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Small Block Chevy Parts Testing - Total Recall: Danger Mouse Part 9

A Recap Of Danger Mouse Tests

By Mike Petralia

CLICK BELOW TO SEE ALL OF THE STORIES COVERING THE BUILD OF PROJECT DANGER MOUSE

DANGER MOUSE PART 1

DANGER MOUSE PART 3

DANGER MOUSE PART 4

DANGER MOUSE PART 5

DANGER MOUSE PART 7

DANGER MOUSE PART 8

DANGER MOUSE PART 9

DANGER MOUSE PART 10

DANGER MOUSE PART 13

DANGER MOUSE PART 14

DANGER MOUSE PART 15

DANGER MOUSE PART 18

DANGER MOUSE PART 20

DANGER MOUSE PART 22

DANGER MOUSE PART 23

DANGER MOUSE PART 24

DANGER MOUSE PART 25

There was a time, not that long ago, when engine dynos were considered a black art. Not everyone believed in what the dyno had to offer, and some thought of dynos as nothing more than hocus-pocus. Aren't you glad we don't live in those dark ages anymore? Today, dynos are everywhere and the reality of dyno racing-i.e. trying to make more and more power on the dyno, just like trying to go faster and faster on the track-has become an art form of its own. At SUPER CHEVY we may not have our own dyno, but we still wanted to be able to test any and every part we could think of, just to see what would happen.

And we wanted to get you involved in the most important aspects of our tests. So we built an engine and crowned it Danger Mouse (DM), in reference to the fact that it will be risking its life just to test any hair-brained idea we might come up with. Then, we asked you to send in your ideas on what we should test next. So far it's been fantastic. Your initial response was a bit skeptical, and some sent letters calling us fools, claiming that there's no way we'd ever test their ideas. These same folks submitted ideas for engine combinations that we knew from previous testing wouldn't work. So in fact, a few of the nay-sayers were correct. We won't test every idea, just the ones that make sense. But we've also gotten tons of great ideas from your letters and can't wait to see more. So keep sending them in.

With more than six months of testing behind us, we thought now would be a good time to recap the highlights of each test to show you some of the best combinations to build. Basically, what we're offering in this month's installment are recipes for how to get your street small-block to produce anywhere from 300 to 425-plus hp and more than 440 lb-ft of torque, all on a budget and all with easy-to-find, off-the-shelf parts.

Racap From The Beginning
From the outset we knew DM would see a lot of abuse, and we've logged over 275 full-throttle pulls, along with countless, unmeasured others, without a single failure. Such reliability can only be attributed to one cause, the best parts. When building DM, we stressed the importance of selecting the highest-quality components to ensure a long dyno life. The World Products Motown four-bolt block, complete Lunati forged rotating assembly, and Milodon high-volume oil system have performed flawlessly and helped DM produce consistent results month after month, and we thank them for it.

Since no dyno comparison of this type would be worth diddly if we didn't have some stock power figures to base our results on, we first equipped DM with the barest of bone-stock top-end parts. A set of reconditioned factory-iron "camel hump" heads (casting No. 461) from Powerhouse Engine Components breathed through a bone-stock iron GM intake fueled by a professionally prepped Q-jet from the Carb Shop. The reason we chose this carb was to avoid the hassles of spending hours tuning the carb on the dyno, and the Carb Shop Q-jet worked flawlessly, fueling DM into the 350-plus-hp range. After we felt we had a reliable stock baseline to compare figures to, we dove head-first into testing cams, cylinder heads, carbs, rocker arms, spacers, and manifolds, because that's what we felt most of you would like to see.

We've learned a lot from these tests and are sure we'll learn plenty more. Soon we plan to start applying the pressure to DM when we go with blowers and nitrous oxide setups to prove their worth. We'll also start messing around with bottom-end components, changing pistons and rod lengths to see what effect they can have on a stock-stroke small-block. So, as we've asked you every month for more than half a year now, send us your ideas, thoughts, comments, and criticisms for DM. Otherwise, we'll be left to our own devices to figure out what to do next.

Dyno Tests
Danger Mouse Stock Baseline (Test 1) Profile:
Compression: 9.4:1
Heads: stock 461 "camel hump" castings
Cam: COMP Cams 246PE cam (246/263 adv duration, 203/212 duration @ .050, .429/.438 valve lift, 110 Lobe separation)
Intake: Stock iron
Carb: Carb Shop Q-jet
Ignition: Proform HEI, Champion No.14 plugs
Fuel: 76 Performance, 92 octane
Ignition Advance: 37 degrees
Exhaust: 1 5/8-inch Hooker headers into 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers

Tests 1-4: Baseline, new intake manifold, roller-tip rockers, retard cam 2-degrees (October 2002).

Test 1: This represents what a typical 355-cid small-block would make if it had just been blueprinted but still had most of its stock components.
Max 395 tq, 308 hp
Avg 376 tq, 266 hp

From this point on, except for the changes listed, nothing else was touched.

Test 2: We installed a Weiand PN 8004 dual-plane intake manifold and leaned out the Q-jet.
Max 394 tq, 325 hp
Avg 380 tq, 270 hp

Test 3: We replaced the stock stamped-steel rocker arms with COMP Cams 1.5:1 roller- tip Magnum rockers.Avg 390 tq, 278 hp

Test 4: We retarded the cam 2 degrees.
Max 405 tq, 349 hp
Avg 390 tq, 278 hp

  Stock Weiand COMP Retard cam
  Baseline 8004 1.5 rockers -2 degrees
  Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4
RPM TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP
2600 389 193 384 190 385 190 379 188
2800 385 205 381 203 382 203 377 201
3000 388 222 384 219 389 222 384 219
3200 395 241 391 238 396 241 395 241
3400 393 255 391 253 399 258 398 257
3600 393 270 394 270 402 276 401 275
3800 389 282 394 285 404 292 405 293
4000 383 292 390 297 404 307 403 307
4200 374 299 384 307 398 318 398 319
4400 363 304 375 314 391 327 395 331
4600 351 307 367 322 384 336 388 340
4800 337 308 354 324 374 342 380 347
5000 322 306 339 323 356 339 366 349
Max 395 308 394 325 404 342 405 349
Avg 376 266 380 270 390 278 390 278

Tests 5-8: Bigger 1 3/4-inch headers, full-roller rockers, bigger XE256H cam, stud girdle added (November 2002).

Test 5: Installed larger 1-3/4 Hooker headers. Compare Tests 4 and 5 and you'll see that average torque was down by 2 lb-ft, but peak toque and horsepower were up slightly, and average horsepower increased by 9. That's a fair trade to us.
Max 407 tq, 351 hp
Avg 388 tq, 287 hp

Test 6: Swapped in COMP Cams full-roller 1.5:1 aluminum rocker arms. Peak and average power didn't change at all (compare Tests 5 & 6), but we did get 5 more lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm.
Max 407 tq, 351 hp
Avg 389 tq, 288 hp

Test 7: A COMP Cams XE256H cam (256/268 adv duration, 212/218 duration @ .050, .447/.454 valve lift, 110 lobe separation) was swapped in, 2 degrees advanced, and we were rewarded with lots of grunt (compare Tests 6 & 7).
Max 413 tq, 357 hp
Avg 396 tq, 293 hp

Test 8: This was our very first weird test. We witnessed that the 3/8-inch screw-in studs in the heads were flexing as we lashed the valves, so we hypothesized that it might kill some lift and duration. In an attempt to prove our hypothesis correct, we installed a COMP Cams stud girdle. Power and torque fell off at most rpm, so the stud girdle was later removed.
Max 413 tq, 356 hp
Avg 395 tq, 292 hp



  1 3/4 Full roller COMP Stud
  Headers 1.5 rockers XE256H girdle
  Test 5 Test 6 Test 7 Test 8
RPM TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP
2600 377 187 380 188 387 191 384 190
2800 381 203 382 204 394 210 386 206
3000 390 222 391 223 401 229 398 227
3200 396 241 401 244 411 250 408 249
3400 400 260 403 261 413 267 410 265
3600 403 276 405 277 413 283 411 281
3800 407 294 406 294 413 298 413 299
4000 405 308 407 310 412 314 410 312
4200 401 321 402 322 406 325 407 325
4400 395 331 367 332 402 337 402 337
4600 387 339 388 340 394 345 394 345
4800 380 347 380 347 385 352 385 352
5000 368 350 368 350 375 357 373 355
5200 354 350 353 349 358 354 358 355
5400 N/A N/A 339 349 348 357 345 355
5600 N/A N/A N/A N/A 334 356 331 353
Max 407 351 407 351 413 357 413 356
Avg 388 287 389 288 396 293 395 292

Note how DM's powerband slowly increases as we keep trying different parts.

Tests 9-12: Bigger carb, "Air Gap" manifold, new carb spacer, bigger XE262H cam (December 2002).

Test 8 ended the day with a maximum 356 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, and average figures were 292 hp and 395 lb-ft. This month we tried a new Speed Demon carb and an Edelbrock Performer RPM "Air Gap" manifold with a Wilson 1 1/4-inch open spacer. We also installed the next-size-larger COMP Cams Xtreme Energy camshaft. The final reward was a new max 386 hp and 438 lb-ft of torque, and the new averages were 316 hp/416 tq. Now we've got this stock iron-headed 355-cid Mouse making almost 390 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque! So far this looks like the best power formula with the stock heads, particularly since the motor didn't respond that well to the bigger cam. That means that we just about maxed out the stock cylinder head's flow potential and would either have to go in and start porting or install a new set of performance cylinder heads for more power.

Test 9: Installed Speed Demon 750 carb with 82/88 jets.
Max 418 tq, 356 hp
Avg 398 tq, 294 hp

Test 10: We installed an Edelbrock Performer RPM "Air Gap" intake manifold, which was the best single-gain swap yet and the first test to average over 400 lb-ft of torque.
Max 438 tq, 380 hp
Avg 416 tq, 315 hp

Test 11: We installed a Wilson 1 1/4-inch-tall open carb spacer.
Max 437 tq, 381 hp
Avg 414 tq, 314 hp

Test 12: A larger COMP Cams XE262H cam (262/270 adv duration, 218/224 duration @ .050, .462/.469 valve lift, 110 lobe separation) was installed straight up.
Max 438 tq, 386 hp
Avg 416 tq, 316 hp

  Speed Air Gap Wilson COMP
  Demon 750 intake spacer XE262H
  Test 9 Test 10 Test 11 Test 12
RPM TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP
2600 393 194 411 203 403 200 396 196
2800 395 211 413 220 408 218 404 215
3000 403 230 420 240 420 240 416 237
3200 413 252 430 262 428 261 429 261
3400 416 269 436 282 427 276 429 278
3600 415 284 438 300 432 296 435 298
3800 416 301 437 316 436 315 437 316
4000 414 315 437 333 437 332 438 334
4200 408 327 435 348 430 344 436 348
4400 402 337 429 359 426 357 432 362
4600 394 345 421 369 420 368 424 371
4800 386 352 411 376 412 376 417 381
5000 373 356 398 379 399 379 405 386
5200 359 355 380 376 384 380 389 385
5400 346 356 365 375 367 377 375 386
5600 331 353 347 370 351 374 360 384
Max 418 356 438 380 437 381 438 386
Avg 398 294 416 315 414 314 416 316

Unlucky Test 13: S/R Torquer cylinder heads (January 2003).By Test 12 we had really started to crank out some power, especially considering that DM still wore its stock iron heads and ran a mild camshaft. However, Test 13 really did prove to be an unlucky number, and we were taught a lesson in proper parts matching. The S/R Torquer cylinder heads (which we got from Bill Mitchell's Hardcore Racing Products for only $415 each) set us back a few ponies, probably the result of combustion chambers and valves that were too large compared to the stock heads.

Test 13: World Products S/R Torquer cylinder heads (PN 042660-2 67S) were installed (67cc chambers, 170cc intake runner volume, 2.02/1.60 valves). No other changes were made.
Max 417 tq, 379 hp
Avg 399 tq, 303 hp

  S/R Torquer
  heads
  Test 13
RPM TQ HP
2600 375 185
2800 378 202
3000 393 225
3200 411 250
3400 413 267
3600 417 286
3800 416 301
4000 413 314
4200 412 329
4400 414 347
  S/R Torquer
  heads
  Test 13
RPM TQ HP
4600 409 358
4800 401 366
5000 395 376
5200 383 379
5400 367 378
5600 353 377
Max 417 379
Avg 399 303

Test 14-15: GMPP Vortec cylinder heads and COMP Cams 1.6:1 rockers (February 2003).

Since power fell off drastically in January's test, we knew we'd made some mistakes and had to redeem ourselves. To accomplish this we went back to The General and installed a new set of iron GMPP Vortec cylinder heads. We compared figures to the stock "camel hump" heads (Test 12) and found that even though the Vortecs actually dropped DM's compression by about 1/4-point to 9.25:1, that didn't stop them from adding more power. Then we swapped on our first set of 1.6:1-ratio rockers (previously only 1.5:1-ratio rockers would fit, due to pushrod interference) and were, once again, rewarded with more power.

Test 14: We installed iron GMPP Vortec heads (SDPC PN SD8060A, 64cc chambers, 170cc intake runner volume, 1.94/1.50 valves) with COMP Cams 1.5:1 Magnum roller-tip rockers (PN 1417-16) and an Edelbrock RPM "Air Gap" manifold (PN 7516).
Max 435 tq, 409 hp
Avg 413 tq, 330 hp

Test 15: COMP Cams 1.6:1 Magnum roller-tip rockers (PN 1418-16) were installed.
Max 440 tq, 416 hp
Avg 417 tq, 333 hp

  Vortec COMP
  heads 1.6 rockers
  Test 14 Test 15
RPM TQ HP TQ HP
2600 383 190 379 188
2800 389 208 384 204
3000 406 232 404 231
3200 422 257 427 260
3400 429 278 433 280
3600 431 295 435 298
3800 429 311 437 316
4000 426 325 432 329
4200 425 340 433 347
4400 430 361 434 364
4600 433 379 439 385
4800 430 393 433 396
5000 421 400 423 402
5200 406 402 411 407
5400 395 406 401 413
5600 384 409 389 415
5800 365 403 365 403
Max 435 409 440 416
Avg 413 330 417 333

Test 16-18: GMPP Vortec cylinder heads, Wilson four-into-one carb spacer, COMP Cams 1.6:1 rockers (March 2003).

The final dyno bash we'll review this month had us swapping cams, rockers, and carb spacers like they were going out of style. DM ended up making a maximum 427 hp and 439 lb-ft of torque. Those are fantastic numbers coming from just a 9.25:1 small-block still running a very small hydraulic camshaft (COMP's XE268H). The Vortec heads had made 23 more peak horsepower than the factory heads we tested-the camel humps (compare Tests 12 and 14).

In March '03 we tried a new Wilson carb spacer and gained some extra power at 3,000 rpm (Test 16). Then, we wrestled rocker arm ratios around and saw some torque improvement with no horsepower losses (Test 17). And we finally swapped in the next bigger COMP cam with the results we were expecting (Test 18), more horsepower upstairs and less torque downstairs.

By Test 18 we think we've reached the pinnacle of affordable small-block performance, and to make any more power we'd have to go with ported cylinder heads and/or a set of more-expensive aftermarket aluminum or maybe still some iron castings. Look for these comparisons in upcoming months. Still, if you follow our recipe, any properly blueprinted, pump gas small-block you build could easily duplicate all of our power figures, while costing only around $3,500 and being a kick to drive everyday.

Test 16: A Wilson 1-inch open carb spacer with a Wilson four-into-one tapered spacer were swapped in.
Max 440 tq, 414 hp
Avg 418 tq, 334 hp

Test 17: We tested 1.5:1-ratio exhaust rockers and 1.6:1-ratio intake rockers (best power of all rocker combinations tested so far).
Max 442 tq, 414 hp
Avg 419 tq, 335 hp

Test 18: A COMP Cams XE268H camshaft (268/280 adv, 224/230 @ .050, .477/.480 lift, 110 LS) was installed straight up. We changed all rocker arms back to a 1.6:1 ratio.
Max 439 tq, 427 hp
Avg 418 tq, 335 hp

  Wilson 1.6I/1.5E COMP
  4-1 spacer rockers XE268H
  Test 16 Test 17 Test 18
RPM TQ HP TQ HP TQ HP
2600 377 187 384 190 371 184
2800 383 204 392 209 379 202
3000 413 236 413 236 400 229
3200 429 261 428 261 425 259
3400 431 279 432 280 431 279
3600 435 298 437 299 436 299
3800 435 314 439 317 435 315
4000 435 332 439 335 430 328
4200 436 348 437 350 431 344
4400 436 366 438 367 439 367
4600 440 385 441 387 437 383
4800 434 396 435 398 438 400
5000 424 404 425 405 429 408
5200 412 407 413 409 417 413
5400 401 413 401 412 407 419
5600 388 414 388 414 398 424
5800 366 404 366 404 387 427
Max 440 414 442 414 439 427
Avg 418 334 419 335 418 335

Send your test suggestions to:Super Chevy Magazine
Attn: Danger Mouse
720 Hundley Way
Placentia, CA 92870
Or Email: mike.petralia@primedia.com

SOURCES
The Carb Shop
1461 E. Philadelphia
Ontario
CA  91761
909-947-3575
www.customcarbs.com
Demon Carburetion
Dahlonega
Ge
7-06/-864-8544
barrygrant.com
Fluidampr
Springville
NY
7-16/-592-1000
fluidampr.com
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309
Edelbrock
Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-781-2222
www.edelbrock.com
76 RACING FUELS & LUBRICANTS
(800) 345-0076
www.76.com
Bill Mitchell's Hardcore Racing Products
51 Tradezone Ct
Ronkonkoma
NY  11779
www.theengineshop.com
Lunati Cams
Olive Branch
MS
6-62/-892-1500
lunatipower.com
Scoggin-Dickey (SDPC)
5901 Spur 327
Lubbock
TX  79424
Mr. Gasket Company
10601 Memphis Ave., #12
Cleveland
OH  44144
216-688-8300
www.mr-gasket.com
Specialty Auto Parts
28314 Hayes Ave
P.O. Box 306
Roseville
MI  48066
Mechanix Wear
24950 Anza Dr.
Valencia
CA  91355
6-61/-257-0474
www.mechanix.com
Specialty Component Engineering
1122 West Ave. L-12, Unit 111
Lancaster
CA  93534
Milodon
2250 Agate Ct.
Simi Valley
CA  93065
805-577-5950
www.milodon.net
Powerhouse Products
3402 Democrat Rd.
Memphis
TN  38118
800-872-7223
901-795-7600
www.powerhouseproducts.com
Powerhouse Engine Components
931 19th St
Bakersfield
CA   93301
Wilson Manifolds
4700 NE 11th Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale
FL  33334
954-771-6216
www.wilsonmanifolds.com
Westech Performance Group
11098 Venture Dr., Unit C
Mira Loma
CA  91752
9-09/-685-4767
www.westechperformance.com
COMP Cams
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By Mike Petralia
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