Big-Block Shootout: Pt 3
Landy's Candy: Our 440 is Hot & Sweet
From the February, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Scott Parkhurst
Tension is rising as the Big-Block Shootout continues to shape up. The 454 is done, and now it's time to get the 440 Mopar together. We're sure the Chrysler faithful will be very interested as to how we teamed up the parts, and working with Dick Landy and Summit, we've got a bunch of good stuff.
The 440 Chrysler began life in the early '60s as a 361ci lo-perf engine. Designed for reliable power to push the heavy cars of the day, the "B" engine served it's humble purpose without major fanfare. A subsequent push to 383 cubes opened to door to higher performance levels, and a re-engineered block (with a taller deck) allowed displacement to prosper into the 413 and 426-cube variants (now called "RB", or "raised-block" engines) that became the scourge of Super Stock from 1962-64. In Max Wedge trim, the 426ci versions were underrated at 425 hp (which we're sure they made off-idle), and the factory lightweight Mopars (Plymouth's Belvedere, Fury, and Sport Fury, and Dodge's Polara 330, 440, and 500) are still competitive in several Super Stock classes today.
In 1965, Chrysler realized the need for a more competition-based powerplant to keep their rides ahead of the new offerings from GM and Ford, so the street Hemi debuted and replaced the Wedge design in full-competition efforts. The RB Wedge remained a viable street engine, and was increased to 440 cubes in 1967. This coincided perfectly with the launch of the new Plymouth GTX, and the 440 quickly gained a reputation as a capable street brawler. It later gained such amenities as Six-Pack carburetion in the musclecar heyday, and was still popular as a police interceptor powerplant way into the late '70s.
This history lesson is necessary to prove several points. Firstly, the 440 has humble roots. The basic design was not for competition, so the block was never expected to produce huge power or spin at obscene rpm. The same is true for the valvetrain and cylinder heads; Chrysler went to the Hemi for that stuff. This puts the 440 at a minor disadvantage before our little showdown even begins, with intelligent compromise at every turn.
The 440 has plenty of potential, and can be radically-modified to perform alongside any of the engines produced in its time, but the amount and level of mods required are extensive. In working with Dick Landy, he shared with us both the positive and negative points on building a 440, and we'll pass that info along to you.
The most negative point is one we'll share first. The oiling system on the 440 must be heavily altered to make good use of a hydraulic roller lifter. In addition to custom pressure routing and a much-modified pump-and-pickup assembly, Landy claims the lifter bores must be properly bushed for oil control. We were willing to supply to aftermarket parts to keep the 440 on par with our other contestants, but asking Dick to do custom block machining and lifter bore sleeving in the valley was much more than we required of the other contestants. We compromised, and allowed Landy to run a solid roller profile instead. The lift and duration dimensions on the 440's cam are similar to our other entrants, so we don't feel this will be an obscene advantage for Landy. Considering the cubic inches he's giving away (20 to the Ford, and 14 to the Chevy), we further justified this deviation from our original plan. We think you'll agree with our logic, but we felt the need to share it before we began.
Follow along with us as we piece together a very serious streetable 440. It will run fine on pump gas, but give outstanding power and torque in street trim. The playing field is level, and we feel our little Shootout could provide NBC with higher ratings than an XFL game. Send in the card to get into this contest, and this Summit-supplied, Landy-built thumping RB engine could be powering your B-Body before long.
It's all together, and ready...
It's all together, and ready to take on the Chevy and Ford. The 440 looks great with its ribbed black-crinkle valve covers and plenty of aluminum parts. You'll have to wait a couple months before seeing power figures, but it'll be worth waiting for, we promise. Thanks to Dick and Mike Landy for helping us out, and also to Summit for making this way cool Big-Block Shootout possible!
Our block is a '77 version,...
Our block is a '77 version, although Landy states quickly that no particular vintage block is much better than any other. The later-year blocks did have this strengthening rib cast along their sides, which doesn't hurt, but wasn't worth any huge strength increase. We'd heard the '67-72 "HP" blocks were the hot ticket, and we'd also heard about higher-nickel content in '68 blocks, but Dick told us none of this is true. The two-bolt mains have been fortified with studs, but that's about it. The mains were cast deeply into the block, which does help the two-bolt mains support big power.
We're using top-notch Manley...
We're using top-notch Manley rods, which come bushed for full-floating pistons and are fully-forged. The beams are polished to eliminate possible stress risers, and the rod bolts are top-notch. This is a great steel rod for the street.
We mentioned the oiling system...
We mentioned the oiling system in the intro, and Milodon has addressed this concern with a full line of big-block Mopar upgrades. We'll be stepping up to the hard-core external oiling system, which requires a trick pan, swinging pickup, high-volume pump, and windage tray. Anyone making over 500 hp with a big-block Chrysler should seriously consider this package, or pray a lot.
The swinging pickup is key,...
The swinging pickup is key, and seems more common with the Mopar guys than with any other enthusiasts. The pickup mounts to the side of the pan, and swings forward and aft to stay submerged in lubricant.
Once the commitment is made...
Once the commitment is made to go with the external oiling system, the stock internal oil pickup passage must be properly plugged, as we've done here. Once the plug is installed, it must also be checked for clearance to the rotating assembly, and trimmed as necessary. You can see ours required only minor alterations to clear.
The Milodon windage tray is...
The Milodon windage tray is more traditional, in that it mounts between the pan and block, and directs oil flying off the crankshaft directly to the pan.
Landy prefers the smaller-groove...
Landy prefers the smaller-groove main bearings to the stock-replacement units. Oil control is key, and these bearings help keep more oil and bearing surface along the mains.
Our crankshaft is a stock...
Our crankshaft is a stock unit, one of the majority of 440 cranks that were forged. It's harder to find a cast 440 crank than a forged one, and like the block, there are no preferred years of manufacture.
The key to big power in any...
The key to big power in any street engine is the teaming of cylinder heads with camshaft and intake manifold. We've got some of the best stuff going for the 440, in our Indy aluminum cylinder heads. The heads require an Indy intake manifold, so selection isn't hard! The chambers house 2.17-inch intake and 1.81-inch exhaust valves.
Our valves are also of high...
Our valves are also of high quality. Manley severe-duty stainless units are teamed with Manley springs, keepers, and retainers. Valve stem diameter is 11/32-inch.
Our rocker shafts and roller...
Our rocker shafts and roller rocker assemblies are all top-notch T&D goodies. These are the pieces recommended for use with the Indy heads, and Landy advises careful assembly to ensure the oil holes in the shafts are installed facing down toward the pressure source. They can be assembled upside down, and prevent lube from reaching the valvetrain. The fully-rollerized rockers offer traditional locknut adjustments for valve lash.
Summit did us a favor when...
Summit did us a favor when they sent the Hex-A-Just timing gear. Instead of wrestling with offset dowels to dial-in cam timing, the Hex-A-Just piece features a simple hex-headed dowel, which is indexed. The gears also come with a nice Torrington roller bearing for use with our roller cam.
Landy outfitted this with...
Landy outfitted this with a cam button too, so if the cam decides to walk forward or backward, the travel will be both limited and controlled while being treated to minimal rolling resistance.
Our camshaft is an Erson piece,...
Our camshaft is an Erson piece, carrying PN R-276-1. Measurements are .675-inch lift and 276 degrees (at .050 inch of lift) of duration on the intake, with .645-inch (and 286 degrees of duration) on the exhaust. Can you say rumpity-rump! If it idles around 850rpm like Dick says, we'll have to call it streetable. Better not rely on it for power brakes, though. How about a high-stall converter? You bet; Dick suggested something in the 3,000-rpm range, if not more. This is a lot of cam for the street, but we don't like building wussy engines.
The lifters are from Crane,...
The lifters are from Crane, and deserve special mention for their design. Landy informed us how 440s (and all big-block Chryslers) have the oil hole drilled fairly low in the lifter bore, and can present a problem if the hole becomes completely unshrouded during valve operation. The Crane design addresses this issue by shrouding the roller with this skirt, keeping the hole covered and properly monitoring oil flow. These are the same units sold by Mopar Performance, and Landy suggests using them exclusively to ensure you never run out of lube in this most-critical area.
We also got treated to a lightweight...
We also got treated to a lightweight aluminum water pump housing (from Mopar Performance) and a high-flow aluminum water pump (from Edelbrock). This makes for an effective, lightweight, and visually-appealing cooling system.
Summit also sent a us a proven...
Summit also sent a us a proven Fluidampr harmonic dampener. Stock units were fine on stock engines, but we're going far beyond factory intentions here. Fluidamprs have proven their worth in all forms of racing.
To increase oil flow to the...
To increase oil flow to the valvetrain, Indy has engineered their heads to be force-fed oil from the rear of the block, using these pressure lines. Installation requires no special mods, and the insurance is greatly appreciated. Have you gotten the message about oiling the 440 yet?
The Milodon external oiling...
The Milodon external oiling system looks like this when installed on the engine. Our oil pan is designed for a B-body, so the hole through the oil pan is where the steering passes through. Depending upon header selection and chassis, this part of the engine may require some changes, but should be fine for a B-Body as-is.
The Indy-specific intake manifold...
The Indy-specific intake manifold is a single-four barrel, high-rise design. Regardless of who wins this powerplant, hood mods will probably be required for clearance. We feel the Demon carb would look bitchin' inside a factory Six-Pack scoop. You can also spot our MSD billet distributor and wires.
Dick Landy Industries
19743 Bahama St.
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909