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Technical What to look for in a hemi?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bryanyeskie, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. bryanyeskie
    Joined: Jun 13, 2016
    Posts: 157

    bryanyeskie
    Member
    from Hixton

    so I may be looking at a early hemi this weekend what should I look for? It's a non runner. Are they known to crack? Owner is willing to open it up so he/she isn't really going to be hiding anything.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,523

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What is it? Desoto? Red Ram?
     
    bryanyeskie likes this.
  3. Look for a place to put money:D.
     
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  4. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,742

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Look for the same stuff you would in an engine that is not a hemi. Cracks, rust, ridge at the top of the cylinders, scored crank journals if the seller is willing to take it down that far.
     
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  5. bryanyeskie
    Joined: Jun 13, 2016
    Posts: 157

    bryanyeskie
    Member
    from Hixton

    It's a desoto 330. I guess I should have said specifically to hemis. Like do they crack in a weird spot that others engines don't?

    I'm not,sure how far he's willing to take it apart he said he might be willing to pull the heads. However I can use our cylinder scope if it's available.
     
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  6. If it hasn't set with water and froze or been run supercharged, cracking is not common. If it was high mileage, it will be wore out everywhere. I hear a minimum of 4 grand on overhaul bills frequently. Do research about the Desoto parts availability because they don't share bore and stroke with Dodge and Chrysler. The bushings in the rocker arms can be wore and maybe have ruined the shafts. Research if a trans adapter is made to connect to what ever trans you wish to use.
     
    nochop likes this.
  7. Desota's are by themselves in the Hemi world....not much of any thing interchanges....
     
  8. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,250

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    A Chrysler 331, 354, or a 392.
     
  9. farmer12
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 7,718

    farmer12
    Member

    Awesome engines. But.....start looking for a big bag of money around the house somewhere. Trust me, I should know....
     
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  10. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 988

    deucemac
    Member

    I hunted for over a year to find a Desoto hemi with no luck. I eventually settled on a 354 that came out of a 1958 2 1/2 ton Dodge truck. In looking back I am glad I couldn't find that Desoto. From 276 up through 345, very little speed equipment was ever made for Desoto. Aĺl hemis are made of unobtainium and are costly to build. Add the rarity of Desoto speed parts makes the 331, 354, and 392 Chrysler a much better choice.plus 331 and 354 engines were used in industrial, marine, and heavy duty truck applications so more are still available. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  11. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 3,239

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    I had a 291 DeSoto hemi in my 40 Plymouth coupe and bought parts off of Hothead Hemis . Kantor Brothers has engine parts and there are aftermarket pistons, cams and whatnot.
     
  12. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 937

    392
    Member

    First would be what it is. Then attack like any other mill. Stored outside, inside, turns over, etc....
     
  13. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,330

    sunbeam
    Member

  14. Hemihead_NHRA
    Joined: Dec 2, 2017
    Posts: 63

    Hemihead_NHRA

    when you got those pistons from kanter what compression were they? and were they domed, im currently in the build of my 291 and was shopping around for pistons, and i know that ross racing makes a set of 10-1's if you call and talk to them, but id like to see if i have more options. Also, did you regrind your stock cam or could you get a new core for it cause ive heard you can only regrind due to the lack of the cores being available
     
  15. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,742

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  16. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 861

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    Pass if its a desoto. Chrysler 1st, then perhaps a dodge
     
  17. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 3,239

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    My Hemi was a great running engine so no rebuild needed. I was fortunate. Only thing it ever needed was a water pump and valve cover gaskets. But Hot head Hemis, Egge and Kantor Brothers have engine rebuild kits. I was just trying to give you some leads. Sure parts cost more but ultimately the cool factor is the fun part.
     
  18. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,230

    73RR
    Member

    Buyer beware...and afraid...........................at 3.875 these will be 0.095 oversize in a 341.

    I sincerely doubt that there has ever been a 341 block that would go that far and not ventilate all eight holes.
    These pistons are obviously an order mistake.

    That said, the DeSoto is a great engine and will cost just as much to rebuild as most other 50's engines. We are currently finishing up a 330 and it will exceed $5k so budget accordingly. We started with a 341 block and it was 'thin' at 0.040 and still not clean enough to use....

    .
     
  19. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 863

    34Larry
    Member

    When looking for mine,( '55 331 Chrysler) I was cautioned about the bellhousing being cast with the block). This is not as in depth as others here but it can be important when considering the trans/adapter.
     
  20. silent rick
    Joined: Nov 7, 2002
    Posts: 3,885

    silent rick
    Member

    i doubt if desotos ever were but hemis were used in marine applications and might have seen salt water. if they sat without being flushed, you might find excessive corrosion in the water passages.
     
  21. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,523

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Don't get nertz'd by the nattering nabobs of negativity in the neighborhood. :cool: I just bought, dirt cheap, a S23 330 Desoto. Hot Heads has everything you need to build quite a little monster out of it. The pistons are the worst part, if you are upping the ratio (I went to 10:1) you will pay $1000 for the custom Ross slugs. I had to go .30 to clean her up, tank, line hone, cam bearings, polish crank, balancing, etc. I got a new gasket set with the hemi. Heads were fresh rebuilds, new valves so I got a deal there. $3000 in parts and machine work on the block, including the pistons. That includes assembly of the long block. Not horrible.

    Hot heads supplied the oil pump, timing cover (mine was missing), SBC water pump that fits their cover, dampener, flex plate, spacer for flex plate, trans adapter for A518 4 speed auto, MSD distributor, ARP bolts, pulleys, alt bracket,...seriously they have everything in the world for the Desoto including a cast 4 bbl manifold, EFI and a new manifold I am waiting to see that is adaptable to dual 4's.

    I figure I will have 6k invested total in the HEMI with intake and carb(s). And that is chromed, polished and knocking on the 400 hp door. SBC is cheaper but you can't put dollar value on cool. Unless you are my wife and you look at all the receipts. :rolleyes:
     
  22. bryanyeskie
    Joined: Jun 13, 2016
    Posts: 157

    bryanyeskie
    Member
    from Hixton

    Well I'm still going to look at it. I'm not to scared to spend money. All I know is that it was pulled out of a car and the owner of the car used the intake off it and everything else is there. Pictures show it in a shed. So as far as I can say is that it has been in a car then a shed and most the parts are there. If I do end up with it I don't really plan on making a 4-500 hp monster I'm going to put it in a A. All I really want is to dress it up and drive it after all it's a hemi what's cooler then that? If I don't buy it I already have 2 flatheads one runner that has been gone through and the other is a builder. With then we all know they aren't cheap either. I'd also like to dress the runner flathead but then again it runs I have 3 trans options for it a 4 speed 3 speed overdrive and a non traditional c4 auto. But then again I have a second a chassis with clear numbers that I would like to build to.... Options options options...what to do.

    Also with either engine I would have a professional do the majority of the work. I'm not a engine builder I can make them run and stay running but as far as the building and the tolerance Es I'll let the guys and gals that build em for a living do that stuff.
    So who knows if I get it I get it if not like I said I'll build what I have and for get about it but I'll still go look at it and go from there.
     
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  23. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,523

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The engine ID numbers are located on the front of the engine above the timing cover and in-front of the intake.
    S21 and S22 are short deck blocks
    S23, like mine, is a 4 bbl, tall deck
    S24 is a tall deck and dual 4's.
    Check em out and happy hunting.
     
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  24. Hemihead_NHRA
    Joined: Dec 2, 2017
    Posts: 63

    Hemihead_NHRA

    Although thats part of the issue you’re talking about a 330 not a 291, plus i had my block milled pretty much for free because their shop caught on fire and my block had minor surface rust so they are paying for the block so thats a + only issue is the pistons, i dont really want to spend nor have the $ to get those ross pistons- is there somewhere else that makes 10-1s thats cheaper?[​IMG]
    Mines the one on the right, and it wasn’t bad like to one on the left.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  25. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,523

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ross is even cheaper than what I bought by 75 bucks. Ill have to find my receipt to tell you the name but the machinist says I best off spending the extra, something to do with them using chevy pins or something. tell you the truth I was thinking more about the money than the explanation. He is the pro, I just pay the bills.
     
  26. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,543

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    Here are 3 near me for sale
    Might help ya with pricing
    9CB2BF3F-692D-4057-8033-CAA112DA2997.png 3B667B04-CC3D-4AD1-8B2E-848583C51A31.png DAF833C3-2C9E-4EF6-80CD-6F516DAFF007.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  27. kyotb8
    Joined: Aug 19, 2011
    Posts: 56

    kyotb8
    Member

    Well, I decided I wanted a hemi for my pickup and started looking around a few years ago. Passed on a 392 just rebuilt but it was $6000, and I didn't have the money. So I found a core 330 Desoto for $600. Spent $5000 or so on it without the intake or carbs . Found an original 2X4 intake with carbs for $1000. Should have got the 392 !!! Also, the cam was wiped in the 330, but my engine guy sent it somewhere in Illinois and got it redone. Moral of the story...Buy the Chrysler if you can find it !!!

    I



    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
     
  28. 402BOSSMAN
    Joined: Jul 26, 2015
    Posts: 313

    402BOSSMAN
    Member

    Tall Deck Desoto heads are prone to cracking between the intake and exhaust seats for some reason. I have 2 Desoto Projects here in my shop and it was a struggle to find good castings to move forward with.
     
  29. bryanyeskie
    Joined: Jun 13, 2016
    Posts: 157

    bryanyeskie
    Member
    from Hixton

    So I did get the hemi it's a s23. I pulled the heads no all looks real good to be honest with you the only thing I see is that someone jacked one yes one piston and rod. Big deal no not really I planed for some surprises. The bores have a little rust no pitting I wd40ed them and wiped most out with paper towels. Maybe a good hone? No markings on the Pistons to indicate a bore no cracks that I can see with the naked eye. Over all I'm happy. It looks in my opinion worth building.
     
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  30. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,077

    Beanscoot
    Member

    In answer to the original question, an additional check when buying an old engine is that it have all the correct main bearing caps.
     

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