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454 gasser upgrade time

Old 09-02-2010, 09:34 AM
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Default 454 gasser upgrade time

Winter is coming, so thinking about doing some upgrades. Truck is a 1989 R3500 2wd with a TH-400 and 4.10 rear. Im thinking of adding some power. Engine has 120k miles, but burns no oil, and oil pressure it great. It is a all stock TBI engine. What I would like to do, is add some power. I dont think i can hurt fuel mileage, as 8mpg is all it gets smogged out right now anyhow. I was thinking

Cam upgrade. Nothing wild, something suitable for towing. I heard the stock cams were smog cams, and also contributed to the engines running hot.

Roller rockers and new valve springs.

Headers and Full dual exhaust, maybe 2.5" with turbo style mufflers or quiet flowmasters.

Now, the TBI part. I am really not a fan of these, and am wondering if its worth ditching it, going to a dual plane aluminum manifold, with a performance quadrajet. The quadrajets seemed to be a good carb for economy purposes.

In stock form I think these were rated at 245HP, and like 350 ft lbs? i'd like to make some good torque out of it.

Any thoughts or input i would love to hear. I remember talking to a guy who pulled the stock smog 454 out of his dually, stroked to a 496, and did some other upgrades. Huge power increase, and he claimed the fuel mileage actually improved. I know its a old truck, but really clean, and tows the 38 Fountain awesome, just a little more power would be nice from the motor.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:01 AM
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Might consider picking up a good used 12V or 24V Cummins motor and swapping it in. Easy to squeeze some extra power out of and will tow that boat REALLY well. There are a bunch of companies out there that make conversion kits that drop these motors right into the older GM trucks without major fabrication skills. I've seen solid motors complete and ready to run going for $2500-3K. Probably spend at least that much in performance parts/injection systems to get the 454 to do what you want. Just something else to think about.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:26 PM
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Hey Mild Thunder, while you are thinking about fixing up your truck, how about returning my SSm tool and manual!
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by northerndoc View Post
Might consider picking up a good used 12V or 24V Cummins motor and swapping it in. Easy to squeeze some extra power out of and will tow that boat REALLY well. There are a bunch of companies out there that make conversion kits that drop these motors right into the older GM trucks without major fabrication skills. I've seen solid motors complete and ready to run going for $2500-3K. Probably spend at least that much in performance parts/injection systems to get the 454 to do what you want. Just something else to think about.
x2. The 24V makes big power you will not regret this swap. Plus you'll see probly twice the fuel mileage towing or not.

www.beansdieselperformance.com
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Reed Jensen View Post
Hey Mild Thunder, while you are thinking about fixing up your truck, how about returning my SSm tool and manual!
Sorry dude, its on the way, sent it out yesterday! Should be gettin it tomorrow or saturday i would think. Thanks again, didnt need it but still made for some good reading material.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:05 PM
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The cummins swap does sound like a good idea. The 3 spd automatic kinda sucks, thought about going to a gear vendors overdrive, or a 4L80, but really dont wanna get too crazy, cuz even in mint shape with all the goodies its still gonna be a 4-5k dollar truck ya know.

I remember back when i had my 78 Trans Am with the pontiac 400, just by adding headers and good exhaust, a cam and intake, and putting some timing in it, turned it from a slug smogger to a respectable street car. Was thinkin the cam upgrade, valve springs, rockers, exhaust, intake and carb, maybe 1500 in parts doin it myself. Then again, a boosted up cummins with some black smoke would be sweet!
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:29 PM
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headers and exhaust will wake that right up !!!!!
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MILD THUNDER View Post
The cummins swap does sound like a good idea. The 3 spd automatic kinda sucks, thought about going to a gear vendors overdrive, or a 4L80, but really dont wanna get too crazy, cuz even in mint shape with all the goodies its still gonna be a 4-5k dollar truck ya know.

I remember back when i had my 78 Trans Am with the pontiac 400, just by adding headers and good exhaust, a cam and intake, and putting some timing in it, turned it from a slug smogger to a respectable street car. Was thinkin the cam upgrade, valve springs, rockers, exhaust, intake and carb, maybe 1500 in parts doin it myself. Then again, a boosted up cummins with some black smoke would be sweet!
Say you pay $2500 for the 24V. Gear Vendors trans will be at least that much, probly close to $3k but a great addition to the swap. You might need headers and exhaust too, figure $400-600. Intercooler(a MUST for a diesel motor) will be $500+. Stuff adds up...
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by obnoxus View Post
headers and exhaust will wake that right up !!!!!
I think so too. Esp considering it has the factory setup, with the old pellet style suitcase catalytic converter, with giant muffler and resonator. Plus its single exhaust.

I gotta give my buddy a call, he had a gear venders OD unit from a motorhome with a TH400 sitting in his garage, i know its missing the wiring and what not, but im sure i can get that. I would imagine turning that 3spd into a 6spd would help pulling power and mpg with the OD. The first gear ratio on the TH400 is kinda tall, and no 4x4 low. A lower ratio would be nice coming up the ramp.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:15 AM
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I think your on the right track with the qjet, they do make decent mog when set up right, great street manners and can handle upgrades,, in my humble opinion TBI sucks goat ass. Seen guys throw tons of money at them to perform anywhere near as well as a carb.
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