383 big block builds, from mild to wild, I want to hear about them!!

Mopar Racers Forum

  1. Biomedtechguy

    Biomedtechguy Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in any story about 383 builds, from stock to "shadetree" performance builds (like my friend did in 1980, more to follow) to all out wringing the most power out of the factory 383 block possible.
    Back in 1979/80 I hooked up my best friend with a local cruiser. Being a Mopar guy, of course I took note of this guy's 70, 383, Air Grabber, Pistol Grip 4 speed equipped Roadrunner. It sounded like a good running, stock Mopar big block should sound, appeared (and was) unmodified, and the factory F6 green metallic paint and black stripes with green bucket seats and console all looked good.
    So they made a deal. My friend changed the factory 4bbl intake to an aluminum dual plane, headers, put a Holley 780? 4bbl carb on it, Direct--><--Connection Purple Stripe cam (I think it was the "street Hemi grind? around 284°/.488 lift) springs, lifters, Centerlines (I loved them) wide radial T/As and a 3.91 rear gear with the adjustable pinion snubber. He also played with a 4.3X gear in that 8¾ Sure Grip rear axle assembly.
    It was a consistent, solid, reliable mid to high 13 second car on the street and strip, and he won more races than he lost.
    Last note, and then any 383 stories can come a flyin'...
    When we were watching him race someone, especially at night, we could always tell when he hit 2nd gear, even if he was too far away to hear, or if the other car was way louder. See, his turn signal detente was worn, and there was a little weight to that metal turn signal arm, and he power shifted so that was a pretty violent slam into 2nd gear, and the left hand turn signal always came on!!
    The other thing is I took a ride a few times when he would stage it and get at it like a quarter mile race. 1st gear was extremely noisy, between the headers, carb gulping air through the Air Grabber, tires spinning but moving the car forward, a whole lot of physics lessons all happening at once! Once he hit 2nd, that was often the tell of the tape, and he would usually pull away from the car next to him by a significant margin.
    Great car, great memories, and I believe a properly components matched to the natural strengths of the 383's engineering design setup is highly competitive to other "old school" engines of that era.
    What are YOUR 383 stories??
     
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    • 1969383S

      1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Me Too!

      I always have believed this engine is way under rated in potential! Got some stories but want to hear from others!
       
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      • RustyRatRod

        RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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        • George Jets

          George Jets 1967 Dart 2 Door FABO Gold Member

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          1967 original 383, factory 10:1 compression rated 325 hp.

          Had 2 sunken burnt valves, you know the non hardened seat thing.

          As purchased pictured below:

          IMG_20160202_202122514 - Copy.jpg
          Tore the top end off, sent the heads in for hardened exhaust seats. I bought all new valves and springs for it.

          Had a bad experience with the machine shop taking over 6 months to do the simple valve job. Went down there face to face and said I am taking my heads out of here.

          The guy had put some work into them and wanted to finish them, he said will be done in two days. Said OK, picked them up in 2 days.

          So after this long wait and delaying the project, I have done all of my heads in house from here on out on all of my builds since then.

          So back to the 383, fresh heads, put on an Aluminum Passenger side exit water pump for the A Bodies, new timing chain, new points distributor.

          Did not go into the short block at this time.

          Fresh 516 Heads:
          0428161402.jpg

          Cleaned up and painted the original 4 bbl intake (on the right pictured)

          1017161057.jpg

          Final Assembly
          And here it is up and running:

           
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          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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            That sounds really nice. It's amazing how you can take an original short block and work the heads and get it running like that. That just proves the old saying "it's all in the heads" and it's true.
             
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            • 1969383S

              1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Passenger side exit?
               
            • George Jets

              George Jets 1967 Dart 2 Door FABO Gold Member

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              Yes the 383 came with a cast iron driver side exit water pump housing. Put on the new aluminum passenger side exit water pump housing and aluminum water pump to work with the A Body radiator setups.
               
            • 1969383S

              1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              My factory 383S has a driver exit.
               
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              • chlngr1970

                chlngr1970 Well-Known Member

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                I just tore down a 383 to build for my Demon. Planning on a 440source 438 kit, 541/537 cam, Aluminum heads, FI Tech 6 Pac Fuel Injection, MSD 6AL Ignition, Mopar Performance Distributor

                20210426_174944.jpg

                20210426_174944.jpg

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                • Kern Dog

                  Kern Dog FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  Hey there...
                  You recall my build for the 383 in my Jigsaw Charger over on FBBO, right?
                   
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                  • Cudafever

                    Cudafever Well-Known Member

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                    This is back when me and my buddy knew every thing!!! and it shows.
                    68 Dart GT. came with a 360 that we put the 474/280 MP cam in it and shaved the heads.
                    ran good at the track.
                    He decided that he was going to putt a 383 big block in it. Fresh 30 over bore, steel crank, arp rod bolts, stock HEAVY ARSS STOCK PISTONS, and stock compression. closed chamber heads to get the compression up.:rolleyes: bought the MP porting templets and got out the die grinder. (Bigger is Better Right!):D
                    509 hyd cam, and a 2500 stall converter. (Some guy cut a stock 11 converter open and said it would stall 3000 rpm:rolleyes:)
                    oh and we cut the fenders out enough to install fender well headers............Why???? Because it was COOL Man:p

                    10/26/15 slick and the 3.91 pos from the previous 360 set up.

                    Took it out and raced down the track.....................You guessed it IT WAS A TOTAL DOG!!!!!!
                    Had a lot more MPH at the end of the track but ran almost the exact same ET.
                    We threw a bunch of different carb and and intake on it, but it just didn't run much if any better.

                    If i would have know all the things i know now, that 383 would have been a runner.
                    After a couple of years he lost interest in drag racing and got married.
                    It ran low 14s high 13s at 4400 foot elevation.

                    We took it down to sea level for a race. it had 410 gears in it now.
                    At the end of the run there was some smoke from the back end........................
                    He came back and said something is loose in the rear end.
                    After several more runs he figured out that it was getting loose because he was spinning his tire at the top end.
                    Soooooooooooo
                    We thru 3 third members and his tool box in the truck...........Problem solved.
                    Was that because that 383 really made some power?
                    Was it because at 118 mph there was just to much air under the car?
                    Or was there a bump at the end of the track................
                    We never found out as the next run it started knocking and lost oil pressure!

                    When we got home we found a push rod pushed through the stock Rocker arm shaft and a lifter NOT in its lifter bore.
                    Went to the wrecking yard and bought a couple push rods and a rocker shaft assemble and fix the problem.
                     
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                    • Lefty71

                      Lefty71 Well-Known Member

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                      • 1969383S

                        1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      • 1969383S

                        1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        My 383HP 509/292 fish had run a best 1/8mile @7.56/104. That was with 4.56 gears and 28.5" Protrac street radials in 1989.

                        It was the Last time it saw the track and rested sadly for 25 years.

                        383HP, .30 over TRW forged flatop pistons with zero deck /906 heads and a 150 nitrous shot with original cast iron manifolds and full factory exhaust system. Eddy TM-6 manifold with a tuned Holley 750 DP. Other notable was the 3800 stall custom convertor built for me by an ex B&M employee.

                        Those days and the nitrous are over and the motor still runs good, except the heads are very tired!

                        Mostly the same today but with a 800AVS eddy and no spray. The new Eddy AVS is very responsive and was easy to tune to the 509 cam!
                         
                        Last edited: May 5, 2021 at 1:09 AM
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                        • Biomedtechguy

                          Biomedtechguy Well-Known Member

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                          I'm sorry KDog, I don't, but I did post the same 383 inspired thread there.
                           
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                          • chlngr1970

                            chlngr1970 Well-Known Member

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                            71?

                            j

                            20210426_185458.jpg
                             
                          • oldmopardude

                            oldmopardude Well-Known Member

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                            1969 formula s 383 four speed, I am building to exact stock replacement, trying to keep the compression up at least 9:5 to 1. hard to do with new .030 over KB162 383 pistons, 915 closed chambered heads and .019 steel gaskets, and comp cam version of the 335 HP engine. But, it will be whatever it will be.The car is a bone stock original 70k actual miles, no previous accidents, or body damage ever. Hopefully by July it will run!
                             
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                            • Biomedtechguy

                              Biomedtechguy Well-Known Member

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                              AWESOME REPLY, and truly one I absolutely want to know as much as possible about how that combo performs! I'm curious where your CR winds up, although engine builder GRANDMASTERS like Jim Laroy can and have made big power with low compression, being as you are coming in with a "stock" build, the CR definitely makes a difference.
                              I'd like to see how that would run against a 396cu in/350HP Nova of the same year, 4 speed, and gear ratio!
                              What about the exhaust? Headers or??
                              Rear axle gear ratio? I'd love to see at least a 3.73 or 3.91 in an 8¾ Sure Grip!
                              I appreciate the power to weight advantage of an A-Body and a 383, but I am too big and maybe too old to be moving my 6'3" 270 pound body around in a car that small...lol.
                               
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