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Dart 540ci Mild to Wild Big-Block Engine Builds - Mild To Wild Big-Blocks

If You Want Rat Power For Your Tri-Five, One Of These Dart 540s Might Be Right Up Your Alley.

By Richard Holdener, Photography by Richard Holdener

Remember, these numbers came with a static compression ratio of just 8.8:1, hardly what you'd consider optimum for performance use. Two more points of compression (to 10.8:1) would easily increase the power output by a solid 50 hp or more. Best of all, the power gains would occur throughout the rev range (basically a jump of 7-8 percent). As it was, the wild combo produced a broad torque curve, bettering 600 lb-ft of torque from 3,900 rpm to 6,700 rpm. Basically, step on the gas of this 540 and watch the tires go up in smoke.

Nitrous 540 Combo
Happy as we were with our two distinct mild and wild combinations, we ran one more test. By adding nitrous oxide to the mix we could further transform our wild combination into a serious street/strip terror. Anytime you add an extra 250 hp to the mix, things really start getting interesting.

To add the nitrous to the 540, we decided to remove the Weiand tunnel ram and replace it with the Weiand Team G. Unlike the intake used on the mild combination, this team G was designed to accept a larger 4500-sereis carburetor. Plenty capable of supporting the power output of the wilder combo, the single-plane Team G allowed us to install the awaiting NOS Cheater Competition system. Adjustable from 150 hp to 250 hp, the NOS Cheater system was perfect for our large-displacement, low-compression 540.

Replacing the tunnel ram with the Team G resulted in a change in peak power numbers from 777 hp and 681 lb-ft of torque to 770 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. Adding a 250hp shot of nitrous (102 fuel and 93 nitrous jetting) resulted in a final power number of 1,022 hp and 839 lb-ft of torque (though it was necessary to run a smaller fuel jet to lean the mixture out).

Trick Flow Specialties
1248 Southeast Avenue
OH  44278
Dart Machinery
353 Oliver Street
MI  48084
Comp Cams
3406 Democrat Road
TN  38118
Holley Performance Products
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green
KY  42101
80 Carter Drive
CT  06437
By Richard Holdener
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