This is the Magnum 408 stroker in the 4,200-pound Dakota that produces more than 540 hp in
Some people just want their vehicles to be a little different than the norm. It may be for looks, or it may be that people simply want to go faster. There are others who want the truck to look cool and go like a rocket. Most people start out by making a change or two, so the truck leaves the light a little quicker than the other guy's. You start to check out bolt-on items that make it go even faster. Suddenly, you realize that building a rocket ship on wheels requires a bigger motor. Over the years, it was said the easiest way to go was to build a Chevy engine and install it in any truck. That's not really the case, when you think about what hard-core drag racers have been running since the beginning of drag racing -- a Chrysler Hemi sat between the 'rails of a dragster almost as soon as the Chrysler engine was put into production.
In the early '60s, automotive manufacturers were actively into racing, producing nearly anything it took to keep their vehicles out in front. Dodge and Plymouth machines were at the head of the line, with equipment that could get the job done. At one point, Mopar vehicles and engines were not all that popular. That was the case until the truck market overtook cars and many people found out what hard-core truck owners have known all along: Trucks are cool to drive and to build up. About the time everyone decided that trucks were not just for hauling hay or transporting hogs to the market, Chrysler realized that it needed to get with the program and produce a package to appeal to the sport truck market, backing that with something under the hood that could be competitive as well. Hence, the Magnum 5.9L 360ci V-8, first introduced in 1993, became Chrysler's V-8 of choice for the Dodge Dakota, Durango, and Ram. No sooner had Chrysler designers dreamed up a package that satisfied the demand for more performance than aftermarket options for the 5.9L engine began to appear on the market. Today, Mopar Performance Parts and the high-performance industry have noticed a great demand for parts for this engine.
We have recently seen a great-looking '00 Dodge Dakota at several truck shows around Southern California, which is unusual because Dodge trucks were not previously show material. However, Scott Quaranta's Dakota is a show piece. We were impressed that the hood was always up for everyone to see that this Dakota R/T has more than just good looks. Scott was planning to build a Magnum motor into a 408 stroker. The items he had already added were all right, but he wanted to make this bad boy really run. It already had a big Paxton supercharger, but he planned to turn the truck into a drag racer and it had to have a bigger motor to make a statement.
We began our 408 stroker motor buildup with this low-mileage 5.9L (360) Dodge Magnum engin
The Magnum 360 has been around for about ten years now and can be picked up fairly easily. Or, if you want to use the engine that's in your Dodge truck now, it can be sent out to be put on steroids. A good portion of the heavy-duty stuff that's going into this pumped-up motor came from the Mopar parts counter or from the Mopar Performance Parts catalog. MPP offers two different 4-inch stroker crankshafts: one is a cast piece and the other is a forged unit. If you use one of those and bore the block 0.030 over, the result will be a 408ci starter. In order to use the stroker crank, the block must be notched for rod clearance.
Cast-iron heads were used for Scott's engine, since he plans to run a blower. Mopar offers two new Magnum R/T head castings: one is cast-iron and the other is aluminum. Aluminum castings are 60 pounds lighter. Those heads come with either 1.92-inch intake valves or 2.02-inch valves. The 2.02s are used for bigger-horsepower motors. The 2.02s used on this engine were reworked by The Fastman and were flow bench tested. The flow numbers were 288 cfm on the intake and 245 cfm on the exhaust at 0.550 lift. The Cometic head gaskets used were requested by Scott. They are widely used by pro racing shops and other organizations such as NHRA and NASCAR. Made from multi-layer steel, the gaskets are strong and are reusable. The Cometic gasket came from Southeast R/Ts. The camshaft for this motor is a Cam Motion component that was specially ground for the blown application. A blower cam has a little more overlap and is usually ground on a 114-lobe centerline. That makes it work well with the PCM. Most naturally aspirated engine cams are cut on a 112-lobe centerline. The items mentioned are but a few of the parts that Dan Arcand at The Fastman uses to build up special high-performance Mopar engines for customers around the country.
After the main bearing caps were unbolted, the old bearings were removed and 0.003 was sur
Main cap bolts were replaced with studs, and the caps were reinstalled. The block was fast
The block has been placed into the block-decking machine, where it will be decked to true
After the block has been aligned and decked so that they are perfectly set at 90 degrees,
The bores were honed to finish off the boring portion of the machine work. A heavy honing
Because this block will be fitted with a stroker crankshaft, the block must be ground out.
When all machine work had been completed and the block had been totally disassembled, whic
They reassembled the engine, and all the freeze plugs, block plugs, and components that we
The cam bearings could now be installed. They worked carefully to make sure the bearings w
A&B: A new distributor bushing was installed, and it was reamed to the proper size for th
Here are the Mopar 4.0 stroker crankshaft and the Mopar steel-ring SFI-approved vibration
The Eagle Specialty Products rods are the standard high-performance rods, which are rated
The crankshaft balancing process was started. Each rod was assembled and placed in a fixtu
Each rod must weigh the same. To make sure each rod weighed the same, a small amount of ma
The pistons were weighed and ground down as needed to make them equal. A record of measure
The rings were checked for proper clearance by placing one in the bore and checking the am
The Clevite 77 main bearings were installed in the block. A small notch has been made in t
After the caps had been bolted up to the block and torqued to proper specification, they w
Also, the crankshaft bearing journals needed to be measured and each diameter recorded. Th
After the crankshaft had been installed and torqued to proper specs, it was time to turn t
The rods were fitted to the pistons and rings, so these units were ready to go into the bl
The ring compressor was placed on the cylinder, and the crank was rotated so the connectin
The piston was tapped into the cylinder, and the rod was guided down into place on the cra
The piston needed to be pointed toward the front of the motor. After the block was turned
Then the bolts were torqued down to proper specs.
Here's the notched area in the block. With the 4-inch stroker crankshaft, it was easy to s
All of the rods have been installed, and the bolts have been torqued down. The short-block
The Fastman likes to use a windage tray in motors. The tray is an early Chrysler "A" motor
A Cam Motion cam was installed. It is a custom-ground unit that The Fastman made to work w
The timing gearset used is from Pro Gear. The Pro Gear setup uses a double roller chain, a
The heads used on this engine are the new Mopar Performance Parts Magnum R/T cast-iron uni
The intake ports have been ground and polished to full street specs.
The reworked heads were fastened into the flow bench, and they were flowed to a street blo
The new Cometic head gasket is a very strong metal unit made up of three layers. The outsi
Mopar valves and springs are items recommended for use with Magnum R/T heads. The springs
Mopar Performance Parts' Magnum roller lifters were installed and the retainer units were
These are Crane Gold Series roller rocker arms. They are 1.6 ratio, the stock Magnum ratio
This engine build is complete. All that is left to do is to set this rocker-buster into pl
This is the Mopar Performance Parts aluminum M1 four-barrel intake manifold installed with
Here is the 52mm F&B two-barrel throttle body bolted up to the same M1 intake manifold. Th
The engine has been in the truck for about four months now, and the Magnum motor was run o
The engine has been in the truck for about four months now, and the Magnum motor was run on Pacific Performance Engineering's chassis dyno and produced some good numbers. The 408 Magnum stroker engine recorded a 543.9 hp at 5,200 rpm. This motor puts out that amount of horses and 565 lb-ft of torque, according to Pacific's dyno charts. The truck is a fully outfitted, streetable machine that has run 11.80 times and will now be fitted with a rollcage for the strip. Thus far, this motor has proven that it does make some serious horsepower.
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