P.O. Box 6316, Dept. PHR
Newport News, VA 23606
(757) 218-2593

Our second-place finishers typify why the Engine Masters Challenge is so damn cool. In a competition many fear requires the talents and resources of a professional engine builder, this father and son team from Virginia proved the critics wrong. It seems internal engine myths weren't the only ones being busted in this year's Challenge competition.

Relying on their own experience and talents, teamed with a close group of trusted partners and a dedication to precision, the Williams' earned a second-place finish working out of a single-car garage. As Charles Williams told us:

"My son Donald and I read separate articles about the first Engine Masters. We talked it over and felt the experience would be great and a lot of fun. When we were accepted on May 15th 2003, we did not have the first nut, bolt, screw, or any of the engine parts."

As you'll see, they researched every part carefully, but no extravagant trickery was found inside their entry. The result is a potent combination readers can learn from, and if you've got a 454 and plans for pump gas, read this carefully. This team didn't even have the benefit of electrical power during assembly of this mill, and they didn't build a "mule" short-block or spend countless hours testing potential combinations. They built one, single engine to the best of their abilities, and it ended up rewarding them with a second-place finish overall. Let's take a look inside, and we'll thank the Williams' and Charlie Morgan for sharing with us. Charles Williams' own words will help walk us through the teardown.

When Charles and Donald Williams' application was accepted for the Challenge, they went right down to the local Chevy dealer and purchased a tall-deck Bowtie block (GM PN 25002502). They knew this block would have the beef required to be stable and would support the power they intended to make. The block was bored to 4.25-inch, and was readied for battle.

The 4.125-inch crankshaft came from Callies, and is a 61lb. forged steel unit. The main journal diameter is 2.75-inches, while the rods swing on 2.100-inch journals.

"I talked to Don Gamertstefelder of Callies, and he had the crank made to our spec with .0025 clearances on mains and rods. The crank was lightened and had 2.100-inch crank pins, and was gun drilled.

"Don was great to work with at Callies. He had the complete assembly balanced. All the dimensions were held to absolute perfect tolerance, as the block was already prepared at 10.193-inch deck height. The deck height was at .000, as planned, with no problems."

Connecting rods are Oliver's outstanding steel I-beam units in 6.800-inch length. They weigh 811 grams. They are teamed with a JE piston (PN 383294) weighing 567g. When teamed with the heads, static compression checked in at a 92-octane-friendly 11:1. The pistons wear Total Seal rings, featuring a gapless top ring (.043-inch thickness), a Napier-design second ring (also at .043-inch thick) and a traditional 3-piece oil ring arrangement (3mm thick). "I gave Don at Callies our specs, and because of the time involved, Don worked with us and acquired the 6.8-inch Oliver Rods, which were run out of the box without any extra work. The ARP rod bolts were checked for stretch and roundness and were within .0001."

The engine bearings are from Clevite 77 and measure in at 2.750-inch diameter on the mains and 2.1-inches on the rods. They both had .0025-inch clearance to the crank. They were coated with Calico Coatings' anti friction coatings. What does "W" Enterprises feel about the new coating technologies?

"Dan at Swain Tech Coatings took care of our thermal coatings for the headers, piston tops, valves, combustion chambers, and exhaust ports. The crankshaft and rods were with treated with oil shedding coatings. The piston skirts had Swain PC9 coatings for friction. I feel the coatings by Swain and Calico helped improve our total numbers."

The cylinder heads were key to the success of this engine, and are Brodix Gen 1 OEFI oval port units CNC-finished by Weld Tech. The decks were milled .100-inch (by Weld Tech) to achieve a 109cc chamber, leading to the 11:1 compression ratio mentioned earlier. They were installed "out of the box" with no further mods by Williams.

"By the first week of June, Donald and I went to York, Pennsylvania. and met Jere (pronounced "Jerry") Stahl of Stahl Headers. Jere recommended his '69 Camaro headers that were run on the '69 Super Stock drag cars. While we were talking about the Engine Masters Challenge, Donald told Jere we had not decided on cylinder heads. It was Jere Stahl who recommended we call Weld Tech Heads.

"I contacted Weld Tech and talked to Mark Lacy. I asked Mark to send us his best high flowing oval port heads and, asked what intake manifold would work best with them. He said Mike Carny of General Performance could provide a good intake for our combination. The heads come with 109 cc chambers, so Weld Tech milled .050-inch of the deck to get to 100cc chambers. Manley Severe Duty Valves were chosen, as were Comp Cams valve springs and titanium retainers. My son Donald assembled the heads."

The intake port volume is 293 on the short runners, and 303 on the longer ones. The intake ports flowed 381 (shorter) and 362 (longer) at .600-inch lift with 28 inches of depression. Valves are Manley Severe Duty units with 2.250-inch diameter heads and 5.370-inches of total length. The exhaust valves (also Manley Severe Duty parts) checked in with 1.88-inch diameter heads and a total length of 5.450-inches.

The camshaft is a Comp Cams design, and you'll find it under PN 11-000-47. With 110-degree lobe centers, lift on the intake valve (with a 1.7:1 rocker) is .605-inch. Williams ran 1.6:1 rockers during the Challenge, and this reduced total valve lift to a mild .569-inch on the intake side. The exhaust lobes move .581-inch with the 1.6:1 rockers, and would push out to .618 with the Challenge-limit 1.7:1 units. Duration is 294 (intake, with 264 @ .050) and 298 (exhaust, with 268 @ .050). These mild cam dimensions may have limited Williams' peaks, but they leveled the averages so much his total scores were very strong. The engine idled very nicely, too.

"The same weekend we went to York, we also went to the Virginia Motorsports Park where they were holding the IHRA AC Delco drags. There, I met John Williams of Comp Cams. John was very helpful with purchasing the camshaft, engineered with a 4-7 firing swap, matching rocker arms, timing belts, and many other parts that I purchased to build our motor."

The cam worked in concert with Comp Cams High-Tech Light (HTL) solid flat tappets, with a diameter of .842-inch. The lifters carry PN 807-16 through Comp Cams. Charles and Donald also put their faith in Comp Cams for their steel pushrods, which check in with 9.750-inch (intake) and 8.780-inch (exhaust) lengths. Part numbers from Comp Cams are PN 7978 (for the 9.750-inch units) and 7968 (for the 8.780-inch parts). The 1.6:1 ratio rocker arms were again from Comp Cams, and were steel components carrying PN 1126. Comp was also tasked for the valve springs, and their PN 930 coils were teamed with lash caps to secure valvetrain motions. The springs have a 1.550-inch diameter with 142 lbs. on the seat at their 1.9-inch installed height, and they push 371 lbs. open at 1.250-inch. A Comp Cams stud girdle held it all together. One of Comp's composite distributor drive gears was also employed. The timing belt is also a Comp Cams part, and carries PN 6200.

The intake manifold is cast and sold by World Products under their Merlin banner, and is a single-plane design. Mike Carney of General Performance in Pompano Beach, Florida massaged this particular part to excellence. Mike is very familiar with the Weld Tech-modified Brodix heads, and he knew exactly how to grind the intake to feed them effectively.

The carburetor is a Holley 850 cfm unit built by Charlie Morgan of Morgan Racing Carburetion. Called the MRC 850, Morgan tricked out this fuel mixer to flow 1080cfm when measured at 20.4-inches of depression.

"Charlie built four different carburetors for testing. A 1.450-inch venturi Holley 4150 and a 1.590-inch venturi Holley 4150 were both built and tested. Both 1050cfm and 1150cfm Dominators were also built. After much testing, we decided on the 1.590-inch venturi Holley 4150. The carburetor featured modified angular boosters, and a 1.750-inch throttle bore. Charlie installed his own metering system in the Holley raw casting metering blocks to get a flat fuel curve."

A 2-inch high Wilson Manifolds four hole-to-open carb spacer (also prepared by Mike Carney at General Performance) lives between the carb and intake manifold. The carb was fed fuel by a combination of Earl's and Carb Connection Plus components, and fed air through a Rush (by Barry Grant) Engine Masters Challenge-specified 14x3-inch round air filter.

The headers are Stahl designs for a first-Gen ('67-'69) Camaro. They are called "Model 206" by Stahl, and are designed to fit '68-'75 Novas, too. They feature 1-7/8-inch primary pipes with 2-inch steps, and a horizontally-split collector to almost make them a Tri-Y design. Our pal Jack Burns (race exhaust design engineer from Burns Stainless) stopped by to check out the competition, and he told us the Stahl design was excellent for street cars. These pipes have been around for decades, and we credit their longevity and Jere Stahl's excellent design for the terrific performance. They were coated with Swain Tech's white thermal barrier coatings, and fed into Magnaflow mufflers.

The ignition system is comprised of an MSD ignition box (PN 7520), distributor (PN 85561), 8.5mm MSD Super Conductor wires, and an MSD HVC II coil (PN 8261). Spark plugs are from Denso, and are their iridium units carrying PN IQ22. Gaps were left as-manufactured, per Denso's instruction.

"Donald talked to Todd Ryden at MSD, and he recommended the distributor, ignition box, coil, and wires. They performed flawlessly over 55 dyno pulls, and the Denso plugs never misfired once."

The oil pan is from Stef's, and carries PN 1713. It's designed for stock-chassis Camaros and Novas, is 10-inches deep, and carries 7 qts. In Williams' case, that meant 7 qts. of Royal Purple Racing #11, which has a viscosity rating of 5W-20. The oil filter is an AC unit carrying PN PF1218. The pickup also came from Stef, and connected to a Melling HV-77 oil pump.

"Donald contacted Stef's for our oil pan, and Jake made us a great stock-chassis pan for our '77 Firebird. That's where this engine is headed now, and it's a Pro Street car. Donald is really looking forward to how it'll run with this engine installed. We can't wait!"

Charles and Donald chose to finish off their engine with a starter from Tilton, specifically PN 54069. It was held to the block with ARP fasteners, which also were tasked to hold the entire engine together. Fel-Pro gaskets were selected to provide a positive seal, and Dupli-Color paint gave the engine a nice finish. Permatex sealants were again chosen to ensure a leak-free Engine Masters Challenge experience. The water pump is a beefy CSI electric unit, carrying PN HV0049. The valve covers are of unknown origin (swap meet specials!) and wear Moroso breathers.

Congratulations to the Williams family and also to Charlie Morgan. We're happy to have met them, and their kindness will not be soon forgotten. We'd like to share Charles' parting words, until we hear from them next year!

"Donald and I feel our unexpected success was due to good research, paying attention to detail, and networking with many vendors, tech advisors, and friends. There was not any real secret or tricks, just a lot of hard work, keeping an open mind, and a lot of luck. The engine was assembled in Donald's one car garage from the bare block to the engine being started on a test stand. We proudly used ARP fasteners, Fel-Pro gaskets, and Permatex sealants, along with all the other great components that pulled this engine to second place overall.

"Personally, I am a general mechanic and have co-owned my own auto repair shop along with Jay Sprinkle since 1966. Donald is a machinist, fabricator, and designer. The last high-performance engine I built was for my brother's circle track racer in 1978.

"I would like to thank my wife Adora, my daughter in-law Beneline, and Charlie's wife Brenda for all of their support and the many hours they tolerated us traveling and building the engine." -- Charles Williams


(Measured on the Westech Performance Group flowbench after Engine Masters Challenge completion, as part of Teardown inspection)
Valve Opening
L/H PortR/H PortValve Opening (inches)Airflow cfm at 28 inches depression
.05035 cfm35 cfm0.50 31 cfm
0.10069 cfm70 cfm0.100 70 cfm
0.200147 cfm148 cfm0.200 130 cfm
0.300 208 cfm212 cfm0.300 173 cfm
0.400 258 cfm261 cfm0.400 205 cfm
0.500296 cfm299 cfm0.500 232 cfm
0.600313 cfm314 cfm0.600 254 cfm
0.700 325 cfm325 cfm0.700 268 cfm
0.800 332 cfm332 cfm0.800279 cfm

|Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3