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54 331 Hemi????

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stewed, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Stewed
    Joined: Oct 21, 2002
    Posts: 728

    Stewed
    Member

    I think I may have got lucky. I got a lead on a 54 331 Hemi localy on the cheap, he says it is the first year without the bellhousing attached to the block.

    Does this have any potential??
    What to look for when looking at it??
    Any special problems with these I need to look for???

    He aid it was frozen up when he got it and he took it apart to have it checked out, then sold the project it was going in.

    How bad can the cylinder walls look before it is a boat anchor. I havent seen it and he says it can be bored out and saved but how bad is too bad?
    I am going to meet him tomorrow to give it a look, thought I would put it in the shop for a future project I have in mind
     
  2. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 6,617

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Iron was cheap in '54. If need be you can and maybe should bore it .125 over and install 354 pistons. Does it have potential? It's a Chrysler Hemi. What's your question?
     
  3. Bored&Stroked
    Joined: Jan 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,869

    Bored&Stroked
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just check the cylinder walls and see if there are any obvious cracks. I don't know the max bore on the early 331 blocks, but it will at least go .060 - I'll bet it can go to .090 easily. Also, a bad cylinder can be sleeved, which isn't a big deal. If you have to sleeve all 8 cylinders, then you're starting to put some money into it. If it is in good shape and doesn't take extensive work, then what the heck - pick it up, take it to a machine shop and figure out what it will take to rebuild it . . . you can always ay "No" to the estimate.

    Rebuilding an early Hemi really isn't that much more expensive than any other OHV engine - if you have all the parts to start with. Things like adjustable rockers are expensive - but you can use adjustable pushrods as an alternative (just more of a PITA to set). The most expensive stuff is all the period manifolds, valve covers, mangetos, injectors, etc.. But what the hell - they're expensive for ALL non belly-button 50's motors! If you need any tips on parts or suppliers, drop me a PM.
     
  4. DocWatson
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 10,222

    DocWatson
    Member

    HEMI and CHEAP in the same sentance and you cant go wrong, even if it ends up as a garden gnome.
     
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  5. Stewed
    Joined: Oct 21, 2002
    Posts: 728

    Stewed
    Member

    He says he took it apart last year to rebuild and liten up parts? All parts are accounted for just dissasembled. I guess that is a good thing to see most of the block.

    The 354 piston thing is a good idea. Can't wait to go, maybe I'll call him and see when he will be home today!!!!
     
  6. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,474

    4tford
    Member

    331 hemis had extended bellhousing through mid 1954 model year check for that. The extended had less adapters available for trans use. There should be a number in front of the liftervalley cover like C541-8-1001 which was 331 2bbl and 542-8-1001 for 4bbl if it is a 54 model year engine.
     
  7. Stewed
    Joined: Oct 21, 2002
    Posts: 728

    Stewed
    Member

    He said it was a 4barrel engine and has an adapter plate for a 700R4 and the valve covers to go with it. Unless it has a big hole in the block or looks like it has been sitting under water IT IS mine!!
     
  8. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 5,062

    73RR
    Member

    No shortage of parts suppliers these days. When you start buying parts just shop around some...and remember that buying all of the major stuff today is almost like money in the bank cause it is not likely to get any cheaper.
    Be sure to read through the Hemi Tech section from ScooterMcRad. PM if you need some hand-holding.
     
  9. Stewed
    Joined: Oct 21, 2002
    Posts: 728

    Stewed
    Member

    Just talked to him and he assured me it was in good shape enough to bore the next size and be good to go. I get the adapter plate for the 700R4(I think will work for any chevy tranny),A set of headers, the valve covers,some kind of motor mounts and he just informed me I had to take the 1954 Chrystler Imperial sitting next to the garage that the engine came out of. At the price of scrap I will be paying myself back toward the price of the engine!!!!

    I meet him tonight to look it over and give him the money!!!

    What are the big piston to heads combo to make some major HP out of such a small c.i. package????

    I own a HEMIIII !!!! HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

    Henry J? 32 Ford sedan?? 31 Chrysler roadster ?? What to do ?????

    Already got the body of a Henry J!!!!!!!!
     
  10. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 6,617

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    354 are the best heads, but if you keep your 331 heads you will have a better compresion ratio and plenty good heads.
     
  11. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,458

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    I take it that they used the Powerflite on the extended bellhousing blocks since Powerflite came in late 53 (Imperials). I have what I believe is an early 54 NY deluxe, which has the old gemmer hydraguide power steering, (later year models had coaxial type p.s.) so I would guess that I have the extended bell, right?:confused:
     
  12. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 3,900

    captainjunk#2
    Member

    sounds like a deal grab it an build it
     
  13. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,474

    4tford
    Member

    54 model year was the change over from the extended bellhousing mid year so you could have either. If your block has what looks like a bellhouding cast to it, it is an extended bellhousing block.
     
  14. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,285

    George
    Member

    The plan for '54 was to put the 4 bl engines in the high end models & the 2 bl engines in the low end models.
     
  15. Bill.S
    Joined: May 5, 2004
    Posts: 449

    Bill.S
    Member
    from NW OH

    Don't junk the Imperial, restorers will buy just about all the chrome and small parts.
    I got this out of a 54 New Yorker and ebayed the rest on ebay to restorers.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. presride
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 8

    presride
    Member

    The best place to get basic information on all the mid-50's mopar hemi's is a book by Ron Cefidono named "The Complete Chrysler Hemi Engine Manual." The vendors with the most comprehensive selection of parts are Peformance Automotive Warehouse ("PAW") which has an early Chrysler Hemi catalog. Most of the parts which they sold several years ago were for the 392 Chrysler Hemi. They now however also have some parts for the 331 and 354 Chrysler Hemi's. The best place for parts though is Hotheads which carries everything you'll need to rebuild a 331. They have complete rebuild kits for something between $1500 and $1800.

    I was at a vintage car swap meet last February in Moultrie, Georgia where I met a man named Ron Ganster who runs a shop called "Hemee Head" in Nashville, Georgia; Tel: (229)686-0614. He deals in "Early Hemi Parts & Pieces." You may want to contact him for parts and information.:)
     
  17. Stewed
    Joined: Oct 21, 2002
    Posts: 728

    Stewed
    Member


    Thanks for the info. Living in Ga. nashvile is just a day's road trip. I looked at PAW but didnt see any early stuff but it was an old catalog.
     
  18. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,285

    George
    Member

    PAWs hemi stuff is in a seperate catalog. www.hothemiheads.com Parts & knowledge, also Scooters Hemi tech index here on the HAMB for info.
     

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