Waking Up A 1990 Chevy 454 SS Big Block MuscleTrux Wars Part 2 - Trucks! S10, E2
today Brian's got big plans for using big displacement to make big power for his entry in our first muscle truck series match up his 454 SS gets new heads a new valve train and a new throttle body to wake his big-
blockit's all today here on
truckshey welcome to
truckstoday we're back in the shop working on muscle truck
warsnow last time we found out what each of our factory sport
trucksis capable of so now it's time to dig into their awesome potential and finish what the factory started now Kevin's 94 Lightning has 88,000 miles on it my 90s s almost 140,000 so it's fair to say that both of these
trucksare well used maybe even a little abused but it's pretty typical of what's available on the market now in case you miss it we're gonna take a look back and see where we got these
trucksin the first place and what we've done with them so far check it out we started out with two stock average condition sport
truckswe bought just like you guys would from an internet auction the 454 was missing its stock chrome steel wheels who was now sporting aluminum rims in coop tires but the main ingredient was there the big-
blockwell a factory restricted big-
blockbut there's plenty of untapped potential there now the lightning still had its distinctive wheels but it had been altered in other ways and there were signs of neglect under the hood as well but it was still a lightning so we gave both
trucksa quick tune-up and headed over to...
horsepowers dyno with some respectable numbers of the rear wheels we took him out for a test drive to see how they get on the street and they did not disappoint us but we knew there was still great potential for improvement in both
trucksso we're gonna get started with my truck and Tommy and I have a pretty solid plan on what to do with this big
blocknow we know we can really wake this thing up without going overboard just by eliminating a few of the factory weak points and now these guys are keeping secrets um they're not even gonna tell me what they plan on doing with that boat anchor so I'm gonna take our junk cherokee bring it out into the warehouse make a few measurements see where we stand on our frame damage I got it that Cherokee ought to keep Kevin busy for a while so Tommy and I are gonna get started on the engine and the work we're gonna do to it what you can do it with the
blocksitting in the truck but like we showed you before the rear main seal leak and it's all greasy and nasty so we're gonna make sure it's right before we go back in with it and since we're going to pull the engine transmission out as a unit we're gonna remove the doghouse just to make it a little easier this is a way to save yourself some time by removing the front end almost completely assembled once the hoods off and the fluids are drained the front bumper and Grille come off to give you access to the bolts that hold the radiator support to the frame...
with the fenders unbolted from the cab and a little gentle persuasion the doghouse gets lifted off still connected to the cooling the driveshaft exhaust and harnesses get unplugged so that the engine and trans can be easily removed and separated now like we told you before we know we can make this lackluster big-
blockreally come alive with just a few key modifications these throttle body injected 454 s came from the factory with a rather low seven point eight to one compression ratio cylinder heads that could use some help and a fuel injection setup that is definitely not high performance so to address our poor cylinder heads and to bump up our compression ratio we're gonna kill two birds with one stone by installing Edelbrock's performer high compression 454 cylinder heads feature 219 intake valves 188 exhaust valves and a 100 CC combustion chamber that when combined with our factory dished pistons will give us a respectable eight point eight to one compression ratio to get the valves opening we ordered up an Edelbrock rolling thunder' hydraulic cam kit comes with new roller lifters and push rods and when matched with our stock ratio 1.7 crane energizer roller rocker arms will give us valve lift numbers of 625 on the intake and 639 on the exhaust side now I know we might give up a little bit of torque with our cam selection but hey I could barely get the rear tires to hook up at stock power levels so I'd rather have a few extra ponies on the top-end now to...
bring our big
blockinto the modern world of EFI we're using the pro flow multi-point injection setup if you remember we use the similar injection system on the small-
block350 we put in our YJ project with great results now this system comes complete and lets you fine-tune your combination without requiring the use of a laptop by letting you control the engines parameters with their calibration module now this method is a much more efficient way of giving the engine the fuel it needs than any other carb or TBI setup now to get rid of the exhaust gasses we'll ditch the restrictive factory manifolds in favor of some High Flow tes headers with ceramic coating that certainly doesn't hurt our eyes and brings a little flash to the otherwise dark engine bay and since it's a durable coating these should stay looking good for a while the heavy cast intake is crusted in place from years of neglect and comes off first followed by the even heavier iron heads and since we're gonna be replacing all our fasteners we don't have to keep up with anything just get it out of the way the good news is that the valley looks fairly clean and there was no signs of any unusual wear or damage inside the
blockringg range looks to be mostly carbon cylinder walls aren't scored up those look right over there yeah mines in the same shape cool we'll have to rebuild the short
blockless work here really up next with a good bottom an to start with Ryan and Tommy rebuild the...
top end of the big
blockand later the turbo 400 gets a shift kick to help put all that newfound power to the pavement stick around oh hey welcome back well right into him you're still in there working on that 454 and they still won't let me in to see what they're doing so I'm gonna go find another cup of coffee find something to do out here yeah he's gonna stay out there for a while too meanwhile over the break we've got this thing torn down cleaned up and we're hitting it with a fresh coat of paint and after a closer inspection we can tell somebody's been in here before there's stamp marks on the connecting rods and the pickup tubes been welded to the oil pump which is a pretty good indicator this thing's been freshened up before and probably not too long ago so it's safe to say we can throw a top-end kit on this thing and not have any problems but first we need to get a rear main seal in this thing to keep the oil inside the engine using a small screwdriver gently tap one side of the upper half of the 2-piece seal being careful not to score the machine
parts once you've got enough of the seal exposed pair of pliers is all we need to remove it the top groove is machined into the rear main cap we're off setting our seal by about a quarter inch for a little extra insurance against an oil leak the lower half of the seal goes in place easily followed by a dab of RTV to seal the two halves together with our seal installed our...
cat back on and torque to spec at 110 foot pounds and now we can start putting on the good stuff the biggest reason for choosing this roller cam is to free up a little more high rpm horsepower and this stick should help take care of that now in order for us to get our timing gear on the crank shaft without beating it to death we're going to heat it up a little bit let the metal expand that way we don't risk ruining the crank shaft the heat will expand the timing gear loosening it up to slip over the cam a lot more easily just don't get carried away she is slid right on the retainer eliminates end playing the cam and a little lock tight on the bolts keep them from backing out follow that with the timing chain paying careful attention to the alignment mark another performance advantage of aluminum heads is the obvious weight reduction over heavy iron castings you can eliminate about a hundred pounds just by changing the heads in intake manifold the hydraulic roller lifters are a direct replacement for the flat tappet originals and get dip in engine oil before installation then we can drop the new push rods and plate now there's a flat spot on one side of the trunnion bearing make sure that side faces up the full roller machined aluminum rockers reduce friction and free up power in some cases up to 30 horsepower over stock now you ask 10 different guys how to adjust valves and you'll probably get 10 different answers but basically what you want to do is make...
sure the cam lobe is on base circle and go ahead and spin the push rod with your fingers and tighten down the adjuster until you feel resistance that means you're at zero lash then go an additional 3/4 of a turn and tighten down your set screw a 3/8 bead of RTV and an extra dab at each corner is what I prefer to use as an gaskets for our new intake manifold our new ARP fasteners are dropped in place then tighten down in sequence and finally torque to spec these great-looking aluminum valve covers we got from GM performance give us the choice where to add ventilation so we've just reused the stock location and marked and drilled a hole with a step drill now we've got a place to add oil we also drilled out the other valve cover so we could and a PCV valve our new oil pump is an OE replacement from O'Reilly Auto
Parts then some RTV in the corners followed by the one-piece oil pan gasket seals up the bottom end all right I'll finish torquing these pan bolts to 10 foot pounds and it'll be ready for Tommy to bolt on the balancer headers distributor and the rest of the accessories to get this thing ready to go back in the truck but before we can do that I got some work to do on that transmission over there and I don't have to fix that do I know I got this one we've covered don't worry about it hey welcome back to
truckswell there's still not let me in the studio so I still can't see what they're doing I can't even work on my...
lighting so I've been messing around with this Cherokee that we pulled out of the weeds and despite the fact that the bumper and the frame rail behind it or wadded up into the tire it's not as bad as it looks and later on this season we're gonna show you guys how to think your way through a collision repair like this and get your rig back up and running man anything is really messed up so as bad as it looks and everybody's a critic all right we've Kevin preoccupied out there in the shop well that gives us a little more time to get this truck put back together now we've already beefed up our 454 with an Edelbrock cam chef cylinder heads Pro flow EFI setup and a set of headers and it's just about ready to go back in the truck but we're not going to reinstall the stock transmission we need to beef this thing up as well and to do that we're gonna install this bnm shift improver kit it's no surprise that GM's heavy-duty turbo 400 ended up behind our 454 even still it's designed for smoother more comfortable shifting and accomplishes that by slipping a little bit from one gear to the next our bnm improver kit minimizes slippage making the transmission more efficient helping to reduce heat which is the number one killer of every automatic transmission the first step is to remove the eclip and the accumulator then remove and discard the spring underneath it then reinstall the accumulator now using the 5/32 drill bit supplied in the kit...
you need to drill out one of the fluid passages in the separator plate just make sure you're drilling the right one now putting it all back together starts with the gaskets and separator plate the reassembly really shouldn't give you any trouble the valve body goes next he gets torque to spec reusing the factory bolts followed by a new filter gasket and finally the pants all right with our transmission just about ready to be bolted to the engine well there's a couple of small things we wanted to take care of we went ahead and installed the new modulator valve and since it's a lot easier to do here on the bench top we're gonna install a new front seal even if your front seal doesn't look like it's leaking go ahead and replace it now it's only a couple of bucks and the peace of mind is definitely worth it the stock torque converter gets a bath since it's going to get reused it stalls it a fairly low rpm which is where the 454 starts
wakingup anyway there's no need to look for power where it doesn't exist and these just aren't high revving engines it may look like a new case but Tommy just cleaned it scuffed it up and threw a coat of paint on it just because we can Savan the engine and transmission back in is a breeze with the doghouse out of the way and it all looks like a million bucks with a fresh coat of paint and new valve covers now you may never see that detail again but it's cool to know that it's clean as a...
whistle underneath the hood when we come back Kevin almost finds out what he's up against where do you think you're gonna sit power wise are four hundred or thousand four hundred hey welcome back well I found my shop key and let myself in so now I'm finally gonna get to check out what these guys are done to the big
blockman this looks good complement from the Ford guy now after we stripped it down to a short
blockgave it a thorough inspection look like somebody been in there before so we knew we were in good shape first thing we did was slide in a performer rpm roller cam then to bump up our compression ratio a little bit we installed Edelbrock's aluminum performer cylinder heads with the hundred CC chambers and four exhaust we installed their tes ceramic coated headers now to get fuel in this thing we're ditching the heavy cast-iron intake and underperforming TBI setup and replacing it with something we know that works the performer rpm Pro Flow EFI and to cover up our crane roller rockers we're thrown on a good-looking set of GM valve covers all this lightweight aluminum stuff it looks good even if it's still gonna be slow you're hoping impregnation we already dropped in a new Mallory distributor throw in a set of Excel Xtreme 9000 plug wires and then finish it off with some III Diamond fire spark plugs with all this stuff will letting it breathe on top please tell me you're not going to go back into the stock exhaust no we're not...
gonna use any of this crimped mess but since it's getting a visual as well as a tailpipe inspection we're stuck with the OE configuration which means we've got to use a single converter but it's gonna be a 3-inch High Flow converter feeding into a stainless steel Magnaflow performance muffler for a nice healthy Rumble now I'm busting your chops about this thing being slow but obviously these