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440 to 505 Build


May 9, 2019
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Hi All,
I finally took the time to post this. When I was deciding what parts to buy, I got a lot of helpful info from you guys. Anyways, here is what I settled on, and some of ongoing issues.

My buddy and I are not professional builders, but my buddy has put quite a few together over the decades. I have only put a few engines together in my life. Some of my comments are sorta notes to myself, so please take them as just rambling. This is going into my 71 Challenger R/T I owned for 43 years. Yes, my mom and dad left me buy this car in high school, but it only had a 340 in it then.

My hopes are that this engine will last 30 years and 30,000mi. That is the tough part. Listening to all you guys on the internet talk, I would like to have the 650hp, but I want it to last 30 years too!!! For the last 30 some years I had a 440 in the car. I freshened it up without boring it back in the ‘80s (no money for that or new pistons), closed chamber iron heads, 284/484 cam, 12.6sec at the strip. I drove the car into the garage last spring when we pulled the 440.

I hope to get to the strip next year.

I have many thanks to all you mopar guys for all your posts over the years. Many of the details for my build comes from the Ebody, Abody and Bbody sites. I’m not a member of the A & Bbody sites, but I guess I should join so I can post this there too and thank those guys.

Well, here’s the build:

1971 440 block

The boring and decking was done at a respected machine shop.

Line bored main crank journals.

Bored +.030”, to 4.350”

Decked to have piston below deck .005” (in theory)

440Source stroker kit - 505:
6 lb. lighter crank option - 4.25” stroke
+.030/17cc dish pistons (I did not cc the dish)
Total height of piston I measured 2.639”
7.1” rods

TrickFlow 240 heads - advertised at 78cc. I measured ~76.2cc, after grinding/opening up comb. cham. above spark plug, ~77.5cc

Comp Cams tool steel retainers (to save 10 grams of weight). After feeling how heavy the lifters and push rods are (I forgot to weight them and now they are in the motor), I wonder if 10 grams means anything??

Cometic head gaskets, C5462-036 = .036” thick, +.060” diameter to bore. (Not the C5461-036, +.030” to bore, because that gasket is right even with the TrickFlow240 valve pockets and could cause a hot spot.)

Lunadi Roller Hyd. 247/251deg @ .050”, 112deg LSA, .563/.565”, 4deg advanced.

Morel roller lifters.

Harland Sharp 1.5:1 rockers with geometry for the TrickFlow heads (per TrickFlow and Harland Sharp).

Smith Bros. 3/8” pushrods. ~1 thread exposed in rocker adjuster after .030”hyd. lifter preload (about 7/12th of a turn).

6 qt “hemi” pan. Mopar Windage tray, ½” “Hemi” oil pickup.

Stock oil pump with “extension plate”, to allow the long rotor. Higher-pressure spring. Oil passages around pump opened up to match block.

Oil pressure is 55 – 60psi running the oil pump with a drill, 80degF, 30 wt oil.

440Source Girdle.

Torker II intake, port matched to heads and opened up as far in as I could reach up the runners. After installation, I believe I should have taken more out of the floors of some of the runners, noticeably #6 (I could look into that one real easy), but there was no way I was going to stop assembling and start grinding again at this point.

1” tapered hole spacer, 4 into 1. Spacer die-grinded to match intake side. (The 4 holes on the carb. side were good.)

870 Vac. 2nd Holley 81870, 4 corner idle, man choke. Per David Vizard’s Holley book, I cleaned up venture flashing, choke horn edges, butterfly shaft, butterfly screws, and removed the unused squirter mount in the secondaries. Per the book, I estimated 950cfm.

TTI 2” to 3.5” headers.

Current 2.5” full exh. with X, Flowmaster Super 44s, but hopefully 3” within the next year. Mufflers will remain in the very rear of car next to gas tank. New Mufflers will be straight through style, prob. Dynamax.

MSD 6AL, 6425 Prob. Set rev limit at 6600.

MSD Blaster SS coil

Wide Band air/fuel meter, AEM. Bungs in both collectors, so I can check both sides.

Compression 10.9 +/- .1 (cylinder to cylinder variation because of different piston heights)

Quench: .037” - .043” (different piston heights)

I find measuring this is a challenge. I don’t know how much variation is normal from cylinder to cylinder. There’s different piston rock (both up and down AND front to back). The height of piston in the bore varies too. All bearing have assembly lube, pistons have been oil dipped. The machine shop decked the block to have the pistons .005” below deck (mathematically, but not installing the rotating assembly).

With our BEST EFFORT measuring methods (but not professional grade), we measured piston rock at TDC (on intake man. side of piston). The avg. is what I am calling piston to deck height. Adding in .036” head gasket, I have a quench of .037” to .043”, I guess, ignoring piston rock, and only measuring 4 of the 8 cylinders.

#2 +.002” to -.004” avg. -.001”
#3 +.001” to -.015” avg. -.007”
#5 +.002” to -.011” avg. -.0045”
#8 .000” to -.006” avg -.003”

#8 front edge of pis. -.004 to -.008” (avg.-.006”) back edge of pis. .000 to -.006” (avg.-.003”)

On a previous day, we did a QUICK ROUGH CHECK of piston to deck height measuring mostly the “front and back” of the piston, as close as we could to being above the wrist pin (near the piston’s valve relief, on the quench pad of the piston). I suspect the pistons were NOT at perfect TDC for these measurements because we just eye-balled TDC on this day.

Measured close to the piston center, above wrist pin piston intake side, piston rocked up

#1 -.008”
#2 -.006”
#3 -.006”
#4 -.006 , -.008” (front & back, but without rocking the piston)
#5 -.004 , -.007” (front & back, but without rocking the piston) -.0015”
#6 -.006”
#7 -.006 , -.007” (front & back, but without rocking the piston)
#8 -.006 , -.009” (front & back, but without rocking the piston) -.0015”

SO, after all this measuring:

1. Cylinders #2 vs #3 have a .006” difference in piston to deck distance??? Crank, rods, wrist pin height???
2. Pistons have a .001” to .003” tilt front to back.
3. Piston rock at top varies from .006”(#2&8) to .016”(#3). Poss. #2&8 had more of oil behind the rings preventing easy rocking??
4. Some pistons rock with my fingers noticeably more than others (#3 was the most)??? More oil behind the rings of some?
5. Will .016” rock cause piston slap noise?
6. When a piston heats up, how much less does it rock/expand?
7. Doing a quickie micrometer check of the bores, they all measured the same, (we suspected #3 &5 were bigger, but we could not get the mic to read bigger on them bores). We did not measure all the pistons before installing, but the 2 I did measure were both 4.345” on the skirts, but I did not measure anything else on the pistons.
8. Quench COLD, with all the piston rock, could be as low as .034” and as high as .051” (but prob. Less with hot pistons and less rock?).
9. I am hoping to get away with 93 pump gas, no octane boost. I’m afraid I’m cutting it close. Time will tell…
10. Cyl. To cyl deck height difference is .006”: How well machined is rod length, crank journal, piston pin height, squareness of all the rod holes & piston pin holes, and crank journals, left deck vs right, MY measurement accuracy. And finally, does it even matter for a hobby motor?
11. Perhaps too many measurements – Confucius say, man with one watch always know exact time, man with two watches never quite sure…

Startup on engine start stand:

1. Set advance limiting plate in the 14 deg slots, but advance seemed to swing from 15 to 33, 18 deg swing? Need to figure that out.
2. Around 9” vac at about 900 rpm. Too soon to get vac. numbers. It would keep idling down to 600! YEA.
3. Slowly revving it up, it would smooth out at 2000rpm and above, then slowing back down, it would start “roughing up” at 1500rpm and below.
4. Oil pressure – Ricky’s gauge, un-dampened, 70psi cold, 55ish warm (all fast idle and above). About 15psi flutter=more than normal. Removed oil pressure spring from pump and discovered a “sleeve”, about 1” long, inside the coil spring. The sleeve looked a lot like a thin wall roll pin. Ricky’s Hemi oil pump did NOT have this sleeve, so we removed it. Then 80psi cold, 65ish warm (fast idle and above), 25ish at 800-900 idle. The run stand’s gauge read about 3psi higher at all pressures.
5. The rocker’s oiling seems less on the drivers side. It seemed like not enough oiling at first, but after removing the sleeve and getting an extra 10psi, we thought it seemed ok, but surely not an over abundance of oil.
6. THEN the OIL LEAK. Rear main seal :( Drain oil, water, disconnect everything, lift from start stand, attach to std. engine stand, remove oil pan, windage tray, girdle, rear main seal, huhhh. Machine .015” off the seal cap. Another new Felpro end seal kit. Black silicone under the seals, and every where else. Re-assemble and re-test. GREAT, OIL LEAK FIXED!

In the Car, finally! We are having our share of issues, so here goes:

I have to end, my letter count is too high


May 9, 2019
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I finished my notes for now -

In the Car, finally! We are having our share of issues, so here goes:

1. Temporary exhaust system is my old 2.5” with Super 44s in the very back by the gas tank. Installed breather hoses into evac valves in exh. Tubing just after collectors. Well, I think this was a mistake. On the 1st ride (with no hood), oil splashed out dip stick tube onto header. We then removed the dipstick, and put a sensitive pressure gauge on the tip stick tube and taped it to the “deck” in front of the windshield. When we got on it, we had 2 – 3 psig of pressure in the crankcase, we believe coming up from the exhaust system. We removed the “exhaust evac “ hoses and oil no longer came up the dip stick tube (we still have NOT verified crankcase pressure, but it’s now vented on both valve covers. I do not plan on running a PCV valve – for now I will route “crankcase vent” hoses under the car). We then noticed the intake valley pan was buckled up and cracked. I pushed it back down and glued the crack with Yamabond, but the crack continues to spread and a new crack just opened up. Currently the intake and valley pan are removed to install a new one.
2. No piston slap sound! Yeh!
3. Some lifter/rocker noise though??? I re-checked lifter preload – all good. After warming up, it’s much less.
4. Slight puffs of blue smoke out exhaust, noticed by 2 different people, different times.
5. After removing the intake and valley pan, I discovered oil in the intake runners of the heads, in 7 of the 8 cylinders. When we installed the intake, we only used the fiber gaskets between the valley pan and intake, not valley pan and head. When we re-install, we will use fiber gaskets on both sides of the valley pan. We originally did this because, at the time, it looked like that made the best “intake runner to head port” vertical alignment. Now, looking at the marks in the fiber gasket (stuck to the intake) and rub marks on the heads, I believe we need to raise the intake a little for better port alignment, so the added pan to head gasket should do the job. Also, 440Source told me “yes, they have seen oil creep up past the valley pan if there is no gasket in there”. Live and learn…
6. AEM O2 sensor works great.
7. Target idle of 1000rpm/850-900 in gear. Idle mixture set at ~13:1. Cruising too rich, 10 – 11:1.
8. 9.5” vacuum idling at 1000, 7.5” in gear at 850 rpm. 17” cruising around. 4.5”pri./3.5”secondary power valves.
9. MSD box intermittent already. Only about 2 hrs on the box. I sent it back to MSD for repair. I’m borrowing a buddies identical MSD box for the time being.
10. Set advance limiting plate in the 12 deg slots to give more initial timing. But it still has more than 12 deg change from idle to full advance?
11. All advance in by 2000 rpm.
12. 93 pump gas does not ping!!!
13. I connected the vac advance to the ported vac. on the carb. That adds about 21 deg. So, cruising I have around 54 deg. when everything's in. I do not feel any surging (like I did with the old 440). Maybe with this engine I can get away with 54 deg?
14. Fuel pressure after regulator adjusted to 6.75 – 7 psig (was 5.5 psi from my old 440 before adjusting).

To Do:

1. At this point, I’m in the process of jetting the carb. I’ll see how lean I can get away with cruising, and still have the best throttle response. I suspect somewhere between 13:1 and 15:1. Out of the box, the carb was around 10:1 – 11:1. Last time out, cruising was around 11.5:1 I just installed “set screw” primary low speed jets to start leaning it down more on the transfer slot. Drilling out the primary low speed air bleeds just was not doing enough. WOT target will be 13:1.
2. Need to measure the fuel pressure before the regulator. And watch it while driving. Make sure it holds at least 8 psig.
3. Still hear more noise from (what sounds like) under the valve covers. It seems quiet when I first start it, then more knocking noise than I like. Then usually quiets back down after it’s fully warmed up???
4. Timing still dancing around 3 – 4 deg. Is this the best it gets with a Chrysler electronic pickup distributor?
5. I still have not rung it out, mostly 2nd gear pulls up 5500 rpm or so. Need to check WOT fuel pres. and get WOT 13:1 A/F first.

Chryco Psycho

Well-Known Member
Dec 28, 2008
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Sounds like an awesome build !
I have numerous problems with MSD , I prefer the Revnator ECU
I use the fiber gasket between the pan & heads only just seal the intake to the pan directly , you always need the fiber gasket under the pan to prevent oil consumption as you learned .


Well-Known Member
Dec 27, 2019
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That does sound cool! like it. I have a 500 stroker with eddy heads. I've been using the MSD 6AL ignition box, blaster coil 2 hi-perf and pro billet distributor with no issues. also, I may have missed it in the post but, did you measure the push rods? only reason I asked was when I used their (440 source) roller rockers I also used the adjustable push rod to measure the appropriate length.


Active Member
Sep 19, 2012
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San Antonio TX
Thanks for posting this in this level of detail. I'm deciding on a parts list and a displacement for a 440 stroker right now. I have to get the block torn down and in to the machine shop to determine my starting point for a kit. I really appreciate reading through this to get a sense of what to expect!


May 9, 2019
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Sorry for taking so long to respond, I didn't get any emails alerting me to your posts. I have Smith Bros. push rods, 8.743" long.

I sent my MSD 6AL back to MSD in TX. I called to ask what was wrong, they said it "Failed initial test. Recalibrated output. 8 hr. burn in at 4000 rpm". I asked "did it need any new parts?". They said no. They refused to give me anything as a trade in on new box. This box does NOT give me the best feeling. So, I just bought another new "Spare" box. $300 to carry around in the glove compartment and hope I never need.

When deciding on a stroker size, I was between a 505 and 520, and 440Source was well liked on the Mopar sites. (Their parts did fit very well.) Plus, when I bought my kit, I wanted to buy the complete kit because I don't know enough about motors to make up my own kit. 440Source did not have a 520 kit with pistons that gave 10.5:1 compression with 78cc heads. That is the main reason I chose 505 with 17cc dish pistons. I now know another option would be to buy the 520 kit from 440Sourse minus the pistons, then buy JE piston with the correct dish, but that's more cost, plus an additional balance at my local machine shop. $?? more for 15 ci. For a heavy car it may be something to consider.

I have done some tuning since my last post:
1. I think I still have too much spark scatter, ~7 deg total. I will try reversing the magnetic pickup wires and see what that does. I didn't pay attention to any polarity when hooking it up. I think MSD triggers on a "dropping" voltage from the pickup? Does anyone know?
2. Carb jetting. I learned a few things as I kept jetting it down. The new carb was too rich almost everywhere out of the box.
a. I made brass Idle Jets with set screws. I worked down to .027" and that was too small, at 30 - 40mph, it surges and misfires at 13.5 - 14.7:1. .030" is good with 12.5 - 13.0:1 and good throttle response. (stock hole was .034" and 10.9:1).
b. 70 mph cruise: 71 mains are too small, even with full vac and mech advance of 54 deg it's about 18:1 and misfires. 77 mains seems close and good throttle response, 13.0 - 13.2:1. May still try and drop mains a little till throttle response fades. (stock was 78/82 main PVRC .054" 12.8:1)
c. WOT: I still need to drill the PowerValveRestrictorChannel holes a little to richen WOT more. I'm out to .066". It pings a little and is around 13.2 - 13.5:1. I think I should target 12.8:13.0:1. AND get my spark scatter under control.
d. Secondaries: I am trying to stagger jet L front & R rear 2 sizes bigger than the other 2 corners, and still get the vac secondaries to open without lean hesitation. Still stock spring, but fixed the leaks that feed vacuum to the vacuum canister. That helped reduce the lean hesitation. Ain't Holleys great out of the box!
e. Fuel levels: Rear bowl near top of window. Front bowl in center of window.
f. Acc shooter/cam: No tuning yet, but works pretty good - I'm hoping to use this to remove the slight lean hesitation when the secondaries open (without going to a stiffer 2nd spring).

I measured fuel pressure just before the regulator at the carb, 9psi at WOT, but I'm jetted a little lean. I need to keep an eye on this especially since I still have the stock 5/16" fuel line from the tank. That's another story, one of these years I may put in a bigger line just to get rid of that whining electric fuel pump in the back for a quiet mechanical pump on the motor.

That's about it till I get it back our in spring, though it's so warm it feels like spring now.