All 1992 and initial-production 1993 Magnum engines had larger-diameter, better-breathing exhaust manifolds (2-1/8-inch inside diameter) than the later models (1-7/8-inch inside diameter). This accounts for the higher horsepower ratings of the earlier engines. Finding a set of the earlier manifolds would up your horsepower about 10 ponies-and look 100 percent stock. Additionally, earlier manifolds will need to be accompanied by the 1992 Y-pipe. Factory iron manifolds won't rust out and are much quieter than tube headers. Converting to them may also be slightly cheaper than going with a total header setup. The casting numbers of the 1992 large-diameter manifolds are 53006618 on the passenger side and 53006617 on the driver side.
Put A Clamp On It
Torque-brake the Magnum-powered truck then let it go, and you'll learn to spell wheelhop. Worse, try to launch your stick-shift truck above 2,000 rpm, and your tires will bounce like a couple of basketballs in the wheelwells. That's wheelhop, and it's costing you a holeshot.
Try this simple fix: Get two pairs of Mr. Gasket spring clamps and bolt them on forward of the axle, two on each side. Now when the pinion rotates upward, the front of the springs won't arc as much, and wheelhop decreases. Cool beans. Double-check the clamps to ensure that there's no tire interference, and that's that.
Rock & Roll Forever
In addition to cams, valvetrains, and a regrinding service, Wolverine offers the absolutely finest aluminum roller rockers on the planet. These aluminum, trued-ratio, roller-tipped rockers pivot on frictionless roller bearings instead of wobbly ball-and-studs. To date, they're the ultimate valvetrain for the Magnum engine. Unlike stamped aftermarket rockers that claim to be trued, the aluminum Wolverines are an undisputed 1.6:1 ratio. In addition, unlike steel rockers, the aluminum Wolverine rockers have a certain degree of impact absorption. Normal vibration traveling down the pushrods to the lifters and through the camshaft is lessened greatly, which in turn extends component life.
The other major difference between steel and aluminum rockers is their rocking style. Steel rockers use a pinch bolt that can eventually work itself loose. The Wolverine uses an Allen lock against the stud as a positive tension stop. Count on a solid 10 or 15 hp with this change. The Wolverine rockers will require holes drilled in the valve-cover baffle to clear the studs.
Spark An Interest
The Magnum engine contains C-series Champion spark plugs. The only problem is the plugs don't offer as wide a heat-range selection as the popular N-series plugs. What's a Mopar enthusiast to do? Simply remove the plug shields and spin in some Ns-that's it. A colder plug at the track would be a definite advantage. With a little experimenting, you could find the best heat-range plug on the street to improve your gas mileage. A suggested starting point would be to use N9YCs at the track and RN11YCs on the street, with a stock or near-stock engine. Remember, though, the more performance mods your engine has, the colder the plugs should be.
Super Stock springs were a tremendous asset to Mopar racers trying to maintain the best hookup they could get on leaf springs. Today, Landrum Spring Service can set up your truck with a pair of custom-tailored leaf springs that offer maximum traction and handling on any kind of pavement, similar to the legendary SS springs. Landrum leaf springs are made from quality chrome vanadium spring steel and contain Teflon inserts to prevent inner leaf friction. Also, they're diamond-trimmed at the leaves to maintain consistent spring rates. You'll get the best bite this side of a four-link with these custom springs.
Tubs Of Fun
If your Ram or Dakota isn't a full-time hauler, here's a serious body alteration that will provide lots of room for monster-size Pro Street tires. Section the OEM wheeltub down the center, then cut out the bed floor to the framerail, where the tub half will be moved. Weld the sectioned tub inboard. You should have a gap of a few inches between the half of the outside, untouched tub and the moved-inboard tub. Fill the gap with a 3-inch strip of metal, paint it, and you're down the road. Now you'll have room to move the framerails inboard, and the job of stretching will be complete.
If maximum power is your game plan, tube headers are for you. Until now, headers for Magnums have been the shortie variety that bolts into the stock Y-pipes, such as those available from any JBA Headers retailer. Hooker offers Magnum owners a full-length, 1-5/8-inch primary tube and collector that eliminates the restrictive Y-pipe. This type of header is specifically designed for track engines. If you're looking for a header that will make the most horsepower, this is it. The full-length Hooker isn't a bolt-in modification. It will require a custom exhaust system past the collector and minor collector-to-chassis clearancing, whereas the shorties are bolt-in.
Professional chassis builders will tell you that lowering a vehicle helps traction and handling, but the Pro Street, big, fat tire look could easily slam the tires into the fender lips on bump impact, ruining the body panel and destroying the truck's handling. And that's not good. Most body shops can stretch your wheelwells a few inches, giving your Dodge a stock appearance. This is an old racing modification that works much better than flaring out the lips.
Wheel Of Fortune
This is the place to start. Most stock wheels are only 6 inches wide, with 7 inches optional. The big Rams can come with a littler wider wheels if you opt for one of the sport packages. In any case, wide and lightweight aluminum wheels designed to wear 16- and 17-inch tires are a major improvement over stock wheels. Wheels with diameters of 16 or 17 inches can mount tires that have stiffer sidewalls and a greater pavement-contact area, thereby aiding both twisty and straight-line traction concerns. The 17-inch Weld wheel and 45-series BFGoodrich tire shown here will give your truck fighter-plane handling in the corners and greater bite at the track. Hey, they'll improve your truck's looks and lower it too.