Finishing the 440

Over the last two or three weeks I have been finishing up the engine build. There is nothing all that different about this build but I wanted to touch on a couple things just in case someone out there might be interested and want a bit more detail.

The first thing I did was to rebuild the carb. This is not an original Street Wedge carb. An original would have been an AFB somewhere in the 600 CFM range. What I chose was a 750 CFM AVS carb that would have been found on a 1969 440. I also picked up a 625 CFM AVS off e-bay for parts. As it turned out that was a good move.

The relbuild went smoothly however, there is a brass accelerator pump valve that resides near the bottom of the accelerator pump plunger that on my carb was plugged. It was so bad I had to drill it out, which is a touchy thing to do. I was successful and was able to replace it with the one from the parts carb. I also used a linkage from the parts carb to replace one that was missing. Here is the finished product.

Carter carbs are pretty simple to rebuild and very easy to tune so they make a great carb for street/strip use. If you're interested in doing serious racing though, you probably want a Holley. They are way more tuneable for the track, but in my experience that tunability can be a drawback for the average gearhead who only races occasionally.

The next project was pulley alignment. The AC compressor mount I'm using is from Bouchillon Performance Engineering and when combined with the recommended pulleys the compressor aligned OK but the alternator did not seem to line up correctly. After a call to their help line I found that because I am using an aftermarket crank damper that is thicker than the stock unit, it caused everything to be off by a half inch or basically one pulley width. This worked out OK for the compressor but I had to use a half inch spacer behind the water pump pulley and also make custom spacers for the alternator in order for everything to line up. Not a real big deal but it did take a bit of fabrication. Although the pics for some reason don't look like things line up, the actually do line up quite well.

The final project this month was the exhaust manifolds. I picked up a set of correct castings for a '64 Street Wedge on e-bay for a quick $100 and felt lucky to find them. One manifold had a broken off stud that was rusted into the manifold. Given their age, this is not surprising and I knew this going in. The seller made every effort to explain this problem. The rusted unit was in one of the long bolt holes which uses a hollow bolt that's almost 3 inches long. Most exhaust studs go into the water jacket so its not hard to see that a small leak over several years could rust things together pretty well. Below is a pic of the bolt that was rusted in place.

This might have seemed like a big problem but a good shot of penetrating oil left overnight and 30 seconds on my shop press and bingo... it popped right out. Next both manifolds were soaked in EvapoRust for 24 hours. That stuff is a bit expensive (about $20 a gallon) but its reusable and biodegradable which means no disposal problems. Once the rust was removed they were painted cast gray with Eastwood's high temp exhaust header paint.

So with those final projects completed the 440 build is pretty much complete. However, there is one thing missing... the Street Wedge air cleaner. The 426 Street Wedge had a distinctive chrome air cleaner which is a hard to find (read expensive) item. I will explain in the next update how to take an inexpensive single snorkel mid 60's air cleaner and modify it into a Street Wedge unit. Below is a pic of an original Street Wedge air cleaner.

That's it for now. Come back in a couple weeks to see the air cleaner mods.

Check back often for more updates...

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