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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Holy CRAP does she pull HARD! That pretty much sums up my reaction during the first couple of test drives after the Sidewinder Cam swap (w/ stock heads) we finally did this weekend.

I've been talking about and planning this upgrade for quite awhile and I'm happy to say - we got 'er done and she runs friggin AWESOME. 400rwhphemi from this forum (Luke) and my buddy who's been wrenching on GM's ever since he was a kid lent their hands to finish the install. I gotta give some major props to 400rwhphemi as he did a fantastic job and although my buddy and I MIGHT have been able to do this ourselves, it would've taken us twice as long and I'm sure I would've screwed something up. This install makes it 400rwhphemi's 14th cam (or head) swap on a hemi and that experience sure as heck came in handy. If anyone in the Ohio / Michigan area is considering to do a cam or head upgrade, I'd STRONGLY recommend talking to 400rwhphemi. He's going to save you a LOT of headaches and coin.

THE INSTALL:

Parts that went in: FRI Sidewinder Cam, 6.1L Springs, 6.1L Rods, new crank bolt (we didn't use the head bolts as we left the heads on).


Valve covers off - working on the rocker arms. Yep - 400rwhphemi's a young pup but don't let that fool you - he does great work:


Most of the front accessories off, water pump to go next:


We didn't completely remove the radiator but simply dropped it enough to gain the access we needed to the crank and cam:


Whoever said you can't / shouldn't change the springs without removing the heads hasn't seen 400rwhphemi and his spring changing tool at work. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy (especially getting those damn little keepers on) but after doing a bunch of these, Luke's got a good technique for doing this without cracking the heads. I'm happy to say, we didn't use a single spare keeper that I had on hand just in case we dropped a couple:


The spring tool has two ends - one for compressing the top spring and another forked end for changing the bottom spring. It takes a LOT of leverage to compress the bottom spring but works quite well:


With only 5 springs to go at 1am on Friday, we snapped one end of the spring tool. The carnage:


Doh! We all about crapped our pants but then Luke figured out how he could gain access to the two PITA bottom springs using the other end of the tool and got 'em in.

Somebody suggested using Ziploc bags to keep all the bolts labeled and organized during the tear down. I'd STRONGLY recommend this to everyone. We didn't have any 'leftover' parts afterwards:


We marked the chain and even zip tied the chain to the balancer so that it wouldn't move when we took it off:


Sidewinder Cam going in. Note that we didn't remove the oil pump on the bottom and simply moved the chain out of the way to get the cam in. After doing so many of these, 04hemipwr had a lot of time-saving tips like this and only completely removed the parts that were truly needed:


After pulling all the plugs and inspecting, there was only one that looked lean on cylinder #1. Anyone else notice they're running a bit lean on cyl #1?


I installed the Billet Tech oil catch can less than 2 weeks ago (for me about 500 miles) and already had this much oil. Dang...


Shortly after the first drive. Note the BIG smiles on the faces. 400rwhphemi on the left, me on the right.


We spanned the install over two days, starting late on Friday night and finished mid-Saturday afternoon. We had to run to AutoZone to get a 3-jaw puller as the threads were stripped on ours. We were also held up a bit with the snappin' of the spring tool. All said, I'd say we wrenched for a good 12-14 hrs. For most, I think this is an entire weekend long project. 400rwhphemi has done cam/head swaps all in a day but we were somewhat casual with this install, tippin back a few along the way...

THE TEST DRIVE:

After the idle learn procedure (1/2 hour in idle and e-brake on), we took her out shifting 1-2 several times driving a bit slow to make sure she was ok. Then, we began giving her hell.

DAAAAYUM does she pull hard! The butt dyno says it's a MUCH more significant gain than the LT headers were. She pulls stronger at all RPM's and keeps your head pinned to the headrest HARD at high RPMs.

My favorite test was sticking her in '1' and running the RPM's up and then slamming the throttle. HOLY CRAP does she snap your head back now. We tried this first at 4K RPMs and chirped the tires. 3.5K RPMs and chirped them again. We got chirp like this all the way down to 2.3K RPMs. She's never done this before unless it's VERY cool outside (it was 80 degrees out during the test drive) and at about 3.5K RPMs.

I was really anxious to get a 1/4 mile comparison since I just logged a few 1/4 miles on the SC tuner before the install. Conditions weren't too great (80 degrees, hot engine, two passengers in the car) and I couldn't get ANY traction on the several runs that I did. I have to completely re-learn a new launch technique as a spirited 'roll-on-the-throttle' spins 'em everytime now. After I've got some good runs to compare to the 'before' runs I'll report in a separate thread. I'm expecting a noticeable gain for sure, if I can only get some traction...

THE THANKS

BIG thanks to the FRI guys, Steve and Lee for lots of advice and help along the way, 400rwhphemi for a great effort, my GM buddy and to all the guys who offered advice, tips and nice write-ups on the forums. You guys have all been a BIG help. Thanks much.
 

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Nice man!!!
I really look forward to further hearing your impressions and gains from the cam only change. Thats what I'm leaning towards.
Do you have any pre dyno info?
Also, your running the stock computer with the Superchips?
Drivability and such too.
 

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awsome...after i pay her off im doing the same thing...but im going with the heads as well with the cam...now im inclined to do my own work i had my ASE certs...i might do it my self or just have someone do it for me i really dont enjoy getting greasy anymore...how hard was the install? scale from 1-10 10 being difficult...whats the noticeable pickup in the 2k-3k range? thats where i want the power to kick in at? im sure you mentioned it in your post but im asking anyway...
 

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Thank you for a REALLY nice write up! I'm not ready for a bumpstick yet, but reading this gets me closer :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice man!!!
I really look forward to further hearing your impressions and gains from the cam only change. Thats what I'm leaning towards.
Do you have any pre dyno info?
Also, your running the stock computer with the Superchips?
Drivability and such too.
Nope - no pre-dyno info. Just a bunch of 1/4 mile runs on the Superchips which I'll compare to when I get some good conditions. I try my best to create identical conditions when I compare. Stay tuned... (pun intended)

Running stock PCM w/ SC 91 octane tune. The drivablity is quite good. It sounds and behaves like stock just cruising around but look OUT when you punch it. It did stall on me twice however. It idled very low (610 RPMs) and would stumble before the cam on just the SC tune occasionally. We may have rushed the idle learn process a bit (was very anxious to drive it). I think w/ idle set at about 750 it would be perfect but I'll try the idle learn again first.
 

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Niiiiiiice...I'm looking to do a cam swap next year (well, before i take her out from winter storage. I've heard nothing but positive feedback on this cam so I'm thinking this is the one I'll go with. I was told by some people to do the heads first and thn the cam, but it sounds like you can achieve awesome power gains just by doing the cam...interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
awsome...after i pay her off im doing the same thing...but im going with the heads as well with the cam...now im inclined to do my own work i had my ASE certs...i might do it my self or just have someone do it for me i really dont enjoy getting greasy anymore...how hard was the install? scale from 1-10 10 being difficult...whats the noticeable pickup in the 2k-3k range? thats where i want the power to kick in at? im sure you mentioned it in your post but im asking anyway...
For me, I have no business doing something like this on my own but I've never torn that deep into an engine before. For you, maybe it's not that big of a deal. The springs are a PITA no matter what. For me, difficulty level is a 9. For someone else, maybe not that high.

The power gain is across the board but she's absolutely SCREAMS in the high RPM range. Traction down low is a much bigger problem now so, low gains are for sure there. We still need gears to make the launches more effective. IMO, there's nothing you can do to the engine to make these things launch like they should. 2.87 gears just don't cut it.
 

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Great writeup and photo journal. I'm also anxious to switch out the cams next year at some point.

Now theres one question that I'm throwing out there. I don't know if any of you saw my "Cracked Head" post, but I'm awaiting a new engine after I had put about 29,000 miles on the old engine.

Should I break in the new engine before doing the cam swap? How many miles should it have on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Niiiiiiice...I'm looking to do a cam swap next year (well, before i take her out from winter storage. I've heard nothing but positive feedback on this cam so I'm thinking this is the one I'll go with. I was told by some people to do the heads first and thn the cam, but it sounds like you can achieve awesome power gains just by doing the cam...interesting.
IMHO if you got the coin do the heads at the same time. I was a year from saving up enough to do both (I put myself on a budget...) so I did just the cam now for a very nice power gain. I think a good set of heads will double the power gain from just a nice cam. I may do the heads next year but if you're tearing her down that far and have another $1.5-$2K on hand, it makes a LOT of sense to do 'em both.
 

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IMHO if you got the coin do the heads at the same time. I was a year from saving up enough to do both (I put myself on a budget...) so I did just the cam now for a very nice power gain. I think a good set of heads will double the power gain from just a nice cam. I may do the heads next year but if you're tearing her down that far and have another $1.5-$2K on hand, it makes a LOT of sense to do 'em both.
Well, I was told that if I were to do the cam first then I shouldn't expect big power gains from just the cam...and that the heads would be a good thing to do first...if one had to choose from either. Naturally, you'd want to do both at the same time if finances permit, and maybe that's what I'll do next year. I have a bit of money that I can play around with... so we'll see what new offerings, if any, will be available come next year.
 

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Congrats...looks like you have a beast on your hands.

IMHO if you can do the install yourself or get it done fairly cheap, a cam only upgrade is by far one of the biggest bang for your buck you can do.....even the mildest cam (comp 260 / Sidewinder) will give you a honest 30-40hp and take .3 off your 1/4....all for under 500 bucks.
 

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great write up :clap: :clap:

Did he inject air into the cylinders to keep the valves up or use another method?

I've asked several of our vendors about doing this swap with heads on and all of them said to take the heads off. I thought if we could relieve pressure off the lifters we should be able to do with heads installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
great write up :clap: :clap:

Did he inject air into the cylinders to keep the valves up or use another method?

I've asked several of our vendors about doing this swap with heads on and all of them said to take the heads off. I thought if we could relieve pressure off the lifters we should be able to do with heads installed.
Yup - we pressurized the cylinders to about 25 psi to keep the valves up during the swap. Most recommend taking of the heads to change the springs. Without the tool we used, I'd have to concur. Even with the tool, it's challenging but definitely doable, especially if you've done a few as 04hemipwr has...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Congrats...looks like you have a beast on your hands.

IMHO if you can do the install yourself or get it done fairly cheap, a cam only upgrade is by far one of the biggest bang for your buck you can do.....even the mildest cam (comp 260 / Sidewinder) will give you a honest 30-40hp and take .3 off your 1/4....all for under 500 bucks.
You were probably the one that first got me on this kick Hemi, so thanks much for blazin a trail. I don't know that I'll be able to dip in the 12's with just a cam upgrade as you did but if I could pull some low 13's I'd be smiling.

I'm expecting a .3 improvement and will hopefully have a chance to verify this soon. The 500 is a bit shy of reality once you figure everything all up but it's certainly WAY less $$ than doing cam/heads.
 

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You were probably the one that first got me on this kick Hemi, so thanks much for blazin a trail. I don't know that I'll be able to dip in the 12's with just a cam upgrade as you did but if I could pull some low 13's I'd be smiling.

I'm expecting a .3 improvement and will hopefully have a chance to verify this soon. The 500 is a bit shy of reality once you figure everything all up but it's certainly WAY less $$ than doing cam/heads.
I just got my sidwinder installed, and with the parts and installation it cost me about $1,600. I haven't got on it yet because I am letting it get broke in a bit first. I got about 170 miles on it now (I've been driving a lot this week), so I should be giving it a good test here in a few days. But so far I am loving the way this cam. It sounds great and so far it seems like a good cam to have in a daily driver. My first few times out driving it I had the RPM dip too low and the engine die, but after I found out that it needs to learn to idle, I haven't had a problem yet.
 

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You were probably the one that first got me on this kick Hemi, so thanks much for blazin a trail. I don't know that I'll be able to dip in the 12's with just a cam upgrade as you did but if I could pull some low 13's I'd be smiling.

I'm expecting a .3 improvement and will hopefully have a chance to verify this soon. The 500 is a bit shy of reality once you figure everything all up but it's certainly WAY less $$ than doing cam/heads.
Other than a cam, what other mods do you have done? I am actually going to the track this Friday so I will be able to see what I've gained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Metgo - don't worry about breaking anything in. It's a roller cam so nothing to 'break-in'. You just need to do the idle learn procedure. I think you really need to get into her for it to make adjustments to take full advantage of it. I took it out twice after we were done and it kept getting faster as I did some WOT runs.

As for my other performance mods, I've done Kooks LT headers / hi-flow cats, Flowmaster catback, AFE II intake, Superchips 91 tune, 170 t-stat, Coolit fan mod and NoESP mod.
 

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congrats rtaddiction!!! i bet she rocks now. i know you like the superchips but i would really look at doing the mopar pcm and mopar tcm. the superchips and mopar tcm have no comparison in my opinion. all be it i have a torque converter as well but i would really look into my friend. the mopar tcm has been great for my car. it is sooooo much better than the superchips tranny settings.

with that said, go out and tear up some unsuspecting stangs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Guys - check this out...

I've never seen 60-120mph performance data published but I like to track it as it's one of those performance parameters where our cars do really well. Last week before the Sidewinder install, I logged a 60-120 mph WOT blast by putting it on cruise control at 60mph, begin the log and stomp the pedal up to 120mph. I logged the data using the SC advanced data acquisition and logged another run after the install. I laid the two plots over each other at just the instant the car just went over 60mph as to eliminate any difference due to shift performance between the runs. As it turns out the OAT was within 1 degree and I ran on the exact same 'track', so it's a great comparison.

The result is below:



A full second gain on a 60-120 WOT blast. Not too shabby...

Another interesting point is that timing is advanced anywhere from 0.5 - 2.0 degrees compared to before the Sidewinder. Looks like the PCM has already begun making adjustments to its timing maps.
 
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