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Getting Started on Building a 2,000-Horsepower Supercharged Chevy Big-Block Engine

A Perfect Recipe – Part 1: Building big power is easy when you have the right parts and a good plan

Pete Epple Jan 25, 2016
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They say bigger is better, and there’s nothing better than a boosted big-block! The plan for this engine is pretty simple: build a boosted 565ci big-block Chevy street engine capable of making at least 1,700 horsepower. We wanted something that could be driven to the track, raced, and driven home. However, when you start talking about power numbers nearing 2,000 hp, it’s never simple.

It started with a calculated and exact plan. After ironing out some details with the brilliant minds at Holley, we decided on a Holley Dominator EFI system and three pages of goodies to go along with it. The system seemed as if it was designed around the versatility we were looking for in an EFI system.

Next, the plan was laid out to the guys at Summit Racing, and they quickly expressed interest in the project. We put together a parts list that would give us enough strength to exceed our horsepower goals.

Knowing we needed a rotating assembly that could take some serious abuse, we turned to Manley Performance. They sent us a crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, rings, and bearings, which all came as a package designed especially for our 565ci combination.

The heart of this combo is Manley’s 4.250-inch stroke 4340 alloy forged steel crankshaft. Their 4340 alloy Pro Series I-beam connecting rods link the crankshaft to the pistons. They are 6.385-inch center-to-center and are fully CNC-machined. The rod bolts are premium 7/16-inch ARP2000s. Manley Platinum Series BB 4.600-inch bore pistons complete the assembly. Forged from 2618 high-strength alloy, these flat-top pistons are an excellent combination of a relatively lightweight material and durability.

Valvetrain is extremely critical when you look at the goals of the engine. Coupled with the fact that it is going to see a fair amount of street time, the valvetrain components need to be able to take some severe abuse. We reached out to Comp Cams and they were more than happy to help us lay out the right parts to make reliable power.

The short-block needs to be topped with a set of cylinder heads capable of flowing large amounts of air without a lot of restriction. We wanted to go with a traditional style big-block head to avoid the cost and custom work associated with more exotic heads. Trick Flow Specialties’ new PowerPort 365cc cylinder heads for big-block Chevy engines were given the nod for their high-flow numbers, low cost, and overall power potential.

Air will be forced into the cylinder heads by a crank-driven centrifugal supercharger. Given our goals and the required boost to get there, there was no one else to talk to but ProCharger. ProCharger’s F-1X-12 will easily crank out the 25-plus pounds of boost we are looking for without breaking a sweat. With some upgrades to the fuel system and a little more boost, we should easily be able to take this engine north of 2,000 horsepower.

Knowing that the machine work and assembly plays just as big of a roll as picking the right parts, we turned to Scotty G at Scotty’s Racing Engines in Spring Hill, Florida, to handle the build. His reputation is second to none, and he is known for building big, reliable power. You will be able to read more about Scotty G, and see him in action as we start to dive into our 565ci engine.

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we cover all of the details of the Holley Dominator EFI system, as well as the machining, assembly, and dyno testing of our ProCharger supercharged big-block engine.

2 Big M Steel Block 2/20

The base of the whole engine is the Dart Big M cast-iron block (PN 31263644), which we got from Summit Racing. It features a standard 9.800-inch deck height with 4.600-inch bores. It has extra thick cylinder walls, four-bolt mains, and a priority main oiling system. This block is designed to handle anything we can throw at it!

3 Manley Performance Crankshaft 3/20

The rotating assembly is from Manley Performance. The crankshaft is a 4.250-inch stroke piece, forged from 4340 alloy. It’s heat-treated, stress-relieved, shot-peened, nitrided, and Magnafluxed. It uses large-radius journals (requiring narrowed rod bearings), which provide added strength, and it’s finished by Manley’s micropolishing process.

4 I Beam Connecting Rod 4/20

Manley’s Pro Series I-beam connecting rods are the rod of choice given the power goals of this engine. They are 6.385-inch center-to-center (0.250-inch longer than stock rods), weigh 825 grams, and are fully CNC-machined. They also feature 7/16-inch ARP2000 rod bolts, which will give us all the reliable clamping force we need.

5 Big Block Piston 5/20
6 Big Block Piston Bottom 6/20

Manley Platinum Series Big-Block pistons finish off the rotating assembly. They are a flat-top design for a 4.600-inch bore and are forged from 2618 high-strength alloy. They have a 0.250-inch thick crown and a 1/16-inch top ring groove that is 0.350-inch down from the deck. This provides ample cross-sectional thickness in these critical areas.

7 Clevite Bearings Boxes 7/20

Manley also supplied Clevite H-series bearings and Total Seal piston rings to complete the package.

8 Billet Oil Pump 8/20

Our 565ci engine features a billet oil pump from Moroso. This high-volume, high-pressure pump features special anticavitation slots, feeder grooves, and an enlarged bypass area that is machined into the housing to bleed oil back to the inlet side of the pump.

9 Ati Performance Super Damper 9/20

We reached out to ATI Performance for one of its Super Dampers. It is designed for a double-key setup to handle all the power we plan on making. ATI’s proven elastomer is designed and tuned to eliminate harmful crankshaft harmonics that cause parasitic horsepower loss. They are actually two dampers in one: a 4-inch-diameter inner damper and a 7-inch-diameter outer damper in two shells that bolt to the crank hub.

10 Comp Cam 10/20

For our big-block, we turned to Comp Cams for a custom-grind solid roller shaft. Chris Ryan is a cam designer at Comp, and he put together a cam profile that would make great power and be easy enough on parts to live on the street. The cam has 0.741-inch lift on the intake side and 0.748-inch lift on the exhaust side, with duration of 271/284 degrees at 0.050-inch lift, respectively, and a 115.5 LSA.

11 Roller Lifters 11/20

Comp set us up with a set of its Elite Race Solid Roller Lifters. They are top-of-the-line and will work great for our boosted big-block. The pushrod inserts can be changed for centered, left, or right offsets; they are designed for better oil control through the pushrod insert, which allows builders to modify lifters to meter extra oil to the top; tool-steel, pinned axles allow for extra needle bearings (total of 23) for optimum load distribution; the oversized (0.400-inch) axles are pinned for strength and durability; pressure-fed oil flows through the axle directly to the needles; the captured link bars are designed specifically for race and high-rpm applications. This design offers maximum control and durability.

12 Rocker Arms 12/20

We went with a set of Comp’s Ultra Pro Magnum XD Rocker Arms. These arms are engineered from super-durable 8650 steel for max strength and reliability. These stud-mount rockers are fully rebuildable and use precision-sorted needle bearings and hardened roller tips to better distribute the load and reduce wear for a longer service life.

13 Belt Drive System 13/20

We decided on a Hi-Tech Belt Drive system from Comp Cams. This is an extreme-application belt, built for high-rpm and high-compression durability and features an infinitely adjustable Vernier sprocket for absolute timing accuracy. A unique belt idler system reduces flap throughout rpm range.

14 Trick Flow Cylinder Head 14/20

The short-block is topped with a set of Trick Flow Specialties’ new PowerPort 365 big-block aluminum cylinder heads. These heads are designed for 500-plus cubic-inch extreme performance applications. They feature top-of-the-line CNC competition-ported runners with a high-resolution finish for maximum airflow and power. They also feature 24-degree valve angles with 4-degree side cants to further increase airflow.

15 Trick Flow Valve Springs 15/20

Trick Flow’s PowerPort 365 cylinder heads come with stout triple-spring valvesprings. The outer diameter of the springs are 1.645 inches, and they are held in place with titanium retainers. Max lift is 0.900-inch lift for high-power applications.

16 Cylinder Head Intake Runners 16/20

Trick Flow’s heads feature 365cc intake runners for massive airflow. They come CNC-ported from Trick Flow, but there is still room for additional porting.

17 Combustion Chamber 17/20

The heart-shaped combustion chambers check in at 119 cc. The intake valves measure 2.350 inches and the exhaust valves are 1.880 inches. The chambers are CNC-machined and have bowl-blended valve seat transitions to promote high-velocity and huge airflow volume.

18 Billet Aluminum Valve Covers 18/20

To top off the Trick Flow cylinder heads, Moroso sent us a set of its billet valve covers. CNC-machined from billet aluminum, these will not only provide great aesthetics, but the precise machined finish, combined with Moroso’s valve cover gaskets, will give us a perfect seal. We will also be installing a belt-driven vacuum pump from Aerospace Components. We will tell you all about it and how it works in an upcoming story.

19 Arp Fasteners 19/20

With any engine build, there are many parts and pieces needed to complete the assembly. We ordered our parts from Summit Racing, which featured a slew of hardware from ARP. We will be using ARP head studs, main studs, valve cover hardware, intake bolts, crank bolt, and many other fasteners to complete the engine.

20 Procharger F1x 12 Supercharger 20/20

We will be using ProCharger’s F-1X-12 supercharger. This is a massive supercharger that will easily make in excess of 25 psi of boost. The head unit is essentially a hybrid of two of ProCharger’s race blowers: the F-3 and the F-1X. It features the large 12-inch housing of the F-3-series of superchargers with the impeller and transmission of the F-1X. This will give us a little less low-end power, but all the top-end charge we will ever need or want!

Sources

Trick Flow Specialties
Tallmadge, OH 44278
330-630-1555
www.trickflow.com
Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
901-795-2400
http://www.compcams.com
Summit Racing
Akron, OH
800-230-3030
http://www.summitracing.com
ProCharger
Lenexa, KS 66215
913-338-2886
www.procharger.com
ATI Performance Products
Baltimore, MD 21207
410-298-4343
www.atiracing.com
Manley Performance Products
Lakewood, NJ 08701
732-905-3366
http://www.manleyperformance.com
Airaid
Phoenix, AZ 85050
800-498-6951
http://www.airaid.com
Moroso Performance Products
Guilford, CT 06437
203-453-6571
www.moroso.com
Holley Performance Products
Bowling Green, KY 42101
866-464-6553
http://www.holley.com
Aerospace Components
Saint Petersburg, FL 33710
727-347-9915
http://www.aerospacecomponents.com/
Scotty’s Racing Engines
727-857-0001
scottysracingengines.com

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