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The Low Down On BBC Heads

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Jetaholic

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« on: January 29, 2008, 04:15:25 PM »
There seems to be some confusion about the different head types used on Chevy Rat motors. Some people think there are only "oval" or "rectangular" ports, and some people don't understand the deal with "open" vs. "closed" chamber heads. This article, taken from the book by Ed Staffel "How To Build Max Performance Chevy Rat Motors", should help to explain the differences.

Small Oval Port (i.e. "peanut" port) heads

"Mark IV, Gen V and Gen VI small oval port cast iron heads, commonly called "truck", "round" or "peanut" ports and made from 1976 on, make power and high torque at very low RPM's and are helpful when the motor is pulling heavy loads in trucks, trailers or RV's. The velocity of air/fuel mixture in these heads is very high at low engine speeds, however they run out of breath at RPMs above 5,000 and are not really suitable for street performance or race applications, although larger valves, bowl and other port work can improve the flow situation. Small oval port heads have intake valves that are 2.06" in size, with 1.72" exhaust valves. They have hardened valve seats. These heads can have closed or open chambers (small or large chambers respectively). Most are found on trucks including late models, but there were some full size passenger cars and station wagons in the mid-70s that could be ordered with a 454 and may have the small oval port heads."

Large Oval Port Heads

"Mark IV large oval port heads make their power over a broader and higher RPM range. They are found on cars and trucks from 1965 through 1990 and make excellent street performance heads. They can be used on bracket drag race motors, after bowl porting and installation of bigger valves, with great results because they make a large amount of torque and will breathe well to about 6500RPM. They come with 2.06" intake and 1.72" exhaust valves. They have closed or open combustion chambers, and depending on when they were made have either soft or hardened valve seats. The open chamber style castings will flow more air than the closed chamber designs. This is due mainly to less valve shrouding. The downside with open chamber heads is that you will have to run a dome top piston to get any level of compression ratio above 8.5:1.

A good starting place would be cast iron, large oval port, open chamber casting #'s '781', '049', '359' or '241'. In 1996, Chevy introduced an over the counter aluminum open chamber head with large oval ports. This is the first factory big block aluminum head with large oval ports. This head will fit and seal with Mark IV, Gen V and Gen VI blocks.

Rectangular Port Heads

"Rectangular or 'square' port cast iron and aluminum cylinder heads are strictly for high-performance use. Because the intake port dimensions are so large, air/fuel velocities are at a low speed in the ports until the RPM's of the motor get high. Then the power comes on like gangbusters. Applications include high performance street use and racing where large volumes of air and fuel are required at high RPMs. Square port heads came with larger 2.19" intake and 1.88" exhaust valves. Some early closed chamber heads had 1.84" or 1.72" exhaust valves. Open or closed chambers were available with soft or hard valve seats. Once again, the open chamber designs on production heads will flow more air than the closed chamber production variety. If your engine is going to operate in the 7,000+ RPM range or if you are building a large cubic inch race motor, then the rec. port heads will make the power you need, but at a higher RPM."
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2008, 08:30:54 PM »
  Geez Buddy , I'm gonna go out and kick the dog  all those big hard runnin BBC rec port motors I've been lovin all these years must be only good for boat anchors and stuff  :'( :'( :'( ??

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2008, 09:10:08 PM »
You should read popular hot rodding book pump gas shoot out Feb in 2008 small
block put out more hp than big block small port and did most off the rest did to. there were no parts on the chev
motor built by chev all after market parts ford ran stock block and crank looks  bad to some people
why they did not run any part made by  chev on them ??????????. NO BULL HERE LOOK AT BOOK AND READ DYNO test winner
 $192,000

BEST MOTOR BUILDERS were there

   

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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2008, 10:02:39 PM »
  Geez Buddy , I'm gonna go out and kick the dog  all those big hard runnin BBC rec port motors I've been lovin all these years must be only good for boat anchors and stuff  :'( :'( :'( ??

 :D  I seriously doubt that the rect port ONLY helps above 7K. They seemed to help the LS6 pretty well which had a redline lower than 7K.
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 05:57:46 AM »
First off...this is info I got out of a book, which I stated in the very beginning of the article.

Second off...no one ever said rec ports will not work.

Third off...why use a cylinder head that yields its "absolute best" performance at an RPM higher than what your motor will ever see?

And finally, the purpose of this article was merely to remind people that there are actually 2 different types of oval port heads: small oval and large oval, and large ovals are not another name for rec ports. More often than not I just see people refer to only two different types of ports altogether: oval and rec port. But the operating range difference between small oval and large oval is too significant to ignore the fact that there are actually two different size oval ports when it comes to BBC heads. I'd hate for someone to take the advice to get some "oval port heads" and end up with a set of the "peanut port" heads and not even know it due to the fact that they never knew there was any other type of oval port head other than a small oval port, then notice shitty performance around 4500-5000 RPMs and not be able to figure out what's causing it due to the fact that they have "oval port heads" and they should in fact work, not realizing they in fact have the small oval ports and need to use at least a large oval port.

Now in regards to using rec port heads...most of us are building lake boats, not drag boats.

From what I gather from the explainations above on the heads, it would seem to me that if you're planning on building a WOT all the time drag boat and aren't planning to pull skiiers, then sure I'd dig the rec port heads. However, if you're wanting an all around lake boat that will yield badass performance across the board...great at WOT and still give you decent torque at the bottom of the range for pulling skiiers, it would seem to me that the large oval port would be the better choice. It just all depends on what you plan on doing with it.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 06:10:27 AM by Jetaholic »
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 08:40:40 AM »
I like the way Rod put it the ls6 was one of chevys biggest home runs.IMO.  Like we all know its about the combo. My cam doesn't even start to breath until about 3500 r's. single plane manifold, and rect port heads(116 cc). I guess what  I'm tryin to say is my boat has all the low end I need. And I always have heard the "cut off" or the rpm range that ovals run out of breath(not peanuts) and rect perform better was more like 4500 r's.

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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2008, 11:57:39 AM »
Don't forget were talking about jet boats here not cars with 3.50 rear end gears.  An A impeller only absorbs 150hp at 3600 RPMs, so even if the rect ports don't have the best port velocity or torque on the low end, It doesnt take much.  the most common complaint I get with rect port heads is that there a hesitation or poor throttle response (usually in conjucntion with a single plane intake), but most if not all that can be taken care of with carburetor and correct tuning.  My .02 you can easilly tune rect ports for the low end, but you have to work harder on ovals for the top end ;)

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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2008, 06:13:23 PM »
And I always have heard the "cut off" or the rpm range that ovals run out of breath(not peanuts) and rect perform better was more like 4500 r's.

And yes that statement does in fact refer to the "peanut" port heads.

Corvettes and Chevelles both have used 353049 heads, which are a large oval port head. Also, lots of jet boaters seem to favor the large oval port '049' heads.

Remember, increasing RPM is not the only way to make a jet boat go fast.  I prefer to increase the amount of torque/HP at my current RPM and run a bigger impeller. Much harder pull out of the hole that way. Spinning the shit out of the motor is not the only way to make it go fast. Why spin the motor faster than you have to?
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2008, 06:29:09 PM »
An old saying, "don't believe everything you read". Unfortunately it doesn't tell you which things you read that you should believe.

Jetaholic... do you think that Chevrolet was waisting HP by putting on rect port heads on any of their engines with a redline lower than 7K (all of them back in the day)? Do you think a LS6 will make the same or more HP with 049's, even in a jet boat? Do you think that Chevrolet tested their heads before sending them to the assembly line?

No offense meant to anyone, including Jetaholic, but I'm going to listen to the team at JBP and the team that was at Chevrolet back in the day when these things were designed for HP, instead of something that I read written by someone I know nothing about.
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2008, 08:25:35 PM »
The big port heads start making power around 3K and pull from there. If you have a truck with a low stall and no gear, they are not the hot ticket. Not saying the engine won't run, or even run well - but in a drag race the smaller port heads would kill them.  The bigger the CI of the engine, the more head volume it needs anyway.

Now, get it in something that can take advantage of the greater CFM flow and doesn't need the off idle grunt - it will be much faster.

A 500 ci engine with large port heads is going to start to pull at a much lower rpm than a 396 with the same heads and cam. 
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2008, 12:19:39 AM »
I wonder what a peanut port headed 496 would do pulln a 9.5 impeller at 3500rpms? I got plenty of sets of those makin dents in the concrete. ;D

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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 06:47:59 AM »
It would probably run quite well. The trick would be to match the duration so the powerband matches the rest of the combo.

My 454 in my 15,000 lb RV works quite well - small port heads, very short duration cam, idles at 400 RPM and powerband that maxes out around 3500 RPM. It's all about optimizing the combo.
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2008, 10:39:32 AM »
How about a 396 with peanuts in a jet boat application ;D Thats what i have at the moment ???

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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2008, 11:22:36 AM »
We've built 454's with peanuts before, I would typically drop down a stage on the cam. run about 4700-4800 with an A

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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2008, 11:31:45 AM »
I used to own the yellow hawiian that lucky stiff just traded to blue , and with a bone stock 454 out of a truck with peanut heads , that boat was GPS'd at 55mph. That was also with two people in it.
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2008, 11:56:59 AM »
My friend has a set of built up peanut heads. Big ported and larger valves. lots of bowl work. But in a truck they turned 5500rpm, not sure how it would do in a jet boat

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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2008, 12:00:12 PM »
Thats some good info thanks ;) Im dropping the heads off now to be magged and cleaned then we can start the head work ;D and thats just the beginning >:D

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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2008, 12:03:15 PM »
We've built 454's with peanuts before, I would typically drop down a stage on the cam. run about 4700-4800 with an A

Even with a smaller discplacement like a 396 with the 454 peanut heads.? And i am running an A impeller with my energizer kit.

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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2008, 12:09:43 PM »
f your gonna work on em a bit i'd go with the xm270h by Comp

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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2008, 12:11:59 PM »
f your gonna work on em a bit i'd go with the xm270h by Comp

Thanks for the advice ;D Really appreciate it.

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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2008, 12:14:23 PM »


If im not posting..I'm pooping!

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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2008, 12:46:50 PM »
How about a 396 with peanuts in a jet boat application ;D Thats what i have at the moment ???

2sav

I can't keep up, I thought you said you had aluminum heads coming today?

I used to own the yellow hawiian that lucky stiff just traded to blue , and with a bone stock 454 out of a truck with peanut heads , that boat was GPS'd at 55mph. That was also with two people in it.

But that was before the tune-up. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

That boat had a killer pump in it back then and a large cooler with lots of alcohol in it too.   ;D
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2008, 12:50:50 PM »
I can't keep up, I thought you said you had aluminum heads coming today?

Now Rod, i never said it was coming today.   I just said im waiting for them.  Any one now where i can get a 396 or 454 block?  I got more bad news from the machine shop :'(

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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2008, 01:18:50 PM »
I can't keep up, I thought you said you had aluminum heads coming today?

Now Rod, i never said it was coming today.   I just said im waiting for them.  Any one now where i can get a 396 or 454 block?  I got more bad news from the machine shop :'(

2sav
What's that?

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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2008, 01:38:56 PM »
What's that?



The block is no good.  It has too many stripped threads and heli coils. I wont be able to torque my heads correctly now.


I wont make Parker now and i give up!!!!!
F it!
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2008, 01:41:27 PM »


The block is no good.  It has too many stripped threads and heli coils. I wont be able to torque my heads correctly now.


I wont make Parker now and i give up!!!!!
F it!
2sav

Oh come on now, I gots a block. I'm not sure but I believe it is .030 over? I'll have to check it out. I'll have to check it out. 454 block, if it will help you then it's here

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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2008, 01:42:50 PM »
Oh come on now, I gots a block. I'm not sure but I believe it is .030 over? I'll have to check it out. I'll have to check it out. 454 block, if it will help you then it's here

 ;D  How much $$$
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2008, 01:43:54 PM »
;D  How much $$$
2sav

Very effin Cheap, make an offer. Come over here and get this thing before I change my mind

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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2008, 01:45:01 PM »
Very effin Cheap, make an offer. Come over here and get this thing before I change my mind

Fifty bucks ;D

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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2008, 01:46:21 PM »
Fifty bucks ;D

You got it, but I just checked it and it's a 0.020 over block right now. Which means boring

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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2008, 01:49:22 PM »
You got it, but I just checked it and it's a 0.020 over block right now. Which means boring


Ok but i have to talk to the wife :o she is gonna KILL me with all these bad engines i keep buying. Im just in a hurry to get my boat back , damn it.

2sav

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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2008, 01:53:11 PM »
You got it, but I just checked it and it's a 0.020 over block right now. Which means boring = Bigger Better Faster ;D

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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2008, 02:07:19 PM »
You got it, but I just checked it and it's a 0.020 over block right now. Which means boring
If the bores ok you might be able to hone it and get the right clearences.  Theres some .020 pistons out there

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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2008, 03:44:03 PM »


Actually with a .020 overbore, that gives you some room to bore to a set of .030 pistons. With the '049' or any open chamber heads for that matter you'll have to run a dome piston to get decent compression out of it. Not sure on the other piston manufacturers, but I know the smallest oversize dome piston that TRW makes is .030 over.

But the nice thing about the open chamber heads is you get less valve shrouding when you go to bigger valves.

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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2008, 03:49:02 PM »


The block is no good.  It has too many stripped threads and heli coils. I wont be able to torque my heads correctly now.


I wont make Parker now and i give up!!!!!
F it!
2sav

That suks 2Sav. I'm sure you didn't get a warranty with that used engine, but phock it, did you at least call the guy you bought it from? I sold my 454 block this morning for $60, otherwise... good luck.
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2savage4you

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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2008, 04:02:14 PM »
Steve, let me know if I can help with anything.  I'm sorry that thing didn't turn out to be a 468, and if you wanted to go a diff direction I would understand and give you your money back.  I guess I will be checking numbers from now on!!!!!!!!!   I just saw a BBC 4 bolt and had no reason to think otherwise.  Let me know on the rods and they're yours if you want em.   Jason
 
 
Well he did offer a refund :o  But i would be happy with $200 for a replacement block and the 454 rods.

We will see ;)

2sav

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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2008, 04:20:40 PM »
kb makes .020s in hypers, and i have no problem running hypers.  But I'm not getting into that debate.

Speed-pro has some too, and TRW has a flat top forged
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 04:24:18 PM by Josh@JBP »

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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2008, 05:14:15 PM »
Keith Black just came out with forged pistons for really good prices there about the same price as Hypers.

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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2008, 05:20:32 PM »
Keith Black just came out with forged pistons for really good prices there about the same price as Hypers.
Already used a set, plus they are really good ppl to deal with.

 


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