Dodge RamCharger Central banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to start a new thread so I didn’t hijack anyone else’s.

The 440 in my truck has an 8.2:1 compression ratio and is rated at 220/330. I don’t have the right carb on it (my bad), and the 70’s were not good for horsepower. Right now it’s got an Edelbrock 600 1406 on it.

Is it worth a head/cam/intake/carb upgrade on it with the low compression ratio? I called 440 Source just for kicks, and their heads will up the compression ratio a half point. Seems like I’ve read that their not the best head choice for these trucks, but wanted to see what they had to say.

I know from my 5.0 days back in the late 80’s and early 90’s that you could get pretty good performance out of a little 302 with similar upgrades and a 9:1 compression ratio, even using that older technology.

I will rebuild it at some point, but it’s not in the budget right now, plus the miles are pretty low and it runs well, so it will do as a daily driver, just a bit slow.

I’d love to hear what others have done and how it worked out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
So are you just seeking more power with a "bolt on" budget?
What intake does it have now? I think these came stock with a spread bore dual plane intake & a Carter TQ carb. You mention having an Edelbrock 1406, which is a square bore carb. My guess is you are running an adaptor on a stock intake?

For me the pistons are where you must began, but since you're not budgeted for that yet I will say this. Hold off on the cam until you're ready to do the overhaul. Then you can get a whole package that's coordinated to work together.

The carb-intake thing is your starting point for now. Plus making sure your ignition system (plugs, wires, coil, distributor) is working at its best.

Bucky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Affirmative, looking to add some oomph but not at the point where I am able to do a full rebuild financially. And I do have the Edelbrock spread bore to square bore adapter now. I was looking to do the carb spacer for heat soak issues (although some cooling system upgrades I just did helped a lot), and I found irbid that Edelbrock’s spacer is a spread bore spacer. I called their tech support to confirm I had the right one and he said something like, “What difference does it make, it’s all going down the intake anyway?” If that’s the case, why do you need the adapter in the first place?

What kind of gains are possible with a cam/intake swap for a low compression engine like these trucks have? If the bang for the buck isn’t there, then it will probably make sense to wait.
I agree with you 100% on a coordinated build when the time is right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
You mentioned the mileage is low & it runs well, just could use more power. So I wouldn't think the timing chain would be stretched nor the cam lobes worn. Have you checked compression or vacuum, just to make sure there aren't any problems?

I have a 440 but its not stock & its was built in the 90's. I have no idea what is currently being offered as far as intake & cam choices. I would drive it as is until you are able to afford getting in there.

Bucky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I haven’t done a compression check yet, that’s on my list. I did check the timing chain, not sure if I even got 3 degrees out of it before the rotor moved, might have been less. Seems pretty tight.

Vacuum is around 15 at idle or low rpm.

I’d love to add some grunt, but may end up holding off if it doesn’t make sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
Sounds like your engine doesn't have much wrong with it other than its a 77 smog motor.

You can start with a carb-intake change both I don't know what to switch to. Also as mentioned have the ignition in top working order. It doesn't seem like you are wanting to race so maybe hold off on any fancy ignitions.

I suppose there are RV type cams which make good power/torque with those low compression engines. There are possibly threads about that subject on this forum.

Running non-ethanol gas could get you a tad more Ummph & a bump in mileage, but not enough to justify the added cost of that fuel, it's always been 30-40 cents higher than the ethanol laced garbage. All of its expensive now. Newer computer controlled engines tolerate today's cruddy gas better than older engine with carburetors.

Was your 77 made to use on unleaded? My guess is yes but there were heavier trucks that were still meant to run on leaded.

Bucky
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcm3

·
Registered
Joined
·
715 Posts
In the research i have done. Not personal experience.....

Your pistons are your biggest issue for sure as Bucky said above. Ideally if you dont ever want to touch the bottom end, do heads preferabbly either 440 source stealths these are 80cc or edelbrock e street pick the ones at 75cc for best bang for your budget literally. This will gain you another/ additional half point of compression if 440 source is saying you will gain a half point by going to their 80 cc ones.

Cam will be tricky, but i honestly wouldnt change it in your situation. It opens up a whole new can of worms with the new crap oils and break in. If you change the pistons then change the cam.

Intake, because of your use the only choice is the edelbrock performer rpm dual plane. It has been proven as the only intake to use below 5k rpms. All the others work good but not as good as the performer rpm. Stock 440s thrive on this intake.

Your carb may be a bit small at 600cfm. It will choke down any head and intake upgrades. I would go 750 for your situation.

Full length headers are also needed. This motor needs to breath.

Just my 0.02 cents.

Lastly not to go against Bucky, actually to agree with him, but watch packages for big blocks. Most are geared for top end screaming rpm drag racers and not for conservative rpms below 5k like "most"truck situations use. Just look at trickflows top end kit.....just be careful there are kits out there for sure.

Neil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
Before you tear into the engine, what gears are you running? What size tires? As much as the 440 has lots of torque, perhaps your're not liking the off the line acceleration? Gears (pricey if you need someone to set them up) may be an alternative. I used to run 4.56's in my R/C with the 440 and could beat Mustang GT's in at least the 1/8 mile. I'm down to 4.10's with the 1 ton swap though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
I was going to ask about the wheels/tires. Heavy tires (rotating mass) take more to get going. And yes gears come into play with acceleration as well.

My 440 is better suited for a car than a 4wd truck. I didn't even own a truck when I built the engine, but it spent most of its time in a w200.

Bucky
 
  • Like
Reactions: neil4224

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,145 Posts
Yep. Save your money... put it aside for when you can do a proper grunt build.
Because, as Bucky and Neil said above... it's the pistons.
You need at least 9.8 to 1 for aluminum heads to work right. Maybe even more.
You want grunt... you need compression.
 

·
Moderator
'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
Joined
·
6,683 Posts
My old '77 440 Ramcharger had decent grunt. With a performer intake, 750 carb, long tube Hookers, and a chrome brain box it beat 5 litre's and IROC-Z'S all the time out of the hole and through the intersection all day long, especially in 4LO. Not bad for a smog 440. Pistons and heads is where the power is made but it's also two of the most expensive areas on the engine. Until you are able to do the proper rebuild all at once, you can start by buying the things your new rebuilt engine will need anyways, things that the current engine could benefit from now, like an intake/carb and exhaust system. Let this current engine breathe a bit better and give it more fuel. My old Ramcharger responded well to those upgrades considering the pistons were all stock, but your new future rebuilt engine will need these parts anyways so start buying them now, like your ignition system, exhaust system, intake, carb, then eventually heads and then pistons. That how I would do it on a budget. One piece at a time and pieces that your engine could use now. A decent exhaust system makes a noticeable difference on a stock engine so you could start there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcm3 and neil4224

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good info, thanks everyone. @Dodgeman87, gears are 3.55’s, and I run 31x10.5 x 15 All Terrain T/A KO2’s, they are pretty big and heavy for a 220 hp truck.

I think I’ll just keep it running well, have done tons of reliability things in the last two months, and save my money for later.

Great info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
If you haven't done so elsewhere could you post of some pictures of your rig? I'm guessing it's the yellow one in your avatar.

Bucky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
If you haven't done so elsewhere could you post of some pictures of your rig? I'm guessing it's the yellow one in your avatar.

Bucky
Sure. I love it. I found some rust I don’t like in the rocker panels front of the rear wheels (can’t get to it unless I cut off the outside fenders), which I’ll have to get fixed if and when I get it painted someday. But other than that, it’s in solid shape, just surface rust underneath which I’ve been sanding down and protecting with Rustoleum rust reformer and a coat of Rustoleum satin black in sections as little weekend projects.

The interior was really what sealed the deal for me, because it’s so hard to do find. I also liked the factory 440, factory roll bar and the SE package. The odometer reads around 82k, and based on how the timing chain is and how the lifter valley and rocker areas looked, I think it’s original and not 182k.

I worried when I bought it that the engine might be a basket case because it didn’t run, but a new carb, plugs/cap/rotor and fixing a bunch of vacuum and PCV leaks and getting the timing set got it running nicely.

I’ve done a bunch of work in the last two months on it and am really liking where it is. I’ve done the following:
  • dropped the tank, replaced the sending unit, vent grommet and replaced the pump and vent rubber lines
  • replaced the carb
  • replaced the water pump, thermostat, fan clutch and radiator cap
  • replaced the distributor and coil
  • replaced the valve cover, valley pan and exhaust manifold gaskets
  • replaced the brakes, including wheel cylinders, rotors, calipers, front rubber lines, master cylinder and booster
  • replaced wheel bearings and seals
  • replaced the wiper bushings and re-grounded the wiper motor (works like a champ)
  • replaced the side mirrors
  • replaced the tires and shocks
  • found that the overflow bottle inlet tube was sealed shut for some reason, so drilled that out
  • replaced the hoses and belts
  • replaced the heater control valve and cable
  • pulled the instrument panel and replaced the ammeter bolts with brass hardware, replaced all of the bulbs and a few sockets (all gauges and lights now work)
I’m probably missing some stuff, every time I work on it I find something else neglected or broken. My wife is calling her my new girlfriend. 🤣 I have a few last things and then my 2005 F250 is going on the market and she will be my daily driver. I need heat and defrost more than I need ac where we live, but we do get a number of 100 degree days so life would suck without ac as well:
  • replace heater core (leaking)
  • replace blower motor
  • get the ac serviced

I’m an old school guy and have wanted to do something like this for years and decided to do it before prices get out of reach for me. She looks better in pics than in person, paint is about a 4 out of 10, but she looks pretty decent from a distance. Interior is good, once I replace the carpet and paint or dye the carpet on the doors and above the mat in the back, interior will be about an 8 or 9 out of 10. I love the interior. I'm pretty sure the seats are not stock, as I believe the SEs came mostly with high back seats (so many diferent options though), but maybe if I can find a good interior person who can match the current seats, I'll pick some up and have them done in the current look.

All of the pics except the engine pic were from the Craigslist ad.

Sorry for the book!
Wheel Tire Car Automotive parking light Vehicle


Brown Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Car seat cover


Vehicle Plant Motor vehicle Car Automotive design


Car Vehicle Car seat cover Motor vehicle Car seat


Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Fixture Steering wheel


Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Steering part Steering wheel

Steering wheel isn’t upside down, the wheel was turned (pics are from the Craigslist ad)

Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood


Car Motor vehicle Vehicle Auto part Metal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
Looks clean to me! Are all the wheels slots like the spare? The interior looks great. Underhood looks uncluttered especially for an AC truck.

Bucky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Looks clean to me! Are all the wheels slots like the spare? The interior looks great. Underhood looks uncluttered especially for an AC truck.

Bucky
They are. I took some steel wool and WD40 to them, and they cleaned up really nice. You can still see that there is some chrome pitting due to years of neglect, but from a normal distance they look great. One was pretty bad, but I used that one for the spare.

I have done a bunch of underhood cleanup, but up to now was mainly concentrating on getting it running. Next steps are to continue painting parts as I take them off (like the water pump, alternator bracket and valve covers), clean up wiring, get rid of that nasty undercoating overspray on the blower motor, crap like that. I'm getting ready to rebuild the power steering pump, so will give that a nice coat of paint also. I want to put some new wires on, the ones that are on there are a combination of 90 degree ends and straight ends, some running from the front and some running from the rear, use some wire loombs to clean that up. But it's a lot cleaner than when I got it.

I bought some weather stipping for the doors, will get that on soon. I need to find out what kind of universal weather stripping I can buy for the rear hatch, it's pretty much compacted and hard, rear hatch rattles really loudly. I might order a few samples from here and see what works. Universal Landing

Thanks for the complients, loving having a Mopar finally after a Camaro (wish I'd kept that 70 1/2 Rally Sport) and a number of 5.0 Mustangs in my younger years. One day I will get the engine rebuilt and get it painted, but don't have the means for that right now. I'm a gearhead at heart, so something like this fit the bill. I can still put some things in it, it has a back seat, but can still be muscular and sound good and get me around in the occasional snow here in Idaho.

It's the perfect combination of being somewhat useful and an engine that can be rebuilt to run really well and sound great. I'm learning a ton from this site and realizing that I don't hate working on cars like I thought I did, but just hate working on newer cars. :ROFLMAO: People think of old cars as unreliable, they're not. If you get them running, there is less to fail. They don't have the conveniences, but they have the nostalgia and feel that some love.

Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Car Vehicle
 

·
Moderator
'79 Macho 360 Magnum, Comp 480 cam, Hughes springs, 650 Thunder AVS, Pertronix Flamethrower ignition
Joined
·
6,683 Posts
Ya, that's a nice rig for sure. I like the colour combination, nice sunny and brite! It's basically just like my old one except sunny and brite. Your engine looks clean and well taken care of, I would try a bigger carb on it first, I'll bet it will respond well and give you more power, but don't forget, small carbs give better fuel economy and bigger carbs consume more fuel, especially if you like using the power off the light at every intersection or passing every car on the road. I find that the more power the engine makes the more often I use it. With all of my muscle cars I've ever owned I was always on the loud pedal either launching hard out of the hole at every intersection or sideways a bit around every other corner and then accelerating off each corner just because it was fun to do and awesome to feel the power but it was expensive. Power is like a drug and if you like to use it, it's gunna get expensive. Lol
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: jcm3

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ya, that's a nice rig for sure. I like the colour combination, nice sunny and brite! It's basically just like my old one except sunny and brite. Your engine looks clean and well taken care of, I would try a bigger carb on it first, I'll bet it will respond well and give you more power, but don't forget, small carbs give better fuel economy and bigger carbs consume more fuel, especially if you like using the power off the light at every intersection or passing every car on the road. I find that the more power the engine makes the more often I use it. With all of my muscle cars I've ever owned I was always on the loud pedal either launching hard out of the hole at every intersection or sideways a bit around every other corner and then accelerating off each corner just because it was fun to do and awesome to feel the power but it was expensive. Power is like a drug and if you like to use it, it's gunna get expensive. Lol
Ha ha, so true, so true! I may try a larger carb, just to see how it responds. It's not super expensive, and probably worth trying at some point.

Great pics, love old car pics. Thanks for sharing.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top