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Why Haven't We Established A Performance Mod Order/Proven Combos List For Our Motors?

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Old 11-14-2017, 02:42 PM
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Default Why Haven't We Established A Performance Mod Order/Proven Combos List For Our Motors?

Since purchasing this truck over 3 years ago, I have spent a very long time scouring forums looking for essentially an Order of Modification List that would show the best bang for the buck mods on these magnum engines. It's been a MAJOR headache. Back when I had an LS1 Camaro, you could pop into LS1Tech.com and those guys could show you with dyno results that X part did Y on Z setup. It was great. If you were going to buy a cam, there were dozens of people who had run that exact cam, dynoed it, raced with it, and reported their results. Over here in magnum world though...it just seems like it's thread after thread of people looking for 40 horsepower out of a cold air intake and indexed E3 spark plugs, or someone else saying that every performance issue under the sun is just a plenum leak so fix that and it will be sunshine and roses.


I am not trying to be a dick, but I really wish those who don't actually know anything would stop giving advice because in one thread you'll see someone claim that X modification made a world of difference, and in the next you'll find someone else saying it doesn't do squat. We aren't talking about changing human beings here. This is a nearly identical inanimate object that we all own. The same changes will result in pretty much the same results. The placebo effect is very strong, and I wish there were more scientifically minded folks out there doing testing on these engines (that don't work for magazines and market for their sponsors). I would like to point out that I am not in the position financially or experience wise to be someone who does this kind of testing and results publication and I understand that most people are in the same boat as me in this regard...but I also don't go around telling people what they should do to their motors either because I obviously don't know. That's all I'm asking.


I, and I am sure many others like me, have ended up wasting money on modifications chasing performance gains and being very disappointing. The ideal example would be superchips. I can't tell you how many threads I read where people reported noticeable performance gains on stock trucks with superchips...so I bought one(an F4), installed it....and.....nothing. It's a complete and utter waste of money. Didn't matter what tune was loaded, or what octane of fuel was in the tank, every one of them was worse than stock. Lots of pinging, and no noticeable gain in performance whatsoever. Even the 87 tune with 93 octane in the tank pinged a little.


The ONLY place I've seen that has even attempted to put together a list of first do this, then do that, for magnum engines is Hughes, and they sell magnum parts... I'm not saying they can't be trusted somewhat (some do say this) but there is a conflict of interest here. Even if they're honest, the information they've published is extremely limited and offers nearly no explanation as to WHY things work. For example, if the stock throttle body will outflow the stock heads by over double, why the hell would you need a bigger throttle body on a stock truck?


The last vestige of organized performance information are the magazines. And guess what, exactly none of them do testing with the stock efi...which we all have. Less than 1% of us are ripping off the stock efi in favor of a carburetor...because that would be stupid. All of their tests though, are done carbed because it's convenient. Therefore, any dyno proven results they publish are unlikely to be duplicated in an efi setup because of the computer compensation and tuning issues.


Now, I'm not just ranting here. I'm begging someone to point me towards some valid information that I can use when moving forward with my motor build. I'm not 65 and haven't been working on mopars for 40 years. I need some help. I've put in the effort to attempt to self-educate, but I've come up empty because of all the conflicting information. I don't know who to believe.


This is what I want to accomplish with my 5.9. It's in an extended cab 4x4 ram with 4.10s and 33's.


I need more passing power, quite a bit of it. Right now, passing on a two lane road is a butthole puckering experience because the truck is so damned slow. It doesn't have any mechanical issues hamstringing it, it runs fine, it's just slower than I want it to be. I would like to see at least a 50 horsepower and torque improvement at the wheels over stock. Obviously this will require internal engine modification and I'm good with that. The motor is coming out next month for a refresh and I want to build it then. While I'm there I am going to do the plenum fix even though mine doesn't fail the test, and re-seal everything.


It currently has
Spectre Cold Air Intake (full one with heat shield, not drop in. This did nothing for performance but sounds good)
180 degree stat (also no register on the butt dyno despite dozens of posts claiming otherwise)
New trans with shift kit, external filter, and lots of auxiliary cooling


The combo I THINK I can accomplish this goal for minimal investment, but I also think I'm probably wrong.

Cam - Hughes HUG SER0814ALN-14 - They claim up to 31hp and 48ft-lbs on a chassis dyno with only a cam change. Of course there is no dyno chart to prove this on their site.

Heads - Stock heads with mild DIY porting, meaning using the mopar porting templates, then gasket matching the heads to the intake

Intake - Stock keg, gasket matched with polished runners. Can someone for the love of christ do an A -> B dyno test with the damn kegger mod? "Results" for this are all over the place. I know Dulcich did the flow bench test with it, but he didn't do a dyno test with it, so we have no idea if it really changed the powerband or made more power, we only know if flowed 10cfm more.

Exhaust - Stock except for glasspack muffler (haven't seen compelling evidence of headers, off road y pipe, etc pickup up power on mild magnums)

Tune - STOCK The reason I am not running a more aggressive cam is because hughes claims that one will work fine with stock tuning. I have experienced nothing but massive hype followed by bitter disappointment when it comes to custom tuning on modern vehicles.


Can someone experienced please point out errors in my thinking or suggest better alternatives for the sake of meeting this goal? I know I probably sound like a ***** right now, but I am just exquisitely frustrated by the lack of real information I've been able to obtain despite literally hundreds of hours of online research. I would very very much appreciate it.
 

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Old 11-14-2017, 03:57 PM
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The biggest advantage the GM (LSx, LTx) folks have, is they are friggin' EVERYWHERE, and there is tons of aftermarket support for them, not to mention a bunch of VERY active communities, even for the older cars/engines. (I've been a member at thirdgen.org since 1999....... and it was a thriving, old community even back then...... and still is, for cars that haven't been built in over 20 years....... the NEWEST ones qualifies as antiques......) The mopar engines were just never that popular, till the hemi's came out....... Not to mention the 360/318 were never really considered performance engines. Folks thought of them as 'truck' engines, and even today, that reputation still hangs on like last weeks duct tape.....

I think getting 50hp/tq more to the rear wheels without custom tuning is going to be tough. You might just as well tack that 500 bucks into your build budget, and then look and see what can REALLY do. Trouble is, there just isn't that much aftermarket support for the magnum engines anymore. You get a choice of two intakes, (aside from the kegger) Hughes Air Gap, which you can still get, or the Mopar M1, which is becoming very difficult to find. Neither of them are cheap. Right around 600 or so...... The hughes requires some modifications to the fuel rail, (different crossover tube) M1 just bolts right in, no modding of anything necessary.

Biggest problem with the magnum engines IS the kegger manifold. It is designed strictly for low end torque, and runs out of breath around 4K rpm or so. The kegger mod doesn't give any more power per se, it just moves the power band up a couple hundred RPM.

Second problem is the heads, they just don't flow that well, even after porting......

So, if I were lookin' for more power out of my magnum V-8, this is what I would do. (keeping in mind it is for a truck........)

Hughes Air Gap. Simply because they are easier to find.
EQ Monster Magnum heads. 1.94 intake valves. Much better flowing, but, with the smaller valves (2.02 are also available) will keep the bottom end torque, which you want in a truck.
Cam: An RV or Towing cam. Something with it's power curve from 1000 to wherever. Some roller rockers wouldn't hurt either. Even sticking with the stock ratio, simply being rollers will 'give back' some power lost in the valve train. (also tend to be more accurate.)
I think the stock compression ratio is north of 9:1...... Think I would try and stay around there, or get really **** about reducing quench area..... (one of the methods of reducing tendency to knock)
Good set of headers. According to dyno charts I have seen, (which I can't find now.....) shorties actually give better mid-range torque than long tubes. Long tubes are better in the upper rpm range. stick with relatively small primaries. 1 5/8ths. That will increase scavenging down low, where you want it.
Full 2.5 inch dual exhaust, with an X, or H pipe. (fools the exhaust into thinking the collectors are longer... also good for low-mid range scavenging.)
And then a custom tune to make is all play nice together.

It won't be a high-rpm screaming race motor, but, it will have GOBS of low-end torque. You won't need the right tires to push the house off the foundation.

You will need other parts as well...... valve springs and such to match the cam, probably longer pushrods, since most of Hughes cams are re-grinds.... (means smaller base circle, so, longer pushrods required.)

It may not give you 50 more horsepower, but it will likely give you more than 50 torque....... If it isn't enough, supercharge it.
 
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HeyYou View Post
The biggest advantage the GM (LSx, LTx) folks have, is they are friggin' EVERYWHERE, and there is tons of aftermarket support for them, not to mention a bunch of VERY active communities, even for the older cars/engines. (I've been a member at thirdgen.org since 1999....... and it was a thriving, old community even back then...... and still is, for cars that haven't been built in over 20 years....... the NEWEST ones qualifies as antiques......) The mopar engines were just never that popular, till the hemi's came out....... Not to mention the 360/318 were never really considered performance engines. Folks thought of them as 'truck' engines, and even today, that reputation still hangs on like last weeks duct tape.....

I think getting 50hp/tq more to the rear wheels without custom tuning is going to be tough. You might just as well tack that 500 bucks into your build budget, and then look and see what can REALLY do. Trouble is, there just isn't that much aftermarket support for the magnum engines anymore. You get a choice of two intakes, (aside from the kegger) Hughes Air Gap, which you can still get, or the Mopar M1, which is becoming very difficult to find. Neither of them are cheap. Right around 600 or so...... The hughes requires some modifications to the fuel rail, (different crossover tube) M1 just bolts right in, no modding of anything necessary.

Biggest problem with the magnum engines IS the kegger manifold. It is designed strictly for low end torque, and runs out of breath around 4K rpm or so. The kegger mod doesn't give any more power per se, it just moves the power band up a couple hundred RPM.

Second problem is the heads, they just don't flow that well, even after porting......

So, if I were lookin' for more power out of my magnum V-8, this is what I would do. (keeping in mind it is for a truck........)

Hughes Air Gap. Simply because they are easier to find.
EQ Monster Magnum heads. 1.94 intake valves. Much better flowing, but, with the smaller valves (2.02 are also available) will keep the bottom end torque, which you want in a truck.
Cam: An RV or Towing cam. Something with it's power curve from 1000 to wherever. Some roller rockers wouldn't hurt either. Even sticking with the stock ratio, simply being rollers will 'give back' some power lost in the valve train. (also tend to be more accurate.)
I think the stock compression ratio is north of 9:1...... Think I would try and stay around there, or get really **** about reducing quench area..... (one of the methods of reducing tendency to knock)
Good set of headers. According to dyno charts I have seen, (which I can't find now.....) shorties actually give better mid-range torque than long tubes. Long tubes are better in the upper rpm range. stick with relatively small primaries. 1 5/8ths. That will increase scavenging down low, where you want it.
Full 2.5 inch dual exhaust, with an X, or H pipe. (fools the exhaust into thinking the collectors are longer... also good for low-mid range scavenging.)
And then a custom tune to make is all play nice together.

It won't be a high-rpm screaming race motor, but, it will have GOBS of low-end torque. You won't need the right tires to push the house off the foundation.

You will need other parts as well...... valve springs and such to match the cam, probably longer pushrods, since most of Hughes cams are re-grinds.... (means smaller base circle, so, longer pushrods required.)

It may not give you 50 more horsepower, but it will likely give you more than 50 torque....... If it isn't enough, supercharge it.
I appreciate you weighing in, but I was hoping you could give some more rationale for WHY you would suggest such changes(with evidence). I need specifics, not just product recommendations. I want to understand.

First, for my stated goals, a different manifold does not seem indicated. Even if you take the Hughes dyno for the air gap at face value, they show the keg killing both the airgap and m1 everywhere under 4k and only being slightly worse between 4-5. This truck is a slow revving engine that redlines at 5k. The time it spends up in that rpm gap where the other manifolds hold an advantage is minimal, so why would I want to drop over $600 plus tune money on that? Just because it's offered? This is the mentality that is problematic. Yes, the airgap or M1 would be better for racing, but clearly, they aren't better for moving a 5000lb boat around day to day.

Second, regarding the heads, Steve Dulcich published an article in hotrod where he ported some stock magnum heads. He ended up with a peak flow number of 236cfm on the intake side (at .500) and 213cfm on the exhaust side (at .600). Hughes published numbers on their non-ported EQ heads with 1.92 and 2.02 valves. With the 1.92, they maxed out at 246cfm(at .500) intake and 180chm (at .500) exhaust, carrying only an 8-9cfm advantage over stock(non-ported) until they hit over .400 valve lift. With the 2.02 they maxed out at 251cfm (at .500) intake and 180cfm on the exhaust (at .500) carrying a more substantial advantage over stock through the whole lift spectrum. With porting, those EQ heads could be far better of course. This would support your position that the EQ heads are far superior. That being said, if you compare the dulcich ported heads, to the 1.92 eq heads, the dulcich heads actually win slightly everywhere except .500" lift.

There was a member here named alabamaram95 who posted before and after dyno sheets on a 318 and picked up 76hp and 52ft-lbs just with ported topline(now eq) heads (2.02 valve version). He claims they got 302cfm out of them with full professional porting. That was on stock exhaust manifolds, a non-modded keg, and without a tune. Logic tells me that I buying a set of EQ monster magnum heads with 2.02 valves and porting them might get me to my goal all by themselves...but noone has posted up anything demonstrating this.

Can you explain why goes to a larger valve would sacrifice torque?

Third, "RV cam" is too broad, can you give an example with dyno charts?

Fourth, if the budget is an issue (which it is) and we aren't spinning a motor high, why pay the extra for roller rockers? They would be nice, but seem far from required for a mild cam upgrade. The cost to performance ratio seems very high. Same seems to be true with the 1.7 rockers, they're more than a cam and have far less bang for the buck.

Fifth, can you expand on reducing the quench area? I'm not putting new pistons in the thing. If I was, I'd do a 408 and this whole discussion would be moot.

Sixth, generically, yes, performance motors tend to do better with headers, but can you provide proof that headers are indicated on a 300hp small block magnum? If not, why suggest them? I've heard dulcich say that he did a test years ago with a bunch of different headers on like a 400hp small block mopar and there was basically no difference.

Seventh, full exhaust, again, a HUGE expense, with no evidence that it's necessary. Throwing the kitchen sink at the motor is the exact opposite of the point of this thread. The idea is to find the most cost effective ways to make power, not to make maximum power and **** off with the budget.

Eighth, You think a heads, cam, intake, tune, headers, and a full exhaust combined isn't worth 50 horsepower? That's thousands and thousands of dollars (even assuming you do all the labor yourself). That's just crazy. Either you're just wrong, or these motors are total trash. Judging by the dyno videos I've seen of mild builds of carbed 360s...I'm going to go with you being wrong. Hell, alabamaram made 257 rwhp and 342 rwtq with a 318 with no cam and no tune, just ported heads. Considering my stock 360 probably makes like 200rwhp and 280rwtq(when new) if I was even able to match his 318 numbers I would have met my goal. Then again, that's a pro port job that costs a lot and in theory those results should be achievable for less using cam upgrades and such.
 

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Old 11-14-2017, 09:00 PM
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if you want science, look up engine masters on youtube. it's a relatively new show and they test things we all think make power. x/H pipes do nothing, dyno proven. bashing headers does nothing, dyno proven. you can go too big with heads, but it's further than you think, dyno proven. a k&n filter lid works better by itself than a k&n round filter with the filter lid... cams are universal power upgrades, the factory tunes the cam for what the engine is being used for + reliability because warranty repairs suck. heads are universal upgrades, most factory heads suck in some fashion built on compromise and avoiding warranty repairs. cast manifolds are more durable and cheaper than headers, factory don't care long as it's good enough and won't need warranty repair. vehicles are one giant rolling compromise with the goal of outliving the warranty, hopefully, by only a few days, so you will buy a new car.

there's really no market for dyno proven magnum power combo's. huges has already tapped it. best anyone could do would be offering some new manifold/injection options... beyond that, it's an old design and hotrodding basics fully apply. intake, heads, cam, headers, chip... that's all there is. if thats not enough, stroke it or supercharge it. the 1.7:1 rockers, throttlebody, headers and tune are about as far as most guys take it from what i've seen... light's, stereo, lift, tire/wheel, and airfilter are about the only other common mods.
 
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:17 PM
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Your engine is just an air pump. Air in, plus fuel, equal air out. The more air you can get in/out, the more power it makes. If you look at the design of the kegger, the runners are LONG, and they aren't very big. Yep, it was designed for the low end, hence, the mile long runners. But, that also severely limits air flow, which limits power. The idea of going to a better manifold, is to flow more air. Sure, on the EXACT same engine, simply swapping the intake is probably going to hurt, more than help. (assuming stock parts, including cam.) However, with parts that are matched to take advantage of the better flow, the air gap, (or M1.....) will wipe the floor with the kegger.

On the heads, sure, you can make seriously ported heads flow some truly incredible numbers, however, look at the valve lifts involved in getting that flow. Consider that the stock cam is less than .480 lift..... (maximum lift on stock valve springs.) So while he can get some serious numbers there, any cam that is going to open the valves that far, is going to be designed for high rpm horsepower, not low end grunt. Exactly the opposite of what you want for a truck motor. You want the most flow, at lower lift numbers.... to a point..... And here is where it pretty much becomes black magic. At lower RPM, it isn't necessarily about flow volume, as much as it is about velocity. The smaller valves promote higher flow velocity, which improves volumetric efficiency at lower rpm, hence, more power. (which the longer runners also contribute too..... but, they run out of breath WAY too soon...... and power drops off like a stone.) So, the key here is, good flowing runners on the heads, with the small valves to promote cylinder filling at low RPM.

I would love to see the dyno chart for that. (the chart, not just peak numbers......) I would also be curious what else he did to the motor. That kind of horsepower from JUST a head change kinda strikes me as wrong.... without something else being in the mix as well.

I just like reducing friction. Granted, it's maybe 4 hp, and that's likely optimistic..... so, yeah, you could skip those, and not really lose anything.

Again, I would love to see the setup he used for testing. My guess would be on a dyno, with very minimal exhaust...... If I could come up with the test I found a while back..... I would happily post it, but, I think the site I got it from went by the wayside, as I can't find it again... but, in any case, it goes back to the airpump thing again. ANYTHING you can do to improve breathing, will improve power/efficiency. Have a look at the stock manifolds, and then take a look at most any header....... now, try and convince me that the stock manifold can flow as good. (good luck with that.) I would bet dollars to donuts it wouldn't be difficult to find dyno charts showing decent improvements by JUST installing headers...... (though I am not going to go lookin' for 'em tonight.....)

I guess I have a somewhat skewed view of exhaust..... I know the value of it, (performance wise) and it has been decades since I have had to pay someone else for any exhaust work.... I just cruise over to the shop I used to work at, and bend up what I want. I just pay for materials, and 20-30 bucks for shop use for a couple hours. In any event, once again, its all about flow, the stock exhaust is ok, to a point, but, if you want to make the most of what you spend on the motor, skipping the exhaust.... might just as well flush what you spent on the motor down the toilet. Doesn't matter how much air you get into the motor, if you can't get it out, it does you no good. The whole thing is a system. For where the air enters whatever you have for an intake, to where it exits the exhaust pipe, it all works together. You can do whatever you want to one single piece of that system, but, if it isn't all set up to work together as a whole, you are leaving power (that you spent money for) on the table.

There are too many variables to predict exactly how much power any given combination will give you. (there are some decent software tools available for free though, that can give you a pretty good idea.... they want some serious amount of detail on the motor though.) Will what I suggest get you more than 50 hp? Maybe. Maybe not. Will it get you 50 torque? You bet your keester. Torque is measured, horsepower is calculated..... It's area under the curve that counts, and what I suggested should DRAMATICALLY increase that area. Can I give you exact numbers? Nope. Will your results be exactly the same as someone elses? Probably not. Will it make for a MUCH more pleasurable driving experience? Undoubtedly.

You think I am just wrong? that's fine. Not like it hasn't happened before, but, in this particular case, I think I have a clue what I am talking about. Been doin this for a while now.

In any event, lets approach this from a slightly different angle. How much do you want to spend? And how much of the work can you do yourself?
 
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:06 PM
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the main sore spot on the entire engine in my opinion based on what i've seen, is the intake. i think that is the halo problem and it's been pointed out time and again. but, for what it was designed for, it is awesome. give tons of torque at the bottom of the curve to tow with. it is the cork, pop that and the genie comes out.
 
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:31 AM
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You want scientific explanations because you want to learn. Excellent. I already like you. I was exactly where you are 4 years ago when I started rebuilding my 360 from the ground up. I just finished the build in August and started driving it. It has tons of power. So I'll share what I learned and give the scientific background.

There are 3 ways to increase power:
1) Increase fuel consumed per combustion event. (Bigger injectors/higher flow rates)
2) Increase thermodynamic efficiency. (Higher compression ratio, optimized valve timing, optimized fuel/air ratio, reduced quench, optimized swirl, optimized valve shrouding, increased flame front speed, etc.)
3) Increase mechanical efficiency by A) reducing friction or B) reducing pumping losses.

A custom cam is the one mod that will give you the most gain by itself. It changes valve timing which alters your dynamic compression ratio, valve duration, valve lift, and overlap -each of which can affect power output in their own right. However if your new cam is very different from the stock cam (which is considered an rv cam) you will need a custom tune for your PCM or your engine will not run well.

After that, 3B is where you have the most options. As HeyYou stated, the engine is basically an air pump. The air being sucked in must go through a series of restrictions (air intake, air filter, throttle body, intake manifold, cylinder head intake runners,and the intake valve). After combustion, the combustion gases must be pumped out through another series of restrictions (exhaust valve, cylinder head exhaust runner, exhaust manifold, y-pipe merger, catalytic converter, and the muffler). The engine must use quite a lot of its torque to force air and exhaust through these restrictions. If you remove the restrictions to flow, you free up a lot of power. But because there are so many restrictions, if you remove only one or two restrictions (lets say a new intake manifold and a new muffler) you will not see much net change to flow and thus power. it's really kind of "an all or none" situation. Either address all the restriction points or don't waste your money. The only exceptions here are the heads and headers. A set of ported and polished heads with smoother (but not larger) runners will make a lot of power by reducing one of the biggest areas of restriction. As far as headers, exhaust gases exit the heads at approximately 200mph and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Exhaust manifolds cause those exhaust pulses to slow down almost immediately by forcing them into a right-angle turn 1 inch out of the head, and then forcing the pulses to merge at non optimal times. This greatly hurts flow and eliminates the possibility of scavenging. For example, a set of Pacesetter 1.5" shorty headers will add 33 lb./ft. torque and 25 horsepower to a bone stock engine. Couple a set of headers with a cam that has some valve overlap and you can induce scavenging which basically has the same effect as supercharging (the outgoing exhaust pulse has mass and inertia, therefore it creates a low pressure pulse behind it which in turn sucks an incoming fuel-air charge into the cylinder with much greater speed resulting in increased cylinder filling and more power). You have a choice to make:do you want a race engine that is a dog to drive around town, or do you want a street-useable power house? For streetable power you want torque at 1000 to 4000 rpm, not 5000+ rpm horsepower, and for that, you want velocity rather than volume. This principle applies to every area of flow mentioned above. Keep the headers 1.5" diameter for anything less than 400 horsepower. Any larger and you will reduce exhaust gas velocity which will kill normal rpm-range power.

I opted for all the above plus I raised my compression ratio to 10.5:1 with taller pistons and my cam upped the dynamic compression ratio to 8.5:1 for a gain of about 4% more power from the same volume of fuel. I decreased the quench from .100" to .034 for a gain of 1-2% and a simulation of 2.5 points of octane (it acts as though my 93 octane fuel is 95.5 octane and allows me to run higher compression ratio on pump gas without detonation). I used gapless top rings to eliminate blow-by and leak-down (a source of fuel waste, combustion pressure loss, and oil contamination). I changed to the 3rd gen Bosch injectors for true fuel atomization to 70 micron droplet size for more fuel burned and less fuel wasted. I went to an ignition system that increases the spark energy by 300% for increased flame front speed.

Is all that necessary? Probably not. Was it expensive? Yes. But my truck isn't making anywhere near peak power yet because I'm running a VERY conservative tune until the engine is fully broken-in, and despite that, it feels like it has double the power it had in stock form. I literally can't peel the smile off my face when I step on the gas. I can't wait to see what it will be like after some data-logging and PCM performance tuning.
 

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Old 11-15-2017, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by brian102 View Post
if you want science, look up engine masters on youtube. it's a relatively new show and they test things we all think make power. x/H pipes do nothing, dyno proven. bashing headers does nothing, dyno proven. you can go too big with heads, but it's further than you think, dyno proven. a k&n filter lid works better by itself than a k&n round filter with the filter lid... cams are universal power upgrades, the factory tunes the cam for what the engine is being used for + reliability because warranty repairs suck. heads are universal upgrades, most factory heads suck in some fashion built on compromise and avoiding warranty repairs. cast manifolds are more durable and cheaper than headers, factory don't care long as it's good enough and won't need warranty repair. vehicles are one giant rolling compromise with the goal of outliving the warranty, hopefully, by only a few days, so you will buy a new car.

there's really no market for dyno proven magnum power combo's. huges has already tapped it. best anyone could do would be offering some new manifold/injection options... beyond that, it's an old design and hotrodding basics fully apply. intake, heads, cam, headers, chip... that's all there is. if thats not enough, stroke it or supercharge it. the 1.7:1 rockers, throttlebody, headers and tune are about as far as most guys take it from what i've seen... light's, stereo, lift, tire/wheel, and airfilter are about the only other common mods.
Love that show. I've seen every episode. I think we would all agree that the goals of manufacturers and the goals of home wrench turners looking for power are not necessarily the same.

Originally Posted by HeyYou View Post
Your engine is just an air pump. Air in, plus fuel, equal air out. The more air you can get in/out, the more power it makes. If you look at the design of the kegger, the runners are LONG, and they aren't very big. Yep, it was designed for the low end, hence, the mile long runners. But, that also severely limits air flow, which limits power. The idea of going to a better manifold, is to flow more air. Sure, on the EXACT same engine, simply swapping the intake is probably going to hurt, more than help. (assuming stock parts, including cam.) However, with parts that are matched to take advantage of the better flow, the air gap, (or M1.....) will wipe the floor with the kegger.

On the heads, sure, you can make seriously ported heads flow some truly incredible numbers, however, look at the valve lifts involved in getting that flow. Consider that the stock cam is less than .480 lift..... (maximum lift on stock valve springs.) So while he can get some serious numbers there, any cam that is going to open the valves that far, is going to be designed for high rpm horsepower, not low end grunt. Exactly the opposite of what you want for a truck motor. You want the most flow, at lower lift numbers.... to a point..... And here is where it pretty much becomes black magic. At lower RPM, it isn't necessarily about flow volume, as much as it is about velocity. The smaller valves promote higher flow velocity, which improves volumetric efficiency at lower rpm, hence, more power. (which the longer runners also contribute too..... but, they run out of breath WAY too soon...... and power drops off like a stone.) So, the key here is, good flowing runners on the heads, with the small valves to promote cylinder filling at low RPM.

I would love to see the dyno chart for that. (the chart, not just peak numbers......) I would also be curious what else he did to the motor. That kind of horsepower from JUST a head change kinda strikes me as wrong.... without something else being in the mix as well.

I just like reducing friction. Granted, it's maybe 4 hp, and that's likely optimistic..... so, yeah, you could skip those, and not really lose anything.

Again, I would love to see the setup he used for testing. My guess would be on a dyno, with very minimal exhaust...... If I could come up with the test I found a while back..... I would happily post it, but, I think the site I got it from went by the wayside, as I can't find it again... but, in any case, it goes back to the airpump thing again. ANYTHING you can do to improve breathing, will improve power/efficiency. Have a look at the stock manifolds, and then take a look at most any header....... now, try and convince me that the stock manifold can flow as good. (good luck with that.) I would bet dollars to donuts it wouldn't be difficult to find dyno charts showing decent improvements by JUST installing headers...... (though I am not going to go lookin' for 'em tonight.....)

I guess I have a somewhat skewed view of exhaust..... I know the value of it, (performance wise) and it has been decades since I have had to pay someone else for any exhaust work.... I just cruise over to the shop I used to work at, and bend up what I want. I just pay for materials, and 20-30 bucks for shop use for a couple hours. In any event, once again, its all about flow, the stock exhaust is ok, to a point, but, if you want to make the most of what you spend on the motor, skipping the exhaust.... might just as well flush what you spent on the motor down the toilet. Doesn't matter how much air you get into the motor, if you can't get it out, it does you no good. The whole thing is a system. For where the air enters whatever you have for an intake, to where it exits the exhaust pipe, it all works together. You can do whatever you want to one single piece of that system, but, if it isn't all set up to work together as a whole, you are leaving power (that you spent money for) on the table.

There are too many variables to predict exactly how much power any given combination will give you. (there are some decent software tools available for free though, that can give you a pretty good idea.... they want some serious amount of detail on the motor though.) Will what I suggest get you more than 50 hp? Maybe. Maybe not. Will it get you 50 torque? You bet your keester. Torque is measured, horsepower is calculated..... It's area under the curve that counts, and what I suggested should DRAMATICALLY increase that area. Can I give you exact numbers? Nope. Will your results be exactly the same as someone elses? Probably not. Will it make for a MUCH more pleasurable driving experience? Undoubtedly.

You think I am just wrong? that's fine. Not like it hasn't happened before, but, in this particular case, I think I have a clue what I am talking about. Been doin this for a while now.

In any event, lets approach this from a slightly different angle. How much do you want to spend? And how much of the work can you do yourself?
I am not disagreeing with you on engine theory in general. Yes, an engine is just a big air pump and so opening up flow is the key to performance....BUT every engine has different restrictions that warrant a different order to modification. On my LS1 for instance, the factory installed LS6 intake manifold was awesome. Perfectly fine for most street uses, and just bolting on a F.A.S.T wasn't a very cost effective upgrade on mild builds. The same could be said of headers on the small block mopar. From my readings, the manifolds are less restrictive than what are seen on chevys and fords and therefore, on mild builds, are not an efficient use of money, even though they SHOULD produce more power purely on engine theory alone. Essentially, we need to understand the specific variables, and not make so many generalizations.

I have no doubt than an M1 or an Air Gap would be superior if I was building a magnum engine to put in a car and go drag racing with, or even if I was building a high performance street truck. As it stands, I am not doing those things. First and foremost, I still want my truck to be a truck...just a little bit of a faster one. That means I still want torque to be the priority, and I don't want to have to rev the engine more to get moving if I've got a trailer hooked up to it. In looking at the Hughes dyno for the air gap, the air gap gives up a substantial amount of torque all the way from idle to about 3500rpm. It's shorter runners means it's likely going to be worse at producing torque under part throttle as well.

The keg is actually great for what I want. I don't want to transform the truck into a screamer, I don't want it to rev higher, I want it to make maxiumum torque down low, but be able to breathe a little better under WOT for passing.

The lift on the hughes cam that I indicated is .523 intake and .533 exhaust. That means that the numbers I provided for the various heads (which maxed out at .500) were applicable. I'd prefer to use the heads that had the biggest advantage between .200-.400 because you go through the area of valve lift twice (once as it comes onto the lobe and once as it comes off). Does anyone have dyno results that show that a cam like this is WORSE for torque? Because Hughes and the 1 other dyno test I've seen with that cam both show huge torque boosts, not losses. It doesn't have a ton of duration, but it does bump up the lift a bit (and requires new springs which is fine).

I think I still have an incomplete understanding of flow dynamics and why a smaller valve would be better. I would think that more lift and a smaller valve, or less lift and a bigger valve would have the same effect at some point.

If memory serves, he had already added 1.7 rockers before the baseline run, but the cam was stock, the bottom end was stock, the exhaust was stock and the intake was stock. To be clear, these were race prepped heads with the bigger valves. 302cfm is over 50cfm more flow than either the dulchich porting or the monster eq's. I do not expect to get anywhere near these gains with home head porting.

It was a chassis dyno, not an engine dyno. The motor was in the truck and I assume he had the exhaust on it because he drove it to the dyno and to work.

With headers, of course they flow better than manifolds, the question is, can you use the flow? If your stock manifolds flow 200cfm, and your heads flow 180, and the headers flow 300...then what's the point? Anything over 180 is not doing anything. Again, on a race motor with way more flow, headers are of course a must.

I think you took it backwards. I was suggesting that the setup you recommended should be far more than just 50hp. That's not the question though, the question is how to get 50hp (or around there) with the least cost.

Regarding budget, it is going to depend on whether or not replacing the heads is REQUIRED. I know it's recommended, but right now, if they pass a pressure test, they're going back on. Since this is my first time porting heads, I want to do it on the stock junk piles first, and then if they fail, I'll have more experience when I buy the eq heads. It's a learning experience.
I don't have a set budget for the project, but would like to be as frugal as reasonably possible. The only labor I will be paying is whatever a dealer charges me to reset the fuel sync because I don't have a tool to do that, and whatever a shop charges me to pressure test the heads. I'll be doing all the removal, dis-assembly, porting, and re-installation myself. I have a hookup on a hot tank for the heads so I don't have to pay for that. This is 95% parts cost.

The cam (not a regrind) will be $370
Spring upgrade for both heads is $200
Lifters are $136
Cam bolt, washer, key is $18
Timing set is $25
Porting is just my labor and a few bucks for the burrs and cartridge rolls I bought
Then add all new head and intake gaskets, tb gasket, thermoststat gasket, valve seals, that kinda stuff. Maybe a couple hundred bucks.

So assuming my stock heads are usable, I'll be a little under a grand for this upgrade. If I've gotta buy heads, I'll probably buy the iron rams with 2.02s from hughes for $1200 which will more than double my investment. That's unless I can find a deal on some local used heads that aren't cracked.

I don't plan to dyno the truck, but I am going to assume that the cam with bigger lifter and longer duration, mixed with the mild head porting, should made a substantial difference in performance. Hughes claims this combo will work well with stock pcm tuning so that will save me $500 in tuning costs (I am going to sell the superchips I bought and recoup maybe $200 or so from that). If the truck runs poorly, I'll have to pony up for hemifever tuning.

Originally Posted by Big Green 360 View Post
You want scientific explanations because you want to learn. Excellent. I already like you. I was exactly where you are 4 years ago when I started rebuilding my 360 from the ground up. I just finished the build in August and started driving it. It has tons of power. So I'll share what I learned and give the scientific background.

There are 3 ways to increase power:
1) Increase fuel consumed per combustion event. (Bigger injectors/higher flow rates)
2) Increase thermodynamic efficiency. (Higher compression ratio, optimized valve timing, optimized fuel/air ratio, reduced quench, optimized swirl, optimized valve shrouding, increased flame front speed, etc.)
3) Increase mechanical efficiency by A) reducing friction or B) reducing pumping losses.

A custom cam is the one mod that will give you the most gain by itself. It changes valve timing which alters your dynamic compression ratio, valve duration, valve lift, and overlap -each of which can affect power output in their own right. However if your new cam is very different from the stock cam (which is considered an rv cam) you will need a custom tune for your PCM or your engine will not run well.

After that, 3B is where you have the most options. As HeyYou stated, the engine is basically an air pump. The air being sucked in must go through a series of restrictions (air intake, air filter, throttle body, intake manifold, cylinder head intake runners,and the intake valve). After combustion, the combustion gases must be pumped out through another series of restrictions (exhaust valve, cylinder head exhaust runner, exhaust manifold, y-pipe merger, catalytic converter, and the muffler). The engine must use quite a lot of its torque to force air and exhaust through these restrictions. If you remove the restrictions to flow, you free up a lot of power. But because there are so many restrictions, if you remove only one or two restrictions (lets say a new intake manifold and a new muffler) you will not see much net change to flow and thus power. it's really kind of "an all or none" situation. Either address all the restriction points or don't waste your money. The only exceptions here are the heads and headers. A set of ported and polished heads with smoother (but not larger) runners will make a lot of power by reducing one of the biggest areas of restriction. As far as headers, exhaust gases exit the heads at approximately 200mph and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Exhaust manifolds cause those exhaust pulses to slow down almost immediately by forcing them into a right-angle turn 1 inch out of the head, and then forcing the pulses to merge at non optimal times. This greatly hurts flow and eliminates the possibility of scavenging. For example, a set of Pacesetter 1.5" shorty headers will add 33 lb./ft. torque and 25 horsepower to a bone stock engine. Couple a set of headers with a cam that has some valve overlap and you can induce scavenging which basically has the same effect as supercharging (the outgoing exhaust pulse has mass and inertia, therefore it creates a low pressure pulse behind it which in turn sucks an incoming fuel-air charge into the cylinder with much greater speed resulting in increased cylinder filling and more power). You have a choice to make:do you want a race engine that is a dog to drive around town, or do you want a street-useable power house? For streetable power you want torque at 1000 to 4000 rpm, not 5000+ rpm horsepower, and for that, you want velocity rather than volume. This principle applies to every area of flow mentioned above. Keep the headers 1.5" diameter for anything less than 400 horsepower. Any larger and you will reduce exhaust gas velocity which will kill normal rpm-range power.

I opted for all the above plus I raised my compression ratio to 10.5:1 with taller pistons and my cam upped the dynamic compression ratio to 8.5:1 for a gain of about 4% more power from the same volume of fuel. I decreased the quench from .100" to .034 for a gain of 1-2% and a simulation of 2.5 points of octane (it acts as though my 93 octane fuel is 95.5 octane and allows me to run higher compression ratio on pump gas without detonation). I used gapless top rings to eliminate blow-by and leak-down (a source of fuel waste, combustion pressure loss, and oil contamination). I changed to the 3rd gen Bosch injectors for true fuel atomization to 70 micron droplet size for more fuel burned and less fuel wasted. I went to an ignition system that increases the spark energy by 300% for increased flame front speed.

Is all that necessary? Probably not. Was it expensive? Yes. But my truck isn't making anywhere near peak power yet because I'm running a VERY conservative tune until the engine is fully broken-in, and despite that, it feels like it has double the power it had in stock form. I literally can't peel the smile off my face when I step on the gas. I can't wait to see what it will be like after some data-logging and PCM performance tuning.
Thanks for the rundown.

I definitely get what you're saying with the cam which is why I am changing mine. What do you think of this hughes cam? http://www.hughesengines.com/Index/p...=&partid=30212 I really want to be able to avoid tuning costs and hassle. I've had an awful experience with it in the past. I realize you'll never make big power without it, but I don't need big power here, just maybe 250rwhp out of a 360ci engine. It's not that much to ask haha.

I haven't thought of an engine using up compression to expel exhaust gasses before. It's interesting engine theory, but again, we would need to see dyno proof that freeing up exhaust would make a different on this type of application. Looks like on a small block mopar with a mild cam, those pacesetter headers are worth 24hp and 8lb-ft. http://www.hotrod.com/articles/compa...and-manifolds/ It's important to remember that the magnum manifolds flow better than the LA manifolds, albeit probably not an awful lot more. I'm sure HeyYou would be interested to see that the long tubes did gain a little on the shorties in this test, but I don't think the price is justified in this application. I'd have to build an entire new exhaust. The shorties though...I might buy those. They're 200 bucks on amazon for black painted, and $386 for armor coated. Might be worth it.

It's cool to hear you've had some success. What are your thoughts on my combo listed above with maybe the addition of the shorties?
 
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:03 PM
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Comp finally got back to me with a cam recommendation for my application. They suggested this comp cams 20-622-9 http://www.compcams.com/Company/CC/cam-specs/Details.aspx?csid=657&sb=2

It has a 112 lsa vs the 114 on the hughes, a little less duration than the Hughes and less lift but still "may" require tuning. The hughes cam seems like a better route to me. They say it works fine without tuning. I'd assume that's because of the wider LSA (less valve overlap) being nicer to idle vacuum and such. It is a little cheaper however ($319 vs $370).

Thoughts?
 
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:18 PM
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Cam looks tasty. Think I would spend more on the timing set though, go with a good double roller setup. They are less prone to stretching than the stock, morse-style chain. (albeit, around 50 bucks or so.....)

I would still seriously consider doing at least shorty headers. Its not just about flow volume, it's also about flow dynamics. Even shorties will give better scavenging the the stockers, and will get you more from your cam as well. Might even sound better. (if that's even a concern.....)

Also, just as an aside...... If your truck is 97 or older, the biggest restriction in the exhaust is right where the down tubes hit the cat. They are crushed down pretty small there...... (there are pics of it around here somewhere..... and it looks awful) If you wanted to go with long tubes, but, not have to completely go thru the exhaust, could do the pacesetters, along with their Y-pipe. (no cat in that, but, simply matter to cut and splice if you have to have one.) Then you could just use an adapter to the rest of the exhaust system. 98 and newer aren't nearly as bad.

Edit: I like the hughes cam better.
 
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