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Old 12-31-2008, 10:33 PM   #1
48reo
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Default pros and cons of an olds 455?

I was offered an olds 455 when I happened to mention to a friend that I was looking for an olds rocket for the REO but I have heard they have a tendancy to chew up cam bearings, is this true? or is there a better or more economical olds motor for parts and availability?
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I've never had one go through a cam bearing. I had one crack a head ('78 Ninety-Eight land yacht), and one snap a timing chain (74 engine in a rusty '50 Rocket 88). The head cracker only had 70k miles on it, the timing chain one had 190k.
As for a better Olds motor, kinda depends on what you're doing. I like the 350 Rockets, I think they have a good amount of power right off the get-go, they're fairly easy to find, and they take to mild mods very well. Just make sure you get one '76 and earlier, anything later has thinner castings and shitty heads that are prone to cracking, such as my aforementioned '78.
The 455 can be a good motor, too, they're just heavy, but holy shit, they could have gobs of torque.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

well thanks, that helps..... I assume I can either bolt up an S-10 5-spd or buy an adapter to make it work.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I had a 455 think it was in a starliner. I know it would spin studded snow tires on dry pavement.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

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Originally Posted by 48reo View Post
well thanks, that helps..... I assume I can either bolt up an S-10 5-spd or buy an adapter to make it work.
I'd put something stouter than an S-10 box behind it. Unless your going to drive it like an old lady
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Anything i have ridden in thats got a 455 has been scary fast, my only experience.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Cam Bearings...???? Never had that problem...

My Roadster with a internally Stock 455 ran a 12.02 @ 110 MPH (traction issues)

With Aluminum Heads and a cam... 11.71 @ 119.96 all below 4,500 rpm (traction issues)

Weighs less than most Small Block Chevy with a mountain of torque!

And done right you can have a "BUILT" 455 inexpensively!

Cons are Header availability... and drilling crank end for manual tranny.

4 speeds and the manual setups can get "Pricey"... run the 350 only if it's in a light car. Or go right to a 200r or 700r4 and you can run a steep 373 rear gear for massive launches and the ability to Idle down the freeway.

And if you're going manual tranny instead of drilling the crank and spending a few hundred reconditioning an "OLD" crank... I'd just buy a "New Eagle Crank" from Rocket Racing for $575 that's ready to run either a manual or automatic!

For REAL WILD Performance... Rocket has the "NEW Forged knife-edged Crank" for $2,100!!!!

I had a set of "C" heads on another 455 and didn't have a noticeable performance difference when I went to Aluminum heads except for the lower temperature!

You can find "C" heads everywhere and totally done up with the Large valves, hardened seats and a Good set of Roller Rockers... you'll get a ton of performance for a fraction of the cost of the Aluminum heads alone!
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I will look into that. happy new year!
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I had a 455 in a heavy all steel 98 based ambulance. Even that monster would scoot! It was dead reliable for the 40,000 or so miles I put on it when the car was already twenty years old. I would consider using one again for a project.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

so what manual tranny is suitable for that motor?
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:18 AM   #11
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 48reo View Post
so what manual tranny is suitable for that motor?
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Cant say much about the old Olds except to remember that a 394 powered Starfire were a force to be reconded with back in the day. Never saw a broken one. Not once ever.
The 455 now I have done a lot of these. Very good motor. Huge torque and power wth very little tweaking. A mild cam a decent carb and a set of headers will give more street power than most can use. It will run forever too. Cost is very low. I always looked for the C heads and never had too much trouble finding them. I suppose for a few bucks more a set of Eddys would be the ultimate. Places we have put one?
68 Olds Cutlasss hardtop, 74 Chev 4 wheel drive3/4 ton, 56 GMC , 85 Cadilac 2 dr hrdtop, 57 Caddy 2 dr. just to name a few. I did the motors ,my buddys buit the cars. I am not sure where the 455 74 truck went but the rest are all still running. Last one i did would probably be 1990 about. Very very good street perfomance engine. It has it all.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:25 AM   #13
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

olds 455 is a great motor, but like mentioned before a s10 5 speed isnt gonna cut it....you'll have to spend a couple bucks and get better 5speed to hold up or get a 4spd muncie, top loader ford....

as far as the crank not being drilled, there are aftermarket pilot bearings that allow you use a manual trans with the undrilled crank......
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Great motor, plan on putting one in my old 55 98.
Watch for aluminum intake cracks if you buy one used...other than that, they are a strong runner, with little problems...perhaps keeping them cool is #1.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I've got a '70 Olds 455 in my 1947 Olds convertible and I LOVE it. Over 88,000 miles in 7 summers. It came outta a streetrod with I don't know how many miles on it in that configuration not to mention the original car it came out of, and it's still running strong.....and trust me I don't baby it.

I did have a large AL radiator made right from the start because of it running warm. Made a world of difference. Also, looking at the alternator bracket reminds me that the first summer I had the car the original bracket kept busting on me, about 6 times in a couple of months. Finally had a buddy make me a really stout one out of solid AL and haven't had a lick of trouble since.


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Old 01-01-2009, 11:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I had a 77 chev 3/4 ton 4x4 years ago. The 350 SBC went for crap so I got a 68 Olds 98 455 Rocket 4bbl. Gave it a rering touched up the heads painted it real pretty and stuck it in with some homade mounts and a Transdapt adapter plate. I must have gained 100HP and my milage went from 12mpg to 18mpg. what an upgrade, I wouldent even hesitate to use a Olds in stock form.The swap totaly transformed that truck.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:55 AM   #17
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

wow! well I hope my friend doesnt read this before I get a price out of him.
thanks for the input!
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:15 AM   #18
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

bitchinest motor EVER.
it's a sledgehammer approach to a thumbtack world.

My favorite part about them is when You step on the gas pedal-at any speed- and a great big hand comes outta your dashboard and shoves you into the seat. 90 m.p.h., stomp it, instant torque.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:18 AM   #19
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Big torque here. 1 of the few engines that will run 140MPH at 3000 RPMs >>>>.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

At about 620lbs they are lighter than a Big block Chevy, but they are big in size.
Tons of torque - that's why they were the engine of choice for so many jet ski boats.
Tend to run hot and they don't tolerate it very well. I had one in a 27 Roadster and had a hard time keeping it cool, not enough radiator area with a chopped 32 grille.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:50 PM   #21
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

In addition to the Olds, the 455 Buick is also a mountain of torque and comparable in weight to a sbc. No, they don't like alot of rpm's but you don't need to spin them fast..the torque is all at the bottom. These engines are seriously under appreciated. Oh, you really don't need a 4-speed with these...one or maybe two gears is adequate. If you are not familiar with engines having 500+ lb-ft of torque you are in for a treat.

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Old 01-02-2009, 03:56 PM   #22
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Pros: Its big inches and big low end power.

Cons: The Cadillac 500 will make you wish you built a Cadillac 500.

Shit. put it in. They're cool old motors and you aint trying to run it a 8,000 rpm.
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:20 PM   #23
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

well Im sold. I will tell you how it goes, it will probobly be after tax returns though.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:54 AM   #24
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

yes you can get the real lowdown on the 455 on jet boat forums - sadly I tried to provide a link but seems like the winter has killed my favorite forum. The 455 has incredible shove you in your seat bottom end torque!
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:54 PM   #25
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Well my friend didnt give his up but I bought one running in the car and I talked the guy down from $800 to $500 its in a 76 delta 88 , now All I have to do is extract it and scrap the rest, its almost a shame becouse the only thing wrong with the car is no reverse. not even a tear in the headliner or a ripped seat and its a hardtop, all power just not my preference in cars. I might put it on craigs for a week then rip the rear end out and scrap the rest.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:51 PM   #26
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I put a mildly warmed up 455 out of a 75 Olds 98 Regency in my 55 Cadillac and love it. I removed 3 leaves out of the rear springs and installed a 3 " block to settle it down for air bags. Now going down the road at 60 I can stab the gas and get enough torque steer out of the rear end to almost put me in another lane. Thats a good problem as I know i have mountains or grunt on tap. Just gotta fab up a tringled 4 link to solve that " FUN ".
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Hello Reo, Before diesels became more affordable to smaller commercial fishing operators, the motors of choice in the south Louisiana bayou country were mostly big block Chevies and Olds. There were also quite a few Chrysler hemis in the fifties and early sixties befor the supply was mostly exhausted. The crafts these fisherman use are usualy between 20ft. up to 30ft. and larger. Today diesels are mainly used, but when gas engines ruled the bayous the Chevies and Olds were the workhorses that got the job done! I operated a 28 ft. x14. shrimper with a 455 Olds for power for many seasons with no problems that I did not cause myself by
pushing the motor more than 4500 rpms. These motors were started at 3 or 4 pm.in the morning and often not even shut down until very late in the evening. After a run out of any where from a couple of miles to as much as 20 or more, the motors then pulled a 50ft. shrimp trawl for 2 hour tows
as many as four times a day. Then they powered a heavily loaded boat [ hopefully] back to the dock at the end of the day. The Olds was operated with the throttle way into the four barrel for hours at a time when pulling a shrimp net. Even with the throttle pushed this far open the motor was only turning 1700 rpms while under load. This is a large strain on the motor as you may imagine.The Olds nevered faltered unless I pushed it above 4500,
then it would break rocker stands. This was not a big deal I carried a few
on board and would just stop and pull the valve cover and change the broken one. Sometimes a pushrod would be bent all to hell when the rocker broke, this was fixed by grabbing the offending pushrod with vise grips and knocking it up out of the lifter valley with a ballpeen hammer .
Crude but it sure beat pulling an intake while at sea! the lifters never suffer any damage during this "roadside" repair. Oldsmobiles 455s are tuff!
Anyway I do tend to ramble, sorry. MickeyC from the Bayou
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:36 AM   #28
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 48reo View Post
the only thing wrong with the car is no reverse. .

The no-reverse bit could be as simple as the trans low on oil.

Been there....
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:57 AM   #29
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

http://www.mondellotwister.com/
http://www.rocketracingperformance.com/
http://www.mondello.com/

This will get you started...LOL
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:13 AM   #30
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I would put a Turbo 400 behind it if I had room. A 455 doesn't really need a stick, you break things too easy. You can just put it in drive and let the motor do all the work. If you keep it at 4500 rpm or less, it will live a long and happy life. Tires, well I can't say that will be true, see Denise's burnout picture.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:43 AM   #31
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I put a one in my 56 Olds with a th400 ,I love it!! The motor was from a toronodo. The front motor mount worked out well. I would do it again. Good luck..
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:03 AM   #32
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

The 455 Olds is a great choice. I've had a 455 in the Rockettruck since 1989. Actually it's out right now because I've got the whole front clip of the truck off to clean things up a bit.

I used an Edlebrock Performer and a Holley 650, stock HEI, engine bored .030 over just to clean things up a bit, a small Comp cam, and single outlet cast iron manifolds--all in front of a Turbo 400.

It's all overkill though because the pickup just smokes when I try to take off. It will push you back in the seat when it finally get traction. With the Olds, all of the valve adjustment is done at the machine shop. They use a gauge to machine the height of the valves, and then you simply torque the rocker arm nuts down.

If you use "C" heads, though, make sure you use 425 Olds pushrods. They are slightly shorter than the stock 455 pushrods.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:06 AM   #33
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 48reo View Post
Well my friend didnt give his up but I bought one running in the car and I talked the guy down from $800 to $500 its in a 76 delta 88 , now All I have to do is extract it and scrap the rest, its almost a shame becouse the only thing wrong with the car is no reverse. not even a tear in the headliner or a ripped seat and its a hardtop, all power just not my preference in cars. I might put it on craigs for a week then rip the rear end out and scrap the rest.
No reverse likely means no 1st either.
It's move i second though... Torque, Baby!
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:24 AM   #34
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
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it's a sledgehammer approach to a thumbtack world.
best line about a motor ever,if your serious about making this combo work try here lots of good info www.realoldspower.com
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:52 AM   #35
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Years ago I snaged a real low mile 455 and put it and the 400 turbo in a 55 Chev short bed PU. Left the truckin looking like an old farm truck and used to go to Lincoln to street race in the 70s. Loved blowing off the rich kids in their Stangs and Cameros. Drove it about 40,000 with no problems.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #36
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I have a 455 in my 68 442 mild cam holley 750 and a eddy intake w/a t400
mid 13's in the 1/4 and will make a 1000 mile trip with ease
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:54 AM   #37
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I ran one in a '47 Ford. Honestly, to do it again I would have gone with another mill. I didn't like the looks or the economy. It did have torque, but then again - so do alot of other engines. The only way I would run one now is if it were actually going in an early Olds.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:17 PM   #38
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

'76 Olds full size is a high demand demolition derby car, easily worth the $500 less motor and trans - demo guys wouldn't use it anyways - not to mention all the stupid little trim pieces and things that could be parted out from one because no one reproduces any of it.


Early Toronado manifolds look like sprint car headers, if you're running it in something with no hood sides a set of those would clean up, look sharp, and should flow plenty.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:35 PM   #39
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

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'76 Olds full size is a high demand demolition derby car, easily worth the $500...
Exactly what I was just thinking.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:47 PM   #40
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

More Info than you could imagine!!



455 CID Engine Detail


Submit corrections and additions to this information to The Olds FAQ Compiler.




General Information


Note: The information contained in all of the "Engine Detail" sections should be read before proceeding with modifications, etc., because some information that applies to all engines, or all small blocks or all big blocks, might not be duplicated in every section.
The 455 was built from 1968 through 1976, produced from 210hp to 400hp, and were installed in just about every car Olds built in that period at one time or another, including the Cutlass/442, Delta 88's, 98's and Toronados (not the Omega, though). You can get a quick estimate of the year of the engine by looking at the 1" high casting letter on the lower-left corner of the block and/or head.
If the engine is one of these high-performance motors, it's pretty easy to identify where it came from. If not, it's a little tougher.
Other clues for identifying the engine, especially the later engines, are the carb numbers (stamped on the driver's side of the carb, usually something like 7040251), as the emissions regulations required carbs calibrated for the specific requirements of a particular model (basically 1973 and later), whereas all models before 1973 used the same carb numbers (again, aside from high-performance and Toronado engines). Likewise, the distributor number might be specific to the model it was installed in.
The exhaust manifolds would also provide a clue as to where the engine was originally installed. If the passenger-side manifold has two openings, it's a single-exhaust application, and likely from an 88 or 98.
Year Differences

According to my trusty Olds engine book, the 455 was available in 310 hp, 320 hp, 365 hp, 370 hp, 390 hp, all street engines, with full manufacturers warranties. The 455 is a very forgiving and long-lasting engine. To eek out more HP you can go with higher compression, which will prevent pump gas usage (highest stock 455 comp. was 10.5:1). To achieve this, use flat top pistons (butterfly cut), milling heads, and decking the block. This will yeild CR in the 14 range. However, you have to pay for it in wear and tear.
455 engines through the years have some differences. Some have lower compression pistons, not an issue if you are getting new ones anyhow. Later blocks, typically with an Fa casting ID have lost the boss where the clutch z-bar used to mount, which affects only manual trans applications. If you are using it in AT car, all 455 blocks are pretty much fungible for street use. Rumors of rear-face "F0" etc. codes having more nickel, but no one can seem to document that. Some are more likely to have a Nodular crank, might even have a forged crank. Not likely though. [ Thanks to Bob Barry, Chris Witt, Joe Padavano for this information ]



455 Application Comparisions

1969 - 1970 Toronado 455 vs 442 455
I know 365 horses is the stock rating for the 442, but what about the Toronado. I have an F block and E heads. What is my engine out of and what is the horsepower rating for the 69 & 70 Toronado?
  • The stock Toronado intake is noticeably lower than the intake on the 442 motor. This is the most obvious giveaway.
  • All Toronados were assembled in Lansing; thus, if the engine has anything other than an "M" for Lansing, MI in it, it wouldn't be from a Toronado.
  • All Toronados from '68-'72 had carb #'s ending in "252", though this is easy to swap.
  • The Toronado oil filter adapter sticks out further from the engine, and angles forward (to clear the stock Toronado starter, which mounts on that side). The Cutlass oil filter would mount closer to the block. Again, this is easy to swap, so it's not a definite sign.
  • The Toronado engines were painted a light metallic blue; the '70 442 motors were a deeper blue.
  • The 442 455 would have notched valve covers for clearance in the back; the Toronado valve covers had no such notches.
  • If the VIN derivative on the block shows it being a 1969 engine ("39M" rather than "30M", then it's definitely not a 442 motor. Things may have been mixed and matched at some point, so you could have a '69 or '70 Toronado shortblock with the '70 442 heads.
  • The Toronado oil pan is deeper, and has a raised notch in the middle for the front halfshaft to pass under; the 442 pan would slope evenly from the front to the sump.
The Toronado engine (1969 and 1970) was rated at 375hp, but in point of fact, it was a more mild engine than the base 442 engine in 1970. Aside from the intake and a slightly different camshaft, a '70 Toronado engine was identical to the small-valve big-car L-31 455, and in 1969, the only difference was the larger intake valves.
OTOH, the specs on the 400hp W-34 motor was identical to the 390hp W-33 and base 365hp 442 motor. So the factory hp rating doesn't mean much. [ Thanks to Bob Barry for this information ]



Buildup


Cams
Put a W-31 cam in it if you want to drive it with power brakes. Makes a load of power and still has a nice sounding idle without effecting the power brakes. Pulls hard past 6000 RPM with lots of bottm end torque. [ Thanks to Jim Chermack for this information. ]


Cooling
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Crank
If you drop the late 400/455 crank (4.25 stroke) into the early E-block 400 block (4.000 bore), you get a 427 Olds. If you go 0.060 over, you get a 440 (unfortunately, you need a custom set of 4.066 pistons to get it to 442 cu in). [ Thanks to Joe Padavano for this information. ]


Differential Gears
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Exhaust
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Heads
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Induction
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Ignition
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Oiling
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Redline
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Short Block
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Transmission, Torque Convertor
[ Thanks to for this information. ]


Valvetrain
[ Thanks to for this information. ]



Buildup Examples


W-30 455
I have a 1972 455 that I bored .030" over with torque plates. I took the crank and had it cross drilled and chamfered, and the counter weights were deburred. I am using the stock piston rods with F2323 TRW pistons with file fit plasma moly rings. I have a Toronodo 5 quart oil pan with windage trays and a crank scraper. The oil pump is a Melling HV with Toro pickup from Mondello. I am using a Cloyes double roller timing chain. My cam is a Comp Cams and the specs are as follows at .050" duration: intake 234, exhaust 244. The lift is 523" intake and 518" extake with a 110 degree center line. Advertised duration is 292. Don't use the Mondello cam button. It just causes premature wear.
I am using Mondello 7400 roller rockers, and standard TRW pushrods and lifters. I set the cam in at O or what is called straight up.
Back to the block, I had the block decked so that I have .017" piston to deck clearance. Using Victor brand head gaskets that measure .028" when compressed. Felpro gaskets are .038" when compressed.
I am using GA heads the have been milled .060" on bottom and intake side to give me 73cc of head volume. The valves are Milodon stainless steel 2.072" intake and 1.710" exhaust, with a 5 angle valve job. The center divider on exhaust side was welded and milled smooth and #3 and #6 heat risers were welded instead of using Mondellos Heat Block Mix. The heads have been ported to remove the EGR bump and the bowls and exhaust polished.
I recommend not polishing intake side for better atomizing of the fuel. I am using the stock GM valley tray and the stock W-30 aluminum intake.
The carb is a W-30 Q-jet that I had a local shop bore the bottom .050 and put in new shaft bushings. I am using #69 jets and 48b primary metering rods with AX secondary metering rods with a K hangar. The CFM rate is 795, and the carb is #7042253. I am also using the paper filter in the carb. For fuel delivery I am using a Holley Blue electric through stock fuel lines and using the stock pickup and the regulator is set at 6.5 PSI.
For exhaust I am using Hooker headers with 1 7/8" primary tubes with a 3" full exhaust with Flowmaster 3" mufflers with 3" tail pipes.
For ignition, I am using the MSD pro billet distributor and the MSD Blaster coil and the MSD 6A box with NGK 5670-6 spark plugs gapped at .040". The wires are just Accel black 8mm wires. I am still using power steering and the GM thermo clutch fan and a 160 thermostat. I am using 20w50 Vavoline oil and a K&N 3.5" air filter.
It is also important how you set up your car. I'm using the stock posi rearend but with 4:10 gears, and the TH-400 with a shift kit. I am using an ATI Treemaster torque converter that stalls at 3500 RPM. I shift at 5600 RPM when I race this car. If I drive the car without hot dogging it I get about 10mpg.
This motor was built for street and strip. I drove the car to Norwalk dragway which is 130 miles from my house and ran it that night with times of 12.67's consistently. At the NMCA event at Norwalk in September I ran a best et of 12.47@108.23mph.
By the way, at idle, which is 1000 RPM, I pull 15 inches of vacuum. So you can run power brakes, but my car is manual. You can use a 460 Ford rear main seal which is same size as Olds but is a two piece rubber lip seal (as opposed to the stock rope seal). It is much easier to install than a rope seal, especially with the crank in place, and I feel gives a more reliable seal. It's easier to install properly.
For the oil pan gasket, use a 350 Olds diesel because it has a steel shim or fiberglass core to prevent squashing. [ Thanks to Mark Prince for this information ]


Marine 455
The Olds is a good jet boat engine although you really need to fix the short block. Need to turn the crank journals down and put different rods in it. Cost sneaks up a bit but the rpms are good up to 7000 or so. Good for when that prop comes out of water!!!
A super charger puts pressure on the two bolt main crank. Yes you can get the kits to strengthen it, but lets face it - the Olds was not meant for it. It was meant to haul those 4000 lb cars around. Not push a race car with a blower. Some engine are a narural for a blower, 426 Hemi for example.
Run a blower if you wish, but you probably shouldn't overdrive it more than 10% or so. Just run the juice, use when you need it.
With the tunnel ram, run 2 390cfm Holleys, and you will get better fuel distribution than with a single Holley. You will get better throttle response for pullling those people up out of the water.
I like the Offy Port O Sonic better than the Torker, simply from a design standpoint. The Offy manifold is a little bit more up to date in airflow characteristics.
Nitrous 455
I ran a 455 with nitrous in a 1971 Cutlass. The engine was a PAW kit with 10.5:1 forged pistons, stock heads, and a relatively mild cam. The intake was a long-out-of-production Edelbrock dual-plane low-rise dual quad setup with two 500 cfm Carter AFBs. The engine had Kenne-Bell headers. This ran through B&M TH-400 with a Kenne-Bell switch-pitch torque converter setup and into a Type O 12 bolt with 3.42:1 gears.
At my one and only trip to LA County Raceway, the car (on 10" slicks and with open exhaust) ran a best of 13.5 without the nitrous and 11.95 @ 115.5 mph with the nitrous. I used the nitrous right off the line, and with the slicks and the 3.42s, the car would still bog due to insufficient rear gear. I suspect that I could have put it into the low 11s or high 10s with proper tuning and 4.11s. See the car in the Oct. 1985 Car Craft (stuck way in the back with a single page b&w feature). [ Thanks to Joe Padavano for this information ]


Cheap High Compression 455
Buy TRW forged Chevrolet 396 +.060 pistons. The bore is 4.155 perfect for your +.030 455 Olds. Piston height is like +.020 more than Olds, which will give you 0 deck or there abouts. The Olds connecting rod wrist pins will have to be reamed out (like $20). The good part is the Chevy pistons sell for $220 or so. A machine shop will mill off the big domes for $50 or so. Doing this you can get around 11.5:1 compression with unmilled heads and a stock type head gasket. Compare the $290 price tag with a set of $600 custom flat tops. [ Thanks to Dave Brode, Ken Rotten for this information. ]



Rebuilding


General
I think new bearings, oil pump, gaskets, timing gears, timing chain, and a head job are mandatory if the engine has many miles (you didn't mention how many this motor has). If the crank and rods don't have any signs of damage then leave them alone. I would replace all the lifters and any damaged or suspect pushrods, rockers, and bridges. The deeper and more vital the part is in the motor, the greater the incentive to replace it now.
Because of the high cost of Oldsmobile pistons the big question is to bore or not to bore. You will not be able to answer that until you have the engine tore down and have a good machine shop measure the bores. Of course good machine shops want you to bore if there is much wear at all. For one thing they know that an engine they bore should seal tighter and last longer than a honed one. This makes them look good. It's also my understanding that the oval shape of a worn bore causes stress on the rings causing them to break earlier. In addition the wear on the piston sides and the bore are cumulative so worn pistons in a worn hole may clatter more and break skirts.
Block
When you have the block bored, try to find a shop that has a torque plate for an Olds motor (but don't be surprised if you can't find one). A torque plate is a thick (about 2") chunk of cast iron which is intended to look like a cylinder head with holes where the cylinders are. This plate is bolted to the block and torqued prior to boring the block to mimic the distortions in the cylinder walls when the real heads are installed. This ensures that the cylinders will be as close to round as possible in the assembled motor. Again, this is not mandatory, and I'll be surprised if you can find a shop with such a plate for an Olds.
Do a good job of deburring the block, paying particular attention to eliminating stress risers. In addition (since this is what I was doing earlier this evening), enlarge and clean up the four oil drain back holes at the top corners of the valley. These pass through the deck surface and connect with the drain back holes in the lower corners of the heads. I found that the ones in my block were close to half their intended diameter due to mismatches in the drilled holes.
Block cleanliness cannot be stressed enough. Clean the block and components thoroughly before assembly.
Use a high volume oil pump and a Toro pan if you can find one. Get a heavy duty oil pump drive shaft from Chris Witt. (US$10)
Cam
Cam technology has come a long way since the 70s. Due to the poor exhaust ports on Olds motors, dual pattern cams are preferred. I suspect that Mondello has some of the best. I'd call his shop for a recommendation with your particular setup. I selected the 20-22 for my 69 442 (455 with stock converter and A/C), probably on the conservative side for me, but this will be a driver. Use a roller timing chain.
Beside boring the next toughest question will be what cam to use. Unless yours is in really good shape you will want a new one. Modern grinds are said to be much superior to the old ones but beware of cams that make big power by ruining your idle. The best cam depends on the gearing, torque convertor, intake, heads, pistons, driving style, and so many other things it's tough to figure out exactly what you need. I have always had too much cam in my Olds engines so I'm leaning toward a mild one this time. Lack of power for brakes, idling at 1500, and lurching when you put it into gear are not cool for a daily driver. Get lots of opinions for the people who have actually built Oldsmobiles and drive them. Supercars Unlimited can help you out and Mondello's probably will too.
Exhaust
I'm also a big fan of headers (unlike others on the list), but I suspect that W and Z manifolds will come close without the hassles. Use an HEI if it fits, or a stock distributor with an electronic conversion if it doesn't. I'll take a properly set-up Q-jet over a Holley any day, with a Carter as second choice.
Heads
The heads will provide the greatest performance improvement; if you can at all afford it, get the heads ported. At a minimum go with the big valves.
If I wanted to do the heads I would have a shop grind the A.I.R. bumps down, debur the runners, and polish the exhaust ports. Anything more than that requires someone who knows exactly what they are doing and a flow bench. The FAQ talks about working the oil flow area on the heads to help get the vital juice back where it belongs and I think this is a good idea even though I haven't done it (yet).
Intake
I'll always use a two plane intake for the street, either the original or a Performer. Stay away from the Torker or other single plane units (despite what Car Craft says).
Pistons
Most aftermarket pistons for big block Olds motors carry a compression rating based on a 72cc combustion chamber and a thin, OEM style head gasket. Most big block heads run combustion chambers closer to 80 cc, and as you've pointed out, the aftermarket head gaskets run thicker than stock. Taken together, these effects tend to drop the compression ratio about a point from the advertised rating.
A 10.5:1 piston will really yield about 9.5:1 as installed, if you don't mill the heads or use thin gaskets. Obviously this is a generality, and you should run the numbers with actual measurements on your specific parts if you want to hit a certain compression ratio precisely, however I've found that just assembling this combo is more than adequate for a street-driven motor (I'm doing just that right now).
If the machine shop says you're within tolerances for a hone only and you do not plan on putting on high mileage (just hard miles) then skip the pistons. If you need to bore then remember that forged pistons are not much more expensive than cast for an Olds and they are superior (stronger and better heat dissipation).
Since you're changing the pistons, I strongly recommend balancing the reciprocating components. Use forged pistons. [ Thanks to Cliff Simpson, Joe Padavano for this information. ]



Tuning / Power Boost

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Old 03-01-2009, 10:55 PM   #41
48reo
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

wow thanks for all the information guys, I got the engine out yesterday just before the rain and mounted it to a cart, now to get this car out of here before the landlord comes bye, If anyone wants it come get it or its going to the crusher within a week.
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:26 AM   #42
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

A buddy gave me a 75 Delta 98 for free, the body was shot and it was scrapped after a year. But not before I pulled the 455 smogger out, rebuilt it with Ebrock heads, Perfomer intake , 800 cfm carb, Hooker headers, MSD ignition, Crane cam, SpeedPro pistons, etc. and installed in a 80 Camaro. Yes, a Camaro. Bolted a 200-4R trans behind it with 3.42's and an Eaton posi. fficeffice" />>>
The project was GM bolt-in all the way. No space issues. Needless to say the Chevy crowd is not impressed. >>
I love this engine. It breaks the tires loose easily shifting into third. Torque rules and none do it as effortlessly as the Rocket. >>
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:04 AM   #43
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I had a 455 in my old 69 Olds delta 88 Royalle coupe. Got good mileage with mega torque. Would fry the tires any time you wanted to. I once took it on a top-end run. It easily topped the speedo at 120 with plenty of pedal left. I chickened out before I blew a tire or sumthun....great engines.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:20 AM   #44
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Call Dr. Olds in Paso Robles he is known to have a few ideas on hopping up the 455.
...STEPCHILD.... "as far as the crank not being drilled, there are aftermarket pilot bearings that allow you use a manual trans with the undrilled crank'...... I want to see one of those pilot bearings for undrilled cranks, where would you put the bearing if there is no place to put the bearing????
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:45 AM   #45
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Help me here, wasn't there a lifter bank angle change somewhere along the way? I ran across one years ago that was funky in this regard, and there was an interchange problem. I forget what it was, but you can't mix parts between the two. Anyone remeber?
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:47 AM   #46
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

My daily driver is a 66' Olds delta 88. 93k original miles. Runs like a top and has a boat load of power.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:53 AM   #47
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMattersen View Post
Anything i have ridden in thats got a 455 has been scary fast, my only experience.

This is my experience too. Holy Sideways at 60 BATMAN
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:39 PM   #48
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

so you think a manual trans. would be more trouble than its worth? I have an extra turbo 350 lying around I just figured a stick would be more fun. a friend is trying to sell me a muncie 4spd and another says he has a bell housing but then I need a flywheel and to what? drill the crank?
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:05 AM   #49
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

350 will not live (stock) long behind a torque monster Old's............if'n you drive it hard. A 400 Turbo w/ a Street/Stip shift kit will make you happy too!
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:21 AM   #50
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I like my BBO, that's all I have to say.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:26 AM   #51
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

th350 behind any olds is kind of a bad idea. my 330 (itty bitty dude) kicked the crap out of 7 (yes, SEVEN) TH350'S.

I built a 400 instead. it's still in there, but coming out to make room for the Muncie.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:32 AM   #52
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I hand drill my cranks and use the adaptor brg or I have found an oil lite brg that fits the big end of the crank. I drill the crank about a 1/2 " in and .640 wide. Simple and easy fix. Some people cut the snout of the trans, if you hand drill the crank you don't need to cut.
The Olds is a great engine, a few simple fixes on the oiling sys and you are good to go. If you use the "TRW/Speed Pro pistons be sure to use .005 piston the cyl wall clearence. Mild porrting of the heads in the valve pocket area and covert to adjustable rockers and you can fly.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:46 AM   #53
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LUX BLUE View Post
th350 behind any olds is kind of a bad idea. my 330 (itty bitty dude) kicked the crap out of 7 (yes, SEVEN) TH350'S.

I built a 400 instead. it's still in there, but coming out to make room for the Muncie.

Did you go back to the same builder 7 times? Maybe that was the problem.

The 350, when built correctly , is a strong , dependable transmission.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:46 PM   #54
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBallingerSr View Post
Help me here, wasn't there a lifter bank angle change somewhere along the way? I ran across one years ago that was funky in this regard, and there was an interchange problem. I forget what it was, but you can't mix parts between the two. Anyone remeber?
Thats on the 425 .
Where did the 455 cid engine detail come from ?
Classic Oldsmobile is a fun site.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:45 AM   #55
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

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Originally Posted by NONHOG View Post
Thats on the 425 .
Where did the 455 cid engine detail come from ?
Classic Oldsmobile is a fun site.
The 455 cid engine detail came from:

http://www.442.com/oldsfaq/oldsfaq.htm

Oldsmobile


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


V 5.X LAST UPDATED 10/10/2000
V 4.1 Released 12/11/1997
V 4.0 Released 10/16/1997
V 3.0 Released 3/3/1997
V 2.0 Released 10/29/1996
V 1.0 Released 4/12/1996
Keywords: 442, 88, 98, aurora, cutlass, delmont, delta 88, dynamic 88, hurst, h/o, hurst/olds, jetfire, jetstar, kettering, olds, oldsmobile, rocket, starfire, super 88, toro, toronado, f-85, f85, w-30, w30, w-31, w31, w-32, w32, w-33, w33, w-34, w34, w-35, w35, w-40, w40, w-41, w41, w-43, w43, ow-43, ow43, w-45, w45
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:12 AM   #56
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markyac View Post
Did you go back to the same builder 7 times? Maybe that was the problem.

The 350, when built correctly , is a strong , dependable transmission.
C'mon, Man! I'm clearly an idiot, but I am not stupid.
the first 2 were built by one fella, then 2 more by another, then a B&M, then a P.A.T.C., followed by a sacrificial lamb. (I realized after the p.a.t.c. blew that I was now hunting a 400 or another 'glide)

admittedly, there was a touch of laughing gas involved, but not so much that it should have wiped out a truck bed of transmissions. and even then only the first few got the go-gas. (I had to sell my kit to buy a transmission.)

However, I could pull the trans out of my car in around 20 minutes after all that.

the 400, on the other hand...tough cookie.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:00 AM   #57
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

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Old 03-07-2009, 10:06 AM   #58
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

I might run a th400 until I get everything together for the muncie, pulled the motor out of the donor and sent the rest to the crusher last week, shopping cart motor stands dont like big blocks with trannys attached.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:16 AM   #59
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I might run a th400 until I get everything together for the muncie, pulled the motor out of the donor and sent the rest to the crusher last week, shopping cart motor stands dont like big blocks with trannys attached.
and the ones with the plastic grate on the bottom aren't worth a damn for even a 302 ford.
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:25 AM   #60
48reo
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

[quote=wingnutz; run the 350 only if it's in a light car. [/quote]
this is what the motor is going into, Its gonna be pretty light
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:16 PM   #61
Stevie Nash
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

The 400 tranny is going to be longer than the 350, so you won't be able to just "drop it in". Just a heads up...
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:16 PM   #62
LUX BLUE
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

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Originally Posted by Ice Breaker View Post
The 400 tranny is going to be longer than the 350, so you won't be able to just "drop it in". Just a heads up...
wahtchoo talkin bout willis? there are 4 different tailshaft lengths avalible on both transmissions. and for the most part, where one lives, the other will too. driveshaft is the only difference.
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:15 PM   #63
48reo
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

if I dont put the 4 spd in it Im going to always wish I did, so might as well do it right the first time.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:43 PM   #64
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Default Re: pros and cons of an olds 455?

Everyone is telling you the good news about the 455 Olds, but there are some draw backs. The rocker arm support bridges break if you push RPMs and are the weak link with big cams. You are also money ahead to put a good HV oil pump in it from the beginning. They are awesome motors! I had 455 Olds in my high school firebird and no one could touch me! It was a blast and punching it at anything under 50MPH cause the back tires to lite up like John Force!!!!
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