Most big-blocks of the era came with a 5140 forged steel crankshaft, and that dense steel allowed them to be internally balanced. Robinson followed suit on that design by installing a 440Source 4340 forged steel stroker crank that would pump up the displacement without sacrificing strength or quality. Internally balancing the crank was done to keep the forces acting on the shaft from whipping it about like a spaghetti strand and stressing the block. Robinson claims their crank is good for a 1,000 hp in capable hands. Scat big-block Chevy rods were cheap and easy to use, owing to the fact that a lot of aftermarket cranks like the 440Source piece are designed for them. The slightly smaller rod bearing of the Chevy reduces the bearing speed and cost at the same time. Mahle-Clevite bearings were used to cushion the blow as the power is transferred from reciprocating to rotating energy.

For the oil system, again, there's no magic there-only solid, proven technology. They used a common oil filter adapter: "That was just your standard Milodon single inlet and a static pickup in the sump. You just block off the 3/8-inch pickup in the block with a pipe plug and enlarge a couple of the main feeds."

The name Keith Black is synonymous with high-powered engines, and it is no coincidence that it is also associated with top-quality pistons bearing the KB badge. Though previously known for their hypereutectic pistons, a few years ago KB Performance Pistons strengthened their line card with a series of new forged pistons which is what the SKMFX team chose for their operation. They worked perfectly with the low-tension Mahle ring package and had no modifications beyond fly-cutting the intake valve notch to make sure they could advance the cam far beyond a normal setting during the test sessions. "We took sixty thousandths off the intake notches and that was the extent of the modifications. We don't have any kind of coatings at all," Robinson says. The pistons sat out of the hole slightly and the guys used a thicker head gasket to knock the piston-to-head quench down to a tight .035 inch. "I'm a big believer in quench. I've been practicing that theory since probably the mid '90s and I think we set ours at 35 thou." Some theorize that having the piston sit above the deck brings the top ring closer to the wide head gasket opening and lets the rings seat under combustion slightly quicker and make more power. In a war where every shot counts, that was just one more weapon in Robinson's arsenal.

Deeply entrenched in the engine was a COMP Cams solid roller camshaft. Taking advantage of the Commando's large .904-inch diameter lifters, aggressive lobes were carefully plucked from the COMP lobe catalog that would best take advantage of the combination. "I had ordered a custom cam prior to that one we used, and it was quite a bit smaller. The averages were quite good. What happened was I wanted that big number, so I called COMP Cams four days before we had to leave for the competition. Buddy at COMP Cams had it in my hands two days later. So we slapped it in pretty much straight up. It really did wake it up, but it cost us about 30 lb-ft at the peak at that point. So pointswise, it was a wash. We picked up a little average horsepower but it definitely penalized us heavily in the way that we were tested." Robinson says: "I was a little too hung up on the peaks and not enough on the valleys." They decided upon a single-pattern 269-degree cam that would give the engine plenty of breathing room but still make gobs of torque, 615 lb-ft to be exact. That's enough to get an armored personnel carrier cruising with the right gearing.