Build Your Own Competition-Worthy 600 HP Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Build Your Own Competition-Worthy 600 HP Engine

Last month, we introduced you to the UMP Modified racing engine being built by the engine experts at Earnhardt Childress Racing in Welcome, NC. The engine – a 600 hp, 411 cid plant built for UMP Dirtcar Modifed competition – will be awarded to the winner of the Sunnen Rev It UP Raffle at the 2010 IMIS Show in Indianapolis, Dec. 1-3.

You can learn about the raffle – proceeds from which will benefit two extremely worthy charities – by reading Final Wrap on page 72 of last month’s issue of Engine Builder. We told you in that column that you would soon be getting significantly more detail about the components and machining operations used in building this engine and – true to our word – we are delivering.

Sure, you could spend $3 to buy a ticket for the raffle (in fact, why don’t you?) and reverse engineer the ECR engine for your own personal gain or you could look over the shoulders of the ECR team as they spec, prep and build the engine, in effect, giving away their $30,000 secrets.

Lanny Barnes, noted Nextel Nationwide Series engine builder for Earnhardt Childress Racing gives us an exclusive look at the steps he and his team followed during the engine’s construction. After all, as Spenny Clendenan, ECR’s Business Manager points out, “A lot of shops will be able to look at this engine, built with off-the-shelf parts, and change one little thing to make it their own."

The build started with a solid foundation. “We started with Little M Dart block with 4.1750” bore 350 main and 50mm cam tunnel,” Barnes says. “The 3.750? stroke results in 411 c.i.d. Press-on roller cam bearings are .0015?. Dart’s machine work is very good and to spec but still, out of box. we deburred block to remove any obvious sharp edges. All block machine work was done on Sunnen/RMC V30 CNC.”

Barnes says Sy Earnhardt made special note that extra clearance was needed in the timing belt area to accept the Jesel timing cover. The machine shop also bottom-tapped all bolt holes in block.

ECR made the decision to deck block to 9.000? deck ht. Operators bored the block for a .937? CHE lifter bushing with .050? oil hole. “We put .0008? press on bushing then final honed to .0009? clearance,” Barnes says. Ronnie Phillips then decked the standard 9.025? deck block to 9.000?.

”He bored the cylinders to 4.165? and then bored for lifter bushings,” explains Barnes. “Bubba McGee then installed lifter bore bushings so Ronnie could final ream finish lifter bores."

In order to keep the block exact during the boring process, BHJ torque plates were installed with the head gaskets to be used in final assembly.

The head bolts were torqued to the following specifications using ARP assembly lube:

Top Row: 65 ft.lbs

Mid Row:  65 ft.lbs  

Mid. Outer torque: 55 ft.lbs

Outside Row: 65 ft. lbs

The block was then sent back to block prep where AJ Hilchey put the final touches on block. “While it was in its final CV-616 hone,” explains Barnes “McGee final honed the block to 4.1750?. He used Sunnen 518 stones down to .002? of finish size and then took Sunnen 625 stones to .0006? of finish size, finishing with Sunnen J-84 stone.”

While in the Sunnen CV-616 the ECR operators used the 400 grit hand ball hone to put a crosshatch in the lifter bushings as well as fuel pump push rod bore. Barnes says the mains were good but they also ran a hone through just to clean up.

Then they torqued the number one through five 7/16? bolts to 65 ft lbs; following with the numbers one and five 3/8? bolts 35 ft.lbs using ARP assembly lube.

”The crankshaft – a Winberg 3.750? 350 main 2.0 rod journal had a 1710 final bob weight,” says Barnes. “Jeff Hickernel spun the crank at ECR just to check that Randy Winberg’s work was spot-on as usual.” Barnes explains that the Engine Builder reader can order the same Dart block with the lifter bores in their final size as well as the cylinder hone finished.

“The cylinder heads we used – 15 degree Dart heads – can be ordered completely race ready out of the box. We final cut the combustion chambers to 47cc and also gave the intake and exhaust spring pad seat areas a .015? cut. The heads were final assembled by James Phelps.”

Parts Information

Block and Cylinder Heads

Dart (248-362-1188)

Cylinder Head p/n 14372030 15 deg. full port

Valves, Locks, Retainers

CV Products (336-472-2242)

Intake valves: p/n XIV2180-3412-R (Intake valve size: 2.180?)

Exhaust valves: p/n XEV1600-5640-341-R-1 (Exhaust valve size: 1.600?)

Spring Seat Locators: p/n CVSS 3374                   

Titanium Retainers: p/n XRE574-LTW                 

Titanium Valve Locks: p/n XLO691-C                      

Valve Seals: p/n CV 750

Valve Springs

PSI (248-486-3372)

p/n CT 1574 ML-TC               


CP Pistons (949-567-9000)

4.175 x 1.125 comp. ht. x .866 pin x 2.0 long


Wrist Pins

Weymoth .866 x 2.0


Piston Rings

Total Seal (800-874-2753)

Top ring # 555 04175 0415 MLY DUCT DF .134

2nd  ring  #554N 04175 0325 135 NO BEVEL NAP DF

4.170 Chrome Rail

4.175 3mm expander


Connecting Rods

Carrillo Rods  (949-498-1800)


6.000 Rod

3/8 bolt

573 gram

2.125 housing bore

.866 pin


Rocker Arms

T&D (Larry Torres 775-884-2292)

Shaft Rockers Steel with adjuster

1.9 Intake / 1.9 Exhaust


Comp Cams (901-795-2400)

p/n 12-000-10 Serial #:U 2532-10

4345BG/4349BG R 107

250 intake 258 exh. @.050



Push Rods

Smith Bros Push Rods    (541-388-8188)


Timing Components

Jesel (732-901-1800)

Belt Drive       # KBD 31200

Lifters           #  LFT 53451  (8)    LFT 53450 (8) Order # 249842



ARP Fasteners  (800-826-3045)

KIT p/n 534-9501


Other Components

Moroso (203-453-6571)

Valve Covers     p/n 68326 Fab

Plug Wires         p/n 7325


Oil Pan, Pickup

Stef’s Performance Products (732-367-8700)       

Oil Pump

Melling Select Performance (517-787-8172)

p/n M55HV


Harmonic Balancer

ATI (877-298-5039)

Balancer p/n 917784



Edelbrock  (310-781-2222)

Intake Manifold  p/n 2846

Valley Tray       p/n 2855


Ignition Components    

MSD  (915-857-5200)

Distributor p/n 85551           

Machined fixed collar off distributor and replaced with adjustable.

MSD only offers fixed collar in single pick up distributors.  

6ALN BOX           p/n 6430

HVC Blaster Coil  p/n 8252

ronnie philips boring the dart block's cylinders.darren fulk cutting clearances for the nance porting the edelbrock intake manifold.

jeff hickernel confirming the balance of the winberg crankshaft.james phelps assembling the dart earnhardt putting pistons in the 411 cid imis show engine.this ecr 411 cid, 600+ hp ump modified engine will be raffled off for charity at the 2010 imis show in indianapolis.

You May Also Like

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 1

Last year, the idea was simple: Find a junker, fix it up with the best from the automotive aftermarket, and drive it to Las Vegas for AAPEX 2022. This year, it’s anything but simple. The automotive aftermarket is at the crossroads of change. Electric vehicles, driver assistance systems, autonomous vehicles, sustainability—it’s a shifting landscape. This

Last year, the idea was simple: Find a junker, fix it up with the best from the automotive aftermarket, and drive it to Las Vegas for AAPEX 2022. This year, it’s anything but simple.

The automotive aftermarket is at the crossroads of change. Electric vehicles, driver assistance systems, autonomous vehicles, sustainability—it’s a shifting landscape. This year, the Big Bosses at AAPEX, Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of Auto Care Association, and Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of MEMA Aftermarket, offered a challenge. Babcox Media’s Joe Keene, an ASE-certified technician, couldn’t refuse: Find and fix a rare Lincoln Blackwood and drive it down the Lincoln Highway to AAPEX 2023.

What’s a Ford Sidevalve Engine?

It looks like an ordinary inline 4-cylinder flathead engine. Essentially it is, but it has quite a cult following here in the UK.

The Drag & Drive Revolution

Following that first drag-and-drive event back in 2005, spinoffs of Drag Week have been happening all over the country, and the world, both large and small. In recent years, the trend has been completely blowing up!

The Evolution of Pro Mod Diesels

The advancements within the performance diesel world over the past 20 years have been nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, within just the last five to 10 years, that progress has been even more rapid and impressive, but few progressions have been more astonishing than those within the Pro Mod Diesel realm.

Top Fuel and Funny Car Engines

They’re the pinnacle of drag racing, and the engine builders, crew chiefs and teams who make these cars function at peak performance all season long are looking at every single area of the engine and the car to make it down the track as fast as possible.

Other Posts

Race Oils

Choosing the correct performance racing oil is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your engine.

Facts About Engine Bearings

The experts all agree that cleanliness is the most important factor during installation, and the lack thereof is the most common problem that leads to bearing failure. But measuring is just as critical.

Does Connecting Rod Length Matter?

Over the years, we’ve gotten asked numerous times about connecting rod length and the impact that has on an engine’s horsepower and durability. As it turns out, this question is often overthought. It’s not so much the connecting rod length that matters as much as it is the correct piston pin height. The connecting rod

LTR Engine Build

This Late Model Engines build is centered around Concept Performance’s new LTR block, which is the first aftermarket as-cast aluminum Gen V LT block.