4.9" Billet Hemi 'Big Dawg' Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

4.9″ Billet Hemi ‘Big Dawg’ Engine

Engine of the Week is presented by

When we spoke with Darrell Makins, shop manager of Noonan Race Engineering in Spartanburg, SC, the shop had 60 billet blocks in queue for production. Noonan Race Engineering starts each build from an 815-pound raw chunk of aluminum. With 60 engines on deck, that makes for nearly 49,000 lbs. of raw aluminum. After getting machined, each block comes out weighing around 127 pounds., which makes for roughly 41,000 pounds of aluminum waste and 7,600 pounds of finished aluminum blocks.

One of those hunks of aluminum were turned into a 4.9 Billet Hemi Big Dawg engine and we have all the details of the build in this episode of Engine of the Week.

Noonan Race Engineering was founded by Jamie and Renee Noonan in 2006, and today, the once Australian shop is located in South Carolina. The shop specializes in manufacturing its own billet cylinder heads, billet manifolds, billet valve covers, and billet engine block designs for both supercharged and turbocharged Alcohol Hemi and LS engines for drag racing applications like Top Alcohol, Funny Car, Top Dragster, and Pro Mod.

The 4.9 Billet Hemi engine called the Big Dawg starts out as a rectangular forged block of 60-61 aluminum. After 46 hours of machining time, the block weighs around 125 lbs. complete. The block, heads, manifold and valve covers are all manufactured out of billet in-house.

Other internals for the Big Dawg engine include a billet crankshaft, CP pistons, billet connecting rods, Total Seal rings, Trend wristpins, Clevite coated bearings, and a custom Bullet camshaft. When it comes to the 4.9-inch Noonan cylinder heads, those are equipped with PSI springs, Jesel lifters, Manley valves and Reid or Manton rocker arms. Remaining components on the engine include an RCD Engineering mag drive and fuel pump, a Barnes oil pump, Dan Olson oil pan, and a Noonan front cover and gear drive assembly.

“The big difference between the Big Dawg and our standard 4.9˝ is the standard version has a deck height of 10.225˝ and our Big Dawg, which allows more stroke, has an 11˝ deck height. We also always sleeve these engines, for which we use Power Bore nodular iron sleeves.”

The 4.9 Hemi enables the bore diameter of the engine to increase to four six hundred versus four five hundred. That increased bore diameter allows for larger intake and exhaust valves and the valve angle to stand up an additional three degrees. This flattens the combustion chamber out and allows the port to be raised an inch on the intake and exhaust.
Another big change was the lifter spacing from 2 inches to 3.3 inches, which frees up a lot of intake port development opportunities.

According to Makins, the normal lead time on one of these engines, for a completely custom platform, is about six weeks.

“We have built one of these engines in as quick as two weeks,” he says. “The cost for a standard Roots motor that you’d find in an NHRA Pro Mod car would be around $74,000. That’s ready to put your supercharger and fuel system on and go. There are some extra things you can add. We do have a higher end oiling system company, Auto Verdi, out of Sweden. They have an upgrade to the oiling system and there are some upgrades you can make to the engine that could add anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000 to that price.”

For that amount of money, customers are expecting top-level performance, and Noonan Race Engineering delivers. These engines run somewhere between 12 and a half to 1 and 13 to 1 compression, and can be used with a Roots supercharger, a Screw supercharger, a centrifugal supercharger, or turbochargers. The Big Dawg engine is capable of quarter-mile passes in the 5-second range, but is also right at home in tractor pulling applications as well.

If you have an engine you’d like to see featured, please email our editor Greg Jones at [email protected]. Thanks for watching!

You May Also Like

Mild vs. Wild (Diesel Edition) Ep 5 – 6.7L Powerstroke Builds

Mild vs. Wild is back, and we took a trip down to Tennessee to visit with Cass Choate and the folks at Choate Engineering Performance, to discuss building 6.7L Powerstroke engines with a mild budget of $15K and a wild budget of $30K. Mild vs. Wild is brought to you by AMSOIL INC.

Mild vs. Wild is back, and we took a trip down to Tennessee to visit with Cass Choate and the folks at Choate Engineering Performance, to discuss building 6.7L Powerstroke engines with a mild budget of $15K and a wild budget of $30K. Mild vs. Wild is brought to you by AMSOIL INC.

Kyle Morris’ Twin-Turbo Small Block Ford Engine

As Steve Morris’ son, Kyle Morris is no stranger to engine work and drag racing from his seat at Steve Morris Engines. This 1996 Mustang was purchased by Kyle at the age of 15, and he now has it ready to rip 7- and 8-second 1/4-mile passes thanks to an 1,800-horsepower, twin-turbo small block Ford

Why You Should Magnaflux Your Engine Parts

The guys at MTI Racing were looking to put together a Nissan GT-R engine, but first they Magnafluxed the crank and rods, and it’s a good thing they did. To ensure parts can get reused and don’t have signs of stress and cracks, magnafluxing can save you from more expensive repairs down the road. Related

Tina Pierce’s Twin-Turbo 509 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

Striving to make 200-mph passes during Sick Week, we came away impressed by Tina Pierce and her Chevy II Nova, which features a twin-turbo 509 cubic inch big block Chevy engine. The race veteran was attending her first Sick Week and we got the details of her drag-and-drive setup in this episode of Engine of

What’s the Deal with Biodiesel and Biofuel?

In this episode of AMSOIL Garage, we dive deeper into the topic of biodiesel and biofuel, and how it can impact your diesel engine. Related Articles – 1967 Nova with a 421 Small Block Chevy Engine – Machining a Cylinder Head for Valve Seats – Part 1 – CP4 Troubles? Try Fuel Additives

Other Posts

Diamond -2K Series Pistons for 6.2L and 6.4L Hemi Engines

These Hemi pistons are made from 2618 material for high horsepower, boosted applications and are rated for 2,000 HP.

New ProMAXX Tool Dodge/RAM 6.4L HEMI Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolt Repair ProKit

ProMAXX Tool introduces its latest innovation for repairing broken exhaust manifold bolts on Dodge/RAM 6.4L HEMI V8 Gas Engines, Model Name Chad (PMXCD200PRO). This comprehensive and easy-to-use repair kit allows technicians to quickly and accurately remove and repair broken exhaust manifold bolts. With a focus on book time saved, return on investment, and increased productivity,

Supercharged 406 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

Owned by Scott Mueller since the 1980s, this 1934 Ford hot rod features a supercharged 406 cubic inch small block Chevy engine capable of 1,000 horsepower and low-8-second passes. Check it out!

Turbocharged and Nitrous-Boosted 429 cid LSX Engine

It’s tough to beat the lines and looks of a Chevy Nova. Jason Sack’s 1969 Nova is certainly up there in terms of coolest-looking, and it doesn’t hurt that it has 2,200+ horsepower under the hood courtesy of a turbocharged and nitrous-boosted 429 cid LSX engine! See for yourself!