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Author Topic: 1977/1979 440 big block motor home engine  (Read 8905 times)
MORFF
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« on: March 06, 2012, 02:55:09 AM »

I am going to check out a 1977/1978 440 from a rv soon. A guy at work says he has one along with some 383's and 413's. The 440 has a purple cam shaft correct me if i am wrong but that is not stock. I looked info on the engine saw that 77-79 440 were the last 440's built but in trucks and rvs. Also found that the cooling areas were bigger than normal 440's. Some say that this is a weaker(do to being thinner wall) are while others say its a non stress area and engine is just as good. I think going to be good engine for my charger I know have to change oil pan and some things. Do you guys forsee any dificulties in putting a 1977-1978 440 big block from a rv  in a 1969 charger that orginally had a 383 big block in it thanks guys.
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Mike O
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matrout76
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 11:02:42 AM »

are all of the 77-79 440's called "motorhome engines"

I have a brand new remanufactured (by Marshall engines) 440 that came with my charger.  is has been remanufactured to 1978 specifications including the cam.  i know that it has 0.040 pistons in it, but zero performance improvements (stock 8:1 compression).

I have two options:
1) run it as is and spend $0 on it
2) install 6-pack pistons and a cam to bump up the power.

decisions, decisions...
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71bee
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 02:18:11 PM »

Chrysler stopped producing the 400 & 440 engines in '78. IHC picked up a bunch of the left-over 440's & sold them to R/V companies. IHC called their versions: 446 engines. not sure exactly what all was involved to punch the C.I. to 6 over.

I have a '79 Fleetwood Jamboree Class C motorhome with the 446 engine & it runs great. only 46,000 miles on it, but it hasn't given me any issues....yet!  Wink
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Troy
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 08:59:32 AM »

are all of the 77-79 440's called "motorhome engines"
Only if they came out of a motor home. My 76 Power Wagon had a 440. I don't believe they came in cars after about 1974 or so but you could still get them in trucks.

Troy
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SRT-440
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 11:34:55 AM »

My dads Dart has a '77 motorhome 440...put six pack rods and pistons, cam, performer rpm intake, eddy carb and runs great...he used the 727 from the same MH.  2thumbs
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 04:04:31 PM »

My dads Dart has a '77 motorhome 440...put six pack rods and pistons, cam, performer rpm intake, eddy carb and runs great...he used the 727 from the same MH.  2thumbs


From what I understand, ALL motorhome 440 engines used the six pack rods & pistons.
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Troy
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 04:15:27 PM »

My dads Dart has a '77 motorhome 440...put six pack rods and pistons, cam, performer rpm intake, eddy carb and runs great...he used the 727 from the same MH.  2thumbs


From what I understand, ALL motorhome 440 engines used the six pack rods & pistons.
Unlikely? I'm no engine guru of course but...

I think everything after 71 had the big rods but I don't know about the pistons. Those engines had 8:1 compression (or somewhere thereabouts) so either the piston was shorter (or dished), the deck was higher, or the heads were more "open" than any other big block head. They would have all had cast cranks as well.

Troy
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71bee
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 11:32:56 AM »

That's what I was thinking as well Troy. I have only "hearsay" to go on, but I would have to agree with you on the pistons.
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Cooter
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 11:59:38 AM »

A picture of said engine's Harmonic Balancer would be good here, as MOST of the later(After 1974) 440 engines were EXTERNALLY balanced. Just simply dumping this thing in where a steel crank, INTERNALLY balanced engine was won't work without a flex plate or converter swap to get back in balance.

Not bad engines, but not good if your gonna run like it is. Especially, if it has been "Overcammed" and killing any compression it has.

You could get a cast crank 440 all they way up to 1978 In Cars as well as MH, and trucks.
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71bee
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 10:18:28 PM »

A picture of said engine's Harmonic Balancer would be good here, as MOST of the later(After 1974) 440 engines were EXTERNALLY balanced. Just simply dumping this thing in where a steel crank, INTERNALLY balanced engine was won't work without a flex palte or converter swap to get back in balance.

Not bad engines, but not good if your gonna run like it is. Especially, if it has been "Overcammed" and killing any compression it has.

You could get a cast crank 440 all they way up to 1978 In Cars as well as MH, and trucks.

That's the biggest downfall with the later 440's, that cast crank. I understand that with the low compression engines, there wasn't quite the need for the forged piece any more, but I have always felt more comfortable revving up an older block.
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A383Wing
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 10:21:44 PM »

blocks & heads had extra cooling holes in them...and some came with the smaller 5/8" peanut style spark plugs

Bryan
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SRT-440
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 02:00:44 AM »

It's been several years since I helped him put that 440 together but I believe the original pistons were dished and the rods were def not six pack rods..we almost used the originals they looked decent. It had a cast crank that we replaced with a forged.
Personally if it were mine I'd replace the whole rotating assembly. Upping the compression is worth any extra money it will cost. Swap meets will have all of it for a decent price...I bought the six pack rods on eBag for cheap.
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 03:05:11 AM »

I certainly do not know everything about the Motor home 440s, but here is what I can offer.
Many had really low compression ratios, somewhere in the 7.5 range. This was done with flat top pistons that sat about .180 below the deck! The combustion chambers were the same sizes as non Motor home engines.  They can still run strong, but replacing those pistons with the replacement Six Pack pistons will raise the ratio two points. Cast cranks? why not? They are just as durable up to 500 horsepower. At that point, even a 40 year old factory forged crank is getting into dangerous territory. Who can honestly say that their 12 second 440 broke a cast crank?
I pulled a 440 from a '76 Coronet Police car in 2004. I don't know if the B body cars had 440s in 77 or 78. They came in Imperials and C bodies through the 1978 model year. My first 440 came from a 78 New Yorker. I honed the block, rebuilt and milled the heads .050 and slipped in a MP 280/474 cam, then used an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and a Holley 750. THAT engine screamed and did it on mid grade fuel. I turned a tire smoking 13.8 in my 70 Charger with 3.91 gears. Slicks, traction and improved skills could have put me at 13 flat.
My latest 440 is in my 78 Trail Duster. It is the LAST of the 440 trucks, and it isn't much faster than a 360. Thats probably because 32 inch tires, 3.21 gears and a 4600 lb curb weight don't add up to 12 second performance!
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MORFF
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 09:46:00 AM »

Thanks guys for all the info I was going to take the engine and change all the enternals just wanted to know if a motor home 440 could handle 420 horse power. Thats what i want to get it at then i would be happy for my first engine.
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Mike O
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 10:01:08 AM »

There is nothing wrong with later 440 "motorhome" blocks. That these have thin walls is a wives-tale, though every block should be checked before boring.

There is no downside to a cast crank 440 for a performance street car unless you want to run a 4-speed behind it. For automatics, the B&M conversion flexplate lets you run regular converters with no other modification.
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MORFF
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2012, 07:55:16 AM »

Well looked at the engine the block and 902 heads looked ok but the crank shaft was rough. not sure if going to get this one. Has anybody got a engine from this guy on ebay looked pretty good http://www.ebay.com/itm/370563631205?item=370563631205&frommaketrack=true&viewitem=&vxp=mtr . Tks guys.
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Mike O
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MORFF
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2012, 01:51:55 AM »

Ok found another engine a 383 with two barrel that came out of a 69 charger all together going to look at it this weekend . This is what my car came with stock so kinda nice. First question I would like to make it a manual tranny can I do this with a 383 bigblock? Mine was orginally auto on collum. The other question can I get 400 hp out of a 383 big block buy changing external parts and keeping engine stock on inside. Tks guys This guy I am getting it from restored alot of chargers and has nice parts. I bought rear quarter windows and a r/t steering collum. can not wait to see it.
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Mike O
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cactuswren
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2012, 08:23:54 AM »

I have a 440 out of a 77 dodge pickup truck. From what I remember I had to change the water pump, oil pan, exhaust manifolds and oil pickup. These parts were different designs than in a 69 car. As far as compression, power and all that.. I dont know much about. I have it running now but yet to get it on the road.
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AirborneSilva
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2012, 12:36:04 PM »

I am far from a BB expert but yeah you will just need a BB bell housing to bolt up a manual trans.  as for 400 HP from a 383 with just bolt on's, I'd say no but I go back to my first point  icon_smile_big
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A383Wing
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2012, 07:36:26 PM »

you may also need a manual trans crankshaft...most auto trans crankshafts were not drilled deep enough to accept the 4spd input shaft

Bryan
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AirborneSilva
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« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2012, 04:42:45 AM »

you may also need a manual trans crankshaft...most auto trans crankshafts were not drilled deep enough to accept the 4spd input shaft

Bryan


Wow, that's something I didn't know...  Thanks  2thumbs
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matrout76
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« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2012, 09:33:00 AM »

how deep is the pilot for th 4speed input shaft?  is there an easy way to tell the difference between a MT crankshaft and an AT crankshaft?

Thanks!

you may also need a manual trans crankshaft...most auto trans crankshafts were not drilled deep enough to accept the 4spd input shaft

Bryan

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A383Wing
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« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2012, 08:40:28 PM »

I don't have an exact measurement....I found out the hard way long time ago when I built my 383 for my 66 Charger with a 4spd trans.....put the engine in, then tried to put the trans in....it would go into the splines on the clutch disc but not quite mate up to the bellhousing.

what I ended up doing to figure out problem was to put a dab of heavy grease on the tip of the input shaft and see if it was bottoming out on the crank....which it was...

I really did not want to pull motor back out and find a manual crankshaft....so I fixed it kinda the "redneck" way....I ground off about an inch or so off the very end of the input shaft....

It's been fine that way ever since the early 80's when I did the motor

Bryan
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2012, 10:18:30 PM »

The easy fix for a car that has an UNfinished crankshaft pilot hole is to use the Mopar roller bearing that fits into the bigger hole in the crank that is meant for the torque converter. You may have to grind the end of the input shaft a bit.
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MORFF
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« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2012, 04:05:04 PM »

Well I got two more major pieces for my baby. I got the 383 big block for my baby today. The engine  came from a 69 as well same as what my car had a 383 with a two barrel just need to clean it up a little and get some valve covers. I also got what I always wanted a wood grain mopar steering wheel from 1969 traided 4 stock 14 inch wheels that will not work with my car due to bendix disk brakes in front,racing headers and 200 bucks nice what a good day. Guy has a 1970 dodge charger for sale on a rotory all body done with a 440 with a 6 pack all done to rich for me but nice car. All i want to do to it is change cam and put 4 barrel carb then done with it. Got some nice cars if any body is interested near Connecticut.
 
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Mike O
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