I'm sure most of you have had a run in with Mr. Murphy. I took this week off for vacation and had planned on getting my 400 completed and mounted to the k-member for the car. Well, I installed the heads, headers, oil-pump, motor mounts, etc. and everything was going great...
Then, I decided to complete my valvetrain. I looked in my trusty 1973 Chrysler/Plymouth factory service manual an notice these oilite bushings that are supposed to be between the rockers. Guess what? I don't have any. I called 440 Source out in CA and have a set coming, but it set me back again.
After doing some other odds/ends out in the garage today, I just had to throw the intake and carb up top to see what it was going to look like when done. However, that intake is not staying. A friend of mine has my Street Dominator at work where it will get bead blasted. It and my aluminum water pump housing are also getting powder-coated in satin clear. Should look great when done.
Also, just as a note, I was not overly happy with the POR-15 engine enamel. Unlike the POR-15 encapsulator, the engine enamel does not flow out very well and even thin coats will end up with small runs. Luckily this engine is going in a car with a tight engine bay and most of the imperfections in the paint will not be able to be seen. The spots around the headers will be touched up before the engine goes in the car.
I also recently acquired these bits and pieces for the 400. The valve covers are vintage "Direct Connection" chrome covers and the intake is a vintage Holley Street Dominator. The valve covers look better in person. I sprayed some WD-40 near them and some got on the covers. When cleaned up, they look really good.
After lots of discussion on various Mopar boards, I was assured that the Street Dominator was the hot ticket for my engine. Although its a single plane, it is supposed to have very good street manners and responds well on the street. Even though Holley no longer produces the Street Dominator for the low-deck Chryslers, they are still one of the most sought after manifolds. I just need to get this one cleaned up and it will be ready to go.
I know some have had their outs with the big companies, but Summit has never failed me. My headers, air cleaner and a few other parts arrived.
I researched headers until I was sick of researching. Chrysler J-bodies with big-block conversions typically work best with B/E body headers. So I looked around and I had narrowed it down to two headers: Thorley #151 or Hedman Elite. After reading many horror stories on the Mopar boards about the Hedman coating going bad in a short time, I decided on the Thorley headers. They are also a low-deck (350/361/383/400) specific fit, have thick flanges, and thick tubes.
I also got a Summit knock-off of the K&N Xtreme air cleaner. It looks pretty good for a copy.
Last night I began painting the 400. I had originally planned to use Hemi Orange. However, the more I looked at it the more I disliked it. To me, its too pale. Thats one thing that Chevy got right is their orange engine color. Its nice and bright. Therefore, the engine will be Chrysler blue which was the original color of the engine.
I started in with my POR-15 kit. I started by painting the shortblock and the heads separate last night with the POR-15. Tonight, I ran a tap through the holes for my headbolts, put my gaskets in place, and installed the heads. Afterward, I did a little touch up work around the seam with the POR-15. Tomorrow night I will begin with the POR Engine Enamel. From what I understand, the POR-15 engine paint works nice, but its a little time consuming getting everything painted with a 24-hour wait between coats.
I'll have new pics of the motor tomorrow night. Hopefully it will be a nice shiny blue.
There is a shop that is about 30 miles away from me that has a very good reputation around this area for both restoration engines and circle-track cars. I dropped the motor off in late January, but he already had quite a backlog of work.
Fast-forward to 6/24. I finally got to pick up my assembled shortblock and everything looks great.
- 1973 400 block bored .030
- crank turned
- align bore
- rods reconditioned and ARP bolts installed
- deck was squared up
- Kieth Black #240 pistons
- hardened distributor drive
- rotating assembly was balanced
- Comp Cams XE274 cam
- Cloyes Tru-Roller timing set
- MP chrome timing cover
In the next few days, I'm going to get the heads installed and everything painted. In the pics, you can see the motor on the stand and the heads, intake and carb on the shelves behind it. That intake is not going to be used. Its an Eddy Performer and I've been told that it was mismatched for this motor so I have a vintage Holley Street Dominator spreadbore intake that I will be using. Although its a single plane, all the Mopar guys are telling me it is one of the best all-around intakes for the 383/400 and has very good manners on the street.
The heads are 452 castings. They have 2.14/1.88 valves, Comp Cams valve springs, mild porting, and have been milled and the chambers measure 85cc.
The Thermoquad has been reworked by a guy that goes by "Demonsizzler" on the Mopar boards and has http://www.thermoquads.com . It was built for my particular combination. I haven't read or heard anything bad about his work. I've got my fingers crossed that everything I've heard is true.