Ad Radar
Car Craft
Click here to find out more!

Building a Hemi for Less - Build A Budget Hemi

Don't let the rich guys have all the fun. If you can find a Top Alcohol crankshaft, you can build this engine for Chevy money.

Photography by Steve Magnante

Whether you're a lifelong Mopar fanatic, a recent convert, or just a guy who knows an excellent engine when he sees one, you want a Hemi. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to scratch the itch, the most cost-effective being a preassembled 426 Hemi crate engine from Mopar Performance. Listed as PN P5249667AC and selling for about $13,500 on the open market, the Mopar Performance 426 Hemi crate makes 465 hp and 485 lb-ft. By most accounts, it's the least expensive Hemi strategy on the planet. Or is it?

What if we told you-for a couple hundred bucks less-you could get a whole lot more? How 'bout 520 cubes, billet internal parts, and 684 hp and 625 lb-ft on 91-octane unleaded pump gas? It's true. The plan centers on a set of very special aluminum Hemi heads designed and manufactured by Stage V Engineering. Known as Hemi Conversion heads, you put 'em on a common-as-dirt 440-Wedge block and-with a matched piston, camshaft, and induction swap-the end result is a wedge that looks and runs like a big 'ol honkin' Hemi.

No, the two-bolt 440-Wedge doesn't offer the cross-bolted main caps and extra beef of the 426 Hemi block, but with minor preparation-and expert machine work-the wedge block will safely handle up to 750 hp. Aside from the main cap situation, the Hemi Conversion strategy outlined here is all gravy versus the original 426. The perks include billet crank and rods instead of forged steel, aluminum heads instead of cast iron, 520 cubes instead of 426, dual quads on a Street Hemi manifold instead of the 426 crate's single quad, roller rocker arms instead of scrubbers, leak-free cast-aluminum rocker covers instead of stamped tin, a healthy, solid roller cam instead of a hydraulic flat tappet, 113 pounds less weight (607 pounds versus 720 pounds fully assembled), and the peace of mind that you-or your engine builder-put it all together.

Check out the pictures and follow along as Joe Jill and the crew at Superior Automotive bolt together a 520-cube Hemi Conversion motor that goes several steps beyond the original 426 Hemi-for similar money.

Stroker Hemi Conversion Ingredients And Price ListDisplacement: 520 ciHorsepower: 684.6 hp at 6,300 rpmTorque: 625.7 lb-ft at 4,600 rpmCompression ratio: 9.8:1Ignition timing: 34 degrees BTDCBore/stroke: 4.350x4.375Bore/stroke ratio: 0.994:1Rod/stroke ratio: 1.55:1Maximum safe engine speed: 7,000 rpmRecommended shift point: 6,500 rpmCost to build: $13,355.32

SHORT-BLOCK PN PRICE
’69 Chrysler 440-Wedge Used $150.00
Keith Black 5/8-inch stroker Used 500.00
Federal-Mogul main bearings 119M-010 115.00
MP stock-type balancer 3830183 301.39
Crower 4340 billet steel rods 93911B 1,133.00
Clevite 77 rod bearings CB743H 96.00
Arias forged pistons 291-828-01 752.00
Arias piston pins 0.990x 2.75 80.00
Total seal rings RS-9798-35 149.00
ARP 9/16 main-cap fasteners 140-5401 55.95
Dura-Bond cam bearings PDP-17 22.88
Milodon intermediate shaft 21525 148.39
Lovatt Akadize piston coating N/A 160.00
Bottom End Total: $3,663.61
WET SUMP PN PRICE
Milodon 7-quart oil pan 31010 $149.95
Milodon oil pump 18790 75.00
Milodon 1/2-inch oil pickup 18330 39.95
Stage V Engineering oil-drain line kit N/A 165.00
Oiling System Total: $429.90
CYLINDER HEADS PN PRICE
Stage V Engineering Hemi Conversion N/A $3,990.00
Superior Automotive finish-porting N/A 750.00
Manley double valvesprings w/damper 22430 180.39
Manley valvespring cups 42122 59.95
Manley 2.20-inch stainless intake valves 11516 136.69
Manley 1.90-inch stainless exhaust valves 11901 136.69
Manley titanium retainers 23661 190.00
Manley 10-degree locks 13193 49.00
Manley lash caps 42101 28.00
Pioneer neoprene w/Teflon valve seals N/A 16.00
Manton 3/8 rocker-arm adjusters N/A 224.00
Crower 3/8 chrome-moly pushrods 70399 186.39
SVE cast-aluminum rocker covers N/A 350.00
Mopar Performance rocker-cover gaskets P4120353 35.95
Fel-Pro head gaskets 1009 39.95
SVE Grade 9 head-bolt kit N/A 145.00
MP spark plug tubes 4120294 69.95
BIG HEMI DYNO POWER*
RPM HP TQ
3,500 391 587
3,600 400 585
3,700 410 582
3,800 421 581
3,900 433 582
4,000 446 586
4,100 463 593
4,200 481 602
4,300 502 613
4,400 521 622
4,500 534 623
4,600 548 626
4,700 560 626
4,800 570 624
4,900 581 623
5,000 590 620
5,100 602 620
5,200 614 620
5,300 624 619
5,400 635 617
5,500 646 617
5,600 654 613
5,700 660 609
5,800 669 605
5,900 676 602
6,000 680 595
6,100 683 588
6,200 684 579
6,300 685 571
6,400 679 557
6,500 670 541
*Numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth.

With a stump pulling 587 lb-ft way down at 3,500 rpm and peak horsepower reached at a conservative 6,300 rpm, the benefits of the stroker crank and free-flowing heads are clear. We made more than 15 dyno pulls to ensure repeatability, and every one was made with 91-octane Shell gasoline from a local station.

CAMSHAFT PN PRICE
Crower mechanical roller with 308/314 degrees of duration at 0.050 with 0.688/0.649 lift PN33472 $381.99
Crower lifters S-66232 565.99
JP Performance timing chain 5606T 89.00
Manley thrust button 42116 7.99
Camshaft Total: $1,044.97
INDUCTION PN PRICE
Mopar Performance Street Hemi intake manifold P5153737 $425.99
Superior Automotive plenum dividers removal N/A 150.00
SCE intake gaskets P166101 15.99
Edelbrock 750-cfm Performers 1407 254.95 (each)
Induction Total: $1,101.88
IGNITION PN PRICE
MSD Pro-Billet distributor 8546 $295.10
MSD Blaster 2 coil 8202 38.30
MSD Heli-Core, 8mm wires 31289 179.60
Champion spark plugs RN9YC 14.00
Ignition Total: $527.00

This motor makes peak power at 6,300 rpm and rarely exceeds 6,500 rpm, so the stock-type fixed internal pickup and deep-sump oil pan are completely adequate. Assemblies that exceed 6,500 rpm on a regular basis should be fitted with external oiling systems for added safety. Also offered by Milodon, the external oiling strategy bypasses the restrictive drilled block passages with free-flowing hoses and fittings. >>>>>>

SOURCES
Milodon
2250 Agate Ct.
Simi Valley
CA  93065
805-577-5950
www.milodon.net
Stage V Engineering
Walnut
CA
909-594-8383
www.stagev.com
Arias Lovatt Processes Corp
Santa Fe Springs
CA
Crower Cams
San Diego
CA
619-661-6477
www.crower.com
Superior Automotive
Anaheim
CA
7-14/-503-1880
superiorautomotive.com
MSD
El Paso
TX  79936
915-857-5200
www.msdignition.com
Tube Technologies Inc (TTI)
Corona
CA
Edelbrock
Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-781-2222
www.edelbrock.com
Manley
1960 Swarthmore Ave.
Lakewood
NJ  08701
7-32/-905-3366
www.manleyperformance .com
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
  • |
  • View Full Article
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Car Craft