If big is good, then bigger is better. That's what we thought when we decided to rebuild our 440 Dodge block, instead of slapping in a 360 from a junkyard just to get down the road. While these big-block beasts haven't been produced since 1978, there are still plenty of them running strong in trucks, cars, motorhomes, and a few Jeeps. While a small-block swap would have been quicker and cheaper, it wouldn't have produced the torque and horsepower we needed, so a stock style rebuild was in order. Why stock? For our application it was simple; stock is simply the most reliable and durable way to go. We didn't need fancy high-rise manifolds and lumpy cams, and living in California we have this nasty problem with the emissions inspectors. They mandate stock or approved items on the engine to pass inspection, even though it may sniff dead clean at the tailpipe. We felt that 440 cubes of big-block power was more than enough, and knew that a slight rebore and a RV type of cam could help the engine breathe well enough to satisfy us-for now at least. Our engine had melted two pistons before we owned it, due to an overheating problem blamed on the radiator. Already taken apart and shoved into boxes, cans, and crates, the remains were left out in the rain to rot, which is why we got a good deal on the basket case. With parts in hand, we went down to our friends at Coast Motor Supply in Canoga Park, California. Coast has been building engines for years, and specializes in fleets and companies that require reliable rebuilt engines. We discussed our project with the owner, Owen Carter, and came up with a plan to do all the machine work and show the process along the way. What we did was stick to the original design idea of the engine without too many hoorah parts for reliability. Upgrades are good, but sometimes compromise the end result. Here's what we came up with for a torque-devil 440 engine. 1. As with any rebuild, the old engine needs to be torn down, with obvious faults such as broken cranks noted on the work order. Our 440 chrysler had been torn down years before and basket-cased (literally in baskets) so parts were missing, sketchy, and quite rusty. Coast motor supply strips the normal cores and keeps all the associated parts together when doing a rebuild.1. As with any rebuild, the old engine needs to be torn down, with obvious faults such as 2. Greasy blocks and heads with caked-on crap clean up better than new when put through the tumbler. This cleaning method is environmentally pleasant compared to the old caustic lye baths of yesteryear, and the new way makes for a sparkling starting point.2. Greasy blocks and heads with caked-on crap clean up better than new when put through th 3. Important items like heads and blocks are Magnafluxed to check for cracks. Magnafluxing consists of an electromagnet and iron powder, which collects in cracks when the power is applied. This can save time and trouble on a rebuild and should always be done to ensure that your block is solid.3. Important items like heads and blocks are Magnafluxed to check for cracks. Magnafluxing 4. After they are checked for cracks, the heads are milled flat for perfect sealing on the block, which also gets a crew cut. Careful attention to intake and exhaust surfaces as well as the assembly angles ensures that the intake manifold fits the heads and block once they are all put together. A poor deck and mill job will leave gaps, which results in a leaking pile.4. After they are checked for cracks, the heads are milled flat for perfect sealing on the 5. With the valve guides checked and replaced and spring seats attended to, the valve seats get the cutter. Standard three-angle valve cuts ensure the best flow for the gases to pass by, while providing optimum valve-sealing capability and heat transfer.5. With the valve guides checked and replaced and spring seats attended to, the valve seat 6. The original valves in many engines can be reused as we did with a simple face job and new guides. Coast Motor Supply inspects each valve to make sure they are well within spec before reusing them. New valve springs, retainers, and locks are used for reliability since those can be affected by heat very easily.6. The original valves in many engines can be reused as we did with a simple face job and 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By Rick Pewe Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!