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Beef up my 454


M W's Avatar
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12-18-03, 12:31 PM   #1  
Beef up my 454

I admit right up front I don't know much. Without getting into too much detail, what can I do to my 454 (circa 1987) to make it 1) more powerful, 2) more fuel efficient....
Let's make two assumptions right up front: 1) it's either rebuilt or close to it. 2) It will never have to pass smog.

It's for an RV so it needs to be street legal, just no worries about smog.

Thanks...in advance

 
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davo's Avatar
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12-18-03, 02:03 PM   #2  
Perhaps you could install an aftermarket turbo if space permits.However you can't get more power and better fuel economy at the same time.To get more power you need more fuel.But a turbo may give you enough extra power so you don't have to floor the rv constantly and actually save you some fuel.

 
M W's Avatar
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12-18-03, 02:30 PM   #3  
Thanks Davo. I realized as I read my post that power and fuel economy don't really mesh. When you mention an aftermarket turbo and enough room.....would that be "up" and if so about how far, roughly?

What about products like a Banks exhaust system?

 
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12-18-03, 03:08 PM   #4  
dual exaust

Dual exaust with headers.a better induction system maybe a K&N air filter.Maybe a better computer chip (if you have a computer)

 
YamahaWolverine's Avatar
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12-18-03, 03:49 PM   #5  
There are many ways to beef up that 454. Making it more Volumetrically efficient. Better compression ratio, better camshaft porofiles, reductions in friction, modified and tuned induction and exhaust systems, combustion chamber designs, properly tuned fuel system and cooling system.

So I would say yes you can improve fuel efficiency and HorsePower too, without the use of a forced type induction system.

 
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12-18-03, 04:16 PM   #6  
You can get turbos or small superchargers that may fit your application.As for tuned exhausts as others have mentioned it may well work but you must consider the engine is trapped in this vehicle(headers excess heat)and I don't know any manufacturers that produce a tuned exhaust for a motorhome.Maybe the other guys do.Is this a big buck no holds barred project?

 
M W's Avatar
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12-18-03, 04:57 PM   #7  
No Davo, not really big buck. I got a good deal other than it seems underpowered. I have toyed with picking up a fuel injected engine or just beefing this one up. But I want to know all the possibilities to make the best decision.

 
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12-19-03, 04:30 AM   #8  
Its in a MOTORHOME!!! Are you looking for a street sleeper? If it is to be used as intended then you should go with a good RV profile cam for torque not HP. You need to move that beast, not move it fast. It is illegal, but if you dump the emission components i know you will unleash a few horses. Open the exhaust by putting on good flowing mufflers, ie. flowmaster, and remove the cats. You dont necessarily have to replace the whole exhaust system. 1987 Model engine probably still had a carb, get it rebuilt or put on a good aftermarket carb. Not anything real big either as your fuel efficiency will go DOWNHILL.

Also being an 87 model it should have very low compression. IF you are in fact rebuilding the engine, if you boost the compression a little, again not a whole lot as you are trying to save on fuel, then you will get more pep from it.
Billy

 
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12-19-03, 11:27 AM   #9  
Thanks Billy
It is a motorhome...and to be used as intended. But right now it can't get up any grade whatsoever and can't get out of it's own way. It's been sitting a long time so I'm thinking all of these are tune up issues and maybe a new after market carb. But by some huge stroke of luck and mistaken dash of a pen, it never has to be smogged again, so I was hoping there were some things we could do while we were at it to "unleash a few more horses."
Right now, I'm a road hazard. Once I start getting into the work, I want to end up with a safe yet powerful enough plant to do 60 down a level highway and pull 30 35 up "normal" grades. It's a heavy coach with lotsa stuff....but that's my goal.

 
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12-19-03, 12:09 PM   #10  
Biggest bang for your buck will be camshaft and carb. If ECM controlled, you'll need a camshaft that will work within your PROM. Most aftermarket chips just show your ECM a colder temp read so that the timing will advance a bit. There are shops which can program a chip for your ECM if you change the camshaft.

 
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12-19-03, 04:48 PM   #11  
I can't help but wonder if this thing won't get out of it's own way if you have other powertrain performance problems. With the right final drive ratio and proper torque multiplication, even a stock BB chevy should move that sucker. What trans do you have. What gear ratio do you have in your final drive, what sive tires do you have? Have you slapped a vacuum gauge on there after you tuned it up?

 
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12-19-03, 10:32 PM   #12  
My thoughts exactly. I bet there's something wrong with it if it's that bad off. It's amazing what a properly tuned stock engine can do...when it's right. Check it over thoroughly...vacuum, timing, PCV, plugs, wires, carburetor, etc...


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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12-21-03, 02:43 PM   #13  
mike from nj
if it's been sitting for more than a year, the FIRST thing i would do is drain the fuel tanks and put in fresh fuel.

stale gas will definitely do what you are describing, and i would be adding something to the gas to cut the gummy residue that it left in the carb. i would also rebuild the old carb rather than replace it with a generic one.


next time it has to sit for a while, add some 'Stabil' (stabilizer) to the gas in the tanks and run it while to circulate it up to the carb.

 
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