Mopar Engine Challenge 2006 - A Plethora Of Power
A Recap To The '06 Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge
From the July, 2007 issue of Mopar Muscle
By Dave Young
Photography by Dave Young, Randy Bolig
Those of you who have been following the '06 Royal Purple/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge know that these 500ci big-blocks made excellent power on Rockett Brand's 93 octane fuel, with most easily topping the 700hp mark. There were only a few minor mishaps during the challenge, which kept two of our competitors from qualifying for the judged portion of the challenge, but none of the engines succumbed to catastrophic failure. All who attended this year's challenge were impressed by the hospitality of Comp Cams and the efficiency of their dyno crew. Even with an unforeseen power outage on our first dyno day, the guys at Comp quickly caught up, even getting us far enough ahead of schedule that we had time to play with a Zex nitrous-oxide kit on one of the engines.
The engines brought to the...
The engines brought to the '06 Engine Challenge were as diverse as the builders themselves; we can't wait to see what next year's challenge brings.
Comp's dyno operator, Rich...
Comp's dyno operator, Rich Smith, not only worked dyno controls, but also found time to help pump fuel for the competition.
So with this contest over, we're looking forward to our next engine challenge, which will feature powerful small-block Mopar powerplants. The applications have been pouring in, and we believe you'll see some previous competitors, as well as some new faces. We've changed it up a little with a less restrictive cylinder head rule, and we should see some unique and powerful combinations in the '07 engine challenge. Will they top the numbers posted by last year's wedges? While we feel the potential is there given the rule changes, we'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, let's take a final look at the dyno sheets for the big-blocks.
Mid America Racing Engines, Washington, IA
David Bruns of Mid America Racing engines brought a somewhat docile Hemi to our first engine challenge, placing respectably with the most streetable engine of the inaugural competition. This year, however, his careful parts selection and machining techniques put his 500ci big-block ahead of the field. While his engine wasn't the most powerful, or the most economical engine of the competition, it was the best blend of the two, which equated to a first place finish.
Learning from his entry in...
Learning from his entry in last year's challenge, David Bruns tuned his economical engine to more than 740 hp, winning the '06 Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge.
While a broken rocker adjuster...
While a broken rocker adjuster had the crew from J.D. Engine and Machine scrambling to make repairs, they still managed to tune their entry to nearly 720 hp and an incredible 654 lb-ft of torque, which landed them a second place finish.
J.D. Engine and Machine, Columbia, MO
Another of our returning competitors was J.D. Engine and Machine. Everyone expected big numbers as engine builder Jeff Dickey made the most power of our initial Hemi engine challenge last year, and they weren't disappointed as Jeff's power was enough for a second place finish. Knowing the wedge engine's propensity for torque, Jeff deftly tuned his 500-inch wedge to the biggest torque numbers of any Edelbrock-headed engine, and the second highest torque of the contest.
Judging by the team effort,...
Judging by the team effort, the crew from J.D. Engine and Machine has plenty of racing experience. They needed it as a broken rocker adjuster had them scrambling to make repairs between dyno pulls. Even with limited tuning time, their power numbers were enough for a second place finish.
The crew from HiTech Motorsport...
The crew from HiTech Motorsport quickly set a high standard as one of our early competitors, making more than 738 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque.
HiTech Motorsport, Ramsey, MN
Engine builder Bart Wells and his crew from HiTech Motorsport are no strangers to power. By luck of the draw, the HiTech entry was the first engine on the dyno, setting the standard high by quickly making more power and torque than even the most powerful Hemi in last year's challenge. Professionally built from a cost effective list of parts, the HiTech entry placed a close third, just points away from a higher finish.
Though they were a little...
Though they were a little nervous about being the first on the dyno, the crew from HiTech impressed us by tuning their engine to more power than any of last year's Hemis.
Engine builders Chuck Millen...
Engine builders Chuck Millen and Pete Costa are no strangers to the big-block Mopar as they've been racing them for years. Their entry impressed us with the second highest power numbers in the competition.
Best Machine, Warren, MI
Best Machine of Warren, Michigan, has a reputation for tweaking killer power numbers from the big-block Chrysler engine. Having the experience of racing these engines certainly helped engine builders Chuck Millen and Pete Costa tune their entry to the second highest power numbers of the contest. At more than 746 hp and 652 lb-ft of torque, this engine would be a blast in a street car and has the power to propel a well-prepped B-body well into the 9s in the quarter-mile. Best Machine finished fourth.
Tuning their engine primarily...
Tuning their engine primarily with air bleed and timing changes, Chuck and Pete netted additional power with each dyno pull.
As engine builder, David Timmons,...
As engine builder, David Timmons, concentrates on the dyno's computer screen, dyno operator, Rich Smith, makes the pull which nets Mopar Engines West the highest combined power and torque of our competition.
Mopar Engines West, Newark, Ca
While the key to winning our engine challenge is making the most power per dollar, the guys from Mopar Engines West obviously wanted to set the power standard for our competition. While the price of their parts cost them a win, we were certainly impressed by the raw power this engine made. Like any good engine builders, Rich Nedbal, David Timmons, and David's daughter, Angie, concentrated on incremental power gains in multiple areas, netting an impressive 761 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque.
Upon inspecting the Mopar...
Upon inspecting the Mopar Engines West entry, it was apparent that a combination of good parts, professional machining and assembly techniques, and concentration on incremental gains in multiple areas were responsible for the huge power numbers exhibited by this engine.
The Speed-O-Motive entry was...
The Speed-O-Motive entry was ready to run right out of the box. In fact, the only tuning technique used by August Cedarstrand was to install an air cleaner to his entry, which netted several additional horsepower.
Speed-O-Motive, West Covina, CA
In the engine building business for decades, Speed-O-Motive is quite adept at providing powerful, reliable engines to their customers. Their entry in this year's challenge was no exception; it fired immediately and needed no real tuning to perform flawlessly during the dyno pulls. Changing things up a bit, Speed-O-Motive adapted a set of race-bred B-1 cylinder heads to their street engine, demonstrating the diversity of their engine building techniques. While this combination was only good for a sixth place finish, we were impressed with the power and reliability of this engine.
Using B-1 cylinder heads presented...
Using B-1 cylinder heads presented several obstacles to the Speed-O-Motive crew, including having to hand cut header gaskets to prevent the gasket from impeding exhaust flow. Even so, this was a reliable and powerful engine.
Ben Gorman of Promax teamed...
Ben Gorman of Promax teamed up with Creative Flow Management to enter an engine in this year's competition.
Promax, Indianapolis, IN
Promax is known for their Six-Pack induction systems, so we were eager to see how their entry performed in our challenge. Their engine fired up and sounded strong on the dyno, but during the first qualifying pull made an unhealthy noise from the upper valvetrain and was shut down. Pulling the valve covers revealed that the bolts holding the rocker arm shafts down were too short and pulled the threads from the cylinder heads, preventing an expeditious repair. Fortunately, the guys at Comp pitched in and found the parts necessary to repair their engine, though not in time for the judged portion of the challenge. Even so, repairs were made, and we made several dyno pulls on this engine for reference.
Using too short a rocker arm...
Using too short a rocker arm bolt proved to be the downfall of the Promax entry, as it pulled the bolt from the head, bending the rocker shaft, and eliminating Promax from the competition.
Engine builder Mike Liston...
Engine builder Mike Liston of MRL Performance had what could have been the winning engine in this year's challenge.
MRL Performance, Jackson, MI
Knowing that cost was factored into the power of each engine in our challenge, Mike Liston of MRL Performance concentrated on keeping costs down. His engine was by far the most economically built in the contest and had it made the required pulls, at the required rpm, we estimate he would have won this year's contest hands down. Unfortunately, this entry was just 200-rpm shy of the 7,000 rpm required by the contest rules and didn't qualify for the judged portion of the contest. As an interesting aside, Mike's wife videoed several of the pulls, and it was later found that the vacuum secondaries weren't opening on his carb. A blocked vacuum port was the culprit and had it been found sooner, Mike would have certainly placed higher in our contest.
The team from Promax pitched...
The team from Promax pitched in to try to get Mike's engine up to speed. unfortunately, the carburetor problem wasn't found until after the contest, and the MRL Performance entry failed to qualify. Had it made rpm, this engine would have won the contest hands down. His peak horsepower number of 472.7 is quite impressive when you realize it was achieved with only the primary side of the carb.