Fresh Breath

Magnums have been produced with two basic styles of air-filtering systems. The earlier engines came with big, round, metal units that housed a round filter element. In 1995, Chrysler redesigned the system with a divorced filter setup. Even with the cold outside air directed to the throttle body via ducting, both of the air-filtering systems leave plenty of room for performance refinement. Edelbrock offers 10- and 14-inch-diameter filters (PN 1221 with PN 8093 spacer preferred) that work wonders in performance and gas mileage. All that's required to complete the switch is to remove your old system, connect the valve cover breather line to the Edelbrock baseplate, and bend a stud mount that will hold on the top. All in all, it's about an hour's job.

How well does the new combo work? Well, if sound is any indication, the first time the motor is hammered, the possibility that you might suck in low-flying birds will seem real. Users of this system have claimed much-improved city mileage-more than a car-length at the strip.

Getting Belted

Yup, we like our Cowboy Chryslers, especially when they come with all the power toys and air conditioning, which most Dakotas and Rams do. Well, folks, you can have the best of both worlds. Slip on down to your local parts depot and order a serpentine belt for any Magnum engine not equipped with air conditioning. When you get to the track, wrench off your engine's longer A/C belt and slide on the non-A/C belt. Your engine needs about 5 hp to turn the A/C pump due to drag, even when the A/C isn't engaged. Once you eliminate the A/C pump's drag, you'll pick up the lost power, squirting your ride a little quicker down the track. Before you return home, pop the A/C belt back on and enjoy the cool air. Here's another benefit: If you ever break down because of belt failure, you'll have another belt handy.

Keep It Clean

All 1992-and-up engines include OEM half-quart oil filters. Your engine can gain a little more capacity and greater filtration by installing a full-quart filter, such as this Purolator L30001. Hey, it's cheap and simple. Unfortunately, folks, this mod only fits two-wheel-drive trucks. Owners of 4x4s should consult the aftermarket for 1- or 2-quart remote filter setups if more filtering or greater oil capacity is desired.

Mr. Tips Says: "Check Your Rear Before You Stomp Your Foot"

Yes, you can crank more power into your engine and go faster, and you can tweak your chassis and go faster too. However, if you're talking total package, keep in mind the maxim, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."

See, back in the musclecar days, Mopars were known for their invincible rearends. Just about anything coming down the assembly line with a four-barrel carb also came with a superstrong 8-3/4-inch ring gear assembly. Heck, there was even a lot of 318 two-barrel cars that came with those 8-3/4 rears. If you opted for a killer motor like a six-barrel carb job or a Hemi, you got an indestructible 9-3/4-inch ringed Dana most of the time.

Well, folks, those rears aren't coming off the production line anymore. Today's standard ring gears are 8-1/4. Step up your performance, add horsepower or wide tires, and you're going to push the limits of the 81/4 rearend over the edge.

Many performance pros have used a tried-and-tuned method on their machines. They've adapted an 8-3/4 rear and just plain forgot about breakage problems. To top that off, the B-body 8-3/4 rearend gives you about 1/4 inch more tire clearance at the wheel lip moldings. Ah, things are looking better all the time. Basically what you do is get a B-body rearend, knock off the spring pads, weld on new, relocated springs pads and truck shock mounts, and tidy up the miscellaneous stuff. It's not a hard deal to pull off, even if you don't have a welder and have to pay someone to weld it. If you really want to do it right, you might want to locate 11-inch brake drums for better braking.

Just one more thing, folks: the wheels. The 8-3/4 needs five-bolt wheels, and yours are six-bolt. Check out the swap meets for 7-inch factory steel rims, or get some OE ones stretched by Stockton Wheel. Don't forget to check your offsets.

Performance Relocation Center

It's no secret that trucks are nose-heavy. They respond better to lightening up front. One easy way to do this is to move the battery to the right rear of the bed. This'll shift about 40 pounds behind the rear axle and will dramatically help the truck transfer weight to the rear tires. All you need is a starter relay from any 1960s or 1970s Mopar, some battery cable, a battery box, and a Saturday afternoon. Freeing the engine compartment of the battery leaves space for a second air duct to the air breather, which is what the racer shown here has.