440 build questions and any suggestions.


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Nov 5, 2007
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Old Town, Maine
I have a 1972 440 magnafluxed and bored .040 over; 1965 383 heads, magnafluxed, new guides, teflon seals, 2.08 intake, cut for 1.74 exhaust; 1971 stock oem forged crank .010 undersized; Keith Black hypereutectic flat top pistons; Resized stock oem rods with ARP waveloc bolts. I have not chosen a cam or intake yet. Any suggestions? I would like my car for street/strip use. Anyone know how much punishment will the crank and rods take? I don't want to break anything. Should I get a new crank and rods? Engine build is costing alot as it is already. Casting numbers: block 3698830, crank 2206160, heads 2406516, rods 1851535. How would you guys build it? Thanks, Tim

Whats the pistons part number and how many cc's are the heads chamber?
What gear ratio will you be useing?
This 440 is going into the avatars dart?

Intake, purchasing new? Go for the Edel. RPM.

Stock rods and crank can take a good fair amount of abuse. Keeping it sane, not blasting past 1.1 HP per cube level, you'll enjoy the engine for a long time.

Performance wise, your intake valve is on the small side, so unless your looking at a full port job, I can see a cam around not exceeding 292 advertised, 244 @ .050.

IMO, for a nice street bruiser type of cam, I would look into a Comp Extreme HI-Lift cam that has the duration (Power band) that matchs your cars weight, gear ratio.

Example of the 2 I'd look at;

XE275HL @ .050 231/237 - .525 lift
XE285HL @ .050 241/247 - .545 lift

These would work real well with pocket ported heads and the RPM with a 750 - 800 carb.
Hey Tim, with those 516 heads being closed chambered and flat top pistons you want to use you gotto figure out what your compression ratio's going to. If the pistons are 0 decked you may be as high as 12 to 1 and I wouldn't personally go above 10 to 1 for the street. You also should check what your piston to valve head clearance is with lets say a .045" head gasket before choosing which lift of cam to go for. Problem is you can't assume that those old heads haven't been shaved at one point and that also goes for the block deck. I also agree with Rumblefish on the carb and intake choice.

The pistons are Keith Black KB237040-8. They have valve reliefs in them. I haven't mocked up the connecting rod, piston, and crank assembly yet to check the deck clearance. The person I got the block from tore the block down but did not do any work on it. I took the block and heads to a machine shop and the block didn't need to be decked. The heads recieved the bigger exhaust valves, new valve guides, cut down for teflon seals, and has been decked .015 for warpage. The shop did do some machining in the exhaust areas to help the exhaust flow better. I have Fel-Pro head gaskets out of their engine rebuild gasket set, kit part number KS2110. No idea the thickness of the head gaskets when compressed. Problem with the kit is no individual part numbers for each gasket listed. I'm gonna guess 11:1 compression. I know I will need some sort of octane booster. The local drag strip is an 1/8th mile track. Yes I plan on tearing apart my 1973 Plymouth Scamp. I decided not to keep her stock. Will sell parts off of her at a later time.
Are you going to gear the car for the 1/8th?
You could jump up in cam with the right gear ratio and stall conveter and run the 1/8 well. However, it'll end up limited on the street.
I don't really want to gear it for 1/8th mile, I want it to be streetable, but it would be fun goin down the track.
Hi Tim. First a couple of things. Any street car can be driven at the track making everything street/strip. This means you don't have to build a race or near race, or even a performance engine to enjoy both worlds.

A 440, even in stock form, in a scamp will keep your hands full, and your tires in a cloud of smoke. You can go fast enough with a stock 440 so that the track will require a roll bar in the car.

The stock forged crank is more than strong enough. The stock rods can handle 500HP if prepped correctly. The KB Hyper pistons are a good choice for your application. The 516 heads are OK but not optimum, but capable. I would run em if ya got em. The teflon seals wouldn't be my first choice but will work. There are better valve seals on the market, but that's neither here nor there.

As for a camshaft, The size of a camshaft is usually determined by duration. As duration increases the filling efficiency of the cylinder is increased, and raised higher in the rpm range. When you move up in cam you must also move up in intake, exhaust, compression, converter, and rear gearing. You can see this even with minor changes from the factory. Simply compare the differences in the above mentioned components when the factory installed a magnum (sixpack) camshaft in the HiPo 383 and 440. Even a minor change in duration and lift resulted in high flow exhaust maniflods, higher compression, better intake, and a higher stall converter.

Camshaft upgrades don't end with the camshaft, everything else will now need to be changed to work with the new camshaft.

What I'm trying to say is don't overthink it. Keep it simple, and near stock if you truly want a steetable daily driver that you will enjoy driving.

Spend your money on traction devices, axles, brakes, wheels and sticky tires, because even with a stock 440 in a scamp you'll need all of it.

Good luck
Those "hyper" pistons ? ... I am not a fan of them at all.
I use the MP .557 cam in the 440 in my 63 and I love it. I also use the KB pistons with stock rods and crank. 906 heads I ported and it comes out to 10.0 comp and good .042 quench as I used the quench dome pistons. I have the factory power drum brakes on my 63 and they work fine with the .557 cam. It stops fine from 116 mph runs and stops good driving on the street. And it runs on 93 pump. Ron
That buildis fine. Nothing wrong with 516s, and properly done they will outflow 906s. That's not real hard to do. Te hypereuctectic pistons are fine. Very light, decent designs, cheap and plenty strong for most applications. FOr a cam, with mild gearing and understanding you wont be running power brakes, i would be looking at the XE274 or Crane 643801 (H-278-2). The second is much milder, but will still have a little idle to it. either one would do fine in your car, with any gear you feel like, until you get to lower ratios (say 4.10 and up with smaller tires), then it will run out of steam fast.