Hagerty Video: 440 Mopar V-8 Engine Build | Redline Update

440 Mopar V-8 Engine Build | Redline Update

Posted: 2023-07-03 15:00:42
Author: Hagerty
From parts laid out on tables to a fully assembled engine, Davin Reckow takes you through every step of putting together our Chrysler 440 V-8 in the latest episode of our Redline Updates. This big-block Mopar engine will eventually power our vintage dirt track race car. Stay tuned for the full time-lapse engine rebuild video, coming your way SOON!

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Hagerty Video Transcript

– Hey, this is Davin with Redline Rebuild, today we’re gonna assemble our Chrysler 440, and as you can see, the engine’s block is all painted. I have some glyptal all on it, it is ready to be assembled that way. Over here we have all our parts laid out throughout the shop here.

So we have our gasket kit, our freeze plug or core plugs, our cam bearings, timing, cam shaft and then over here we have all of our rotating assembly laid out, pistons, rods, rings, crank, bearings, oil pan. So we’ve got it as organized as we can have, so to speak.

And then we have all the cylinder head pieces on this table. And then lastly, we’ll call it our accessories, right? I mean an intake manifold really isn’t an accessory, it’s a requirement but we have our exhaust manifold, our intake manifold, our water pump, fuel pump, starter, clutch.

Alright, so I’m gonna get started in assembling this engine. Now oddly enough, I have to take it off the engine stand so I can put in the cam bearings and then I’ll put the freeze plugs in while it’s back on the engine stand. Okay, now if you’re scratching your head wondering

Why I took it off the engine stand to put the bearings in, the reason is when you put the cam bearings in, you need to use this cone to help align, right, the bearings as you press them in. So as you pound these in,

You need the cone up on one of these to align it. Now, if I go to put in the front bearing without any alignment, I risk putting it in crooked. Yes, it’s gonna file the bore, but it will have a tendency to slide or cock inside of there.

So, to install the front bearing, the front two bearings actually, I’ll need to use to come in from, I got the wrong size on here. (laughing) I’ll do it this way. So to install the front bearing and the second bearing, I’ll actually need to come in from the back end of the engine

So I can align that and knock ’em in. And the engine stand’s dead smack in the middle of the way. Also, before I wrap this up, put it back on the engine stand, I’ll put the cam plug on and seal this end up as well. Alright, now putting in cam bearings

Is kind of one of those things. Some people put ’em in themselves, some people rely on the machine shop to do that. Whichever way you do that, if you’re gonna put them in yourself, you’re gonna need a good tool for that. This happens to be a kind of a universal deal.

It has a driver and this screws just here on the end of it. But the idea is this expands and then we’ll grab the bearing and has a good surface to drive on, okay. So you wanna drive it in nice and straight, like we already talked about,

Use that cone, pop it in, have a good tool to do that. And then the other is how do you orient or position the hole? Now depending on the engine you’re doing, it’s gonna be in a different spot. But on this, on our 440, it has one oil feed

And it does not have any groove going around it. The groove is on the bearing, in this case, for at least for the first position, so and everyone after that we’re gonna line up the hole on the bearing to the hole in the block.

Because if you happen to put it in or you block that hole, there is not gonna be any oil coming into this bearing and you’re not gonna be happy with your build. Second thing on bearings for cams, 99.9% of the time there is a position. So in other words,

A very specific bearing to go in a very specific spot. Typically it’s labeled on the bearings that you get. So there’s a position and then the part number that’s on your bearing. So I’m gonna get started here by getting my tool up into the bore. Now on this particular engine,

The rear cam bearing is smaller than the front. So I’m going to start with the big one, which is the front bearing. And it gets a little tricky the way I have it sitting here but we can make it work ’cause we have to come up through the bottom. Get that on there.

And I also put a mark to know where the position of my hole is at because once I put it on the driver, I can’t see the hole anymore but I can see the OD of the bearing. All right, so with the driver tight to the bearing,

Line it up at my marked position at 12 o’clock. That should put the hole of the bearing over the top of the hole in the block. Get my BFH out. And hopefully not throw the block on the ground. All right, so we have our cam bearings in and our cam plug in and I went to go put the plugs for the oil gallery here and I see I forgot to, well, plug them off or tape them off for the paint. So we got a little over spray, not a big deal.

Take pipe tap, clean them up. I can blow air from this direction to blow that back out, everything’s dry. I’m not worried about being dirty or causing any contamination. So let’s get these tapped. As soon as I have these plugs in, then I’m gonna put it back on the engine stand

And whale away at the freeze plugs. Hey, while I put these freeze plugs in, go down here and check out the Hagerty Drivers Club in the description. Now I’m gonna move on and put the cam in, which may be a little bit outta order in some fashion, but I can reach in here a little easier

If the crankshaft isn’t there because this lifter galley doesn’t have a lot of space. And if I do have any issues with my cam bearings, like I kicked up a little edge or something when I put ’em in, then I can address that a little easier

Without all the other stuff in the way. So with that, I’m gonna put some Red Line lube on all the cam bearings and then on all the cam surfaces, slide the camshaft in. That’s what I was afraid of. That back? Of course it’s gotta be the back one. Won’t even start.

There it is. Well, we ran into our first snag assembling our engine here. Basically cam bearings are in, went to put the camshaft in, just as it starts to put into all five bearings on the camshaft, it’s way too tight, it will not go in. I called over to Thirlby’s,

Talked to Mike and he says one out of 15 times you get lucky and you don’t have to scrape in the bearings. So he gave me his trick. He said, what you do, take your old camshaft or a dilapidated camshaft, take a grinder or a cutter and then come in here

And angle cut, basically, a slice into the main journals. Take a file, get that little bit of burr off and then use the cam, the old camshaft, with the gear up on it and basically just scrape ’em in. So these are to size, that little bit of lip,

We’ll take and groove out the bearing ’cause the bearing is soft and go slow and clean it up when you’re done. So that’s where we’re headed. Let’s see what happens. All right, so before we go ahead and put the cam in, you can see down here in this back journal, that bearing has some like marks or rub marks in it where I had the cam in and turned it a little bit.

So the back one’s, I’ll say the biggest culprit. I’m not sure that the front one’s here helping us either, but let’s see how this works. Let’s see what it pulled out to begin with here. Well, we can already see that it took some on the front bearing. Yeah. Well, first off, this is gonna take a while. Well, you can see here on the first, on the front bearing, there’s some bearing material that it pulled already,

Nothing on the second, really nothing on the third, fourth has it and the fifth is starting. So, the idea is wipe out the gook outta the groove so you don’t drag it through the bearing as you continue. Well, you can see now we have the camshaft will go all the way in and it rotates, which is a beautiful thing. So all I wanna do now is I’m just gonna run a few more spins on it, make sure I don’t have any weird spots. Take this camshaft out,

Clean everything up really well and put my new camshaft back in. Oh, look at that! It turns with one hand. My fingers aren’t even bleeding, nice! Sweet! Success! Next step, get our crankshaft, get our bearings in, get our crankshaft in, bolt down the mains and then move towards the pistons.

But before I get into that, I do need to remind everybody that I have already went through and measured for my oil clearance. Now we’ve done this in past videos, we thoroughly go through how it’s done. In real quick terms, you take and place your bearings into the saddle

And up into the cap, put your cap down, torque it and measure the distance. So you measure the ID here and then you come over to the subsequent main on the crankshaft and measure that OD, subtract the two, that gives you your oil clearance.

Standard rule of thumb is one inch or I’m sorry, standard rule of thumb is one thousandths of an inch oil clearance per one inch of diameter, shaft diameter. So these are a little bit over two. So basically these are all set at two and a half to 2.75, we’ll call it.

So we’re between two and three thousands clearance, oil clearance already, so these are all set to go. And of course I already done the same thing on the rods as well. Make sense? – Yep. – Perfect. I need a holster. Look at that! See, just the way it’s supposed to be. Turns nice. Right on. Here we go. Crankshaft is in. Okay well, we’re onto our next step of assembling the pistons onto the rods and you can kind of see things are, well, really kind of set up weird

If you’re actually doing this, but we’re doing a stop motion for the time lapse video, so that’s why things are kind of stretched out. But before I start hanging rings and pistons and all that jazz, I do need to go through and set my ring gap

For all the piston rings into the bores. What that is, is making sure when it’s in the bore and it’s tightened up, that basically this gap is correct, I guess we’ll say. Now what is correct? Luckily with the rings comes a chart and for instance,

Here I’m gonna set it up as street high performance, so my top ring needs to be four and a half thousandths times the bore, which equates to about 20 thousandths on this particular piston setup. And then my second ring needs to be six thousandths larger than that, those 26 thousandths.

And then of course your oil ring also have gap, but they’re typically really loose already anyway. So typically you don’t have to file fit those, but you do always check a couple of ’em to make sure everything’s cool. But process is pretty simple. And I’m actually here on five.

So let me go through one real quick. So this is my second ring. I’ll put it into the number five bore. Use this piston, well basically a ring depth because you want your ring square with the bore, you don’t want it sitting like this because that gap will be off.

Feeler gauge already set up, they’ve been pretty much run 20 thousandths, but you come in here and ooo, this one’s tight. So here you can see it’s barely 20 and I need 26. Pull it back out, bring it over to my ring filer, hold it up nice and square to that.

And I like to go through and count the number of revolutions, that gives me, makes it quicker, the whole process as you get going. Of course the first one’s gonna take you longer than the sequential ones because you’re gonna sneak up on it. You don’t wanna go too far.

But if you do go a little bit over, it’s not the end of the world unless you’re like at a quarter inch gap and then you just wasted a good set of rings. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

I find 20 gets me just a hair under 26. Now, I went through and filed it. When you file, you’re gonna always raise up just a little bit of burr, the last thing you want to do is take and drop this down on your cylinder with that burr on there

’cause you’re gonna put a scar in it. So just take a nice little hand file and just kick the edges and of course the points as you go around ’cause it is pretty close to a rectangle. Now, I’ll grab my 20 to start with. So 20 goes in there, no problem. But my 26th just starts, I need to take just a hair off, again, pull it out, put it through the ring filer, get it to where it’s perfect and then it’s rinse and repeat for, well, all 16 rings.

Go ahead. Okay, this step is fairly straightforward. You have your rings, wrist pin, rod, piston. You do wanna make sure that when you hang your rod, there is a direction, meaning, piston has to sit like that in there. Meaning this is the bottom of the motor, this is the top of the motor.

The valves are up to the top like this. And then your rods have your numbers on it. That should look at you because there’s a big chamfer here that goes to the outside edge if you will, the rod journal and that’ll make more sense when you look at the crank.

But make sure you hang them correctly, otherwise you’ll have to take ’em back off. Let’s see, let’s just get a little oil. Let’s put it on here, I guess. Yeah and to make things easier, I had to pre-install one of the clips, that way you can just bring in your wrist pin.

Get started. These are slip fit, so it should slide right on in, like so. And then we’ll take and you put one of the pin, wrist or, (laughing) and then you take the other clip and put that in. Now, these can be a little tricky. You’ll see there’s a little notch?

That’s for taking them out. Ideally, we’re not gonna be doing that. So I like to put the end in right here and then I push it, so there’s a ring gland or a gland down there that this is gonna go in. Put the end in

And then you’re gonna just take and work this around. And these clips gain their own name of a lot of different things. So you’re gonna go like that. Now, I’m not gonna fully install these ’cause I need to have it for our time lapse side of things,

But you can see that there’s an effort to put those in. You’ll probably put a little etch, scrape, or whatever on the piston, it’s not a big deal there. If you need to use a screwdriver, you can do that to kind of drag it around. But then that goes in.

Make sure it is fully engaged into the gland that it’s supposed to be. If the wrist pin comes out, it makes for a really bad day ’cause it tends to go through the cylinder wall. Nobody likes that. All right, rings, straightforward. I like to use a ring stretcher. Ring installer.

But you put in your oil ring first, oil control rings. I like to put the, and the biggest thing is to do everything consistently. So you’ll see these have a little leg that comes up. I like to stick those facing up. Some rings want them the other direction, these want them this way.

Now you take these lighter rails and you swing it about 90 degrees from that gap and then just slowly rotate it around. You can see I don’t need to stretch this, per se, it’ll walk itself on. Hold it in position, do the same thing on the top side

And then just kind of walk it around. Boom, that one’s on. Now, your second ring may or may not have a dot, that dot is always up on the rings. If there are no dots then it can be installed up or down, it doesn’t have a orientation. So take your ring spreader

And you want to open it just enough to get over the piston ring. If you stretch it too far, you risk breaking it. And you can certainly do this with your thumbs. You do more than seven or eight of ’em, you might find the end of your thumbs aren’t feeling so hot.

And then your top ring, same thing, a dot, put it on and over this, okay? Now, depending again on the ring setup, there’s a location when you go to put these into the bore as far as where you wanna locate these gaps. Typically, it’s the bottom gap down and the top gap up.

So it’ll go in like that. So that one’s ready to go in. All right, so I have everything laid out here relative to my pistons and I’m getting ready to put those into the block. As you see, I went through and pulled the caps back off from being balanced and I had my bearings all numbered here, ready to go back on the rods.

I’ve already went through and checked oil clearance, everything is good there. Just went through and lubed up the bores real well with just some generic engine oil. And now it’s time to slap ‘er together. Here we go. All right, so start with the piston. Number one piston, get a bearing in there

And make sure everything stays clean, of course. And we put a little lube on the bearing, that goes on the rod side. I’ve already lubed up the wrist pins, so those are good. Now before I can set this down in the hole, I need to lube up the piston.

I’m gonna do that over here over my container. You wanna lube up the rings so they don’t start up dry. Some people like to dunk ’em in a vat of oil, I find that a little overkill. But definitely wipe it around all the edges that are gonna be touching that bore.

Rotate the rings a little bit, make sure there’s oil on them. Okay. Then, just before I stick them into the hole here, A, make sure the valves are up and then rotate your rings to where you want them to start off with. I’m gonna put my compression ring, number one,

Or top compression ring, up towards the top and to the bottom. Everything’s good that way. Set it in. Now, get your ring compressor on here. That’s always a good sign, when the first piston goes in smooth. Meaning, you know, you don’t have the wrong rings. Okay. Bearing. More assembly lube. More is always better. I’ve never heard anyone tell me “I used way too much assembly lube and that’s why I had a problem.” Nope, never happens. This motor wants to be turned a little bit. Even with the speed wrench, bring them down even the caps,

So you don’t cock them sideways. And a torque spec on these ARP bolts and the eagle rods is 63. I have that set. Now, I’m just gonna evenly bring them down as well, kind of by feel here, but. There we go. One down. There we go. Next, onto the timing chain, get the camshaft degreed in and start buttoning up tin work. All right, so our oil pan is all buttoned up, everything’s torqued down, that finishes the short block assembly. So let’s get this rolled up and we’ll be ready for the cylinder heads. All right, now we’re ready for head assembly. You can see we got all of our parts out.

We got our valve, we got fresh valves, we have fresh springs, new keepers and retainers and then over here we have a multitude of shims. Now the key is, in this spring, it needs to be set at a certain spring height or installed height, which gets your seat pressure. What’s the seat pressure?

Seat pressure is how hard this valve is being held against the seat in the head and the spring controls the valve as your cam goes up and down and basically gets this out of the way of the piston that’s coming right after it. So, you don’t want this bumping into the piston

’cause well, that’s a bad day. Pretty simple and straightforward. Take a valve. I put a little oil on it here, without my glasses in the way. All right, so you get a little oil. The idea is you, no need to put it into the guide with and grind it up.

So you put a little oil in there, moves nice. Now you utilize this micrometer that literally takes the place of the spring. Set your retainer on there and then take your two keepers, put those on. You do want both of them. And then just spin this down till it’s tight.

And then just read your graduation on here, like any other micrometer. So this shows that I am 1 inch 945. These springs want to be installed at one inch 900 to get the appropriate load. So I need to add, or take away 45 thousandths. So in that case what I’ll do is,

Shims come in 15 thousandths, 30 thousandths and 60. So I will just simply stack a 15 and a 30, makes 45. Take this all back off, set your shims on there and then double check your number. Okay? And our numbers, it’s off just a hair.

I try to get in within five thousandths. That’s plenty. If you get into a situation where you’re at 10, just evaluate which direction. A little more seat pressure is probably better than a little less seat pressure. So hedge your bet towards the stiffer than the weaker.

But that’s all it is to set these up, pretty straightforward. Then of course once you go through and do all that, keep your shims relative to your holes. Keep the valves and your retainers together as a matched set, keepers tend not to have a lot of variation

And then go through and finish ’em up. Then you’re all ready for the assembly with the spring. So there’s one cylinder head fully assembled. Now the other cylinder head’s sitting on that end of the table and it’s been watching this whole time. So I’m gonna see if it can assemble itself. We are moving towards putting our cylinder heads on. I have my torque sequence already out of my Motor’s manual. So I have that. That’s very important because you wanna make sure you pull that cylinder head down nice and even. But, before we did put the heads on,

I already went through and I checked my clearances. So I mocked it up with push rod and all the rocker arms and that. And I checked my clearance for my valves coming down, making sure there was no issues, interference-wise into the piston

And that’s all good to go, so we are ready for assembly. Okay, so our process for assembling the cylinder heads is have a nice clean surface on our deck of our engine, lay our gasket down on there and then bring our cylinder head over, set it down onto the dowels

And then put some ARP fastener lube on every one of the bolts. Not only on the threads but underneath the washers. Go through and torque them in the sequence. Starting at 30 foot pounds, go to 50 and then ultimately go to 70. You wanna break that 70 up into three steps

To bring that gasket down and compress it evenly. All right. Well, that one’s not going anywhere. Let’s get the other side done. Well, you saw my push rods and lifters, well, they assembled themselves, which is pretty nice ’cause I had a cup of coffee while they were doing that. And now I’m ready to put my rocker shaft assembly on there. But one thing I want to make a note of, these are not adjustable.

So in other words, when I lock these down, they go to a stop or a torque and that’s it. So if my push rods are not long enough, they will not preload into the lifter as they’re supposed to. So pretty simple. How to measure that

Is just take your rocker assembly on there, set it down, in place of your solid push rod, using an adjustable push rod, set it to zero lash, come out, measure what this distance is and then add to the length of your push rod for your preload.

So that’s how we got to where we’re at. With that, I’m gonna keep moving along here and get my shaft assembly on and then go forward with the valve covers. That wraps up our valve covers and of course the shafts. Now let’s move on to putting our water pump on, our oil pump, fuel pump and the dampener. With our oil pump installed and a filter on, now I want to take and fill up with some break-in oil and gonna prime the pump basically, in the whole oiling system. So yes, I’m gonna pull my valve covers back off so I can see that I’m getting oil

To the shafts on the rocker arms. And of course, before you put your primer down there and start spinning that pump, make sure you put a gauge back here, so you can read the oil pressure. If you don’t get this plugged, it’ll let you know because it’ll shoot it across the room.

Ask me how I know this. So oil in, spin the shaft, find the oil coming up outta the holes in through everywhere where it needs to be at and then I’ll button this all back up. Voila! Well let’s give her a spin. There, a little faster. There we go. Can already see it coming out of the lifter. That’s pretty good. We got low speed of this drill and we’re running 75. We may have to turn them some. Any of these dripping over here? Run it, 90 and run it.

That way that cam, if there’s an issue for where the cam has to be lined up to the oil hole. – [Camera Operator] There it comes. – [Davin] Woo. That’s gonna drip everywhere. Got it going straight down? – [Camera Operator] That really. – We’re gonna put the lid on that one ’cause that’s gonna be a mess. Let’s do this. Let’s catch it. – [Camera Operator] Glad I was rolling for that, now, huh?

– [Speaker] I’m disappointed I missed it. – [Davin] That was fast. For fast as that went before, let’s roll this one more, another 90. That should be back to where we started as far as cam is concerned. Oh no, there we go. That’s what we’re looking for. All right, so, Mopar does things a little bit different on their cams and how they feed up to the shaft rockers. You have to roll the camshaft

And basically it, so it’s not oiling constantly, but it is constantly when it’s running. So, we have oil everywhere, as you can see, it gushes out of the top end, so we’re good there. I’m gonna put my valve cover back on, roll this back up

And basically go to the valley pan and the intake manifold. Oh, and for those of you that are wondering, as this, because my. I wanna point this out, okay. So this is homemade and it’s not straight, right? I also do not have the bushing in here.

So in case you’re worried that I’m blowing the bushing out, I’m not, because it’s not there. But I will put it in before I put the intake manifold on, so I can reach in there and drop it in. I have a fresh one in the freezer to hopefully go in easier.

You barely turn it and you’re getting oil coming up. You think it’ll have enough oil coming over the top of those springs? We were worried about that. (laughing) As you see, we have the front end done, we’re starting onto our intake manifold. We’re gonna put our alternator on and that type of stuff.

But I wanted to point out a couple things, where you can get yourself in some real trouble here. If the bolts on the front of your water pump are too long, when they go through the pulley, they’ll bottom out on the water pump and that’ll be a bad day.

Secondly, you wanna make sure that the belts line up. So if you have to shim everything around, do that, make sure it’s straight. Otherwise you’re gonna throw a belt when you’re doing excess RPM. And one of the last things I’m gonna point out

Before I go to button this up, rotate the engine over, make sure everything stays where it’s supposed to be. Simple stuff like, the lifters need to line up with the cam lobes. Now I know that sounds really stupid, but let’s say things move around or shifted

Or you forgot to put the cam button in, if it was a roller cam or there’s other issues, just make sure it looks right and does what it’s supposed to do. You’ll thank yourself later after it’s all buttoned up and you’re running it. So moving forward, gonna get the little alternator on,

Water neck, exhaust, intake and we’re really close. Well, that’s a wrap for this time. Engine’s assembled. Next time you’re gonna see it, it’s gonna be in the race car running and making laps. So until then, get out in the shop, go get your work done. See ya.