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What would YOU build, standard or roller block?

7379 Views 25 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  rockosocko
Good evening,
I'm getting a headache and am dizzy reading through all these posts of builds.
What I'm searching is, Which 318 block to start with..
A later model roller, or early ('67-up) NON-roller 'old school'..
Found 2 online close to me. One fully built w/Indy heads and another in pieces but build able.
Actually went to a pull-it today looking and found 3 engines that were mostly out already. 1-roller, and 2 mid-80's
AND went to amazon and got a used "How to Hop up Chrysler small blocks"

I'm figuring on about 300-350hp tops
It's going into a Dodge/Mitsubishi mini 'auto' truck with 3.54 to 3.73 gears

Then I get to askin myself, (well, I'm really asking you guys)
--Are there any changes in head castings between the 'stock', O.E., roller, NON-roller, and magnum?
--I've heard of the '302' casting being good. BUT what are other good flowing castings that WILL BOLT ON to ___ Block?
--What about the after market heads? Who's best? or is it a personal preference? (got a lead on a set of Indy heads...)
I've ported most all of the head/heads of the engines I've built. SO, I don't have a fear of trying to eeek out a few more HP from a head by
a little grinding.

OK, what about different front timing covers?
--Do the serpentine belt assys fit the older V-belt cases/block accessory bolt holes? (I'd like to get the smooth quiet running)
--I need air cond and power steering for my application.

Lastly (for now), what about flex-plates? Will they all fit a RH torque converter/trans? (that's the one that I'm looking to use)

Gotta jet.. bye
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Myself, I would build the roller engine. Almost all of them during the era have AC units attached and part of the serpentine setup so that would fix that problem/issue/desire, along with the power steering.I would also stick with the Magnum heads, they breathe really good when ported and are a whole lot cheaper to obtain, and on the 318 the intakes are already 1.94s, so that takes care of that issue, being too small an intake valve for the 318s. The reason I would take the roller cammed engine, the profiles are so much better and last better, better ramps, less wear and friction. I think the Indy heads would be a little overkill, even though 2.02 valves will fit inside a 318 bore, if you know porting why waste the money, you can get your 350hp out of the engine with cast iron heads, but remove the sharp edges inside the combustion chambers and you can go easy 11:1 compression and run 87 octane without a problem. I figure you are going old school intake and distributor, a medium and light spring in the counterweights of the distributor will get you the curve to prevent any pinging, have been able to do 13.3:1 on 87 octane without a problem. If the engine you start with is complete with everything but intake you don't have to worry about the covers, etc., she will be complete and as far as I know the flex plate will attach to the rear without a problem for the RH transmissions, there are shifting and overdrive kits available to use them without the computer. Hope this helps.
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Forgot to mention the reverse water pump, figured if you do use the roller motor it would just have all that stuff. I was not sure if the cover was the same or not, and since the fuel pump eccentric bolts to the front of the cam, no problem, but not sure if the serpentine belt (which I do prefer) setup will clear a fuel pump, which I would go with an electric pump anyway for your build.
The 302 heads were on the late 80s when the 318 and 360 started using the same heads, it is the last three digits of the casting number of the head, I think it was also the same time the 318 became a roller cammed engine, the 360 the next year, but first year the 318 became a 4bbl. They were also the first 1.88 intake valves for the 318, which is stock 360 valves, placed in stock 318 heads is a bonus power builder by the way.

The Indy heads are a slight different pattern for combustion chamber, they make a heart shape (although a little rounding of the quench area on the sparkplug side does help, and getting rid of the point between the intake/exhaust valve area helps flow and burn pattern by quite a bit, too), but other than the open chamber heads and the original Hemi heads, most all the heads come with sharp edges within the combustion chambers and they do not promote good flow or burn characteristics, Japanese engines are no exception at all.Do this, even to the Indy heads. Draw the inside ring of the head gasket to the head for starters. If there is any material around the inside of the gasket ring less than 1/8th inch, cut the material out with a carbide burr. Now, any place inside that ring, whether it is a transition to a quench area, if there is a sharp edge, round it. It promotes flow and improves flame travel and burns cleaner. From there it increases both hp and torque at the low end and does even more on the top end, helps knock more than a half second off a quarter mile time, improves mileage in most cases but never ever makes it go down. Check around the valve seats themselves, that little .010-.020 machined rings around the combustion chamber side of the seats cuts down flow, too, get rid of them. For teh two valve quench padded heads, that lip that runs side to side below the two valves, remove it at the same angle as the valve faces themselves, all the above things improve dramatically, to which compression can be increased with lower octane gas, higher octane just runs that much faster.Want a small block to sound like a big block? This is just an added benefit, and the list goes on. Performance applications really benefit, stock applications (you know, they have to smog and stuff?), benefit more than you will know.

Now, the Magnum heads are the V8 engines (V6, but they don't fit your application) starting 1993(?) so they all work. Check out the engines section at the top of the site, will take you to the engines, lots of good information to help you out a whole lot.

That's enough for now Errol, it's late.
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There are aftermarket intakes for the Magnum blocks, the bolts are straight up and down instead at the angle to go through the intake manifold gasket surface. Your idea about the Jeep 5.2 sounds logical, same engine. Distributor just drops in the distributor hole in the back like the LA engine (or SB Ford, BB Chevy, and so many others), so you can set the whole thing up the same way as any other non-injected engine without a single issue. Metric, yeah, but there are some SAE in the strangest places, so like all the others, be careful, you can tell the difference by the markings on the head of the bolt, but I can't remember what it is, an anchor or something, and a X.X number for metric, SAE is a single number or just the dashes pointing outward, the more the better. One last thing in dropping the distributor in, remember the roller cams require a distributor to have a bronze distributor drive gear (available) because they are harder than cast distributor gears.
Check out, they are mostly if not only Mopars and they have the good stuff, reasonable prices and lots of different ratios and lifts available. As far as Magnum heads go, all the castings are good, don't even know if there are different casting numbers to worry about. The combustion chamber transition to the quench area is pretty deep so a lot of the lip I talk about can be removed for better flow, and the notorious rings around the valve seats, intake and exhaust. As far as an inexpensive adjustable rocker goes, the Magnums use a single bolt through the center, like SBC, and since the pivot is not part of the bolt, I believe the short pedistals could be machined down, a screw in stud put in the bolt's place and an adjustable nut be put on top. I didn't have the time to deal with that with my 3.9 Magnum, but wanted to, hate non-adjustable rockers, but she is stock and ported (of course) but has to smog every other year (without a problem of course). I don't think you can mismatch the rockers because they are all 1.6:1 ratio, but remember, GM is going all the way up to 1.8;1 on some of their engines, so I don't worry too much about it, the difference isn't that great in comparison. The 264/274 .512 would be a very decent cam, nice and mild, but still good top end power. Removing the lip in the combustion chamber will give it a more big block sound, definitely. If going with new pistons, get a flat topped piston with as little deck to piston top clearance (.002-.005 if possible), the more compression you have the better, and removing the lip isn't going to drop the compression more than .1:1 at the most, and it will still make more power than just porting the heads. And please don't tell me you use sanding rolls to polish the surfaces of the ports.
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Don't be sorry, I have moments like that, too!

Singh grooves is what you are talking about and I don't like them, piston top or quench area. Carbide burr cutters is the best surface to keep, the little chips about half the size of a grain of rice gives the best surface to make the flame curve and curl, skip and continue to move in a forward direction than anything else you can do to the surface. I have taken heads off that I ported more than a decade ago and the carbide burr cut stuff is brand new clean, which isn't the case with sand rolls. Think of the lips like this: As the valve opens, how high does the valve have to come up off the seat before it clears the lip? Literally losing .020 lift just to clear the lip, and still, every time air coming out of a valve hits a sharp lip, ever see snow blow off the top of a mountain? Notice what it does: curls and slows. Just like being able to walk around the edge of a building and get out of a driving wind, the sharp edge of the building has a dead spot and a shear real close to the edge, but you can feel little swirls gently blowing close to the edge, not good. Now, try the same thing standing behind a tree. The wind goes around a tree or anything rounded just fine and continues to flow in the same direction. Just like you can blow a candle out on the opposite side of a bottle, you can't do the same thing with anything square or flat. Curves promote flame travel, flat and sharp edged items do not, so removing the sharp edges increases the flame travel in the direciton it is heading, sharp edges stop or turn the flame front back into itself. Look at any combustion chamber with miles burning in it and the sharp edge is clean and right behind it, carbon build-up. Remove that edge and 100,000 miles later there is a slight dusting of carbon build-up on the outer side of the same quench area, so definitely burning cleaner. It is not the valve cleaning that changes the tone, it is the fact the fuel burns with the piston is higher in the bore and more completely with the sharp edges removed, that even with the smaller bore over the big block, volumetrically the burn at higher compression (under more pressure because the piston is still higher in the bore) that it burns volumetrically closer to the bigger bore big block piston area, so the tone will change. Cleaning the back sides of the valves improves the flow out, never have to do a three angle valve job with a good port job with the carbide burr surface because the fuel doesn't pool is slow spots, the curves don't allow the fuel to separate. Same thing goes with the piston surface, eyebrows and domes require the same rounding as the combustion chamber to allow the flow to move over the surface and burn outward. Had a friend with a Neon 2.0 and he removed all the lumps and quench areas inside the combustion chamber. Compression dropped .2 over stock, and he did a sound of the engine before and after and it definitely sounded deeper toned and throaty, like a much larger engine. He wanted to drop his compression for a blower application, not sure if he did it or not, but said he still had more power with the lumps removed than the higher compression with them, more bottom end power over stock but still screamable at redline.
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Difficult to find the closed chamber LA heads, and they had 1.78 intake valves, but punch them to 1.88 and a 318 or 273 come alive in comparison to stock. Magnum heads with the flat topped pistons are good at that compression, no problem running 87 octane all day long without a problem. People forget, if the engine will idle without pinging, why should it ping under acceleration? When you get to this point, it is the advance curve which keeps you in check, not the octane level of the fuel itself. I find higher compression, slightly slower advance curve, and less initial advance at the crank to be able to have more power and better mileage without spending more at the pump to keep detonation down. One doesn't need major advance on an engine when the fuel is burning properly and more completely, advance is needed when it isn't.
Should work OK without a problem, aluminum pans are available aftermarket, and the remote oil filter setups are available, too, so sounds like you have the thing planned out pretty well, almost a dry sump setup with a pan. I do know you can mount the the pans backwards on a 318. Might check into that, did it on a pickup once before installed and it bolted up, not positive on the Magnum engine, but think it is the same pan, just heavier material.
That is the first I have heard of the two rings, and as far as the heads go, nope, can't beat that price with a stick. Ports clean up pretty good. You may or may not find a shark's fin going to the valve guide inside the intake port, part of the long side turn before the port. Get rid of it, tons of bottom end power is gotten by removing it.

Also, the newer hardened cylinders are a major plus in reduced cylinder wear, 150K miles results in no ridge at the tops of the bores, so you may need to do nothing but hone the cylinders and be done with it.
Not sure about the year the roller tipped rockers start, but the engines section should help out that, I think it is the change to the Magnum engine which did the rockers, and I think it was 1989 for the roller lifters for the 318 and 1990 for the roller lifters in the 360, but verify that info with the engines section. You can put the Magnum heads on the LA engines, but you have to use AMC V8 lifters to oil the rockers through the pushrods vice through the common rail. You may find a book on the Magnum engine itself.
Well, the 4L60 is a good transmission overall, TV cable is easy enough, it is your car, which brings me to ask, what is this engine/transmission combination going into?
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