My 440 rebuild thread

Big Block A body Tech

  1. Righty Tighty

    Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Well folks, don't do what I did. I bought my 74 Barracuda with a 440 six barrel last April, and hit sat for around 20 years without being run or turned over, according to the previous owner. I got it home, changed all the fluids, belts, hoses, plugs, etc., oiled the cylinders and turned it over by hand several times. What did not do, however, is prime the oil pump. It didn't even occur to me.


    Previous owner told me the engine was a fresh build (20 years ago), and that it had maybe 500 miles on it. He said he was having trouble getting it tuned, got frustrated, and threw it into storage where it sat. I got it started and it ran ok, but the idle was extremely high once it warmed up, so I played with timing and fuel settings, and got it to mellow out.


    There was always a problem that surfaced around 2800 RPM, and that was a stumble/pop/afterfire out of both exhausts. I tried many things from troubleshooting ignition and fuel, checking plugs, wires, nothing helped. Finally, I had a moment. Yesterday I had a valve cover off, and noticed the rockers were all just about at the same angle. Dammit. I'm pretty sure I know what that means. My cam is flat. Whether this happened because I didn't prime before starting or the previous owner didn't break it in properly, I don't know.


    I need to pull the engine and confirm (also cut open the oil filter), but I'm quite certain that's what it is. So, I wanted to start a thread documenting my 440 rebuild for those interested, and because I know I'm going to have questions. I rebuilt my 318LA a couple years ago, and had immense help from the members here at FABO, so I'm pretty confident going into this.


    The previous owner couldn't provide a build sheet for the engine, so I never knew what cam was in it, pistons, etc., so I'm excited to be able to tear this one down and build it how I want it, and now I'll KNOW what's in it.


    Thanks for reading, and I hope you all will follow along.
    4C7E0F5B-20FC-4FAD-94A2-AB5401C2C39E.jpeg 3399D52B-AAD0-49EA-A8DF-1AB7A05F7ED6.jpeg
     
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    • Garethw

      Garethw Mopar. Because rocket science is too easy. FABO Gold Member

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      Cool, I’m in. :popcorn:
       
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      • Ironracer

        Ironracer Gearhead

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        This'll be cool!
         
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        • dano

          dano Evil Handy Man

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          Dig in. I'd pop that intake and see whats up. Maybe all the lifters collapsed or the push rods are all too short!

          Why do the exhaust retainers look different than the intakes?
           
        • Righty Tighty

          Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          I think the plan for tomorrow will be to open up the oil filter and remove the intake, as you suggested, and have a look at the lifters and pushrods.

          As for the retainers, I haven’t the foggiest idea. My guess is that they used rotating retainers on the exhaust valves for some reason?
           
        • MoparMike1974

          MoparMike1974 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Not priming the pump would not cause the cam lobes to wipe. They are oiled from splash. If the cam is wiped it probably happened during break in which would be why the guy couldnt get it tuned correctly.
          You dont usually see valve rotators on mopars but perhaps that was an industrial engine. When used, they are usually on the exhaust only.
           
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          • 72Duster440

            72Duster440 Well-Known Member

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            The lifters could have bled down causing them to all be the same height.
             
          • Righty Tighty

            Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            We'll see how the cam looks. I guess I'll feel a little better knowing it wasn't me that did it if the cam is indeed wiped. It did occur to me yesterday that if he ruined the cam upon break in, that could've been why he couldn't tune it. When I flattened a lobe on the 318, the car barely ran. This engine, I can drive to the store and back with relatively no problems as long as I keep it at low RPMs.

            So, if the lifters did bleed down, wouldn't I be able to pull them out and let them pump themselves back up? Or soak in oil?
             
          • Righty Tighty

            Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Or, wait a second. Is it normal for lifters to bleed down? Should I be looking at them shortly after the engine has run?
             
          • Righty Tighty

            Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Well, shit. This is embarrassing. I had Pops over today to help look over the engine, and one thing I hadn't done after seeing the rockers all the same angle, was turn it over and watch to see how they moved. We did that, and they all move just fine.

            So I'm back to square one, with an additional question. How did the rockers end up the same height? Was it from the lifters bleeding down? I think the cam might be fine, and with #6 and 7 plugs being carbon fouled, maybe an ignition issue.
             
          • MOPARMAGA

            MOPARMAGA FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            I'm in too ! Good luck.
             
          • MOPARMAGA

            MOPARMAGA FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Only thing I can think is, if it has to do with the lifters is they could be hanging valves open causing that pop, but that's just a semi educated guess.
            Or your carbs need tuned
             
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            • Righty Tighty

              Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              FF9CDA1C-1703-4577-8A85-77DEE5C4615A.jpeg
              I don’t know if you’ve seen my thread Misfire at cruise, popping/afterfire at 3000RPM but there might be some details that a fresh set of eyes could pick up on. Some suggestions so far have been checking ignition, which I’ve partly done, and the possibility of sticking valves as you said.

              One thing that keeps catching my eye is that #6 and 7 plugs are getting carbon fouled even after changing plugs. I haven’t checked the plug wires for continuity yet, will do that tomorrow.
               
            • MOPARMAGA

              MOPARMAGA FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              I'll check out your thread & see what I can find
               
            • Outsder

              Outsder way back when

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              It looks like the exhausts have rotators for retainers; low rpm truck/motor home parts.
               
            • Righty Tighty

              Righty Tighty FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              They do have retainers edit: meant to say rotators. 2800RPM seems a bit low to start misfiring, though. Am I wrong?
               
              Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 1:43 PM
            • PRH

              PRH Well-Known Member

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              Exactly.

              Anytime I see exhaust rotators on a rebuild I’m leery(unless it’s a 100% stock overhaul).
              From the factory, the heads that come with rotators on the exhaust have shorter valve springs to go with them, because they reduce the installed height.

              When an aftermarket performance cam is used, along with the appropriate springs to go with it...... you will almost always have an issue with the rotators resulting in too much spring pressure, and/or not enough distance to coil bind.
              Unless the cam is quite small.
              In pretty much any type of performance oriented build, they should be eliminated.
              Which is why they never came on any of the factory HP offerings.

              At a minimum I would be doing some checking to make sure the exhaust rotator, valve spring, installed height situation is compatible with the cam....... and doesn’t result in a “self destruct” condition.
               
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