'65 Cuda - 273 rebuild or swap?

New Hemi Engine Swaps

  1. montanaro5

    montanaro5 Active Member

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    My '65 Cuda has a 2-bbl 273 that's barely runs (low compression in #2 and #7). Parts for this motor don't seem easy to come by; especially performance parts. I like the idea of rebuilding the existing motor like a commando but I'm not really sure what it's going to take or where to get the right / best parts. I've seen lots of late model 360's for sale and am wondering if I would be better off just swapping the engine. Anybody have any suggestions?
     
  2. joeboy

    joeboy Well-Known Member

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    I think you have to really look at your goals to answer that question. I nearly rebuild a commando myself, but when I really evaluated my performance goals for the vehicle I realized I would have to push a 273 pretty hard to achieve the power I wanted, and that a 273 in that trim wouldn't be as street friendly as a larger power plant making the numbers.

    I also knew I wanted a fuel injected motor and wa starting from 0... So the cost of EFI for either a 360, or a new Hemi, was going to be about the same, new fuel system, new exhaust, different motor mounts... The list goes on.. I chose hemi swap, knowing it would be a longer road.

    There are plenty of guys that build 273's, toolmanmike has a great build thread. Still lots of guys do a 360 swap for the easy extra power and parts avail. The hemi swap is becoming more popular, and I think it will become the "360 swap of tomorrow" just gotta figure out your goals, budget, and time frame.

    Joe
     
  3. 65_valiant

    65_valiant Well-Known Member

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    The cost to machine the existing 273, if needed even, would probably double maybe even near triple, the cost of a junkyard RUNNING 360 that you can just slap some heads on with a mild cam. If I were to do it all over again, I'd buy/rebuild a 360 bored out and cammed over the 318 that I did the same thing to.
     
  4. Uhcoog1

    Uhcoog1 Well-Known Member

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    Since this was posted in the new hemi section, I say you put a new hemi in it. It's fate.
     
  5. HotLines

    HotLines Realist - Free Thinker

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    I have practically the same scenario as the Yellow Signet that I purchased in Colorado last week took a dump in Susanville California driving back... Luckily I have my 87 Mazda p/u with it's 318 injected Magnum and 46re trans complete with harness and computer, jet chip and running excellent to swap out. I figured I've got maybe 1500 in the Mazda and that should be equivalent to what it would cost me anyway.. I think it's a good choice and the transmission mount could work as well..

    I'd say, forget the rebuilt and find a good running Dodge truck on Craigslist needing much body work and discard the body unless you can find some hot rodded thingie like I did... :)
     
  6. PocketAces

    PocketAces Well-Known Member

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    The only reason to mess with a 273 is if you're building an original numbers matching car. That's what I'm doing, and I'm starting to doubt myself.

    I'm still waiting for Egge to make some more domed pistons. ETA is now January. Given the typically over-sized deck height and chamber volume, plus the excess bore size and thickness of off-the-shelf head gaskets, it's tough to get the compression up where it needs to be to run well. Even with the Egge domed pistons, I'll have to do some milling to get up into the 9's.

    If you wanted some zero deck flat tops for quench you would have to have them custom made.

    It would be so much easier and probably cheaper to just build a 318. It would look identical, and it would have more power and torque and you would have way more parts to choose from.
     
  7. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    You guys are all correct. It just depends what you what you want out of the car and whether the 273 can make it happen for you. If you are on a budget, a complete running 318 or 360 might fit the bill. You realize that with a bigger engine you may need a better transmission and a 8 3/4 rear end along with headers or at least different exhaust. Really your choice. Tmm
     
  8. Joe Dokes

    Joe Dokes Well-Known Member

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    How much do you want to spend?

    Outline the goals you have for the car, then we can make some recommendations. What you really want out of the car is critical to giving some advice.


    Regards,

    Joe Dokes
     
  9. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    I was on my cell phone earlier. I wanted to keep my Dart close to original so I rebuilt the Charger 273 to close to stock specs. I did some head milling and porting and used a Isky E-4 cam which is close to stock. I kept the intake, carb,dual point, and used the stock exhaust manifolds with the HP single exhaust. It cost around $3000 for the rebuild and I am pleased with the results.
    What you choose to do with yours is your choice. Rebuilding the 273 to Charger/Commando status will cost more than a simple rebuild on a 318 but mostly because of the pistons which are available from Egge or Kanter. The rest of the machining will cost the same. Now if you can find a 318/234/360 in good shape and drop it in without rebuilding it you may save some cash. But there are so many things that have to be or should be changed with a bigger engine though. Like I said before you may need a beefier transmission and rear end. If you put a 340 or a 360 I would recommend a set of headers and performance exhaust instead of the 273 2 barrel exhaust. Which ever way you go you will be finding a 4 barrel intake and carb too. More $$$$'s.
    As said before, think it over and figure which direction you want to go. Good luck and keep us posted on your direction. toolmanmike
     
  10. 72BBSwinger

    72BBSwinger Well-Known Member

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    DOnt forget that a Gen III swap in an early A is not just a "bolt in" like it ALMOST is in the 67+. I think a W2 small block would make a good combo yet still require fenderwell headers.
     
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