Barn-Find 409 Engine Rebuild - Unearthing A Legend, Part 3

Our barn-find 409 gets buttoned up and hits the dyno.

Tommy Lee Byrd Jun 27, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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409 Engine Rebuild Champion Spark Plugs 2/20

11. It’s always a good idea to thumb through the paperwork that comes with new parts. Otherwise, you might find yourself wondering what spark plugs to use. Edelbrock suggests using Champion RC12YC spark plugs with its cylinder heads.

409 Engine Rebuild Distributor Cap 3/20

12. Now we can install the distributor cap, then snap the Pertronix 8mm plug wires into place. The wires were pre-assembled, which saved us a lot of time.

409 Engine Rebuild Valve Cover 4/20

13. Cosmetically, our 409 has lots of old-school style, which is quite fitting for this historic engine. The finishing touches are the Edelbrock finned aluminum valve covers and air cleaner, which feature a satin finish.

409 Engine Rebuild Synthetic Blend 5/20

14. Before we fired up the 409 for the first time, we poured in 6 quarts of Comp Cams Muscle Car & Street Rod 10W-30 oil. It’s a synthetic blend that has all of the necessary zinc to keep our old-school engine happy.

409 Engine Rebuild Break In Oil Additive 6/20

15. And, for good measure, we poured in a pint of Comp Cams Break-In Oil Additive to make sure our camshaft and lifters are protected. Luckily, we don’t have to worry so much about camshaft failure with a roller setup, but this is a crucial step for a flat tappet setup.

409 Engine Rebuild Balancer 7/20

16. As we near completion, the 409 gets a new Edelbrock aluminum water pump. After the four bolts are tightened, we installed a 63/4-inch harmonic balancer we picked up from Show Cars Automotive. Although similar in size to a regular small-block balancer, a 409 balancer has the timing mark in a different location.

409 Engine Rebuild Headers 8/20

17. For our dyno testing, we bolted on a set of Hooker Super Comp full-length headers. These 17/8-inch headers are designed for ’58-’64 fullsize GM cars, and they are the perfect size for our dyno pulls.

409 Engine Rebuild Dyno 9/20

18. At Hixson Motorsports, the 409 made several pulls, with the best of 504.8 hp at 5,800 rpm and 515.3 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. This test was performed on racing fuel and an aggressive tune-up. A pump-gas tune with 34 degrees of timing should result in approximately 470 hp.


Hooker Headers
Aberdeen, MS 39730
Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
PerTronix Performance Products
San Dimas, CA 91773
Torrance, CA 90503


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