We had the bottom end of this thing ready to rock out and it was time to bring in the real power players to kick it off. Edelbrock Victor 24 Degree Semi-Finished cylinder heads were a natural choice for us. The castings are extra thick to allow significant amounts of porting, the decks are extra thick to hold plenty of power, and they are available in a HIPPED option (Hot Isostatic Pressing) that squeezes all the little air bubbles out of the casting for anyone who is serious about making 2,000-plus horses. That is a bitchin set of heads. We took a set of Vic's bare castings and pored over them for days, trying to figure out how to possibly make them even more badass. It turns out I had a set of Big Duke heads in the shop at the time and sat them next to the Edelbrocks to compare. It was clear that the ports were completely different, and I was determined to make the standard-port location Edelbrock heads as close to a set of the Pro Stock-inspired heads as possible. That meant raising the runners over a half inch and moving the "long" ports to the side to straighten them out and even up their length with the "short" ports. Rules of the Engine Masters Challenge dictated that we were not allowed to weld on the exterior of the runners or the intake manifold, so I mocked up the intake on the engine and used the very edge of the runner castings as my limiting mark. As the manifold was designed, it looked like we would be able to slide the long port over a solid 3/8 inch, which was great, but it presented a dilemma. The pushrod hole was right in the middle of where we wanted the port. What to do? I channeled the ghost of Smokey Yunick and interpreted the rules a bit. We were not allowed to weld on the exterior of the runners, but there was not a rule stating we couldn't press a solid aluminum dowel where the original pushrod hole was and redrill the hole, so that is what we did. Once the new pushrod location was set, it was just the minor task of removing several pounds of aluminum in the heads to make them flow the numbers that lay ahead.
We've been big fans of Larry Meaux's PipeMax program as well as Performance Trends' Engine Analyzer software, and used them extensively when designing the ports for this tower of power. We determined that a cross-sectional area of 3.2 square inches would be ideal for getting the air moving quickly down low, and still allow it to blossom to full flow at the rpm range we were running in. We used Splash Zone epoxy to fill in the floors and sides of the runners where we moved the ports and got as close as possible without breaking through the exterior of the ports. I felt pretty happy with the resulting design of 335cc big-block runners that flowed over 430 cfm. We were equally happy that we got the port lengths to under 1/16 inch difference from the long to the short port. That would make tuning the combination much easier.
After finishing the port work, the heads were sent off to T&D Machine to be fitted for a set of 1.9 ratio shaft rocker arms. T&D has been providing racers with top-notch stuff for decades, and it was easy to understand why. A quick call to Sheldon with the specs and he said "Send 'em." They came back in two weeks perfectly fitted with the stand heights correct and looking like jewels.
While the heads were away, our shop compadre Shannon Carnathan worked over the ProFiler tall-deck tunnel ram. Yeah, tall deck. On a short-deck block. We had moved the ports up so much that the tunnel ram fit perfectly without having to mill it at all. Just a bit of epoxy where the runners were moved to the sides and a whole pile of aluminum to hit the ground as it was matched to the heads.