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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.