Dyno Part-Juggle-Fest: 440 Cross Ram Testing Exhaust Manifolds Versus Headers

ach month when I plan this column, I try and spice it up with a variety of topics so nobody gets bored – especially me. This month let’s get our hands dirty with some tech. Ever wonder what the power difference is between factory cast iron exhaust manifolds and tube-steel headers? And how much power really gets lost when you install the air cleaner? I recently had my budget Max Wedge engine on the DTS dyno at Joe Jill’s Superior Automotive in Anaheim, CA. While dyno sessions are not cheap, Joe was gracious enough to allow extra time to juggle some parts in search of the answer to these questions.

The engine is a 1977 cast crank 440 that’s been made over to loosely resemble a Stage III 426 Max Wedge. But instead of costing in excess of $14,000 (about what you can expect to pay for a correct vintage Maxie), just under $7,000 gets this engine built. The key to the deal is the new 440-port cross ram intake manifold from Rick Allison and the folks at A&A Transmission in Camby, IN. I’ve written about this manifold here before so I won’t regurgitate the details. Instead, look at the Budget Max Wedge Recipe List at the end of this story and add it all up for yourself. Okay, lets get started on our exploration!

P.S.: The juicy tech continues next month as we play with a 520 cubic-inch Hemi on the dyno!

Thanks to A&A Transmission, you’re looking at a brand new Max Wedge cross ram setup. Back in the dark days of the Eighties, I’d have bet a stack of cash we’d never see a sight like this! Though this one is a 440 small-port unit, A&A also makes stock-type reproduction cross rams with the larger Max Wedge port sizes that bolt right up to vintage (or reproduction) Max Wedge heads. The A&A cross ram weighs 38.1-lbs bare.