Though this year's Engine Challenge was far from routine for engine builder Scott Schurbon
To see video of Schurbon's dyno run click here.
As last year's runner-up finisher, Schurbon Engine and Machine made impressive power with their Magnum-headed stroker small-block, finishing second only to the somewhat exotic entry of Indy Cylinder Head. So as this year's Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge began, everyone was eager to see how the 440 built by Schurbon Engine and Machine would perform in the 2008 contest. Unfortunately, a series of unplanned events would keep us from seeing the true potential of this motor. Even so, the Schurbon engine made an impressive 654.8 hp and 568 lb/ft of torque on Rockett Brand 93 octane pump fuel, for a combined score of 1223.8 and a sixth place finish. Had the engine not been damaged on its first pull, we're sure these numbers would have been higher, making Schurbon a contender for a better finish, but this year the deck just seemed to be stacked against engine builder Scott Schurbon.
The problems encountered by Schurbon Engine and Machine this year began well before their engine was bolted to Comp's dyno in September. In fact, shortly after Scott assigned the Challenge 440 to his top engine builder Devin Sievels, Devin was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on April 5, 2008. The loss of Devin affected everyone at Schurbon Engine and Machine as they lost not only a valuable employee, but a close friend. As an experienced race-engine builder, Devin had big plans for this 440 and energetically began the project. Unfortunately, Devin didn't survive to see the fruits of his labor as the 440 was in the preliminary stages at the time of his death. Struggling to regain Devin's excitement, Scott and the rest of the crew at Schurbon pitched in to finish the engine in his honor, but struggled emotionally due to the loss of their coworker and friend. Pressing on, they did complete the engine just in time for a dyno test session, but then had to repair the engine on the dyno, barely making the drop-off deadline of last year's Mopar Nationals.
Once at Comp for our dyno session, Scott was optimistic about his entry, but we could tell the emotional impact of losing an employee and friend was bothering him. Wishing Devin could have completed this engine, and wanting the entry to perform well, Scott had a lot on his mind and inadvertently set the engine's timing to 64 degrees total advance for its first pull. During the pull the engine sounded ok, but something was off as it didn't make the power it should have. Checking the timing again for the second pull, Scott quickly realized his mistake and corrected it, but the damage was already done. Rather than blaming the equipment or circumstances, Scott took full responsibility for the error and felt terrible because of all the work his employees put into the motor. Luckily, the engine survived to make all the required pulls, though the post-dyno teardown revealed two blown head gaskets and several pinched compression rings due to heavy detonation induced by the improper ignition timing. Even so, the 440 made an impressive 654.8 hp and 569 lb/ft of torque. We can only speculate as to how much power this engine would have made if it were healthy, but we're sure it would have certainly finished better than sixth place.
After being bolted to Comp's dyno, the Schurbon entry fired up and sounded crisp. This eng
After a misread of the adjustable timing light, Scott mistakenly set the ignition timing a
Subsequently, Scott used the timing light to look at the oil through his way-cool, clear L