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Old 03-07-2016, 01:16 AM   #1
'63GENIII
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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.

Thanks,
Chris
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:52 AM   #2
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

As I look at this a little more, Im seeing that I may want to reuse the existing heads since most of the other heads that I would be looking at would either require a piston change (which Im not opposed to) or start the ball rolling for other modifications for which I wouldn't really see much benefit in the rpm range that Im intending to run it in. Ive also read that the chamber is a really great design that works well with 30 deg. max timing.
I think that any cam that I will be looking at will require adjustable rocker studs to be installed with heavier springs to match.
At this point the plan has been scaled back to simply tear down, re ring and bearings (if the crank and cylinders measure good), and minor grinding of the sharp edges in the chambers a good valve job that will include any work needed to run the cam that will let the heads work their best.
The headers are a must and it may see bigger injectors and a tune.
Does anyone have any thoughts on changing the crank reluctor ring to allow the use of a coil per cylinder set up? Worth any gains?

Im all ears and appreciate any input from anyone with any experience with the big block Vortecs.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:04 AM   #3
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

So I contacted Chris Straub for a cam recommendation for this build. His recommended cam for my build will likely produce "450 hp and over 520 lbs". Is this an unreasonable projection for a stock rebuilt L29? I will probably be looking at some tuning, slightly larger injectors and a set of trip Y headers as well. Any opinions?
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:48 AM   #4
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Hi Chris, what cam specs did CS suggest? Did he mention at what rpm you could expect your torque number to peak and how flat of a curve?
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Hey Steve, he didn't give any specs yet. As far as the curve, I asked for something that would pull hard off idle until around 3500 yet still have something left to around 5000. Supposedly the L29 will lay down around 4500 max with the stock cam. I frequently would see 4200 with the 396 when towing and getting on the highway. It didn't have much left there either. I'll try to get the specs next week. I should be ordering the cam on Tuesday.
Chris
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:06 AM   #6
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Some pics of the tear down tonight.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:14 AM   #7
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Lets see if they load this time.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:18 AM   #8
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

The cylinders looked pretty clean, cross hatch still intact with no noticeable ridge on any of the cylinders. Might get away with a hot tank and hone?
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:32 AM   #9
'63GENIII
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Intake ports are what Id consider closer to an oval port than a peanut port. Still smaller than the real ovals that we have all come to expect but still much bigger than I remember the peanuts being.
The chambers are a lot bigger than I imagined. The "swirl inducing" shape in the chambers are nearly razor sharp. I may knock the edges down with a grinder just a little to get rid of the potential hot spots.
I also saw the "ski jump" in the intake that Ive read about. Looks pretty restrictive and Ive read that it can't be taken out without finding water. The exhaust ports look smaller than any of the big block ones that Ive seen before although Ive heard that they flow fairly well. Its going to be a towing engine anyway. If it can get to 5,000 rpm without much more than a valve job and a good cam, Ill be happy with what Ive got.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:39 AM   #10
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

My little camera doesn't take very good closeups but believe me, the edges on these chambers can cut you if you're not careful! I can imagine them lending themselves to some detonation.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:10 AM   #11
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

One question for anyone who may know or have done this. Is it possible to run a coil per cylinder set up on this engine in place of the distributor?
Im thinking that I will need a different crank reluctor wheel, the coils of course, some sort of wiring harness added to my existing harness to connect the coils? Will the PCM and crank position sensor be able to accommodate the changes with programming? And finally, would this be a worthwhile change to make in the build phase of this?
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:06 AM   #12
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

The L21(medium duty 454) used cnp and had 8 coils. There is a set of valve covers on the parts board now.

You may need to switch to a 0411 pcm. I'm am exactly sure on this.

Google found lots of info on this.

[URL="http://www.hotrod.com/how-to/engine/ccrp-1111-small-block-chevrolet-ls-conversion/"]http://www.hotrod.com/how-to/engine/ccrp-1111-small-block-chevrolet-ls-conversion/[/
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #13
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

I cant go back an edit. Its supposed to be, I'm not exactly sure about the pcm change.

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Old 03-31-2016, 05:25 PM   #14
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Thanks 95 S! The more that I looked into it, the more I think Im just gonna run the stock setup. My budget has been somewhat "clipped" so Im rethinking a few aspects of the build.

Finally got the crank, block, rods and pistons down to the machine shop. Nothing really looked too worn to my untrained eye. Gary's going to let me know next week. Here's a few pics.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:43 PM   #15
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Here's my thought on the build at this point. Please feel free to add your thoughts on my line of thinking.

The machinist (Gary) is going to tank all of the parts that I have dropped off so far, check all of the tolerances and give me his assesment of my short block. Form there, I may go a couple of different ways.

Option 1 - Crank gets a polish and crank kit, cylinders get honed and a set of rings. In this case, I will likely get a good valve job on the stock L29 heads, cam, injectors and a tune of some sort. Pretty simple and my cheapest option.

Option 2- Cylinders need to be bored. In this case, I may look for some higher compression forged pistons to allow me to run my 148 heads from the 396. They are open chamber ovals and around 122cc chambers from what I can tell.I think they may breathe a little better without any port work than the Vortex heads. Id try to stick to an 8.5 - 8.8 CR. Cam and the factory FI and possible tune. This is about the limit of my budget at the moment.

Option 3 - Crank has issues (which I think is unlikely but still possible). In this case Im thinking a 4.25 stroke rotating assembly. I really don't want to get too far in the weeds with this option yet as I really don't have the scratch to go this route unless absolutely necessary.

Here's a few pics of the cylinders. I think they look ok? What do you all think?

Would like input on my thoughts so far if any.

Thanks,
Chris
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:08 PM   #16
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

With option 1, if it is in the budget, I would look into upgrading the cam.

With option 2, Before changing heads, I would check into what the flow/performance differences may be. I am not familiar with the 148 castings, so I have no clue if they would be much of an improvement over the L29 heads.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:38 AM   #17
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Hard to tell with just a few random pictures and partial angles. So I'm not even going to make a judgment there. At first glance though, I see nothing majorly wrong or anything. I'd need to see (and feel) that stuff in person and check things with proper tools (looks can be deceiving). I'm sure the machine shop will give it a good go etc. Your logic sounds reasonable with your options and workflow. And I agree, be sure to consider cam carefully into your equation, especially with your target CR. Stock L29 heads should be 119cc. If you go with your 148s (3933148) they are 122cc or 112cc (conflicting info about them online and my books don't have the volume). My book says '69 396 passenger car oval port 2bc. And then 68-84 366,427 tall deck HD truck, oval port.

FWIW, you can also buy new GM performance heads that are 99cc IIRC.

Sounds like it will be a nice streetable setup with the NV4500 if you are still going with that. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-01-2016, 01:12 AM   #18
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Still trying to figure out the combination. Couple of things that I know at this point though:
1.) Id really like to try my hand at working with the factory FI set up knowing that new injectors and tuning (even a possible switch to 0411 pcm) may be required.
2.) Id like to be able to realize a streetable 450 hp - 500 ft lb from this engine.
3.) While I have nothing against 91 octane, I usually put in 87 unless Im towing.
4.) When I tow, Im pretty sure the whole deal is over 12k lbs.
5.) A new cam and supporting hardware is in the budget. I really want to try to get the cam to work with the heads, whichever they end up being. There is very little info on either set of heads that I have which makes picking the cam even more difficult for me. Aluminum heads?
6.) Heads. Depending on what Gary finds in the short block, I may have a few different choices and decisions. Next week should bring another step in the process and a few more answers.

Captain - a cam change is in the works for sure.
Storm - the GMPP heads are looking better all the time. Weird that the 148s are either 112 or 122cc? The Vortecs keep coming up as 99cc. Guess I better look at those a little harder.

Thanks for the info guys. Really helps me work through the selection process.
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:44 PM   #19
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

I think that to achieve that power level with the stock pistons, you will need heads with chambers to get your static compression up to around 9-9.5:1.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:25 PM   #20
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Just a question. 9 - 9.5 CR puts the engine in the 91 octane range right? I keep reading that the sharp edges of the Vortec heart shape chambers lend themselves to pre ignition or detonation above 30-32 deg. advance. Raising the CR may make it worse? My budget says stock cast iron but little voice says aluminum heads. There's a set of new Pro Comps on CL for 950 although I haven't heard a lot of good things about them. Theres also a set of new, assembled Race Rite ovals close by for 1800 (gulp) which deep down Im thinking might be the right way to go. Which brings me to another question. I have heard that just having aluminum heads brings better cooling and reduced detonation. Is this true and on average, how much could the CR be raised by using aluminum vs cast iron?
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'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 http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...ng+swap+thread


NV4500 Reverse Build Thread http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=reverse+build

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...&highlight=L29
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:40 PM   #21
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

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how much could the CR be raised by using aluminum vs cast iron?
most say about 1 point
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:47 PM   #22
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

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Originally Posted by snj8198 View Post
most say about 1 point
Thanks Steve. I actually just did a search here on the Pro Comps. The comments made it pretty easy to eliminate that company from the approved vendor list. LOL. Looks like a few more side jobs are in my future if I end up going with the aluminum heads. Looking like the Race Rites or GMPPs? Aren't the GMPPs made by Edelbrock?
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Old 04-02-2016, 11:41 PM   #23
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

Static compression is one thing but the dynamic compression is the compression number to be concerned with.
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:10 AM   #24
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

+1. Dynamic compression takes into account the cam profile (more specifically the intake valve timing).

Some light reading on the subject:
http://www.empirenet.com/pkelley2/DynamicCR.html

For something that's a daily driver or mildly used for towing, I'd use iron heads and compute your compression in the 8.5-9.0 range. Don't go crazy with compression if you are towing otherwise it will be more difficult to tune (ie: you may have to sacrifice timing). Don't forget you want a good torque band, and if it comes in low, that means you can cruise with it at lower RPMs even with a heavy load. You could probably use aluminum heads on a tow vehicle, but I personally wouldn't.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:04 AM   #25
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Re: L29 454 Build for '63 K15 with NV4500

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Aren't the GMPPs made by Edelbrock?
I don't believe so but could be wrong. Through my studies over the years I never ran into info supporting this.

Quote:
You could probably use aluminum heads on a tow vehicle, but I personally wouldn't.
I'm not going to run aluminum heads on a daily driver/work truck again either. My current set is the last time.
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