Small block or big block in a truck?

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  1. 89on35s

    89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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    I'm starting to plan for my next project even before I've got this one out of the garage and on the road. I'm liquidating a bunch of stuff and trying to decide what stays and what goes.
    I recently procured an 84 short bed 2wd Dodge pick up with a slant and an OD 4spd. I'll be driving it as is powertrain wise while I fix the body and interior and get the suspension to my liking. I plan to build it as a tribute to my favorite truck I ever owned which I totalled off when I was 19.
    The dilemma is this. I have all the parts to drop a 400 and a 727 in it, also I have all the parts to drop a 360 and a 727 in it. Just not sure which way to go. It will be a 2.94 geared Cruiser.
    Is a small block cheaper to build than a big block? Pros and cons to both? I know there are a few more options in the head market for the bug block. I have no real experience with big blocks but I am curious!

    Cley
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    • 89on35s

      89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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      • diymirage

        diymirage HP@idle > hondaHP@redline

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        Hard to turn down a big block...specially if you have one already

        Machining will be the same regardless
         
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        • fishmens67

          fishmens67 Well-Known Member

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          I put a 440/ torqueflight in a 65 D100 total different beast than the 360 in the 73 W200.
          IMO trucks should have never come with a small block.
          Hemi yes, small block la or magnum, no
           
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          • Ddaddy

            Ddaddy I'm changing the World... one pixel at a time! FABO Gold Member

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            I would go big block. In a truck, torque is king...
             
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            • fishmens67

              fishmens67 Well-Known Member

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              easy answer, drop the 400 in.
               
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              • 512Stroker

                512Stroker We are all here because we are not all there.

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                There is no replacement for displacement.
                 
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                • 89on35s

                  89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                  Both motors need rebuilding. It will be either a 408 small block or a 500 big block. I have both a small block 727 and a big block 727. Yeah I'm leaning toward the big block. Things like pistons and heads though, are they comparable in price?

                  Cley
                   
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                  • 318willrun

                    318willrun Utube channel 318willrun

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                    I dropped a stock 400 into a short bed 2wd Dodge and was totally impressed !!!
                     
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                    • RustyRatRod

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

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                      Poor slant six. Gets no respect.
                       
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                      • Bewy

                        Bewy Well-Known Member

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                        It is a heavy vehicle. Big block.
                         
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                        • dirty white boy

                          dirty white boy 50 yr old Juvenal delinquent

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                          every time i pull up to the gas pumps i love my lil /6 more and more,..i wouldnt swap in nuttun lest till gas comes down, we all biden our time till it dose!!
                           
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                          • diymirage

                            diymirage HP@idle > hondaHP@redline

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                            Does the 400 need a new crank?

                            I think the stroker (great option) will ad close to 2K on the cost for the small block...but at that point it will be close in performance

                            Do you have intakes and mounts for both of em?
                             
                          • vntned

                            vntned Well-Known Member

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                            I had the same debate with my ‘77 D100! I ended up going small block because it seemed easier at the time. I 100% regret that decision! I should’ve held out for the 440 I wanted!
                             
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                            • 89on35s

                              89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                              Which ever way I go, I will do a complete rotating assembly stroker kit either for the 360 block or the 400 block. I need an intake either way but I have engine mounts and core transmissions for either.

                              Cley
                               
                            • 89on35s

                              89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                              The fresh rebuilt slant that is in it will get driven for at least a couple years. I guess if it earns my respect it may stay but I kinda doubt it. I'd like a screaming slant some day but probably not in a truck!

                              Cley
                               
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                              • mopardude318

                                mopardude318 Well-Known Member

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                                I like the 360 I put in my 74 W200. I soon will switch to a small supercharged 408. But in my truck, you can only go as fast as the slow shifting np435 transmission will let you. Big limiting factor.

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                                • j par

                                  j par Well-hung Member

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                                  Myself I'm doing a pump gas 408 for my truck. I've got a $150 brand new Speedmaster air gap intake waiting to go on, I got some brand new in the box headers on Craigslist for $80.. I've got the nicely rebuilt 596 heads that were on my Duster that were swapped out for the $700 speedmasters which is also an option for a new build... A scat rotating assembly is in the $1,500 range.. I know the 440 source rotating assembly start at 2250...
                                  In my mind I have a big block inside a small block...
                                   
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                                  • halfafish

                                    halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                                    I agree with Rusty, the slant is an all-too-often unloved option. I have a 383 I could have stuck in my 82 D150 but that slant kept winking at me until I rebuilt it. I have the same 4-speed OD trans as yours. It's a hoot to drive. It isn't going to scare anyone, but it gets around town nicely and in OD I'm barely idling at highway speeds.

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                                    • diymirage

                                      diymirage HP@idle > hondaHP@redline

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                                      In that case, it seems silly to stroke the small block and only come up 8 cubes on the big block

                                      BUT, since we're getting a whole new rotating assembly, I seem no reason not to go with a 400 based stroker

                                      Go big or go home, kinda thing
                                       
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                                      • j par

                                        j par Well-hung Member

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                                        How long have you drove that stick shift granny? Do you live out in the country?
                                        Last year I had that 73 two-wheel drive 318 with the granny four speed and it took one month to the day of City driving and daily driving to work to put it up for good.. oh it was fun in the beginning to see it get going and stuff like that and shifting it but again exactly one month to the day I had had enough and parked it and jumped back in my truck with an automatic.. report back with how much you like that Granny for speed after you've driven it for a few months and I mean solely driven it... Not just for kicks on the weekends... Because if I recall that's what you built it for...
                                        I seen a radical slant six at the Mopar Nationals last Sunday it sounded cool and for what it was in it was damn fast and fun to watch... BUT... You know how much you spent on that stock rebuild you can only imagine what he spent.
                                        Probably enough to build a small block and a big block and have the choice of either depending on what day you are feeling like it...
                                        I like the way you do it and build it to impress you not others...
                                         
                                      • 33IMP

                                        33IMP Well-Known Member

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                                        I bought a 67 barracuda with the plan of putting in a 511 i have. I have since come to the conclusion that a 408 will be a better choice, simply because it fits better in the limited space.
                                        But your pickup has all the room in the world. If it were a daily driver, and mileage mattered, keep the slant, or a mild small block. But if you are looking for a fast, fun ,weekend toy......stroker big block, 100% !
                                         
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                                        • sireland67

                                          sireland67 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                          I have had alot of Dodge trucks, slants, small block and big block.
                                          The big block will move the truck much better, but will be thirsty, my last 440 powered truck got 4 mpg.
                                          Of the slant truck I had, I remember towing my Jeep CJ thru the mountains, and it was painfully slow, I got pasted by a semi, up hill on a two lane mountain road.
                                          I told my wife I need to un-hook the jeep and pull the truck, the jeep had a SBM and a 435 4-speed.
                                           
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                                          • 89on35s

                                            89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                                            This one has the OD 4spd so as long as I am driving it with the slant, I will experiment with different gear ratios and see what I like. I have an 8-3/4 for it.

                                            Cley
                                             
                                          • 75slant6

                                            75slant6 Well-Known Member

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                                            Well, like you, I have zero experience with big blocks. And for that very reason, I plan to install a 383 in my D-100 stepside. One variation though, I plan to use the new 8hp70 or 8hp90 8 speed automatic behind the big block. Efi tunnel ram would be really freaking cool too but this is suppose to be a lot more of a “budget” build than my Duster is!
                                            :lol:
                                             
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                                            • 89on35s

                                              89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                                              I don't think there is anything budget about controlling that 8 speed! But it would definitely be cool!

                                              Cley
                                               
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