We were anxious to drop in the Real Fine 509 (December '09 issue)-which dyno tested at 669 hp at 6,000 and 623 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm-into the Nova. Unfortunately, header (2 1/8-inch Hooker Super Competition) and tall valve cover clearance issues required us to remove and reinstall it a few times to sort out the fitment issues. If we elected to use the smaller 2-inch Hooker Super Competition headers (or TCI's 2-inch big-block headers) and shorter valve covers, fitment issues would be non-existent. We've seen other Novas ('68-74) and early Camaros using 2-inch Hookers with the TCI tubular front clip, but we didn't want to chance losing any power. We were anxious to drop in the Real Fine 509 (December '09 issue)-which dyno tested at 669 When we introduced our street/strip Nova project in the February '11 issue, it received a new Total Cost Involved tubular front clip (tubular subframe, control arms, coilover shocks, rack-and-pinion steering, etc.) The theory was that the TCI front clip would shave 140 pounds off the nose, so dropping in an aluminum-headed Dart 509 big-block would be about the same weight as if we had a stock '68-74 Nova with an iron-headed small-block. But with the TCI front clip (2-inch dropped spindles, wider track, superior suspension, brakes and steering), our X-body would become a more roadworthy and enjoyable driver off the strip, too. In this episode we learned there are a few modifications needed to install a rat motor with tall valve covers using Hooker Super Competition 2 1/8-inch equal-length headers and a 3-inch exhaust into a '68-74 Nova. Believe us, all the extra work was well worth it once we drove the Nova down the road. Unfortunately, the TH350 trans was slipping so we couldn't feel the 509 putting the power to the pavement. Next up we'll install the Performance Automatic Turbo 400, Currie 9-inch rear, and measure for a new beefy driveshaft. Then we'll be able to feel the power being put to the pavement. We're looking forward to enjoying the Nova's much improved street-driving manners with the TCI front clip and finding out how it'll work on the strip once the serious drivetrain is in the car. It was a beautiful sight to see once we unboxed and uncovered our new Dart bullet... ...It's a mild 10:1 pump gas street/strip plant using Dart's Big M iron cylinder block (4.500-inch bore) with splayed, four-bolt billet steel main caps, Dart Pro1 310cc aluminum heads topped-off with a Dart open-plenum/single plane intake manifold... ...It's a mild 10:1 pump gas street/strip plant using Dart's Big M iron cylinder block (4. ...Inside the beast is an Eagle 4340-forged crankshaft (4.000-inch stroke-same as a stock 454), forged JE pistons, Engine Pro 6.135-inch long forged H-beam connecting rods with a hydraulic roller cam (0.540/0.560-inch lift, 242/248 duration at .0.050) and complete valvetrain from Comp Cams. ...Inside the beast is an Eagle 4340-forged crankshaft (4.000-inch stroke-same as a stock Energy Suspension motor mounts (Summit PN ENS-3-1114R) were bolted to the beefy block using the aforementioned ARP motor-mount bolt kit. For our application, we needed to use the early-style "short and wide" polyurethane mounts for a smooth running engine on the street. The Energy Suspension mounts are comparable in strength to solid mounts with their molded-in safety interlock. Energy Suspension motor mounts (Summit PN ENS-3-1114R) were bolted to the beefy block usin The SFI spec'd flexplate (also included with Nova's purchase) was securely held in place using ARP bolts (Summit PN ARP-200-2902) torqued to 65 ft-lbs. The SFI spec'd flexplate (also included with Nova's purchase) was securely held in place u For enough clearance with tall big-block valve covers, it's a given you'll need a smaller diameter brake booster or a hydro-boost brake system. For our future plans of upgrading to four-wheel disc brakes (Currie 9-inch with Wilwood discs), we removed the stock 11-inch booster with a front disc/rear drum master for a CPP (Classic Performance Products) 9-inch booster/four-wheel disc master with proportioning valve. For enough clearance with tall big-block valve covers, it's a given you'll need a smaller Since they were fairly new, we reused the stock steel brake lines, brackets, and self-tapping bolts from the stock subframe. A few holes were drilled for the bolts once the lines were routed and attached to the prop valve. The braided brake hoses (included with the TCI front clip) were secured to the Wilwood calipers and steel brake lines. Since they were fairly new, we reused the stock steel brake lines, brackets, and self-tapp The Phoenix Systems MaxPro brake bleeder tool (model number 2002) made it fast and easy for your author to bleed the brakes all by himself. You can vacuum bleed or use reverse bleed technology (best)... The Phoenix Systems MaxPro brake bleeder tool (model number 2002) made it fast and easy fo ...Reverse bleeding pushes the brake fluid and any air up and out of the master cylinder while filling it with fluid. Any air in the lines goes up in the direction it wants to go (up and out). The Phoenix Systems reverse bleeding system is patented and approved by GM, Raybestos and Bendix. ...Reverse bleeding pushes the brake fluid and any air up and out of the master cylinder w Feeling safe with a great brake pedal, we wired the ignition for the ididit steering column we previously installed with the TCI front clip. Wiring the steering column was an easy task for a first-timer (like your author) by just following the instructions. The shown relays prevent alternator voltage from going through the ignition switch (unlike the wiring going to the stock ignition switch). This will help the ignition switch last longer in our new ididit steering column. At this point we couldn't wait to turn the key and fire up the 509, but there was still some work ahead of us Feeling safe with a great brake pedal, we wired the ignition for the ididit steering colum With the brakes and wiring ready to go, the engine compartment was cleaned and touched up using Eastwood's Chassis Black paint. We couldn't drop the pretty, new Rat into a dirty engine bay. With the brakes and wiring ready to go, the engine compartment was cleaned and touched up When we placed the 509 in position, we didn't expect a valve cover to booster clearance problem. This is not the norm with the stock subframe when switching to a smaller 9-inch brake booster. We later found out (installing the radiator and shroud) the motor sits roughly 1.5-inches more to the driver's side with the TCI front clip. When we placed the 509 in position, we didn't expect a valve cover to booster clearance pr 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By Dan Foley Enjoyed this Post? 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