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Old 09-01-2022, 06:53 PM
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Verdoro 68 Verdoro 68 is offline
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Default 464 Ram Air II Build

Figured I'd kick off a thread for my build now that I've got most of the parts in my posession. Maybe it will help some folks in the future.

The backstory is in this thread. I pulled my engine in January looking to do a top end swap to some Ram Air II heads, RA IV repro intake and a roller cam. I found that all my bearings and crank were trashed from an incident early in the engine's life where the valve spring retainers ate the valve stem seals.

So, I decided to build my dream engine - something that looks stockish but catches the eye of a Pontiac die hard when I open the hood of my plain jane '68. The rest of the car has a bunch of other stock looking tweaks for handling and drivability to go with the theme.

I've done plenty of cam and head swaps over the years, but this will be the first time I've assembled an entire engine from ground up. I spent the last 9 months doing homework and rounding up the tools and parts required for this build.

Here's what's the bottom end looks like:
  • '68 400 block, bored to 4.17
  • Butler 4.25" balanced stroker kit
  • Eagle cast crank
  • Eagle forged rods
  • Custom Ross/Butler forged pistons (-29.32cc dish, 9.5:1 compression)
  • Total Seal Classic Race file fit rings
  • Butler ported oil pump and hardened driveshaft
  • King main bearings, Clevite rod bearings, Durabond cam bearings
  • BOP one piece rear main seal (what started this all!) and one piece oil pan gasket
  • 230/236 .510/.520 114 hydraulic roller cam
  • Composite distributor gear
  • Sims-modified Rollmaster timing set

Top end:
  • '68 RAII R96A heads I picked up from grandam1979. These were gasket matched in the past, but I'm trying to keep a light touch.
  • New valve guides
  • Ferrea one piece stainless valves
  • Hardened exhaust seats
  • Comp springs and retainers.
  • Johnson roller lifters
  • PRW 1.52 roller rockers
  • Repro 2.5" round port exhaust manifolds.
  • Port matched reproduction Ram Air IV manifold
  • '68 Quadrajet rebuilt by Ray Klemm

It's going in my '68 GTO, which I've owned since '91. The rest of the drivetrain is a rebuilt '68 TH400, 13" Continental stall, 2.5" Pypes stainless exhaust, 3.55 posi.















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'68 GTO - Ram Air II 464 - 236/242 roller - 9.5” TSP converter - Moser 3.55 Truetrac (build thread | walk around)
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Last edited by Verdoro 68; 09-01-2022 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 09-01-2022, 07:02 PM
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COOL BUILD!

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Old 09-01-2022, 07:55 PM
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A suggestion I have would be to deburr the lifter valley and pop for the added bucks for a lifter valley brace.

Yes, I know your not running a solid lifter race roller, but the tall hydro lifters still add more stress to the thin stock lifter bores , so why take a chance on loosing a nice block!

One other thing I might note is the high exh to intake ratio those RAII heads have.

The exh side of those heads on those heads flow right up there with what the intake ports flow, like 200 cfm@.550 lift, and that’s not even there peak flow either!

If you ever step up to running headers on the motor
You should change over to a single pattern cam other wise the headers will be a bit of a waste by over scavenging the motor and making jetting the motor right a good bit of a mess!

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Old 09-01-2022, 07:55 PM
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So much goodness here.

But ditch the PRW rockers for something better like Harland Sharp aluminum or Crower Enduro stainless.

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Old 09-01-2022, 08:00 PM
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So awesome but curious why you went with RAII heads (someone could use for a resto) as opposed to alluminum edelbrock? You can do what you want not giving you a hard time but curious.

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Old 09-01-2022, 08:18 PM
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I'm starting off by checking the oil clearance on the rods and mains.

The Butler-supplied Clevite/Mahle CB-743HN bearings measured surprisingly consistent giving me .0019-.0020 clearance across the board. Consensus is that's good.

The mains aren't going to be quite as easy.

The dial bore indicator was showing only about .0015 clearance which is not enough. It takes substantial effort to spin it by hand too. I reached out to Butler, their suggestion was to forgo the Clevite MS-496P bearings they sent with the kit and try a set of King .001 extra clearance bearings, so I have those on the way. If those don't work out, I suspect I'm in for a trip to the machine shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 25stevem View Post
A suggestion I have would be to deburr the lifter valley and pop for the added bucks for a lifter valley brace.

Yes, I know your not running a solid lifter race roller, but the tall hydro lifters still add more stress to the thin stock lifter bores , so why take a chance on loosing a nice block!
I deburred the block in a past rebuild so it's good to go in that regard. I considered a lifter brace, but it didn't seem necessary with this size hydraulic roller. Curious if folks think it's risky not running one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo69bird View Post
So awesome but curious why you went with RAII heads (someone could use for a resto) as opposed to alluminum edelbrock? You can do what you want not giving you a hard time but curious.
Aluminum heads are the logical thing to do, and I'm leaving a bunch of power on the table by sticking with iron. I'm also boxing myself in for future upgrades if I ever wanted to go with aluminum heads since I need a big dish in the piston to keep the KR down. However, I wanted something that looked original. Like, what if I raided the Pontiac parts counter in late '68-early '69?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b-man View Post
So much goodness here.

But ditch the PRW rockers for something better like Harland Sharp aluminum or Crower Enduro stainless.
I appreciate that - especially coming from one of the masters. I've been thinking about these rockers. Kauffmann sent me the PRWs. I questioned it at the time, but Jeff seemed to be a fan. I'm so deep $$ into this build anyway another few hundred for good rockers isn't off the table.

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Last edited by Verdoro 68; 09-01-2022 at 08:31 PM.
  #7  
Old 09-01-2022, 08:43 PM
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Good luck to you on your build. Sounds like a great build. I agree with B-man on the rockers. Cliff and someone else on the forum have had problems with PRW's.
Always glad to see another "68 getting a nice build.

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Old 09-01-2022, 08:56 PM
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Very nice combo in the making.

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Old 09-01-2022, 09:04 PM
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I`m running Road Paver without a brace. Has been past 6000 rpm`s many times.

Get the thickest one piece pushrods you can find. Smith Brothers comes to mind. Check length! I believe a lot of problems on this board could be the wrong length pushrods, especially running any roller cam.

For example, mine came out to 8.900. So, way shorter than stock.

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Old 09-01-2022, 09:16 PM
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I think a valley brace is overkill for that little cam.Tom

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Old 09-01-2022, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom s View Post
I think a valley brace is overkill for that little cam.Tom
I agree. At this level I don't believe the brace is needed.

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Old 09-01-2022, 09:51 PM
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The build I always wanted to do. Ended up with 7F6 heads.

  #13  
Old 09-01-2022, 09:58 PM
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The RAII heads are what makes this engine a dream come true.

Aftermarket aluminum heads are great, but just not the same vibe as the legendary RAII heads.

The first of the round ports.

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Old 09-02-2022, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunchT37 View Post
Get the thickest one piece pushrods you can find. Smith Brothers comes to mind. Check length! I believe a lot of problems on this board could be the wrong length pushrods, especially running any roller cam.

For example, mine came out to 8.900. So, way shorter than stock.
I have some Trend 8.7 .080 5/16 pushrods Kauffmann sent back when this was a head/cam/reseal project. Will definitely measure once I get everything in place to ensure the correct length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom s View Post
I think a valley brace is overkill for that little cam.Tom
Tom is now making me rethink my cam choice LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by b-man View Post
The RAII heads are what makes this engine a dream come true.

Aftermarket aluminum heads are great, but just not the same vibe as the legendary RAII heads.

The first of the round ports.
EXACTLY!

I likely won’t ever have the means to afford a real RAII car (Mattison’s old blue RAII is my dream car), so I’ll make my own. BTW, no plans for the carb or hood pan. My car has A/C so it will be plainly obvious these heads don’t belong on the car…which I kind of love.

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Old 09-02-2022, 06:44 AM
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I remember someone doing the homework on what the hood scoops and ram air setup flows, and it's marginal at best, even for standard engine offerings. There's no shame in not running it. A 14" element with the 3" filter will out flow the ram air setup every time.

Commented on the other thread about the crank bearing clearances, will add, check main journals on crank for out of round-ness. I suspect they are good, but is worth the comment. Also make sure the parts are 75 degrees for a day before you check.

I have heard mixed reviews on the PRW rockers, but believe the issues were early on in production, and were resolved. I personally would not use them, and spring for crowers, but that is just my SOP. On your build and power level, these days I wouldn't think twice about running them. Do a scrutinizing visual inspection, before & after install, and if all is good, let it rip.

Nice build. It's a popular, proven combo with repeatable results. It's pretty hard to go wrong with it. I personally would do the Road Paver, but nothing wrong with the OF. Very forgiving and easy to tune, with plenty of vacuum to support whatever.

Pushrod length check is SOP for every build, and not much effort to do. Check guide hole opening with it mocked up, and touch up as needed.

Check intake bolt holes too, mark the center of ports is optional, but recommended. I usually use a triangular file, notch the mating flange, and do a punch mark close to the valve cover gasket rail. If you need to adjust, the intake bolt holes need to be large enough, as well as the ridge on the timing cover gasket area.



.

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Old 09-02-2022, 07:18 AM
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I tip in regards to the port match to get your heads set up to your RA4 Intake is this.

The roof of the heads need to level and match the Intake Manifold height for 1/8" passed the end of the push rod bulge .

From there on back into the Intake runner the roof needs to taper back down at the same rate that the floor rises pretty much.

You should use inside snap gauges for this or make a still cardboard template once you do one so that all the others are the same.

While you have the grinder in hand you should cut back the push rod bulge so the width top to bottom is .960".

PS.
A buddy of mine had to ditch those PRW rockers also.
He was lucky that they started to make noise while loading the car in the race trailer and on the first time shot at the track!

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Old 09-02-2022, 07:42 AM
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REALLY cool build and beautiful car!!

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Old 09-02-2022, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 25stevem View Post
PS.
A buddy of mine had to ditch those PRW rockers also.
He was lucky that they started to make noise while loading the car in the race trailer and on the first time shot at the track!
Out of curiousity, how long ago was that?


.

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Old 09-02-2022, 08:38 AM
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As long as your going for a good set of quality pushrods get them with a thicker wall section. See posts 3&4 here:

https://forums.maxperformanceinc.com...hlight=pushrod


.

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Old 09-02-2022, 08:52 AM
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I was one that did homework on the ram air setup. Dad bought his 69 Goat new and been racing it since the 80's. The car has always run it's best times with those scoops functional and the factory air cleaner setup in place. Had numerous 455's in the car during that period.

More recently in fact I've modified the setup with a Glasstek hood and molded in an air box using a L88 style drop base to seal the hood to only fresh outside air, still uses the GTO scoops. Basically it now mimics how the 68 style was setup. The car now has a 571ci. engine.
Now with a Sniper installed I can datalog. IAT's are the most telling. Pumping gas and sitting still getting heat soaked the IAT's are already 130 degrees after 5 minutes. Pulling out of the station and within a mile of cruising 30-40 mph the IAT's drop to within a couple degrees of outside ambient temps. You can actually watch the IAT's go up at a stop light, and come back down when the car starts moving.
At the track where the car traps 128 mph, during the datalog the IAT's are dropping throughout the pass and actually getting about 20 degrees below ambient temps at those speeds.

The setup works very well.

Either way I like the build. I like the 96 heads on the 68 GTO idea, and how I would have built it. Iron intake would be more correct for 68 but I much rather prefer the aluminum version with the separate heat crossover. I've been running it for a few years now on mine and was a big improvement over heat soak while still keeping the divorce choke functional.
Not a fan of the rockers as mentioned. I only use Harland Sharp or Crower steel rockers on my builds anymore. Otherwise a nice combo of parts that's going to be a blast to drive.

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