Q&A

Mailbag: Recommending Parts for Swapping a 440 into an ’87 Dodge Pickup

1987-dodge
(Image/Classiccars.com)

Q: I have a 1987 Dodge ½ ton pickup with a 360, and this old kid’s really hoping to reach 425-450 horsepower. As luck would have it, I happen to have a 440 from my brother’s old motorhome—it only has 35,000 miles on it and I’d like to drop it into my pickup.

Using this engine, would I be able to reach my horsepower goal, and if so, would you help me pick out the necessary performance parts? Or do you think I’d be better off working on the 360 that’s already in my truck? Thanks for the help!

A: As the old saying goes, there’s no replacement for displacement.

There are plenty of go-fast parts for your truck’s old 360, but the opportunity to drop a low-mileage 440 in your hauler is just too good to pass up.

To reach your horsepower goal, we recommend starting with Edelbrock’s Performer RPM high-rise intake manifold, cam and lifter kit, and cylinder heads, plus a Performer 800 cfm carb.

These parts are designed to complement each other perfectly and produce plenty of power.

While you’re at it, upgrade to some Harland Sharp adjustable rocker arms to really dial-in that 440.

If you’re using an automatic transmission, you’ll also need a torque converter in the 2,200-2,500 rpm range, like a B&M Holeshot, and some 3.73 gears to get all of that grunt to the street.

Finish it off with a free-flowing exhaust and your pickup will be a very streetable powerhouse with more than 450 hp that still runs on pump gas.

Not bad for an old motorhome engine!

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5 Comments

  1. Better check all the clearances before spending money on speed parts. Motorhomes typically endure many dry starts which is hard on bearings, rings and cylinder walls.

  2. Jack Crognale says:

    Expect to do a complete valve job on the new edelbrock heads.

  3. Harold Lovett says:

    The heads you have are just fine. Contact a camshaft manufacturer and ask them for a recommendation on the cam. You will need to give them the year and casting number of the engine. The more information that you can give them the better. If you decide to go with a set aluminum heads have a good machine shop build you a set. Out of the box heads are no good due to the valve to valve seat is normally out of tolerance.

  4. Ken Bruno says:

    Work the 360 the 440 is a boat anchor

  5. Speaking of 87 Ram engine swaps, the 318 on my 87 W150 (318, a833,208 t case 4WD) trail rig is on its last legs and I’m looking to do a gen III Hemi swap while keeping the original drivetrain due to lack of funds/potential for maximum carnage/the drivetrain is still in good shape/don’t feel like swapping out everything. I know the bellhousing patterns match up on the transmission, but what am I looking at clutch and flywheel wise? Do they even make conversion stuff for that?

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