Make Power? Read on
The 2009 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge featured the low-deck, big-block Mopar engine, and builders from around the country demonstrated their ability to make big power numbers while adhering to a strict budget. Since our rules this year factored the combined peak power and torque divided into the cost of the engine's major components, engine builders had to choose their parts wisely and spend money where it mattered. As an additional twist this year, we decided to factor used parts at their fair market value instead of at full retail price. In today's economy we thought it would be good to show that you don't necessarily have to use all new components to build a stout big-block.

This year's rules didn't limit engine displacement, and required all of the competitors to utilize Edelbrock's popular Performer RPM cylinder heads. R.M. Competition of Roseville, Michigan, built the largest engine in the 2009 contest, at 512 cubic inches, using a stroker kit from 440Source. No stranger to performance engines, R.M. Competition regularly builds Mopar street and race engines for circle track, dragstrip, and even drag-boat use. Known for making power on a budget, we were eager to see how the R.M. Competition entry performed.

On Comp's dyno, engine builder Randy Malik tuned his big-block to an impressive 628.8 horsepower and 596.5 lb-ft of torque, finishing seventh in this year's contest. The R.M. Competition entry certainly would have had a higher finish, but unfortunately, engine builder Randy Malik missed our rule change from the previous year, thinking that parts were factored at retail cost instead of fair market value. Using new parts instead of "seasoned" pieces simply drove the cost of this entry too high to be competitive for a top finish. Even so, at well over 600 horsepower and nearly 600 lb-ft of torque, this engine would be a monster in a well-prepped Mopar. This month we'll go inside the R.M. Competition entry and see exactly what parts they used to make their impressive power.

As a foundation for his entry, Randy made the same choice as all the other competitors, utilizing a factory 400 block for its large bore size. After performing all the necessary machine work in-house, the block was filled with a stroker kit from 440Source, featuring a forged crank, forged H-beam connecting rods, and forged flat-top pistons. Taking advantage of the kit option from 440Source, the bearings and rings were also included with the crank, rods, and pistons, for a complete balanced rotating assembly. To keep this big-block's vital engine parts lubricated, a Melling PN M63 oil pump was utilized along with a Moroso PN 20760 oil pan and a Muscle Motors top plate, allowing for an external oil pickup. A Professional Products SFI approved harmonic balancer was utilized instead of a stock unit, ensuring smooth operation throughout the rpm range.

Edelbrock's Performer RPM aluminum cylinder heads are available either fully assembled or as bare castings. Randy chose the assembled versions to keep costs down. Instead of replacing the springs for the Lunati flat-tappet camshaft, he simply added a set of Elgin RV-926 inner springs to help control the valvetrain. R.M. Competition enlisted the help of Modern Cylinder Head to port the cylinder heads, and topped them with Harland-Sharp aluminum roller rocker arms.

A big engine needs big induction, so an Edelbrock PN 2886 intake was ported to match the heads, and a used PN 8896 1050-cfm Holley Dominator was rebuilt to handle mixing the fuel and air. To fire the mixture, a factory Chrysler electronic distributor was utilized with no modifications, along with the MSD 6 ignition box on Comp's dyno. Though not the most powerful engine in the contest, this big-block was a strong performer and we thank R.M. Competition for competing in the 2009 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge.

2009 participants
Chenoweth Speed and MachineJD Engine and Machine
Mike ChenowethJeff Dickey
Morton, IL, 61550Columbia, MO, 65203
309/266-8084573/445-4550
chenowethspeedandmachine.com
LaRoy EnginesMid America Racing Engines
Jim LaRoyDavid Bruns
Challis, ID 83226Washington, IA 52353
208/ 879-2969319/653-6282
jglaroy@custertel.netmidamericadb@iowatelecom.net
Promax PerformanceR.M. Competition
Ben GormanRandy Malik
Indianapolis, INRoseville, MI, 48066
317/484-1451586/909-1591
sales@promaxcarbs.comrmcomprandy@yahoo.com
Schurbon Engine and Machine
Scott Schurbon
Maquoketa, IA, 52060
563/652-3100
Schurbo@msn.com