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Old 07-23-2003, 09:43 PM   #1
afroman006
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Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

I want to build some sort of big block for my burban but cant decide what. I really want a 454 or 502 vortec but thats big bucks and I'm still in high school so I dont see that happening. What I thought would make a good engine is vortec 454 heads on a normal TBI 454 with a few little doo-dads here and there. I figured its a logical choice since 350 vortec heads are all the rage. Anyone here done this? Anyone know where I can find a set of these heads or a price? Will a normal TBI intake manifold work with these or will I need some kind of special adapted thing? Thx
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Old 07-23-2003, 09:57 PM
Posted in reply to afroman006's post "Vortec heads on a TBI 454?"
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

I don't believe a tbi intake will work and they don't make a special adapted one. For the 350 swap you need a different intake and they make them but 454 doesn't have that. I don't hear of people doing Big Block Vortec motors often if ever. Vortec headed Small Blocks are somewhat the rage but you can get better heads for similar pricing for small blocks. Vortecs are not all that great in the scheme of heads they are just good factory units. You would probably be better off using some old cleaned up carburated big block heads with some homegrown port polish work and just redrill your intake to fit. Sure you wouldn't have that extra 20 some horsepower but hey you could spend all the junks you save trying to convert to vortecs and get a good cam and headers.
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Old 07-24-2003, 12:04 AM
Posted in reply to afroman006's post "Vortec heads on a TBI 454?"
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

Personally, I would get an older Mark IV or Gen VI block and get some #781 or #049 heads and clean them up (skip the Gen V blcok b/c head selection is REALLY LIMITED without the use of a special head gasket or spending $1600+ on aftermarket Aluminum jobs....turst me I have a GEN V [img]/forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif[/img])...

The BBC Vortec heads have one thing going for them...They have a small combustion chamber (100cc) when compared to some of the other later-model BBC open chamber heads(118cc) The do offer a flow improvement over the "Peanut Port heads" but not really enough to warrant grandeur status.

You want a recipe for a MEAN BBC (take into account that this will have a pretty rough idle)?

-Mark IV block (preferably 4-bolt), prepped correctly (bored, decked, align bored as needed)
-Stroker crank 4.25" stroke(and spend the $$$ to get a decent forged one)
-Good 6.385 forged rods (I went with Eagle ESP's)
-Forged FT or slight dome piston (depending on the cc of the heads, desired CR, etc)
-049 or 781 or similar heads, (ported, matched, polished, shaved, bigger valves)
-Comp XR276HR cam (if you wanna save some $$$ get a flat tappet insted of the hydraulic roller, as a roller setup can run like a Grand for all the bits and pieces)
-Good intake
-and a decent carb

That'll get you in the 500hp realm [img]/forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]EASY
[img]/forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif[/img]
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Old 07-24-2003, 12:11 AM   #4
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

Oh if you wanna run TBI, don't expect stellar HP numbers...Just build the engine as I siad above, but use the Edelbrock performer RPM intake and the 454 TBI unit with an adjustable FPR

I am running a Gen V 454 with quite a few lower end mods but the stcok peanut port heads, a "truck torque" cam from GMPP (just a Crane 2020) and a TBI with adj. FPR...I love the motor...it is a strong MOFO, esp. down low in the RPM range...


Chris
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Old 07-24-2003, 10:42 AM
Posted in reply to sled_dog's post "Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?"
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

[ QUOTE ]
Vortecs are not all that great in the scheme of heads they are just good factory units.

[/ QUOTE ]

Gotta disagree here. I've no clue if the Fastburn chamber design existed before the Vortec heads, but even if it did, that design can probably be considered revolutionary.

Head flow numbers are not the only indicator of a good head, and apparently the L29 Vortec heads also have a re-designed chamber, although I can't find any specs/pictures of it.

I'm not saying they are the best option out there, because they are difficult to work with, (cost of intakes, so on) and because aftermarket companies are making cylinder heads with the same or similar chambers, better flow numbers if you desire, with "standard" intake bolt patterns. But I am saying that if you rely solely on flow numbers to judge a head, you are missing another critical aspect.

Chamber design improvements are one reason some motors are running 10:1 on "crappy" 87 octane gas, with 9.5:1 being easily achieved.
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Old 07-24-2003, 10:47 AM
Posted in reply to afroman006's post "Vortec heads on a TBI 454?"
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

I would check out the World Products Merlin heads. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]
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Old 07-24-2003, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

the big reason that you can run 10:1 on crappy fuel is aluminum heads dissipate the heat better and a good polished up combustion chamber will be less likely to detonate due to there not being little pointy burs in the chamber. Not to say the chamber design doesn't play some role.
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Old 07-24-2003, 11:48 AM
Posted in reply to sled_dog's post "Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?"
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

Vortec heads aren't aluminum, and IIRC, all the SBC Vortec motors are 9.5:1.

You are right, head material makes a difference as well, but the potential of the head is better if the combustion chamber is more efficient. There is simply no question the fastburn chamber is better than the "old" stock style. Can't remember what they call it.
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Old 07-24-2003, 12:56 PM   #9
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

I thought you were talking about the new SBC Fastburn heads from GM performance, they are aluminum. My mistake.
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Old 07-24-2003, 01:13 PM   #10
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Re: Vortec heads on a TBI 454?

Well its gonna be TBI for sure if not all out vortec. I have 2 1/2 454's at my shop. One is an unassembled genuine vintage LS-6 (all parts for it stay together [img]/forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]). One is an assmbled, complete 2 bolt main out of a 84 truck. The last is an unassembled short block from somewhere in the 70's. If I dont get another complete engine, I'm going to have one of the 2 bolt blocks converted to splayed 4 bolt. Anyone have any idea how much of a PITA it would be to put a complete vortec engine into a 91 burb? Would it prety much be, remove old engine, puter and wiring harness, then install new engine puter and wiring harness? IMO vortec's are the best gas engine ever and I reeeaaaaallllllyy want one but I dont really know... Thx for the help.
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