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The World Famous Drag Week Durango - 5.2L Magnum upgrades

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  • The World Famous Drag Week Durango - 5.2L Magnum upgrades

    So, where did that name come form?

    I went to Drag Week 2011 half-cocked with the 83GT and subsequently had head gasket trouble on Registration / Test n Tune Day. I had no desire to try to fix it because it was hot and I did not drink enough water so I was not feeling well at all. Besides, I wasn't even sure you *could* pull the heads with the motor in the car. I talked to DF and I was allowed to switch my registration to my trusty 1998 Dodge Durango. I "endured" the week with AC and cruise control, 17 second ET's and vowed to come back better prepared the next year. (which I did with flying colors placing second in my class). Upon my arrival the next year at DW 2012, Drag Week regular and Mopar affectionado Billy Gebhart spots me and yells out "Is that the World Famous Drag Week Durango?" I responded "Heck yeah it is!" The name stuck and really seems to mean a little more now that Billy is gone.

    We bought this truck new back in 1998. It remains the ONLY new car I have ever purchased. Once bit, twice shy maybe. Haha. It has served as family hauler, racecar tow vehicle, dirt bike tow vehicle, ski trip machine and race truck. We brought both of our kids home from the hospital in it and both our kids took their driving tests in it. It has been a great truck. Engine is stock, just under 200k miles and we had the trans rebuilt one time.

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    Judd chose it to be his first car. He had plans up front to make some changes. First upgrade was the audio system. He made smart upgrades that work great and didn't break the bank. Then, more recently, he decided to do the torsion bar & shackle lift and install a body lift with 15x8 wheels, and 33-12.5x15 tires. The truck has taken on a whole new persona. It looks totally rad now!

    Along with the lift etc, we discussed improving the power output of the stock 5.2L Magnum engine. During these discussions, I stumbled upon a Hughes dual plane intake and a rebuilt 5.2L Magnum short block. What once was going to be a cam and intake upgrade has now morphed into a complete engine build. This is not really going to be a full blown project car thread. It will be more to just document engine build and stuff so i can more easily remember what we did and why. lol

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    Last edited by BBR; September 11, 2020, 01:27 PM.
    Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
    1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
    1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
    1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
    1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

  • #2
    This thing is a mall crawler / dirt bike hauler. No need for trick suspensions at the stage.

    Short block: Judd and I blasted over to OKC and picked it up. It is a rebuilt 5.2L Magnum shortblock with a CompCAMs XR268HR cam, KB399 pistons, Eagle I-beam forged rods, stock crank, balanced, new timing cover, new oil pump, intermediate shaft, timing set, bare stock heads and a couple boxes of Magnum parts for the whopping sum of $300. The guy was moving and could not take it with him, hence the fire sale.

    The bad: The pistons are wrong for Magnum heads. They are domed for the open chamber of an old style LA318/360 head. Not sure the guy knew it as he had not got to the point of doing heads, but I noticed it right off from the pics in the ad. We would have taken it all apart and to check stuff anyway, so we will just swap to a KB167 or similar. The 167's are a little lighter, but not so much to be a deal breaker. We *could* swap to some 360LA heads, but that is more of a science project than I want to get into for a daily driver. It involves drilling oil passages and intake bolt holes in the heads and running external oil lines to feed the rocker shafts.

    Cam: The 268 is a little bigger than we planned, but I think it will be fine as long as we keep our static CR at 9+ and we have HP Tuners at our disposal to tweak the efi a bit if necessary.

    We basically got the shortblock and extra parts for less than the cost of the camshaft.

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    Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
    1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
    1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
    1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
    1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

    Comment


    • #3
      Cylinder heads: I put the word out I was looking for some small block Mopar heads and a buddy said he had a set of used Magnum R/T's. We did some trading and they came home with me. Magnum R/T's were an aftermarket head offered by Mopar Performance several years ago. They were available with 1.92" or 2.02" intake valve versions. These are the 2.02's. They are a pretty nice upgrade over standard Magnum heads and share some port and bowl similarities with Mopar's infamous W2 small block head. We will clean these up, cut down the guides and change the springs to one's compatible with our camshaft.

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      Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
      1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
      1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
      1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
      1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

      Comment


      • #4
        I finally took some time and put the 318 on a stand and began looking at it closely. I pulled the pan and was greeted by a floppy oil pump pickup. They thread into the oil pump and this thing wasn't even close to tight. Yowza.

        I pulled a piston to see if it was a press fit pin or used spriolox because this would determine what pistons we can use. They have spirolox, so stock style pistons are out. KB167's are what we will use. Our CR should be a tick over 9.5:1 and I think that should work well with our camshaft.

        Next job will be removing the other 7 pistons, gently taking the rings off and removing the spirolox.

        Click image for larger version

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        Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
        1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
        1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
        1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
        1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

        Comment


        • #5
          Great score!

          Dan

          Comment


          • #6
            I heard spirolox and both of my forefingers just went numb.
            Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

            Comment


            • #7
              I will subcontract that chore to Judd.
              Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
              1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
              1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
              1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
              1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

              Comment


              • #8
                There is a tool for those made here in NC. The plastic version, made for home use, isn't terribly expensive. If you're interested I'll dig around a bit and pull up the info.

                Dan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DanStokes View Post
                  There is a tool for those made here in NC. The plastic version, made for home use, isn't terribly expensive. If you're interested I'll dig around a bit and pull up the info.

                  Dan
                  I have seen those. I think I may make Judd do it the hard way. You know, so he'll appreciate using the tool later.

                  Lifters and pistons are on their way. I ended up going with a link-bar type hydraulic roller lifter. I was not sure what the max lift the stock spider/retainer/lifter combo could endure so I just went with a link-bar style. I ordered pistons through cnc-motorsports.com. They were very competitive on price. Surprisingly, they were much cheaper than Summit or Jegs.
                  Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
                  1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
                  1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
                  1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
                  1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DanStokes View Post
                    There is a tool for those made here in NC. The plastic version, made for home use, isn't terribly expensive. If you're interested I'll dig around a bit and pull up the info.

                    Dan
                    There are tools made for that in Texas, too ... we call them fingers and thumbs, but Judd will do in a pinch ( pinch... get it?) The plastic version is for those who use chop saws improperly. (sorry, that was pretty insensitive of me. Memories of Coach Tindel from 8th grade shop class made me do it.)

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                    just fooling around here, carry on.
                    Last edited by Beagle; September 10, 2020, 05:23 PM.
                    Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Pistons arrived. They are nice looking pieces. Flat top with 5cc reliefs.

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                      Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
                      1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
                      1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
                      1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
                      1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Like it, looks like a fun but productive project. Always liked the look of that generation of Durango.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Waaaay back we bought a NEW First-Gen Durango, (unfortunately we got one with the 4.6L V8). Even with that, we had that for more then 10 years. It was a great vehicle. Sadly up here in the rust belt 99.9% of all first-gen Durangos are gone.
                          It's very rare to see one any more. Nice to see this still going and with added "tow capability", it will be a great vehicle. I always thought that would be a solid platform for upgrades.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lifters arrived today. Look to be a decent enough part.

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                            Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
                            1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
                            1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
                            1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
                            1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              More disassembly. All 8 connecting rods were on backwards. I guess this is why we check things.

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                              I also test fit a set of lifters. Since the lifter bosses in Magnum are 0.4" taller than an LA block, I was a little concerned that the link bars might bottom on the top of the bosses. They clear just fine. They are backwards in this pic because I test fit them both ways.

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                              Last edited by BBR; September 17, 2020, 07:57 PM.
                              Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
                              1998 Mustang GT https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...ix-to-4sixzero
                              1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302 http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...485-bbr-s-83gt
                              1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...uck-conversion
                              1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6 https://bangshift.com/forum/forum/ba...tooth-and-nail

                              Comment

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