One area where we will definitely upgrade our 440 is with a new camshaft and lifters from Comp Cams. To enhance the power of our big-block, we chose a Comp PN 23-362-5 solid flat-tappet cam and lifter kit. This cam isn't small by any means, but isn't a giant either with .567-inch intake lift, 264 degrees duration at .050-inch lift, and a lobe separation of 108 degrees. This cam is what we consider an aggressive street/strip grind, and should wake up our otherwise stock 440. To spin the camshaft, we chose a Comp double roller timing set.

Of course since we're upgrading to solid lifters, we also need to install adjustable rocker gear, so we installed a set of Comp's Ultra Pro-Magnum adjustable roller rocker arms. The Ultra Pro-Magnum rocker kit comes with the rocker arms, adjustors, new shafts, and the necessary spacers. We've used these rockers before and found them to be some of the best rocker arms on the market for the price, and like the fact that the Comp rockers utilize ball-ball type pushrods. These parts might be overkill for what we're building, but the durability makes it worthwhile.

For induction, we will use an older Mopar Performance M-1 aluminum single-plane intake manifold that we picked up at the Mopar Nationals swap meet. The intake was priced so well, that we couldn't pass it up. Topping the M-1 intake, we'll install a new Holley Ultra HP 950 cfm double-pumper carburetor. This carb is actually the most expensive single part we're installing on our engine, but will greatly ease tuning while the engine is on the dyno. In our experience the Ultra HP series of carbs from Holley perform flawlessly right out of the box, needing very little tuning just to match the carb to the particular engine.

With the engine on the dyno at Auto Performance Engines (APE), we bolted on a set of APE's Hooker Super Competition dyno headers and an MSD pro-billet dyno distributor. We like the MSD distributor because it makes changing ignition timing curves easy, though for cost considerations a Chrysler electronic distributor would also be sufficient for this engine. For testing purposes, using the known good headers and distributor provided by APE ensure we won't have any issues while tuning this engine.

Prior to firing up our 440, we poured in six quarts of Comp Cams 10W30 break in oil and primed the oil system. Flat-tappet camshafts require special lubricants to break in properly, and Comp's oil contains the necessary additive package to ensure our cam performs properly for the life of this engine. After starting the engine and running it through a break-in cycle, we let it cool down, double checked valve lash, and were ready to make some test pulls.

After making a couple of ignition timing changes, we found our 440 to like 37 degrees of total advance, and the air/fuel ratio of this engine was nearly perfect with our out-of-the-box Holley 950. Our peak power with this combination was 460.6 at 6,000 rpm, and peak torque was a stump-pulling 466.9 lb/ft. As we further develop this combination, we'll optimize our 440 by testing a variety of parts on the engine. For now, however, we're happy to have made a whole bunch more power than a factory 440, while sticking to a very conservative parts budget.

Our big-block dyno engine will actually serve several purposes for us here at Mopar Muscle. First, this 440 shows our readers that the right combination of a few aftermarket parts, built with a conservative budget, can make plenty of power to make any Mopar fun to drive. Next, this engine will be a test mule of sorts for future articles, as we'll use it for intake manifold, carburetor, and cylinder head testing for starters. Be sure to check out our website for additional photos and for video of this engine making dyno pulls, and look for future articles as we use this engine for additional testing.

Price Tag
Used 440 with forged crank from motor home $400.00
915 Heads from swap meet $100.00
Basic machine work, gaskets, oil pump, and bearings $1,250.00
Used Speed Pro PN 2355F forged flat-top pistons $125.00
Comp Pro-Magnum roller rocker arms $679.95
Comp Cams flat-tappet cam and lifters $225.95
Comp 928-16 valve springs $158.95
Comp double-roller timing set $47.95
Mopar Performance M-1 intake from swap meet $175.00
Holley Ultra HP 950 carburetor $810.00
Total cost of build $3,972.80
Cost per horsepower $8.63

Summit Racing
Auto Performance Engines
1801 Russellville Road
Bowling Green
KY  42101
Comp Cams
3406 Democrat Rd
TN  38118
Holley (Hooker Headers)
Bowling Green
1490 Henry Brennan Dr., Dept. PHR
El Paso
TX  79936