Bearing the brunt of the internal combustion process, we used a set of custom CP pistons designed by Dave Calvert to transfer heat energy into force. Calvert is a veteran in the piston world and knows all the right questions to ask when building custom slugs. Besides the basic bore and stroke issues, there is also the task of making sure the bottoms of the piston skirts don't hit the crankshaft, and that the ring grooves are far enough down so they don't have a weak spot where the valve notches are cut, while still being high enough up to let combustion gasses seal the rings immediately. Making sure the widest portion of the skirt is higher than the bottom of the cylinder bore is another attribute that Calvert takes into consideration. Finally, just making sure that the valve notches are deep enough and in the right places is a critical detail (that we will revisit shortly). The rings we chose were a set of Total Seal Advanced Profile rings designed to be exceedingly flat and smooth. With the knowledge that we were using those rings, CP was able to match the ring grooves perfectly with just the right amount of vertical and lateral spacing to work at maximum efficiency.

We absolutely wanted our rod and main bearings to be able to handle whatever loads we tossed at them, so we placed a call to our local Federal-Mogul rep to obtain a set of their coated high-performance bearings. We wanted to set our bearing clearances loose to free up as much frictional horsepower as possible knowing our Melling M-Select oil pump would pass enough lube to keep the bearings happy. I wouldn't recommend .0045-inch clearance for street engines unless you have the intestinal fortitude to stomach 15 psi at idle.

If the rotating assembly works as the rhythm section, then certainly the cam must be lead guitar. That is the sound everyone wants to hear and bang their heads to. We tried three different grinds with the wildest having nearly an inch of lift! Turns out, that one was just way too agro, and it burned up a pushrod tip and rocker arm cup in a minute flat. We stepped back and ended up running a Mike Jones cam with a reasonable amount of lift and duration that made incredible power. When we originally ordered our pistons, we gave CP some basic dimensions of the lift, duration, and lobe separation of the cams we were going to use, but alas, we still had to cut the intake valve pocket a little deeper to allow us to move the cam around, thanks to our fickle cam choices. Since we had a COMP Cams beltdrive that gave us easy access to cam timing changes on the dyno, we wanted to take full advantage of that. We made sure that we had a minimum .080 inch on the intake and .100 on the exhaust whether we moved any of the cams plus/minus 10 degrees.

The spirit of the late Ronnie James Dio smiled upon us like a rainbow in the dark as we were one of the first to be able to rock COMP Cams new Race Elite Series solid roller lifters. Wow! Light-years ahead of the rest of the market, COMP really listened to engine builders when they designed this new lifter. It has a huge axle that is pinned in place so it doesn't spread out like the cheaper stuff, interchangeable pushrod cups to swap centered to offset cups in seconds, a micropolished surface finish, and an incredibly strong body that showed no signs of wear-even when punished with close to 1,000 pounds of spring pressure. Engine builders have really been waiting for a lifter like this that is designed for a more serious engine, but that still doesn't need a set of $2,000 lifters.