Tomahawk for Street Driving? Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Tomahawk Block Buildups' started by drspencer, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. drspencer

    drspencer Well-Known Member

    Is a Tomahawk (with TA aluminum Stage I heads) a good candidate for someone who's only interested in spirited street driving (no racing)?

    If I want to use the stock 455 intake/Q-Jet and the stock exhaust manifolds/mufflers, would a Tomahawk aluminum block be a poor choice?

    Thanks
     
  2. hugger

    hugger Well-Known Member

    Can't see a reason why it wouldn't be rite at home, if your willing to leave alot of power potential on the table with the stock stuff. Be hard for me to have that much money in a short block and then stifle it stock topend. Imo you would need alot of cid to make it worthwhile. Not saying a 650 ft-lb low rpm mill wouldn't be fun and very cool
     
  3. jzuelly1

    jzuelly1 Jesse Zuelly IV

    Shouldn't be an issue. Just have on Bulletproof street engine that would be a blast. You could start of with the stock intake and all and upgrade later when you were ready. Good luck. Post pics if you pull the trigger.
     
  4. Dan Gerber

    Dan Gerber Platinum Level Contributor

    Is anyone actually doing this?

    I ask because I may be interested in installing the "stock block" version, although with an off-set ground stock crank, bore (think 470" or 482"), Stage 2 heads, etc. Yes, horribly expensive when compared to the same combinations based on an iron block. A lot of $$$ for bragging rights, "cool factor", etc (especially if you paint that beautiful block Buick red).

    I'm concerned about ordinary everyday maintenance, actual parts fit issues (engine mounts, accessories, etc.), oil or water leaks, etc.
     
  5. sailbrd

    sailbrd Well-Known Member

    This is not a buy a block and put it together yourself. There are lots of tricks in getting this thing right.

    I have worked on Bobb Makley's TA blocked street car and it is a beast and reliable (put the Fitech FI on it.) That motor has a stock crank in it, Bulldog heads, who knows what cam (sounds wicked) SP-1 and a D-1 Procharger. The real advantage of this motor is that you can crank it to 6800 rpm's and let it eat. Putting a stock manifold and a Q-jet on this motor is just not right. The stock manifold and q-jet are great up to 5000 rpm after that the single plane manifolds are far superior. Also this is the real where big carbs start to make a big difference.
     
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  6. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise GOT AIR? Staff Member

    A couple things..

    Exhaust manifolds may be an issue, remember the block is somewhat physically bigger than an iron block, Jim Rodgers might have some input there for you..

    You will have to do some grinding to fit a stock fuel pump, again, the casting is fatter on the front of the block, and the fuel pump will not clear. Requires a stock cam bore so you can run a stock 455 cam, the 55MM bearing core has no provisions for driving a fuel pump.

    I have done two street cars with TA alum blocks, both had a electic fuel pump system, and both were north of 750 HP on pump gas. Scary fast. One was a 3" main with a crower crank, one a 3.25" with a billet crank.. both were Stage 2 TE engines, roller cams, all the goodies.

    Both ran cool, had stock oiling systems with proper mods and had no issues in sustained street use. I know of at least 3 other cars that have them, in street use.

    PM Dave Johnson (buickrat), I beleive he has had one assembled and in a car, completely stock, including exhaust manifolds. I have that block here, and I am pretty sure there were a couple tell-tale grinding marks on the side, to fit the exhuast manifolds.
     
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  7. StagedCat

    StagedCat Platinum Level Contributor

    What oil mods are required on the TA block Jim?
     
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  8. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise GOT AIR? Staff Member

    That depends on who you ask, but for me, I work the oil return situation to get everything back to the bottom of the motor. Restricting oil to the top end is fine for a race car, you can get decent valve spring life, but that has no place on a street driven piece. Oil cools the valve springs.

    I clear the obstructions to return flow from the heads, and add 8 return holes to the lifter valley. My own design windage tray/crank scraper. HV oil pump with SRE pan and pickup. Dist gear oiler, due to the use of the bigger pump, 10-30 oil and careful pressure management, cold and hot. 350 oil filter housing..

    JW
     
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  9. Jim Rodgers

    Jim Rodgers Well-Known Member

    I drive mine on the street. Not a lot, but a fair amount.

    You will have to clearance the block for the stock fuel pump. TA should be able to do it for you if you buy the block from them. I sent Mike pics of where it needs to be clearanced.

    The exhaust manifolds dont fit the block either. I had to grind the freeze plug bosses to get them on. A better option would be to make some 1/4 or 1/2 inch spacers to move the manifolds away from the heads. Find someone with a waterjet, take them a set of Stage 1 header gaskets and ask them to make the spacers using the gaskets as a pattern.

    Otherwise, the block is perfectly suited to street use.
     
  10. Dan Gerber

    Dan Gerber Platinum Level Contributor

    Hey StagedCat....

    Hmmm...I wonder if we'll get a "group discount" from TA and Tri-Shield if we both buy (and have built) aluminum BBB's...
    :)
     
  11. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut Staff Member

    I would say no need to go to the aftermarket block for a street engine with manifolds and Q jet... just build a nice 9.5:1 iron headed 455 and have some fun.
     
    Nailhead Ronnie and 8ad-f85 like this.
  12. Dan Gerber

    Dan Gerber Platinum Level Contributor

    Sean,

    You're right about there being "no need", of course, but "anybody" can use an iron block. Just think of the ego boost a person will get when he or she pops open the hood to reveal that big, bad aluminum block. A person doing so will probably be the only one in his/her state who can do that.

    Now, that is going fast with class.
    ;):)
     
  13. StagedCat

    StagedCat Platinum Level Contributor

    Oh you bet Dan, but two half blind, slow moving, dim witted dinosaurs in walker's does not a group make. Seriously tho, first things first......I give you a good bitch slap, you throw away your panties and grab your sack.....forget about shorty headers, have JW put a TA block together maybe a 540 or 560ci motor, 700 to 800HP street engine, paint it Buick red and put a 350 sticker on it(nobody knows a SBB from a BBB except the Buick faithful). Now of course that trans, suspension and peg leg will need ohhh just a lil work, now grow some balls, grab Judy and go have some fun. If your beautiful convertible is not suited for these modifications, get a clean Lark. This thing we call life is too short and a one time deal, go for the gusto........I mean you can't take all your gold bullion, bit coin's and those pallets of cash with you....can you? This is just my opinion, the only thing that I meant was the bitch slap event...:)
     
    sriley531, Fox's Den and 8ad-f85 like this.
  14. Dan Gerber

    Dan Gerber Platinum Level Contributor

    Ah yes, one of the many advantages of belonging to a small, tightly knit community like this one (Buick performance fans) is that you can count on at least one of your "neighbors" coming forward and gently guiding you down the right path if they notice that you're drifting off in the wrong direction. ;):)

    By the way, there's no "peg leg" under my Skylark. That was replaced by a genuine OE-type posi assembly years ago. So there.

    See ya, Tom.
     
  15. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    You guys sound like you would fit right in with the Northeast Clan.:D:D:D:):)
     
  16. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 22 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    Plus you can have 750 lbs of torque and go 6800 rpm with out worrying about it, On the street. Come mess with me now!
     
  17. StagedCat

    StagedCat Platinum Level Contributor

    I'm always there for you Dan and fair warning, I'll be calling and see you next week......
     
  18. Michael Evans

    Michael Evans a new project

    "who knows what cam (sounds wicked) "

    I gave Bobb the cam card. It is somewhat radical.And I can tell you most of it.
     
  19. sriley531

    sriley531 More Luck than Skill....


    HAHAHAHA!!!! Tom, that's one of the best posts I've seen on V8 in a long time. Had me rolling on that one! :D:D:D
     
  20. 1972Mach1

    1972Mach1 Just some guy.....

    I do not own a Buick worthy of a Tomahawk yet (the Riviera doesn't count), but I can tell you that there is merit in a lower revving, massive cube torque monster to drive around on the street with..... Unlimited smiles when waaaaaaay too much torque and power meets street tires and you can blow the tires off at will doing a legit 45 mph in second gear without a downshift from the automatic transmission......Too much is just enough.

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