Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - The Timber Wolf C2 Gets Fired Up
We Get The 393 Stroker Motor, Tremec Tranny, and Radiator Installed
From the February, 2009 issue of Corvette Fever
By Breck Alvord
Photography by Eric Martins, David Dungey, Nikki Miller
Welcome to the fourth of six total installments chronicling the assembling of our old "carny" Corvette into the ultimate C2 Vette Rod. Last month, the crew at Corvette Restoration AZ put the finishing touches on the paint and bodywork, and installed the A/C and all-new wiring harnesses. In this issue, we will install our badass 393 stroker, a brand-new Tremec 5-speed, and a twin-fan radiator setup. Before we continue with the build, here are the remaining basic elements of the Timber Wolf C2:
* Chassis, Suspension, Brakes, and Rearend Install
* Interior and Stereo Install, Wrap-Up, and Vehicle Drive Experience
Last month, the bodywork was done, and the car was finally primed and painted. As we said, we will also get into a little more detail on the engine accessories, including our new pulley system and the radiator/fan combo.
More than 25 years ago, a young Kim Ian Madsen, seeking a rebuild on a Vette engine, came through the doors of JD Machine in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. That would be the first of many car projects between them. When we asked JD Machine if they would like to participate in the engine build of the Timber Wolf C2, their answer was a definite yes. For the past 27 years, JD Machine has built stock and custom engines for all sorts of uses including circle track, street rods, off-road, race boats, and land speed racing. They also supply fully machined assemblies for those who like to do their own engine builds. As well as having a complete machine shop, they also have a Staska engine dyno in a separate test cell with the capability of over 1,500 hp.
Timber Wolf Speed Shop.
Machine Me ::: JD Machine...
Machine Me ::: JD Machine in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, has been building high-horsepower engines for over 25 years.
Bore Me All the blocks stored...
All the blocks stored at JD Machine have been cleaned and magnetically inspected. We decided to go with a 350 "010" high-nickel Chevy block. The block receives the first portion of many machine operations from Don Hink. The block's main bore line is honed, and the cylinders are roughed in.
When the plans were first laid for the drivetrain of the Timber Wolf C2, we decided to build a 393 Chevy stroker motor, primarily to produce big-block power from a well-built, old-school smallblock. We wanted to keep the install as simple as possible due to our time limitations, and since the C2 used a small-block from the factory, we knew another smallblock from the same bloodline would drop in with little effort.
To start this project, we needed a well-seasoned block that would be acceptable for a high-horse build like ours. We decided to source out one of Chevrolet's finest-a Gen-1 350 Chevy block-preferably with the last three digits in the casting number at the back of the block reading 010, which designates a high-nickel content block. When we contacted Mike Dawson, owner of JD Machine, he picked out his best block for this project from his vast inventory. All the blocks stored at JD Machine have been previously cleaned and magnetically inspected.
The block received the first of many machine operations from Don Hink, who handles all the machine work at JD Machine. The block's main bore line was bored and honed, and the cylinders were roughed in to a 4.030 bore. The block was also align bored and honed, and Eagle billet four-bolt main caps were installed. Next, the block was set up in the RMC deck squaring fixture. The RMC 12V surfacing machine was used to cut the deck down to 9.005 finished deck height. After the surfacing was completed, the block's cylinders were power honed with a series of different grit stones, with a finishing grit of No. 600.
Stroke Me The Eagle 4340...
The Eagle 4340 stroker crank gets some needed attention before assembly.
Deck Me Next up, one of the...
Deck MeNext up, one of the RHS cylinder heads is set up in the RMC deck squaring machine. The RMC 12V surfacing machine is fly-cutting the head surface so it is perfectly flat for proper sealing on the block.
Insert Me The block is now...
The block is now ready for the Eagle 4340 stroker crank and rods. Once everything clears in the engine, the rotating assembly is balanced up on the Winona balancer, where the finished balance job was less than 1 gram max out of balance.
Mount Me Once all work is...
Once all work is completed, the block and all its parts receive a final wash and are readied for assembly. After the engine is completed, it is loaded onto the Stuska Track Master Dyno Cart and hooked up to the dyno.
Dyno Me Dyno technician Chris...
Dyno technician Chris Harvey puts the 393ci engine through its paces.
Dyno Me picture 2
Dyno Me Picture 3
Read Me After a full day...
After a full day of tuning, testing, and trying different carburetor and carburetor spacers, we at last had sweet success-our final dyno tally comes in at 475 hp at 5,700 rpm with 489 lb-ft of torque, not bad for a pump gas mouse motor.
Drop Me Eric carefully lowers...
Eric carefully lowers our JD Machine maxi-mouse engine into the waiting Timber Wolf engine bay.
While the block work was being tended to, cylinder head technician Logan Streckler took command of the set of 200cc cast-iron heads supplied by RHS. We decided to go with cast-iron heads instead of aluminum because the cost of the same heads in cast iron is much less, and probably will provide more power in the end. Streckler started out by port matching the heads to the new Weiand Stealth intake manifold. The manifold selected for the Timber Wolf C2 is a low-profile, dual-plane manifold. The port match was only the beginning of the fully finished ports, short turns, and bowls. No part was left unattended, including recutting the seats to double-check guide clearances and rehoning the valve guides. The valve work on the RHS heads is a special part of this build up and one of the important machine operations at JD Machine. This is where horsepower is found or lost. When building any engine, one always has a horsepower figure in mind as a goal. In this case, we had a set goal of 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. We felt this would make a perfect street machine with a sensible compression ratio of 9.5:1. This way, the car could easily run on pump gas available anywhere in the U.S.
From there, the engine block was set up for stroke relieving for the Eagle 4340 stroker crank and their awesome Eagle H-beam 6.0-inch rods. JD Machine has used Eagle products for years and swears by them. The stroke on the crank is 3.875-inches, which required close attention at the bottom of the cylinder bores so not to grind through the water jackets. After all grinding was completed, the block was pressure tested to make certain the water jackets hadn't been breached. After the rotating assembly cleared the crank case area, the block was completely deburred, and all threaded holes were tapped and checked over for any damage. This engine work was accomplished by engine assembler Billy Medley. At this point, the engine was laid together for a dry assembly to check piston-to-valve clearance, pushrod length, and all clearances. Once we were certain everything cleared in the engine, the rotating assembly was balanced on the Winona balancer, where the finished balance job was less than 1 gram max out of balance. ATI Performance Products provided a Super Racing Damper, timing pointer, and one of their trick crank bolts to help balance the assembly.
Let's Get Married Due to the...
Let's Get MarriedDue to the tight clearances, we put the Classic Chevy 5-speed Tremec transmission in the car first, and then installed the McLeod flywheel, clutch, and scattershield on the engine; then married the two assemblies together in the car.
Settle Down It's a little...
It's a little tricky to get the transmission input shaft into the McLeod clutch assembly and also line up the motor mounts, but with a little patience and some careful persuasion, everything settled in correctly.
Let's Bolt Now we can bolt...
Now we can bolt the transmission to the McLeod scatter shield, install the engine mounting bolts, and the engine is securely in place.
Once all machine work was completed, the block and all its parts received a final wash and were readied for assembly. For high-horse insurance, a set of ARP main studs were used to mount the crankshaft into the block. We also ordered a set of custom-built Diamond 18cc dish pistons for our rotating assembly. MAHLE Clevite high-performance main and rod bearings were used along with a Weiand Team G Hi-Flow waterpump.
We ordered the RHS 200cc (64cc chamber) 2.02/1.60 straight plug cast-iron heads as a complete assembly; they came equipped with the latest and greatest from Comp Cams, including their Pro Magnum rocker arms. We also used ARP head bolts to mount the cylinder heads. We decided to go with a Comp Cams custom-grind hydraulic roller cam that Comp delivered within a few days. Comp also shipped us their adjustable billet timing set, a steel timing cover, and a set of ZEX high-performance spark plugs to round out the valvetrain.
After the engine was assembled, and we had our cylinder head data, Comp shipped us our custom-length Magnum pushrods. To button up the bottom end, we used a Champ road race oil pan and pickup in conjunction with a Melling Select Performance high-volume oil pump and chrome-moly shaft.the dual-plane Weiand intake and a custom-built, dyno-tested, Willy's Carburetor Shop 650 DP Holley was then installed. Holley provided the carb and Willy's performed the magic. For fire control, MSD provided one of their jammin' Pro-Billet tach drive distributors, a 6AL ignition control box, a Blaster coil, an APS billet starter, and spark plug wires for our monster mouse motor.
Accessory City The Hedman...
The Hedman Hedders are installed along with the Vintage Air front runner system, including the A/C compressor, alternator, and serpentine belt. These Hedman hedders use a ceramic/metallic composition known as HTC (Hi-Tech Coating) that is considered one of the best thermal coatings available. the car was also updated with a new Flaming River power steering box and one of their trick underhood kill switches. M & H Electric provided wiring harnesses for the complete car including the engine compartment.
Cool It Now we install our...
Now we install our Be Cool radiator/dual-fan combo to keep those ponies chilly.
Just Notch It Due to needed...
Just Notch It
Due to needed clearance for the new Vette Brakes power brake booster, we had to notch out the lefthand valve cover. The new power steering, brakes, and suspension will be covered in their entirety next month.
Getting Closer Most of the...
Most of the major engine components are in place and securely fastened. We then plumbed the heater hoses and installed the new Optima battery.
Lite My Fire The MSD distributor...
Lite My Fire
The MSD distributor and the correct MSD spark plug wires are installed, and the carburetor linkage is hooked up. We then put some high-test fuel in the new Quanta gas tank, turned the key, and the Timber Wolf C2 roared to life.
Two Guys and a Hot C2 Billy...
Two Guys and a Hot C2
Billy and Kim adjust the timing for optimal performance.
SandStorm Warning we install...
we install the L-88 style air cleaner. We still had some work to do to the hood to make it functional but because of sandstorms the week of the photo shoot, we installed the foam element on the air cleaner base as a safety precaution. The foam will be installed properly in the hood later. We let the engine run for a bit, checking for leaks, and once we were satisfied that everything was in working order we took her for a spin, and then it was off to Greenway Auto to be dyno tuned.
Getting' Down on the Dyno...
Getting' Down on the Dyno
Bill Mackenzie, proprietor of Greenway Auto Service, puts the Timber Wolf on his Clayton chassis dyno and lets her rip.
To ensure we would always have plenty of power, we used an Optima Red Top SC75U battery. To button up the valvetrain, we decided to go with a retro look, so we contacted Billet fabrication, and they sent us a set of their intense billet aluminum SBC valve covers. These valve covers are used on tons of NASCAR engines but rarely seen on street cars. A Holley 110-gph high-performance mechanical fuel pump provides the go juice from the new exact reproduction Quanta gas tank and sender out back. Right Stuff Detailing provided us with a new fuel line and clips, and Pure Choice Motorsports provided a set of their stainless steel braided fuel lines.
After the engine was built, it was loaded onto the Stuska Track Master Dyno Cart and hooked up to the dyno. Dyno technician Chris Harvey then put the 393ci engine through its paces. After a full day of tuning, testing, and trying different carburetor and carburetor spacers, sweet success finally arrived with our final tally at 475 hp at 5,700 rpm and 489 lb-ft of torque-not bad for a pump gas mouse motor.
That's it for this month, folks. Until next time, as always, we hope to see you out there in the "Taillight Zone."
Corvette Fever/Timber Wolf Speed Shop Sponsors
Al Knoch Interiors ::: Interior
ATI Performance Products ::: Engine Balancer
Automotive Racing Products (ARP) ::: Main Bearing & Cylinder Head Bolts
Be Cool ::: Radiator & Fan System
Billet Fabrication ::: Billet Valve Covers
Boyd Coddington Wheels ::: Custom Aluminum Wheels
BTM Cheetah Continuation Cars ::: Wide Body Panel Fabrication
Champ Pans ::: Oil pan & Pickup
Classic Chevy 5-speeds ::: TKO Tremec Transmission Elite Kit
Coffman Corvette ::: Radiator Core Support
Comp Cams ::: Camshaft kit, Pushrods, Timing Chain & Cover, Plugs, Rocker Arms
Corvette Central ::: Sidepipes, Exterior Lights, Battery Tray, Window Seals
Corvette Clocks by Roger ::: Gauge Cluster and Clock
Corvette Image ::: Corvette Front End Assembly & Hood
Corvette Restoration AZ ::: Paint, Bodywork & Assembly
Corvette Rubber ::: Weatherstripping and Window Seals
Custom Autosound ::: Stereo & Speaker System
Detroit Speed & Engineering ::: Power Steering Pump
Denny's Driveshafts ::: Rear Axle Halfshafts
Diamond Racing Products ::: Pistons
Eagle Specialty Products ::: Crankshaft & Connecting Rods
Eaton ::: Differential (Posi Unit)
Flaming River Industries ::: S/S Tilt Column, Steering Wheel & Adapter, Steering Box, Alternator Kill Switch
Goodyear Tire & Rubber ::: Tires
Hedman Hedders ::: Headers
Holley Performance Products ::: Carburetor, Intake Manifold & Water Pump (Weiand)
JD Machine ::: Engine Block, Assembly & Dyno
Keen Parts ::: Bumper Brackets, Braces & Rocker Moldings
Lonestar Caliper ::: Proportioning Valve & Rearend Spindle Flanges
MAHLE Clevite ::: Main & Rod Bearings
M & H Electric Fabricators ::: Wiring Harnesses
Melling Select Performance ::: Oil Pump & Intermediate Shaft
Mid America Motorworks ::: HD Side Yokes & Seals
Motive Gear ::: Ring-and-Pinion, Install Kit
MSD Ignition ::: Distributor, Starter, Coil, Plug Wires, MSD6AL Box
Muskegon Brake ::: HD Rearend Cover, Install Kit, Bolt Kit, Locks
Optima Batteries ::: Battery
Paragon Reproductions ::: Emblems, Underbody Components, Bumber Bracing, Trim & Fasteners
Penn-Ohio Corvette Specialties ::: Heat Barrier Kit
Phoenix Graphix ::: '67 Stinger Hood Stencil Kit
Pure Choice Motorsports ::: S/S Fuel Lines
Quanta Products ::: Gas tank & sender
Racing Head Service ::: Cylinder Head Assemblies
Right Stuff Detailing ::: Main Fuel Line and Clip Set
Scottsdale Paint & Supply ::: PPG Platinum basecoat/clearcoat paint
Trim Parts ::: Glovebox Door & Fuel Filler Door Assys.
Vette Brakes and Products ::: Brakes & Suspension Components
Vintage Air ::: A/C & Frontrunner Pulley System
Willy's Carburetor & Dyno Shop ::: Holley Carburetor (build)