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How to destroy a 440

Meep-Meep

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Yesterday a young lady brings me a hurt 440 out of her expensive 70 resto mod Charger that she recently purchased. The engine has under 400 miles and suffered some major damage because whoever built it missed the mark on the details. One clearly missed detail is a rocker arm spacer on the other bank was in the wrong position.

Why do people run those crappy stock rocker arms and 5/16" push rods in anything but a stock cammed engine!?! Dual springs with high open pressures have no business under those rockers arms. Making rocker arm skewers with push rods should be a clue that those rockers are not up for the job when high spring pressures are used.

Also note a major factor in this failure was the retainer hitting the rocker. Hard to see here but the edges of the retainers where contact was made is present on most of them. She thinks the failure was her fault by taking it to 6000 RPM but it's not. A valve train that is substandard will become a secondary spring and tend to flex in unpredictable ways as RPM increases. Really bad things can happen at 6000 RPM and one must design accordingly.

After pulling the heads the news only got worse. Crack in #8 cylinder, the intake valve seat from #8 found its way in three other cylinders. A small hole in #3 piston. Initially I thought the failure was caused by the high RPM and the retainer hitting the inside of the rocker, possibly dislodging the keeper. While that is not impossible, the failure may have originated by the intake seat falling out. Anyone have any similar experience with 440 Source heads? Seats falling out that is. I have no idea what cam is in it but it has dual springs and it's a hydraulic flat tappet.

It's now my task to bring this back to life and make sure it can handle 6000 RPM under the foot of this young lady, who also has a Porsche 911S turbo. When I suggested this may have a hot cam and I can tame it down she says "oh, I don't want to loose that." Haha! OK fine with me. This thing will be Brandi proof!

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under 400 miles ??? 6000 rpm?
True, does seem very low miles to be getting on it, but there is a school of thought that says "for maximum horsepower after the initial break-in just drive it like you stole it".

Personally I aim for about 1,000 miles before redlining it, but possibly would be ok if the break-in oil has been ditched and fresh oil and filter were installed.
 
I wonder if it was over heated or run low on water. That is the likely the most common way for a seat to fall out and destroy everything. I had not heard of Stealths dropping seats in years. When they were first introduced I had heard of it. That was years ago. Are they old stealths?
 
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Overheated will drop a seat, but with that damage, who knows what happened first, the chicken or the egg. Rocker spacer on the outside seems to be turned 90°, so last 2 rockers were way off on space. The retainer striking the rocker was unacceptable. It all needs to be done correctly. Nothing wrong with 5 1/16" push rods, I haven't hurt mine yet, anything can get hurt. Ball is in your park, sounds like she can afford play, so do it right this time, so that hopefully it doesn't break next time.
Might not be a bad idea to put a rev limiter on her, who knows what rpm she hit.
 
I have to ask, what is your plan? Is anything re usable? Sleeve it? Weld the head?
 
I wonder if it was over heated or run low on water. That is the likely the most common way for a seat to fall out and destroy everything. I had not heard of Stealths dropping seats in years. When they were first introduced I had heard of it. That was years ago. Are they old stealths?
Can't know for sure if it was over heated before she got it but according to her there was no indication of it. Yes, running too hot can cause the seats to fall out. But still, a properly made head should hold up to normal heat cycles and the occasional over heating. I don't know how old or new the heads are. The chambers look like Eddy heads.
 
I have to ask, what is your plan? Is anything re usable? Sleeve it? Weld the head?
Sleeve is the plan for the block. Heads are scrap. Maybe go with iron or Eddy, which do not seem to have seat failures that I know of. I'm a bit leery on Source heads from what others have reported over the years. Many say they are fine so really can't say.
 
If she thinks a 440 is $$$ to rebuild wait until she blows up the 911S ,
I own one and it's 3 times the cost of my mopars :rofl:

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Holy crap that looks bad.
Meeps knows Porsches too!
Her engine is in good hands. She doesn't know how lucky she is to have you as the mechanic doing this repair.
Now how did you forget to include a photo of the 1970 Charger?
 
Definitely an ugly mess......she must be a fun girl to be around if she drives hard like that. :thumbsup:
 
Seems like an amateur build, it wouldn't be a bad idea to inform the engine builder of his mistakes so he can learn from it before he messes up another good 440.
 
What kind of a warranty are you putting on this engine???
 
Amazing how the trash found its way into 4 cylinders on either side of the engine. Through the intake?
 
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