Part One: More Flow, More Compression
1. Now it was time to swap the top, meaning replacing the heads, cams, and intake manifold. Starting with the cylinder heads, the Non-PI heads were replaced not just with a set of later-model PI heads, but PI heads that had been treated to the Stage 2 porting process by Total Engine Airflow. Until Trick Flow Specialties introduces the first aftermarket two-valve head, the only route to improving the factory heads is with porting. The guys at Total Engine Airflow improved the flow rate of the factory PI casting from 177 cfm to 226 cfm on the intake side and 126 cfm to 209 cfm on the exhaust side. This represented flow improvements of nearly 28% on the intake and a whopping 65% on the exhaust. These flow rates were combined with the jump in static compression from 9.3:1 to nearly 10.3:1. This increase in compression not only improves power, but also throttle response and fuel mileage. The compression hike is still well within the range of safe use on pump gas, especially when you combine it with the slightly wilder cam timing offered by the Xtreme energy series we installed.

Part Two: Bigger Bumpsticks
2. Step two of our big three was to replace the factory Non-PI cams with performance grinds. The Non-PI cams differed from their later PI version by way of lift. Where the Non-PI cam offered less than .500 lift, the PI versions stepped up the lift to .535. The lift increase only makes the PI better than the Non-PI, but we were obviously looking for a great deal more power than the mild duration figures offered by either. Leafing through the Comp Cams catalog revealed a set of XE270AH cams that offered not only .550 lift (both intake and exhaust), but a 234/238 duration split. These represented a sizable jump over either of the factory cams profiles, especially considering that our newly ported heads flowed exceptionally well right up to .600 lift. The final performance mod was to replace the factory Non-PI intake with a PI version. Not only was this a performance upgrade, but it was a requirement as the Non-PI intake ports and water passages do not line up with those in the PI head. The PI intake was combined with an inlet elbow and 75mm throttle body from Accufab.