Is the 383 a better engine, or does the 440 just have more displacement?

Big Block A body Tech

  1. harrisonm

    harrisonm Well-Known Member

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    I know a lot about small blocks, but not as much about big blocks. I hear and see all the time about people building 440s for their cars. My honest and serious question is, "Is the 440 a better engine than a 383, or is the only advantage the additional 57 cubic inches?" Also, what is the weight differences. I would think that a mildly modified 383 with good heads, intake, headers, etc. could easily hit 450-475 HP. The blocks have the same dimensions, don't they? I mean that won't a 440 fit in exactly the same space as a 383?
     
  2. Dana67Dart

    Dana67Dart The parts you don't add don't cause you no trouble FABO Gold Member

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    Other than displacement there should be a stroke to bore change that might be better from one engine to the other.
     
  3. 1WildRT

    1WildRT Well-Known Member

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    383 due to it's shorter stroke is hard to build decent compression, the chamber volume on big block heads are a better fit for the longer strokes....

    With a 383 a true 9.5-10 to 1 C/R either requires a domed piston or allot of milling off the heads...

    A 440 on the other hand a flat top close to zero deck, a .040 head gasket & a 915 head puts you at 10.2-1 with perfect quench...
     
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    • 67Dart273

      67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      No. 440 is taller and wider. Many claim that the "small difference" in overall engine "fit" (in an A) makes all the difference

      Keep one thing in mind.........A stock stroke 383/400 Mopar has a shorter stroke than a 350 Chevy
       
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      • Ironracer

        Ironracer Gearhead

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        A 383, in the real ( old) world of street " running" ( ahem) is a big bore ,short stroke engine. They Rev quick. A quick revving engine is fun. Lol
         
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        • 1969383S

          1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          383 is a LD and a "small" RB . High winding with the correct components, Cam/Springs ETC!

          440 is a RB Torque Monster in Lower RPM and Lots of Juice! They Both are great! The RB engines are heavier and taller.

          400 is a LD and shares much with a 383 but open to larger cubic inches in stroker versions.

          A-body cars IMO should be SB as they are tad lighter and better balance! JMO!

          Well unless you want to drop Late mode Hemi power in!
           
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          • RAT ROD AL

            RAT ROD AL I know just enough to be dangerous FABO Gold Member

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            Back in the day, before Strokers . Every one said "no substitute for cubic inch!" I still agree with that for drag racing. . I also had a 69 dart I stuffed a 383 in . Ran 12.40s pretty much stock. . Swapped on a 440 short block ,same heads and cam. And it ran 12.0s.
            And it fit better because it was a little taller in the engine bay. My 2 cents.
             
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            • Ironracer

              Ironracer Gearhead

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              We used to say " there's no replacement for displacement" back when some of my friends and I were much younger, we didn't give a crap about much... just wanted to run
               
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              • RAT ROD AL

                RAT ROD AL I know just enough to be dangerous FABO Gold Member

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                And tear chevys a new asshole!
                 
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                • 1969383S

                  1969383S FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  383's Are nearly indestructible as well if they are well maintained!

                  Built as such and with the correct prescription! JMO!
                   
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                  • 318willrun

                    318willrun Utube channel 318willrun

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                    383 is a good engine. So is a 440. 383 takes its share of hits, but its a faster engine than a 340, and 340's are considered by many the cream of the small block crop !
                     
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                    • fishmens67

                      fishmens67 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      I'll take a 438 over a 440 any day, as that's where we're at now.
                      I think the 383 responded better to modification, as the 440 was under headed from the factory.
                       
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                      • rumblefish360

                        rumblefish360 I have escaped the evil Empire State! FABO Gold Member

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                        I think the fit is a catch 22 and not a big thing.
                        Underheaded, live it! Bang on IMO.

                        The short stroke B engines will hold onto there HP longer due to the shorter stroke. The big bore is power, plane and simple.

                        Owners choice!
                         
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                        • 33IMP

                          33IMP Well-Known Member

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                          I think a 383 can Rev higher because the stock head flow of the typical iron head is a flow restriction on a 440. Reving higher means more hp/cu.in., but the 383 gives away over fifty inches. That's torque, and if both make a horsepower per inch, that's fifty easy horsepower.
                          Engine masters compared a 367"small Chevy that made 500hp, to a 454 that also made 500 hp. The 454 won EVERYWHERE, more torque midrange, milder street livable cam, less money to make the power, etc. Same can be applied to a small big block verses a big big block.
                           
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                          • pishta

                            pishta I know I'm right....

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                            Same head, same HP potential with the power higher (383) or lower (440) in the powerband. Same as the slant. Same head, 3 displacements. RB is ~2" wider. Id build a high compression 400 or even a 451 over either: less valve shrouding and better rod to stroke. 451's are cheap now the crank are available off the shelf.
                             
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                            • S'cuder

                              S'cuder FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                              I had three 383 B-Bodies, all which were the 335 horsepower RR/Super Bee engines. On one end of the scale was a unmodified RR with an automatic and 3.23s. A nice running car that was my daily driver for a couple years. No big hot rod, but could get out of it's own way. A very different car was my '69 Super Bee with a 4 speed, 4.10s, headers, Crane Fireball cam and springs, Eddie single plane intake, Holley 780, and a junkyard electronic ignition. That car ran good, but kept me broke taking all my money for gas and tires.
                               
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                              • Hyper_pak

                                Hyper_pak Old School Chrysler Fan

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                                It does mean anything for this conversation, but when the NHRA was using different weights for different CU combinations in Pro Stock, many Hemi racers used 383 engines with HEMI heads. This way they could have smaller engines, lighter car weight and these cars FLEW! De-stroked Hemi.jpg Hemi Wedge Block 2.jpg
                                 
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                                • 67charger383

                                  67charger383 Well-Known Member

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                                  Want one of those blocks.. lol
                                   
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                                  • BigBlockMopar

                                    BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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                                    I'll take a 400-block over a 383 or 440 any time of the day.
                                     
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                                    • 273

                                      273 Well-Known Member

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                                      It really comes down to how much hp you want to make and at what peak rpm and powerband. So say you want 450 hp and have a idle - 5000 rpm make peak power around 5000 rpm. A 440 with the right parts will do that no problem. Now if you build a 383 for peak power at 5000 rpm and idle - 5000 rpm your gonna be around 400 hp
                                      Or if you want the same power of 450 hp your gonna have to spin the 383 up a bit to maybe 5500 rpm and 1500-5500 rpm powerband.

                                      So it all depends on how power and where you want it. If both built to the same powerband the 440 will make more power but need more cam carb head etc.. to get there. If built to the same power they will need similar parts but they will work at different powerband.

                                      Eg. a decent built hot street engine can make 1:1 - 1.2:1 hp per cid so if a 383 can reach your power goals with in that range your golden or if not need to go larger.
                                       
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                                      • RustyRatRod

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

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                                        I think the real answer is, it depends on what you're doing. Each of the aforementioned engines is different and each has advantages and disadvantages, based on WHAT you're doing with each. Also, there's the fact of "whichever" one you may have. THAT would make my decision.
                                         
                                        Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
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                                        • Garrett Ellison

                                          Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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                                          Of course, the same crank that works in a 400 to make a 451 will make a 383 into a 426 variant (depending on bore) Or even larger if willing to drop the coin for balancing and other items needed for 3.915 or 4.15 inch stroke. But a combination with aftermarket 440 length rods (6.76) and these pistons will come close to balancing in at the same bobweight as a 340 with TRW pistons. With decent heads, it revs quickly, too! DODGE Ross Pistons 99894 Ross Racing Forged Pistons | Summit Racing
                                           
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                                          • Oldiron440

                                            Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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                                            I'm going to go with a 440 for an oldschool street strip combo every time. It's very easy to build 500+ hp and 550 tq with pump gass and iron heads. Fitment problems are generally in the headers and generally you get what you pay for.
                                             
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                                            • Jadaharabi

                                              Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                              I have owned and driven to work,
                                              a 65 383 4sp Fury
                                              a 69 383 4sp Road Runner,
                                              a 70 383 Cuda automatic
                                              a 69 bone stock 440 4sp GTX,
                                              a 70 440-6 bone stock 4sp Road Runner
                                              a 71 440(67 440warmed up) 4sp GTX
                                              a 73 bone stock 440 Road Runner GTX automatic

                                              All were a blast to drive but the 383 cars lost a lot of street races.
                                              The 69s and 71 440 cars were unbeatable. If you ever get the chance to put a 440 car thru the gears you will understand the differance between a BB and a RB. Then there was my Hemi in a 70 Challenger. Not a drive 35 miles one way to work car.
                                              No replacement for displacement it my be but put your foot into 3nd gear and then yank 4th gear in a 440 car, stock or modified.
                                               
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                                              • Jadaharabi

                                                Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                                Let me explain yank 4th gear.
                                                Right foot is shoved against the gas petal to the floor and your leg is locked with your right hip shoved as hard into the seat as you can get it.
                                                At the same time your listening to and feeling the car revving. Right hand pulling on the shifter. All slack is gone in the shifter. RPM is almost there. When the instant of the shift happens you are going yank that shifter with as much force as your body can manage. It's like your trying to rip the shifter off the side of the transmission you yanked so hard.
                                                Now you have a preload on the shifter. Under full acceleration you can not pull the shifter hard enough to pull the transmission out of gear.(with a good transmission that is).
                                                When the shift(yank) happens you must time the clutch action for the event. Depending on the type clutch decided me how to use the clutch. With a good aftermarket unit I used the sliding foot method. With a stock or heavy duty unit I used the high speed press and release.
                                                Time to shift the aftermarket clutch. Yanking as hard as my body can, I slam my left foot down and off the clutch pedal.
                                                Wal la I'm in 4th and moving on down the road.
                                                A 440 in 4th gear really pulls hard.
                                                Do not drive around with your shifter slack all pulled out. You need the play to stop the wear on the gear and bearing and scronizers.
                                                 
                                                Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
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