Re-Rebuilding the 440-493 in a 1970 Charger

Kern Dog

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Here we go again.
I am faced with some engine troubles that warrant removal and disassembly. As with most of my other projects, I'll walk everyone through every detail and show what worked, what doesn't, what I spent and where I lucked out. I expect there to be some small detours along the way as one idea comes along that is a better one than what I had already planned.
First up.....
Last weekend, I had just finished the Borgeson steering box installation in this car. If you want to get the whole story there, click on THIS:

https://www.forbbodiesonly.com/mopa...rgeson-steering-box-in-a-1970-charger.246108/

The steering is fantastic although I do need to get it aligned. The shorter steering arms surely resulted in a slight toe-in.

Back on topic.
While on the drive, I stopped to get some gas. I filled up at a lesser known station and soon thereafter, the car started running weird. It detonated a bit, was down on power and knocked even as I released the clutch to move from a start. I wondered if the gas was to blame so I took an electric fuel pump and sucked it all out.

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The gas looked okay though.

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I poured in some 91 and drove it again.
It idled lower and rougher but wasn't smoking. The air-fuel ratio was a bit richer than usual though. There was some clatter so I pulled the valve covers and lashed the valves. Two rocker arms had a LOT of lash...that had me worried. The cam is the Mopar Performance 528 solid. Their lash specs are .028/.032 hot intake/exhaust. I decided to tighter it up to .022/.024. It did quiet it down a lot but there was still some clatter which I figured was normal since these solid cams do make some noise.
The power was still down and it seemed to be getting worse.
In a move that made no sense but I had to try, I swapped in a different electronic ignition box, thinking that maybe my "orange box" was somehow defective.
It made no difference. Timing was actually backed off from my usual settings despite me not even touching the distributor.
The loose lash on those 2 rocker arms had me curious so I pulled the intake and valley pan. What I saw was not good.

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You can see the chewed up edge of the lifter in the second picture. At least three lobes of the cam are going flat.
I've had cams go flat before, two in this engine alone. In 2006, 2 Comp Cams went bad back to back despite proper oil, supplements and break in procedures.
I thought that I did everything right then. Since then I have switched to solid cams. I had a Lunati for awhile but swapped in this 528 about 8 years ago. Both of these cams had Howards flat tappet lifters with the direct oiling hole. I thought that this provided an extra layer of protection.
I have been using Redline 10w30 with extra zddp. I add 1/2 a bottle of Comp Cams break in supplement at each oil change. Why did this cam go bad?
 

autoxcuda

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Dang… you HAVE the special oiling hole lifters.

How many miles you think you have one this cam?

Do you go solid roller?

I worry about the retrofit hydraulic roller. But may be unjustified. Like to hear others’ experience.
 

Kern Dog

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I still have the Lunati cam and the lifters are stored in order. It was really tempting to just douche out what I could here and slip in the other cam. I thought about that for almost 2 days.
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The Pro: The car would have very little down time and that cam made some great power. The Cons: That cam required a vacuum pump so the power brakes would work....AND the grindings from the cam and lifters could still be hidden inside the engine waiting to embed themselves in the bearings and damage the crank, the pistons, cylinder walls, etc.

I decided to do the right thing and pull the engine to do it right.
This sort of thing always results in The Snowball Effect.
In my defense, it makes sense when you're knee deep in a project to correct what is wrong and to fix any prior mistakes.
8 years or so ago, in an effort to stop the incessant detonation that I was having, I tried this big Lunati cam...the theory was that a "bigger cam" would bleed off compression and reduce the chance of knocking. That theory may work on cases where the engine was on the edge but I was at 10.9 with this engine and nothing short of race gas stopped the knock with the engine in its then current state. I didn't want to pull the engine to swap pistons so I went with .075 thick Cometic head gaskets. I have zero quench with these, but at 10.1 compression, I wasn't knocking anymore.
493 piston 11.jpg


I didn't choose those pistons, the supplier suggested them and said that I'd be fine on the street with aluminum heads. I wasn't. It knocked and knocked.
The thicker head gaskets worked but they are a band aid. They dropped the C/R but left me with a .86 quench distance.
 

Kern Dog

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Dang… you HAVE the special oiling hole lifters.

How many miles you think you have one this cam?

Do you go solid roller?

I worry about the retrofit hydraulic roller. But may be unjustified. Like to hear others’ experience.
This cam maybe has 4000 miles on it including 4 trips to Spring/Fall Fling.
 

Kern Dog

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Now that I am faced with pulling the engine, I want to do a remove and reinstall from underneath. To do this, I needed to make some sort of cart to support everything. I started a thread on that too:

https://www.forbbodiesonly.com/mopa...nstall-from-underneath.246546/#post-912250641

There were some great ideas posted there. I took some cues and started making my own. First up, I took a spare K member and a bare 440 block.

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Then I took a couple of steel dollies and welded some 2 x 3 channel....

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I noticed that the bottom of the K member had holes in it, not sure of their purpose originally. I decided to use them as guides to hold the engine to the stand. I welded 2 old 1/2" bolts to the "pads" so the K member cannot slide off.

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It is some bonehead engineering but I think that it will work.

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More updates tomorrow.
 

Geoff 2

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If you want to stay with a FT cam, find original factory lifters & have them refaced. The lifters are the problem, not the oil.
 

Kern Dog

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I was under the impression that camshafts have some surface hardening to them. All these years and I learn that I had it wrong. Yeah, I did make an almost 900 mile road trip in late April and all was fine. Heck, it ran fine up until last week. These are Howards lifters with that .012 hole in the bottom for direct oiling. I could go round and round looking for a cause and never know but I will probably keep pondering the cause or causes.
AS stated, the oil didn't stay clean looking long in this engine despite changing it far closer to 1500 miles in between oil changes. It doesn't smell like fuel though. The valve springs were compatible with the Lunati cam with more aggressive specs. Maybe they were too stiff for this cam? I never had valve float. I rarely went to 6000 rpms with it although it accelerates so fast sometimes, I temporarily lose my wits and kept my foot in it.
 

dvw

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Flat tappet lifters have to spin. The one part of a build that seldom gets measured are the lifter bores. Are they tapered, oval, wrong diameter? Be careful removing them. If the don't slide out easily, stop. Raise the up and pull the cam. Then drop them thru the bottom.
Doug
 

Lefty71

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Flat tappet lifters have to spin. The one part of a build that seldom gets measured are the lifter bores. Are they tapered, oval, wrong diameter? Be careful removing them. If the don't slide out easily, stop. Raise the up and pull the cam. Then drop them thru the bottom.
Doug

I'll add that you should have your own lifter burnishing tool.... I like to check the bores myself after the block comes out of the machine shop. And of course, make sure the lifters spin as part of your cam install process.
 

1967coronet

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The lunati cam and lifters that survived...... from what I read, was broke in with the same springs ?
Anything different from that break in to the chewed up cams beside brands and specs?
Like posted before , lifters have to spin. Just me but I prob would use a set of stock springs for the next try.
Sorry man , that suxs.
 

padam

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If the cam worked for 8 years, it wasn't a problem with break in.


I have to say Kern, it seems like when you decide to do something you get after it!
 

gtxdana

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If you want to make power, with a quiet valvetrain, and no chance of the cam going flat, spend the money and put a hydraulic roller in it.
 

Kern Dog

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These lifters all spun just fine. I got in the habit of checking that after the Comp Cams sticks crapped out on me. I'm curious about how three lobes can go at once though. The engine went from being fairly tolerable as far as valvetrain clatter to really noisy and failing in such short order. It is not hard to start, I don't spend 30 seconds cranking on it to get it to fire up.
I don't know what I will do There may be No more flat tappet cams for this engine.
 
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RemCharger

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Could just be, one of those blocks.
Possibly lifter bore angle issues.
 

furious70

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I had 1 440 block, really the only engine I ever had much trouble with, for no real reason eat things several times before it blew up beyond repair. Now obviously there was a reason, but in normal machining and such nothing showed up. Very frustrating.
 

Kern Dog

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I have 3 other 440 blocks here that I can use. One needs a sleeve. One is already .030 over and the last one is a complete engine from a '71 Chrysler. That block is dated 11-69. It is stock bore. I'd like to use it merely for the date code even though my car is nowhere close to a stock restoration.

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Kern Dog

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There will be several hurdles that I will encounter along the way. I was just thinking of the air conditioning. I want to repaint at least some of the engine bay so somehow I need to either evacuate the system that I JUST had filled so I can disassemble it all or find a way to work around it.
 

furious70

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There will be several hurdles that I will encounter along the way. I was just thinking of the air conditioning. I want to repaint at least some of the engine bay so somehow I need to either evacuate the system that I JUST had filled so I can disassemble it all or find a way to work around it.
Keeping the ac system in tact was a prime consideration when I redid it on my fury with a sanden compressor and such. Instead of the hog tying hoses as OEM I ran them both to pass side so the compressor can just be flopped to one side still sealed.
 
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