April '20

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APRIL 2020 THE SHOP 33 PRECISION ENGINE switch. In order to control ignition timing, an ignition controller (such as the MSD 6014 that we used) is needed. The EFI system is designed to self-learn, so no laptop programming is required. The Sniper EFI 550-516K is rated to handle 650 hp. The TBI-type unit mounts like a carb to any 4150-style intake manifold flange and features four built-in injectors, built-in ECU and throttle position sensor. COOL AIR CLEANER Topping off the build is a billet aluminum oval air cleaner that proudly displays the AERA logo. I started with a polished lid. After enlarging the center hole to accept our quick-release latch, I had the lid black anodized at Luke Engineering in Rittman, Ohio. The lid was then shipped to Fusion of Ideas in California, where Fusion's craftsmen CNC laser-etched the AERA logo, the engine's name Nighthawk II LS and the 428-ci displacement in color. It may not make any additional ponies, but it's a nice touch. I've used Fusion in the past and its work is always perfect. ENGINE PRE-OIL We never attempt a dry startup with any engine. Prior to the dyno run, we pre-oiled our build. With spark plugs and valve covers removed, we pre-oiled the engine using our Goodson aluminum EPL-120 pre-lube tank. Four quarts of COMP 10W-30 break-in oil (high zinc content) were added to the clean pressure tank, followed by a compressed air charge at 80 psi. The oil delivery hose was connected to the oil pressure sender port, and the pressure tank's ball valve was opened, sending pressurized oil into the engine. Almost immediately, the right bank expe- rienced oil delivery to the rockers, soon fol- lowed by delivery to the left bank. During the oil charge, the crank was slowly rotated in order to better facilitate oil delivery through the main, rod and cam bearings. Once we were satisfied with the oil charge, the pressure tank hose was discon- nected from the engine. Remaining oil in the pressure tank was retrieved and added to the sump, with continued top-off, for a total of 5.5 quarts in the sump and another 1/2-quart for the filter. Note: LS crankshaft flywheel flange bolt holes are open to oil, so all six holes must be plugged with 11mm x 1.5 flywheel bolts prior to pre-oiling. If you forget to do this, you'll have one heck of a mess at the rear of the crank. We mounted the Sniper EFI unit to our Holley single- plane manifold using an ARP 1.7" stainless carb stud kit. I can't say enough good things about these tubes. The fit and finish are simply out- standing. I installed the same headers on our previous Nighthawk 408 and was so impressed that I wanted to feature them again. Sanderson Headers feature a patented leak-free flange. Instead of using a gasket, recommendations call for application of a 1/8-inch bead of Permatex PX82180 RTV to the raised portion of the flange that's allowed to dry overnight prior to installation. The MSD ignition controller P/N 6014 is the latest generation of LS controllers, designed to accommodate either 24- or 58-tooth reluctor setups. The wiring harness kit includes a sub- harness for each style, each of which is clearly labeled. For dyno use, we chose a pair of Schoenfeld LS dyno/Sprint car headers that kick out from the heads, offering plenty of engine clearance.

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