Some of the most rewarding things about working for Mopar Muscle are the opportunities we get to give back to the Mopar community. Last year, we teamed up with Carlisle Productions, Muscle Motors, and many of our generous advertisers to build a 505ci big-block that was given away at the 2008 All-Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Since the giveaway was such a big hit, we decided to do it again for this year's event that will be held July 10th through the 12th. The rules are simple, if you attend the event at Carlisle, you're automatically entered to win the engine. The only stipulation is that you have to be present to win, and we can assure you this stroker big-block is worth hanging around for.

Since last year's 505ci pump-gas monster got so much attention, we agreed that the engine for this year's giveaway should be equally as potent. Because so many Mopar muscle cars were originally equipped with a 383 engine, we also thought it would be cool to use the 383 as a foundation for this build. While a stock 383 runs pretty good, we figured whoever won this motor would want a powerful engine that would serve well in a street car or street/strip application. After a quick call to engine builder Mike Ware at Muscle Motors in Lansing, Michigan, we agreed that a 383, stroked to 490 ci, would be a good choice. With a plan in place, we made the necessary arrangements for Mike to begin working on the engine.

Building an engine isn't as simple as just bolting together a bunch of parts from a catalog; it starts with a well-formulated plan that is dictated by the end use of the engine. Since this engine will likely end up in a street car, running on pump gas is considered mandatory. Additionally, we decided the engine should have reasonable idle quality, so a hydraulic roller camshaft from Comp made sense. Durability was also a consideration, and this engine was built with some of the best new parts available for Mopar big-blocks so it should give its owner many trouble-free years of driving pleasure.

Starting with a seasoned 383 block with a 1968 casting date, Mike Ware and the crew from Muscle Motors got busy performing the necessary standard machine work as well as machining the block to make room for their 4.25-inch-stroke forged crankshaft. The block was bored to 4.28 inches to accommodate the Diamond 9.3:1 compression pistons, and the rotating assembly was balanced before being assembled with Clevite bearings and Milodon fasteners. To oil this big-block, A Milodon pan and windage tray were combined with a high-volume oil pump and internal pickup. Since drivability, durability, and power were all considerations for this build, a Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft and lifters were chosen and spun by a double row timing set.

To top the short-block we wanted heads that would produce power, combined with the stock look of cast iron. Fortunately, Muscle Motors offers their own proprietary CNC ported 906 casting cylinder heads, which match this combination perfectly. Flowing 313 cfm at .600-inch lift, these heads will support all the power our stroked 383 will make, while looking externally like stock cylinder heads. After the CNC work was accomplished, Muscle Motors assembled the heads using Milodon stainless steel 2.14-inch intake and 1.81-inch exhaust valves, and Comp Cams valvesprings, retainers, and locks. The 86cc chamber heads were then bolted on using Victor Reinz head gaskets with a compressed thickness of .039 inch. To handle induction, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake was combined with a Quick Fuel Technology 830-cfm vacuum secondary carburetor featuring a billet throttle body and metering blocks, changeable air bleeds, and four-corner idle circuitry. If you're getting the idea this is one stout big-block, you're right. How stout? Muscle Motors dyno tuned the engine after building it, and the numbers are impressive.

After building the 490 stroker, it was bolted up to the Muscle Motors engine dyno to tune and test it. Once the engine was fired up and brought to temperature (170 degrees), Mike initiated his first pull from 2,500 to 5,200 rpm with the timing at 31 degrees, and the carburetor jetted with No. 83 primary jets and No. 84 secondary jets. This pull basically helped seat the rings and made sure everything was operating properly. On the second pull, there were no tuning changes made but Mike decided to pull the engine from 2,800 to 5,200 rpm to clean up the air/fuel readings. This pull netted 517 hp at 5,000 rpm and an incredible 612 lb/ft of torque at 3,900 rpm. Checking a plug, Mike noticed the engine was a little rich, so he bumped the ignition timing to 33 degrees, netting 526 hp and 616 lb/ft of torque. Further power tuning included bumping the timing to 36 degrees, and leaning the carb slightly with jet and air-bleed changes. The net result was 534 hp at 5,200 rpm and 619 lb/ft of torque at 3,900 rpm. Not bad for an engine running on 92 octane pump fuel purchased at the local station!

After tuning for power, Mike wanted to tune the big-block for economy. A series of pulls was again initiated and jetting changed to the lean side, working to 80s in the primary, and 88s in the secondaries for proper air/fuel ratios. Though this was an economy tune, the engine actually made its best pull of all in this configuration, netting 537 hp at 5,300 rpm and 628 lb/ft of torque at 3,900 rpm. The gain in horsepower was likely a combination of tuning, the rings fully seating, and the engine loosening slightly as the internals established wear patterns. Feeling the engine was properly tuned and ready to run, Mike deemed it healthy and prepped it to ship. Be sure you're at Carlisle's All-Chrysler Nationals this year, and this potent 383 stroker may just end up in the engine bay of one of your cars!

Perfect Circle
Diamond Pistons
Clinton Twp.
Muscle Motors
2085 Glenn St.
MI  48906
Edelbrock Corporation
2700 California St.
CA  90503
2250 Agate Ct.
Simi Valley
CA  93065
Quick Fuel Technology
Bowling Green
Victor Reinz
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