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About the engine

posted Dec 19, 2011, 4:26 PM by roehricht@bellsouth.net   [ updated Feb 11, 2014, 12:49 PM ]
We took the old Chevy 400 small block and dissassembled it. I sold the heads and the reciprocating assembly to a stock car racer friend.
We've bought an internally balanced crank and a set of six inch rods along with a set of reversed dome forged pistons to make the short block a 406 cid work horse.
Dec 2012
Most of the specs are mentioned in the project overview. What isn't mentioned is some of the perifrials we're looking at. I've almost made up my mind to go with a tuned port fuel injection system for mileage and power reasons.  I've found a company calle FIRST that makes an aftermarket TPI manifold and throttle body that looks really promising and it's compatible with either GM or aftermarket electronics. My little brother is a dealer for FAST fuel injection electronics and they make a control unit specifically for this settup. It ain't cheap but it will do all I want to do and supply the kind of tourque and tuneability
I'm looking for. 
I'm also gathering parts for an air conditioning system. I wish that some manufacturer made brackets for aftermarket buildups like this that aren't all of the billet crap.  It's generally overpriced and lacks adaptability.
 We've got a ways to go yet and it seems excruciatingly slow, but if and when I get it done it's already been worth it!
Feb 2014
Over a year and one back surgery plus two other hospital stays and I'm back up and running. We decided that the tuned port idea was only half right. We've settled on an LT1/LT4 setup with a modified GM ECM and harness. I bought a donor car, a '96 Caprice 9C1 car. It had new radiator and all of the related stuff like fans, starter, high output alternator, and even a gas tank that will work. We're even putting all of my heavy duty transmission parts into the 4L60E transmission case. It even had a good torque converter that is on it's way to the shop for modification.
The shop that did the heads is owned by an old racing buddy of mine. My little brother still does lots of business with him. When he found out I was modifying the intake manifold to fit the heads he built, he threw a FIT!! He told my brother that it I didn't bring the intake AND the heads back to him, he find us and murder us in our sleep. I took the heads and intake to him. When I get them back they'll be port matched and flowed and the bolt holes moved accordingly.
The result will be a completely matched drivetrain, all controlled by an onboard computer that is tuneable and can be changed infinitely to suit the truck. A total package.
There are a number of modifications, major and minor, that have to be made for this combination to work. The intake manifold is a major one. besides moving some of the mounting bolt holes, we have to make provision for water passages out of the intake. This is the one that had the reverse flow cooling system. It also had the distributor mounted on the front of the timing cover, behind the water pump. The 400 block won't accept that system, so we had to come up with a distributor system. We're boring a hole in the back of the manifold for a distributor in the normal location. The distributor is a small HEI unit with the inner workings of the Opti-spark distributor mounted inside. Speartech in Anderson, Indiana made some of these several years ago and I was able to get one from John, the owner.
I'm also going to swap my shorty headers that I got from Novak for some large tube, long collector headers to dial this setup in for more torque and smoother performance.
Stay tuned!!