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Hot Rods The Pitfalls of the early Hemi

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hombre, Aug 15, 2019 at 11:09 PM.

  1. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have told this story more than once so I want go into "All" of the gory details but just a few. My chopped Model A sedan ( my avatar) was always intended to be Hemi powered. When I finally got the car ready for the road I had not had any luck finding a Hemi to build for this car. I did have a SBC setting in the shop that I got in a trade for a lot of stuff. That SB went in and has been a great engine and I have no complaints about it at all.

    The hunt for a Hemi went on and about a year after the car was driving I found one and close by to. In time after a little negotiating I bought that 392. It was a while before I got around to getting it apart and starting the rebuild. In the mean time I found another 392 and bought it as well so that is Hemi #2. I got Hemi #1 apart and was surprised at a lot of the stuff I found in this engine. It had a set of Jahns Pop up's in it and they were or at least looked brand new even though they had to be from the 60's. They were not marked so I assumed ( yea I know what assumed means) they were standard and counted myself lucky. While I am thinking about which of these two Hemi's I am going to build I buy a pretty nice 354 VT or truck engine Hemi #3, and then from another Hamber another 392 Hemi #4, and hell last week I bought yet another one of the damn things this one a 331 Hemi #5. No way I will ever get all of these into cars, but I cant seem to help myself with these Hemi's.

    I finally decided that I would build Hemi#1. For the most part it was a fresh engine, new cam, rod and main bearings. A solid lifter roller cam and lifters, crank was fresh too. Then I measured one of those pop-ups and damn they were 4.120 yea that motor had been bored .120. So I stop working on that motor and build Hemi#2. Half way thru the build I decided to make it a blown motor and I did that.

    IMG_3019 (Medium).JPG

    I finally had this motor built and ready to go into the Model A just need to finish up a little stuff and hopefully I will start it next week on a engine run in stand.

    So I decided to also put that .120 motor together. I had it setting on a engine stand in the shop and somehow moisture had gotten to two of the cylinders and they were damn bad.

    IMG_3346 (Medium).JPG

    I finally find a machinest ( and that was not an easy task) that was willing to sleeve those two cylinders and hone them to fit those pistons. So know I am ready to screw this motor together and I find myself not able to find Head Gaskets to fit a .120 392 Hemi. Help guys !!
     
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  2. john walker
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,054

    john walker
    Member

    Call Best Gasket in Washington. They may be able to make them.
     
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  3. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 22,402

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

  4. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 892

    392
    Member

    Another vote for best.
     
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  5. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,239

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

  6. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 698

    Truckdoctor Andy
    Member

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  7. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,440

    mcmopar
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Strum, wi

    Cometic gaskets and be done with it, they make them for everything just give them the dimensions.
    Tony
     
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  8. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,984

    belair
    Member

    It's hard to feel sorry for a guy with 5 hemis.;)
     
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  9. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,701

    manyolcars

    At .120 it might be a good idea to sleeve it to standard
     
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  10. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 583

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Another vote for cometic, they make good stuff. I hope you sonic checked the cylinder wall thickness that .120 over block
     
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  11. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,266

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    Welcome to the club. I think all of us that are hooked on these buy more than we can use. The good side to this is that the ones we don't use are being saved for future others that get hooked after us.
     
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  12. Considering that some of these blocks were known to have core shift problems, and as previously stated, with a .120 overbore I wouldn't do anything else until I had the thing sonic tested. If you're on thin ice you probably better sleeve 'em all.
     
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  13. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I want to thank everyone that responded with an idea about a source for these gaskets. I had contacted Best gaskets a few weeks ago, they never replied to any of my inquiry's and I even called them twice and they never got back to me.

    I sent Egge a message late last night, I should have thought of them myself, as I do have some of there parts in there already. The responded back early today saying no problem we can do that, and furnished me a price and a delivery date. Good for them by the way.

    Cometic, I did visit there web-site and they do list a few over bore head gaskets sizes for the 392 up to .160 over, so that is another option. Thanks for the suggestion.

    I also want to address some of you guys other thoughts.

    I did look into sleeving the block back to standard, problem was no machine shop would do that and I talked to over a dozen machine shops within a 1,000 miles of me here. Even contacted of all people Big Daddy Don Garlets at his museum and asked him if he knew of anyone. In every case they all said that sleeving all eight cylinders will distort the block so much as it would be useless.


    I did sonic check this block and was pretty much convinced it was going to be junk. All cylinders were checked in a minimum of 12 places, the smallest average of all of the cylinders was .217 the largest of all of the cylinders was .221. I then reached out to the guys here on this board and to several High Performance engine builders. In each case they said the minimum they would use was .160 and would much prefer a cylinder thickness of .180.

    Guys because this is a Chrysler early Hemi, and in our world a legendary engine at least to some of us, I am trying my best to save this engine and not just throw it away. I am an old Retired Military guy and do not have ton's of money the bill for sleeving this block and there was some more work on the pistons and stuff is a little hard to take. Made me ask myself the question " Do you really want to do this?" In the end the answer was easy "Yea I do" this engine will not ever be rebuilt again if it needs it, it is gone as far as it can go. But until that day it's going to be running down the road and making some folks smile.

    Thanks again folks... Roland
     
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  14. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 718

    34Larry
    Member

    Hey guys I've not been edumacated on this "sonic" thing you talk of. I have a 55 331, and while I think that means Hemi's will go sonic,........ (like in aircraft) some how I think your talking about something else. :rolleyes: What's the meaning of "sonic"? Are you speaking to ultra-sounding the block for cracks?
     
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  15. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    DA9B4AD4-281D-4D3F-B2A1-0C8FB3D988F1.jpeg I get it, it’s an addiction. Once I put a nailhead into a hot rod I can’t think of using anything else. Then I had to devise of a way to get them out of the way! Four of them are not pictured....
     
  16. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 583

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    So it passed the sonic test with thickness to spare, that's awesome! I'd build it.
     
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  17. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Larry to answer your question. Sonic checking measures the thickness of the block at and inside the cylinder. Has nothing to do with cracks, that is another complete deal that's needs to be checked as well.
     
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  18. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Steve, I must say that sadly I totally understand your feelings about Nail Heads as well. They to me are another iconic Hot Rod engine. While the Hemi's hold a special place for me, I find myself scanning the classifieds and CL all the time for Nail Heads. Hemi's are an expensive engine to build, Nail Heads are right there with them probably not six cents difference in the cost. I want one and I am just hoping I don't find one anytime soon.

    Now with that said----Want to sell one of your's?
     
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  19. In case the Cometic doesn't work out, get solid copper gaskets and have the machine shop enlarge the bores. On 120 over block, I wouldn't go over 9-1 comp and I sure wouldn't put a blower on it. From what I have seen, it costs too much money to get aggressive on one and lose your complete investment. I ran those on blown fuel and alky. Broken cylinders and broken main webs is the rest of the story.
     
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  20. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for those comments. This engine will "NOT" get a blower that's for sure, hell paying for one of those things is tough enough. It will see a pretty easy life to tell the truth. I do have a 6 Stromberg manifold that it will get and the compression ratio is kinda set and a lot more than 9.1 I am sad to say. I have ordered the gaskets from Egge and have ordered them .085 thick to help with those pop-up pistons. IMG_2848 (Small).JPG
     
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  21. HuskerNation
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 183

    HuskerNation
    Member
    from Montana

    Wow, I don’t know how you guys find those Hemi’s, Nailheads, etc. I have been looking for years to find an older Hemi and can’t find a thing. Heck I’ve even looked at buying whole cars just to get one. I guess that’s the problem with living in the middle of nowhere (Montana) there’s nothing here!


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  22. Cometic gaskets are available to at least .0125 thick for the 392, just in case .085 doesn't knock the compression down enough.
     
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  23. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 786

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You have to really want one, be ready to travel or pay shipping prices. My blown motor came from new Jersey that's quite a road trip from Alabama. The 331 and one of the other 392's came from over 1,000 miles away. The only time I didn't have to drive for two or three days was the .120 over motor, it was only 30 miles, and the 354 it was in lower Tennessee.

    I am always surprised at how many early Hemi's are out there. Think about it, almost every old dragster from the 50's and 60's had one, and all of those cats had spares as well. Just look around here on the HAMB and it is amazing how many street cars have one of them. Don Garlets museum man they are stacked around that place like cord wood. I mean how many of the damn things could there possible be? Chrysler was never the # 1 selling car, 392's were only available for two years, how many of those cars could they possible of built? This well has to go dry at some point in time you would think...
     
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