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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning everyone, I have a question regarding a truck that I am probably going to buy to this weekend. It is a 1989 W350 with a 360 engine, I am assuming it is the magnum engine. What I am curious about is engine power out put. Let's assume it does have the Magnum engine in it, with a reasonable built for streetability, what kind of power can I get out out of the 360. I know I will have to swap the ECU and ignition stuff out, but with doing that and using a Holley Sniper set up, what kind of numbers could I achieve? I am wanting to get around 400HP and 450 torque. I am trying to decide if I can get that out of a 360 or do I need to try and find a 413 or 440?
 

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89 will not be a magnum unless it’s been swapped, it will be a TBI 360…a sniper is basically just a replacement TBI system so no real power gains from adding that alone, you can get 400HP but you’re going to need significantly more work than a sniper and an ignition upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should have given more information probably, I know it will need a lot more work than just the TBI and ignition upgrade. I was just wanting to know everyone's thought as to weather it is achievable and would it be drivable on 87 octane. This will be a driver, hauling trailers and boat. I will drive 45-60 miles a lot in the spring, several hunting trips in the fall/winter. Will also probably drive it 1600 miles round trip on elk hunts. So I am looking for reliability first, performance second.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Any 360 can easily make 400 hp and way more BUT it and any other engine will need money to do so. To get around 400 hp will require a cam swap, cylinder head work, intake, exhaust, ignition system, pistons, etc. You can make as much power as you want but it's gonna cost you. The 318 Magnum engine started in '92 and the 360 started in '93.
 

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I think the point of Sniper OP is inquiring about is the ability to tune and support, which yes that’s an upgrade. So there alone, that’s a solid decision. The ECM for the Sniper has WAY more functionality and capabilities that were never even a consideration for the OE ECM.

As for 400/450, it’s certainly doable. If I were you, I’d do the Sniper conversion and a cam geared for lower end torque and see where you’re at behind the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, so another question, should I stay with the original motor or find a magnum motor and build it. I want to make sure it is very drivable on 87 pump gas. And I may be asking for something that is not reachable. Looking to you guys who have way more experience than I do for advice. Thanks for all of the input.
 

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The '89 360 is the first year for the roller cam and high swirl heads, if it's the original engine it's a vin "Z" which actually has a very decent low RPM torque cam already, if you're looking for towing ability and want a reliable long lived engine on 87 just swap out the stock 2bbl TBI for a good 4bbl torque intake and a Sniper, a good set of roller rockers wouldn't hurt either.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Magnum's are a better engine but it costs money and time. Your stock 360 is still a pretty decent engine as 440 4spd Power Ram said. Roller rockers would certainly help and so would a good set of shortie headers from Summit and a Pertronix ignition system and a good exhaust system weather it be dual or a larger single pipe with a free flowing muffler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Then I guess I will have to do more machine work. I would really like to get closer to the numbers that I was wanting. Also, did they produce a A518 that will fit a big block? Will a A518 off of a cummins fit the stock 360 and work? I have read something about needing a device to shift it automatically into OD and lock up the torque converter.
 

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I think 400 hp on 87 octane is a bit too high expectation, maybe 320 at the flywheel. There is no denying the magnum heads are better, BUT the 308 type heads on the 89 were early swirl ports and considered desirable for a LA engine with some work done. The cam and the TBI were the choke points.
A Cummins 518 cannot be made to fit a 5.9.
 

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Small block only on the A518, the Cummins and V10 use a unique bellhousing bolt pattern. If you really want closer to the power level you mentioned a Magnum 380hp crate engine would be the simplest route to take over building a LA 360 to that power level, or go 440 and have it stock.
 

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There are a couple actually, an Ultrabell which requires cutting the cast in bellhousing off at the front pump and another that requires cutting an ear off the engine block under the starter.

Another option is stroking the 360 to 408 CI or more, very good power output and much easier than a big block swap unless you have a BB truck as a donor.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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The only 440's worth swapping are the 60's and early 70's engines other than that a mild 360 will match the power of a late model 440 (which are the only ones readily available). I agree with Jerseybud in wanting 400 hp on 87 octane. It might be possible but it would be heavy on the lean side and extremely dangerous for the engine. The only way to achieve 400+ hp is to send the block to the machine shop which costs money. If you want that kind of power expect to buy pistons, have the block machined and either have some cylinder head work or buy new heads. Either way - if you do your engine or buy a Magnum (and then get work done to it) or get a 440 - it's going to cost thousands. Just be prepared for that. I also agree with Jerseybud about your heads being as good as Magnum heads but the added advantage the Magnum has is the reverse flow cooling.
If you want an idea of how much it will cost to hop up your engine, go to Summit Racing and enter pistons, cam, headers, rockers, etc for a 360 and add up the costs. It's not cheap. Just be prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, none of that is good news. It sounds like I will have to shell out lots of money or deal with lower performance numbers. Which I can do, there are just so many options out there I can't decide what to do. Thanks for the help fellows.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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What I would do is start one by one with the bolt on power stuff, like shortie headers (I'm a fan of manifolds for durability but they do rob power), free flow mufflers, bigger exhaust system, ignition wires, ignition system, carb or EFI, better intake manifold, 1.6 roller rockers, free breathing air filter and then get deeper later. Those items I listed will give you a noticeable power difference for sure. Start with that.
 

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'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
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Lol, no. It's more than strong enough. Chrysler built stout engine blocks. High nickel content. 👍
 
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