This year's Engine Challenge featured the Chrysler 440 big-block spec engine, and the Indy
The Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge is one of our favorite events to cover here at Mopar Muscle because each year it gives us the opportunity to highlight the performance of a great Chrysler engine. In years past, our Engine Challenge has featured stroked Hemis, stroked big-blocks, and stroked small-blocks, and all these engines impressed us with their power numbers. In each of the past Challenges, the engine builders had to follow the basic rules, factoring the engine's cost and limiting displacement, and they all had to run on the same 93-octane pump fuel, but otherwise anything was fair game. This year we decided to change it up a bit and require all the builders to use the same basic parts to build what is commonly termed a spec engine.
When deciding which engine combination to feature in this year's Challenge, we took many factors into consideration. Rather than coming up with an exotic combination, we decided since one of the most common bracket and street car engines is the 440, that it made sense to feature the 440 in this year's contest. With the engine picked, we decided to keep it simple this year and limit the builders to a .060 inch overbore, and stock stroke. This is a typical short-block that pretty much anyone can build, and is the same basic engine that many of our readers have in their street or bracket cars.
All of this year's competitors delivered their engines to us at the Mopar Nationals in Col
Because this year's rules call for a spec engine, all of the builders had to use the same Indy SR cylinder heads to top their 440s. Indy Cylinder Head has been supporting Mopar racers with fantastic aftermarket engine parts for many years, and their SR head is a great choice for the Chrysler 440. The SR head is moderately priced, offers large valves, an efficient combustion chamber, and plenty of port volume for the flow needed to feed a 440, but doesn't require specially offset rocker arms. Also, the SR cylinder head is available in a CNC ported version with max-wedge size intake ports which most of this year's builders took advantage of.
|Cederstrand Racing Engines||Chenoweth Speed and Machine|
|August Cederstrand||Mike Chenoweth|
|P.O. Box 1653||368 Erie Ave.|
|Brea, CA 92821||Morton, IL 61550|
|Diamondback Engines||Indy Cylinder Head|
|Dave Schultz||Russ Flagle|
|7723 FM 723 ||8621 Southeastern Ave.|
|Richmond, TX 77469||Indianapolis, IN 46239|
|JD Engine and Machine||JMS Racing Engines|
|Jeff Dickey||Mike Johnson|
|900 Spencer Ave.||5450 Peck Rd.|
|Columbia, MO 65203||El Monte, CA 91732|
|Mid America Racing Engines||Schurbon Engine and Machine|
|David Bruns||Scott Schurbon|
|1945 W. 18th St.||203 South Clark St.|
|Washington, IA 52353||Maquoketa, IA 52060|
Otherwise, the rules of our contest were pretty simple. Builders could choose one of two aftermarket oil pans, or use a factory pan, and induction was limited to 1,350 cfm. Any camshaft could be used, and all of this year's competitors chose solid roller cams for their engines. We again ran all the engines on Rockett Brand 93 octane pump fuel, which kept the compression of most motors around 11:1. Amsoil was our major sponsor again this year, and again we had no oil related issues with any of the engines. If you haven't tried Amsoil's full line of synthetic lubricants, you should. More than one of this year's engine builders commented on how clean their engines looked after being run on Amsoil.
Amsoil was again our major sponsor for this year's challenge, and again none of the engine
Comp Cams hosted the dyno portion of our Engine Challenge, and as usual things went very s
How dedicated is Comp to designing and manufacturing great Mopar products? Unlike some oth
There's nothing like a 700-plus horsepower Mopar big-block screaming to 7,000 rpm on the d
In addition to a great facility and staff, Comp provided some pretty good lunches as well.
In addition to a great facility and staff, Comp provided some pretty good lunches as well.
Indy Cylinder Head made impressive power to score a win in this year's Engine Challenge. T
Engine builder Jeff Dickey and the crew from J.D. Engine and Machine placed a close second
It's hard to run a dyno competition without a dyno, and Comp Cams again gladly offered its research facility, personnel, and dyno cell for our contest. As usual, the staff at Comp was professional, helpful, and courteous, which really made the Engine Challenge run smoothly. To make things even more interesting, several of the Comp engineers were consulted by the engine builders while selecting the cam for their Challenge engines. So when these builders ran their engines, Comp's engineering staff was there to observe and to take notes as to how their camshafts performed. In all, the team at Comp was very professional and showed a high level of dedication to designing and improving their products. We again thank them for their help with this year's contest.
There was much speculation about how much power it would take to win this year's contest, and most of us around here thought horsepower numbers in the low 700s would do it. In actuality, many of the engines made close to 700 hp, and to capture the win the Indy Cylinder Head entry used some clever techniques to make nearly 760 hp. This month we'll outline how each of the engines performed in the order they placed in the Engine Challenge, then we'll go inside each engine in future issues, detailing the parts and building techniques each shop used to be competitive.
Indy Cylinder Head
Topping the field in this year's contest, engine builders Russ Flagle and Ken Lazzeri of Indy Cylinder Head brought a potent 440 to the Challenge. Drawing the last dyno position, it was evident from their first qualifying dyno pull that this engine had contest-leading power. The crew from Indy made minor tuning changes during their pulls, changing ignition timing, spark plugs, and valve lash, to net a best pull of 758 hp and 601.6 lb/ft of torque for a contest-leading combined score of 1359.6. These are very impressive numbers for a stock stroke 440, and the crew at Indy used some conventional, and a few not-so-conventional tricks to get there. Be sure to follow future issues as we're eager to show you what went into this killer combination. We congratulate Indy Cylinder Head for winning the 2008 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge.
J.D. Engine and Machine
Placing second in this year's Engine Challenge was J.D. Engine and Machine. Engine builder Jeff Dickey obviously did his homework for this year's challenge, and his engine performed flawlessly from its first dyno pull. During his qualifying pulls, Jeff and his efficient crew tuned the engine by adding an air-turbine hat to the carburetor, changing carb spacers, then bumping ignition timing from 38 to 41 degrees. Jeff stated that instead of using exotic bottom end tricks to net a single horsepower here or there, he concentrated on cylinder head and intake manifold flow to net big power numbers. On his engine's best judged dyno pull, it made 737 hp and 586.4 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1323.4 to capture second place. Even more impressive, Jeff made these numbers not using a tunnel-ram, but with an Edelbrock single-plane intake and single Dominator carburetor. Though not completely happy with second place, this engine may have been a tunnel-ram away from making the contest even closer, and would certainly retail for less than Indy's first place entry. We congratulate J.D. Engine and Machine for their second place finish in this year's competition.
Tunnel-ram induction certainly helped Indy's peak numbers, landing them in first place for
Engine builders Ken Lazzeri and Russ Flagle spent considerable time testing this engine at
Having been dyno tested at their facility, the J.D. Engine and Machine entry made great po
By adding an air-turbine to the carb and bumping ignition timing from 38 to 41 degrees, th
At nearly 700 hp, the Chenoweth Speed and Machine entry captured third place in the 2008 E
Using a stethoscope, Mike Chenoweth detected a loose rocker arm adjuster. Tightening the v
Placing fourth this year, the Cederstrand Racing Engines entry made over 670 hp and 573 lb
Changing from a 1050 to an 1150 Dominator, then bumping ignition timing to 38 degrees furt
The Cederstrand Racing Engines entry made good power and torque, and having been previousl
Chenoweth Speed And Machine
Third place in this year's Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge went to the father and son team of Chenoweth Speed and Machine. Known for their precision machine work and solid mechanical skills, engine builders Dale and Mike Chenoweth brought a durable, powerful 440 to this year's Challenge. Peaking precisely at the contest limit of 7,000 rpm, the Chenoweth 440 made 695.8 hp and 567.3 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1263.1. During their dyno session, they tuned their 440 to additional power with each pull by tightening valve lash, utilizing different carb spacers, and changing from a 1050 to an 1150 carburetor. At nearly 700 hp, this is a stout 440 that would be a wicked street motor or feel right at home in a bracket car. Our congratulations to Chenoweth Speed and Machine for an impressive third place finish.
Cederstrand Racing Engines
Although his shop is new to our Challenge, you might recognize our forth place finisher as he formerly represented Speed-O-Motive in previous Engine Challenges. Since last year's Challenge, engine builder August Cederstrand is on his own and is now designing and building high-performance engines at his new shop, Cederstrand Racing Engines. Known for putting together durable combinations, and for not cutting corners, August brought a strong, tunnel-ram equipped 440 to this year's contest. Having been previously dyno tuned, this engine performed well at Comp's facility, needing only minor valve lash and ignition timing changes to optimize power output. For an added edge, August added velocity stacks on his dual carbs, and cooled the intake with electronics cleaner prior to his final pull. When his session was over, August's best pull netted 670.9 hp and 573.1 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1244.0. We congratulate Cederstrand Racing Engines on their fourth place performance and wish August luck with his new business.
JMS Racing Engines
Another newcomer to our 2008 Engine Challenge was JMS Racing Engines. JMS Racing Engines is a full-service engine shop with a complete machine shop, flow bench, and dyno cell, and had already spent a considerable amount of time tuning their combination at their shop. Stating that his engine was ready to run, engine builder Mike Johnson chose to make his qualifying dyno pulls back to back with no tuning changes whatsoever. After a cool down period between the qualifying and judged pulls, Mike again confidently chose to simply make his three required pulls, again with no tuning changes. Once those pulls were complete, Mike changed his jetting and added two degrees of ignition timing, making three more judged pulls in the allotted time. On its best pull, the JMS 440 made 678.1 hp and 563.5 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1241.6. We thank Mike Johnson and the crew from JMS for participating in the 2008 Engine Challenge and congratulate JMS Racing Engines on their fifth place finish.
For his final pull, August added velocity stacks and cooled the intake with electronics cl
At over 678 hp and 563 lb/ft of torque, the JMS Racing Engines entry landed fifth place in
Although this year's Engine Challenge was anything but smooth for Schurbon Engine and Mach
Having been previously tuned at their shop, engine builder Mike Johnson simply bolted the
The JMS Racing Engines engine fired immediately, and engine builder Mike Johnson verified
After losing engine builder Devin Sievels in a motorcycle accident, Scott and the crew fro
Schurbon Engine and Machine
As last year's second place finisher, Schurbon Engine and Machine was a contender for a top finish in this year's contest. A series of unfortunate events, however, would keep us from seeing the true potential of this engine. As the proprietor of Schurbon Engine and Machine, Scott Schurbon's misfortunes began when his top engine builder and close friend Devin Sievels was killed in an unfortunate motorcycle accident on April 5, 2008. Prior to his passing, Devin had been assigned the Challenge engine and was excited about showing off his abilities during our contest. After Devin's passing, Scott says the loss of a great employee was only outweighed by the emotional loss suffered by Scott and the rest of the employees at Schurbon Engine and Machine. Dedicated to completing the engine in Devin's honor, they struggled to regain the excitement about the contest that Devin had felt, but it was tough. Engine builder David Bruns from Mid America Racing Engines pitched in to help with the cylinder heads, and the Schurbon crew sadly completed the work that Devin had begun. Finishing the engine just in time to dyno, then having to repair the engine just prior to delivery, had Schurbon behind the eight ball. Even so, their 440 fired immediately and sounded crisp on Comp's dyno, but a misread of the timing light by Scott inadvertently set the timing at 64 degrees total advance on the first pull. Scott quickly realized his error, but the damage was already done. Detonation had blown both head gaskets as well as seizing several compression rings, rendering his engine severely down on power. Considering their problems, we'd consider just showing up to the engine challenge a win. Their 654.8 hp and 569 lb/ft of torque netted a combined score of 1223.8, and a sixth place finish in this year's Engine Challenge.
Schurbon Engine and Machine wasn't the only shop with issues in this year's Challenge as Mid America Racing Engines and Diamondback Engines both dropped out of our competition for their own individual reasons. As an alternate, we called Ben Gorman of Promax Carbs to see if he'd like to participate. Although time was short, Ben said Promax would build an engine and should be able to meet our deadline of the Mopar Nationals. With limited time, building an all-out competition motor wasn't feasible, so instead, the crew from Promax built an engine that would highlight their specialty, Six-Pack induction. Using a customer's intake and heads (with permission, of course), Promax built a solid street 440 that performed well during the contest. Though the cylinder head ports were left at the 906 port size, and compression was a mild ten to one, the Promax entry proved powerful as it made 554.1 hp and 526.3 lb/ft of torque to finish seventh in the 2008 Engine Challenge.
Though frustrated after inadvertently hurting his engine through detonation on its first p
As a late entry in this year's Engine Challenge, Promax Carbs and Performance Parts made a
Though limited by time as an alternate entry, the Promax crew built a solid 440 that highl
With minor timing and jetting changes, engine builder Ben Gorman and his crew efficiently