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Project 540/E85 Engine


The “Project 540/E85” is coming along nicely. If you have been through an engine build you already know that it often takes a while for things to get rolling. There have been significant gains on this project that I can let you in on as we are going forward.

This is the foundation for the 540" E85 Project Engine we will be installing in the new S&W Swing Arm dragster. A greasy old stock 1969 440 block. It will undergo the complete "Block in a Bag" prep at Chenoweths in preparation of holding up to the 800+ H.P. we plan to throw at it.

We have chosen a Machine Shop to do the prep work on the block; Chenoweth Speed and Machine in Morton, IL. I called many machine shops that were Mopar-oriented. Some never returned calls or couldn’t get to our  project for eight or more weeks but Mike and Dale Chenoweth liked what we wanted to do and agreed to start working on it right away. So they are the lucky volunteers that will take on the project for both the grief and benefits of working with MoparMax and the Nicholson crew. You can check them out on the web at www.gearsandrears.com  or call them at (309) 266-8084. They are located in Morton, IL.

Chenoweth Speed and Machine offers a really cool program  to delivers a machined,  Mopar block done right. They call it “Block in a Bag”. The cost is $1650.00 and you must  provide a core block.
This is a list of what you get with “Block in a Bag”:
1) All work is done on their automated Rottler F-65-A machining Center.
2) Bake and Soda clean, magnaflux and sonic check the block
3) align-hone mains with stock caps,
4) Machine and sleeve 16 lifter bores, tap and clean all threaded holes
5) Square bell housing surface, mill decks up to .020 to make them “square”.
6) Bore and hone cylinders up to .060.
7) Machine crankcase for stroker clearance,
8) Debur and race-prep block,
9) install new cam bearings, core plugs, ARP main studs, and head dowels
10) Pressure wash and bag block for shipment.
They also provide a complete printed Spec Sheet for each block and all their services they complete. If you don’t want to do your own assembly they can handle that for you as well. Their “clean room” is just that, I must say I was impressed.

This is the Rollter cylinder honing machine in operation and in the background is the Rottler F-65-A computer-controlled machining center that Chenoweth Speed and Machine will use to get .0002" accuracy on our 540" Mopar stroker. From lifter bore sleeving, align bore, making surfaces both flat and parallel, this is the way to do it the RIGHT WAY.

There are some options you can choose from and I did sign-up for a few options since we are planning  to make  pretty good horsepower with this stock 440-block engine, so I talked it over with Mike and Dale and decided  to install one of their Main Stud Girdle Kits, have the block partially-filled with Hard-Block and use either aluminum or billet-steel  main caps. We’ll make that decision by the next installment.

With Chenoweth Speed and Machine solving our block issues and we then decided on Edelbrock’s  Victor Aluminum cylinder heads for this engine project. Modern Cylinder Head Lavonia MI should get  them by the middle of March we are currently waiting on Edelbrock to make them. We’ll  will have some “before” and “after” flow numbers for you after they finish “massaging” them . After I get the flow numbers Comp Cams will custom design and build a roller camshaft and kit for the heads we’ ll be ready to start assembly.

We will introduce a “new look” in valve covers for those heads from Jeff Johnston’s Billet Fabrications. These will have spray bar-oilers and a built in oil separator for the vacuum pump line. You will see the latest in oil pumps from Titan Engineering as well as we try one of their prototype belt-drive oil pumps for this engine.

Stay tuned, as we will be assembling things by the next issue. At that time we will deal with “doing it at home” tricks and tips on how to assemble an 800+ Horsepower Mopar in your garage. That is how we are going to do it. From correct clearance checking to rod bolt stretch measurements vs. the torque wrench method. I hope you will learn something, I know I will!

See you next month in “Project 540/E85 Engine” tech series.


Chenoweth Speed and Machine, Moline, Il www.gearsandrears.com
Modern Cylinder Heads, Clinton Township, MI, www.moderncylinderhead.com
Edelbrock www.edelbrock.com
Billet Facrication www.billetfab.com
Titan Engineering www.titanspeed.com  

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