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1974 RV 440 help!


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12:28 PM
Mar 11, 2014
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Hey guys, I picked up one of those "smokin" 440 deals. Low and behold, it's the RV miserable compression job. However, money is funny at the moment and the thing has to be installed and ran until I get my hands on an engine worthy of putting money into it. Wondering if searching out a reasonably priced set of 915"s, cam, carb, and headers would do the "temporary" trick? Thanks. Would appreciate recommendations on each area...Thanks.
Thanks. I have a 1964 belvedere. I just don't want to spend a ton. Wondering what heads they used? How would I find them?

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If money is a big issue just put a set of good valvesprings in it port the heads to templates and put a cam in it

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they used edelbrocks heads
Yep. Read the article I posted - they had an old set of ported Edelbrocks, but a decent gasket matching porting job on stock heads will work also.
Cam - go with a "kit" from someone like Comp Cams. Get cam, lifters and springs matched together in a set. Done.

Oh, almost forgot - don't go over a .500 lift cam unless you get the valve guides machined down for such AND you get matched springs for it. Otherwise, it'll eat your valve seals.
Thanks. Are you saying the RV heads can be ported using an edelbrock pattern?

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Ohhh, you were saying the build used edelbrock heads. Thanks.

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Thanks for the help guys, I feel much better! Great article!!!
Search threads here by engine builder member "IQ52", with dyno numbers proving you don't need high compression to make big power if engine can breathe freely. Sure higher comp will make more power than low comp, but it is not he most important factor...
It's a good question your posting. The roadkill combo made 356 hp at the wheels. On the video It looks like they spun it up to close to 6500rpm on the dyno.

Here is a quote from the hotrod article linked from reply #2.

"the old 440 spit 356 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque to the tires. We’d hoped for about 450 flywheel horsepower, but didn’t think we’d get there with the pathetic 8.0:1 compression ratio. We made it into that neighborhood, anyway."

I am thinking about trying something similar out, and maybe adding about 8 psi of boost down the road if things work out, centrifugal or turbo I am not sure yet. I have discarded the idea of a screw type supercharger just because I do not want to cut a hole in my hood or add a hood scoop. Still have more reasearch to do yet.

I have a seemingly solid rv 440, headers, and holley street dominator intake manifold, thinking keep the bottom end, upgrade to a 440 source heads, cam, and valvetrain if needed or worthwhile.

In the roadkill video they mentioned going with a hughes cam but used an "Isky Supercam" some one had.
The quoted specs,

"It’s a hydraulic flat-tappet with both the intake and exhaust lobes using 232 degrees of duration at 0.050 and 0.484-inch lift, with lobes stuck on a 108-degree lobe-separation angle. Comp Cams lowest-buck lifters and timing set were added to the otherwise stock valvetrain, right down to the pushrods"

I wonder what hughes cam they originaly intended to go with, perhaps a hughes whiplash cam? Has anyone here tried one out on an low compresion RV 440 with upgraded heads? I have looked into it a bit and have thought about trying one out.



Hmm, it does seem that these low compresion 440 can dish out some power and fun can be had with them. Watching the roadkill video the car sounded mean and had no problem laying down rubber. Its my guess though the heads they used may have made all the difference.
An 'RV' cam will raise cylinder pressures in the lower rpm ranges and will make it 'think' it's an engine with higher compression. How bout a 318 with 360 heads (they lowered compression even more) running 13.50 in a 72 Demon? A buddy and I played with one and used a .480 lift cam that was laying around. We used very few new parts and it surprised even us that it did that. We did run some pretty steep gears tho. The right cam can do wonders and the wrong cam can break your heart....
The right cam can do wonders and the wrong cam can break your heart....
Amen to that. Just had a 509 cam break mine.
After it wiped two lobes (previous owner/engine builder did something wrong at break-in, apparently) and the engine
started blowing oil smoke out #3 cylinder, I learned all sorts of info about not running anything near or above a .500 lift on totally stock "smogger" heads - just can't do it without valve seal issues/stock springs binding.

Life is much better with my Comp Cams Magnum cam and some "red" Mopar springs. :)
Also one thing to note is that your RV 440 heads may or may not have exhaust valve rotators. Get rid of them if you are using any performance cam, when you upgrade your springs.

I usually check everything and then ask alex at alexparts if he has any spring, retainer, keeper combos that will fit. He is very good once you give him the needed info.
Why don't you just get a set of 906s or 452s?
Slap on a used but good running Holley 750 and drive it for a while.

The 915s are closed chamber heads...that means higher compression ratio and possible issues because the "Quench chamber" is smaller.
Furthermore, 915s are pricey.
I've actually been looking at 906's on CL. What should I expect from the combo your recommending. Thanks.
Are you in Pasadena CA or TX? The 452's will have induction hardened exhaust seats from the factory if they are still stock....