Volume III, Issue 6, Page 12

Edelbrock really took the bull by the horns with its recent introduction of all-new bolt-on go-fast goodies for the 348 / 409 Chevy W-engine family. Even though the W was last used in 1966 heavy duty Chevy trucks (409 passenger car installations were phased out midway through the 1965 model year), Edelbrock correctly predicted there are still a whole bunch of Chevy fans hungry for a chunk of this neglected performance legend.

Edelbrock tooled up aluminum Performer RPM cylinder heads (PN 60819, $1,075 each, complete with valves and springs), an all-new inline dual-quad intake manifold (PN 5409, $430), a much needed aluminum water pump (PN 8858, $255) and cool polished aluminum finned valve covers (PN 4140, $309).

You have the option of buying the heads bare (PN 60809, $823 each) and for owners of small-port 348 engines looking for something better than factory-issue single four and triple-deuce carburetion, the Edelbrock dual-quad casting is also available with 348-specific port openings and bolt pattern (PN 5408, $410). And finally, those wild finned valve covers are also available in black powder coat with brushed fin surfaces (PN 41403, $216). For a closer look at all of these goodies, go to the May 2008 issue of MaxChevy.

But does the W engine deliver the goods or is it a quaint relic from days gone? To get the answer we watched as Edelbrock’s Robert Jung began assembling a 409 test engine to evaluate these new goodies  and to perfect future W-product offerings. To get the scoop on what’s inside the 421-inch (0.060 oversize) Edelbrock W-motor dyno mule, scope out last month’s issue of MaxChevy (June 2008) for the rundown.

This time we spent a day with Edelbrock’s dyno tester, Curt Hooker, and watched as the W proved its merit as a valid street and strip contender in the modern world. With a modest 9.6:1 compression ratio, a stock 3.50-inch stroke, the aforementioned 0.060 cylinder overbore and breathing through a pair of 500cfm carburetors, we got 469-horsepower and 472-lb/ft of torque without breaking a sweat. And that’s with a fairly mild (0.616 / 0.628-lift, 292 / 296 duration) hydraulic roller cam. Throw in a stroker crank, more compression, head porting and bigger carburetors and there’s close to 600hp and an equal amount of torque are doubtless within easy reach.

With six-quarts of Kendall 30-weight oil and 12 ounces of Torco High Performance Zinc Enhanced Engine Protector (ZEP) additive in the pan, Curt gave the engine a steady 50-lb/ft load and broke it in for two hours at 1,800 to 2,200 rpm. With roller lifters, there’s no need for cam break-in, so the 120-minute jog was to seat the rings and bearings.