• Welcome to For E Bodies Only !

    We are a community of Plymouth Cuda and Dodge Challenger owners. Join now! Its Free!

My 440 rebuild thread

Righty Tighty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
52
Location
Sahuarita, AZ
Well folks, don't do what I did. I bought my 74 Barracuda with a 440 six barrel last April, and hit sat for around 20 years without being run or turned over, according to the previous owner. I got it home, changed all the fluids, belts, hoses, plugs, etc., oiled the cylinders and turned it over by hand several times. What did not do, however, is prime the oil pump. It didn't even occur to me.

Previous owner told me the engine was a fresh build (20 years ago), and that it had maybe 500 miles on it. He said he was having trouble getting it tuned, got frustrated, and threw it into storage where it sat. I got it started and it ran ok, but the idle was extremely high once it warmed up, so I played with timing and fuel settings, and got it to mellow out.

There was always a problem that surfaced around 2800 RPM, and that was a stumble/pop/afterfire out of both exhausts. I tried many things from troubleshooting ignition and fuel, checking plugs, wires, nothing helped. Finally, I had a moment. Yesterday I had a valve cover off, and noticed the rockers were all just about at the same angle. Dammit. I'm pretty sure I know what that means. My cam is flat. Whether this happened because I didn't prime before starting or the previous owner didn't break it in properly, I don't know.

I need to pull the engine and confirm (also cut open the oil filter), but I'm quite certain that's what it is. So, I wanted to start a thread documenting my 440 rebuild for those interested, and because I know I'm going to have questions. I rebuilt my 318LA a couple years ago, and had immense help from the members over at FABO, so I'm pretty confident going into this.

The previous owner couldn't provide a build sheet for the engine, so I never knew what cam was in it, pistons, etc., so I'm excited to be able to tear this one down and build it how I want it, and now I'll KNOW what's in it.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all will follow along.
59190EA8-A185-4E3B-BB35-47D72E9AA19D.jpeg
7346C29D-4778-41AD-BE26-CF9251B20A47.jpeg
 

70chall440

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
955
Reaction score
695
Location
Western Washington
Its hard to say when/how the cam got wiped but in my experience if the engine was originally broken in without wiping out the cam then it should have been good. What oil did you put into it? Really doesn't matter now either way and rebuilding it isn't all that difficult.
 

Righty Tighty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
52
Location
Sahuarita, AZ
I used Lucas Hot Rod & Classic oil - high zinc at 2100ppm. I was thinking about how when I flattened the cam in the 318, the car barely ran. This engine has always run - albeit poorly. But as long as I keep the RPMs relatively low, it still runs.

But you're right, the rebuild won't be all that difficult. I think the most difficult part will be coming up with a plan, mostly cam choice and whether I want to keep the iron heads.
 
Top