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Technical 54 331 Hemi Rebuild

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by tankwilson, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    Well here goes nothing.... i just got a 54 chrysler 331 hemi. The plan is to tear it down, rebuild it close to stock with some minor performance upgrades and to show you guys how i do it. This is my first ever car motor rebuild. I have rebuilt harley motors in the past but never a V8, let alone a hemi. (so with that in mind alot of you know more than i do so bare with me). With alot of help from 73RR, Bass, and some local guys i think i can make it.

    I have been reading alot of Hemi tech and it seem like everyone wants to throw alot of cash and parts at these engines. This is going to be a simple, fairly stock build... I figure going from my stock flat 6 to a stock hemi should be a noticable upgrade without putting a blower on it. I am looking for long term reliability, but will beat on it a little now and then.



    I got it out of the car and on an engine stand last week. I highly recommond a factory service manual for tear down and rebuild. Read through it several times before doing any work.





    Started tearing into the motor tonight. From the looks and smells this motor has been sitting for long time. Still full of antifreeze and oil, but boy does it stink.



    She is rusty, crusty and stuck but doesnt look as bad as i thought it might.


    Thats about as far as im going for today. Just taking it apart for now. I really haven't inspected much. Need to get my work area cleaned up and finish tear down. Hope to ge the block to a shop near by this weekend to get cleaned up and checked out.

    This will be a long thread and take me awhile from start to finish but i hope it is worth it to you guys, and the newbie that is in the same situation as i am

    Thanks
    matt
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  2. TR Waters
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,439

    TR Waters
    Member
    from Vermont
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    Helpful hint #1. There is a reason the hemis used studs instead of bolts in both the exhaust and lower valve covers. These hole are through holes. When you reassemble, it is a wise idea to reinstall studs in these locations.
     
    LOU WELLS likes this.
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    You will find many parallels between Harley and Chrysler engineering. Hemi heads, pushrods, hydraulic lifters. Very fine castings, fine thread studs and nuts instead of cheap coarse thread bolts.

    I'm afraid Harley and Chrysler will spoil you for working on lesser engines.

    By the way you have the best 331 there. The 235HP 4 barrel version with modern valve lifters and modern engine block without the bellhousing extension found on the earlier Fluid Drive model.

    Chrysler got 300 streetable HP in 1955 with the same motor with a cam, more carbs and dual exhausts. With today's cam, intake and header technology you should do better than that without spoiling drivability.
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  4. pinkynoegg
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,136

    pinkynoegg
    Member

    awesome! been waiting for one of these threads to pop up. ill be watching closely
     

  5. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,653

    73RR
    Member

    Matt, it looks like a pretty darn good engine to start with!!
    Remember, tag & bag.

    .
     
  6. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    Thanks Gary.. Ya got my factory service manual, complete guide to chrysler hemis, and a box of zip lock baggies.
     
  7. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,188

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    That 54 Chrysler donor car looks to be in good shape. Can you share with me where it is? I am thinking that I might want to get some parts off it for my 54 NYD.

    Interested in finding out how hard it is to get the pistons out if engine is stuck.
     
  8. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,479

    George
    Member

    Depends on why its stuck. If just from sitting pour a bunch of ATF in the cyls & let it saok for a few days/weeks, probably loosen up.
     
    black_dog41 and biggeorge like this.
  9. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,188

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Wish it was that simple for my 225 V6. Stuck but good. Diesel fuel, Seafoam creeping oil, NO GO! Am going to try ATF with Acetone and see what happens after that. Thinking of making an air hammer jig to use on it. After that, it's HAMMER TIME, that is in JACK HAMMER.
     
  10. TR Waters
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,439

    TR Waters
    Member
    from Vermont
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    And please do not post your engine pics with a claw hammer visible. It just doesnt look right. :)
     
  11. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,869

    CGkidd
    Member

    LMAO. Looking forward to see a fairly straight forward stock build. I am getting ready to build a 341 Desoto soon.
     
  12. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Make a steel plate to bolt on with the head bolts, put a grease fitting in the middle, fill with oil and use hydraulic pressure to shift it.
     
    coupe33 likes this.
  13. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    Yea no problem. It is in our junk yard. What ya need?


    Im working on the outside of my garage during daylight hours and the hemi at night. Just happen to be sitting there. lol
     
  14. Don Martin
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 164

    Don Martin
    Member
    from West Tenn

    Ck the bottom of the block. I have had 2 that had holes in the bottom of the water jacket,inside the oil pan.
     
  15. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,479

    George
    Member

    You never know, I bought a partialy disassembled 331, the cam is stuck solid. It'll have to come out in the hot tank.:(
     
  16. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,188

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    I have 5 of the 6 pistons stuck! The idea is great, but with the other pistons stuck how does the pressure pushing down on a piston going to turn the crank?

    I built a puller, which uses a pipe flange and a 7/8ths fine threaded bolt, which is welded to the flange and extends through a piece of square tubing. The pipe flange is bolted to the top of the piston, and a washer and nut goes on the end of the big bolt to tighten down, which should pull the piston upward. 4 of the 5 caps are loose or removed.

    Guess what happened, the 4 bolts that hold the flange to the piston were pulled right out of the piston top. You think they're really stuck, I sure do.

    Reason for the air hammer, or jack hammer.
     
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    By the way Tank.. if you need to bore your engine it was common practice to install stock size 354 pistons. They are larger than the 331 pistons but cheap because they are not oversize.
     
  18. 36DodgeRam
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 505

    36DodgeRam
    Member

    I put Egge '55 331 pistons in my '54 331. You pick up a full point compession for the same price pistons...
     
  19. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    Im looking to run 9.5:1 or 10:1 compression, low to mid cam, adjustable pushrods and mostly everything else stock.

    Whats my options on pistons?

    Cast or forged?

    Cast fits tighter but no higher compression?

    Forged is stronger, higher compression but looser?

    What rings do I run. Was thinkn moly.


    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  20. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 875

    chrisp
    Member

    I LL be following this thread very closely because I have a '53 331that Iwant to rebuild close to stock too for my 32
     
  21. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,479

    George
    Member

    Have you put the "Hemi Tech Index" in "search" yet? If not, do so & start reading. The OEM C/Rs are nominal @ best, they can measure out as much as a full point low. Only way to know what C/R you have would be to order custom forged pistons in 9 or 10, unless you trip over a set of NOS Jahns in the C/R you want. Off the shelf cast replacement for a 331 is 8.5, not sure if the Egges actually measure up to that not, haven't seen any reports.
     
  22. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    If it's really cruddy use the reverse electrolysis method to dissolve the rust off it. You need a plastic barrel, water, washing soda, a battery charger and some scrap iron.

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=431395&highlight=dolmetsch&page=12
     
  23. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,479

    George
    Member

    There is a long tail short block build on webrodder, makes goog reading.
     
  24. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,869

    CGkidd
    Member

    Got my 341 Desoto tore down actually in good shape. I will have to sleeve one cylinder but otherwise the block is real nice. I plan on installing it in my 62 unibody.
     
  25. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,653

    73RR
    Member

    The 341 is a great engine!
    Be sure to start a build thread for your project so we can follow along.

    .
     
  26. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    UPDATE- Hey i did have to use the claw hammer on the teardown. Got the timing set off, cam out, oil pump off, and still stuck.

    So was down to just the cranck and pistons and still stuck. Time to take the rod caps off and get out the hammer. Flipped it over and with a long rod and hammer i started tapping the insides of the pistons. 5 came loose without too much, but the number 1, 7, 8 took a little more "effort" So got all the pistons and rods out. Some of my pistons now have holes in them but wasnt planning on using them anyway. Rods all look good. Cam looks burnt and some of the lifters have alot of wear. Probably not the best way to remove pistons but no damage was done to the rods or the block so i considered it good.



    Thanks
    matt
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
    coupe33 likes this.
  27. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,653

    73RR
    Member

    The burnt look on the cam lobes is probably just varnish. As to lifters that look worn, is there any obvious wear on the cam lobes? Damage to the lobes will certainly affect any attempt at a regrind...:cool:

    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  28. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,869

    CGkidd
    Member

    I will get a thread started soon. Good to here you got it all apart. How are the Bores?
     
  29. tankwilson
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,159

    tankwilson
    Member

    Everything looks good. I think its an original motor never been touched. Has round 90k miles on it. Plan is to reuse/rebuild bout everything but pistons, cam, and pushrods. Gonna post pics soon.

    Hope to get the block to the machine shop and get it checked for cracks then start ordering parts.


    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  30. 70chall440
    Joined: Jul 29, 2011
    Posts: 572

    70chall440
    Member

    Thanks for starting a thread on this, I am going through the exact same thing with my 330. Looks like you got one of the good ones with a stock 4BBL intake, I am looking for one. My engine is going into a 52 Dodge PU and like you is replacing a flat 6 (which actually runs really well). I will subscribe to your thread and follow along.
     

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