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331 Cadillac motors any good?

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

  1. krackerjack88
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    krackerjack88 Member

    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
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    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
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    krackerjack88 Member

    ha ha. sure no prob!
  4. JohnJoyo
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    JohnJoyo
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    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
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    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
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  6. d2_willys
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    d2_willys Member

    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
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    60'coupe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just to add more pics of well done Cadi Motors !
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  8. 60'coupe
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    60'coupe
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  9. 40StudeDude
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    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
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    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR

    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
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    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
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    krackerjack88 Member

    Well i guess i'm going to have to go this piece of junk then. Thanks guys.
  13. JohnJoyo
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    JohnJoyo
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    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
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    JohnJoyo
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  15. Dirty2
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    Dirty2 Member


    RAT ROD ? ? ?:eek:
  16. dsiddons
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    dsiddons Member

    Is that copper fuel lines?
  17. Kirk Hanning
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    Kirk Hanning 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.

    Attached Files:

  18. HomemadeHardtop57
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    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

    Attached Files:

  19. nitrohonkey
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    nitrohonkey
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    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!

    Attached Files:

  20. hudsoncustom
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    hudsoncustom Member

    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
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    d2_willys Member

    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
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    hillbilly4008 Member

    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
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    hillbilly4008 Member

  24. SLCHC-CHIEF
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    SLCHC-CHIEF Member

    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
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    SLCHC-CHIEF Member

  26. 36 ROKIT
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    Vancouver, WA.

    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
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    daveydeuce
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    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.

    Attached Files:

  28. 31modelo
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    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
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    daveydeuce
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    Your welcome!! Thats and Edmunds intake too.Dave
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  30. steel rebel
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    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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