I have a stock 454 from a 1983 grain truck
and I wanna upgrade it. But I don't know
what to start with. I'm also on a budget. I
wanna do it the cheapest possible. Any
Well the first thing you might want to do is get rid of that truck cam unless you want a lower torque curve, then leave it. Change the intake and carb and put headers on it, then redo the ignition system, something like an MSD should give you more punch in the spark department. I know you want it cheap but the engine is low compression so you might think about redoing the heads and the Pistons, and if the budget allows redoing the crankshaft and bearings.
Don't know what kind of budget you have, but if that engine runs good now, get a good aftermarket low restriction exhaust, get an RV style high torque cam and kit from someone like Jegs or Summit Racing. You probably have a four barrel carburator now, which can be rebuilt if you're a really tight budget. You probably have an HEI distributor, and high performance modules and coils are available as economical upgrades. An aluminum dual plane intake would be nice if you can afford it. Do a compression check to determine if the engine needs a total rebuild. If it does, keep the compression to about 9.5 to 1 or less with today's fuel. It will cost some bucks for a total redo, as big block Chevy stuff costs more than small block stuff. But all that torque makes for a real tire burner!
And there is nothing like the sound of a big block engine pulling off from a red light or stop sign.
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