Honestly...how good was the 318...mpg / durability / hp

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Potential yes for sure, gas mileage yawn ya I guess, longevity for sure but all engines ran forever back then. Good fuel, oil, and work pride did that. But man were they dogs. I would hate to put up the number of times I beat 318 A bodies with my six cylinder ford maverick. (I was almost a Furd guy) I only owned one in a 318 (1976) Dodge van and I gave it to my neighbor when I built a 360 to replace it.
I don't know about all the engines back then. Classmate in high school had a low mileage beauty of a '67 LeMans convertible. V8(His dad's actually). Jumped timing. Another a '72 Buick Skylark, V8. One day, cranked and ran 5 seconds, quit. Sheared all the nylon gear teeth.
Many of the big block GM cars, I was around, had trouble in hot weather. Including the family wagon.
Seems the small block chevy's were always getting overhauled but, that might have just been what young car aficionados did back then. Just because they could or wanted to "hop them up".
I think you are right that most would last if properly taken care of.




Sir,keep it mind, I do not want this to degrade into a typical forum thread. You have your experience from your perspective, I have mine. Neither one of us is wrong.
 
My 350 Cutlass ran and towed pretty good with a few updates and going from 2:73 gears to 3:73 gears. But my buddy that I street raced with tow with a 326 Pontiac 4 speed that would kick my cutlass’s butt. My cousins 330 Oldmobile with a powerglide would to. So many good engines back then.

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I lost a buick 350 to timing gear failure as well.

My olds 425, OTOH, was a serious screamer, even in a 9,000 pound 1966 98..
 
I lost a buick 350 to timing gear failure as well.

My olds 425, OTOH, was a serious screamer, even in a 9,000 pound 1966 98..
Those engines only came one way. High output. Kinda like the 403. Whether they were in the Trans Am or grandma's station wagon, the 403 was always hot. I had a friend whose parents had a Delta 88 more door with a 425. We got to cruise it every now and then. That thing would slap get it for a big car. We wasted almost every Rustang 5.0 we came across and usually with five or six of us in the car.
 
Any given one could be screamer or a puppy.
Totally agree. 318 . No 2 were alike. My neighbor bought a 72 Cuda new. Traded her 69 Belvedere.
Both were 318 cars. She said to me "My Cuda seems like it has a bigger engine". It did run good.
 
I've had a bunch of 318s and some performed better than others.
But the most memorable was in an 85 or 86 fifth Avenue I had. From a performance standpoint it was terrible. a lean burn choked gutless wonder.
But on highway driving at a sustained 65 mph it came it at almost 25 mpg!
25 mpg out of a brick shaped,comfy as your living room couch cruiser was fantastic.
 
Ahhhhh yesssss, the lock up overdrive 904 variant.
Veeeeeeery good for mileage. Not so much in the HP handling department. It’ll handle 400HP. Fine enough I guess.
 
Yep- lock up trans for no slip loss and likely 2.45 final drive.
 
A short tale of 2 'teens... Picked up a 74 D100, 2wd, long bed, auto and power steering. Unknown gears in the 9.25? rear. Bone stock 318 2 barrel. Got a whopping 10-12mpg no matter how easy I was on the gas, or on the highway or back roads. Empty or loaded for the dump - did not matter. Plenty of power, tho.
The 69 ragtop Fury I had drove for 17 years - stock 318 long block, with the exception of a 340 4spd cam and six pack. 14-16 mpg around town and 18-20 on the highway. 727 and 3.55 8.75.
 
Unknown gears in the 9.25? rear.
My 78 pick up had 3.55. My guess is so did yours.
Right now my old 88 D350 has a LA roller cam 318.Had to replace the blown 360 when I bought it.
How many miles is on it is anybodies guess. The guy I got it from couldn't remember as the rust bucket 85 Dodge Diplomat was parted out many years before I got the call "It's sitting under a tree where I pulled it.Come and get it."
 
I've had a bunch of 318s and some performed better than others.
But the most memorable was in an 85 or 86 fifth Avenue I had. From a performance standpoint it was terrible. a lean burn choked gutless wonder.
But on highway driving at a sustained 65 mph it came it at almost 25 mpg!
25 mpg out of a brick shaped,comfy as your living room couch cruiser was fantastic.
I had one of those 84 or 85, super clean, black with red interior, kids called it the big comphy couch.
 
I don't get the frame of mind of some folks. That somehow the 318 is a dead dog POS just because it was never offered in a real performance version. Kinda like people who piss all over slant sixes. Are those even real Mopar guys? Those two engines are purt near bullet proof and yet get the least respect of any other engines out there. ...and it's always by supposed "Mopar" guys. Chevy and Ford guys appreciate those engines. Just because something won't run nines, doesn't mean it's junk.
 
I put together a 318 from used parts that ripped. Later roller short block. Flat tappet racer brown cam and lifters that had laid around the garage since before I was born. 360 j heads,edelbrock performer and a thermoquad. Used 340 valve springs with.030 shims. It stomped 5.0 mustang's in my 73 4wd d150.
Unfortunately the cobbled up air cleaner jammed the throttle wide open and I missed a shift . The tach read 7200 when the valves hit the pistons and the fire flew.
 
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I still have a couple teens, one in a 75 power wagon, it still runs smooth, no smoke or tick, shame I am going to use it for a parts truck.

I have another one sitting under the work bench, I went thru it, nothing fancy, it was siezed when I got it. PO had yard driven it around, with the soft plugs rotted out in the heads.
I had a heck of a time getting it apart, the wrist pins had semi seized from over-heating of the engine.
A member here gave me a stock set of rods and pistons out of another engine.
I had the machine shop dip the block, turn the crank, new cam bearings etc. Put it together with a fresh set of 2.02 J heads, and a summit 6900 cam.
I think that I am going to stick it in my 70 challenger, with a 671 on top, and see how long it will stay together.
I have all the parts, just need to buy a new clutch kit.
 
I don't get the frame of mind of some folks. That somehow the 318 is a dead dog POS just because it was never offered in a real performance version. Kinda like people who piss all over slant sixes. Are those even real Mopar guys? Those two engines are purt near bullet proof and yet get the least respect of any other engines out there. ...and it's always by supposed "Mopar" guys. Chevy and Ford guys appreciate those engines. Just because something won't run nines, doesn't mean it's junk.
When I had slant powered a bodies & f bodies my goal was to smoke the f bodies with the 318's or any gm stuff my buddies had with 250's or 305's. I had the same mildly hopped up slant in multiple cars( I wrecked a lot of stuff as a teenager) and I won more than I lost.

I think by 78/79 a 318 had 140 hp. A stock super six had 110. Not sure what my hop ups were worth but red light to redlight the 318 and 305 with a two barrel didn't have much of an advantage. If they were poorly maintained and I could get the jump off of light I won.
 
The original 318 that was in my '70 Duster was poorly maintained over its 115k mile existence before I got the car in 2007 but still ran smooth. Nylon teeth on the cam sprocket all sheared off (as in, every single one) and the valves kissed the pistons when I was pulling out of my high school parking lot. Pulled the heads to find the exhaust valves were badly receded into the seats, some as deep as 1/8" or more. Not knowing any better I threw on some reman'd 302 heads and Performer intake with a 625 cfm Carter AFB and put in a mild Voodoo cam, ran duals off the stock exhaust manifolds. Ran good and sounded great for what it was although it burned a quart of oil a week commuting to college every day 20 miles each way with a trail of blue smoke always behind. My mom even used it occasionally for running errands as it was the only other car we had besides my parents' 2003 Chrysler minivan which my dad needed to commute to work (this was in the late 2000s mind you).

I finally pulled it because it just kept gradually losing power and burning more and more oil. Turned out the rings were gummed up with carbon and the cylinders had huge ridges on the tops but the crank and bearings were in great shape. I saved (and still have) the block and crank, if for no other reason than sentimental value as it was the first car engine I got deep into. I'd love to some day build it into a solid-cammed 7000-rpm screamer or a 349 stroker using the spare 360 crank I have lying around.
 
My worst and best 318 powered vehicles, first the the worst was a 1983 Chrysler Cordoba with every available option bought new, that poor 318 was rated at a little over a 100 hp and coupled to a 2.45 8 1/4 rear. Kind of gutless in a 4000 lbs car, but I will admit engine itself ran very smooth. My biggest complaint was when you kicked it into passing gear the car would run up to 85 mph and stop, didn't have enough power to pull that few more rpm's to shift into high gear. You had to let off so it would shift, and then after the shift it wouldn't even hit a 100 mph.
My best running 318 was a 5.2 magnum in a 96 Ram 1500 sport 4x4 with a 5spd manual, 3.55 gears and suregrip, for the 8 years I owned it everybody that road in it or ran with me towing my car and trailer all thought it had a 360(5.9 magnum) in it and were shocked to learn it was a 318. Dam that truck ran good, was a sad day when I turned the keys over to the dealer when I traded it in 2004 for a Durango
 
My worst and best 318 powered vehicles, first the the worst was a 1983 Chrysler Cordoba with every available option bought new, that poor 318 was rated at a little over a 100 hp and coupled to a 2.45 8 1/4 rear. Kind of gutless in a 4000 lbs car, but I will admit engine itself ran very smooth. My biggest complaint was when you kicked it into passing gear the car would run up to 85 mph and stop, didn't have enough power to pull that few more rpm's to shift into high gear. You had to let off so it would shift, and then after the shift it wouldn't even hit a 100 mph.
My best running 318 was a 5.2 magnum in a 96 Ram 1500 sport 4x4 with a 5spd manual, 3.55 gears and suregrip, for the 8 years I owned it everybody that road in it or ran with me towing my car and trailer all thought it had a 360(5.9 magnum) in it and were shocked to learn it was a 318. Dam that truck ran good, was a sad day when I turned the keys over to the dealer when I traded it in 2004 for a Durango

I had a 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, roller-cam 318 that was bone stock when I got it and very well maintained. I got rid of the Spark Control computer and converted to conventional electronic distributor and an old MSD box I got for free from a friend. Put on a Performer intake and Thermoquad, dual exhaust off the stock manifolds, swapped the 2.21:1 7 1/4" for an 8 1/4" with 3.07 gears (Jeep ratio). That thing moved out pretty well after the mods and averaged over 20 MPG. In stock form it was borderline dangerous to try merging onto the freeway (this was around 2017), 0-60 was like 25 seconds ugh.
 
Im figgerin' 18-22 with a 2 barrel carb...thats just general V 8 mileage really from my experience driving V8s ...slap a Holley on it even less LOL!
 
Well, my 318 MPG story involved a 76 B1 blue duster. My end product was a 318 with the two barrel single plane intake, a carter BBD carb, 999 lockup transmission from a Dakota with a 2.76 1st gear, 2.45 gear 8 1/4” rear and factory 340 dual exhaust. I added cruise control from a dodge B van and traveling at highway speeds from Connecticut to Florida and back I would average 25 mpg with that car.

Cliff Ramsdell
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Well, my 318 MPG story involved a 76 B1 blue duster. My end product was a 318 with the two barrel single plane intake, a carter BBD carb, 999 lockup transmission from a Dakota with a 2.76 1st gear, 2.45 gear 8 1/4” rear and factory 340 dual exhaust. I added cruise control from a dodge B van and traveling at highway speeds from Connecticut to Florida and back I would average 25 mpg with that car.

Cliff Ramsdell
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Mid 20's is great mileage. It took quite a few components to get there but it worked. The lock up and 2.45 gear tipped you over the scales. there.
 
Kinda funny....i always bought and drove cars with modified v8s....340s 360s etc ...crate engines bla bla bla...but my big 68 fury as a 1971 318 from a scamp and i freakin love this thing , 727 and 2.76 suregrip rear end , runs a New china *Carter* 2bbl , New belts , not even a tune up was done after her first start in 22 years , this 318 purrred like like a kitten after New carb / oil change and a New fresh battery , ive eard since this last spring sooooo many urban legends and searching all kind of stuff on this "boat anchor" engine that seems to finally win the respect that it deserved , not a power house of course compared to my 400hp 360 crate engine...but i love the simplicity of it , cheap cheap carb , cheap parts , not hard on gas...rumors say that they live forever , of course it can be turned into a monster with a cam / 4bbl carb and intake/ kb pistons bla bla bla *** but its not what i want , but how good was the stock 2bbl 318 really , old timers , real life stories.... , lets read some stories !!!

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I can sum it up in two words bullet proof
 
A few years back I had an old ram pickup with the 318. The body eventually fell apart ( Canadian winters ), so it got scrapped, but it still ran great. It was driven to the wrecking yard with 600,000 km on it. The engine had never been apart. I was very stringent with regular oil changes, and I'm sure that played a big part in its longevity. I would buy Mopar oil filters by the case and always use synthetic oil, premium fuel and a tune up every fall. That might seem like overkill, but I think it was definitely worth it!
 
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