A unique twin-throttle-body X-Ram intake manifold developed for LS engines by Nelson Racing Engines (NRE) is a step closer to production. The latest test platform was a 474ci bullet-proof beast that made 670 horsepower and confirmed the benefits of a new stand-alone drive-by-wire controller.
“We’ve built other prototypes with this intake,” explains Tom Nelson. “One had mechanical linkage on a N/A motor, and the other was a twin-turbo with a GM computer and drive-by-wire. This is an actual stand-alone management system we’re using.”
While 670 horsepower may seem a little tame, Nelson is quick to point out that it’s designed for a truck in the Middle East where it will be “tortured” in 120-degree heat. So the compression is only 9.67:1 and timing is very conservative.
“Normally you’d never have an LS that low in compression,” adds Nelson. “We’ve made over 800 horsepower with this intake at 6,800 rpm on another engine.”
NRE designed the intake in-house and worked with a pattern maker and casting house to produce a handful of prototypes.
“We just keep testing before I pull the trigger on 200 [production units],” says Nelson. “We’re working on plenum size, runner length. We’ll keep changing until I’m happy. I think we’ve just about figured out what I want.”
Nelson is also sorting out fitment and installation issues. The primary target market is late-model Camaro and the low design of the X-Ram prototypes is only one inch over the factory LS intake. Key for an easy install is the drive-by-wire, which is now facilitated by the Ozmo twin-throttle-body controller that works in harmony with the Electromotive ECU.
“When you do two throttle bodies, you have make sure they’re perfectly sync’d,” says Nelson. “And with linkage, it has to be straight and that’s tough when the throttle body is at an angle to the other, because you have the offset of the heads on the block. With drive-by-wire, it syncs perfectly to do what you ask it.”
Nelson admits this engine is “overbuilt,” but that was the wish of the owner. It starts with an RHS tall-deck aluminum block that fitted with a Bryant billet crank, Oliver billet rods and an Aviaid dry-sump system. The pump is turned by a custom ATI damper with an integrated cog pulley gear. The cylinder heads were CNC ported by West Coast Racing Cylinder Heads.
On the dyno the engine pulled 670 horsepower at 6,200 rpm with a best of 617 lb-ft peak torque. However, the engine pulled at least 550 lb-ft from 4,000 up to 6,200 rpm, showing off its wide powerband.