With a removable floor plate, a 6.1L intake manifold and plenum were ported by Maloney as well. Doing his best to make sure the port entries leading into each runner were even ensured that the air distribution among all eight cylinders was matched. Unlike a carburetor, which distributes fuel to each runner proportionally to the amount of air that the runner ingests, an EFI manifold will typically send the exact same amount of fuel to each cylinder regardless of the airflow in the various ports. That is just one of those little things that an experienced head and intake porter will attend to with the knowledge that if there is a cylinder that is typically lean or rich with a stock manifold, it can be fixed with the right porting.

To control the fuel, Atlantic Engines leaned on their friends from FAST and procured one of their FAST XFI 2.0 fuel injection systems. The new XFI 2.0 system is a logical progression of the original XFI unit. FAST took everything that racers and enthusiasts liked about the original XFI and added to it. Things like boost control features, wet and dry nitrous control, solenoid pulse frequency, and targeted air/fuel ratios for power adders make life mucho easier for making big power safely. They’ve also expanded their internal data logging controls to feature external arming. You know, for that guy who flips a switch at the back of your bumper before you launch. Intelligent Traction Control has also been upgraded to avoid erroneous starting line data. Naturally, it has a self-learn feature that Bob used to generate a working fuel map once the engine was up and running off the base map. One of the features that really stands out about XFI 2.0 is the fact that you don’t have to throw away your old XFI system to use the new features; they offer a firmware upgrade for a reasonable price that will bring your old system up to date. Also, their PN 301013 kit is a simple plug-and-play for the late-model Hemi crate or transplant engine using all of the factory sensors, which certainly made Bob’s life much easier.

Plain old pump gas was fed to the engine, and they didn’t do anything special for the squirters. “Those are just stock injectors out of a ’94 turbo Neon, and we got the fuel rails from Aeromotive.” Since the engine normally uses a drive-by-wire throttle blade, they chose to install a FAST 92mm throttle body that they adapted to the stock intake manifold via a custom spacer they built. With their friend Aaron at the laptop, tuning the XFI was as sweet as chess pie.

Bob’s learning curve was up and down throughout the process, and in one of the down parts, he found out that though the bellhousing was an easy match, finding a flywheel was not. “I had to get a steel flywheel for a late Hemi. Now you go to Hays or anybody else and they say ‘we don’t have that flywheel, sorry.’ So I go to Chrysler and say I need to order a high-performance flywheel. It comes in and I open the box and it says Hays.”

Exhaust for the Hemi-powered cars and trucks has come around as well. “The headers I had were just off-the-shelf Hedmans. I had flanges to build a new set, but didn’t really have the time. I wanted to do a set with equal length, one unequal length, a tri-Y, and do a lot of playing, but these turned out great.”

A Moroso road-race pan with the side wings cut back was chosen to hold six quarts of AMSOIL 15W-50 oil for the engine. Bob emphasized the importance of choosing the right viscosity oil for the engine. He’s found in testing with hydraulic lifter engines that using a traditional lightweight racing oil in a hydraulic lifter engine can cost an easy 5-10 hp by allowing the oil to bypass the lifter plunger, killing valve lift and duration. By using a Melling M-Select oil pump and the relatively thick oil, he was able to capture some of that lost power. A caveat to the thicker oil treatment is that if you are picking an oil for an engine that uses a displacement-on-demand or variable valve timing system, absolutely stick with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

Once the Hemi was complete, the boys stuck it on the dyno. True to form, the old feller running the dyno wore a set of coveralls, Carolina red clay-colored shoes, and had a drawl that belied the knowledge and experience that came from years of testing high-performance engines. Though skeptical at first, his eyes lit up a bit as the torque needle climbed and when the horsepower peaked at 644, he finally admitted: “You boys got yourselves a player.”