Chrysler 383 Big-Block - Mopar For The Masses
The affordable and underrated 383 gets a huge boost in the arm by Muscle Motors—to the tune of 559 hp and 611 lb-ft.
The small engine in any car manufacturer's portfolio has a hard time getting any respect, and the same is true within the Chrysler brand. Take for instance the current Pentastar V-6. With variable valve timing, dual overhead cams, cylinder deactivation, amazing fuel efficiency, and as much as 305 hp in Challenger trim, this little powerplant ought to elicit "oohs" and "aahs" from motorheads of all stripes. Nope. We're understandably starstruck with the supercharged 707hp Hellcat Hemi. Recognition for the little V-6 usually runs along the lines of "Penta-huh?" Nevertheless, it's still quite the engineering and manufacturing triumph.
Not much was different back in the 1960s within Chrysler's "B/RB" series of big-block engines. With the spotlight burning brightly on tall-deck Max Wedges, Hemis, and 440s, the 383 "B-deck" was the undersized and underappreciated runt of the litter. While that initially relegated the 383 to the kid's table come dinnertime, the tide has turned. In the intervening half-century, those Maxies, Hemis, 440s—and even 400s—have become increasingly rare and pricy for meat-and-potatoes enthusiasts. Muscle Motors gets it, and having seen the potential in the 383, has worked hard to make it a potent and affordable alternative to a 400, or as we shall see, even a breathed-on 440.
In conjunction with Mopar Muscle magazine and Carlisle Events—the promoters of the Chrysler Nationals—we agreed with Ware that this would be a good opportunity to prove the validity of a 383-based 450 as the basis for the annual giveaway motor at the 2015 Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Not knowing the eventual car it would end up in or the end use, a robust and reliable big-inch low-deck wedge with mountains of torque at low and midrange rpm seemed just the ticket.
To that end, Mike Ware of Muscle Motors took a 383 block, stroked it to 450 ci, and unleashed 559 hp and 611 lb-ft on the unsuspecting crowd assembled for the Carlisle giveaway ceremony. Like the scrappy little kid that defies the odds to make the Varsity team, this is one B-series motor that punches far above its weight. To help illustrate the practicality of a 383-based build, Mike told us: "Exact production numbers are hard to come by, but Chrysler only built 400,000 or so 440s. Even the 400 blocks are getting harder to find. On the other hand, Chrysler built over 2 million 383 engines, making it the most cost-effective starting point for a big-block build. You can pick up a 383 block for a couple of hundred bucks all day long. For this build, we wanted to show the viability of the 383 block and highlight its potential as a performance street engine."
Granted, cheap blocks are enticing for anyone looking to save a buck, but the 383's underserved boat-anchor reputation can prove difficult to shake. After all, the tall-deck RB's 10.725-inch deck height helps it swallow up a 4.500-inch crank, and the 400 block makes up for its shorter 9.980-inch deck height with a massive 4.340-inch bore. As a result, RBs can be stroked to 543ci with ease, while even a low-deck 400 block can reach 512 ci. So where does that leave the 383? Mike says, "Most people think that the 383 block is too small and it isn't a good platform for a stroker motor. It definitely has a red-headed stepchild reputation, but you can build them up to 450 ci very easily, and a 4.250-inch stroke puts them right at 496 ci."
The similarity to a stroked big-block Chevy isn't coincidental—insofar that it's all about bore and stroke dimensions. To put things into perspective, 454 Chevys came equipped with 9.800-inch decks and 4.250-inch bores. That checks in very similar to a 383 big-block. Since no one ever complained that they couldn't get enough cubic inches out of a big-block Chevy, perhaps the 383 Chrysler's perceived shortcomings are exaggerated. Mike is also quick to point out that 383-based combos offer other architectural advantages. "With all the aftermarket rotating assemblies and cylinder heads that are available these days, making power is the easy part. The factory big-block heads aren't that big, so putting a ton of cubic inches beneath them isn't always the best way to go," he opines. "Boring a 383 block to 4.280 inches and matching it up with a 3.910-inch crank and 6.700-inch rods offers a good balance of cubic inches , rod-to-stroke ratio [1.71:1], and piston compression height. This results in a great balance of torque and horsepower output. The 383 block has lots of wall thickness, too."
With torque and horsepower peaks of 3,900 and 5,200 rpm, the Muscle Motors 450 offers a gut-punching powerband that promises to perform just as well on the street as it does at the strip. Already kicking out an astounding 605 lb-ft at just 3,400 rpm, this is the kind of torque that doesn't just destroy tires, it also allows lugging heavy cars down the road with relatively tall gears, if you so desire.
After procuring a 383 block, it was bored to 4.280 inches, honed, decked, and align-honed. To improve oil flow, Muscle Motors enlarged the oil galley passages to the mains, and radiused the hard 90-degree turn near the oil pump. Next, the block was fitted with an internally balanced Molnar 3.910-inch forged crankshaft, 6.700-inch steel rods, and Ross 10.32:1 forged pistons. In order to achieve a broad yet hassle-free powerband, the 450ci big-block uses a COMP 231/237-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft with .525/.527-inch lift. Although Muscle Motors typically employs a slightly larger 241/246-at-.050 grind, they intentionally kept things on the conservative side. "Since this is a giveaway engine, we wanted it to produce enough manifold vacuum to run power brakes. The bigger cam that we normally use is good for an extra 20 hp," Mike Ware explains.
In just a few short years, the big-block Mopar enthusiast has gone from scrounging for factory 906 and 915 cylinder heads to having multiple aftermarket aluminum castings at his disposal. After analyzing the options, Muscle Motors determined that the popular 440 Source Stealth cylinder heads provided the ideal combination of airflow and port cross-section to help reach its horsepower and torque objectives. The Stealth castings flow 280-290 cfm and feature 212cc intake ports, 80cc combustion chambers, and 2.140/1.810-inch stainless steel valves. After running them through its CNC program, then hand-finishing them, Muscle Motors improved those figures to 315 cfm on the intake side and 233 cfm on the exhaust side at .600-inch lift. "Any time you increase airflow you make more power," Mike says. "Out of the box, these heads flow similarly to a set of well-ported factory iron castings. The port cross-section we ended up with isn't that much larger, but by opening up the throat and putting a good valve job on them, we were able to increase airflow quite a bit."
To make sure the rest of the induction package can keep up with the heads, Muscle Motors matched them up with an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold and a Quick Fuel Technology 830cfm Black Diamond series carburetor. COMP Cams Pro Magnum 1.5:1 rocker arms, springs, lifters, and pushrods regulate airflow in and out of the cylinders, while an MSD billet distributor ignites the air/fuel mixture.
On the Dyno
For an engine platform often dismissed for being too small to make real power, Muscle Motors' 383-based combination certainly debunks those misguided myths. On ordinary 93-octane pump gas, the 450ci big-block cranks out 559 hp at 5,200 rpm, and 611 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 rpm—that's well within the realm of a built-up 440. Matching this same engine up with a mild solid flat-tappet cam would easily net well over 600 hp while retaining perfect street manners.
Small Cubes, Big Torque
Although people will debate the merits of maximizing rod-to-stroke ratio until the end of time, the 1.71:1 ratio used in the Muscle Motors 450 certainly seems to get the job done. At 611 lb-ft, its torque output would be plenty stout for an engine measuring 50 ci larger. (Just in case you were wondering, the torque-per-ci metric works out to an impressive 1.35:1.) Even more impressive is how evenly all that savory torque is distributed throughout the powerband. At just 3,400 rpm, the 450 is already kicking out 605 lb-ft. Likewise, it averages an astounding 600 lb-ft of torque between 3,200 and 4,800 rpm.
Proving that it's not just a torque monster that runs out of steam up top, the Muscle Motors combo also cranks out 559 hp to back up its massive low- and mid-range grunt. The end product is a fun-to-drive, built-for-the-street 1,000- to 5,500-rpm operating range that will make those "missing" cubic inches a distant memory. Best of all, anyone who builds a similar B-series combo can tell unassuming onlookers that it's just a small, wheezy 383, then surprise the hell out of them at the next stoplight.
|On The Dyno450ci Chrysler Wedge|
|Fast Facts450ci Chrysler Wedge|
|Camshaft:||COMP Cams hydraulic roller|
|Valve lift:||0.525/0.527 inch|
|Duration:||231/237 degrees at 0.050|
|Lobe separation angle:||110 degrees|
|Cam installed centerline:||106 degrees|
|Rocker and ratio:||COMP Cams Pro Magnum 1.5:1|
|Lifters:||COMP Cams 0.904 inch hydraulic flat-tappet|
|Pushrods:||COMP Cams 8.400-inch intake/exhaust|
|Piston rings:||Total Seal 1/16, 1/16, 3/16 inch|
|Piston ring gap:||0.017-inch top, 0.021-inch second|
|Block:||OEM Chrysler 383|
|Crankshaft:||Molnar 3.910-inch forged steel|
|Rods:||Molnar 6.700-inch forged steel|
|Main journal diameter:||2.625 inches|
|Rod journal diameter:||2.200 inches|
|Cylinder head:||CNC-ported 440 Source Stealth aluminum|
|Intake port flow:||315 cfm at 0.600-inch lift|
|Exhaust port flow:||233 cfm at 0.600-inch lift|
|Chamber volume:||79 cc|
|Intake valve diameter:||2.140 inches|
|Exhaust valve diameter:||1.810 inches|
|Valvesprings||COMP Cams 1.550 inches|
|Spring retainers:||PAC titanium|
|Head gasket:||Fel-Pro 0.040 inch|
|Intake manifold:||Edelbrock Performer RPM|
|Carburetor:||QFT Black Diamond SS 830cfm|
|Header:||custom 2.000-inch long-tube|
|Distributor:||MSD Pro Billet|
|Water pump:||Muscle Motors aluminum|
|Oil pump:||Melling standard volume|
|Oil:||Joe Gibbs Driven high-zinc synthetic 10w30|
|Fuel:||93-octane pump gas|
|Timing advance:||36 degrees|
|Cylinder Head FlowCNC-Ported Stealth Castings|
|Valve Lift:||Int. cfm:||Exh. cfm|
1. Although the 383 block doesn't get much love, it can easily be stroked to 496 ci. To prep the foundation of this 450ci build for assembly, Muscle Motors bored, honed, decked, and align-honed a plain-Jane factory 383 block.
2. Expanding the displacement capacity of the 383 block is a Molnar 3.910-inch forged crank and 6.700-inch steel rods matched with Ross -9.9cc pistons. Muscle Motors internally balanced the rotating assembly by removing mass out of the front counterweight.
3. After setting the main bearing clearance to .0028 inch and the thrust to .004 inch, the crank was secured into place using ARP main studs. At this power level, two-bolt main caps are more than sufficient.
4. With the COMP hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft and double-roller timing set in position, Muscle Motors technicians degreed the cam at a 106-degree installed centerline. Although the cam is ground on a 110-degree LSA, the additional four degrees of advance further enhances low-end torque.
5. To minimize piston slap and ensure quiet operation, piston-to-wall clearance was set at .0045 inch. In addition to netting a favorable 1.71:1 rod-to-stroke ratio (with 6.700-inch rods), another benefit of limiting the stroke to 3.910 inches is a taller, more robust 1.307 piston compression height. This allows for thicker ringlands and better ring stability.
6. After the connecting rods were torqued to the crank, Muscle Motors installed the Milodon oil pan, pickup tube, and windage tray. The pan's kicked-out design reduces windage while maximizing ground clearance.
7. Mike Ware of Muscle Motors says, the 80 psi of pressure produced by high-volume oil pumps aren't necessary in engines that see less than 6,000 rpm. As such, he opted for a Melling standard-volume unit instead. The 50-60 psi of pressure it generates is plenty for engine combos like the 450, and Mike says the decreased parasitic drag is probably good for a few extra hp, too.
8. After dropping in new .904-inch COMP Cams lifters, they were bathed in Driven 10W-30 HR synthetic oil to prep them for duty. The Driven formula includes high levels of zinc and phosphorous, making them ideal for flat-tappet engines.
9. The 440 Source Stealth aluminum cylinder heads come fully assembled with 2.140/1.810-inch stainless steel valves and COMP Cams 1.550-inch beehive valvesprings, retainers, and locks. For the power-adder crowd, the thick 5/8-inch decks can handle plenty of abuse.
10. After a mild CNC port job, the Muscle Motors crew blended the bowls by hand. The result is 315 cfm of airflow through the intake ports and 233 cfm through the exhaust. That's an increase of 30 to 40 cfm.
11. Skimming the deck surface of the head netted a final combustion chamber volume of 79 cc. Matched with -9.9cc pistons, the compression ratio checks in at 10.32:1.
12. The Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold features a dual-plane design to maximize low-end torque and a raised plenum to boost high-rpm performance. On paper and on the dyno, it offers the best of both worlds.
13. QFT's 830cfm Super Street carburetor boasts billet metering blocks, Teflon-coated throttle shafts, an electric choke, screw-in air bleeds, a four-corner idle circuit, and a billet throttle-body. Its proprietary black coating reduces fuel temperature by six percent.
14. At the intake flange, the intake manifold runners should be the same size as the intake ports, so the runner openings on the Edelbrock manifold were gasket matched, thus maximizing airflow into the cylinder heads.
15. After bolting the cylinder heads down, Muscle Motors technicians installed the COMP Cams Pro Magnum rocker arms and pushrods. Mike says, if you're going to spend a few extra dollars on premium components anywhere on an engine, it should be in the valvetrain.
16. With the valves set to zero lash and the intake manifold and carb installed, the low-deck 450ci big-block was almost ready to roll. Here, Muscle Motors primes the oil pump before dropping in the MSD billet distributor. Then was finally time to hit the dyno cell.
17. On the pump, the 450 responded best to 16 degrees of ignition advance at idle and 36 degrees of total advance. The numbers were gathered using a set of 2-inch long-tube headers.
18. Try not to be too jealous! At the 2015 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, Steven Alexander (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) won the raffle for our Mopar Muscle Muscle Motors 450 big-block. We can't wait to see it in his '74 'Cuda! Inside tip: Next year is the 50th anniversary of the street Hemi—so you get one guess what we'll be giving away next year!
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These days a stroker kit is the way to go in you want more cubic inches.
Put a crank in that 400 and make yourself a 451! There's been lots of discussion here on it, check out the Moparchat search engine.
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Chrysler B engine
Motor vehicle engine
The Chrysler B and RB engines are a series of big-block V8gasoline engines introduced in 1958 to replace the Chrysler FirePower (first generation Hemi) engines. The B and RB engines are often referred to as "wedge" engines because they use wedge-shaped combustion chambers; this differentiates them from Chrysler's 426 Hemi big block engines that are typically referred to as "Hemi" or "426 Hemi" due to their hemispherical shaped combustion chambers.
Design features of the B and RB engines include 17 capscrews per cylinder head, a cylinder block that extends 3 in (76.2 mm) below the crankshaft centerline, an intake manifold not exposed to crankcase oil on the underside, stamped-steel shaft-mounted rocker arms (race versions used forged steel rockers), and a front-mounted external oil pump driven by the camshaft.
The 'B' series wedge engine was introduced in 1958 with 350 cu in (5.7 L) and 361 cu in (5.9 L) versions. The 361 would continue in production until the end of the series, albeit only for truck installation. The RB ("raised B") arrived one year after the launch of the B series engines, in 383 cu in (6.3 L) and 413 cu in (6.8 L) displacements. Unlike the previous B-engines, which had a 3+3⁄8-inch (85.7 mm) stroke, the RB engines had a 3+3⁄4-inch (95.3 mm) stroke.
For 1960, a "ram induction" system increased the 413's torque up to 495 lb⋅ft (671 N⋅m) on the Chrysler 300F versions.
The last 'B-RB' wedge-headed engine was produced in August 1978, ending the era of Chrysler "big-block" engines.
All Low Block B-series engines have a 3+3⁄8 in (85.7 mm) stroke, a 9.98 in (253 mm) deck height and 6.358 in (161.5 mm) connecting rods, resulting in a 1.88:1 rod ratio.
The 350 cu in (5,735 cc) B engine was, along with the 361, the first production B engine, first available in 1958. It had a bore of 4+1⁄16 in (103 mm; 4.06 in). The 350 is classified as a big block engine. All parts except for the pistons are fully compatible with the 361.
Vehicles using the B 350:
The 361 cu in B engine also introduced in 1958 was essentially the same as the 350 except with a larger 4+1⁄8 in (105 mm; 4.12 in) bore, for an actual displacement of 360.83 cu in (5,913 cc). In 1962, the Dodge Polara 500 came standard with a 305 bhp (227 kW) version of the 361 that had a four-barrel carburetor, dual-point distributor, and dual exhausts. Plymouth called their versions of the early B engine the Commando, variants of which included the Golden Commando and Sonoramic Commando. It produced 305 bhp (227 kW). DeSoto's B engine was named Turboflash and produced 295 bhp (220 kW). The Dodge standard version was a 2-barrel with 295 bhp (220 kW) called the Super Red Ram with an optional variant that was called the D500 and produced 320 bhp (239 kW).
The 361 would last until the end of the series, albeit for trucks only. In its early years, the 305-horsepower 361 was optional on many vehicles, and standard on, among others, the Dodge 880. The 361 had a fuel injected version in 1958 only. Very few of the fuel injected B engines were made and only a handful remain, since most were brought back to the dealer to be fitted with carburetors.
The 383 cu in B engine — not to be confused with the RB version — was essentially a larger bore version of the 350 and 361, using a 4.25 in (108.0 mm) bore for a 383.03 cu in (6,277 cc) displacement. This venerable engine was introduced in 1959. Dodge's version, the D500 had a cross-ram induction manifold and dual four-barrel carburetors as options. In some Dodge applications, this engine was labeled as the Magnum, while the Plymouth version was called the Golden Commando. Both came with a dual point distributor in high-performance versions.
The 383 became the standard model Mopar performance engine for the next decade. The big bore allowed for larger, 2.08 in (53 mm), intake valves, and the relatively short stroke helped it to be a free-revving and free-breathing engine.
Producing a maximum of 330 hp (246 kW; 335 PS) (gross) and 460 lb⋅ft (624 N⋅m) of torque for the 1960 model year, the 383 beat the 392 Hemi that had reached 435 lb⋅ft (590 N⋅m). The 1960 383 engines featured the same basic ram induction system as the Chrysler 300F's 413 RB engines (named Sonoramic Commando when sold in Plymouth form). The later 383 Magnum (starting in 1968) used the 440 Magnum heads, camshaft, and exhaust manifolds. This engine was advertised at 335 hp (250 kW; 340 PS).
The 400 cu in (6.6 L) B engine was introduced in 1972 to replace the venerable 383, and were power-rated via the net (installed) method. Chrysler increased the bore size of the 383 to create the 400. Its bore of 4.342-inch (110.3 mm) was the largest used in any production Chrysler V8 at the date of its introduction. All parts except for the pistons were interchangeable between the 383 and 400.
Crankshafts were of cast iron composition. Three versions of this engine were available: a two-barrel/single exhaust version producing 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) at 4,400 rpm with 305 lb⋅ft (414 N⋅m) of torque at 2,400 rpm, a four-barrel/single exhaust version producing 205 hp (153 kW; 208 PS) at 4,400 rpm, and a high performance four-barrel/dual exhaust version rated at 260 hp (194 kW; 264 PS) at 4,800 rpm, 410 lb⋅ft (556 N⋅m) of torque at 3,200 rpm. All three versions used the same 8.2:1 compression ratio. The 400 was used in car, truck, and motorhome chassis. Horsepower and torque ratings gradually declined through the years due to the addition of more federally mandated emissions controls, until all Chrysler passenger vehicle big-block production ceased in 1978. For its last year of production, it only produced 190 hp (142 kW) (although a heavy-duty version was also available).
Due to its large factory bore size, short (compared to RB engines) deck height, and bottom end strength that is greater than any other production B or RB engine due to extra material added around the main bearing caps, 400 B engine blocks have become a popular choice for high-performance engine build ups.
The RB engines, produced from 1959 to 1979, are raised-block (taller) versions of the B engines. All RB engines have a 3+3⁄4 in (95.3 mm) stroke, with the bore being the defining factor in engine size. All RB wedge engines share a deck height of 10.725 in (272.4 mm), and were fitted with 6.768 in (171.9 mm) long connecting rods, resulting in a 1.80:1 rod ratio. Bore center distance is 4.8 in (120 mm). All RBs are oversquare.
Not to be confused with the 383 B engine, the 383 RB had a 4+1⁄32 in (102.4 mm; 4.031 in) bore combined with the long stroke of 3+3⁄4-inch (95.3 mm), for a displacement of 382.9 cu in (6,275 cc). It was only available in 1959 and 1960 on the US-built Chrysler Windsors and Saratogas; one of Trenton Engine's lines had been converted to the new RB engine (to make the 413), and demand for the 383 B engine was too high for the remaining line. The solution was to create a 383 RB to fill the gap until the plant figured out how to quickly switch from one block to the other.
The 413 cu in (6.8 L) RB was used from 1959 to 1965 in cars. It was also used in medium and heavy trucks including truck-tractors such as the C-1000, up until 1979. It has a bore of 4.1875 inches. During that period, it powered almost all Chrysler New Yorker and all Imperial models, and was also available on the lesser Chryslers, Dodge Polara, Dodge Monaco, and Plymouth Fury as an alternative to the B-block 383 and the A-block 318. It was also fitted to some European cars such as the later Facel Vega Facel II.
In the 1959 Chrysler 300E the 413 wedge was fitted with inline dual four-barrel carburetors; it was factory-rated at 380 bhp (283 kW) at 5,000 rpm and 525 lb⋅ft (712 N⋅m) at 3,600 rpm. In 1960, a long-tube ram induction system was made standard on the Chrysler 300. It continued as standard on the 1961 300-G, and remained on the option sheets for Chrysler 300s through 1964. In 1962, a special version known as the "Max Wedge" was made available for drag racing and street use; this version produced 420 bhp (313 kW) at 5,000 rpm.
|Model years||Fuel system||Power||Torque||Compression ratio|
|1959–1961||4-barrel carburetor||340 hp (254 kW) at 4600 rpm||480 lb⋅ft (651 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm||10.0:1|
|1959||2 × 4-barrel carbs||380 hp (283 kW) at 5000 rpm||525 lb⋅ft (712 N⋅m) at 3600 rpm|
|1960–1961||375 hp (280 kW) at 5000 rpm||525 lb⋅ft (712 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm|
|1962-1965||4-barrel carb||340 hp (254 kW) at 4600 rpm||480 lb⋅ft (651 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm||10.1:1|
|1962||2 × 4-barrel carbs||380 hp (283 kW) at 5000 rpm||525 lb⋅ft (712 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm|
|1963-1965||4-barrel carb||360 hp (268 kW) at 4600 rpm||495 lb⋅ft (671 N⋅m) at 2800 rpm|
|1963-1964||2 × 4-barrel carbs||390 hp (291 kW) at 4800 rpm||530 lb⋅ft (719 N⋅m) at 3600 rpm|
Not to be confused with the 426 Hemi, the 426 cu in (7.0 L) RB was a wedge-head RB block with a 4.25 in (108 mm) bore. The 426 Wedge served as Chrysler's main performance engine until the introduction of the 426 Hemi. It was initially offered as the "non-catalogued" option S42 in Chryslers (the number of such produced is uncertain), offered with 373 or 385 hp (278 or 287 kW) via a single 4-barrel carburetor (11.0:1 or 12.0:1 compression ratio, respectively), or 413 or 421 hp (308 or 314 kW) via ram-inducted dual 4-barrel carburetors (with the same compression ratios). For 1963, horsepower ratings would slightly increase (see below), and it became optional in B-bodied Dodges and Plymouths. After 1963, it would be used only in Dodges and Plymouths.
The Max Wedge was a race-only version of the 426 Wedge engine offered from the factory. Known as the Super Stock Plymouth and Ramcharger Dodge, the Max Wedge featured high-flow cylinder heads developed through state-of-the-art (at the time) airflow testing. They had 1⅞-inch exhaust valves, which required the cylinder bores to be notched for clearance. The blocks were a special severe-duty casting with larger oil-feed passages than other RB engines, and the blocks were stress-relieved by the factory. Induction came by means of a cross-ram intake manifold tuned for peak power above 4000 rpm and two Carter AFB-3447SA 4-barrel carburetors. The Max Wedge also included high-flow cast-iron exhaust manifolds that, on the later versions, resembled steel tube headers. The Max Wedge was factory rated at 415 or 425 bhp (309 or 317 kW) (depending on compression), and 480 lb⋅ft (651 N⋅m) at 4400 rpm.
Before the end of the 1963 model year, Chrysler introduced the Stage II Max Wedge with improved combustion chamber design and an improved camshaft. The last performance year for the Max Wedge came in 1964 with the Stage III. The factory-advertised power rating never changed despite the Stage II and III improvements.
A 426 Street Wedge block was also available in 1964 and 1965. It bears little relation to the Max Wedge except for basic architecture and dimensions. The Street Wedge was available only in B-body cars (Plymouth and Dodge) and light-duty Dodge D Series trucks. It was an increased-bore version of the standard New Yorker 413 single 4-barrel engine.
The 440 cu in (7.2 L) RB was produced from 1965 until 1978, making it the last version of the Chrysler RB block. It had a light wall construction, precision cast-iron block, with iron heads and a bore of 4.32 in (109.7 mm), for an overall displacement of 440 cu in (7.2 L).
From 1967 to 1971, the high-performance version was rated at 375 bhp (380 PS; 280 kW) (370 bhp (375 PS; 276 kW) in 1971) at 4,600 rpm and 480 lb⋅ft (651 N⋅m) at 3,200 rpm of torque with a single 4-barrel carburetor, and from 1969 to 1971, the highest-output version had an intake setup with 3X2-barrel Holleycarburetors ("440 Six Pack" for Dodge, "440 6-BBL." for Plymouth) producing 390 bhp (395 PS; 291 kW) at 4,700 rpm (385 bhp (390 PS; 287 kW) in '71) and 490 lb⋅ft (664 N⋅m) at 3,200 rpm of torque.
In 1972, changes were made to the horsepower ratings of vehicle engines from gross (engine only, without air cleaner, exhaust system, alternator, or other power-consuming components) to net (with alternator, air cleaner, mufflers, and other vehicle equipment installed). The new rating system produced lower, more realistic numbers for any given engine. At the same time, emissions regulations were demanding cleaner exhaust. Engines including the 440 were made with reduced compression, modified cam timing, and other tuning measures to comply with the newly tightened emissions regulations. The 1972 440 produced 335 bhp (250 kW) (gross) at 4400 rpm; the new net rating was 225 hp (168 kW)—which very closely coincided with period German DIN ratings and TÜV measurements.
The high-output 440 (4-barrel/mild cam/dual exhausts) was marketed as the Magnum in Dodges, the Super Commando in Plymouths, and the TNT in Chryslers. From 1972 to 1974 the engine (detuned to run on lead-free gas) was rated at 280 hp (209 kW) net, and dropped in hp each year until 1978, when it was rated at 255 hp (190 kW) (in police specification) and limited to Chrysler New Yorkers, Chrysler Newports, Dodge Monaco Police Pursuits, and Plymouth Fury Police Pursuits. It was also available in marine and heavy-duty commercial applications until that year.
Vehicles using the RB 440
Chrysler also offers complete new 'crate' engines through its Mopar parts division in various displacements, these engines are built from entirely new parts.
- ^"The B Engines: 350, 361, 383, and 400". Allpar.com. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- ^Smale, Ian (19 October 2008). "Chrysler Products in Canada, Eh. (1957- 1961)"(PDF). p. 5. Archived from the original(PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- ^Lee, John (1990). Standard Catalog of Chrysler, 1924-1990. Krause Publications. pp. 192, 313. ISBN .
- ^"Everything you've ever wanted to know about B/RB blocks and more..."440Source.com. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- ^ abAtherton, Larry (1978). Mopar Performance. S-A Design Publishing.
- ^Godshall, Jeffrey I. (December 1994). "1960-62 Chrysler "Positively No Jr. Editions"". Collectible Automobile: 57.
- ^Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2004). American Cars 1960–1972. McFarland & Coy. p. 220.
- ^Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1981). World Cars 1981. The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. p. 234. ISBN .
- ^"Dodge Charger R/T, 1969 MY XS29". carfolio. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- ^"1970 Plymouth Road Runner 440 6-bbl Hardtop 4-speed". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
New Life for Mopar 383 Big-Block
New 440 Source Stroker Kit for the Mopar 383 Low-Deck Adds 113 Cubes for Less Than $2,400
For too many years, the Mopar 383 has been ignored by car crafters blinded by the extra cubes of its cousin, the 440 wedge. It's a shame because back in the golden age of the muscle car, hundreds of thousands of 383-motivated Road Runners and Super Bees fought in the trenches, while their 440-powered GTX and Coronet R/T brothers stole the glory. But aside from a 57-cube difference, the two engines shared the same cylinder heads, camshafts, four-barrel carburetors, rocker arms, oil pumps, oil pans, water pumps, valve covers, and numerous other bits.
The major difference between these two Mopar legends is the deck height of the block: 9.98-inch for the 383 and 10.725-inch for the 440. This disparity is what gives each engine its name, with the 383 (and its 350-, 361-, and 400-inch siblings) known as the low-deck B-series wedge and the 440 (and its 413- and 426-cube relatives) referred to as the raised-deck RB-series. And so it has been—ever since the 1966 arrival of the 440—383 owners have been stuck in a shadow some 57 cubes shy of the big 440.
However, thanks to the visionaries at Carson City, Nevada's 440 Source, 383 owners can take that 57-cube disadvantage and nearly double it with a stroker kit that bumps the 383 a full 113 ci to a total of 496 big ones. This has nothing to do with the Frankenstein combinations from the old days where used 440 cranks were turned down to fit the smaller 383 main bearing saddles and big-block Chevy rods mated to expensive custom pistons to yield 470 ci. Those days are over.
The 440 Source stroker kit consists of entirely new parts, all of them precision-machined from forged blanks and completely balanced for quick and easy assembly into your 383 block. In this story, let's tune in as Donnie Wood and the team at R.A.D. Auto Machine give a sleepy 383 two-barrel a new lease on life while also exploring the impact of intake and exhaust tract upgrades on the dyno.
Engine owner Mike Mauro (shown) has owned his red 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II hardtop since age 12. Now 27, Mike's initial plan was to score a rebuildable 440 core to replace the 383 two-barrel. But high asking prices and the fact that local 440 offerings were all post-1973 cast crank units forced a rethink. When Mike learned the 440 Source 496-cube stroker kit cost only $2,249, was pre-balanced, included crank, rods, pistons, pins, locks bearings, rings, and even included free shipping (to 48 states), his choice was made.
The uneven stock deck heights measured 9.9817 (passenger) and 9.9803 (driver), so R.A.D. mounted the block in the Rottler F798 mill and brought each deck height to 9.970-inch, 0.010 lower than stock. The 440 Source kit we chose (PN 383-496-5042) delivers 9.8:1 compression. The material removed from the decks here will raise the squeeze to just under 10:1, perfect for use with 91-octane unleaded pump gas.
R.A.D. honcho Donnie Wood align-honed the bottom end with the stock two-bolt caps torqued in place to reestablish perfectly round 2.625-inch-diameter main bearing bores. The cylinder bores were enlarged 0.030 inch, from 4.250 to 4.280 to suit the 496 kit's forged pistons.
At 67 pounds, the 496 stroker crank (foreground) weighs 3 pounds less than the stock 383 unit. Forged from shot-peened 4340 steel, the main and rod journals are fully radiused to eliminate stress risers, then nitrite-hardened to a depth of 0.014 inch. The output flange is even drilled for manual-transmission applications. 440 Source says all of its forged cranks are rated for up to 1,000 hp.
Stroker (bottom) and stock (top) compared; the reduced distance between the piston pin and piston crown works with the 0.177-inch-longer rods (6.535 versus 6.358 inches) and the juggled crankshaft throws to bop the 383 up to 496 inches. To help the block digest it all, the stock 2.375 big ends are reduced to the big-block-Chevy-sized 2.20-inch diameter. Dig the standard-issue ARP 7/16 cap screws, a huge improvement over the stock 3/8 bolts.
In addition to the crank, rods, bearings and pistons, the kit also includes Total Seal file-fit moly rings, full-floating 0.990-inch-diameter pins, and Spiro-Lox. R.A.D. set the ring end gaps at 0.018 and 0.020 inch. Depending on which pistons you choose, compression ratios ranging from 9.51 to 13.91:1 are possible. Again, every kit is pre-balanced and shipping is free to the lower 48 states. All this for $2,249? Wow.
As with any stroker kit installation, some trial fitment is mandatory before final assembly. The 440 Source website says some 383 blocks will accept the increased swing arc without any internal crankcase grinding. Ours wasn't one of them. The pen points to where the oil pickup tube boss needed a small nibble. During final assembly, the ARP rod bolts will be tightened to 65 lb-ft.
The finger points to the clearance notches that R.A.D. 's Steve Chmura cut into the base of each cylinder barrel. They allow safe passage of the connecting rod bolt heads and have no bearing on block strength. Naturally, the entire assembly was torn down and thoroughly cleaned in the hot tank after necessary grinding was completed. 440 Source also offers stroker crank kits for the Mopar 400 (19721978) worth up to 512 cubes. They rely less on overbored cylinders since the lighter 400 block—a product of the smog seventies—has much thinner cylinder walls than the 383.
The sudden resurgence of the low-deck 383 (and its Mopar 350-, 361-, and 400-inch cousins) has exposed a main bearing supply problem. Though standard square-shoulder main bearings (right) are readily available, they'll rub the stroker crank's radiused journal-to-cheek transitions and invite disaster. You can either machine each insert yourself or buy the pre-modified bearings from 440 Source for an extra $174.95 (PN MS-876P-CH) like we did. The pen points where 440 Source removes material to prevent contact. This is a crucial detail.
Car owner Mike Mauro wanted to keep things simple—and inexpensive. That ruled out a roller cam and the exotic adjustable rocker arms that go with it. A Comp Xtreme Energy XE284H hydraulic, flat-tappet cam was chosen. Specifications are: 0.507/0.510-inch lift, 284/296 advertised duration, and a 106-degree centerline.
Part of Mike's cost-conscious strategy involved replacing the 42-pound, cast-iron 906 heads (foreground) with 29-pound (fully assembled) aluminum Stealth heads from 440 Source (PN 200-1055). Priced at $999 per pair, there is little chance Mike could refurbish the iron heads with up-sized 2.14/1.81-inch stainless steel valves with 5/16 stems (heavier stock 383 valves are 2.08/1.74 diameter with 3/8-inch stems), hardened valve seat inserts, 1/2-inch-thick bronze-manganese valve guides, and porting worth 280/220 cfm for the same money.
With the recommended Fel-Pro Permatorque composite head gasket (PN 8519PT) in place, Donnie Wood sets the first Stealth head onto the fresh 496-cube short-block. Compressed, the gaskets are 0.039-inch thick and help deliver our 10:1 compression ratio. The 12-point head bolts and hardened washers are from 440 Source (PN 109-1514) and tighten to 70 lb-ft using ARP Ultra-Torque assembly lube.
A Comp billet timing set (PN 7125) with a Torrington thrust bearing connects the cam and crank behind a new reproduction front cover from 440 Source (PN 121-1012). The oil slinger helps keep the chain wet and prevents oil from leaking past the front seal.
Chrysler's torsion bar front suspension, K-frame, and steering layout call for a center-sump oil pan. To help prevent oil from surging away from the pickup tube, a baffled 440 Source 7-quart pan (PN 121-1003) and extended pickup (PN 127-1017) replaced the stock 4-quart unit (top). The added oil volume also runs cooler and better resists dilution from gas wash. No windage tray was used, though 440 Source does offer deep-drawn trays to suit stroker applications.
All Chrysler big-blocks up to the 426 Hemi do well with a Melling high-volume oil pump (PN M63HV). A 440 Source pinned intermediate shaft (PN 200-1078) with a hardened tip helps prevent pump-drive failures caused by the elevated oil pressure and volume. Comp supplied a case of break-in oil. Loaded with ZDDP, molybdenum, and other key additives, it ensured trouble-free cam and lifter seating.
Since the 496 stroker kit is internally balanced, the 383 crank damper and flexplate could be reused. That said, if the rubber liner between the hub and ring is squeezed out or if the hub keyway doesn't deliver perfect TDC marker alignment, junk it. It'll cause problems when setting ignition timing. 440 Source offers a variety of dampers if you're in need.
The tight budget also demanded reuse of the stock stamped steel rocker arms, not a bad thing since they're stable to 6,000 rpm. The Stealth heads come equipped with single 330-pound valvesprings (safe to 0.510 lift), 7-degree locks, and chrome moly retainers that are all supplied to 440 Source by Comp Cams. To prevent deflection with the stiffer springs, the stock 0.310-diameter SAE 1065 steel tubing pushrods were replaced with 3/8-inch chrome-moly items from Comp (PN 7934-16).
OK, here's where things got a little wacky. Look closely and you'll see the cast-iron single two-barrel intake on this freshly painted 496 bruiser. You see, Mike is a sick man. He loves sleepers, and so do we. That's why he blasted the whole works with that sad shade of corporate blue Chrysler used throughout the smog seventies. Nobody needs to know what kind of party is about to erupt until Mike says go. The valve covers are brand-new reproductions from Auto Metal Direct (PN 335-1064-BL).
Mopar big-block wedge intake manifolds are dry (no coolant passages) and can be swapped in 10 minutes. The two-barrel is a temporary item just to satisfy curiosity. A 750-cfm Holley Ultra double-pumper will be used most of the time. To see what effect a single-plane manifold has versus a dual-plane, Edelbrock supplied a 383 Victor (12.8 pounds) and a 383 Performer RPM (16.6 pounds). The factory iron two-barrel manifold weighs a whopping 35 pounds.
With the 383's original Carter C2-BBD two-barrel (model number 4894S) and log-style exhaust manifolds safeguarding the 496's entry and exit points, we expected severe constipation. But it actually ran great! A smooth idle and A/F readings between 12.32 and 14.00:1 told us there was no danger of lean-out despite the BBD's microscopic 1.5-diameter butterflies and meager 280-cfm flow rating. With the MSD Pro Billet distributor (PN 8545) set to 38 degrees BTDC, the super-sleeper-mode 496 delivered 311.1 hp at 5,300 rpm with 405 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. In this tune, Mike's 3,400-pound Belvedere would easily tap into the 13-second zone, a full 3 seconds quicker than the 16s you'd expect from a stone-stock 383 two-barrel Plymouth.
Though sleeper points are lost, a set of Hooker Super Competition headers (PN 5111HKR) unleashed an amazing 48.2 hp and 61.8 lb-ft of torque, lifting totals to 359.3 hp at 4,700 rpm and 466.9 lb-ft at 3,100 rpm. Their 35-inch-long, 1-3/4-inch-diameter tubes and 10x3-inch collectors improved average A/F from 13.33 to 12.89:1 with rich/lean extremes of 11.75 and 13.66:1. On the strip, low 13s could be expected from this combo. The scale told us the headers and manifolds weighed within 2 pounds of each other.
With the two-barrel silliness out of the way, the dual-plane Edelbrock 383 Performer RPM intake and Holley 750 Ultra double-pumper took their rightful place atop the 496. With zero other changes, horsepower jumped 110.7 clicks to 470 at 5,500 rpm and torque increased by 55 lb-ft to 521.9 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The A/F ratio skewed toward the lean side of the 12.5:1 ideal goal with a 13.71:1 average and extremes of 12.66 and 14.26:1. Any sleeper pretense has vanished, but Mike and his stripped-down Plymouth will also vanish to the tune of easy high-11s on the quarter-mile.
Conventional wisdom dictates lost torque and gained horsepower with any switch from a dual-plane to a single-plane intake. Sure enough, we gained another 8.7 ponies and lost 3.6 lb-ft, with totals being 478.7 hp at 5,500 rpm and 518.3 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. A/F readings averaged 14.17:1 with extremes of 12.29 and 15.40:1. Early in the four-barrel test phase, a slight lean tendency triggered a jet change from box-stock #73/#80, to #78/#88 (front/rear). All subsequent testing was done with these jets in place.
With the transformed 383 cranking out nearly 480 hp and more than 520 lb-ft of torque, Mike's next move is lowering it into his Belvedere. There is no doubt our ultra-conservative camshaft and valvetrain selection has left at least 50 hp on the table, but since this is Mike's first serious hot rod, he's taking it one step at a time. The best part is how Mike can lure customers with the line, "It's just a 383." But we know better! The 11.5-pound 440 Source aluminum water pump (PN 200-1086) weighs 9.5 pounds less than the 21 pound stocker.
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383 CID B Big Block Engine
The 383 B block, or "low block", has a 4.25" bore and 3.38" stroke. The 1966-1967 383 had a 10:1 compression ratio. The standard issue 4-bbl motor had 325 horsepower.
In 1968 and 1969 there were two new high performance versions of the 383 available. The 383 Super Commando was a slight performance upgrade producing 330 hp due to an unsilenced air cleaner and dual exhaust. The best 68-69 383 engine was available on the road runner and coronet superbee. It made, some say underrated, 335 hp thanks to a number of high-performance 440 parts . It received the recontoured 440 heads with larger exhaust valves of 1.74", compared to standard 1.60" exhaust valves. Heavy duty valve springs and rocker arms were also installed and shared the same camshaft as the 440. In addition this engine also boasted a new dual-plane intake manifold with a Carter AVS 4-bbl carburator.
Compression ratios were lowered across the board in 1970. The 2-bbl 383 was now 8.7:1 compression ration to run on regular gas, but was still rated at 290hp. The two high-performance 383s had compression lowered to 9.5:1 but performance ratings remained unchanged. the 335 hp version not sported a Holley 4-bbl carburator.
The 383 big block was further detuned in 1971 to run on regular fuel. There were now two 383s offered a 275 hp two-barrel and a 300 hp four-barrel. Both version had a lower 8.5:1 compression ratio. This was the last year of production for the 383. It was replaced in 72 with the 400 cid v8.
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