JD Engine and Machine brought a potent 440 to the 2008 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challeng
To see video of JD's dyno run click here.
The 2008 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge featured a 440 spec motor this year, so all the competitors were limited to the same basic combination of a .060 inch over 440 short-block and Indy SR cylinder heads for their entries. Additionally, all engines had to run on the same Rockett Brand 93 octane fuel while they were on Comp's engine dyno, so compression had to remain at a pump-gas friendly level. Instead of factoring costs this year, we simply set the rules, and whoever made the most combined peak horsepower and torque would win our contest. Nearly capturing first place this year was the runner-up entry of JD Engine and Machine, which made 737 hp and 586.4 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1323.4.
Placing well in a dyno competition requires more than just the skills necessary to assemble an engine. Each individual part of the combination has to work in conjunction with all others to produce optimum power. Engine builder Jeff Dickey of JD Engine and Machine in Columbia, Missouri, is an avid drag racer, building some of the most powerful engines in racing for himself and his customers, so he knows a little bit about hitting the right combination. For his entry in this year's contest, Jeff says he concentrated on cylinder head flow, and once the heads were ported for maximum flow, he picked the rest of his parts to match. Additionally, this engine was dyno tuned in-house, and it was ready to run once it was bolted on the dyno at Comp. Firing immediately, Jeff's 440 performed very well and needed only minor tuning to optimize its output on Comp's dyno, placing a very close second this year. Even more impressive, Jeff did it without any exotic tricks, and with only a single four-barrel carburetor for induction. Follow along as we go inside this potent 440 to discover how JD Engine and Machine placed a strong second in this year's Engine Challenge.
As the foundation for this build, engine builder Jeff Dickey chose a factory 440 block with a 1970 casting date. To form a solid rotating assembly, Jeff used an Eagle forged crankshaft, Eagle H-beam connecting rods, and Diamond forged flat-top pistons. Specially designed and coated, these pistons combined with the relatively small chambers of the Indy heads gave this engine just over eleven to one compression. The crank and rods were treated to a special oil-shedding coating, and the rotating assembly was balanced in-house. Clevite bearings were utilized to keep everything spinning freely, and Diamond piston rings were used to seal the cylinders. A Melling PN M63HV oil pump was used in conjunction with a Milodon PN 30931 oil pan and PN 32005 stroker windage tray to keep everything well oiled. A Comp solid roller camshaft was spun by a Pro Gear double roller timing set, and a Professional Products balancer was utilized. Though he claims it doesn't really net any measureable power, Jeff had the camshaft ground with the No. 4 and No. 7 cylinders swapped. This changes the firing order and some claim it reduces harmonics for incremental power gains.
Engine builder Jeff Dickey and his crew placed a close second in this year's Challenge, as
The crew from JD Engine and Machine efficiently tuned their entry to more power on each pu
Having competed in previous Engine Challenges, engine builder Jeff Dickey was aware of tur
Since the factory 440 block is known for its strength, JD Engine and Machine chose a 1970
Engine builder Jeff Dickey fitted his factory block with aftermarket main caps and an Eagl
The lifter bores of this engine were bushed to correct any valve timing inaccuracies in th
Along with his Milodon oil pan with external pickup, Jeff chose to use a stroker windage t
Diamond forged pistons were treated to coated skirts for reduced friction and had a therma
For maximum quench, and maximum power, the Diamond pistons were at a zero deck height at t
Since our rules state the engine will be filled to the pan's capacity with Amsoil, and sin
All the competitors this year had to use the same Indy SR cylinder head and could order either the CNC ported or the non-ported version from Indy. JD Engine and Machine chose the CNC ported versions to top their 440, and engine builder Jeff Dickey treated them to some hand-massaging to optimize flow. Using the Indy valves, Jeff installed Comp PN 947-16 valvesprings with titanium retainers to handle the lift exerted by the Comp solid roller camshaft. Harland Sharp rockers with a lift-enhancing 1.7 ratio were utilized for their proven durability. Rather than concentrating on a single horsepower here or there by reducing windage, Jeff says he spent most of his time maximizing cylinder head flow for the most power potential. This theory worked well as his second place engine nearly missed winning the contest, and was well ahead of the third place entry.
When it came to induction, Jeff tested several intake manifolds before deciding to use an Edelbrock Super Victor single-plane intake with a Dominator flange. Knowing this engine would likely end up in a street car or bracket racer, Jeff resisted the urge to attempt maximum power by using a tunnel-ram, instead deciding to keep it simple given the intended use of this engine. Topping his Super Victor intake, Jeff used a Holley Dominator prepped by BRE. While we can't speculate as to how this engine would have performed with a tunnel-ram, we can say that any improvement in this engine's performance would have certainly made the first place choice more interesting.
Since our rules dictated that each builder use the same Indy SR cylinder head, Jeff chose
Harland Sharp aluminum roller rocker arms were used for their proven reliability. Jeff cho
Since he had made multiple pulls on this engine on his dyno, Jeff decided to check valve l
After testing multiple intake manifolds, Jeff chose the new Edelbrock Super Victor aluminu
The bottom of the rocker arms had to be machined to clear the valve retainers. This is a c
On the dyno, it was apparent that the hard work of JD Engine and Machine paid off. Making
The intake manifold was also ported in-house to match the intake ports of the cylinder hea
An MSD Pro-Billet distributor was used to ignite the fires, and wired to match the cam's 4
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