new 72 Owner | need 455 rebuild guidence

Old June 16th, 2018, 01:34 PM
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new 72 Owner | need 455 rebuild guidence

Hello guru's - As the title indicates I am the proud new owner of a 72 Cutlass. It is currently a 350/th350 car with Bucket seats and working AC. My son and I will be turning it into a clone 442. As such I just picked up a 396021 Fa block with original heads and intake, has original 4" bore and crank. - paid 50 bucks for it so I *believe I got a god deal as it has no visible signs or cracks, really good hand compression with rotating the motor over with plugs in.

Im very well versed in LS motors as I have an 05 Z51 that has been modified to the moon and back by me, but always wanted a 72 442 and now I have one, but I'm lacking on the Rocket engines, plus Im 38 so the car is older than me ( but i do know how to set points - still ditched them though LOL). I did get lucky and my father taught me how to turn a wrench and fix a car (and hes still with me - going to assist here and there as well).

My goal for the car is simple - go fast when I want to and have a blast doing so,...cruise down the HWY with manners, even let the wife and kids hang out too (so it has to be street-able w/ AC). My vette is the drag strip car, so while I wont take this cutlass/442 to the track - i wouldn't rule it out..

Here is what I'm looking for guidance on. (After I get the motor torn down and clean) - These questions are more geared to basically a "shopping list" with Part #'s of what those of you have used and liked.
  • do I need to get it bored to get better compression? * I believe so *
  • do i still use same crank, or just get a new one ?
  • with the bore - what type of piston and rod is recommended (forged, hyperT, etc.)?
  • Cam - sky is the limit really, but what is proven on the 455 thats been bored ? Do I go Full Hydro or Flat Tap ? ** I also want to run AC so i know i need vacuum
  • heads - do i rebuild my original heads? if so what spring / valve combo based on the cam ?
  • Rockers - same Q's really all based on the Cam
I just need some good direction on build and part's - then I can keep reading and researching and make an educated decision.

Thanks for the time and interest in this thread, much appreciated - Brian
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:17 PM
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Welcome and congrats. FYI, the stock bore on a 455 is 4.125", not 4". Stock stroke is 4.250".


Olds changed compression by changing the size of the dish in the pistons. You need different pistons to increase CR. All big block Olds heads have about the same 80-ish CC chambers (except for the rare D heads used on the 1968-9 W-30s and H/Os).


I would strongly suggest you consider a set of ported aluminum heads from Bernard Mondello. Do not confuse this with Mondello Performance in Paso Robles.


Talk to Mark Remmel (cutlassefi on this site) for more build details and cam selection.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:21 PM
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Thank you for the suggestion (did stumble across Mondello Perf via a Google search las t week ) good to know there is a diff, i will take a peak. Sy=til on information overload with all of the 455 info out there and various builds
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
Thank you for the suggestion (did stumble across Mondello Perf via a Google search las t week ) good to know there is a diff, i will take a peak. Sy=til on information overload with all of the 455 info out there and various builds

FYI, no one from the Mondello family is associated with Mondello Performance any more, unfortunately. Bernard is Joe's son and does quality work through his own company.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:57 PM
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Brian,
A lot of the questions you have are hard to answer without knowing your expectations as far as the finished product and possibly even more important is what your budget is. Just going from the 350 to the 455 is going to be a huge performance increase.


The engine block will most likely need to be bored unless it is an extremely low mileage engine. The crankshaft should be reusable as will the connecting rods. You really wont know until the engine is disassembled and inspected.


Aluminum heads would be a plus but depends on your budget.


The other thing you really need to think about is whether the rest of your drivetrain is going to be capable of living with the huge torque increase of the 455 compared to the 350. You really need to figure this in to your working budget.



Plenty of help to be found here so welcome and ask away


By the way, where are you located ?
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Old June 16th, 2018, 06:40 PM
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Thanks Bill - Yes I failed to mention that I already planned on moving to the TH400 (adding in the Dual gate shifter as well). As a result of the 455 paired with the Th400 I will need new (shorter) drive shaft and the rear end will need a shot in the arm as well. New Motor mounts and a proper set of springs to support the heavier block (odd's n end's if you will). Wish i knew the miles but I don't. The heads I will prob do Aluminum based on the fact that the current heads on the block are "J". Th intake is the Edelbrock Performer Olds 455, new is 4 hundred bucks on Summit so i feel good about the 500 i spent for whole thing,

Ill try to keep it at 3K for the motor build....at least thats what I'm telling the Wife Kids just went to bed so I think ill go in the garage now and pop the heads off and have a peak.

Im located in St. Augustine FL (25 min south of Jacksonville)
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Old June 16th, 2018, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post

Ill try to keep it at 3K for the motor build....

Good luck with that The Edelbrock aluminum heads alone are $1200 EACH. I would expect $1500 in machine work for block, crank, rods and balancing. Then all of the other internal parts plus assembly.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 07:41 PM
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Iím about two hours from you, let me know how I can help.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cutlassefi View Post
Iím about two hours from you, let me know how I can help.
Fantastic ! seen your name on a lot of threads I have searched, I will reach out with a PM
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Old June 17th, 2018, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
a proper set of springs to support the heavier block
In factory trim, the difference between the 455 and the 350 is around 150 pounds or so (I can't recall the exact number). Using an aluminum intake brings it closer, and aluminum heads likely makes it lighter than the 350. Bottom line is there may not be a need for new springs due to the engine swap. Now if those are original springs, then new springs may be a good idea even without an engine swap.
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Old June 17th, 2018, 11:07 AM
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Keep in mind the 455 makes a lot of torque and that is what your looking for in a street car. I have a mild 455 with steel heads and flat tappet cam and it runs 12.0s with great off line acceleration. I also have a ls swapped trans am that is faster but the olds is much more fun on the street due to all the low end torque. I think you could be close to your budget with a set of aluminum heads from Mark and a mild cam. Keep us updated on your build. Thanks
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Old June 17th, 2018, 05:50 PM
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Thanks gentlemen ...is there a particular head and cam combo that works well and proven and will match well to my intake (Edelbrock performer olds 455) ? I took off the passenger head last night and the cylinder walls looks to be in great shape and as suspected it’s standard bore. There is a good machine shop in Jacksonville (Gary Johns). Going to call him
tomorrow and see wha he can offer up.

cutlassefi - is there better options by you in Orlando I shlukd
consider - I’m there enough with the kids and Disney I don’t mind the 2 hour drive
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Old June 17th, 2018, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
In factory trim, the difference between the 455 and the 350 is around 150 pounds or so (I can't recall the exact number). Using an aluminum intake brings it closer, and aluminum heads likely makes it lighter than the 350. Bottom line is there may not be a need for new springs due to the engine swap. Now if those are original springs, then new springs may be a good idea even without an engine swap.
my springs are shot - I push on the front and and a tidal wave happens LOl
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Old June 17th, 2018, 06:03 PM
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Id go with cutlassfi, as the olds engines are a specialty. As he is close by have him do it. But its usually 5k to have an engine redone...Atleast
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Old June 18th, 2018, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
Thanks gentlemen ...is there a particular head and cam combo that works well and proven and will match well to my intake (Edelbrock performer olds 455) ? I took off the passenger head last night and the cylinder walls looks to be in great shape and as suspected itís standard bore. There is a good machine shop in Jacksonville (Gary Johns). Going to call him
tomorrow and see wha he can offer up.

cutlassefi - is there better options by you in Orlando I shlukd
consider - Iím there enough with the kids and Disney I donít mind the 2 hour drive
I believe Gary has since retired and closed his shop.
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Old June 18th, 2018, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
my springs are shot - I push on the front and and a tidal wave happens LOl
Thats most likely the shocks, not the springs.
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Old June 18th, 2018, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
my springs are shot - I push on the front and and a tidal wave happens LOl

"tidal wave" as in bouncing up and down ? If so, wouldn't that be a sign the shock absorbers need replacement ?
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Old June 18th, 2018, 08:25 AM
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Brand new shocks -

Gary Johns did retire, but his son Chad is running the shop now. They moved to Callahan though vs Jacksonville.

So it there a "do not go near" combo I should be aware of, vs a suggested pairing of piston/head/cam/rod/rocker?
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Old June 18th, 2018, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
Brand new shocks -

Gary Johns did retire, but his son Chad is running the shop now. They moved to Callahan though vs Jacksonville.

So it there a "do not go near" combo I should be aware of, vs a suggested pairing of piston/head/cam/rod/rocker?
Go to my guy, HP by Hedrick in Jax. Heís the best and has some of the Olds tooling I purchased.
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Old June 18th, 2018, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cutlassefi View Post


Go to my guy, HP by Hedrick in Jax. Heís the best and has some of the Olds tooling I purchased.
I was just searching them out
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Old June 18th, 2018, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post

Ill try to keep it at 3K for the motor build...
My 455 build was way North of 3k with cast iron heads....
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Old June 18th, 2018, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Brians1 View Post
I was just searching them out
I just got off the phone with Mark over @ Hedrick - Cutlassefi - he said Thanks for the recommendation, knows you well
Im going to stop by next week and drop off the block
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