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Author Topic: Pontiac 400/467 Stroker Build  (Read 16600 times)
ZeGerman
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« on: November 23, 2009, 10:16:00 PM »

Hey Folks,

As some of you may have previously read, I am now beginning to assemble parts for my Pontiac 400/467 stroker build, which will end up in my 1966 GTO.  My brother will be spinning the wrench, and I will ordering all the parts and providing providing him with as much technical assistance as possible.  Neither of us have put a motor together before, so this is intended to be a learning process for both of us.  We hope to have a living, breathing, snarling 500+hp 467ci by spring.

Rather than creating a separate post for each question I have along the way, I thought I'd just place all of my questions in one thread.  I'm sure there will be plenty of areas that I will need clarification on.  In addition to asking questions from you, the V8TVshow.com forum community, I'll be in close contact with Butler Performance, which is who is supplying the stroker kit, heads, and many other parts for the build.

The build is based on a Pontiac 400 block, and will be stroked out to 467ci.  With the cam, heads, and induction I have selected, Butler Performance states that power will be around 500-525hp and 550+ lb.ft. on pump gas.  It should be a very manageable motor for street duty.  I already have a few 400 blocks laying around, and we hope at least one of them is a suitable candidate for this project.  We should be taking the block over to the machine shop to have it cleaned up and examined in the next week.

I'll try to post photos throughout the build.

Anyway, before we begin the actual assembly, I still have a few questions:

1) Can main bearing caps be reused, and if so, do they need to be returned to same location they were at before the engine was disassembled?  I'm concerned about metal transfer having "mated" the caps to specific locations on the block.  Is it advisable to use new caps, or is it safe enough to reuse the old ones (provided they check out as not having any cracks/flaws)?

2) Oil pumps: Do I need to worry about pumping too much oil with aftermarket pumps?  My heads will have excess casting material removed from the oil drain areas, but still I'm not sure if it's actually possible to pump too much oil in an engine.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 02:44:32 PM by ZeGerman » Logged

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CanAmChris
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 07:09:08 AM »

I am glad to hear someone else here is planning a very similar build. My build is also based upon a 400 but I am going with a 428 crank, combine that with the bore and mine should be a 433 CID. It wont make nearly the torque your 461 will make, but HP and revability should still be strong.

As for your questions, I personally would never re-use bearing, they are relatively cheap, so it is cheap insurance to replace them with a brand new set. For the oil pump I would not be too concerned with having too much pressure, Pontiacs like a good amount of pressure so anything up to 80psi is a good thing.

I will be following your build, so keep us posted.

Chris
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Kevin O
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2009, 08:00:23 AM »

I think you're referring to the actual caps, not the bearings, right?    You want to make sure you re-use the main & rod caps, and that they are installed in the same positions on the same journals and rods and facing the same direction they are when you dis-assemble the engine.   Some engines have caps that are pre-numbered, otherwise you will want to mark the main caps and the rod caps and rods with a number that corresponds the cap to that rod, and also the installed position.   I don't know how extensive your machine work is going to be, but I'd consider having the mains align-honed, where the machinist assembles and torques the caps and runs a hone tool through all of them to make sure the crank doesn't get pinched when it's installed.   Your block has been heat cycled a million times by now, so it may be distorted when the mains are torqued, making the main journals out of round.   Same goes for the bores, be sure they are cut & honed with torque plates, as they need to be trued as if the heads were on and tight. 

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ZeGerman
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2009, 09:03:47 AM »

Yes, I was referring to the main caps, not the bearings.  I'll have to see if they are numbered and/or if my brother labeled them when he disassembled the motor years ago.  I think he did, so we should be all set.

As far as the machine work goes, we will be taking it to Pierce Race Engines in Lansing, Michigan to have that work done.  They are very familiar with Pontiac motors, and have built engines for some of the cars that Scott Tiemann has restored.  The block we plan to use was originally a 1970 Ram Air III motor, and we believe it has been rebuilt at least once in the past.  The previous owner didn't know much about the history of the motor, but it ran strong at the time (until a piston cracked - luckily no damage to the cylinder wall).  I'm hoping it's just .030 over currently, allowing plenty of material to work with, but we'll see.

That said, I'm not entirely sure of everything that I should ask the machine shop to perform.  So there's align-honing the mains, and boring with torque plates, but what other sorts of questions should I ask the machine shop?  What other procedures should be undertaken at the machine shop when rebuilding a motor (aside from checking for defects/cracks/etc.)?  Decking?  Squaring?
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Kevin O
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2009, 10:54:31 AM »

By the way, your photostream on Flickr is awesome!    Great shots!   
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ZeGerman
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2009, 04:57:16 PM »

By the way, your photostream on Flickr is awesome!    Great shots!   

Thanks!  Actually, I accidentally let my Flickr Pro account expire a few weeks ago, which greatly reduces the number of photos that you can see.  Once I get around to renewing it, many more hundreds of photos I have taken will reappear.
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ZeGerman
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2009, 11:34:22 PM »

We took the 1970 400ci block to the machine shop today.  Hopefully good news will soon follow.

I discovered that my block has all four main holes threaded, but the caps on it were only 2-bolt caps.  Strange.  It was my understanding that most (if not all) Pontiac V8 blocks of this era came from the factory with four holes for each cap drilled, but only special engines had all four holes actually threaded at each location (leaving two holes unthreaded at each location on more mild engines).  This means that Pontiac V8s are very easy to convert from 2-bolt to 4-bolt main blocks - theoretically, all you have to do is thread the extra holes and use 4-bolt caps.  I don't know why the person who previously rebuilt this motor did so using 2-bolt caps, since all four holes were threaded for him to use...  I'm pretty sure Pontiac didn't thread the extra holes unless they planned to use 4-bolt caps, which makes sense (why waste time threading the holes if you aren't going to use them?).  Maybe I'm wrong on this.  Anyway, the eyes of the guy at the machine shop opened up pretty wide when he saw that all four holes were threaded, and they build lots of Pontiac motors there (including an original SD-455 which they just finished).  He thought it was probably a special motor at one time, but we already suspected that it was an original RAIII engine, given the heads that were on it when I bought the car.  They're going to look up the casting numbers and find out what we have on our hands.

Also turns out the main caps have ordering numbers cast into them, so there won't be any mysteries while putting them back on.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 12:16:26 PM by ZeGerman » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2009, 10:34:54 AM »

Sounds interesting!    It's always exciting to see what's happening inside an engine.   We're always hopeful to find a Smokey Unick signature scribed inside or something.     It sounds like you've got a good block and a machinist that knows his stuff, so that should make you feel good.    You should swing by the machine shop and snap some pics and post 'em up... shoot some of the other engines in the shop.     Love to see that stuff!
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ZeGerman
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2009, 06:25:36 PM »

They definitely had some nice looking motors in the place.  They had a finished Ford 428CJ and what appeared to be numerous other big block Fords in various stages of completion.  Also had a large smattering of Chevy motors (BBC and SBC) on stands.  It was very clean, brightly lit, and well organized, which are all great signs for a machine shop.  If my block is usable (still waiting for the word), it appears they are a top-shelf company.  Any place that does contract work for Scott Tiemann would have to be good.  That guy is a rock star in the Pontiac restoration world and could go anywhere he wanted for machine work.

I hope everyone at V8TV had a great Thanksgiving!!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 06:36:16 PM by ZeGerman » Logged

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ZeGerman
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2009, 09:24:25 AM »

Still waiting to hear back from the machine shop about the block...  In the meantime, I have a few more questions:

Regarding headers, is there a formula or rule of thumb for determining the optimal primary tube dimensions given the flow characteristics of the heads?  I know that bigger is not always better when it comes to exhaust systems.  In my case, the headers will be used on a 500+hp motor with heads that flow 250cfm, and a cam & intake which have an RPM range of 1800-6000.  I'm leaning toward a pair of ceramic coated Doug's headers with 1-3/4" primaries, and 3" collectors.  Too small?  Just right?

I was also under the impression that 500hp was the power threshold at which 3" exhaust systems should start being used.  Thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 09:28:16 AM by ZeGerman » Logged

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Kevin O
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 07:00:56 PM »

You're right, there is alot of science behind header design and sizing for power.  I think the 1 3/4" primaries will probably be fine.    We've used headers that size on dyno pulls over 550 HP with no problems.   Larger tubes could make more power at high RPM, but they may not help with low-end torque.   Also, bigger tubes are harder to install... I'm hearing the "dinging" hammer on these already.   Doug's headers are known to fit well, however.

As for the exhaust, I think it was Car Craft magazine did a cool back-to-back dyno test running 2, 2.5, and 3" pipes... they all made similar power.    Again, 3" exhaust systems cost more and are trickier to install.     I guess it comes down to your budget and intentions for the car... are you out to win races, or have a killer driver to enjoy?
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ZeGerman
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2009, 12:44:09 PM »

I'm definitely not trying to win races with this car.  I plan to take it to the strip maybe once or twice a summer, just for test & tune kind of events (for fun, basically).  The main goal is to build a car that can be used for easy cruising on weekends, but that still has a nasty bite if provoked.

Since this will be a street car nearly all of the time, I'm not terribly worried about top end (6k+ rpm) power.  That said, when it comes to exhaust options, all I really care about is not robbing the motor of low to mid-range power, because that's where the car will be operating at virtually all of the time.  A smaller (1-1/2" primaries, 2-1/2" exhaust) would almost certainly reduce top end power on this motor, but I'm wondering how much it would affect low to mid-range power.  If it didn't make much difference for low to mid-range power, I'd definitely prefer to save space. 

I can hear the dreaded dinging hammer, too.  I currently have 3-tube headers on it, and space is already very tight.  However, I have spoken to a few other GTO people, who say that Doug's 4-tube headers do fit pretty well on '66s.
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ZeGerman
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2009, 06:43:44 PM »

So I heard back from the machine shop yesterday.  Not knowing anything about the history/condition of the 1970 400ci block I gave them, I am relieved to have been told that it's in good shape.  Turns out it is currently .030 over, so there's plenty of room left for my rebuild.

I also had them examine my RAIII heads, since they needed to be checked regardless of whether I decide to sell them, or if I decide to use them on my engine again.  My current thought is that I will enlarge the combustion chambers of the RAIII heads from 72cc to 95cc, and port them to flow 250cfm (up from a stock flow of 190cfm).  These are the head airflow figures I have been told I need for a 500hp+ engine with the rotating assembly I am using.  I'm waiting on a price quote on how much it will cost to do the mill work on the heads.  If it is close to or higher than what it will cost to buy a 6X head package from Butler, I will just sell the RAIIIs.  I'm also hesitant to wildly alter a pair of unmolested RAIII heads...

The machine shop I am going through also said the cam I have chosen has too little duration if I want the kind of power I am looking for.  They said the cam I chose would only be good for around 400hp with my bore, stroke, and heads, but that claim doesn't check out so far as I can tell.  It's the same cam (Comp Cams XE274H) that Butler uses in their 461ci stroker crate motors (which is what I am duplicating - and they are 500+hp motors).  Butler promised me I would make "at least" 500hp/550lb.ft. with this cam.  I then downloaded the Comp Cams CamQuest software and entered every tiny detail about my engine build.  CamQuest told me that I will be making 524hp @ 5500rpm and 567lb.ft. @ 4000rpm.  That seems right in line with what Butler told me to expect, so I don't know why my machine shop thinks otherwise.  Of course, he said this after having just glanced at my spec sheet.  I suspect he needs to take a closer look.

Anyone have experience and/or opinions about the Comp Cams CamQuest software?  I'm wondering how accurate computer-based engine calculators can be.

More to come...
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 06:47:26 PM by ZeGerman » Logged

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