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Old 09-29-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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440 Build Questions

Hello, I recently purchased a 440 out of a 1980 RV that I intend to put into a 1975 Dodge Monaco. I'm looking to build it up performance wise but my main concerns are that it has to still fit under the stock hood, and I wan decent gas mileage. Nothing too crazy, like around 10 mpg is good for me. And it has to run on 87. I want a mild cam. The motor has 452 heads so I'm going to stick with them and maybe have them ported. I'm just wondering what some of you would recommend for a mild cam/lifter set, and any other parts that you would recommend to replace in the heads.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:28 AM   #2
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Lunati VooDoo 60302 , makes goood vacuum for powerbrakes & good power too . I would port the heads as long as you know what to do & do not make the flow worse . you will need to increase the compression as it will be approx 7.8 :1 now . or better yet for a few more $$ you can add a 440 source stroker kit & take it up to 512 CI which will make a lot of torque & still get decent milage , I built one that is getting around 18 MPG
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:29 AM   #3
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That sounds like a pretty badass setup. Unfortunately, I'm building a bluesmobile, so no stroking. It has to be a 440. Also, I have no clue on what to ask for in porting heads, can anyone give me an idea of what to ask for? And what all will I need to bring to the machine shop after the motor is disassembled? I'm planning on taking this motor down to it's bare block and only bringing the machinist what he'll need...
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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Based on your recommendation I did some mild research and came down to considering a few different options. I think I want an lobe separation angle of between 110 and 112, and narrowed it down to the Lunati 10230702LK, the edelbrock EDL-7194, and the Comp Cams CL21-670-4. Anyone have any experience or input on these cams, or any other suggestions? I still don't know exactly what the lift durations mean in terms of what I'm trying to accomplish, all I know is 110-122 seems to be a milder cam without too lopey of a sound...
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:35 PM   #5
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Keep the crank and have it polished or turned .010 if need be. You can recondition the rods. Find you a nice flat tappet hydraulic cam around .480 to .488 lift. Buy you some Kieth Black 237 pistons that will put you at the 9.5:1 compression ratio.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:49 PM   #6
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Based on some info from other forums I've changed up my choices a bit. In order I'm looking at the Lunati 10230702LK, the Summit SUM-K6401, Com Cams CL21-306-4, and Mopar Performance P4286677. I hadn't even considered pistons yet. How much is that going to effect my cam choice? And if it's possible, would it be bad to keep the stock pistons?
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:06 PM   #7
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If you are gathering information for your build I suggest looking at pistons first. It is the number one of the big three to engine building, Compression.

Decide your compression first, finalize head choice and flow, only then start looking at cams then manifolds last.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Well I guess the process is a lot different than I previously expected. I was under the impression I was going to have everything picked out and take the cam/lifters/valves/heads/block/crank/and pistons and all at once have a machine shop acid dip/clean/and port the heads and do what needed to be done. So back to step one, strip the block, have it cleaned and honed and go from there...
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #9
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Buy your pistons before you take it to the machine shop. They will need them to bore and hone the cylinders to fit them. Also have to consider piston to valve clearance. May need pistons with valve reliefs depending on cam choice.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:51 PM   #10
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Don't buy your pistons until your block is on the boring machine. The machinist can't determine what the cylinders will clean up to until he gets it on the boring machine. He only needs the pistons to hone the cylinders for the proper piston to cylinder wall clearance.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:03 AM   #11
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440 build up

20 years ago I built a 440 for 1977 D-100 2wd.all stock componets except for the Cam shaft and lifters which I got from Howards Cams when they were still in California. 274 degree duration intake and exhaust with .480 lift and 110 deg CL. sorta of a cross between a 6 pack and a Hemi Grind. 1969 flat top cast pistons, didnt even have it balanced.906 heads with .020 shaved off and good valve giude seals, no porting or gasket matching I found a older 780 holley Vacum secondary carb and bolted on a cast Iron 4bbl intake,Headers 2-1/2" exhaust. I rebuilt a 727 trans with a Transgo stage 2 shift kit and a torque convertor for 1968 cuda with a 340,changed the rear end to 8-3/4 with a 3:55 gear.Turned a 13.20 at the local track with open headers.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #12
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It is absolutly critical that all the components match Rpm band , so you need to decide what rpm the engine will be used at most of the time , you need to have intake, cam , torque converter & gearing all figured out so everything is working together at the same time .
you also need to figure out wwhat you are building , for very little more $$ you can buy a new stroker kit for the 440 & take it out to 512 CI or bigger .
Start with the block , see where the bores will clean up at & order the pistons accordingly . then work on compression ratio , if you are using Alum heads & or quench where the piston is .040 - .060 from the head with a closed chamber the compression ratio can be higher pushing mid 10:1 & higher with Alum & mid 10:1 with proper quench .
My preference is towards the Mopar specific Lunati grinds , Crower has some good ones as well . The Mopar cams were designed about 30 years ago & Comp generally leaves power on the table that could be had with better grinds
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:56 PM   #13
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I am a Comp cams fan, If I was going to run a stock coverter and gears, in a sled that big I would run CL-21-221-4.. Your biggest problem is you want to run 87 oct.. Most of your performance just went out of the window.. Your cheapest horsepower is compression..
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #14
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Ah... The build question... So many decisions.... ALL GOOD ONES..

Your build is getting more common these days. Exotics parts and temperamental builds for the street are getting a pass.

Your machinist will have access to stock replacement pistons which will be fine for what you are doing. You can NOT machine a block without the piston in hand. Why? Every manufacturer has its specs for expansion for the piston.

Bring him or her your heads to check CC and tell them to reuse the rods, check the crank, measure the mains and spec you a bearing. That puts the math in their hands and will take some worry's off the table at assembly time.

The benefit to having the shop pick the piston is that they can dial in your CR with a combination of piston, machining the deck and milling the heads.

Now that Piston is done, just RR the heads and pic a cam. Heads and cam for your build should come at the same time as your springs fit the cam and you need to know some critical measurements on the heads.

If you are on a show string budget reuse the cam you have and spend the money on headers. This is a heavy car and you want 87 octane after all....
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:40 AM   #15
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Wow, haven't benn on here in a while and got some good replies. I have no intention of buying new heads and would like to use 452's as long as there isn't anything wrong hiding in them before clean up. Unfortunately I'm in a rough period with my employment at the moment and am not sure how things are going to pan out, so this project is on hold for the moment. I know the possibilities are endless, and I'm pretty open to most ideas. I think I'm going to lean off the 87 octane requirement, but definitely nothing higher than 91. I don't want to have to go to special gas stations to fuel up and 91 is the standard in California. AAs far as transmission and rear end. Eventually I want to go with an 8 3/4 with sure grip gears (still not sure what ratio) and I'm going to be running 235/70/15 tires. I'm going to need to rebuild the transmission anyways so any minor modifications to the tranny itself I'm up for. As far as boring it out, I'm trying to keep it a 440. I'm building a Bluesmobile after all and it has to have a "Cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant". The only other issue I have at the moment (before I get everything cleaned up and measured) is where do I get headers for a 74/75 Monaco? I'm not sure anyone makes them!
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:52 AM   #16
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As far as RPM band? I honestly have no idea. I plan on cruising around locally a bit but also driving to shows. So I'd like to keep the RPM's down when cruising around 70-75 on the highway. Also, What is the compression ratio limit to run on 91 octane, just out of curiosity?
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #17
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So this is going into a 1975 Royal Monaco? Lol I just did this.

452 heads took 0.030 off the heads. Cleaned up the exhaust ports with a stone to remove the rough casting but didn't polish them. Polishing exhaust ports has it's good and bad points. Good the fuel flows out really well. Bad the fuel flows out really well reducing gas mileage a lot. I say fuel because it's still mostly unburnt fuel at that point.

Used stock manifolds for that year that happen to have 2 1/4 openings which were plenty good and don't require any special modifications in the engine compartment to fit.

Used a mopar stock magnum cam and hydralic lifters. Pistons were original with new rings as the wear in cylinders was not enough to need boring.

Used thin steel headgaskets that I have had for decades. Compression is about 9.2:1 which is good for even low octane fuel.

Intake is off a 69 along with carb which is an avs. Stock aircleaner with two snorkels not just one.

Has 8 3/4 rearend with 3:23 gears. Have 15 x 7 rims all around with 235/75/r15.

Car has plenty of pull on it, actually too much really, so I'm not sure why people want someone to go with a stronger engine than this. It will easily break the tires loose on dry pavement without the use of a brake pedal.

Transmission is bone stock 727 no shift kits nothing. I simply rebuilt it getting as close to minimum clearance on the clutch packs as I could.

The car averages about 24 mpg on the highway and 16 in the city if you drive in second gear when under 35 mph.

Exhaust is stock h pipe dual 2 1/4 out the back.

I just don't see the point of going nuts on an engine when stock is more than powerful enough as it is. It is not a car for going to the drag strip where every bit of hp, torque, and speed is essential.

Sometimes the old saying K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simply Stupid)is the best.

NOTE: I have to ask what the car originally came with engine wise. If it came with a 400 or 440 you will be fine. If it came with a 360 you got problems as the motor mounts on the frame of the car are different and there is no combination of motor mount brackets that will allow you to fit the big block into the small block mounts Ive tried. The closest you can come will have the engine sitting on the firewall.

You wouldn't believe how aggravating it was to have self styled experts swear at me that c body cars had the same frame mounts for both small block and big block before I had them go under the hood on the two cars and measure for themselves. No really they cussed and sweared at me until they finally admitted after measuring I was right. One is an original 400 car the other a 360 car side by side for comparison. Changing a front c clip is NOT fun.

Anyone that tells you they have changed from a 360 to a big block on a 75 royal monaco with no problems on the frame is lying through their teeth garenteed.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:27 PM   #18
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As is well known, it is the complete Engine "Combination" of well matched parts, working together, that makes a really good build.
To that end, it is also a very good idea to know the "environment" that Engine combination needs to fit, to make conduscive parts selections.

It's a heavy C-Body Monaco, so 4,000lbs plus..and 87 Octane only instead of 92..452 Heads
any idea on the following:
* Gear Ratio and Tire Diameter ?, as BOTH work together as the final drive to Mechanical Advantage.
* Is a higher Convertor Stall contemplated, or staying "stock" ?
* Headers or NO ?

Hey Fella's ??
I gotta say something here,
On a personal note, I use an Engine Dyno regularily as my business model, a Superflow 902. This has given me the luxury of seeing many claims proven, and conversely dis-proven on many occasions with hard, raw data.
IMO,
Claims of certain "brands" of Camshafts being better than others, or, "out of date", or, "leaving power on the table", across entire product lines, are absolutely FALSE, and in my opinion only, should not be taken as "gospel" ?
It depends on the particular combination !
ALL manufacturers have good grinds ! Mopar Performance, Lunati, CompCams, Crower, ALL OF THEM !

I have personally SEEN, as in WITNESSED myself ON THE DYNO, more than once, .842" CompCams so-called "chebby" grinds OUT POWER dedicated Mopar .904" Lunati grinds, much to my chagrin also ??
I have also witnessed, supposedly "out of Date" Mopar performance Cams trump the best CompCam, Lunati, Crane & Crower grinds ! Go Figure ??
ANYTHING can happen with particular combinations, and what is "supposed" to be best, isn't ALWAYS best for whatever reason.
Long Story short
again, IMO,
Camshaft reccomendations/suggestions should be made on what has worked has "worked for YOU personally", relative to, an actual SPECIFIC combination used !
again here, in my opinion only, NOT
a blanket statement like "these guys" Cams are better, ALWAYS, because from what I see regularily on the Dyno, it just isn't so !

Sorry for the rant and SHOUTING !
just my opinions.

Last edited by Moparbob; 03-20-2013 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #19
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Nice to talk to someone with experience jacilynn! The original car had a 360, and I was told by many people (including a few who had supposedly done it) that all I need to make the switch is a set of motor mounts from Schumacher. Again, I'm not looking for anything too ridiculous for a build. I don't want to bore out the block, just some minor work on the heads. I'm clueless when it comes to what needs to be done as far as head work goes so your explanation was nice to hear. The only thing I've purchased so far was an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. To my knowledge no one makes any headers that fit a late model C body, so the only thing I've been looking into are different sets of stock manifolds that flow better. My 440 that I'm rebuilding came out of a motor home, so I don't think those manifolds will work for me...
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:07 PM
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