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I have an early 60s Chevy C-60 truck with what it supposed to be a 409 engine. I know the second generation big block truck engines were a "tall deck" block, different from the car engines. Does anyone know if the 348-409 engines were different "tall deck" in trucks, than the car engines? Thanks, Gary.

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I have an early 60s Chevy C-60 truck with what it supposed to be a 409 engine. I know the second generation big block truck engines were a "tall deck" block, different from the car engines. Does anyone know if the 348-409 engines were different "tall deck" in trucks, than the car engines? Thanks, Gary.

No, There was no tall deck W engine.

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In reality, the W-motor was originally designed for trucks, not cars. When Ford hit with their FE 332/352 V-8 in '58, the biggest Chevy had was significantly smaller than that, so they raided the truck engine for their cars.

The W-motor's unique deck/piston relationship was to give it more flexibility for compression ratios and such, which other Chevy engines didn't have. Plus, the length for that size of motor was important for the short-hood trucks Chevy had for their medium-duty vehicles.

The breathing and cylinder head design made those engines more efficient in the combustion chamber area. Moreso than their beloved V-8s of that time. This is why they only needed about 32 degrees of total spark advance to make their best power, unlike the car V-8s which needed 38-40 degrees. This, plus the fact that they were not really higher rpm engines (in normal truck specs) led to many frustrations with loyal Chevy racers who, when they did "what worked with 283s" to the 348-409 engines, didn't work . . . at least for the first few years.

I knew a guy (in the 1980s) who said he had a small fleet of dump trucks with 409s in them. When he was at the quarry, he said that if he could beat the Macks to the highway, they'd never even see his tail lights again once he got rolling. But if he had to follow them out, he was "there". He also said that if you kept them under 4000rpm, no problems with longevity, either. This played into what some older drag racers I happened across, who claimed the best times by "short shifting" their 409 Chevys, rather than running the tach needle higher like they would with a 327.

In the last decades, the retro-drag racer market has driven the repros of many earlier Chevy 409 engine parts and accessosries. Prior to the 409, there was the 348 variant which had factory 3x2bbl carbs and such.

What Smokey Yunick had at Daytona in '63 was something of a hybrid version of the later "TurboJet" 396-427-454 engine family . . . aka "The Mystery Engine".

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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In reality, the W-motor was originally designed for trucks, not cars. When Ford hit with their FE 332/352 V-8 in '58, the biggest Chevy had was significantly smaller than that, so they raided the truck engine for their cars.

The W-motor's unique deck/piston relationship was to give it more flexibility for compression ratios and such, which other Chevy engines didn't have. Plus, the length for that size of motor was important for the short-hood trucks Chevy had for their medium-duty vehicles.

The breathing and cylinder head design made those engines more efficient in the combustion chamber area. Moreso than their beloved V-8s of that time. This is why they only needed about 32 degrees of total spark advance to make their best power, unlike the car V-8s which needed 38-40 degrees. This, plus the fact that they were not really higher rpm engines (in normal truck specs) led to many frustrations with loyal Chevy racers who, when they did "what worked with 283s" to the 348-409 engines, didn't work . . . at least for the first few years.

I knew a guy (in the 1980s) who said he had a small fleet of dump trucks with 409s in them. When he was at the quarry, he said that if he could beat the Macks to the highway, they'd never even see his tail lights again once he got rolling. But if he had to follow them out, he was "there". He also said that if you kept them under 4000rpm, no problems with longevity, either. This played into what some older drag racers I happened across, who claimed the best times by "short shifting" their 409 Chevys, rather than running the tach needle higher like they would with a 327.

In the last decades, the retro-drag racer market has driven the repros of many earlier Chevy 409 engine parts and accessosries. Prior to the 409, there was the 348 variant which had factory 3x2bbl carbs and such.

What Smokey Yunick had at Daytona in '63 was something of a hybrid version of the later "TurboJet" 396-427-454 engine family . . . aka "The Mystery Engine".

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

You missed the engine that was in-between the 409 and the "Mystery Engine" or Mk2 engine called the Z11- 427. The Z11 427 was actually a (limited) RPO production (stroked) engine , while the "Mystery engine" was not a production engine....kind of makes you wonder how this engine ever made it out of tech inspection, you know... remember National Association of "STOCK" Car Racing??????? BTW the MK2 has little if any commonality with a MK4 BB.

Too bad Pontiac didn't run one of their engines that was waiting in the wings that corporate killed. Can you say 421 DOHC four valve for 1963;http://image.highperformancepontiac.com/f/tech/hppp_1003_pontiac_v8_engines/26163815+w200/hppp_1003_06_z+pontiac_v8_engines+389ci_block_engine.jpg

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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I understand the "stock" orientation of NASCAR, which was much greater in that area than in more recent times, so how Smokey got the "experimental" Chevy engine approved might be "a mystery" in itself. I recall seeing magazine accounts of how nobody, other than Smokey's people, were allowed near the car at the Daytona race. When it broke, it was quickly pushed into a secure garage area and the door locked. Some of the information which did filter out seemed to be variable and not especially reliable in all cases. There were some pictures of the exhaust manifolds, though, which were published and looked nothing like anything Chevy had ever done before. I don't know that I've seen the complete lineage of the production Mk IV Chevy Big Block V-8, in its complete time line. Not that it might not exist somewhere.

I suspect that if Ford had put their SOHC 427 into real production, gotten homologated and such, then things might have been different. It would have openned the door, so to speak, for the Pontiac engine to become production in nature, too. I say "real" production in relation to the Ford engine as they did produce a limited number, but not enough to get homologated or put them in cars as RPOs. I did see one in a jet boat, in the middle 1970s, though. There were magazine accounts of one installed in a '64 Galaxie sedan, which appeared at the '64 Indy 500. As the magazine stated, "MOTOR TREND" as I recall, the "test drives" were limited to a street behind the Indy race track. The car had no power steering too, so "straight line" was what seemed to work best, and was all that was allowed.

There was LOTS of neat engine stuff going on back then, in the various major manufacturers' "hobby shops"!

Thanks for the additional clarifications.

NTX5467

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I suspect that if Ford had put their SOHC 427 into real production, gotten homologated and such, then things might have been different. It would have openned the door, so to speak, for the Pontiac engine to become production in nature, too. I say "real" production in relation to the Ford engine as they did produce a limited number, but not enough to get homologated or put them in cars as RPOs. I did see one in a jet boat, in the middle 1970s, though. There were magazine accounts of one installed in a '64 Galaxie sedan, which appeared at the '64 Indy 500. As the magazine stated, "MOTOR TREND" as I recall, the "test drives" were limited to a street behind the Indy race track. The car had no power steering too, so "straight line" was what seemed to work best, and was all that was allowed.

There was LOTS of neat engine stuff going on back then, in the various major manufacturers' "hobby shops"!

Thanks for the additional clarifications.

NTX5467

NTX5467,

The January 1963 G.M. anti racing edict spelled the end of Pontiac's SOHC 2 valve and three valve 389 & 421 engines as well as the DOHC 4 valve 389 and 421 engines. The only engine that did make it out was the OHC six cylinder. As you know FORD just ran away from everyone in 63 because in Chevy's and Pontiac's case GM forbade any factory help in racing. The Mystery engine was the last project out and was allowed by GM to race as well as any left over any 1963 Super Duty Pontiac cars built. That four valve Pontiac 421 would have made the 426 Hemi and the SOHC FORD 427 fodder.

BTW the 1963 G.M. racing ban was due to government pressure to break Chevrolet away from G.M. because G.M. was taking too much market share. Win on Sunday / sell on Monday was just one of the things that got in the way.

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Back in the later 1950s, there was the Automobile Manufacturers Association (A.M.A. -- but not the AMA we're used to hearing about these days) which had Ford, GM, Chrysler, and others as members. For a few years, the manufacturers had to back away (publicly) from NASCAR support due to the "Speed Kills" orientation. They suspected that if people saw their favorite brand running in NASCAR on Sunday, they'd go buy one on Monday, and then "terrorize the roads" and end up causing more highway deaths. So, the main NASCAR players had to not fund NASCAR tems as they had been. BUT . . . the parts were still available for anybody that wanted to purchase them . . . or be "an approved recipient" (of sorts) of other less visible assistance (the "back door parts" deals, or "under the counter" deals, for example).

By the time the "racing ban" was over, many innovative ways to fund NASCAR teams had been developed, from what I recall seeing in the car magazines of that time. The highway death toll didn't really change, either (other ways were found to help deal with that . . . vehicle interior designs, for example, which Ford started with the 1955 new models). End result, the AMA was quietly disbanded and the money began to flow freely, again. Seems that Chevy found more ways to keep their cars winning via factory support, though. Plus, they hid their "special parts" in plain, open sight in the parts books of that time. IF you knew the "code words" to look for, they were right there.

"HPE" was "high performance engine", aka 327/350 "SHPE" was "special high performance engine", aka 327/370(?) Corvette engine "FI" was 327/375 Corvette engine

"HD" was L-88 Mark IV 427 Corvette and so on. Then, in later years, if you knew which engine had which special internal parts, you knew what to ask for.

The later GM "400 cid Rule" was kind of related to the earlier AMA racing ban, but not completely, as I recall.

Obviously, if the manufacturers/divisions had been able to proceed with what they were doing back then, it could have been VERY interesting and exciting to be a car enthusiast back then! Oldsmobile had some "experimental" racing motors in the middle 1960s, too. Buick had a turbo 401 ready to go, other than the fact they didn't have ANY transmission in 1962 (for the newly-introduced Wildcat) that would hold it. The neat thing about turbos and superchargers was that they made up for the design inadequacies of cylinder head ports of that earlier time, even the 1957 Ford NASCAR 312 supercharged engines.

There were LOTS of things being tried back then, in design and engineering of the cylinder head/combustion chamber areas of engines. Some of it was "hit or miss", but later turned up in more refined versions in the 1980s, by observation. Ford was working on stratified-charge combustion chambers (using the Lincoln 430, as I recall, in partnership with Texaco). In the middle 1980s, "swirl" was the operative design orientation for OEM cylinder heads, for more power and cleaner emissions at the same time. When flow benches became more common, according to a major Pontiac enthusiast magazine, they discovered that the RamAir round port heads didn't flow any better than the prior rectangle port heads did . . . but then, too, those Pontiac heads had ports which didn't flow well above about .450" lift, which is why Pontiac cams generally had longer durations (and modest lift figures) to help compensate, than other similar engines. Pontiac, though, did have machined combustion chambers, at least by the middle 1960s, which meant better consistency of size than an "as cast" combustion chamber could have--a plus.

And then there was the Chevy CAN-AM 427(?) V-8. It was completely different from the existing Mark IV engines of that size. Bore and stroke were optimized to be the same as the Chevy 302 V-8. Bore/Stroke ratio was about 1.27 and Rod Length/Stroke was about 1.90. Reputedly, it would "run and hide" from their best-running 427 V-8, period. But it only saw action in the CAN-AM race series in the earlier 1970s. Getting into these "ratios" and how they relate to other engine design aspects is a whole 'nuther subject.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Back in the later 1950s, there was the Automobile Manufacturers Association (A.M.A. -- but not the AMA we're used to hearing about these days) which had Ford, GM, Chrysler, and others as members. For a few years, the manufacturers had to back away (publicly) from NASCAR support due to the "Speed Kills" orientation. They suspected that if people saw their favorite brand running in NASCAR on Sunday, they'd go buy one on Monday, and then "terrorize the roads" and end up causing more highway deaths. So, the main NASCAR players had to not fund NASCAR tems as they had been. BUT . . . the parts were still available for anybody that wanted to purchase them . . . or be "an approved recipient" (of sorts) of other less visible assistance (the "back door parts" deals, or "under the counter" deals, for example).

There were LOTS of things being tried back then, in design and engineering of the cylinder head/combustion chamber areas of engines. Some of it was "hit or miss", but later turned up in more refined versions in the 1980s, by observation. Ford was working on stratified-charge combustion chambers (using the Lincoln 430, as I recall, in partnership with Texaco). In the middle 1980s, "swirl" was the operative design orientation for OEM cylinder heads, for more power and cleaner emissions at the same time. When flow benches became more common, according to a major Pontiac enthusiast magazine, they discovered that the RamAir round port heads didn't flow any better than the prior rectangle port heads did . . . but then, too, those Pontiac heads had ports which didn't flow well above about .450" lift, which is why Pontiac cams generally had longer durations (and modest lift figures) to help compensate, than other similar engines. Pontiac, though, did have machined combustion chambers, at least by the middle 1960s, which meant better consistency of size than an "as cast" combustion chamber could have--a plus.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

First, when the AMA ban went in effect in 1957 Pontiac's division chief Bunkie Knudsen just ignored the ban unlike Chevy, Ford, Chrysler executives. Pontiac won the 57 Grand National race at Daytona, and again in 1958. With the exception of Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler didn't get back in the game until 1963...after the 1963 G.M. racing ban.

Even though Lee Petty won the 1959 Daytona 500 on used Olds parts he could get from racers that were switching to other brands because as Petty once said on a interview I saw said "Oldsmobile doesn't give a damn about racing anymore". The 1959 Pontiac's were ten miles an hour faster than any other car out there including Petty's. It was unfortunate that Fireball Roberts/Smokey Yunick 1959 Catalina had a A/C fuel pump arm break off.

All traditional Real Pontiac heads 1955-1981 ALL have machined combustion chambers.

Pontiac heads "D" and Round port flow best from .100-.400" lift and that is why most of Pontiac's with the exception of Super Duty, Ram air 1 & 2 and 4 and round port Super Duty. Most of those heads including H-O and Ram air 3 have a lift maximum of .406 on intake and exhaust. Pontiac fills the cylinders differently than say a Chevrolet. Most of the filling of the cylinder is done between 0 and .400" lift and it does this by high velocity ports and just as importantly 30 degree intakes instead of the usual 45 degree intake.

Round port heads flow better than "D" ports is a matter of fact, and I think you may have confused what the magazine was saying about round port heads. It's not that don't flow well it's the fact that the floor of the round port on exhaust side has dead space ( the exhaust pulse just goes right over the floor. When Edelbrock reproduced the round port Pontiac head they squared the bottom off because of this dead space.

Here is a comparison of the Pontiac round port and the "D" port;http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS-xQtEDV1nBbCL5OS73keIVK2vF9Xa98fn4XKnMzTAE4DDploRfSOsgRhseg

Here is the Edelbrock Round port...notice the floor is filled in; http://static.summitracing.com/global/images/prod/large/edl-60569_w.jpg

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I understand the "stock" orientation of NASCAR, which was much greater in that area than in more recent times, so how Smokey got the "experimental" Chevy engine approved might be "a mystery" in itself. I recall seeing magazine accounts of how nobody, other than Smokey's people, were allowed near the car at the Daytona race. When it broke, it was quickly pushed into a secure garage area and the door locked. Some of the information which did filter out seemed to be variable and not especially reliable in all cases. There were some pictures of the exhaust manifolds, though, which were published and looked nothing like anything Chevy had ever done before. I don't know that I've seen the complete lineage of the production Mk IV Chevy Big Block V-8, in its complete time line. Not that it might not exist somewhere.

NTX5467

NASCAR was always about making the France family rich by putting on a show that would wow the rubes. A ding dong battle between Ford and Chev, or Ford and Pontiac always drew the crowds because practically all NASCAR fans were either Ford or GM fans . So they would bend over backwards to get Ford or GM to bring out something to catch the public's eye.

On the other hand, if Plymouth or Dodge won too many races they knew they had to ban them off the tracks or the crowds would thin out.

Look at how many times they bent the rules for Ford and GM, and how many times they banned or restricted the Chrysler products. It wasn't just the "mystery motor" or the 427s.

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NASCAR was always about making the France family rich by putting on a show that would wow the rubes. A ding dong battle between Ford and Chev, or Ford and Pontiac always drew the crowds because practically all NASCAR fans were either Ford or GM fans . So they would bend over backwards to get Ford or GM to bring out something to catch the public's eye.

On the other hand, if Plymouth or Dodge won too many races they knew they had to ban them off the tracks or the crowds would thin out.

Look at how many times they bent the rules for Ford and GM, and how many times they banned or restricted the Chrysler products. It wasn't just the "mystery motor" or the 427s.

At one point the Hemi was banned and the SOHC Ford never got to race at all in NASCAR. I think multiple carburetion was banned starting for 1959. I also think it should have been what whatever the factory offered should have been able to run in NASCAR. That is the way it should be played today. If your gonna run a Toyota.....then you run a Toyota engine and drivetrain.

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On 10/12/2012 at 5:21 PM, NTX5467 said:

In reality, the W-motor was originally designed for trucks, not cars. When Ford hit with their FE 332/352 V-8 in '58, the biggest Chevy had was significantly smaller than that, so they raided the truck engine for their cars.

The W-motor's unique deck/piston relationship was to give it more flexibility for compression ratios and such, which other Chevy engines didn't have. Plus, the length for that size of motor was important for the short-hood trucks Chevy had for their medium-duty vehicles.

The breathing and cylinder head design made those engines more efficient in the combustion chamber area. Moreso than their beloved V-8s of that time. This is why they only needed about 32 degrees of total spark advance to make their best power, unlike the car V-8s which needed 38-40 degrees. This, plus the fact that they were not really higher rpm engines (in normal truck specs) led to many frustrations with loyal Chevy racers who, when they did "what worked with 283s" to the 348-409 engines, didn't work . . . at least for the first few years.

I knew a guy (in the 1980s) who said he had a small fleet of dump trucks with 409s in them. When he was at the quarry, he said that if he could beat the Macks to the highway, they'd never even see his tail lights again once he got rolling. But if he had to follow them out, he was "there". He also said that if you kept them under 4000rpm, no problems with longevity, either. This played into what some older drag racers I happened across, who claimed the best times by "short shifting" their 409 Chevys, rather than running the tach needle higher like they would with a 327.

In the last decades, the retro-drag racer market has driven the repros of many earlier Chevy 409 engine parts and accessosries. Prior to the 409, there was the 348 variant which had factory 3x2bbl carbs and such.

What Smokey Yunick had at Daytona in '63 was something of a hybrid version of the later "TurboJet" 396-427-454 engine family . . . aka "The Mystery Engine".

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

The W was on the boards in June of 56 with proto types in 56 and 57 Chevy. GM said to come up with a big engine because the cars were getting bigger and heavier. The truck thought came in later. 348 did well with Nascar and the 1/4. 61 409 won the Pikes Peak and many 1/4 miles in 61 and 62. They fared ok in 63 with the Z11. 427-430. They started to crack 11s. Canada put 348s and 409s in their Pontiacs. Chevy even toyed with mech fuel injection. They were installed in a fleet of trucks in MI.

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Edited by countrytravler (see edit history)

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