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chevy 153 181 nova mercruiser 4 cyl who has used one????

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 32coupedeville, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    i am looking to build a 28 29 model a closed cab shop pick up truck and i would like to put a mercruiser 120 or 140 hp 181 ci chevy 4 cylinder in. here are my questions:

    1.do you need to changer anything on the engine to run it on the street?

    2.is the cam good that is in it or do you need a nonboat cam for different rpm range

    3.what fly wheel do you use?

    4. do you have any hp hop up secretes for them for the street?

    i will make a header for it and an intake for strombergs so i am not to worried about those manifolds. i just didnt know if anything needs to be changed to run better on the street. the way i see it boat motors run pretty much all out and i would think the cam may need to be changed.

    i am intreaged buy these little engines .thanks for any info you can provide for me. drew

    [​IMG]

    this engine realy lights me up!!! i like the repop ohv valve cover over the top of the chevy.
     
  2. OoltewahSpeedShop
    Joined: Oct 18, 2007
    Posts: 3,103

    OoltewahSpeedShop
    Member

    The 181 is a great engine, we ran them a few years in a dirt mini-mod. They have SBC bell housing and crank flange. So basically anything that would bolt to the back of a 350 will bolt right up. They make great power and are bullet proof. Certain blocks accept the crossflow Fiero type head, which is a drastic improvement over the 181 head. If you really want to make some power, find a SD Pontiac head from the Daytona Dash cars.... 250hp easy. They have a 4" bore and the stroke depends on which size engine you find. Pistons, cams, etc. are readily available.
     

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  3. 181s have a 4" bore...153s have a 3.875 [think 283 chevy] bore. I worked for a company who bought a box car [wrecked] of these built for OMC....boat motors.
    The Jeep guys bought 'em as fast as I could build them...had to oursource intakes, waterpumps, distributors, intake/exhaust manifolds and carbs.
    The cams were OK as-is. The Jeepers would fight over the 181s and the last to sell [we'd bought 22 of them] were the 153s....great engines with a lotta potential.
    BTW, the 181s also used 1.94 intake valves and the 153s used 1.72s..not sure of exhausts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  4. I have one of the 181's in my '32 roadster. Happy with it but wish I had left the B in (I must be getting old). The good thing is that you can always go back with this engine. There is a ton of data in the archives on this engine that you should read. After you have done your reading post again if you still have questions.

    Charlie Stephens
     

  5. 396skip
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 684

    396skip
    Member
    from MN

    I have a 181 in my 30 American Austin project.....with a "Special Don Groff Changeover"....should be done by spring.
     

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    29EHV8 likes this.
  6. I have some 153 Nova builder engines, including a freshly resurfaced flywheel. Would like to sell the lot.

    PM me if you want.

    Charlie
     
  7. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    could you mill the head to get more compression or would better pistons be better? would like to run 9:1 comp. , mercruiser big valve heads and a bigger cam.
     
  8. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,945

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    pretty sure that's what this one is...
     

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  9. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 965

    Joe H
    Member

    With the same bore as the 283, you might be able swap in flat top piston to raise the compression. Thats a easy swap on the 230 I6 or 307 V8 pistons for 250 I6. The fours probably use the same crank stroke.

    Joe
     
  10. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 498

    dawford
    Member

    I believe that the one that 49ratfink posted is the one that has the converted Chevy V8 head on it.

    If it is, that conversion is very good but also very complicated.

    Dick :) :) :)
    .
     
  11. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 498

    dawford
    Member

    The compression on the Mercruiser 181 is already over 9 to 1.

    Mercury Marine engineers have already rung a lot of Hp. out of the 181.

    Figure that if it was a V8 it would displace 362 cu/in and produce 280 Hp.

    That with an engine that is not cross flow.

    That is a lot of Hp. for that setup.

    The 181 generated 140 Hp with a 4600 rpm red line so I would guess that the engine would generate more at 5000 or 5500 rpm.

    These engines were run at way more than 6000 rpm in sprint cars with great success.

    Dick :) :) :)
    .
     
  12. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    I'm running a 153 in my 27 T Roadster and got right 11K miles on it now. Had delta cams grind me a 350/350 profile cam and running 2 Carter W-1s on it with a 17LB steel flywheel and a 5 speed. Turn 6000 + with stock valve train no prob. 153 comp was not much over 8 to1 and with the cam not much power below 2500 but boy does it like to rev. Car weighs 1800. Runs so good I'm to lazy to put the built 181 that is sitting in my front bedroom for the last 2 years. 181 is balanced,decked etc.,using 327 piston with about .025 off the top to get me a squish chamber of about .050. The head port sizes etc. are so different between 153 and 181 nothing will interchange. A friend of mine used a stock 153 with a PG in 28 PU and it move along OK.
     
  13. flyin-t
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,332

    flyin-t
    Member

    The 140 engines have a true 8 port head. The smaller ones, 90-110-120 hp, use the stock chevy car head with siamese ports.

    You can still buy manifolds, headers or flanges from Clifford.

    http://www.cliffordperformance.net/
     
  14. 1929CDAN
    Joined: Mar 18, 2006
    Posts: 345

    1929CDAN
    Member

    use the search and look for
    chevy ll 4 banger
     
  15. OoltewahSpeedShop
    Joined: Oct 18, 2007
    Posts: 3,103

    OoltewahSpeedShop
    Member

    Please show us more of this one.... That is definitely not a SBC head bolted to the top of a 181 block like the one above.
     
  16. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells
    Member

  17. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    just got two. a 120 hp and a 140hp complete with aluminum transum and boat stuff for 300.00. scrapped out some of the aluminum and paid for my gas money to go get them.
     

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  18. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    17dracing
    Member
    from Indiana

    Here is my intake and header on my 140 mercruiser thats in my 27 T sedan !
     

    Attached Files:

    29EHV8 likes this.
  19. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    how well do you like your 140hp mercruiser? about what gas mileage do you get?


     
  20. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    anyone else using a mercruiser 181?
     
  21. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,122

    Lobucrod
    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I am currently building a 37 chevy PU with a 153 and t5. got a ways to go on it. Heres a pic of the motor. Came out of a '70 postal jeep.
    [​IMG]
     
  22. I used one, with an automatic, in my 1940 Willys all door sedan back in the early 70's. When my car club drove from Baltimore to the NSRA Nats, I got twice the gas milage as the guys with V-8's. Only filled up every other gas stop.
     
  23. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    32coupedeville
    Member
    from cincy

    thanks for the input.


     
  24. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    17dracing
    Member
    from Indiana

    I had one in my 1927 T coupe ( 153 postal motor w/marine head ) and had tons of power and got great mpg .
     
  25. alsfarms
    Joined: Sep 7, 2010
    Posts: 35

    alsfarms
    Member
    from Utah

    I am in the middle of going a different direction. I have a 1947 Alvis (British) that would compete with the early Jag products. The original engine is gone so it is my goal to build an S-10 (Iron Duke) engine for it. I will however use the 3.0 Merc. marine engine crank. It is NOT a drop in, and does require modifications to fit. Then I need to play with pistons and rods, which I now have. It is my plan to use dual side draft Webers and a late model HEI unit, from a Fiero. Could I build something less expensive....YES. I just want to end up with something unusual, that resembles the original and yet runs good for the size. If anyone else has done the Iron Duke stroke thing, drop a note. Any of us that look at these 4 bangers must be a bit ringy.
    Alan
     
  26. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    17dracing
    Member
    from Indiana

    This is the 4 banger T coupe I built .
     

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  27. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 498

    dawford
    Member

    Hi,

    I posted a question on the other Chevy 4 cylinder 153/181 HAMB thread about how much overbore a 181 cu/in Chevy could safely take.

    I have not gotten a reply from any one.

    This engine is .030 over now but it has water damage to the bore that I think will require .040 to .050 re-bore to correct.

    I like to keep bores as small as possible so as to retain the ability to rebuild.

    I assume that I could have a sleeve installed but I don't think that the engine is going to be worth a rebuild that requires a sleeve.

    Anyway does anyone here have any experience with large over-bores on the 181 Chevy.

    OTHER THREAD:
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=256713&highlight=mercruiser

    Dick :) :) :)
    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  28. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    17dracing
    Member
    from Indiana

    Not sure about the 181 like is in my T sedan , but my 153 that was in my T coupe was .040 over . I will find out in a couple days , I have a buddy that builds tons of these lil' banger motors .
     
  29. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 498

    dawford
    Member

    32coupedeville,

    What are you planning to put the Chevy 4 in ?

    The 140 hp should generate 150 hp with the right intake and at 5500 rpm rather that the 140 hp at 4200/4600 rpm suggested for them by Mercury Marine for the boat.

    One of your Renault Dolphines would be a good candidate.

    In a 1433 lb Renault Dolphine they would be a screamer. The 55 hp racing engine that they had just would not do it today.

    Where are you finding the bodies to build them that are not rusted away.

    It has been said that you could actually hear then rusting. :D :D

    I like the Idea of a high hp small engine in a super light car.

    Anyway have fun with them.

    Dick :) :) :)
     
  30. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 498

    dawford
    Member

    Thanks 17dancing,

    That information will be valuable to me and to those who are looking to maximize the displacement.

    Dick :) :) :)
     

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