Editor's Note: Several years ago, we published a story about a hot production-head 440 buildup, written by Steve Dulcich. When our buds at Car Craft found out, they assigned him to write a story on running intake setups on this motor. We asked Steve to retool the results for Mopar Muscle; we think you will find them very informative.

Back in 1999 we set out to see what kind of power could be extracted from a regular 440 using a set of ported stock heads. The idea was not big, mega horsepower, but to determine how much power we could get with the factory block, heads, and crank, while still keeping the cam short enough in duration that the engine would idle and drive. On the other hand, the mill would not simply be a stock-type grocery-getter. Perhaps the best term would be a super street engine. We detailed this build in the Mar. and May '99 issues of Mopar Muscle and ended up with a solid 587 hp at a modest 6,100 rpm when all was said and done. We also found this engine pulled a whopping 572 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm, which was very good for 452 cubes. In fact, with more than 500 lbs.-ft. across the entire range-from 3,500 to 6,100 (more than 400 lbs.-ft. showing at wide-open throttle at only 2,000 rpm)-man, did this thing make some torque!

Still, as good as those numbers looked, the combo was still somewhat raw. Mistake number one was in the accessory drive pulleys. Usually, dyno-testing at these power levels uses an electric water pump to minimize power-robbing drag. On this engine, we bolted on a set of stock C-Body pulleys, which overdrive the water pump to 145 percent of crank speed. For even more drag, we used a high-volume water pump. Before it was over, the water pressure at the resultant 10,000-rpm pump speed was blowing the pressure-relief valve on the dyno's cooling tower. It was like a second water brake mounted to the front of our engine-not good. We also discovered our ACCEL No. 137 spark plugs were too hot, and we didn't have a set of No. 134s on hand, so we had to run what we had.

But the biggest problem was probably the 1250 Holley Dominator carb, which we had calibrated for use on a dual-quad tunnel-ram. Running just one four-barrel on our Weiand Team G manifold, it was impossible to get the correct mixture without replacing the air bleeds. We didn't have the required air bleeds and ended up with No. 104 jets all around to compensate for the wrong air calibration. It was good enough to pull the numbers we got, but we knew the carb calibration and the other problems had left some power on the shelf.

We didn't make any changes to the basic combo we ran before, except this time we'd be prepared with the carb-tuning parts required to optimize the combo as required. In the meantime, we had to make a change to the water-pump system. While an electric pump would have been the easiest system to install, plus totally removing accessory power loss, we opted to retain a streetable belt-driven system. We dug through our pile of pulleys and found a small one to bolt on the crank, which we believe came off an old 215 Olds. It fit the 440 damper perfectly. Coupled with a small-block Mopar water pump pulley, which lined up, we ended up with a pulley ratio of about 1:1. We also changed to an OE A/C water pump, which offers less drag.