455 build ideas

Old May 25th, 2018, 05:18 PM
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455 build ideas

Hello all. New to the site. Looking for some insight to the ďoldsĒ world. Iím building my wedding car for fall of 2019. Iíve purchased a (what I think) is a 64? Dynamic 88. 394 auto 4 door. Didnít have tod for car as I bought it from salvage yard and not having luck with the id tag on the firewall. Iím scrapping the drive train in it. I picked up a 455 out of a 73 with the j heads. Sent crank out to get ground already. Block is at machine shop getting cleaned and pressure tested. Planning on going .30 over with sealed power flat top pistons. For the time being Iím going to be using the j heads with a bit of porting Any other recommendations on what to get done to the heads ( other than taken apart, gone through and cleaned up). Building the car as a ďcruiserĒ. Occasional strip maybe. Next question is regarding the cam. Iíve been back and forth with which way to go. The cam I have in mind is .501/.501 270/270 at 110. Gonna be going with a th400 with a 2500 high stall. And likely 3.73 rear end. Thanks for now
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Old May 26th, 2018, 01:06 AM
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I’ll be the first to say congrats and welcome to the Olds family, I’m just wrapping up my seemingly never ending 455 build.

The “J”unk heads will kill you, they’re from the emission error of big V8’s and they just don’t flow. If you want to keep with the factory cast iron heads see if you can pick yourself up a set of C heads. The set of J’s off my motor are sitting in my garage I got a set of Edelbrock heads instead.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 05:35 AM
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I have read about these heads not being super great. But to ship another set of cast heads up to me (Canada) then get them checked out and fixed up Iím looking at way more than a new set of aluminum heads. To keep budget somewhat achievable for now to ensure I get car done in time was planning on just doing internals the way I would like and then down the road if Iím not overly impressed to change out my head situation.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 08:52 AM
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For a cruiser you'll be fine with the J heads. I had a tire killing machine with those heads with just a valve job done to them.
You can also clean up the exhaust ports yourself if you want to get better flow out of them to save some money if need be.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 05:32 PM
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Well, putting a 455 in a 64 88 can be done but will involve a lot of work. Defiantly not a bolt in.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 08:40 PM
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If thereís a will thereís a way
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Old May 27th, 2018, 12:39 AM
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I have a 455 (+.030) in my 64 Olds Starfire. I haven't had it running since a total rebuild/performance improvements. I have the J heads and I think they will be just fine for a 4500 pound car.
You'll need to do something with the left side exhaust manifold and have a new driveshaft. That's after you adapt motor mounts.


Why not just rebuild the 394 and tranny ? Or, adapt the Turbo 400 to the 394 ? Either of these choices will be a lot less headache. Tony @ Ross Racing Engines can get you parts to warm up the 394.


Maybe you'll find another body that would accept the 455 more easily, or you can transplant it in the 64 Olds later.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 07:20 AM
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I went away from the 394 for a number of reasons. Car had a carb fire years back so motor has sat open for who knows how long. Because of this the motor is tight. I had a friend who had the 455 sitting in his garage for 20+ years with a spun main who was in need of some cash so I purchased it from him. Are the motor mounts that different? Or do the 455s mount up same as BBCís? I would be more interested in finding another donor than to look back into the 394 aspect.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tpenner64 View Post
I went away from the 394 for a number of reasons. Car had a carb fire years back so motor has sat open for who knows how long. Because of this the motor is tight. I had a friend who had the 455 sitting in his garage for 20+ years with a spun main who was in need of some cash so I purchased it from him. Are the motor mounts that different? Or do the 455s mount up same as BBCís? I would be more interested in finding another donor than to look back into the 394 aspect.

Its your choice, but don't underestimate the work you have ahead of you. The 394 pistons can be removed and cylinders bored. The 455 needs the same PLUS an alignment bore/hone.
I think you better check how the 394 and 455 engines are mounted. There are others on this site who may have more answers to all this.
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