of the water pump IF YOU HAVE A SHORT PUMP. The long will have at least one full inch of space in that area.

I replaced my waterpump on my Suburban last year, and wish I had seen this one first...
BBC CHEVY 454 LONG SATIN ALUMINUM WATER PUMP HC-8022-S | eBay
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #48
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Brad,
Your question is a good one and I did some research...
It seems that I might be wrong about the Vortec heads being better... I now read that the BBC heads are not that great... and the 781 head casting are better. maybe the 350 Vortecs are good..
I read an article on the 502 towing crate motor but I think that might be a better head.
My thoughts about the Vortecs being cheap were based on the fact I have seen a least one later model Suburban at my favourite pick and Pull yard and they charge $60 per head..... unless you go on a half price day!
$60 a head is cheap let alone paying half of that! A gentleman I ran across in Pasadena back in 2008 felt the peanut port heads (I think I got that right) were the best for power and towing which is what I have on the new motor going into the Argosy. I hope he's right

Quote:
Water Pumps...
You are correct, there are 2 types of pump for the BBC... long and short... and I assume that is the same as short and tall... I think the short is for cars like the corvette or chevelle, etc.
Yeah, long and short is what I meant.

Quote:
here is how to tell... paragraph taken from the Ebay ad below..
If your pump is still mounted on the engine, the way to tell long from short, will be that there is nearly no space between the timing cover and back of the water pump IF YOU HAVE A SHORT PUMP. The long will have at least one full inch of space in that area.

I replaced my waterpump on my Suburban last year, and wish I had seen this one first...
BBC CHEVY 454 LONG SATIN ALUMINUM WATER PUMP HC-8022-S | eBay
Looks good. I wonder what the quality is like?

To bad I already bought a new water pump for the Argosy.

Brad
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:09 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler

$60 a head is cheap let alone paying half of that! A gentleman I ran across in Pasadena back in 2008 felt the peanut port heads (I think I got that right) were the best for power and towing which is what I have on the new motor going into the Argosy. I hope he's right

Yeah, long and short is what I meant.

Looks good. I wonder what the quality is like?

To bad I already bought a new water pump for the Argosy.

Brad
I think it is important to remember that our 454's in our RVs don't rev beyond 4000 rpms (I don't think I've seen mine past about 3400-3500 rpms. The peanut port heads were designed for high-torque, low-speed applications! I believe that is us!
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:51 PM   #50
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Yes, the peanut port IS good for low speed Torque, and its unlikely that we will ever regularly exceed 4k rpm!
I am trying to figure out if that is balanced on the larger oval ported 781 heads by better flow/efficiency at the midrange. Small ports equal higher velocity and better fuel mixing, with less chance of fuel condensing and pooling etc... but equally, there is a balance with strangling the breathing!
Zero point in maxing power at 6000 rpm!

I posted a theoretical engine build I saw a while back and thought the comments were all good!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f159...cle-68479.html
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:04 AM   #51
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This has been a great thread to read and it has been fun to read about the possibilities for the Chevy 454. However, I'm not sure that my original question(s) are getting answered...not that they have to be answered here of course! This thread like all others are free to go where the participants want to take it.

All real world design and product production is done under certain constraints. It has often been said that designing for the Rolls Royce automobile 30 years ago was an easier task, requiring less engineering then it was to design for a production model Chevrolet of the same era. The reasoning is that designing a Rolls Royce had very little financial constraints put on it while a Chevy production vehicle had heavy financial constraints placed on it. The financial constraints, production deadlines, resources available, etc. all meant that the level of engineering to bring all this together to sell a product that the general public wanted and would pay for and at the same time make a profit for the manufacture, had to be of high caliber in order to make the tradeoffs necessary in order to be successful.

We all live by these constraints even today. If those of us on this forum didn't have such constraints, I'm sure we would all be driving million dollar coaches, at least I would. Even though I would consider myself a smart person with fairly good back yard mechanical skills, I have many constraints that I must live within when it comes to my Airstream motorhome, the number one being financial. Everything I do must be weighed against the feasibility of doing such. I purchased the MH from my father's estate for $5000 (my siblings told me to just take it, but I just didn't feel that would be fair). I have spent over $15,000 in parts and over $3,000 in outside labor and countless hours of my own time to get me where I'm at. I'm sure this puts me way over what the current retail value of the MH actually is. Anything I do at this point simply bites me in the wallet. It's important to always remind myself that I'm using, driving and fixing up a 30 year old motorhome, albeit a very cool motorhome!

There are many other constraints that I must consider as well, such as my skills, my lack of a personal shop to do the work, tools at my disposal, time constraints, etc. I'm not getting any younger and there are realistic deadlines that must be met. My motorhome must be moved every 90 days on my "ranch" property so as to abide by the rules of not establishing permanent residency...it has to stay running. Burning Man doesn't wait for me to be ready. My buddy will only wait about two and a half weeks for me to clean the motorhome, fix the alternator issue, get the motorhome smog tested and get on the road heading north to Coos Bay with the ATVs, otherwise he is leaving without me since winter is coming very soon and it will be too cold and wet if we go any later. Reality does bite!

My intent here is to point out some real world limitations that I have to live by that prompted me to start this particular thread and ask the question I did to begin with. And, I will just bet that many of you out there are in the same boat so to speak (or is it the same motorhome?).

It wouldn't be feasible for me to drop in a new high performance crate engine and to add FI on top of that, nor would it be feasible to replace what I have with a Cummins diesel with turbo (oh how I would love to do so). My base is a 30 year old 454 with a Quadra-crap carburetor and an antiquated turbo 475 three speed transmission. That's the reality that I live with and I'm thankful it is running pretty damn well! Oh, and I have to have it smog checked EVERY year here in California...another constraint.

Since my drivetrain is in pretty darn good shape after 135,000 miles, I'm not looking to replace my boilers with nuclear power to drive my steam engine. Sorry about that, I just toured the Midway aircraft carrier down in San Diego...what a magnificent piece of history and technology! My working base is what I already have. I'm looking to maintain a very reliable power plant and see if there is anything that can be done to squeak any more performance and gas mileage out of it. I've replaced most of the external engine parts due to failure or anticipated failure in the near future. It runs strong with good compression. It leaks and I assume burns a fair amount of oil. And, heck, I have no idea as to the average gas mileage that I get since probably 75% of the driving I've done so far is in the mountains of northern California and Oregon. I was pleased to hear from a couple of folks on the way to Burning Man say that "wow, the Airstream does pretty good out there going over the mountain passes"...big smile on my face!

I think the thing that most of us back yard mechanics often overlook as well is that these are RV engines. They need to get 12,000 to 18,000 pounds down the freeway at 65 mph...75 for some...and get us over those mountain passes without the semi's passing us up (embarrassing). We are not building race car engines. I have never seen my 454 rev above about 3500 rpms. I need "tons" of torque between 2000-3000 rpms. I need good gas mileage at 3000 rpms when cruising down a flat highway. I need the damn thing to rev to 4000 rpms to pass that big rig and get up over the mountain pass without throwing a rod through the side of the block. Again, this has nothing to do with a race engine. I know what it takes to build a race engine...I tried to do so once...and I tried to drive that '69 Chevelle to work every day as well. I really don't think having 2 or 4 bolts mains is going to matter much. I would never recoup the cost of adding FI in exchange for better gas mileage.

So again, my question is what can we do? For example, this winter I just might pull the heads and do a valve job. I'm leaking oil like crazy and the dust from Burning Man actually helped me to point out some of the leaks...rear intake manifold gasket for one. I'm thinking if I go to the trouble of moving the A/C compressor out of the way, pulling the valve covers to replace those gaskets and pulling the intake to replace those gaskets, should I just go ahead and pull the heads to do a valve job? Whats the benefit? And if I pull the heads, should I keep what ever is on there or should I invest in a different set of heads? Can the mechanical and/or vacuum advance curves be changed on the distributor to gain any benefit? What's best for an RV engine, manifold or ported vacuum for the distributor? Is there any benefit to a pricy high performance race coil on an engine that only revs to four grand? Flat tappet or roller cams? Roller cams are for race cars! Those that have real knowledge and have actually dyno tested engines will tell you that for cams with durations of 260 or less degrees that a flat tappet hydraulic cam will out perform a roller cam hands down. A lengthy discussion on fluid dynamics doesn't move me forward much...I just need to know what is the best bang for the buck for my RV engine. If something that only gives me a 5% increase in torque at 2500 rpms and costs me a thousand bucks, then it's not really worth my time. Maybe the reality is I already have the best bang for the buck as is.

I love hearing about and talking about the extreme possibilities and I think it is important information to know in order to make informed decisions. The bottom line though is knowing what is practical and feasible and what is not. I know there are a lot of owners out there that have gone down the same path or are looking to do so. It would be great to hear from you folks as well.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:05 AM   #52
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My reality would be $3,600.- for Long block 4 bolt main from the Chevy Dealer, plus $1,500.- for misc stuff (intake, carb, waterpump, fluids and gaskets), a place to do it (which i have) a good buddy to help and the joy of doing it.
It will not increase the value of the Moho proportionally, but will make it easier to sell later.
It will be a blast to fire up that engine the first time and every time after that.
It will give you a tremendous amount of peace of mind after you tweak it long enough to get all the little issues under control.
How do I know? Because I did it on my first Moho, a 1978 Avion Class C.
I was prepared to do it on my 1979 Airstream Moho, but it just kept on running and running.
And again, I am ready to do it on my current 345, but I don't have $12,000 to drop for all the bells and whistles.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:51 PM   #53
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Went through this and am happy with results:

Here's post from '05 by Fangthorpe (me).

Fiddled around with this choice for a couple months before choosing to have the 454 rebuilt on our 92 300LE. Be careful with your dollar estimates until you have made a full list. Either motor must have headers, 3" exhaust, good wires, etc. Will your carb and manifold and fuel pump feed the 502? Tranny ready for the extra poop? Radiator rebuild, belts, waterpump, maybe time for a new distributor? Tax? Add it all up and the $5500 for the motor plus labor and parts is going over $7500 in a single bound. Probably closer to $9K. I don't care what they tell you up front. Check the warranties. Some of the 502 warranties don't work on an RV chassis. And make sure you're looking at the tow motor and not the hotrod motor. Although the lower ends are identical, the heads and cams are way different.

At the end of the day, the tradeoff for me was a few more pounds of torque with premium fuel in the 502 vs. regular gas on a rebuild. I had my race shop do their best with the 66K '92 454: full rebuild, heads flowed, good RV cam and new everything else for bombproofing. Already had the headers. Don't know about the 512 foot pounds on the 502, but the 454 now pulls a 9000# racecar trailer over the Grapevine. We had to drop the tank (in-tank fuel injection pump) and put in the 502 high-volume pump and then a regulator, as the fuel demands of the improved 454 was so much greater.

Good luck.


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Old 09-16-2012, 09:19 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyleonard
Went through this and am happy with results:

Here's post from '05 by Fangthorpe (me).

Fiddled around with this choice for a couple months before choosing to have the 454 rebuilt on our 92 300LE. Be careful with your dollar estimates until you have made a full list. Either motor must have headers, 3" exhaust, good wires, etc. Will your carb and manifold and fuel pump feed the 502? Tranny ready for the extra poop? Radiator rebuild, belts, waterpump, maybe time for a new distributor? Tax? Add it all up and the $5500 for the motor plus labor and parts is going over $7500 in a single bound. Probably closer to $9K. I don't care what they tell you up front. Check the warranties. Some of the 502 warranties don't work on an RV chassis. And make sure you're looking at the tow motor and not the hotrod motor. Although the lower ends are identical, the heads and cams are way different.

At the end of the day, the tradeoff for me was a few more pounds of torque with premium fuel in the 502 vs. regular gas on a rebuild. I had my race shop do their best with the 66K '92 454: full rebuild, heads flowed, good RV cam and new everything else for bombproofing. Already had the headers. Don't know about the 512 foot pounds on the 502, but the 454 now pulls a 9000# racecar trailer over the Grapevine. We had to drop the tank (in-tank fuel injection pump) and put in the 502 high-volume pump and then a regulator, as the fuel demands of the improved 454 was so much greater.

Good luck.

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Andy, it's great to hear from some new voices out there! Thanks for sharing. I would be interested in some more info on the cam you used. Are you carbureted or do you have FI? I'm also curious if you are registered in Calif since you mentioned the Grapevine. Did you have any smog test issues?

Thanks
Dean
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:35 PM   #55
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Anyone know what a typical valve job might cost?
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:36 PM   #56
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Wink All things 454

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadstoy View Post
Hi Bill,

That's true, the sniffer test is done at idle and something like 2500 RPMs. Motorhomes over 8500 pounds are exempt from the dyno test. The catch is there is also a visual check. All OEM smog equipment must be present and working. I'm still confused about an engine swap to a later year. I just read the DMV requirement and it states that no modification can be made that degrades the smog emissions and the smog equipment for the original year, make and model must be present...what if you put in an engine 10 years newer? Smog checks are done once every two years except for those vehicle the state wants off the road, such as my MH, it has to be smogged every year. I'm due again next month...sad! My problem last year is that it had too much NOX at idle, then when the tester adjusted idle mixture to pass, it would not pass CO at 2500 RPMs.
Why not register it in Montana for example, the way a lot of the big coaches are registered (primarily for tax purposes - not emissions). There are agents up there that handle the transaction and serve as "agents" in matters of registration etc. They used to advertise in the bigger RV magazines etc. - just a thought. Afterall, according to the IRS I believe it is still a legal "second home".
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