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Old 06-11-2006, 06:21 PM   #1
stan292
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Default '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Hey gang -

I stumbled across (what I was told is) a 1954 Dodge Red Ram hemi at a garage sale last Friday. The seller said its 241 C.I. He was building a very nice-looking hemi-powered '33/'34 Plymouth sedan, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. It looked complete, and he said it turned over fine when he bought it a couple years ago.

Now, I'm no hemi guy by any means (and had no business buying another motor - LOL), but what the hell. It was so freakin' cool (love those Red Ram valve covers), I bought it anyway. The motor appears fully complete - as removed from a stock sedan.

I'm only somewhat familiar with the Chrysler family of hemis (331-354-392) - as popularly used for drag racing back in "the day" - and no next to nothing about the Red Rams. Can any of you MoPar gurus clue me in on what I've bought? Maybe how to make a positive ID? I've seen the term "Baby hemi" used in reference to the smaller sized motors. Does this thing fit in that general group? Am I right in thinking the Dodges are completely different motors than the Chryslers?

I'm picking it up tomorrow after work - and will hopefully be able to talk with the seller at greater length. And of course, I can get photos, after I take it to the car wash, if that would help in getting it ID'd.

Meanwhile, what's the skinny on parts availability - stock and performance? What about tranny options? Basically any an all information about the thing will be of help (any links to info would also be appreciated).

Thanks in advance for your help -
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:28 PM   #2
Big-Olaf
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

The Red Ram's were made in '53 and '54... They have no similarities between the Chryslers, or Desoto's... Hot rod parts are a little hard to come by, but Hot Heads Research has lots of stuff for them.. Including some performance stuff....
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Hi Stan , as I did with mine , get on to The Hemi .com site I'm sure I'm sure the good fella's will help ya
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:37 PM   #4
wfo guy
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

The 241 and the 270 are the same size. They have a dual point distributor and small 2 barrel carbs. There is an aluminum adapter on the back of the block that the starter and the trans bolts to. There is some speed equipment for them. Usually takes some hunting to find. The 241 in stock form is 120 hp. I had one in a 27 roadster. Not too speedy. Without a cam change, there's not much exhaust noise.
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:48 PM   #5
snap too
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-Olaf
The Red Ram's were made in '53 and '54... They have no similarities between the Chryslers, or Desoto's... Hot rod parts are a little hard to come by, but Hot Heads Research has lots of stuff for them.. Including some performance stuff....
The Red Ram has almost reached a cult status for those that own them . True , not much in the way of aftermarket was made for them and pieces are hard find but they are cool just the same . They came in a low block design , 241 , 270 and a rare '55 Plymouth 255 poly that will use the RR heads . The tall deck is a 315 Poly or Hemi and a 325 Hemi. Chrysler adaptors will work to mate this 'lil bomb to popular trannys . The 241-270 did have some oiling issues that caused premature rod bearing failure but I think Hot Heads can supply what you need .
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

What you have is a peach. Its not a barn burner and speed equipment is not plentiful. If it yours, you did good. You did not mention how much you paid. Trans options are wide. The Red Ram is a good looking motor and it gets plenty of attention. Yes it is wide and there is a weight issue. Its not cheap to build but what is ? But the 241 puts you in E class at Bonneville if you decide to go fast.
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Old 06-11-2006, 07:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stan292
Meanwhile, what's the skinny on parts availability - stock and performance? What about tranny options? Basically any an all information about the thing will be of help (any links to info would also be appreciated).
Yep, the dodge was called baby hemi, all the way up to the 325. You have a low-deck motor there, and the 315, 325 was the high-deck. Most of the good (racy) intake manifolds were made for the high-deck.

Dodge, Desoto, and Chrysler never compared notes, and they all built nothing in common except the bellhousing bolt holes.

Look on top of the motor at the front, just in front of the valley cover. The ID is stamped there. Then go look up the number on google. VT- is a 241 truck, D50 and D44 were cars. D44 was '53 and D50 was later.

You can still get transmission adapters for GM, and mopar trannies, I think ford too. The 241 intake manifold is the same as the 270, so if you can find a 4bbl for a 270 you could use that, but the only aluminum one I've seen is the Offy 3-deuce and I think Hot Heads sells them. The word hemi means "show me da money." It is slang for give me your wallet. There's nothing cheap about them. New valves will run you about $20 each and they weigh about a pound. If your best friend owns a CNC machine, you're in luck.

The 241 distributor is the same as a 318/340. The windage tray from mopar performance for the 318 fits as well. Most of the baby hemis had front sump, so one of the first things to do, is cut the bottom off and weld up a nice rear sump.

I wouldn't buy one unless I could take off the heads. It's a real tragedy what happens inside these motors when they haven't been run in years. At least take the valve covers and spark plugs out and spin the motor. So bring your compressor and impact wrench, and you can disassemble it in about 10 minutes.

None of the 241's had cast-in motor mounts.
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

A good book to get is "The complete Chrysler Hemi Engine Manual" by Ron Ceridono and Tex Smith publishing. It will help to get an ideal what you will need to do with an old Hemi.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

new to the HAMB. i have a chance to buy a "baby hemi" its in a 55 dodge truck and it runs good . the valve covers say red ram on them. of course i will leak it down and check oil pressure before buying but sounds good so far. my question is what is this motor worth? he is asking $1500 . i was thinking of putting this motor in my 1930 model A coupe i bought two days ago.any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

The low deck Dodge is rightly celebrated as it fits in many early cars and you can still close the hood and not mess with the firewall. Aftermarket intakes are not common but they are out there - aluminum 4 bbl, 3-2s and Weiand 4-2s - there's even a super rare 6-2, as well as the awesome looking Hilborn setup. I believe Tex Smith called it "The Crown Jewel of the early hemis".

It is never going to be about brute power, but they have the hemi look, compact and organically beautiful IMO. If you want driveability, decent gas mileage - especially with a T5 or overdrive auto - then this is for you. There is a great in-depth build article on these engines on Doc Frohmader's www.webrodder.com
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

I just bought a 241 not too long ago. is that $1500 for the truck and hemi? Well, you won't be able to rebuild one for $1500 so that price might be ok. I paid 2k for a crapped out suburban with a 241 red ram, offy 3x2 intake and carbs. transmission came with it too.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by konokazi View Post
new to the HAMB. i have a chance to buy a "baby hemi" its in a 55 dodge truck and it runs good . the valve covers say red ram on them. of course i will leak it down and check oil pressure before buying but sounds good so far. my question is what is this motor worth? he is asking $1500 . i was thinking of putting this motor in my 1930 model A coupe i bought two days ago.any help would be greatly appreciated.

55 is most likely a 270 although I've heard that Dodge used some 241's in the trucks after they stopped using them in cars.

If it runs good enough to use as-is, without a rebuild, the price seems fair, considering a rebuild on one of these things would be at least double that. If you're going to go through the whole motor, then I don't think it's a deal, it's too much to pay for a core.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:45 PM   #13
Mike Miller
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

As lolife said "its a tragidy what happens to these enginea when they sit" Don't start the engine until you clean and oil the rockers and valve guides. No matter how tempting it is to fire it up if it turns over.
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Pick it up, I put about 2 g's in mine including adapter and muncie trans
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

I'm new to the early hemi stuff...although I'm a mopar man through and through...anyway have been doing lots of heading obout the early hemi's here on the HAMB...Scootermcrad has a great archive set-up!!

Anyway another thing to look at and consider for these 241, 270 Hemi's is that they never came with a harmonic balancer...so the occasional cracked crank is possible. Although you can use a blancer off a 318 with set of tappered keys by Hotheads.

I'm thinking about looking at a local baby Hemi in an old dodge 55 custom royal 4 dr sedan...guys asking about $2200? Any thoughts?
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:19 AM   #16
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Here is my 241 in a 1935 Ford Sedan..Dropped right in. I do have lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$ in the engine.. It's a HEMI and thats what I wanted.
run great, not real fast but fast enough for me..
If you need any help pm me..
Duane.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:36 AM   #17
George
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrashingcows View Post
I'm thinking about looking at a local baby Hemi in an old dodge 55 custom royal 4 dr sedan...guys asking about $2200? Any thoughts?
If it includes the car. 1500 for a core sounds high. 500-800 for a low deck Dodge Sounds better.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:42 AM   #18
73RR
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrashingcows View Post
I'm new to the early hemi stuff...although I'm a mopar man through and through...anyway have been doing lots of heading obout the early hemi's here on the HAMB...Scootermcrad has a great archive set-up!!

Anyway another thing to look at and consider for these 241, 270 Hemi's is that they never came with a harmonic balancer...so the occasional cracked crank is possible. Although you can use a blancer off a 318 with set of tappered keys by Hotheads.

I'm thinking about looking at a local baby Hemi in an old dodge 55 custom royal 4 dr sedan...guys asking about $2200? Any thoughts?

The crank key needs to be stepped, no taper involved. You can also re-broach the dampener. Either way you get to make new timing marks.
Anyone with a small mill can make the key.
Is $2200 just the engine price?? Sounds pretty steep, unless it is a very good runner, and, it is exactly what you want.

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Old 01-26-2009, 09:56 AM   #19
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

Do a search for Scooter's "hemi-tech" on the forum... lots of good info.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:56 AM   #20
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Default Re: '54 Dodge Red Ram - Baby Hemi?

I bought a complete 53' 241" with a brand new hotheads adapter (adapt. plate, flywheel & hardware) to a GM trans for $1300 off of a fellow hamber. I thought it was a fair deal.
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