Hot Rod Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a wrecked '57 DeSoto with a 345 Hemi. The block stamping is S26A. That and the bore and stroke are all I can find on the web about this engine.

I was wondering if any of the 354/392 Hemi parts such as intake manifolds, camshafts, rocker assemblies and so on are interchangeable?

Did the DeSoto engines get the forged crankshafts like the Chyrslers?

Are the bearing journals the same?

Did they use the same connecting rods?

If they aren't I'll just do a stock rebuild. I'd really like to know if this engine is worth the cost/effort involved in hoppingg it up.

Thanks in advance for anyone that may have any info or experience to share.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,384 Posts
DeSoto Hemi

What are you planning to do with the engine? What kind of car will it go into? Those were to my recollection a very reliable and sturdy engine. Not sure where you will find goodies for it now days, you might try advertising in one of the MOPAR specialty magazines.
Maybe you should get in touch with the guy that has the 51 Cranbrook; which has a flathead 6 and hes contemplating putting something bigger in it.

The thread to look for is about an engine swap into a 51 Plymouth Cranbrook.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't have any vehicle plans yet. I found the car by accident, sort of, and bought it because it was only $100 for the whole thing. I figured a hemi is a hemi, even if it is a DeSoto.

I was just wondering if they were built with the same forged bottom end parts as the Chryslers.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,384 Posts
De Soto Hemi

Unfortunately I dont have a lot of data on those old Hemis as to what was used in them or what interchanges on them.
But at any rate it would make for a good street rod engine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,453 Posts
Unfortunately, the Desoto, Dodge and Chrysler engines are all different - nothing interchanges. That does't mean that the baby hemis are not desirable, they are every bit as good an engine as the Chrysler, parts are just a little harder to find but there was quite a bit if it made over the years. stuff for them shows up on ebaY all the time so watch and bid. The one you found is the best of the baby bunch!

These engines are not cheap to build but well worth the extra $$ and effort.

Hot Heads has a lot of the bearings, lifters, gaskets, etc. you will need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Willys.

I just looked at www.vintagespeed.com and found a nice cast aluminum valley pan and they are going to reproduce the Weiand/Cragar manifolds for them as well. 4 Holley 94's or Stromberg 97's would be very cool.

Like I said, I don't know what to do with this engine yet. It might just be a good excuse to build a rod.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,384 Posts
Hemi

I just checked in my old 65 Motors Manual and it shows different size rod and main bearings for the 354 and 392. I would guess from that the two cranks arent interchangeable.

4 strombergs on a Hemi, man, now that is a flash back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
There's always a few tricks left. I could offset grind the crank 0.020" and bore it 0.060" for 357". Some port work, three angle valve job, more compression, more cam.........I need a chill pill.

Thanks for the info guys. When I get the engine out and disassembled I'll let you know what kind of shape its in. This may get expensive but I think it might be worth a few dollars. At least it's not another Chevy. I love my Nova but I just need something different to work on. That's why I bought this engine.

Thanks again.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,259 Posts
I have two DeSoto hemis sitting on the shelf in my garage right now. A 330 and a 341 (S24 and S26 motors, one a '56 and the other is a '57).

The smaller hemis (Dodge and DeSoto) are excellent engines and work best (and fit best) in smaller early 30's style street rods. They'll also work very well in pretty much any vehicle that weighs less than 4000 pounds. These things were designed to haul a 2 1/2 ton luxo barge around and they are capable of very respectable power for their size.

As Willys said they aren't all that cheap to rebuild (at least not like a SBC) but one can be rebuilt for approximately what a BBC would cost if you're careful. 99% of parts will not interchange between Chrysler, Dodge and DeSoto so don't plan on that. The bottom ends are very strong as all early hemis had forged cranks and the machine work from the factory was much better than you find today.

The S26A engine was only made in '57 and came from the factory with dual quads. If your engine doesn't have the dual quad setup, don't despair. It was probably scooped up by a hot rodder years ago. They are extremely rare and very hard to find. Aftermarket intakes are also few and far between but do show up on e-bay occasionally. Unfortunately most are for the low deck DeSotos and will not fit the raised deck 330-341-345 blocks. A single 4 bbl manifold was a factory option and is a bit easier to find. The 345 DeSoto hemi put out 345 hp in factory trim with a 9.5 compression ratio and the small dual quad setup so you can see they are capable of respectable hp.

You could easily adapt a SBC tuned port fuel injection system to this engine by making your own manifold and air chamber (not that hard really). You could even use the stock SBC computer since the firing order is the same. I'm toying with doing just that on my 330. I have a dual quad setup for the 341 that I purchased at a swap meet about 7 or 8 years ago so that one's taken care of.

All in all if you only paid $100 for the car you got a wonderful deal. Make sure you keep the torqueflight trans since it will save you about $400 when it comes to putting a good automatic behind it. The torqueflight will be a cast iron case but is just as buildable as any of the later model torqueflights. I don't remember if the DeSotos had the pushbutton version or not but if it does make sure you save all the linkage and everything that goes with the push button setup. Once a push button trans, always a push button trans so keep everything.

Good luck with your build, and for heaven's sake put it in an open hooded roadster or T- bucket where you can show it off.

Centerline
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,259 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,453 Posts
This jogged my memory - I belonged to a short-lived hemi club many years ago and I recall some articles on using SBC cranks, rods and pistons in a baby hemi. Don't remember if it applies to the 345 or another baby hemi but size-wise the 345 makes sense. As I recall it took surprisingly little modification of the parts to make them fit the hemi and it gave all kinds of hop-up options. I'll look it up tonight and post the info if applicable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,527 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You guys are incredible. Theres more info in this thread than I found in two hours of reading on the web.

Centerline, The engine has a single 4 barrel intake on it and no carb. The car was wrecked many moons ago and hauled to the junkyard. As far as I know it's been sitting there inverted, on what's left of the roof, since the day it was towed in. It does have the pushbutton trans and I am keeping it. Thanks for the tip on the linkage.

I have to find a place to put it so I can get the engine and trans out of it. My yard is full right now. If it stops raining long enough for the ground to dry I'll drag it out of the bushes.

Thanks for all the help guys. I'll be posting more questions soon enough I guess.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,384 Posts
Baby Hemi

Still sounds like one of you guys needs to see that thread on an engine swap into a 51 Plymouth Cranbrook. One of those baby hemis would be ideal for that car.

Im not sure about the 57 DeSoto 354, but in 58, the 4bbl version was rated at 310hp @ 4600 rpm, and 405 lb ft torque @ 3200 rpm with 10:1 compression. Pretty gutsy engine. Wouldnt take much to make a real barn burner out of it.

2bbl version was 290 hp @ 4600 rpm and 385 lb ft torque @2000 rpm, with 10:1 compression.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,453 Posts
Here are some parts interchanges listed in Bob Bailey's Hemi Headlines newsletter that was published for several months in 1988 and from Hemi Poly News, aka, Early Hemi Association, published from '90- '92.

Late model A-LA Mopars (273"- 318" - 340" - 360") distributors drop right into early hemis. Word is they need no modification for Dodges, not sure but probably none for Desotos either, but need a tab welded on the end of the too short shaft for Chryslers. The 331/354 'small blocks' need 1/4" added on and the 'big block' 392 need 5/8". In fact I did just that on my 345 and it works great. I show how in my Journal. This gives you a very reliable, cheap electronic ignition.

Timing chains and gears from the A-LA engines fit all early hemis.

Rumor is that the A-LA valve lifters also fit all early hemis.

Be very careful about swap meet intake manifolds. Dodge and Desoto manifolds will seem to interchange and bolt up perfectly but their ports don't line up. Must get the manifold made for the marque.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,453 Posts
LilSmoke said:
If u need any other sites holler. This is my brothers project,but dont look 2 close as its just mockup on the engine and its a 331. What is it? A 34 Hudson chopped.
Is that a long bell-housing 331 ('51-'53') or a later short one ('54 - on)? HotHeads makes tranny adapters for both.

See and this and this and this and this and this.

A lot of 331/345/392 parts interchange contrary to the baby hemi series of engines. Heads, valve rocker shafts, and valve covers interchange with little effort. The 331 and 354 are identical engines except the '54 is bored 1/8"-over (3 13/16" vs. 3 15/16")giving it bigger cubes and it has the remote thermostat housing like the '92 whereas the 331 has it in the intake manifold. Cams, cranks, pistons, intake manifolds, all interchange on the smaller engines. In fact, I bored my long bell-housing 331 1/8" over and used a set of used but good 354 pistons, I threw out the old long snout stock cam and use a 3/4 race cam made for a 354 that I bought in the 60s from Honest Charlie, and I use a stock 354 intake manifold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,259 Posts
[email][email protected][/email] said:
....Late model A-LA Mopars (273"- 318" - 340" - 360") distributors drop right into early hemis. Word is they need no modification for Dodges, not sure but probably none for Desotos either, but need a tab welded on the end of the too short shaft for Chryslers. The 331/354 'small blocks' need 1/4" added on and the 'big block' 392 need 5/8". In fact I did just that on my 345 and it works great. I show how in my Journal. This gives you a very reliable, cheap electronic ignition.....
Hotheads makes an extension sleeve to adapt the small block Chrysler electronic distributor to the hemi. It costs a whopping $18 and no welding is required. The pic below shows a stock 331 distributor on the left, a stock 340 small block distributor in the center, and a 340 distributor with the HotHeads modification on the right that I used in the 331in my truck.



You can see how the shaft has been extended to fit the 331. This mod took all of 10 minutes to do.

Another good idea when building an early hemi is to convert the water pump to a small block Chevy pump. This is a very inexpensive mod for the 55 and later engines and is well worth doing. If you ever have a water pump go bad out on the road you'll wait weeks to get a replacement hemi pump but you can pick up a SBC pump almost anywhere. For the pre-55 blocks you must replace the front cover for this mod and that will cost a couple hundred bucks, but it's still worth the trouble and expense.

Centerline
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top