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Old 03-07-2016, 01:16 AM   #1
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'63GENIII's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: San Carlos, Ca.
Posts: 2,604
L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

During the saga of fixing the Wife's LQ9 Denali, a few of you may know that I had lost a couple of holes on the 396 in my truck that I was using as a DD while my Wife was using my commuter. The Denali is fixed now and the Wife's attention is turned to other things besides my inability to repair anything around the house. The way I see it, that's a green light to get the Red Truck back up and going.

Newest victim - A 1997 L29 or Vortec 7.4 that has been under my workbench for the last 5 years or so. 4 bolt mains and roller cam, fuel injected. History is unknown so I am on board for a complete rebuild. I have a Howell harness and computer that have been sitting for as long as Ive had the engine. Im hoping to have it at the machine shop within a few weeks and Im trying to get my ducks in a row ahead of time. I do have a few questions for anyone who would dare venture a few guesses though.

Ive read up a lot over the last 5 years on this engine and have come to a few basic conclusions.:
1.) The intake ports on the heads don't flow too well due to the "ski jump" and are a little better than the peanut ports. The "heart shaped" chambers don't take a whole lot of timing to make the most power and the exhaust ports are some of the best for a big block.
2.) The intake itself is fairly restrictive and between it and the heads, the combo is generally good to 4,500 - 5,000 rpm.

My 63 is outfitted as follows;
14Bff rear, D44 front, 4:10 gears, 35" tires, divorced np205 behind 1993 NV4500. Truck is usually empty but when loaded will be towing around 6 - 7k with 1,500 in the box. It rarely sees above 4,500 rpm. I'd like for it to have a little left until 5,000 if realistic. Id like to run the 454 with the Howell set up since Ive got a few buck in it already.

My first question which is probably going to be the first of quite a few is in regards to the heads. My 396 has 148s on it and while I know that head gaskets can be had to run them on the '97 engine and Ill need new pistons to get the CR back up with the OC heads, does anyone have any experience or input on using these heads with a fuel injection system? Rockers are already adjustable which is great for the cam swap that will happen. More than likely, I will look to Chris Straub for a cam. I'll probably run the set of Thorley Tri Ys that are sitting under the house as well. Im not looking for a 5k+ rpm engine or a 5k$+ engine either. Just something that will realistically pull very hard from off idle to 4500-5000 and be dependable.
That said, Ill leave the door open for your comments. Don't be afraid to tell me Im nuts.... It won't be the first time.


'63 k15 long step
Vortec 7.4 - L29 Blackbear tune, Five 0 Motorsports injectors, Chris Straub Cam, NV4500, divorced 205
52" front and 63" rear spring swap
D44 / 14bff - disc axles
Milemarker 9K and 10.5K hydraulic winches

63" & B52 Spring Install

NV4500 Reverse Build Thread

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build
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