499 MOPAR BUILD, PART 2

 

SHORT BLOCK ASSEMBLY

 

 

 PT201

Here’s a peek at the finished product. This article covers short block assembly. The next article installment will conclude the build, followed by the dyno run.

 

 

Build, text & photos by Mike Mavrigian

 

 

 

 

PT202

I couldn’t resist including a shot of this sign. I located the Plymouth/Dodge block core in, of all places, Plymouth, Ohio. Very cool.

 

PT202A

The block exterior was painstakingly deburred and smoothed-out using a combination of die grinder tips, a mini belt sander and Roloc Scotchbrite pads, then primed with a high-build epoxy primer and painted with a basecoat/clearcoat urethane.

My block plug kit is Milodon’s MIL-34041. This includes brass expansion plugs for the block sides, rear camshaft bore plug and 3/8” NPT plugs for the rear and front of the block. I prefer brass expansion plugs as opposed to steel for their longevity (won’t rot out like steel plugs in the long term). Also, the block side water jacket plugs are the “deep” style as recommended by Scott Koffel. The standard depth freeze plugs commonly available measure approximately 0.315” deep overall with a contact wall depth of about 0.230”, while the “deep” style measures about 0.478” in overall depth, with contact wall depth of about 0.400”.  I obtained a block plug kit from Summit Racing, Milodon’s P/N MIL-34041 that features the deep style block side freeze plugs.

The six brass side expansion plugs (1-5/8” dia.) were installed by first smearing a coating of Permatex Ultra Black RTV on the block’s plug hole walls, and driven into the block with an aluminum plug driver until flush with the block exterior.

 

Since we’re planning to run an electric fuel pump to feed our Holley Terminator EFI system, I installed a mechanical fuel pump block off plate, using Summit Racing’s SUM-G243 polished and ball-milled aluminum plate. This is the same plate that fits bigblock Chevy applications. For installation on a bigblock Chrysler block, the rear corner of the plate needs to be slightly shaved for clearance. Using a 3/8” mini belt sander, I removed about 1/16” from the rear ear, on the outside of the rear bolt hole. I then hand-buffed with Scotchbrite, then buffed the area with my bench buffer, back to a mirror shine.  I installed the plate using a Mahle-Victor gasket along with a thin coating of Permatex Ultra Copper RTV.

 

PT243

The fuel pump block off plate (part numbered for bigblock Chevy) required a bit of material removal at the rear ear in order to clear the Mopar block properly.

 

 

All main cap threaded holes were cleaned with a ½”x13 chasing tap, and all head bolt threaded holes were cleaned with a 7/16”x14 chasing tap. Use of a chasing tap will clean threads without removing metal as would a cutting tap. Both chasing type taps were sourced from Goodson Shop Supplies.

 

Note: Because of possible clearance issues between the No. 5 main cap studs and the windage tray, it’s important that the exposed stud tips are flush with or shorter than the block’s oil pan rail. Our No. 5 cap studs required shortening to the tune of 0.175”. This is a common issue with Mopar blocks. I first threaded a ½”x20 Grade 8 nut onto the lower threads, ground the needed material, lightly chamfered the tips with a mini-belt sander, then walked the nut off to verify that thread engagement was smooth with no burrs or interruptions.

 

 

INTERIOR BLOCK COATING

Primarily to prevent surface rust before and during assembly, I applied a brushed-on coating of Rustoleum “Rusty Metal Primer” V7569 red primer to the lifter valley, inside the crankcase walls and to the front timing recess area. This was applied after a very meticulous hot soap & water scrubbing, rinsing and blow-dry. Aside from somewhat aiding in faster oil drainback, this primer also serves to seal the cast iron surfaces to prevent any possibility of iron particles migrating out of the cast surfaces. Granted, this possibility is slim, since the block is well seasoned and has been thoroughly washed multiple times, but it doesn’t hurt. At the very least, it gives you a warm & fuzzy feeling knowing that you did what you could to seal the surfaces. Koffel routinely applies this primer to their blocks, so if it’s good enough for them, who am I to argue?

 

 

 

CAMSHAFT

Our cam is an oldies but a goodie. The Mopar Performance flat tappet hydraulic cam features an advertised intake and exhaust lift of 0.509” (with 1.5:1 rocker arm ratio), duration at 0.050” of 248/248 degrees, overlap of 64 degrees and a lobe separation angle (LSA) of 114 degrees. I sourced the cam and lifter kit from Summit Racing.

During camshaft degree checking and measuring lift, I used a Foster Tools lifter gauge (this engages into the lifter bore in place of a lifter, and features a spring-loaded radiused plastic bumper that contacts the cam lobe, and a dial indicator. This tool provides an easy and accurate way to measure cam lobe lift. Upon measuring, I measured 0.3394” at the lobe. With the 1.5:1 rocker arms that we’re using, that results in valve lift of 0.509” (.3394 x 1.5 = 509.1).

After thoroughly cleaning the new Mopar Performance camshaft of its original preservative coating, all journals and the distributor drive gear were coated with a generous amount of Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube. All lobes and lifter faces were carefully coated with high-pressure moly lube. I coated the cam journals and the lifter sides with Royal Purple MaxTuff assembly lube. During the previous cam bearing installation, the cam fit was checked, bearing-by-bearing. During final installation, the bumpstick was carefully installed to avoid nicking any of the bearings (harsh scratches on new cam bearings can easily lead to a drop in oil pressure).

 

PT203

Per Scott Koffel’s recommendation, we opted for the popular standby Mopar Performance “purple” hydraulic flat tappet cam, obtained through Summit Racing.

 

 

PT204

Lobes were coated with high pressure cam lube, while cam journals were coated with Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube. A Summit Racing cam installation handle provides leverage control to ease the cam into its tunnel.

 

 

 

 

CAM SPECS

Mopar Performance cam P5007698

Flat tappet hydraulic

Lift…………………..0.509” intake / 0.509” exhaust

Duration @ 0.050”….248 deg int / 248 deg exh

LSA………………… 114 degrees

Overlap………….….    64 degrees

 

 

 

CRANKSHAFT

Initial test fitting for main bearing clearance was performed with all upper and lower main bearings installed, ARP ½” main studs hand-snugged to the block and caps installed to 100 ft-lbs. A bore gauge measured installed main bearing ID at 2.6275”. Crankshaft main journal diameters were measured with a Goodson micrometer at 2.625”, providing us with a main bearing clearance of 0.0025”. Note: the 400 “low deck” engine originally featured a 2.625” crankshaft main journal diameter as opposed to the 400 engine which featured a crank main journal diameter of 2.750”.

After removing the main caps and all bearings, the upper main bearing saddles and main cap saddles were again closely inspected for cleanliness, as were the bearings. Always install main bearings dry, with no lubricant between the bearings and their saddles. Note: the thrust bearing is located at the No. 3 main location.

PT205

Mahle Clevite main bearings. All except the thrust bearings were narrowed by 0.050″ as insurance to clear crank fillets. Scott tells me this is very common when dealing with aftermarket cranks for Mopar builds. He has this done as a matter of routine for all of his builds, so we followed suit.

 

PT207

As with any build, pay attention to main bearing shells for position. The Mahle set for the Mopar build features dedicated upper and lower bearings.

 

PT208

Our Scat forged steel crank features a stroke of 4.150″. Scat did a superb job of machining this crank. Every journal measured precisely to spec.

 

 

PT206

The 2-piece rear main seal’s lip must face inboard (forward). Installing backwards will guarantee a leak.

 

 

PT209

Our ARP main studs were installed “finger” tight. The studs feature female hex tips for convenient installation using a hex wrench. Overtightening studs can result in a splayed orientation that will interfere with the main caps and lead to improper main bearing crush.

 

PT213

With all main cap fasteners fully torqued, crankshaft thrust clearance was final checked at 0.005″.

 

 

The radiused upper and lower rear main seals were installed to the block and Mancini Racing aluminum rear seal cap. The upper and lower seals are installed with the angled lip facing forward. While not needed in terms of added sealing, a very light smear of RTV may be added to the backside of the lower seal before inserting it into the aluminum seal cap. This will hold the seal in placed while installing the cap, since with the block upside down on a stand, the seal cap will be installed with the seal cavity facing downward. Without the lower seal lightly adhered to the cap, the seal can fall out while installing the cap.

With upper and lower bearings in place, the faces of all bearings were coated with Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube.

The Scat crankshaft was thoroughly cleaned to remove all of the factory rust preventative coating, and washed with a hot soapy water solution, with all oil passages scrubbed clean with rifle brushes. This was followed by hot water rinsing and blow-drying (especially the oil passages). The crank was carefully laid into place onto the upper bearings and the upper rear seal.

The ½” ARP main studs were then hand-snugged into place (a light coating of ARP moly on the upper course threads). I prefer installing the studs after crank installation to avoid potential contact with the crank during crank positioning.

As each main cap was initially installed, I tapped each cap with a clean plastic mallet in order to obtain full seating of the cap registers. Stud nuts were initially tightened to 50 ft-lbs, followed by a single sweep up to 110 ft-lbs (w/ARP Ultra Moly on the threads).

 

During test fitting (with all main caps tightened to spec), crankshaft thrust clearance was measured at 0.005”, nicely within the Chrysler spec of 0.003 – 0.007”.

 

Once the main caps were fully tightened, the Mancini rear seal housing was installed. This housing features the lower radiused seal, and two straight square-profile “O-ring” seal strips on each side of the housing. Insert each O-ring strip into its cavity, and then lightly stretch and push the seal into its groove. I allowed the side O-ring strips to settle overnight (in case they wanted to relax a bit), trimming the excess ends flush with the housing with a razor blade. Prior to installation of the rear seal assembly, I applied a light smear of RTV to the O-ring strips. A small dab of RTV was placed on the exposed ends of the radius seals prior to housing installation. A small dab of RTV was also placed in the upper corners of the block where the seal housing will meet. A pair of supplied 3/8” centering pins are provided. The pins are threaded into the block, providing a guide for the seal housing. The housing is slipped over the guide pins and the housing is fully tapped into place. One by one, the guide pins are removed and the supplied socket head cap screws are installed and tightened to 30 ft-lbs. Once both bolts are fully tightened, I filled the socket head screw head cavities with RTV, flush with the lower surface of the cap. This is a trick that Scott Koffel imparted, to minimize the chance of oil leakage through the bolt passages.

 

PT210

Instead of using an old cast OE rear main seal cap, I chose a billet aluminum unit from Mancini Racing. The billet cap is machined for neoprene main seals, and provides side sealing via square-profile O-ring strips. Socket head cap screws are provided, along with guide pins that temporarily thread into the block to properly register the cap.

 

 

PT211

The sides of the Mancini rear seal cap feature twin grooves to accept the O-ring strips. Insert the strips, firmly seating them into the grooves, then carefully trim the excess ends with a razor.

 

PT212

Once the rear seal cap is installed (SHCS torqued to 30 ft-lb), I filled the bolt hole recesses with RTV. A dab of RTV wa salso applied to each upper corner where the cap meets the block.

 

 

 

 

TIMING SET

The fit of the Cloyes cam gear to the cam snout was a bit on the tight side, due to the factory installation of the cam dowel pin. This made installing the gear to the cam (with chain in place) a bit tricky, but the result was a very nice fit of the Cloyes double-roller chain with no excess chain slop. I installed the cam gear to the cam with a single 7/16 x 14 bolt, with a shank length of 1”. Along with the OE cam bolt washer, this length of bolt provided a little more than 7/16” thread engagement. I applied Loctite medium strength thread locker to the bolt threads and tightened the bolt to 35 ft-lb. Note that the OE cam bolt washer features a slight convex surface on one side. This convex side must face outward, contacting the underside of the cam bolt head. Timing-wise, I initially set the multi-range Cloyes crank gear at zero in line with the crank snout key. I aligned the outer zero timing mark on the crank gear to the timing dot on the cam gear (this places the cam gear dot at 6 o’clock and the crank gear’s outer zero mark at 12 o’clock, with the crank key at approximately the 2 o’clock position. The Cloyes timing set allows multiple advance/retard increments of 2 degrees each.

PT227

The Cloyes double roller timing set fit and aligned exactly as it should, with no muss or fuss. Drop-on perfect. The multi-keyed crank gear allows a good range of cam timing options.

 

 

 

 

PISTON RING FITTING

Never assume that piston rings will provide the necessary end gap. Always test fit all rings to determine gaps, especially for the top and second rings. Especially when an oversized piston has been selected, the rings may be slightly tight in order for the builder to file-fit the rings in order to obtain the required end gaps.

Test-fitting our top and second rings showed an existing zero gap, requiring custom end gap filing.

In our case, JE recommends a minimum top ring end gap of 0.0045” per bore diameter and a second ring end gap minimum of 0.0050” per inch of bore diameter. With our 4.3755” bores, this calculates to a gap of 0.01968” for the top rings, which I “rounded” to a gap of 0.020”. Our second ring gap calculated to 0.02187”, which I rounded to a gap of 0.022”.

Note: Instead of assuming that all rings gaps (cylinder to cylinder) would be identical, I file-fit and assigned each top and second ring to each cylinder bore (measuring and fitting to each individual bore).

PT216

Summit’s adjustable piston ring squaring tool makes ring gap checking easy. Simply adjust the tool for the bore diameter, insert the ring into the bore, insert the tool and press the tool flush with the deck. The ring is positioned squarely in the bore, allowing proper measurement of end gap.

 

 

PT217

I file-fit our top rings to achieve a gap of 0.020″, with second rings fitted at 0.022″.

 

 

 

 

In order to test fit, carefully insert a ring by hand into the cylinder bore, then push it down approximately ¾” to 1” below deck. The ring MUST be square in the bore, with the entire circumference exactly the same distance from the block deck. To make this quick and easy, I use a ring squaring tool from Summit Racing. This tool is adjustable for bore diameter. The tool rests on the block deck and features a lower shoulder that projects down into the bore. Push the tool downwards, contacting the ring. When the upper surface of the tool is flush with the deck, the ring is now positioned squarely in the bore. Remove the tool and use a feeler gage to measure existing end gap. If the gap is too tight, remove the ring and file the ends using a dedicated ring filer, removing equal amounts from each side of the gap. I use a bench-mounted ring filer from Summit that features a diamond wheel and a hand crank. Always rotate the grinding wheel away from the inside diameter of the ring. Perform this task carefully, as it’s easy to accidentally remove too much material. Grind for a few strokes, remove the ring and carefully deburr the edges using a very fine flat file. Re-fit the ring into the cylinder bore, measure the gap and re-file the gap ends as needed. Keep the rings organized both to keep track of rings already filed, and keep them organized per cylinder location. Once you’re finished obtaining the needed gaps, all rings should be cleaned and neatly organized on a per-cylinder basis. This allows you to dedicate each top and second ring for a precise fit to each specific cylinder.

Side (lateral)  clearance of top and second rings was checked (clearance between the top surface of a ring to the roof of the ring groove). The JE spec calls for 0.0015 to 0.003”. My measurements found 0.002” on each. A too-tight clearance (less than 0.001” can result in sticking of the rings inside the grooves. High quality pistons such as those made by JE are machined to very exacting standards, but this clearance should always be checked.

 

 

 

RODS & PISTONS

Before beginning piston-to-rod assembly, first separate the caps from all rods. This will be easier to do prior to installing the pistons to the rods. Place the rod in a dedicated rod vise (the jaws are lined with a sifter material to prevent marring the rods). Loosen both rod bolts, walking them out about half an inch or so. Then remove the rod from the rod vise and separate the cap. You can do this manually by hanging the rod by its big end, and tapping the heads of the rod bolts with a brass or plastic hammer. Be careful not to drop the rod in the process (do this over a bench, with a rag in place in case the rod drops). The best way is to use a dedicated connecting rod cap separator tool. This type of tool features an split 2-piece aluminum mandrel that spreads as the tool is tightened, drawing the cap free from the rod. Keep the cap with its rod. Aftermarket performance rods are maser etched on the sides with the same serial number appearing on the rod and cap. NEVER mix rods and caps! If your rods and caps are not marked for assembly, place a marker dot on one side of the rod and the same side of the cap, also noting the rod’s intended cylinder number. If you mix up rods and caps and are unsure about which cap was originally with which rod, you’re screwed. At that point, you may need to bring all of the rods and caps to a qualified engine machinist to have them matched up, or in the worst case scenario, rods and caps may need to be assembled, followed by resizing each rod assembly. Avoid problems by always keeping each rod and cap together as a unit.

 

PT214

In order to remove rod caps (as well as torquing rod bolts for bearing clearance measurements), I clamped each rod into my dedicated rod vise which features durable nylon jaw liners to prevent marring the rods.

 

 

PT218

Our JE pistons feature a compression distance (center of pin bore to piston deck) of 1.113″. This placed the pin bore into the oil ring groove, requiring the use of (supplied) support rails. This is standard practice for any piston where the oil ring groove intersects the pin bore.

 

 

PT218A

Once the oil ring support rail is installed at the bottom of the oil ring groove, the oil ring assembly is installed. The support rails feature a raised protrusion (male dimple) which must be oriented at the center of the pin bore. This raised dot prevents the support rail from rotating out of position during engine operation.

 

 

PT219

Our Scat forged steel H-beam rods feature a center-to-center length of 6.760″ and accommodate full-floating wrist pins.

 

 

PT215

Once all rods, rod bearings, pistons and ring packages were carefully fitted on a per-cylinder basis, the sets were carefully organized per cylinder order.

 

 

Our Scat connecting rods and JE pistons are designed to accommodate full-floating wrist pins (instead of an interference fit, they freely rotate in both the rod and piston pin bores).

After verifying that all pin bores and pins are clean and dry (removing any manufacturer-applied surface protectant),

In order to keep the pins in position (to prevent a pin from sliding out and contacting a cylinder wall), locks are required on each side of the pin.

Our JE pistons feature a machined lock groove at the end of each side of the piston’s pin bore, designed to accommodate a pair of spiral locks (included) at each end of the pin bore (four spiral locks per piston).

Install a pair of spiral locks into one side of the piston pin bore. Then lube a piston pin (I use Royal Purple Max Tuff synthetic assembly lube), insert the pin into the opposite side of the pin bore, through the connecting rod pin bore and bottoming out the pin at the side where the locks are already installed. When installing spiral locks, first gently spread the lock apart with your fingernails. Insert a tip of the lock into the groove in the piston pin bore, and while keeping the lock gently spread apart, use a small flat blade screwdriver to “walk” the spiral lock into its groove until the outer end snaps into place. If you’ve never dealt with spiral locks before, this can be somewhat frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll breeze through (it usually takes doing about three or four before you get comfortable with the process). Verify that each lock is fully engaged into its bore groove!

By the way, the pins are designed for fill float in both the piston and rod. Our JE pins measured 0.990” OD. The piston pin bores measured 0.9909” and the rod small end bores measured 0.9908”. This provides a clearance of 0.0009” at the piston and 0.0008” at the rod bores. For a street performance build, I generally like 0.0008 to 0.0009” at the rods and 0.0009 to 0.0012 (max) at the pistons.

Pay attention to the orientation of each piston to its rod. The layout of the Mopar heads (from front to rear, per chamber) feature the order of exhaust valve and intake valve, intake and exhaust valves, exhaust and intake valves, and intake and exhaust valves.

Make sure that the pistons are assembled with this valve orientation in mind. Also pay attention to the rod big end orientation. The chamfered side of each rod big end always faces its adjacent crank journal fillet. On the left side (cyls 1, 3, 5 and 7), the rod big end chamfers all face forward. On the right side of the block (cyls 2, 4, 6 and 8), the rod big end chamfers all face rearward.

 

CYLINDER         PISTON VALVE POCKETS           ROD CHAMFER

NUMBER             (relative to block front)                     ORIENTATION

 

1………………….Exhaust / Intake ……………………faces forward

3………………….Intake / Exhaust ……………………faces forward

5………………… Exhaust / Intake ……………………faces forward

7………………… Intake / Exhaust ……………………faces forward

 

2…………………Exhaust / Intake …………………….faces rearward

4…………………Intake / Exhaust ……………………..faces rearward

6…………………Exhaust / Intake ……………………..faces rearward

8…………………Intake / Exhaust ……………………..faces rearward

 

(NOTE: The left side (driver side) of the block, from front to rear, features cylinders 1, 3, 5 and 7. The right side (passenger side) of the block features, from front to rear, cylinders 2, 4, 6 and 8).

 

 

PT220

I dislike using often-clumsy adjustable “barrel type” piston ring compressors. My preference is to use a machined billet one-piece compressor that’s dedicated to a specific bore diameter. This ARP  compressor, designed for use with a 4.375″ bore, features a tapered inside wall. With the compressor held flush onto the block deck, the piston/rod assembly is easily (and smoothly) pushed into position with a closed fist.

 

 

PT221

I coated our Mahle-Clevite rod bearings with a liberal dose of Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube, which not only provides a super-slick surface, but offers excellent “cling” that remains on the surfaces even during long storage periods.

 

 

 

COMPRESSION RATIO

While my initial choices for cylinder heads involved the Mopar Performance 5153524 heads that feature 84cc chambers and the Edelbrock Performer RPM heads 60189 heads with 88cc combustion chambers, Edelbrock actually shipped their 60929 heads with 84cc chambers. With our initially planned setup with 88cc chambers and our Victor head gaskets would have resulted in a 10.38:1 compression ratio, with 84cc chambers our compression ratio would creep up to the 11.7:1 range (I had planned on showing both compression ratio setups, lower for street use and higher for race fuel). In order to bring our compression down to a livable street application, I obtained a pair of special-order MLS heads gaskets from Cometic that feature gasket bores at 4.500” and compressed thickness of 0.040” (which will work with either head). Combined with our 4.3755” cylinder bores, 4.150” stroke, flat-top pistons with 5cc valve pockets and with our pistons 0.025” below block deck, this setup with our new gaskets will provide 10.6:1 compression ratio, which is just within our safe limit for street hi-test pump gas.

 

 

Prior to installing the pistons and rods, the cylinder walls were carefully cleaned with a clean lint-free cloth and a fast-evaporating solvent (brake clean), wiped repeatedly with fresh white cloths until no traces of particles were evident on the cloth.

Connecting rod bearing saddles (rod and rod cap) were also carefully cleaned and dried. The Clevite rod bearings were installed (note that upper and lower rod bearing shells differ. The uppers are installed to the rod and the lowers to the rod caps). The bearings are marked on the backside for UPPER and LOWER.

Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube was applied to the exposed bearing surfaces.

The ARP 7/16” 8740 rod bolts were thoroughly cleaned and treated to ARP Ultra Torque moly on both threads and the underside of the bolt heads.

The second and top rings were oriented so as not to allow end gap lineup (I generally place the gaps about 90 to 100 degrees apart).

The cylinder walls were then coated with 30-weight engine oil, as was the inner surface of the ARP billet tapered ring compressor tool. I prefer using a one-piece machined ring compressor that is dedicated to a specific bore diameter. The inner walls are tapered, allowing a smooth slide-through as the rings compress and enter the bore. For this build, I used an ARP ring compressor sized for a 4.375” bore.

The rod big end is inserted through the top of the ring compressor, until the piston skirts and all rings enter the compressor. With a section of the skirts exposed below the compressor tool, the rod is carefully lowered into the bore, until the piston skirts enter the top of the bore. I rotate the crank to place the rod journal near bottom-dead-center. While aligning the piston valve pockets (horizontal to the front-rear plane of the deck), hold the ring compressor firmly against the block deck and push/tap the piston into the bore until the top of the piston is flush with the deck. It’s important to monitor the rod big end as it travels toward the crank to make sure that it isn’t cocked and hitting a crank counterweight. While guiding the rod big end with one hand, I hand-pushed/lightly tapped each piston fully into the bore, using a Goodson extended-snout plastic piston hammer (this features an extra long snout to allow full piston downward movement without the handle interfering with the block deck). While tapping the piston down into the bore, pay attention to the upper rod bearing to make sure that it hasn’t popped out of position. Carefully align the rod big end to the crank journal while gently pulling the rod big end onto the crank journal. The ARP piston compressor made the job a breeze. With the piston skirts engaged into the top of the bore, I could actually push each piston fully into the bore with a closed fist while holding the compressor firmly against the block deck.

Install the rod cap and hand-install the rod bolts. Using a ratchet and (in this case) a 7/16” 12-point socket, hand-tighten until the rod cap mates to each side of the rod big end.

According to the tightening instructions supplied with the Scat connecting rods, the ARP 7/16” 8740 rod bolts (with moly) should be tightened to a value of 64 ft-lb, and not to exceed 0.0046” stretch. Before installing each rod bolt, I first position the bolt onto a rod bolt stretch gauge (the pointed anvils of the tool neatly engage into dimples on the rod bolt head and shank tip). With the rod bolt on the gauge, zero the dial indicator. I then install the bolt and tighten to 45 ft-lb, and check for bolt stretch using the gauge. I then tighten to 55 ft-lb and re-check with the gauge. In this build, when the bolts were torqued to 64 ft-lb, rod bolt stretch measured 0.00425” (this verified that each bolt entered it’s designed elastic range but has not exceeded the design range). Checking rod bolt stretch does take a few more minutes as opposed to simply tightening with a torque wrench, but I feel that it’s time well spent.

Note that the specification I followed (64 ft-lbs) was intended with the use of moly lube. If a rod or bolt manufacturer lists different torque specifications with oil or moly, you MUST follow the tightening value based on the type of bolt lubricant being used. If I had used oil instead of moly and had tightened to the moly spec, I probably would have slightly undertightened the bolts due to the increase of friction. Moly is, for lack of a better term, more slippery, allowing a more accurate torque valve to be achieved.

Once each pair of rods were installed to a common journal, I measured rod sideplay using a feller gauge (spread the rod big ends apart with your fingers and insert a feeler gauge between the rod big ends). In this build, I measured 0.020” sideplay.

 

PT222

Prior to installing our ARP rod bolts, I applied a coating of ARP moly to both the threads as well as to the underside of the bolt head. This reduces friction and allows achieving a more accurate clamping load.

 

PT223

Each ARP rod bolts features a centered female dimple at the head and at the shank tip. This accommodates the use of a rod bolt stretch gauge.

 

 

PT224

Rod bolts may be tightened by simply torquing to a specified value, but the use of a rod bolt stretch gauge allows you to obtain a better understanding of how much stretch the bolt is experiencing, allowing you to verify that the bolt has entered its optimal elastic range. Prior to installing each rod bolt, the bolt is placed onto the gauge and the gauge is then zeroed at the bolt’s free (relaxed) state.

 

PT225

As the rod bolt is tightened using a torque wrench, the gauge can be placed onto the bolt to measure how much stretch has been achieved. As the bolt is tightened in succeeding steps, the bolt is re-checked. I tightened our rod bolts to achieve a stretch of approximately 0.00425″, within ARP’s and Scat’s recommended range for this specific bolt application.

 

 

PT226

With each pair of rods installed to a common journal, rod sideplay was measured at a generous but acceptable 0.021″.

 

 

PT228

A degree check of our camshaft verified the cam specs. Actually, the inexpensive cam was machined surprisingly accurate.

 

 

CRANK DAMPER

Our Fluidampr P/N 720311 features a 7.25” OD. I installed by first measuring the crank snout diameter at 1.534” and the damper’s front (stepped) bore at 1.532”. The rear of the bore is slightly oversized to allow an easy slip-on entry. I coated the bore with copper anti-seize and positioned the damper to the snout. Using a bearing-equipped damper installer tool, I slowly drew the damper into place until the rear of the flange contacted the front of the crank gear. Anyone who has experience with installing crankshaft balancers already knows, but as a reminder, never install a balancer by striking it with a hammer or any other object. Most dampers feature a slight interference fit and MUST be drawn onto the crank snout evenly.

The ARP crank bolt and washer was installed, tightening to ARP’s recommendation of 160 ft-lbs. The crank damper bolt (ARP 245-2501) features a thread size of ¾” – 16, with an underhead length of 1.420”. ARP Ultra Torque moly was applied to the threads and the underhead area prior to installation. A 12-point 1-1/16” socket wrench is required.

 

PT238

Our crank balancer is a Fluidampr unit, interference fit and secured with an ARP crank bolt, torqued to 160 ft-lb with ARP moly.

PT239

With our number 1 piston at TDC and cam timed, our timing marks aligned beautifully with no alterations needed to the timing pointer.

 

 

PT241

I decided to employ an MSD crank trigger system. Fluidampr kindly provided a machined aluminum spacer adapter to allow precise fit of the trigger wheel to the damper.

 

 

PT242

The crank trigger system allows us to pick up timing directly from the crankshaft.

 

 

 

 

 

In order to maximize ignition timing precision, I decided to install MSD’s crank trigger system. This allows a more precise timing to be read directly at the crank as apposed to the distributor (via the cam’s drive gear) and timing chain.

The MSD crank trigger wheel bolts to the face of the damper, and is centered via a machinec centering ring. Unfortunately, the supplied MSD centering ring, while fitting the damper and the trigger wheel perfectly, was too shallow and would not protrude far enough outward to engage the trigger wheel. In order to accommodate the fit, the boys at Fluidampr machined a gorgeous aluminum adapter that extends out far enough to accept both the MSD centering ring and trigger wheel. The fit could not have been better. Absolute perfection. I secured the trigger wheel to the damper with six ARP stainless 12-point 5/16” x 18 x 1” bolts and stainless washers.

 

 

 

OIL PUMP

Our Melling pump features high volume/standard pressure. I carefully disassembled the pump, smoothed out the exterior castings of the two housings, masked and painted and reassembled. Prior to reassembly, I coated the rotors with Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube. Note that the housings are sealed together with two O-rings. A supplied O-ring is installed onto the drive boss before inserting this into the block. The oi pump cover was re-secured to the pump with bolts tightened to 10 ft-lb, and the pump was bolted to the block with the supplied gasket,  three 3/8-16 x 2.75” stainless polished bolts and one 3/8-16 X 4.5” bolt, with all four 3/8” bolts tightened to 35 ft-lbs.

The oil pump pickup (I used a unit from Moroso that accommodates their 7-qt oil pan) threads into the block via a 3/8” NPT threaded hole in the forward left side of the block. Teflon thread sealant was applied to the pickup tube’s male threads, with the pickup hand-tightened to achieve a level position of the pickup screen.

 

PT229

Our Melling Performance oil pump is a high volume/standard pressure unit.

 

 

PT230

Simply in order to match block color, I disassembled, painted and reassembled our oil pump, securing the housing together with ARP stainless 12-point bolts provided by Totally Stainless.

 

PT236

An intermediate shaft is required to drive the oil pump. The gear engages to the camshaft gear and the hex drive tip engages into the oil pump.

 

 

PT237

Here the intermediate shaft is installed in the block (a new bronze shaft bushing was installed to the block previously). The distributor engages to the shaft via the key slot.

 

 

 

OIL PAN AND WINDAGE TRAY

A windage tray is installed and sandwiched between the block rails and the oil pan. Two gaskets are required: one between the block and windage tray and one between the windage tray and oil pan. During test fitting, clearance between the windage tray and the rods was more than adequate. However, when sing a Mopar Performance windage tray, it’s necessary to trim an opening in the windage tray in order to clear the location and angle of the Moroso pickup tube. This was done with a cut-off wheel, die grinder and mini belt sander, with edges deburred and windage tray thoroughly washed and rinsed.

 

 

I find it helpful to temporarily install six or more 5/16×18 studs in the block rail bolt holes to aid in aligning the gaskets, windage tray and pan as a package. Replace the studs with bolts as you progress with bolt installation. Tighten all of the oil pan 5/16” bolts to 14 ft-lbs, starting at the center area and using a criss-cross tightening patern to spread the clamping load.

Note: Before placing the block-to-windage tray gasket, apply a dot of RTV to the right and left areas where the timing cover base meets the block.

 

PT231

The Moroso center-sump provides a 7-quart capacity. A matching Moroso pickup was supplied with the pan.

 

 

PT234

The Moroso pickup threads into the block (NPT thread) and was sealed with teflon thread dope. Notice th4e slight clearance grinding that was needed at the base of the pickup tube head to ensure rod clearance on the stroker build.

 

 

PT232

Our windage tray is a Mopar Performance unit designed to clear a 4.150″ stroke. Due to the extended location path of the pickup tube, additional clearancing of the windage tray was needed in order to accommodate the pickup.

 

 

PT233

The pickup tube was threaded into place and clocked to place the pickup centered to the oil pan sump.

 

PT235

I secured the windage tray and oil pan assembly (with a gasket between the block and windage tray and another gasket between the windage tray and oil pan) using a series of stainless socket head cap screws from Totally Stainless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIPSTICK

Primarily for the sake of appearance, I chose a Lokar flexible dipstick tube assembly which features a billet aluminum top and bottom connected with a length of stainless braided hose (Teflon lined). However, the lower tube insert outer diameter measured 0.365”, but the hole in the block measured 0.0340”, which forced me to dill out the dipstick tube hole in the block to 0.369” (the Lokar insert features a pair of sealing O-rings). I often (but not always) find fitment problems with the Lokar dipstick assemblies, so this was no exception.

Once the windage tray and oil pan were installed, the dipstick tube assembly was inserted into the block. The stainless steel mounting bracket that was supplied with the dipstick assembly was far too long and bent to a shape that would not allow mounting, so once the TTI headers were in place, I fabricated a simple L-bracket using 0.100”-thick stainless stock.

 

 

TIMING COVER

The timing cover (equipped with a new Mahle-Victor seal) is installed with four  5/16×18 bolts and four 3/8×18 bolts. I installed a timing pointer to the right hand side, which features a 2-hole bracket. The upper hole shares a 5/16” bolt and the lower hole shares a 3/8” bolt.

Don’t fully tighten the timing cover bolts yet. Install the windage tray (with a gasket on each side) and the oil pan. Snug the oil pan bolts, which may slightly pull the timing cover towards the pan rail, providing a more even gasket mating surface between the timing cover and pan. Even though the timing cover is registered with two dowel pins, there may be a slightly amount of movement available.

Tighten the oil pan’s 5/16” bolts to 14 ft-lbs. Tighten the timing cover’s 5/16” and 3/8” bolts to 120 in-lbs.

 

PT244

She’s ready for the top end. In the next series installment we’ll cover the selection, fitting and installation of the cylinder heads, pushrods, rocker assemblies, water pump, distributor and intake system.

 

 

OUR SPECIFICATIONS

Main bearing clearance………….…0.0025”

Crankshaft thrust clearance…………0.005” (spec 0.003-0.007”)

Rod bearing clearance………………0.0025”

Rod side clearance……………….…0.021”

Piston to wall clearance……….……0.005”

Top ring gap……………………….. 0.020”

Second ring gap……………………. 0.022”

Piston pin to piston ………………… 0.0009”

Piston pin to rod…………………….0.0008”

Rod sideplay………………………..0.020”

 

 

 

FASTENER TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS

Main stud nuts (w/ARP moly)……………………100 ft-lb

Rod bolts (7/16” ARP 8740 w/moly)……………..  64 ft-lb (don’t exceed 0.0046” stretch)

Cyl head bolts (ARP stainless w/moly)………….. 70 ft-lb

Oil pump to block……………………………….   35 ft-lb

Rear main cap bolts……………………………… 30 ft-lb

Fuel pump block off plate……………………….   30 ft-lb

Oil pan……………………………………………14 ft-lb

Camshaft bolt……………………………………. 35 ft-lb (w/Loctite 242)

Timing cover………………………………………120 in-b

Rocker shaft bolts………………………………….25 ft-lb (w/Teflon sealant)

Valve cover………………………………………..80 in-lb

ARP crank damper bolt……………………………160 ft-lb (w/ARP moly)

Intake manifold bolts………………………………10, then 15, then 25 ft-lb

Valley cover rails………………………………….100 in-lb

Crank trigger wheel to damper……………………. 25 ft-lb (w/Loctite 242)

 

 

OUR PARTS LIST

 

BLOCK…………………………………OE 400 CORE (bored/honed to 4.3755”)

CRANKSHAFT…………………….…..Scat 4-383-4150-6760-2374 forged

CONNECTING RODS……………..…..Scat 2-440-6760-2374-990

PISTONS………………………….……..JE 213460 (w/0.990” wrist pins)

CYLINDER HEADS………………….….Edelbrock 60929 Perf. RPM (84cc chambers)

OPTIONAL CYL. HEADS………………Mopar Performance 5153524 (84cc chambers)

MAIN BEARINGS……………..…….…Mahle-Clevite MS876P (narrowed)

ROD BEARINGS…………………….…..Mahle-Clevite CB527HND

CAM BEARINGS……………………….Mahle-Clevite SH2152S

MAIN STUDS……………………..……ARP 145-5603

DISTRIBUTOR………………………….MSD 8545 Pro-Billet

CRANK TRIGGER…………………..…MSD 8636

SPARK PLUG WIRES…..………………MSD 31189

IGNITION CONTROLLER……………..MSD 6AL

STARTER………………………………..MSD 5098 DynaForce

STARTER BOLT KIT………………..…Totally Stainless 6-3245

CRANK DAMPER…………………….…Fluidampr 720311

CRANK DAMPER BOLT………………ARP 245-2501

CAMSHAFT & LIFTER KIT..………..…Summit Racing, Mopar Perf. P5007698

ROCKER SHAFTS………………….…Summit Racing, Mopar Performance P4529101

ROCKER HOLD-DOWN KIT……….…..Summit Racing, Mopar Performance 5249714

PUSHRODS………………………………Trend Performance, 8.318” BOC, 3/8” dia, 0.080” walls

ROLLER ROCKERS………………….….Crane 64790-1 (1.5:1)

CYL. HEAD GASKETS………………….Cometic C-5464-040 (4.500” bore/0.040” thick)

CYLINDER HEAD BOLTS……………..ARP 445-3706 (stainless)

BLOCK DECK DOWELS……………….0.250” dia x 0.625” length

CRANKSHAFT KEY………………….…Mopar P5249822

REAR MAIN SEAL…………………..….Mahle-Victor JV604

TIMING COVER GASKET KIT……..….Mahle-Victor JV834

OIL PAN GASKET………………………..Mahle-Victor OS31416

EXHAUST GASKETS…………………….Mahle-Victor 95026SG

INTAKE MANIFOLD……………….…….Weiand 7533 single plane

FUEL SYSTEM……………………………Holley Terminator EFI system

VALVE COVERS……………………….…Summit Racing SUM-440350

OIL PUMP…………………………….……Melling M-63HV

OIL PAN……………………………………Moroso 20760

OIL PICKUP………………………………..Moroso 24750

OIL PUMP INTERM. SHAFT…………..…Melling IS-63-R

OIL PUMP SHAFT BUSHING…………….Mopar Perf. 1737725

CRANKSHAFT OIL SLINGER……………Mopar P5249636

TIMING SET……………………………….Cloyes 9-3604X9

WATER PUMP……………………….…….Meziere WP106S

WATER PUMP INLET……………….…….Meziere WP1175S

WINDAGE TRAY…………………………..Mopar Perf. P5007345

ACCESSORY BOLT KIT…………………..Totally Stainless 6-3123

SPARK PLUGS………………………….…..NGK 7938 (BKR5E)

VALVE COVER ENGRAVING…..…………Plate Engraving

VALVE COVER COATING…………….…..Ace Powdercoating

REAR MAIN SEAL CAP KIT…………….…Mancini Racing MRE223

DISTRIBUTOR HOLD-DOWN BRACKET….440 Source 200-1037

TIMING COVER……………………………..440 Source 121-1012

VALLEY PAN………………………………..440 Source 127-1011

VALLEY PAN RAILS (BILLET)……………440 Source 200-1042

DISTRIBUTOR CLAMP……………………..440 Source 200-1037

TIMING TAB…………………………………440 Source 121-1054

THERMOSTAT NECK (BILLET)……………440 Source 114-1004

BLOCK PLUG KIT…………………………….Milodon MIL-34041 (Summit Racing)

FUEL PUMP BLOCK OFF PLATE……………Summit Racing SUM-G243

DIPSTICK ASSEMBLY……………………….Lokar ED-5026 (Summit Racing)

VALVE COVER BREATHERS……………….Edelbrock billet aluminum

BREATHER GROMMETS…………………….Summit SUM-G3410

EXHAUST HEADERS (for photo example).…..TTI Exhaust

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE LISTING

 

440 SOURCE

3680 Research Way

Carson City, NV 89706

775-883-2590

www.440source.com

 

 

ACE POWDER COATING

3663 Massillon Rd.

Uniontown, OH 44685

330-896-6365

www.acepowdercoating.com

 

 

ARP, INC.

1863 Eastman Ave.

Ventura, CA 93003

800-826-3045

www.arp-bolts.com

 

CLOYES GEAR & PRODUCTS, INC.

6101 Phoenix Ave., Suite 2

Ft. Smith, AR 72903

248-365-0363

www.cloyes.com

 

CRANE CAMS

1640 Mason Ave.

Daytona Beach, FL 32117

866-388-5120

www.cranecams.com

 

EDELBROCK CORP.

2700 California St.

Torrance, CA 90503

310-781-2222

www.edelbrock.com

 

FLUIDAMPR

Horschel Brothers Precision

180 Zoar Valley Rd.

Springville, NY 14141

716-592-1000

www.fluidampr.com

 

GOODSON TOOLS & SUPPLIES

156 Galewski Dr.

Winona, MN 55987

800-533-8010

www.goodson.com

 

HOLLEY PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS

1801 Russellville Rd.

Bowling Green, KY 42102

270-782-2900

www.holley.com

 

JE PISTONS

15312 Connector Lane

Huntington Beach, CA 92649

714-898-9763

www.jepistons.com

 

KOFFEL’S PLACE II

740 River Rd.

Huron, OH 44839

419-433-4410

www.b1heads.com

 

LISTA INTERNATIONAL CORP.

(engine room bench/cabinets)

106 Lowland St.

Holliston, MA 01746

800-722-3020

www.listaintl.com

 

MAC TOOLS (wrenches)

505 N. Cleveland Ave.

Westerville, OH 43082

800-MACTOOL

www.mactools.com

 

MAHLE CLEVITE INC.

1350 Eisenhower Place

Ann Arbor, MI 48108-3282

800-338-8786

www.mahleclevite.com

(bearings, rings and gaskets)

 

MANCINI RACING

33524 Kelly Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

800-843-2821

www.manciniracing.com

 

MELLING SELECT PERFORMANCE

P.O. Box 1188

Jackson, MI 49204

517-787-8172

www.melling.com

 

MEZIERE ENTERPRISES

220 S. Hale Ave.

Escondido, CA 92029

800-208-1755

www.meziere.com

 

 

MOPAR PERFORMANCE

www.mopar.com

 

 

MOROSO PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS

80 Carter Dr.

Guilford, CT 06437

203-453-6571

www.moroso.com

 

MSD IGNITION

1490 Henry Brennan Dr.

El Paso, TX 79936-6805

915-857-5200

www.msdignition.com

 

 

PLATE ENGRAVING

(valve cover engraving)

2324 Sharon Copley Rd.

Medina, OH 44256-9773

330-239-2155

 

 

SCAT ENTRPRISES, INC.

1400 Kingsdale Ave.

Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3983

310-370-5501

www.scatcrankshafts.com

 

SUMMIT RACING

800-230-3030

www.summitracing.com

 

TOTALLY STAINLESS

P.O. Box 3249

Gettysburg, PA 17325

800-767-4781

www.totallystainless.com

 

 

TTI EXHAUST

1555 Consumer Circle

Corona, CA 92880-1726

951-371-4878

www.ttiexhaust.com

 

 

 

 

 

*EOF

 

 

 

499 MOPAR BUILD, PART 1

IMG_0804

 The final build is shown here. Part 1 of the series provides an overview of the build, with more details to come as we progress with the article series.

 

Build, text and photos by Mike Mavrigian

 (all machining by Koffel’s Place)

 

This is Part 1 of a series involving the build of a performance Mopar bigblock engine. This build starts with a Mopar B-series 400 block, selected for a number of reasons. Since my plan calls for a final bore diameter of 4.375”, the 400 block was a wise choice because of cylinder wall thickness. The 400 block’s original bore is 4.340”. As compared to a 440 block, which starts with a bore size of 4.320”, the 400 block requires only a 0.035” oversize. Using a 440 block would get a bit dicey due to the remaining cylinder wall thickness (enlarging from 4.320” to 4.375” would require a 0.055” oversize).

Also, the 400 block is shorter than the 440 block, requiring shorter pushrods for higher RPM use, and smaller diameter main bore for reduced rotating mass. The 400 B block is also stiffer and more durable than the RB 440 block. The 400 block features a smaller main journal diameter at 2.625” as compared to the 400 block’s main of 2.750” .

 

The plan involves a final cylinder bore diameter of 4.3755” and an extended stroke of 4.150”, which will result in a final displacement of 499 CID. Our connecting rods feature a center-to-center length of 6.760”, and pistons feature a CD (compression distance) of a mere 1.113”. Our forged crank and rods are sourced from Scat, with pistons, wrist pins, locks and rings from JE. Bearings (mains, rods and cam bearings) from Mahle-Clevite. The main caps will be secured with a set of ARP main studs.

Our pistons are flat-tops, with 5cc valve reliefs. Accompanied by 88cc cylinder head combustion chambers, our final compression ratio will be in the range of about 10.38:1

 

NOTE: Scott Koffel of Koffels’s Place II in Huron, Ohio served as my guide throughout this build, recommending specific components and helping me to establish the strategy for the build. All block machining as well as crank balancing was also performed at Koffel’s shop. When it comes to Mopar power, Scott is “my guy.”.

 

 

400 BLOCK CASTING NUMBERS

1971-72………..3614230

1973-78…………3698630

1976-78…………4006530

 

 

 

COMPARISON OF 400 TO 440

 

OE 400 CID

Block deck height…………9.980”

Cyl. bore…………………..4.340”

Stroke………………………3.380”

Conn. Rod length………….6.358”

Rod pin dia. ………………2.375”

Main bore dia. ……………2.8185”

Main journal dia. …………2.625”

 

OE 440 CID

Block deck height…………10.699”

Cyl. bore…………………..4.320”

Stroke…………………….. 3.750”

Conn. Rod length………….6.760”

Rod pin dia. ………..……..2.375”

Main bore dia. …………….2.9435”

Main journal dia. ………….2.750”

 

 

OUR BUILD PLAN

(with 400 block casting number 4006530)

Block deck height…….…….9.955”

Cyl. bore……………….………4.3755”

Stroke………………….……….4.150”

Conn. Rod length……………6.760”

Piston CD………………………1.113”

Rod pin diameter…………….2.374”

Main bore diameter………….2.8185”

Main journal diameter……….2.625”

 

 

 

COOL COINCIDENCE

As fate would have it, I located my block (an original 1976 version, casting number 4006530, which had never been previously altered) in the small town of Plymouth, Ohio, about 48 miles west of my shop. How cool is that? Finding an old Mopar block in a town called Plymouth was too coincidental not to deserve a chuckle or two. Sometimes things happen for a reason. The seller maintains what I suspect may be the largest single concentration of old Mopar parts in the nation (at least the biggest hoard I’ve ever seen), with hundreds of bare blocks, short blocks, complete engines, transmissions, interior parts, trim, suspension parts, etc. Stashed away in an old non-descript industrial warehouse in the flat hinterlands of rural Ohio lies a gold mine of everything Mopar. Now I know where to go for any future Dodge, Plymouth or Chrysler project. And yes, he does have a few hen’s-teeth Hemi engine cores, but he hinted that he’s saving those for his own use.

 

With the bare, grungy, oily and nasty block core in hand, I immediately dropped the block off at a local engine machine shop (Medina Mountain Motors in Creston, Ohio) for baking and mag-checking. I lucked out, as this block had never been overbored or decked, and had no cracks.

The block, along with the JE pistons, was then delivered for block machining to Koffel’s Place in Huron, Ohio, a renowned Mopar engine specialist serving street enthusiasts and racers worldwide.

 

Note: Early Mopar 400 blocks (1971) are thicker wall castings, but hard to find. 1972 –1975 blocks also feature thick-wall castings and theoretically can be safely overbored by as much as 0.060”. The 1976 blocks still retain a decent wall, while 77-78 blocks feature much thinner walls, and should not be overbored by more than 0.030” or so. With all of this said, keep in mind that variances exist block-to-block, so checking cylinder wall thickness with a sonic checker is a must, regardless of the block’s age or casting number.

 

MO01

After test fitting the crankshaft, rods and pistons, we determined that small clearance notches were needed at the bottom of each cylinder bore (biased towards the rear on the left bank and towards the front on the right bank) for rod bolt to block clearance.

 

MO01

The base of each main web also required slight radius reliefs to obtain crankshaft counterweight to block clearance. We maintained a minimum of 0.060″ clearance at all rod bolt and counterweight to block interference areas.

 

 

MO03

The inboard face of the oil pickup tube boss also required slight chamfer clearancing due to the extended stroke, where the No. 1 rod’s bolt head slightly kissed the test-installed pickup tube base.

 

 

MO04

All casting flashings were relieved throughout the block in the crankcase area, main webs, lifter valley drainback ports, etc. in order to remove any potential stress risers.

 

 

MO04A

Prior to main bore align honing, all main cap mating faces were relieved by 0.002″ in order to create a smaller, non-round bore which then allowed align honing to achieve concentric bores at the desired diameter.

 

MO05

Here the block’s main bores are align honed at Koffel’s Place, re-establishing an aligned row of concentric main bores.

 

 

MO06

Deck plates were secured to each bank, installed with pre-crushed head gaskets, with head bolts torqued to 70 ft-lb. The use of deck plates serves to pre-stress the block, mimicking the installed cylinder heads. This allows you to achieve more consistent and round bores once the heads are installed.

 

MO07

Our cylinder bores were final-honed to 4.3755″, providing a piston skirt clearance of 0.005″.

 

 

CAMSHAFT

My initial thought was to go with a roller cam, but Scott Koffel talked me out of it. Using a solid roller seemed like a good idea, but Scott noted that depending on the style of roller lifters, the lifter oil holes in the lifter bores can be exposed during operation, requiring bushing the bores and modifying the oil passages. We opted to stick with a hydraulic flat tappet cam to simplify things and still make good power. Scott’s initial choice was to go with Mopar Performance’s “purple” cam that features a .509” lift with 248/248 duration at 0.050” and a lobe separation angle of 114 for good engine vacuum (this is Mopar’s P/N P5007698AE). Scott’s experience with 400-block builds is quite extensive. He noted that he can actually obtain higher revs with the flat tappet cams as opposed to roller cams, so we went with his recommendation.

Obtaining the cam and lifter kit (as well as the rocker arm shafts and shaft hold-down kit) was done through Summit Racing, since they carry a full inventory of Mopar Performance products (in addition to just about every other brand under the sun). Luckily, since Summit’s main Ohio warehouse is a mere 35 miles from my shop, even ground UPS gets my orders into my hands in one day. This is a great convenience, knowing that I can order anything I need, even at the last minute.

 

 

 

MAIN AND ROD BEARINGS

The Scat crankshaft features a 0.125” radii at main and rod fillets, in order to provide added strength. This requires the use of “narrow” bearings on both mains and rods. In order to address this, we chose Mahle Clevite rod bearings P/N CB-527HND. In order to take care of the main bearings, I shipped my set of Clevite MS876P bearings to Akerly & Childs in California for narrowing, where they remove 0.050” from each side of numbers 1-4 bearings (Note: you can send your bearings to them for narrowing, or you can buy already-narrowed bearing sets directly from Akerly & Childs). The cost for this precision narrowing is minimal and they turn the job around in one day (plus shipping time). Scott Koffel routinely has this modification performed for the majority of his Mopar-build main bearing sets in order to assure proper bearing clearance at the fillets and to achieve proper bearing crush when using performance aftermarket crankshafts. While the Mahle main bearings already feature a generous chamfer to accommodate larger radius fillets, narrowing won’t hurt anything and will eliminate any potential for fillet contact.

 

 

WINDAGE TRAY

Following Scott Koffel’s recommendation, I obtained a Mopar Performance windage tray P/N P5007345, from Summit Racing, designed to clear a 4.150” stroke. The tray will simply need a minor clearancing to accommodate the extended Moroso oil pickup tube.

 

 

CRANKSHAFT

Our Scat forged crank features a 4.150” stroke (providing an additional 0.770” stroke as compared to the OE 3.380” stroke). Main journal diameters measured 2.625” and rod journals measured 2.374”.

Our crankshaft typifies Scat’s attention to detail. Each main and rod journal measured exactly to spec, with generous 0.125” radius fillets for added strength. I also checked the crank for runout, and as expected, I measured zero runout. Oil holes are neatly chamfered for efficient oil paths.

Note: The Scat crank rear main journal’s seal area was finished with a smooth surface. If you encounter a crank that features a serrated contact surface for the rear main seal, you must use a rope-type rear seal. Using a neoprene seal will result in an oil leak due to eventual seal deformity. If your crank features a non-serrated (smooth) seal surface, the neoprene style seal is the best choice.

 

MO08

Our Scat forged crankshaft features a 4.150″ stroke. Along with our finished cylinder bore size, this achieves a displacement of 499 cubic inches. The smaller main bore and main journal size of the 400 block (as compared to the 440 block) provides slightly reduced rotating mass.

 

 

 

 

CONNECTING RODS

My choice for this build required the use of 6.760” connecting rods. I selected a set of forged H-beam beauties from Scat, fitted with 8740 ARP rod bolts.

Each Scat rod and cap are laser-etched with matching numbers, which easily allows you to keep each cap coded to its rod during disassembly, test fitting and reassembly work. Remember: all finished rods are honed to size by the manufacturer, requiring that mated rods and caps are always mated together. Mixing caps and rods can lead to rod bearing misalignment. Since Scat already etches their rods and caps with matching numbers, there’s no need to stamp additional identification numbers.

 

MO09

Our connecting rods are Scat’s forged H-beams, featuring a 6.760″ center-to-center length. The rods are equipped with ARP 7/16″ 8470 rod bolts which are also dimpled at each end to allow bolt stretch monitoring during assembly.

 

MO10

Our JE forged/CNC machined pistons feature a compression distance (from center of pin bore to piston deck) of 1.113″. Combined with our final block deck height, crank stroke and rod length, our pistons will be placed at 0.025″ below deck at top dead center.

 

 

 

CLEARANCING ISSUES

Rod big end to block clearance and counterweight to block clearance checking is a must whenever you increase crank stroke. With a 4.150” stroke crank in a Mopar 400 block, clearancing the bottom of the bores for rod big end bolt head clearance required an offset notch of roughly 0.200” – 0.210” deep by about 0.890”wide at the bottom of each bore, offset to align with opposing cylinder rod bolts. In addition, the base of each main web required slight clearancing for the edges of the crank counterweights Where the main webs meet the block above the bearing saddles (where the main web meets the bottom of the bores), roughly 1/16” was removed, creating a slightly radiused “fillet” area to prevent the edges of the counterweights from rubbing.

The boss that accepts the oil pickup tube also requires a chamfered relief immediately below the No. 1 cylinder bore in order to clear opposing rod big end bolt head. The only remaining clearance issue involves the base of the oil pump pickup tube where an interference at the rod big end shoulder occurs. Depending on the specific pickup tube design and the connecting rod design, this may be addressed by relieving the pickup tube or by removing a bit of material from the rod shoulder. Since the Scat rods are already profiled for stroker applications, removing material from the rod shoulder was out of the question, as this could easily weaken the rod. In our case, the Moroso oil pickupo tube features a thick-wall base. I simply screwed the pickup into the boss, with the pickup oriented at the center of the block and marked the area of the tube base where clearance was needed. With the tube removed, I gently chamfered the tube base, removing about 1/16” of material.

 

 

BLOCK OILING MODS

Both high volume / standard pressure and high pressure /standard volume oil pumps are available. Per Scott Koffel’s advice, we chose a Melling Select M-63HV pump that features 20% higher volume and standard pressure. If increased pressure is desired, the spring is shimmed with a flattened ¼” lock washer.

 

 

BLOCK EXTERIOR

Since I’m way to anal when it comes to a block’s exterior appearance, I spent three days dressing the block’s exterior surfaces using a combination of cut-off wheels, mini belt sanders, die grinders and Roloc abrasive pads. I first eliminated all of the ugly casting seam and edge flashings, followed by dressing those areas to obtain a smooth, uniform surface. Luckily, the majority of the block side surfaces were already relatively smooth and uniform, as compared to other OE blocks that I’ve worked on. Once all machining is complete, a coat of a heavy-build epoxy primer (followed by lots of sanding with 120 through 400-grit paper) should make the block look like creamy-smooth.

 

 

BLOCK MACHINING

Cylinder bores were oversized to a finished diameter of 4.3755” on Koffel’s Sunnen honing machine (OE bore spec was 4.340”). BHJ deck plates were installed to both decks (with already-crushed head gaskets in place), and torqued to 70 lb-ft. After the JE piston skirts were measured at 4.3700”, oversizing began with 180-grit diamond roughing stones, removing 0.027”. This was followed by passes with 220 stones, and finalized with 280. Final honing was performed to a final 4.3755” (providing a piston skirt clearance of 0.0055”).

Once the main caps were shaved by 0.002” and installed using ARP main studs and torqued to 100 lb-ft. The main bores were then align-honed to the loose side of the OE spec at  2.8185”.

Lifter bores were simply honed for cleanup for lifter bore clearance at 0.0015”.

With the crank, rods and pistons mock assembled to check TDC relative to the block decks, we found that pistons were 0.036” below deck (plus, not surprising for a production block, the decks were not parallel or square. In order to establish the decks parallel to the crank centerline, 0.007” was removed from the front, graduating to a removal of 0.011” at the rear, with remaining material removed to establish a final block deck height of 9.955”. This places our pistons at a uniform 0.025” below deck.

Considering our block deck height, location of pistons to the deck, piston dome volume of +5cc, an anticipated 0.040” head gasket crush and the 84cc combustion chambers in our Edelbrock heads, our static compression ratio was calculated at 10.6:1.

Note: Head gaskets that feature stainless steel rings are to be avoided when using aluminum heads, as the hard combustion chamber rings won’t crush sufficiently and can dig into the softer aluminum heads.

Note: Now that our block has been machined, I’ll continue to dress the block exterior, dressing and smoothing surfaces in preparation for final paint. In addition to the performance and functional aspects of the build, I intend to produce a show-quality appearance

 

 

MO16

After test fitting the crank, rods and pistons to determine the required deck surfacing (in order to both achieve our desired block deck height and to square the block decks), the block was set up on Koffel’s surfacing cutter and zero’d.

 

MO17

Both block decks were cut in order to make them both parallel to the crankshaft centerline and to establish our piston TDC point at 0.025″ below deck.

 

MO18

Once the block was thoroughly washed, the Mahle-Clevite camshaft bearings were installed, aligning the bearing oil holes to the feed holes in the upper main saddles. Mopar blocks require stepped cam bearings, with a specific diameter bearing installed at each of the five cam bore locations.

 

 

MO19

A new bronze bushing was installed for the oil pump intermediate shaft. Here Scott Koffel uses a pre-sized bushing, driving it into the block using a spare intermediate shaft as a guide. This prevents the bushing from deforming during the interference fit.

 

MO20

The installed bronze shaft bushing will accept the intermediate shaft without the need to hone the bushing ID to size.

 

 

REAR MAIN SEAL

The Mopar bigblock features a separate aluminum rear main seal retainer that bolts to the block immediately behind the No. 5 main cap. The OE retainer housing, or “cap” is a cast aluminum piece that’s prone to cracking if previously mishandled. Instead of digging up a used retainer, I purchased a machined billet piece from Mancini Racing for about $70, which included bolts and seals (even though I used our Victor seals, which were fully compatible). The kit includes a pair of locating pins to register the cap (insert pins to locate the cap, remove one pin at a time and install the bolts). The rear seal cap bolts will be tightened to 20 ft-lbs.

 

 

CRANKSHAFT BALANCING

As expected, when weighing our pistons and rods, the JE pistons all weighed in within 0.5 gram, and the Scat rods all weighed in within  less than 1 gram rod-to-rod. With today’s machining technology, it isn’t like the old days when you had to find the lightest piston or rod and then remove material from the rest in order to obtain a matched set. We had no need to correct any of our pistons or rods.

Bobweights were made according to our measured weights for pistons, piston pins, rings and support rails, pin locks, rod small ends, rod big ends, rod bearings and an allowance for oil.

 

OUR BOBWEIGHT CARD

Rod rotating………………594g

Rod rotating………………594g

Rod bearing……………….  54g

Rod bearing……………….  54g

Oil allowance………………  4g

Piston………………………489g

Wristpin……………………151g

Locks (1 set)………………    5g

Rings (1 set, w/rail)……….  62g

Rod reciprocating…………285g

Bobweight total…………..2292g

 

Note: 50% reciprocating; 100% rotating

 

MO11

Once Koffel’s Place weighed our rods, pistons, rings, pins, pin locks and rod bearings, bobweights were assembled at a weight of 2292 grams.

 

MO12

Bobweights were installed to the crankshaft, centered on the rod pins and at 90-degrees to each other.

 

MO13

Upon the initial test spin on the crankshaft balancer, it was found that weight removal was required at the front and rear counterweights.

 

 

MO14

The computer balancer indicated that weight removal at the front counterweight location would exceed the leading edge of the counterweight, so in order to compensate, the front counterweight was drilled to accept a small slug of Mallory metal (heavy tungsten). This moved the dynamic balance plane further into the mass of the counterweight, allowing the needed weight removal.

 

MO15

In order to remove initial weight, as well as to provide slight additional counterweight-to-block clearance, the counterweights were slightly reduced in radius on a lathe. This was followed by strategic weight removal from the outer edges of the front and rear counterweights by drilling shallow holes for final weight removal to achieve final balance.

 

 

 

With the bobweights established, each bobweight was installed to the crank, 90-degrees from bobweight to adjacent bobweight. Weight removal was required on the front and rear crankshaft counterweights. Removal from the front counterweight was required beyond the end of the counterweight, so a slug of tungsten (Mallory metal) was installed to the trailing end (the counterweight was drilled horizontally, the weight installed and welded in place). This provided enough added mass to allow removing weight from the counterweight outer edge to achieve balance. The outer edges of the counterweights were also shaved on a lathe, to minimize the removal required by drilling. The process took a while, but the results were worthwhile. The crank was balanced to within 0.75g. The crankshaft is internally balanced. This means that a zero-balance damper and zero-balance flywheel are required. An externally balanced crank would require the damper and flywheel to be attached to the crank during balancing, thereby dedicating the damper and flywheel to that crank. Internal balance, since the damper and flywheel are zero-balanced, allows you to easily replace either the damper or crankshaft or both in the future without the need to re-balance the crankshaft.

 

 

CYLINDER HEADS

Our aluminum heads were sourced from Edelbrock. The  Performer RPM fully-assembled head P/N 60929  features 15-degree angled spark plug ports and 84cc combustion chambers, which will suit our desired compression ratio target in the 10.6:1 range.

An alternative (for slightly higher compression ratio) are aluminum heads from Mopar Performance, P/N 5153524. These are fully-assembled heads featuring 84cc combustion chambers, 210cc intake ports, 2.140” intake valves, 1.810” exhaust valves, chromoly steel retainers, positive stop valve stem seals, bronze valve guides and steel seats. The heads feature standard position intake and exhaust ports and straight spark plug ports. These heads are designed to mate to 413, 383, 400, 426 and 440 Mopar blocks.

Note: Unlike OE Mopar heads, the Edelbrock heads feature angled spark plugs. Because of this, not all header manufacturers offer headers that will accommodate the angled plugs. Edelbrock and Scott Koffel recommends using TTI Exhaust, which offers both shorty and long-tube headers that will suit either straight or angled spark plug cylinder heads.

I’ll provide full details and specifications for the heads in a future article as this build series progresses.

 

 

ROCKER ASSEMBLY

The Mopar “B” engines utilize a shaft-mounted rocker system. For this build I chose a substantial upgrade to Crane aluminum roller rockers, P/N 64790-1, in the original 1.5:1 ratio. These rockers feature a beefy and strong body structure, heavy duty roller bearing trunions for valve contact, a cutaway relief on the underside of the valve area to accommodate larger diameter spring retainers, and the required offset threaded adjuster holes in order to align the pushrods to the rockers. Included in the kit were hardened ball-tip threaded adjusters and nuts, and 0.015” shaft spacer shims and springs. Crane also supplies a bottle of their high pressure lubricant for the threaded adjusters, adjuster ball tips and roller bearings. I sourced Mopar Performance rocker shafts, P/N P4529101 from Summit Racing, along with a set of Mopar Performance billet aluminum rocker shaft hold-down hardware P/N 5249714. An OE-style hold-down kit would be acceptable from a function standpoint, but the blue anodized hold-downs were too pretty to pass up. Instead of using OE type springs between rockers, we’ll use billet aluminum spacers and shim accordingly to obtain precise rocker arm placements. I’ll provide full details concerning the valvetrain in a future article installment.

 

 

WATER PUMP

Whenever I can utilize an electric water pump, I prefer this as opposed to a mechanical pump, since it not only frees up a belt drive, reducing that little bit of drag on the crank, but because the Meziere pumps spit out a dependable, constant push of coolant through the block for superior cooling. And besides, it just plain looks nifty. For this build, I opted for a model WP106S in a black finish in order to contrast nicely against the planned “Hemi” orange of the block and timing cover. The pump included optional heater hose straight –AN fittings, along with a 1 ¾” water neck. The Meziere pump features a choice of right or left position neck for the lower radiator hose, which is a nice idea, accommodating either lower hose location depending on the radiator of choice and the vehicle engine bay configuration. An anodized aluminum plug is provided to seal off the unused port.

 

BUT WAIT: THERE’S MORE

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is simply an overview and introduction to the build. The next article will delve into test fitting and various assembly steps in great detail.

 

 

OUR PARTS LIST (TO DATE)

 

BLOCK…………………………………OE 400 CORE (bored/honed to 4.3755”)

CRANKSHAFT…………………….…..Scat 4-383-4150-6760-2374 forged

CONNECTING RODS……………..…..Scat 2-440-6760-2374-990

PISTONS………………………….……..JE 213460 (w/0.990” wrist pins)

CYLINDER HEADS………………….….Edelbrock 60929 Perf. RPM (84cc chambers)

OPTIONAL CYL. HEADS………………Mopar Performance 5153524 (84cc chambers)

MAIN BEARINGS……………..…….…Mahle-Clevite MS876P (narrowed)

ROD BEARINGS…………………….…..Mahle-Clevite CB527HND

CAM BEARINGS……………………….Mahle-Clevite SH2152S

MAIN STUDS……………………..……ARP 145-5603

DISTRIBUTOR………………………….MSD 8545 Pro-Billet

CRANK TRIGGER…………………..…MSD 8636

SPARK PLUG WIRES…..………………MSD 31189

IGNITION CONTROLLER……………..MSD 6AL

STARTER………………………………..MSD 5098 DynaForce

STARTER BOLT KIT………………..…Totally Stainless 6-3245

CRANK DAMPER…………………….…Fluidampr 720311

CRANK DAMPER BOLT………………ARP 245-2501

CAMSHAFT & LIFTER KIT..………..…Summit Racing, Mopar Perf. P5007698

ROCKER SHAFTS………………….…Summit Racing, Mopar Performance P4529101

ROCKER HOLD-DOWN KIT……….…..Summit Racing, Mopar Performance 5249714

PUSHRODS…………………………………Trend Performance, 8.318″ BOC

ROLLER ROCKERS………………….….Crane 64790-1 (1.5:1)

CYLINDER HEAD GASKETS………….Cometic C-5464-040 (4.500″ bore / 0.040″ thick)

CYLINDER HEAD BOLTS……………..ARP 445-3706

BLOCK DECK DOWELS……………….0.250” x 0.625”

CRANKSHAFT KEY………………….…Mopar P5249822

REAR MAIN SEAL…………………..….Mahle-Victor JV604

TIMING COVER GASKET KIT……..….Mahle-Victor JV834

OIL PAN GASKET………………………..Mahle-Victor OS31416

EXHAUST GASKETS…………………….Mahle-Victor 95026SG

INTAKE MANIFOLD……………….…….Weiand 7533 single plane

FUEL SYSTEM……………………………Holley Terminator EFI system

VALVE COVERS……………………….…Summit Racing SUM-440350

OIL PUMP…………………………….……Melling M-63HV

OIL PAN……………………………………Moroso 20760

OIL PICKUP………………………………..Moroso 24750

OIL PUMP INTERM. SHAFT…………..…Melling IS-63-R

OIL PUMP SHAFT BUSHING…………….Mopar Perf. 1737725

CRANKSHAFT OIL SLINGER……………Mopar P5249636

TIMING SET……………………………….Cloyes 9-3604X9

WATER PUMP……………………….…….Meziere WP106S

WATER PUMP INLET……………….…….Meziere WP1175S

BLOCK PLUG KIT……………………..…..Milodon MIL-34041

WINDAGE TRAY…………………………..Mopar Perf. P5007345

ACCESSORY BOLT KIT…………………..Totally Stainless 6-3123

SPARK PLUGS………………………….…..NGK 7938 (BKR5E)

VALVE COVER ENGRAVING…..…………Plate Engraving

VALVE COVER COATING…………….…..Ace Powdercoating

REAR MAIN SEAL CAP KIT…………….…Mancini Racing MRE223

DISTRIBUTOR HOLD-DOWN BRACKET….440 Source 200-1037

TIMING COVER……………………………..440 Source 121-1012

VALLEY PAN………………………………..440 Source 127-1011

VALLEY PAN RAILS (BILLET)……………440 Source 200-1042

DISTRIBUTOR CLAMP……………………..440 Source 200-1037

TIMING TAB…………………………………440 Source 121-1054

THERMOSTAT NECK (BILLET)……………440 Source 114-1004

FUEL PUMP BLOCK OFF PLATE…………Summit Racing SUM-G243

DIPSTICK ASSEMBLY………………………..Lokar ED-5026

VALVE COVER BREATHERS……………..Edelbrock billet aluminum

BREATHER GROMMETS………………….Summit Racing SUM-G3410

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE LISTING

 

440 SOURCE

3680 Research Way

Carson City, NV 89706

775-883-2590

www.440source.com

 

ACE POWDER COATING

3663 Massillon Rd.

Uniontown, OH 44685

330-896-6365

www.acepowdercoating.com

 

 

 

 

ARP, INC.

1863 Eastman Ave.

Ventura, CA 93003

800-826-3045

www.arp-bolts.com

 

CLOYES GEAR & PRODUCTS, INC.

6101 Phoenix Ave., Suite 2

Ft. Smith, AR 72903

248-365-0363

www.cloyes.com

 

CRANE CAMS

1640 Mason Ave.

Daytona Beach, FL 32117

866-388-5120

www.cranecams.com

 

EDELBROCK CORP.

2700 California St.

Torrance, CA 90503

310-781-2222

www.edelbrock.com

 

FLUIDAMPR

Horschel Brothers Precision

180 Zoar Valley Rd.

Springville, NY 14141

716-592-1000

www.fluidampr.com

 

GOODSON TOOLS & SUPPLIES

156 Galewski Dr.

Winona, MN 55987

800-533-8010

www.goodson.com

 

HOLLEY PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS

1801 Russellville Rd.

Bowling Green, KY 42102

270-782-2900

www.holley.com

 

JE PISTONS

15312 Connector Lane

Huntington Beach, CA 92649

714-898-9763

www.jepistons.com

 

KOFFEL’S PLACE II

740 River Rd.

Huron, OH 44839

419-433-4410

www.b1heads.com

 

LISTA INTERNATIONAL CORP.

106 Lowland St.

Holliston, MA 01746

800-722-3020

www.listaintl.com

 

MAC TOOLS (wrenches)

505 N. Cleveland Ave.

Westerville, OH 43082

800-MACTOOL

www.mactools.com

 

MAHLE CLEVITE INC.

1350 Eisenhower Place

Ann Arbor, MI 48108-3282

800-338-8786

www.mahleclevite.com

(bearings, rings and gaskets)

 

MANCINI RACING

33524 Kelly Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

800-843-2821

www.manciniracing.com

 

MELLING SELECT PERFORMANCE

P.O. Box 1188

Jackson, MI 49204

517-787-8172

www.melling.com

 

MEZIERE ENTERPRISES

220 S. Hale Ave.

Escondido, CA 92029

800-208-1755

www.meziere.com

 

 

 

 

MOPAR PERFORMANCE

www.mopar.com

 

MOROSO PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS

80 Carter Dr.

Guilford, CT 06437

203-453-6571

www.moroso.com

 

MSD IGNITION

1490 Henry Brennan Dr.

El Paso, TX 79936-6805

915-857-5200

www.msdignition.com

 

PLATE ENGRAVING

2324 Sharon Copley Rd.

Medina, OH 44256-9773

330-239-2155

 

SCAT ENTRPRISES, INC.

1400 Kingsdale Ave.

Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3983

310-370-5501

www.scatcrankshafts.com

 

SUMMIT RACING

800-230-3030

www.summitracing.com

 

TOTALLY STAINLESS

P.O. Box 3249

Gettysburg, PA 17325

800-767-4781

www.totallystainless.com

 

TTI EXHAUST

1555 Consumer Circle

Corona, CA 92880-1726

951-371-4878

www.ttiexhaust.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

408 LS PART 4: COMPLETED AND DYNO

 

DYNO1

 

 

Build, text and photos by Mike Mavrigian

 

This final article installment covers the completion of the 408 LS build, along with the engine dyno results. Our radical-looking baby pulled a respectable 670.5 HP at 6500 rpm and 581/7 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm.

 

IMG_8546

Read more »

408 LS, PART 3

 

LS01

 

Build, text and photos by Mike Mavrigian

 

 

 

Part 3 of the 408 LS series continues the build, discussing areas including sensors, oil pump, cylinder heads, valvetrain, front cover, water pump and crank damper installations. In Part 4 of the series, we’ll conclude assembly and provide a peak at our dyno run. Just as a heads-up, the engine recently ran on engine dyno and pulled a very respectable 670.5 HP at 6500 rpm, and 581.7 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm.

 

Read more »

PROJECT 408 LS PART 2

LS01

 

Build, text and photos by Mike Mavrigian

 

BLOCK PLUGS

Using all new GM plugs, I installed the four threaded water jacket and oil plugs on the outside of the block (three steel 16mm plugs and one brass 30mm plug). These plugs feature straight metric threads. No NPT threads exist on the OE block. The new GM threaded plugs feature thread sealant already applied. If re-using old threaded plugs, be sure to apply Teflon thread sealant. DO NOT install these plugs without thread sealant.

The front oil galley hole (facing the front of the block, this hole is located to the right of the main bore; driver-side) was plugged with a new 16mm-diameter GM P/N 9427693 expansion plug, with a film of RTV applied to the plug perimeter and driven into the block flush with the front block timing cover gasket surface.

Read more »

PROJECT 408 LS, PART 1

PT101

 

Build, photos and text by Mike Mavrigian

 

This build features a GM LS platform, bored and stroked to 408 CID, with a 4.0305” bore and 4.000” stroke. A few of the notable elements include adapting Gen 1 smallblock Chevy valve covers to LS heads and a conversion to carburetion, this time using a tunnel ram intake fitted with dual 4-barrel carbs.

Read more »

ENGINES DISPLAYED AT HOT ROD RESTORATION BOOTH

PE07

Three custom engines will be on display at the Hot Rod & Restoration booth at the 2013 trade show in Indianapolis, March 14-16. The engines, built by Hot Rod & Restoration contributing tech writer Mike Mavrigian, include three distinctly different examples that befit the street rod and resto market.

PE05

  Read more »

NBM ACQUIRES ‘HOT ROD & RESTORATION’ MAGAZINE AND TRADE SHOW

HRR-Acquisition

Bobit Business Media President & CEO Ty Bobit (l) and NBM President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr.

 

National Business Media Inc., Broomfield, Colo., has acquired Hotrod & Restoration magazine, its accompanying annual trade show and website from Bobit Business Media, Torrance, Calif.

The change in ownership also includes the precisionenginetech.com technical website.

Read more »

KAASE DEBUTS P-38 WINDSOR CROSS RAM


 

A quick glance at Kaase’s new P-38 cross-ram induction system for Ford Windsor engines immediately conveys two things: its potential to deliver impressive low- to mid-range torque and its inherent low-profile presence to add greater hood clearance—qualities that are often highly valued.

Read more »

DEMON CARB CALIBRATION KIT

 

Demon Carburetion has released a new calibration kit (P/N 1921) that enables engine tuners to dial-in exact air-fuel ratios for each specific engine.

Read more »

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