Magnum engine. The bastard of the market.
Why has the magnum been forsaken? The engine itself seems to be a pretty good platform to build upon. When it comes to finding OEM & aftermarket parts and info... I'm glad I buzz my hair to 1/8", cause if not I'm positive if I could grab a hold of it I would've snatched each and every one out. Countless hours and countless gigs of data, 5 hens teeth, minimal relevant results.
Let me preface this with; I am not completely broke, I'm just cheap and budget minded, now. Horsepower is expensive. Fact. Anyhow, carrying on.
Intake. 1st off I don't want a carbureted engine. If I wanted that I'd build an LA. . Everybody says "get an m1." Ok, I'll give it a shot, seem to be popular so should be easy to find and hopefully under $400, I mean brand new edelbrock intake for the LA can be found for less than $350, so I don't want to pay much more than that. After about 3 hours of diligently searching I finally found part numbers for EFI 2 bbl & 4 bbl intakes. Good, now we're in business. Should be easy, I'll have an intake on the way within 5 minutes. Type in the part number for one of them, select the link, click buy now, take a sip of bourbon, enjoy the rest of the night, right? WRONG! It actually works like this; select the link, get "product unavailable" message. No problem. Select the link below it. Same message. Repeat this process 40 times. Sipping quite a bit of bourbon by now. Well, guess the 4bbl is more popular, so I'll go with a 2bbl. Nope! Same thing happened as with the previous search. Well that royally sucks, guess that's life. Let's make it easy. Search for "360 magnum efi intake manifold." first result is Edelbrock. Think to myself fine, I'll break down and just buy an edelbrock, sure hope it's an air gap design. Sweet! It is an air gap. Sh*t! It's for a carburetor. Are you f'n kiddin me. You would think a bolt on replacement manifold for an engine that has a throttle body and injectors... would actually be for TB and injectors. Or does that make too much sense? (side note: Obviously a one stop shop eddy top end kit is out of the question.) Still would love to have a good high flowing intake. Found one brand new one (one, single, lonely EFI intake), and it's $600, before tax and shipping. Building an LA is starting to look better and better. But now it's a matter of principle and pride; this will be a fuel injection build. Have heard that the magnum FI system isn't good for performance, with a good too end to include TB and better injectors, why wouldn't it be. Maybe I'll just mod my own kegger for the time being.
Heads. Lots of options here. Lots of posts across various forums, and plenty of tech articles. Good. But there's still a grrrrr factor. Flow bench test results from article to article vary greatly (unless it's the exact same article on 15 different web pages.) Many choices, let's do research on a few 1 by 1. EQ & Edelbrock seem to be a good bang for the buck. But... Need some work to get the most out of them. Really? Well over $1k and now, on this NIB stuff I need to break out the dremel to remove casting flash, do some porting, or change valves, etc. Nah bruh. Don't sound right to me. Since I haven't hit the Powerball just yet, no need to spend all my beer money on something like this if I don't have to get. So how bout I just port a set of stock magnum heads in the mean time. Thin, prone to cracks, yada yada yada. Can pick up a set for less than $100 all day long. Add 2 cases of beer and I'm up to a $136 investment for ported stockers. Never ported magnum heads before, best do some research. Ooh, they have a Mopar porting template for magnum heads. Very nice, I like you how much. Even found the part number. I know right, it's akin to finding a unicorn. This should make it a lot easier. Search for it, click it, buy it. Easy. Well, if you think it really was as simple as it should be; then you, sir, do not fully understand the struggle. Yet again we play another round of 53 card pick up.
Rotating assemblies. Actually had decent luck with stroker kits. Sometimes it got a little stupid finding some of the subtle differences in various kits, materials used, cam recommendations, etc. With this new found stroke of still-bad-but-not-quite-as-bad-as-it-was luck, I'll try searching for a crate engine.
Crate engine. Dozens and dozens of 408 strokers out there. 450+ hp, 500+ tq. Ahh yea boy, it's on now. Yea... The only thing that was on was my blood pressure. Don't want an LA, and don't want a magnum with a carb, dammit! "Turn key" "complete" "dressed" "drop in" my @$$. Apparently the term "drop in" has many definitions. I did not know this. My version of drop in is a lot different than the company's that make the so called drop in crate engines. My thought process: drop it in, engine mounts, connect tranny, exhaust, fuel line, electrical, hoses, then fire it up and start the break in process. For this to happen it would have to be complete on each axis. From the fan to the flex plate, from the throttle body to the oil pan, from header to header. Anyone read that and hear the mission impossible theme song miraculously start playing?
Exhaust. Headers. I think most folks agree that long tubes are the way to go, if possible. You know what's not possible; figuring out how far a particular brand will protrude down. Then reviews. One guy says perfect fit, easy install. Another guy with a similar truck, had to heat this, bend that, cut this with a sawzall, shoot that with a 10 gauge... Then there's the shorty header guys. I agree, anything is better than the stock manifolds. Can find a set that will work in the interim. I can rig up my exhaust to hook to the headers for now, it's "dual exhaust" already (actually it's the insanely idiotic crossover Y pipe (that makes me puke a little every time I think about it), single cat, 1 in 2 out delta 40 muffler), just need a sawzall, some flex pipe, clamps, and the right flared flange connector. That connector... Found only 1 that will work, and it ships from England, and it costs 28 British pounds, plus shipping. Wtf over.
Muffler. Website wants to know for what vehicle. Irrelevant, but ok. Find a muffler, I like it, I've seen it, I've heard it, I want it. "Not compatible with your vehicle". F U buddy. Doing my own pipes and welding, I assure you it's compatible.
There's more, but it's getting late. Rant postponed.