Compared to the stock peanut-port castings, the RHS 320cc BBC heads were a serious step up the performance ladder. To take full advantage of the airflow offered by the RHS aluminum heads, we swapped out the mild, torque oriented XE256H cam and replaced it with a more performance oriented XE284H grind. The XE284H hydraulic flat-tappet offered 0.574/0.578 lift split, a 240/246 duration split (at 0.050) and the same 110-degree lobe separation angle.
The new heads, cam and intake were run with the same carb, headers and distributor. The only other change was to install a set of 1.7 ratio roller rockers in place of the stock (stamped steel) rockers employed on the stock iron heads. Naturally the pushrods were upgraded as well, from the stock 5/16-inch pushrods used with the stock heads (and guide plates) to 3/8-inch Pro magnum pushrods from Comp cams. After some minor tuning to the carb and a quick timing sweep to determine the best combination, we were rewarded with peak numbers of 527 hp at 5,800 rpm and 533 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. Torque production was up significantly with the new combination, as the 454 exceeded 500 lb-ft from 3,200-5,500 rpm.
As expected, there was a slight loss in power below 3,200 rpm, but the extra 125 hp and 27 lb-ft more than made up for the losses below 3,200 rpm. Despite the wilder cam timing, the 454 still managed to produced 420 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm, enough to bark even the biggest baloneys. With over 500 lb-ft from 3,200 rpm to 5,500 rpm, this 454 offers one meaty power band.
No matter how you slice it, adding a set of RHS heads and Comp Xtreme Energy cam to your big block certainly qualifies as "action-packed."
Graphs: Demon 454 Head/Cam Test-Stock/Comp Cam vs RHS/Comp Cam Any time you add over 100 hp to your motor, you know you've made the right move. Replacing the stock peanut-port iron Chevy heads and mild Comp XE256H cam with a set of aluminum RHS (320cc) heads and XE284H cam resulted in a jump in peak power from 400 hp and 508 lb-ft of torque to 527 hp and 533 lb-ft of torque. Adding the RHS 320 aluminum heads and larger Xtreme Energy cam improved the power output by 127 hp and 25 lb-ft of torque. Had we continued to rev the motor equipped with the stock heads to 6,000 rpm, the difference would have easily exceeded 150 hp. Note that the gains in peak power were not without a minor trade off in low-speed power, as the stock-headed motor offered more torque up to 3,300 rpm.