February 2001

We started having second thoughts about the power we'd get from a naturally aspirated 302 so we started looking at superchargers. This brought up the engine clearance issues again as we looked at photos of the JBL engine bay. Richard from JBL was also concerned about whether this would fit since no one had tried a supercharger that he knew of. 

Richard suggested that we forget about the 302 and use a 351W with a TWM Induction fuel injection system. This system takes up a lot less space under the hood. It is still fairly tall, but this will fit under the hood scoop. The TWM system looks gorgeous so we decided to go with this.

Richard also suggested we look at DSS Racing for a short block and build up the rest of the engine ourselves. I was pretty nervous about this, but decided that this would be a good opportunity for Scott and I to learn a lot more about engines than if we bought one that was fully assembled and tested.

I contacted DSS and they had a Sportsman 351W block stroked to 408 with 10.5:1 compression. I thought the compression ratio was a little high to be safe with pump gas, but they then said this was based on 58cc combustion chambers. I figured I could use heads with 65cc combustion chambers to reduce compression to a more comfortable 9.8:1. So I ordered the short block.

At about the same time, I ordered an engine hoist and an engine stand from Summit. These arrived in just a few days and were fairly easy to assemble. The engine stand, however, had the bolt holes drilled incorrectly in one of the legs, so I had to drill new holes.

We finally got the quote from JBL including all our "extras". The incremental costs seemed pretty reasonable, so with a deposit to JBL in the mail, we were on our way.

We also placed the order for the TWM Induction system. They quoted an eight week lead time, so we'd have to wait a while before we could get too far along on our engine build. We'd like to look at the intake before we make our final call on the camshaft, and the camshaft has to be installed before we can do much else.

One of the engine builders we had talked to about the 302 based engine was Panhandle Performance. Since they have a lot of experience doing cylinder head porting, we decided to go with them for the heads. As soon as the TWM intake arrives, we'll send it to them so that they can match the intake ports to the intake manifold.

The DSS short block arrived at the end of the month. But getting it on the engine stand was going to be a challenge. The engine hoist just has chains that are meant to be connected to the block, the the block has no lift tabs or anything easy to connect to.


We my neighbors help, we found some bolts that fit the various bolt holes in the front and back of the block and managed to lift the engine off the palette. With a little creative contortionism, we managed to get the engine stand into position and bolted it in place with three bolts into the rear of the engine while the fourth bolt position was still being used by one of the engine hoist chains to hold it up. With two neighbors wrestling the engine block 

into the right orientation, I unbolted the block from the hoist chain and bolted in the fourth engine stand bolt.

This all happened on the day of our Seattle earthquake. Fortunately, the engine was still sitting on its palette on the garage floor instead of dangling from the hoist when the earthquake hit. THAT would have been exciting.

Next Month - ordering parts, building this website.