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Technical MOTOR, The other guys' small block...MOPAR!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fat Hack, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    Okay, since I did a post on 305 Chevys and small block Fords, I will devote equal effort to the ever-faithfull Mopar maniacs out there in HAMB-Land! Plentiful and cheap to score, the 'LA' engine, or small block Mopar, represents a real bargain to those seeking alternative power for their low buck, home-built hot rod!

    I'm going to make a bold suggestion here, based on my personal experience and observations. If you're going to dive into a Mopar small block, you will be best off to start with a 360 cubich inch variant. Yes, the 318 and 273 can be made to run well, but the 360 has the better heads and more cubes to begin with...not to mention, there are thousands of them out there in larger cars and trucks built through the 70s and into the 80s! The 340 is a legendary performer in it's own right, but it was only offered as a performance engine in selected models, and thus...it is harder to find and a little more expensive as a result. Still, if you can score one cheap enough...the 340 is a strong runner!

    The 360 Mopar isn't as light as it's Chevy and Ford companions, but it's not a monster, either. They tend to fit pretty well in most chassis designs, and share some superficial characteristics with the Chevy mills...as far as the distributor being in back, the basic layout and such. The oil filters are usually angled, and they can use the small block Ford longer FL1A style filter if there is room. The starter is on the driver's side and is the famous Chrysler gear-reduction type. Headers resemble small block Chevy offerings with the center two cylinders together, but they will not interchange with Chevy units!

    On to making some more power! Chrysler always had an excellent factory performance parts program, and there are some great street/strip cam grinds available through them for your little Mopar. The "purple" cams and the 340 four barrel spec cams make dynamite hydraulic choices for the typical street engine. In addition, the Isky Mega Cams are available for small block Mopars, and Edelbrock offers several optional cam kits engineered to work with their intake manifolds, too. Keep the duration @.050" lift specs at or below 224 degrees, and you'll be okay!

    Mopar engines use non-adjustable shaft-mounted rocker arms from the factory. This set-up will work fine with most mild hydraulic cams, but if you're drifting into more radical specs, you may have to look into adjustable pushrods or aftermarket rocker arms. Just a thought. I'd stick with a mild grind and just torque the shafts per spec.

    Mopar 360s LOVE the basic Edelbrock Performer and Performer RPM intake manifolds! I had an older version of the Performer on a big 1974 Roadrunner, and it hauled ass...with a stock cam and duals with no headers! The single plane Torker 340 works okay, too...at the cost of some low rpm torque. The Torker might be a good choice for a lighter car with more gear, but the Performer RPM is probably better for the majority of mild rods out there.

    The factory "six pack" induction systems really rock on a small Mopar...and if you can afford to go that way...it's a dynamite way to make power and look cool, too! Dual quad tunnel rams also seem to work very well on Mopar small blocks. From what I've read and seen people use, two 450 or 600cfm Holleys run strong on an Edelbrock tunnel ram with a decent cam and headers. Surprisingly, torque and midrange power levels actually seem to be boosted on a tunnel rammed 360, in addition to upper rpm power! That might make for a cool visual and performance upgrade if running a small block Chrysler in a rod where the engine is fully exposed. They will run on a stock engine with bolt-on speed parts, but don't push a stock 360 short block much over 5500-6000 rpm!

    For carb choices on a single four barrel engine, I like the Holley 750cfm vacuum secondaries as a balance between power and economy. Lighten up the secondary spring and give it a little healthier pump shot to really make the 360 go! Also, a properly built and dialed in Thermoquad works wonders on a 360! They kind of have a bad image, but that comes mainly from confusion and lack of knowledge. They DO work great, but are not as familiar to the masses as the Holley is. I'm so used to tuning Holleys that I tend to put them on everything...but if you have a Thermoquad, you may want to give it a whirl before pitching it!

    The Chrysler electronic ignition systems for small block Mopars is really hard to beat. You can get all of the components by buying the electronic ignition conversion kit right from Mopar through your dealer or speed shop. You'll get a brand new distributor, an electronic ignition control module, the proper ballast resistor, and the wiring you'll need. Nothing wrong with points distributors...but the factory Mopar dizzies had a habit of freezing up the advance units and running like crap! For my money, I go with the whole conversion kit! There are three different performance modules for the Chrysler electronic ignition....orange, chrome and gold. The orange box is the best all-around choice for most rods, with the chrome box being a slightly hotter upgrade. The gold box is a racing oriented unit. Use the orange or chrome one for your street/strip Mopar.

    Be aware of the fact that there are different ohms ratings on Chrsler ballast resistors! Use the right one for your set-up...either for a points style distributor, or an electronic one. That's another advantage of buying the conversion kit...you get all the right components in one handy package!

    From there, a good set of headers is all you'll really need to round out a budget-built 360 Mopar! Run one of these engines in a T-bucket or a Model A, and you'll have an interesting alternative to the typical small Chevy. Carefull shopping can yield you one of these engines for next to nothing...just buy a rusty old van or big ol' Chrysler land yacht and you have a source for other incidentals as well as your engine!

    A word on trannys....there are 727 Torqueflites available with the small block Chrysler bolt pattern, but personally I'd recommend the lighter and cheaper 904 trans. It's not as beefy as a 727, but it also takes far less power to operate and works very well with a shift kit and slightly looser converter. In a light car such as your typical hot rod coupe or roadster, it's all the trans you'll need. Be very carefull to insure that you set the throttle valve adjustment correctly, though...or you'll waste the tranny faster than shit! The 'kickdown cable' as most folks call it is essential to proper operation and long life on a Chrysler auto tranny. You can eliminate the need for it by going to a full manual valve body, but that's beyond reasonable for a low buck rod. If you're going to go full manual, run a stick shift!

    In closing, the rock solid 360 Mopar engine will run strong and provide you with relaible power for a relatively low investment. They are still easy to find and service parts are available at any auto parts store. Consider one for your next low buck hot rod project...those die-hard Mopar fanatics out there will love you for it...and you'll dig being different while burning rubber!

     
  2. Very coool, Fat Hack... that's a lot of good information I'll save up on. An old man with a lot of old parts we gave me and my buddies in trade for some work(Hence all those windshields and fenders) also had a few engines he didn't want laying around. MY friend got a complete 455 Olds, but he gave me what I wanted... a Mopar 440, complete with a Holley double pumper and Weilend finned valve covers. I'm not sure if the motor is stock, but I'll find out soon. This would definatly be sweet for a roadster down the line. How much you know about the big blocks?
     
  3. daddylama
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 930

    daddylama
    Member

    glad to see someone happy with small block mopars lately!
    i agree that the 360 is the best choice, but if you come across a 318... they can be made to run hard very easily, as well. Hot Rod recently did a 400+HP build on a 318, that would not be out of reach for many budget rodders...
     
  4. brewsir
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,279

    brewsir
    Member

    I went from a mild 318 to a stock 360 with a edlebrock intake and stock exhaust....damn thing kicks butt over the old 318. Thanks for the tips!
     
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  5. fatluckys
    Joined: Jan 3, 2002
    Posts: 721

    fatluckys
    Member

    Thanks for the info. I swear I'm not a Mopar guy on purpose, but I've somehow gotten myself a collection of 'em.
    There's a 69 Coronet wagon with a 383, 54 Plymouth flat 6, 49 Plymouth slant 6, I'm collecting parts for a 1919 Dodge modified with a hopped up flat 6, and it looks like I might be getting a 54 Dodge truck with a 318. Sounds like I should find a 360 if I get the truck. [​IMG]
     
  6. FEDER
    Joined: Jan 5, 2003
    Posts: 1,269

    FEDER
    Member

    Ive got a 89 police 318 in my 73 Dodge 3/4 pickup.It tows My racecar at 60 NO problem and gets 16 to 18 mpg always.Took it to the Mopar drags made it to the quarters with 15.90 to 16.01 ets.The key is the cyl heads. 360 swirlports are the best choice for the smallblock.You can buy brand new ones complete ready to bolt on for 500.00.You can spend that on getting a set redone.I religously change the oil twice a year and beat the shit out of it.It NEVER misses a beat.--FEDER
     
  7. If'n you can find one, the old Edelbrock LD340 is THE intake to have on an LA Chrysler.
     
  8. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    That's what was on my Roadrunner 360, with a Thermoquad on top of it, 727 trans and 3.90 gears...it was a real beast for such a BIG car! I'd love to have that old motor in a 3 window 32 or something!!

     
  9. Outcast StL
    Joined: Oct 19, 2002
    Posts: 15

    Outcast StL
    Member

    Hey Fatlucky , what is your '54 ? I have a '54 Belvedere more door that I've been sitting on for about 3 years now. It has a 218 flathead 6 in it with a 3 on the tree. Damn car is too complete and in running order so I haven't had the mind to start hacking on it yet. I've been looking for an old '50's to late '60's wagon to make a cruiser out of so I haven't taken on the task of the Belvedere. I'm having enough fun with my 318 powered '68 Charger to keep me grreasy for a while [​IMG]
     
  10. Cool info FH. Is that mainly out of your head or did you do a little research too?

    Don't s'pose there's any chance you could do one on the AMC V8s? [​IMG]
     
  11. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    Most of the info is just stored in my head! (gotta keep SOMETHING in there, eh? [​IMG])

    I'd have to look up specific items such as part numbers and cam specs, but the rest is locked in from personal experience, observation and what I've learned in my two decades of tinkering with cars! I've had more Chevys and Fords than anything else, but a few Mopars and one AMC, too! I happen to be an AMC fan, though...so you'll get your wish!

    Thanks for the feedback, people! Good to know the info is appreciated!

     
  12. 46mopar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2002
    Posts: 1,005

    46mopar
    Member

    2 years ago I helped my cousin with his drag car a 67 Dart he was on a tight bugget so most of his stuff is 2nd hand its 318 with a mopar cam 904 trans 8 1/4 rear 4.56 gears. We had no idea what it would do but 12.80s in 1/4 ain't bad for used stuff.
     
  13. moparrodder
    Joined: Sep 23, 2003
    Posts: 55

    moparrodder
    Member

    Hey Fat Hack!! Thanks for the super info, I'll use it wisely!! Bill [​IMG]
     
  14. fatluckys
    Joined: Jan 3, 2002
    Posts: 721

    fatluckys
    Member

    Outcast- I've got a lowly plaza, one of the least desirable cars to come out in 54. I like it though. Don't have any current pics, but here's an old one lifted off the net
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Outcast StL
    Joined: Oct 19, 2002
    Posts: 15

    Outcast StL
    Member

    I wouldn't exactly call it least desirable man , she looks good. Here is a pic of my Belvedere as it looks today just like it did 3yrs ago [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,230

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    SIGH.....
    I'd give up ALL my Chevy stuff for a single little 340 Chrysler engine! What a hot little performer.
    I grew up around those cars...dad managed the local dealership in those days! I was driven back and forth to high school in a brand new, Black on black, dog dish hubcapped, 340/4 spd DEMON on a regular basis! My neighbors boyfriend had a 440 Daytona wing car...her brother had a 340 Swinger! Dad had a Coronet R/T with the "Power Bulge" hood... My street had more Chrysler muscle than the dealership!
    Just up the road a guy had a (gulp!) white HEMI Charger!!!
    340 six pacs...440 six pacs...wicked little Challengers with pistol grip 4 speeds...Ooohhhhh man.
    I'm a closet Chrysler geek...NO doubt about it!

    Chevy rules, Chevy rules, chevy rules....
    Ok, I'm not hyperventilating anymore...

    I'll be OK.

    Where the hell did all those cars go I wonder??? My friend Dave ended up with the HEMI Charger but the rest are lost...to me anyway. Hmmmm.... weird.
    Bill
     
  17. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    Some kid I met up at the local cruise joint has a disassembled 340 Mopar in his garage. He got it for free and wants to build a Ford motor...I've been trying to track him down again to nab that 340 from him!

    If I get ahold of it, I'll let y'all know. I'd like to build a Mopar powered ride one day, but I got other irons in the fire now...so I'll sell it to a HAMBer if I score it!

     
  18. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,230

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    Hack...
    Your young friend is nuts. [​IMG]

    Bill
     
  19. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    He's a kid...17 years old! He's into motorcycles and the engine was given to him by another kid who didn't know what to do with it! He wants to build a Ford V8 for a low buck project. He told me that he'd give the 340 up if someone wanted it, but I haven't seen him around the past few weeks...he talked about maybe taking a job down in Tenessee...hope he hasn't left yet!
     
  20. I`ve got a 360 in my `68 dart. I paid $200 for the motor out of a dodge van. I just ported the heads my self, Put a mopar 509 cam in it and edelbrock LD340 and it went a 12.94@ 107mph!! -not bad for a spray bomb rebuild.
     
  21. fatluckys
    Joined: Jan 3, 2002
    Posts: 721

    fatluckys
    Member

    So... How can I tell if I'm looking at a 318 or a 360? or a 340?? Can you tell 'em apart on the outside?
     
  22. Fatluckys, 273,318,340`s and 360`s all look identical on the outside but the displacement and casting date are cast into the side of the block.
     
  23. dixiedog
    Joined: Mar 20, 2002
    Posts: 1,205

    dixiedog
    Member

    When i was a kid mom had a 78 Cordoba with a 360 & thermoquad in it (no Corinthian leather). The only fits I had with it was constantly replacing the leaky rocker cover gaskets [​IMG] .I put that car thru the ringer a couple of times and it never missed a beat.
     
  24. plmczy
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 2,408

    plmczy
    Member


    another source of info would be the Mopar Performance Engine book. I have the 8th edition and it gives you info on what parts to use for different time brackets. I think there was a section for hot rods also. later plmczy
     
  25. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,645

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    I can't believe this post somehow missed out on making it to the Tech-o-Matic with the SBF, 305 and Saginaw posts. I'm bumping it up to the top in order to add it to my favorites and in the hopes that it gets moved. Re-reading the part about the Throttle Valve cable makes me worry about my Mom's '73 Javelin with the 727 Torque-Commander behind the AMC 360. When we reinstalled the engine the powerband had moved so we think it needs a different converter and to have the upshift linkage modified (it shifts too early) but now I'm wondering...
     
  26. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    Ha Ha...I'd almost FORGOTTEN about this post! [​IMG]

    To set your throttle valve the correct way, you need to use a gauge to set the line pressure to spec. I'm not a tranny guy, so I've always gotten mine to work well by setting them up so that the link on the carb is positioned in the middle of the slot on the carb end of the cable.

    (I needed to know how to adjust it on my old Roadrunner, so I looked at a BUNCH of Mopar small block pictures in magazines and almost every one of them was set like I mentioned above with the engine off! Simple, perhaps...but it got me by!!)

    I'd still recommend having a pro set it with a gauge, though...just to be sure! Running too much or too little line pressure at the wrong throttle settings gets you the chore of swapping in a new tranny pretty quick...as I've learned from experience!!

     
  27. What about us late Buick guys?

    All three of us would like to see some Buick stuff... [​IMG]
     
  28. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    Member
    from Detroit

    Check out the newest issue of CAR CRAFT (Red Chevy II on the cover)

    They do a 400hp 318 Mopar build-up that's pretty basic using off-the-shelf parts and some simple machine work to rebuild their tired 318 into a respectable mill.

    Also an article on Throttle Valves and adjusting them.

     
  29. gettingreasy
    Joined: Sep 21, 2002
    Posts: 817

    gettingreasy
    Member

    Does anyone have a SBM and tranny layin around, I need one for my Valient that wants to become a Super Stocker. i got a ford motor for anyone that has one [​IMG] .
    -Jesse
     

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