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331 Cadillac motors any good?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by krackerjack88, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. krackerjack88
    Joined: Apr 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,247

    krackerjack88
    Member
    from Fresno,Ca

    Might be picking up a cadi this week. A 54 coupe. Anyone know anything about the original motor and trans? That's what is in it and it's all og. Just need some input. Thanks!
     
  2. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 5,454

    bobwop
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    ain't worth a hoot. I have an old dodge flathead six and fluid drive tranny that I would trade you if you pay the freight. should bolt right in that Caddy. lots more torque. worst part about those caddy engines is the restrictive air cleaner. I would give you five bucks for it if you ship it to me.
     
  3. krackerjack88
    Joined: Apr 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,247

    krackerjack88
    Member
    from Fresno,Ca

    ha ha. sure no prob!
     
  4. JohnJoyo
    Joined: Feb 19, 2005
    Posts: 1,342

    JohnJoyo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Austin, TX

    331 Cad is outstanding! Arguably the best engine ever:D
    The transmission is fine as long as it works. If it needs to be rebuilt, you might consider an adapter with a more modern trans like a 700R4.
    Speed parts for early Cadillac are VERY expensive and hard to find. The stock valve covers look stunning when chromed nicely.
    Congrats.
     
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  5. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 8,929

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    Caddys are a Love Hate relationship...and they take all your money...But the pretty much RULE!!!!
    Mine and a few friends :D
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,458

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Engine is still the extended bell type, but overall a good engine for a rat rod. If it was a 55 it would be even better, since 55 331's had no extended bell and better breathing heads. The hydramatic transmission will be fine if it is still operable. Going to a 700r4 gives you an overdrive gear, but you can get equivalent ratio by reducing the rear end ratio. The hydramatic has more than enough get up and go with the stout 1st gear of 3:82 to one even with the lower rear end gear ratio.
     
  7. 60'coupe
    Joined: Dec 21, 2006
    Posts: 908

    60'coupe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just to add more pics of well done Cadi Motors !
    [​IMG]

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  8. 60'coupe
    Joined: Dec 21, 2006
    Posts: 908

    60'coupe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  9. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 8,793

    40StudeDude
    Member

    A 700 R-4 cannot be adapted to a '54 Caddy engine (neither can a 200-R-4 nor a T-350, T-400)...the bellhousing is an integral part of the engine...and there are no adapters avail...best bet is to rebuild the Hydramatic...or go to a later engine that can be adapted...

    R-
     
  10. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,571

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR
    from Moraga, Ca

    Yup-- them old non-small-block Chevy motors are no good!
    Especially the Cad 331's! Some idiot took his 55 Cad 331 (with stock Hydro) powered model A all the way to Bonneville and back... Did I mention its the original motor, never rebuilt?

    :D

    [​IMG]
     
  11. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 8,793

    40StudeDude
    Member

    We just pulled my brother's 331" engine out of his Caddy...beneath the hose clamps we found paper tags that read "Genuine Cadillac Parts" and a part number...that told us the engine had never been out of his car and the inch and a half of grease and crud below the engine confirmed it for us.

    Here's a pic of it, we've been driving it for five years now since we pulled it out of a field here in ColoRODo...we dropped a couple of valves cuz of the unleaded fuel we've put thru it...so, time for a rebuild.

    R-

    [​IMG]
     
  12. krackerjack88
    Joined: Apr 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,247

    krackerjack88
    Member
    from Fresno,Ca

    Well i guess i'm going to have to go this piece of junk then. Thanks guys.
     
  13. JohnJoyo
    Joined: Feb 19, 2005
    Posts: 1,342

    JohnJoyo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Austin, TX

    There is a guy in California that modifys 700R4s to fit the extended bell housing. I had one that we installed in a 53 Cadillac. PM me if you end up wanting to go that route.

    To see what your other transmission adapter options are you can go to the wilcap website.....here is the link to adapt to a muncie 4-speed....
    http://www.wilcap.com/cad.html#cadefm

    Bentsen's also sells transmission adapters and has one to adapt 331 to an automatic (not sure which). I believe they also provide Wilcap with the Cadillac adapters they sell.

    I know I'm probably in the minority, but I like the way the extended bell housing blocks look better than the later ones....maybe just cause they are earlier.

    Good Luck with your new project.
     
  14. JohnJoyo
    Joined: Feb 19, 2005
    Posts: 1,342

    JohnJoyo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Austin, TX

  15. Dirty2
    Joined: Jun 13, 2004
    Posts: 8,900

    Dirty2
    Member


    RAT ROD ? ? ?:eek:
     
  16. dsiddons
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,215

    dsiddons
    Member
    from Indiana

    Is that copper fuel lines?
     
  17. Kirk Hanning
    Joined: Feb 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,496

    Kirk Hanning
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here's a 57' 365" using a Bendsten's adapter to a Muncie 4 spd.

    On a side note: Check the starter gear to flywheel gear mesh.
    Don't ask me how I know this.
     

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  18. HomemadeHardtop57
    Joined: Nov 15, 2007
    Posts: 3,519

    HomemadeHardtop57
    Member

    ewwwww a caddy...who would want one of those!;)

    Mine's a 390 though..great engine..I also have a 331 that will soon see a rebuild


    Speed parts can be found but you have to look real hard and be ready to shell up some $$$

    Check Wilcap for the tranny adapters..the best in the business for caddy engines
     

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  19. nitrohonkey
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,297

    nitrohonkey
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mine is not as pretty as everyone elses, but it's what I have. Thanks for all the pictures... I have motivation again! Excellent post!
     

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  20. hudsoncustom
    Joined: Oct 26, 2001
    Posts: 4,104

    hudsoncustom
    Member
    1. Swindlers G.K.Y.

    I've got a 49 331 myself that is going in my 39 Lincoln Zephyr. It's a LONG way from getting to that stage yet, but at least I've got one. ha ha.

    Beautiful photos posted above. and thanks for the links for the trans adaptors.
     
  21. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,458

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    I believe the company out in California that does the conversions to modern transmissions is Tanson. I have no information on website. Another thread has a guy that is making adapter for early Oldsmobiles to TH400 transmission. (Thread has to do with 61 Olds 98 transmission options or thereabouts). You may want to read the thread and check with him on if it is possible to adapt to the early 331's.

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=343089
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
  22. hillbilly4008
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 2,553

    hillbilly4008
    Member
    from Rome NY

    I just love the looks of these motors. I have a chance to get one, my mothers uncled had an old caddy that he retired. Just drove it out to the woods and walked away. As far as pricing goes, how much would it cost for an overhaul kit to go back to stock? Comparible to a SBC? Whats the factory HP on a 331?
     
  23. hillbilly4008
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 2,553

    hillbilly4008
    Member
    from Rome NY

  24. SLCHC-CHIEF
    Joined: Dec 16, 2007
    Posts: 235

    SLCHC-CHIEF
    Member
    from S.L.U.T

    what about a 331 caddy with a 40 ford banjo behind it how long do you think the banjo would last? just a stock caddy with maybe a 3x2
     
  25. SLCHC-CHIEF
    Joined: Dec 16, 2007
    Posts: 235

    SLCHC-CHIEF
    Member
    from S.L.U.T

  26. 36 ROKIT
    Joined: Oct 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,183

    36 ROKIT
    Member
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    It all depends on how heavy your right foot is; if too heavy, forget it....
    When the pioneers started putting the then new Cad and Olds in older Fords
    back in the mid-fifties, it wasn't long before it became obvious the older
    running gear would not stand up to the torque these motors put out.
    Trust me on this one........
     
  27. daveydeuce
    Joined: Apr 7, 2004
    Posts: 1,237

    daveydeuce
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A couple more Caddys, the one in the Coupe is a 53 Cad El Do 331 with a S.C.o.T. on it and the other is a 390 with dual 4s in my Roadster.
     

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  28. 31modelo
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 974

    31modelo
    Member

    Love those Edmunds VC's, the only ones woth running over the stock ones in my opinion. Thanks for the pics
     
  29. daveydeuce
    Joined: Apr 7, 2004
    Posts: 1,237

    daveydeuce
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Your welcome!! Thats and Edmunds intake too.Dave
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  30. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 2,278

    steel rebel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Please if your going to race don't waste anymore precious old ford gears. There is plenty of good stronger trannys around. I have a 60s-70s Ford Econoline trans behind a Cad. in my roadster. A much stronger tranny. The Ford trans was built for 85 H.P. and it's easy to get 200+++ H.P. out of a Cad. I also have a loaded Cad. in front of a 48 Ford tranny in my sedan but I baby it.
     

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