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1997 K3500 454 Work Horse

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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I might be loosing my mind but I found a k3500 crew cab long bed SRW 4x4 one owner Texas truck with 153k on the chassis and 3k on a rebuilt 454, rebuilt 4l80, new aluminum radiator, all new hoses, new ac system, new heater core, new alternator, new power steering and lines, new injectors, and all new sensors. Also has 5 new 265/75 matching tires. Paid alot less than some others listed in worse shape, it could use a dash, paint (sun baked), carpet, and a head liner but for sure rust free.

Anyways, open to suggestions on how to prep ot for full service. I wont lie, i have 330k mile 6.5's with more pep than this thing as is but everyone says the 454 is a beast, please teach me.

Pics to come
 

Will L.

Well-Known Member
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I have owned 3 454s. Good strong engine. Treat balancer like the 6.5 balancer. Same for timing chain. An absolute dream doing waterpump compared to 6.5.

Provided the rebuild was good, no worries.
Find out the details on the rebuild as far as compression,camshaft specs.
what heads -valve sizes, and which exhaust ports.

What is the exhaust- Manifolds?
What is feeding the fuel?

The 454 is able to put out some nice power. But it will go from not good mpg to very bad.

Headers with good exhaust, a cam with better fueling, and it wakes it right up. Just pour the fuel straight down the hole. Haha
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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Seiling, Oklahoma
It was an oem rebuild, I got the list but it says stock cam, stock pistons, etc. New factory manifolds and bolts. The water pump is also new. Its all nice and clean other than a leaking front diff. It has a new fuel pump, stock replacement I assume. It was a 70yr old man that used the truck to haul trash off job sites and haul lumber to his new house projects, not a daily driver by any means, he said since 08 he only put 12k on it. The only reason for more mile last year was he was trying to break in the rebuild but only made 3k miles.
 

Will L.

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I am not familiar with fixing the fueling on that new of a truck and what you need for compliance by DA MAN. Here is a video of the older 454’s that is kinda on the pricey but nice kits. Less power/ less money and all.
https://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-n...wer-to-a-chevy-454-v-8-ar177786/pictures.html

There are reprogramming units you can buy and just turn it up to then turn it back later. They are like a small scan tool. Usually you can get 10%-15% bumps from the small blocks, not sure about the big blocks.

A Quick search showed this. Idk if this is good one or not.
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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I don't have any emissions tests but I'm dang sure not paying more for a top end hit than I paid for the truck! I want a workhorse, it doesn't have to keep up with my lml. I was honestly looking for another tbi 350 or a 6.5 when I ran across this truck. The 454 can supposedly take abuse, I'll see what it has to offer.
 

Will L.

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Haha- yeah I wasn’t meaning I think that is what you should do. Just grabbed quickest thing off youtube from “more
Power 454” search to show what it could do.

I think getting a decent reprogrammer unit that can be altered by you easily. then simple camshaft, fuel increase and headers would really help. Doesn’t need to be monsterous.

But none of it is mpg friendly that I am aware of.
 

THEFERMANATOR

FRANKENBURBAN
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Look into the 0411 pcm swap. Most say it is the single best upgrade you can do. It has double the processor power and adjusts fueling much more precisely than the old black box can even dream of. Unfortunately with a 454 you'll have to run a custom tune as no stock base file exists, but it's said to be worth it. I wouldn't waste time or money trying to tune a 97 black box pcm, only a few tuners work on them, and its just not worth it. As to mods, I don't know much about the 454. If its anything like the small blocks, the stock camshaft is a serious limiter for power.
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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Location
Seiling, Oklahoma
There are some youtube videos of jy 454's making around 350-400 hp with an 850 carb. If a 0411, headers and exhaust can get 250 rwhp I'd be happy. Thats highly modded 6.5 territory with fewer engine concerns.
 

Will L.

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yeah, the difference is easier hp up higher rpm and less maintenance. The higher rpm can really come into play with a small non waste gated turbo.
the diesel advantage is way more torque at low rpm, and better mpg but at the expense of more maintenance.

If you do things on a gasser like sealed rings, secondary fine bypass filter, you'll find oil samples can go for ever without being changed. People think I am dumb or joking when I say 25-30k miles on synthetic oil- but the lab doesn't lie. If you use a highest quality oils, it gets scary and you change it just because it doesn't feel right.
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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Seiling, Oklahoma
I have amsoil dual by pass on the 95 z71 6.5 and with just filter changes and topping off oil I was at 50k with good reports from blackstone.

I figure I will atleast run a filter relocation and the bigger 2wd wix xp and synthetic.

I never really had a lack of power on a 6.5 with a team. I still have those trucks and have started putting money back into them to get then road worthy but a 4x4 gas rig will be nice when diesel cost 1.30 more than gas.
 

THEFERMANATOR

FRANKENBURBAN
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One other thing I would reccomend you do before it gives you trouble is replace the plastic distributor if it still has one. The stock distributor is a hard nylon, and it becomes very brittle over time. It is famous for cracking when changing caps, or just breaks from heat. Dorman makes a repair kit, but replacement aluminum distributors are cheap now for them.
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
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Location
Seiling, Oklahoma
Ok so after a 100 mile trip home in the truck here are a few things I noticed.

Cel came on after 20 miles. The guy drove it 3hrs to meet me.

The idle doesn't stay steady and kind of floats between 1000-1200. Might be a vacuum leak and cel related?

Has the common 454 hard start when warm. I'm guess it got cheap injectors?

The torque converter only locks on down hill stretches, revs up to 26-2800 varying from flat to up hill and will even down shift. I had the cruise set at 70.

Needs front end work, likely just the idler and pitman but I'll check it all out when I get it in the air.

Brakes aren't impressive at all. You dont get any stop until half way down then it gets pretty stiff, guessing I'll look it all over but the booster might be weak?

Let the project begin!
 

BIGR

Lucky To Be Here
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Oh yes the 454, my brother in law has a 2500 with a 454 in it, if I recall it has the throttle body fuel injection and has less than 100,000 miles on it. Can't remember what year it is, but after he bought it he had some issues with the engine, maybe the idling or it was possibly missing.

I have drove it a few times, feels pretty strong but its no Duramax for sure. He pulls his small tractor with it, but I have never heard him say how well it pulls, we have some pretty good grades around here.
 

tanman_2006

Just a farm kid...
Messages
5,635
Likes
722
Location
Seiling, Oklahoma
Oh yes the 454, my brother in law has a 2500 with a 454 in it, if I recall it has the throttle body fuel injection and has less than 100,000 miles on it. Can't remember what year it is, but after he bought it he had some issues with the engine, maybe the idling or it was possibly missing.

I have drove it a few times, feels pretty strong but its no Duramax for sure. He pulls his small tractor with it, but I have never heard him say how well it pulls, we have some pretty good grades around here.
I'm hoping that since there is only 3500 on its reman that it doesn't have engine issues but just needs a little tlc and the cob webs blown out.

I've driven the same road with many 6.5's pulling a loaded trailer and they didn't have that much trouble holding 70mph.
 
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