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Dart Block Super Build Up - Building A Hell-Raiser, Part 2

With Our Foundation Complete, We Top Off Hell-Raiser With A Bunch Of Goodies And Then We Spark It Up.

Dan Ryder Oct 1, 2008
Sucp_0810_02_z Dart_small_block Engine_side 2/27

In Part One of Building a Hell-Raiser, we took a Dart Little M block and moved in a Lunati rotating assembly, Steve Morris Racing Engines camshaft and a Comp Cams belt drive.

In Part Two, we'll up the ante by finishing off our mill and hopefully spark it up with some high horsepower numbers.

As part of our mission, we're looking to eclipse the 1,000-horse mark with bolt-on components (that's conservative-what we really want is 1,300). Obviously engine machining was performed on the engine block and as you'll see, by utilizing a crank trigger and a belt drive, a custom spacer may be required here or there for proper alignment. But for the most part, a true enthusiast with some hands-on experience can tackle such a project.

Sucp_0810_08_z Dart_small_block Mls_gasket 3/27

Combination, combination, combination. Can I stress that enough? Our first step was to decide what we were looking to accomplish before turning a wrench or ordering a part. We knew we wanted to make some crazy horsepower in order to propel our '87 Monte Carlo SS into the 8-second zone in the quarter-mile, but how would we get there?

In Part One we explained how we were looking into a big-block with either nitrous or a turbo, but decided to go with the lighter small-block and the popular ProCharger F-2 bolt-on centrifugal huffer. The quest for a good combination didn't end here; it actually had just begun. We knew that a Dart block coupled with a Lunati rotating assembly would handle just about anything we threw at it.

Sucp_0810_05_z Dart_small_block Head_studs 4/27

ARP cylinder head studs complete with 12-point nuts are used for the ultimate in strength (PN 234-4301). Once the studs are installed, Anthony DiSomma slides the AFR 227 cylinder head in place-but not before the Fel-Pro MLS (multi-layered steel) cylinder head gasket is in place. The MLS gasket (PN 1143) is a must in any boosted or nitrous application for the ultimate in sealing. Our head gaskets check in at .040-inch thick, which must be factored in when determining static compression. Fel-Pro was called upon to supply all of the gasket needs of Project True SStreet.

Our next step was to find a suitable cylinder head with excellent flow properties, a thicker exhaust valve (which endures a beating on a blown application), and a standard 23-degree small-block cylinder head configuration. For this we called upon Tony Mamo at Airflow Research Cylinder Heads.

Tony suggested AFR's 227cc CNC-ported competition cylinder head, with an upgraded Inconel exhaust valve to help combat the high heat generated within a blown application. The 227 head additionally features a 3/4-inch deck surface (ideal for blower or nitrous applications), and comes with either a 65cc or 75cc combustion chamber to aid in achieving a particular compression ratio. This particular head flows around 320 cfm at .700-inches of lift on the intake side, which is pretty stout out-of-the-box.

The highlight of Project True SStreet's combination is the ProCharger F-2 supercharger system. ProCharger has been designing and manufacturing intercooled supercharger systems since its inception in 1994. ProCharger introduced its self-contained oiling feature back in 2000 and has never looked back. This patented design eliminates the need for external oil lines and/or poking holes in your oil pan for drain back. Additionally, ProCharger kits contain all that is needed to get your blower installed in a jiffy. The F-2 unit that we're using is suitable for engines making 425-600 hp naturally aspirated and can flow upwards of 2,700 cfm. The F-2 is rated for 38 psi max boost at a maximum impeller speed of up to 65,000 rpm. This supercharger also contains an internal step-up of 5.4:1 and is available as a reverse rotation unit for the ultimate in mounting possibilities.

Sucp_0810_06_z Dart_small_block Cylinder_head 5/27

Beyond sliding the cylinder head into place, DiSomma torques all ARP fasteners to specification, lubing the threads with moly lube first. ARP supplied all the necessary fasteners for our project, which can be purchased separately or as a complete kit. We chose its stainless steel 12-point kit (PN 534-9501). Also shown is the CNC machined exhaust port of the AFR 227 head.

To keep our valvetrain intact and under control, we utilized Comp Cams shaft rocker system, 3/8-inch pushrods and solid roller lifters. It is very important to have the ultimate in valvetrain stability with the extreme cylinder pressures sustained from a blown mill. A flexing pushrod, unstable rocker or a cheaply engineered lifter can wreak havoc, causing well thought-out camshaft specifications to be way out of range, as well as causing potential damage. Be sure to choose you weapons carefully.

Sucp_0810_09_z Dart_small_block Cnc_machine_exhaust_port 6/27

The Carb Shop was called upon to handle our blow-through carburetor duties. This is one area where a professional should be employed for this application. An amateur can perform modifications to retrofit their Holley carburetor for blower/turbo use, however with the anticipation of high boost levels-as well as protecting our investment-we'd just as soon stick with the professionals.

One lean exhaust reading at 20-30 psi of boost and kaboom!

The folks at Edelbrock were chosen for a suitable intake manifold. We picked the Super Victor (PN 2925) for its excellent flow properties and fuel distribution. The Super Victor is suitable for engines operating in the 3,500 to 8,000 rpm range, which fits right into our build.

Let's now follow along as Anthony DiSomma and the crew at M2 Race Systems complete our ProCharged 400 cid small-block.

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Naturally Aspirated VS. ProCharged
With our ProCharger F-2 bolted on and ready to roll, John started the beast. After a warm-up and a few snaps of the throttle, our SBC mill sounded mean. After several partial pulls, multiple-timing adjustments and one jet change in the carb, we decided to let the mouse eat. By the time we hit 5,800 rpm, the engine started to break up a bit and John quickly backed her down. The dyno read 858.6 hp at 5,800 rpm with 21 psi of boost. While the air-fuel ratio was on the rich side (10.8:1) with VP Fuels C16 race gas and the timing was a conservative 31 degrees total, we needed to figure out what was wrong. We finally came to the conclusion that the valves were floating (being hung open) under high rpm boost conditions. With a seat pressure of 250 psi at the valve we needed to step up to at least 280-300.

In order to continue testing (in an effort to meet our story deadlines), we obtained a smaller crank pulley and larger blower pulley from ProCharger to produce less boost. After the pulley swap, we wound the mouse to 7,300 rpm and hit 15 psi of boost. The SuperFlow dyno read 973.6 hp and 722.7 lb-ft of torque-pretty good considering we are making half the boost we plan on making. It was also darn near netting a 90 percent power increase. We are also using a set of headers with a 1 3/4- to 1 7/8-inch step tube. Stepping up to a 2-inch or better will also net some serious horsepower gains. As we tried to push the engine further, we kept encountering our valve float issue, but don't fret-we'll get her fixed up in no time. Once proper seat pressure is achieved (either via a spring change or some shimming) we will most definitely conquer the 1,300hp barrier (hopefully with room to spare). We'll keep you posted, and don't forget to check out for video footage of our Hell-Raiser on the dyno.

Sucp_0810_11_z Dart_small_block Harmonic_balancer 8/27

To aid in the control of crankshaft vibration we called upon ATI Performance Products in Baltimore. This particular unit contains a black zinc chromate finish, laser-engraved 360-degree timing marks, and an SFI 18.1 specification. We ordered this unit with a dual keyway, which is recommended to assist with the additional load of a belt-driven blower. A single keyway is more likely to strip under load, causing the balancer to rotate around the crankshaft.

Anytime a custom-ported cylinder head is utilized, the intake manifold must be port-matched for consistent flow. Here DiSomma uses Dykem (red dye) to mark the ports. First a Fel-Pro intake gasket (PN 1206) is matched to the head port and then laid upon the Super Victor intake to be scribed. Pictured is a partially matched intake port next to a stock port. Big difference, huh?

Sucp_0810_16_z Dart_small_block Balancer 9/27

After installation of the Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, the Comp Cams custom shaft rocker system was installed. Comp went above and beyond with these units, because they weren't listed in the catalog. For the AFR 227 head we needed a custom 1.6/1.6-rocker ratio featuring a .450-inch offset for the intake valve. Comp's shaft rockers will provide added horsepower through valvetrain stability and rigidity, warding off dreaded inconsistencies through flex. DiSomma set valve lash to .020 on the intake and .022 on the exhaust.

Pictured here is the Comp Cams Endure-X solid roller lifters (PN 818-16), which feature EDM Oil Injection Technology guaranteeing a constant flow of oil pressure aiming directly into the needle bearing, guarding against premature wear. Also pictured are the Comp Cams 3/8-inch diameter pushrods (7.950 inches long) next to the Comp 7/16-inch tapered units (8 inches long). We would have liked to use the 3/8 units on the intake side and the 7/16 on the exhaust side (to combat the load on the exhaust valve), however the 7/16 units did not clear the pushrod galleys too well. If head removal is ever necessary we will correct this issue for added insurance.

To keep our 400-inch killer well oiled, we called upon Moroso to employ its billet race pump. The 6061-T6-billet housing features a larger mounting boss area to prevent breakage and an increased inlet area to prevent cavitation. To keep with the theme, we also installed a Moroso 8.25-inch deep oil pan (PN 210170). This seven-quart drag race pan allows for horsepower gains through oil control during straight-line acceleration. A solid louvered/internally mounted tray is employed to prevent oil slosh, controlling internal windage.

Next, DiSomma sets up the MSD crank trigger (PN 8615) to properly work with our MSD low-profile Pro Billet distributor (PN 84697). The crank trigger will provide a stable timing signal at all rpms and is the most accurate way to trigger the ignition. The low-profile distributor features additional clearance to service the vehicle, as well as a large-diameter cap, preventing arc between terminals. We will also use MSD 8.5mm ignition wires.

To keep our Monte cool, we installed a Moroso billet electric water pump, which is advertised to move up to 21 percent more coolant during operating conditions as opposed to conventional pumps. We had to clearance the blower brackets slightly to get all to fit. Additional spacers were also required to clearance the water pump around the belt drive. Custom tweaking is always needed in applications such as ours.

At the centerpiece of this build is the ProCharger F-2 centrifugal supercharger. The F-2 features self-lubrication, a maximum horsepower output rating of 1,600, high step-up ratio, and an exclusive billet impeller. We opted for PN 1CX200-F2I, which contains the supercharger, brackets, idler, race cog setup, all tubing, carburetor bonnet, race bypass valve and three-core intercooler. Depending on the system utilized, a ProCharged engine can net gains of anywhere from 25 percent to more than 200 percent (depending upon combination and blower output/pulley size).

Time to roll our little 400-cid small-block into the dyno room for the moment of truth. At first it was suggested by both DiSomma and dyno operator John Gontkof to break the engine in naturally aspirated form, using M2's in-house carburetor and headers. After the vitals all checked out OK, the mouse pumped out 516 hp and 426 lb-ft of torque with one of the flattest torque curves I've ever seen. Not bad for pump gas and total timing on the conservative side (around 34 degrees). Once satisfied, the engine was fitted with the blower unit, blow-through carburetor, three-core intercooler, and race bypass valve.

Finally we installed our custom Carb Shop carburetor and test fit the ProCharger F2 supercharger, brackets and pulleys. After clearancing for the water pump, the left-side valve cover sat pretty tight to the ProCharger head unit. According to DiSomma, this is common with most blower cars of this nature and generally fixed by notching the valve cover for ultimate clearance. The professional team at M2 notched our Moroso aluminum valve covers, as well as installed 12-AN bungs for crankcase pressure to bleed off.


Air Flow Research
Valencia, CA 91355
Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
Lenexa, KS 66215
Dart Machinery
Troy, MI 48084
Carb Shop
Ontario, CA
M2 Race Systems
Farmingdale, NJ 07727



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