331 "W" Block limits

Discussion of the 331-354-392 HEMIs.

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scootermcrad
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331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:04 am

I'm guessing I won't get a big response from this, but I figured I would give it a shot...

I have a 1956 331 Chrysler Hemi (based on the 331 Truck block platform) that has '56 354 passenger car heads mounted to it. It's a "W" block, which apparently was a 354 casting and was only bored to 331 at the factory (or so I've been told). I'm assuming to get as much life out of the block as possible. Not sure if that's true or not. The block I have is bored to a MONSTER 4.040". I've also been lead to believe that the block can handle that with a passing sonic check, but that it's more than likely at it's limits. Anyone actually KNOW the limits of this block??? Anyone know ANYTHING about "W" blocks at ALL???

Anyone have any theory on what would happen if I added boost or stroked it and raised the compression to 10:1 or so? Could I potentially blow out a cylinder wall?

The identifier cast into the block next to one of the forward freeze plugs.

Image

392heminut
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by 392heminut » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:32 am

They only way to actually know the limits of your particular block is to have it sonic checked. At 4.040 in ANY early hemi block I would give serious consideration to having it checked!
Owner of the Poor Man's Hemi Cuda

George
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by George » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:53 am

4.00 is usually considered a max overbore, even with sonic check. Running it w/o a supercharger would probably be risky. Best thing would be to sleeve it back to standard 354 if you want a blower motor.

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:09 pm

Okay, let me ask a different question. What's the maximum over-bore for a 354 passenger car block (again, assuming good sonic check)?

So nobody knows anything specifically about the "W" blocks?

George
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by George » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:10 am

scootermcrad wrote:Okay, let me ask a different question. What's the maximum over-bore for a 354 passenger car block (again, assuming good sonic check)?

So nobody knows anything specifically about the "W" blocks?
@ least on 331s a "W", between the head & valley cover, is simply the code of the foundry(1 of 3) that cast the blocks. 4.00 is max over bore for 354s, car or truck, has far as I've ever heard.

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:39 pm

George wrote:@ least on 331s a "W", between the head & valley cover, is simply the code of the foundry(1 of 3) that cast the blocks. 4.00 is max over bore for 354s, car or truck, has far as I've ever heard.
Yeah, this "W" is like an inch or larger and is between the head and the oil pan.

Must be something special about these blocks because obviously I'm way beyond 4-inch bores.

speedicusmaximus
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by speedicusmaximus » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:37 pm

The only way you're really going to know is to get it sonic checked. That will tell you just how much metal you've got to go before it either needs sleeving, or you've got a very heavy coffee table ....

Have you measured your deck height from the crank centerline ? If you don't have Tex Smith's/Ron Ceridono's Hemi book, get it. It's worth it's weight in gold.

Amazon link for the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Chrysler ... 126&sr=1-1

Mike
Beep ! Beep !

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:43 pm

speedicusmaximus wrote:The only way you're really going to know is to get it sonic checked. That will tell you just how much metal you've got to go before it either needs sleeving, or you've got a very heavy coffee table ....

Have you measured your deck height from the crank centerline ? If you don't have Tex Smith's/Ron Ceridono's Hemi book, get it. It's worth it's weight in gold.

Amazon link for the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Chrysler ... 126&sr=1-1

Mike
Yep, great book! Lots of good info. Nothing on W blocks.

It's a low deck block.

Next time I have it apart I'll run it over to the shop and have him drop in the sonic checker.

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:07 pm

Anyone happen to know if the "W" stands for Windsor, by chance? Someone told me that today.

Can't believe I haven't heard more on these particular blocks.

Don
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by Don » Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:26 pm

Don't know what the "W" stands for but I have a '57 354 truck engine that also has the same "W" on the block.I have heard of some replacement blocks that were good for 331's and 354's.If a replacement block was used for a 331 it would have very thick walls.Someone told me once how to tell if its a replacement block, but I forget (sorry).If you ever find out what the "W" stands for let me know, I'm a bit curious.

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:38 pm

Don wrote:Don't know what the "W" stands for but I have a '57 354 truck engine that also has the same "W" on the block.I have heard of some replacement blocks that were good for 331's and 354's.If a replacement block was used for a 331 it would have very thick walls.Someone told me once how to tell if its a replacement block, but I forget (sorry).If you ever find out what the "W" stands for let me know, I'm a bit curious.
I'm still going with the W meaning "weird". But yes, if it's a replacement block, I guess that would make sense. Maybe they only made them on Wednesday or something. Hmmm...

George
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by George » Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:35 am

Don wrote:Don't know what the "W" stands for but I have a '57 354 truck engine that also has the same "W" on the block.I have heard of some replacement blocks that were good for 331's and 354's.If a replacement block was used for a 331 it would have very thick walls.Someone told me once how to tell if its a replacement block, but I forget (sorry).
I think those blocks have 354 casting numbers.

dan miller
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by dan miller » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:55 pm

Windsor blocks (polyspheric chambers) usually have a "W" cast on the side of the block. A good way to tell if it's a poly block is that the push rod holes in a poly block are elongated. I believe (although I've never tried it) that hemi heads will work on a poly block, but poly heads will not work on a hemi block without elongating these push rod holes.

Rumor is that the Windsor blocks are prone to core shift, as many were late in the production runs of 331's and 354's, and were probably produced by old and/or worn out molds. I've measured several and found this to be true.

Ron Ceridono's book is a must have. Full of good info.

Danny

dan miller
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by dan miller » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:02 am

We have been trying a 4.125" bore (354 block, filled) in our junior fueler. It runs as well as our 4.030" bore engine, but seems to not be sealing properly. We're going to sleeve it down to 4.060", as we feel that the sleeves will be tougher/stronger than the cast iron. Hopefully the additional strength due to both the smaller bore and better material will allow us to continue using that block.

Danny

budmspeeco
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by budmspeeco » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:23 pm

I have a 331 W block at the machine shop now. It has been cleaned . I am getting it sonic checked because it is going to be a blower motor . I want to know the limits on the bore and don't want any thin spots. I will post the numbers as soon as I get them back. Buddy
'48 anglia

speedicusmaximus
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by speedicusmaximus » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:06 am

I was just wondering, in keeping with the replacement block theory, do you think the "W" could stand for "Warranty" ? Although, having suggested that, I can't see why there would be a separate block for warranty purposes ? Surely the block would be pulled from the production lines ? It would make more sense....

Mike
Beep ! Beep !

budmspeeco
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by budmspeeco » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:01 am

I have a 331 poly engine that I bought complete from a 56 Chrysler. It has the W on it. I also have a 354 W block that has the W. From the looks of the pushrod holes it was a poly motor. The 331 I have in the machine shop getting sonic checked was a poly block and has the W. It appears that the W is nothing more that an indication the motor is/was a poly. My pennies worth. Buddy
'48 anglia

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:10 pm

Buddy...

Did you find out what your limits are on that W block, per chance? Please let us know.

I also have the slotted push rod pass-thrus, but my motor is definitely listed as a truck motor. Interesting...

(this is after pulling heads when I bought it)

Image

For the record (not sure if I mentioned it), I have '56 car heads on it. I also found out last week that I have coolant in the OIL!! **GASP** Hoping that's because of improper gasket installation and not something related to... well... we just won't talk about that kind of... uh hum... "situation".

budmspeeco
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by budmspeeco » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:48 pm

I have the sonic check completed. The block is THICK !!!! It could probably go .125 over with no problem. If Scott will send me a fax number I will send the results to him and he can post the numbers. I think I am going to order pistons with a 283 Chevrolet std. bore size of 3.875 or an LS1 bore of 3.897 to see if the rings will be less expensive and available with a better moly top ring as well as a 1/16th-1/16th-3/16th ring pack. Buddy
'48 anglia

DblAdigger
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by DblAdigger » Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:55 pm

Er, Bud, what are you going to do for valve reliefs with those Chebby pistons? :roll:
Chuck Stevens
Some people can break a cannon ball, in a sand box, with their bare hands.

mart
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by mart » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:15 am

DblAdigger wrote:Er, Bud, what are you going to do for valve
reliefs with those Chebby pistons? :roll:
=========================

I could be wrong here, but I *think* (and hope) he's talking about
ordering proper hemi style pistons .....but having them made in
a standard Chevy bore sizes of 3.875 or 3.897 so he can use easily
obtainable "off the shelf" Chevy sized rings.
mart.

budmspeeco
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by budmspeeco » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:54 pm

That is the idea. Get a ring that is cheaper to use. Stock replacement 283 rebuild ring sets are about $20.00. Even the moly sets are less than $50.00. I did not price the 1/16th-1/16th-1/8th sets because the motor is going to be blown. The wider rings should be a little better at sealing the boost. The pistons will be Ross or Venolia . They will be made to a 283 Chevy bore and have a Pontiac pin size since the Pontiac H-Beam rods that have been purchased were also cheaper than equivalent 331/354 items. I am having the block rough bored to make sure there will be no rust spots popping out after the block sets a few days. Once the actual bore size is determined then I will take my block plate to the machine shop so they can bore and final hone it with a plate and studs. HH doesn't have a listing for the 331 rings in moly, just chrome although they may be available on special order. There is nothing wrong with chrome rings. I just think the moly rings seat better, faster, and give a superior seal !! Another 2 pennies worth. Buddy
'48 anglia

budmspeeco
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by budmspeeco » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:56 pm

I forgot to add that I faxed Scott the sonic sheet a few minutes ago. He should be posting it shortly. Buddy
'48 anglia

DblAdigger
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by DblAdigger » Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:08 pm

Since you already have a good sonic check, why not take it to 3.937 which is standard 354 size? That's what I did with my '54 331.
Chuck Stevens
Some people can break a cannon ball, in a sand box, with their bare hands.

scootermcrad
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Re: 331 "W" Block limits

Post by scootermcrad » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:45 pm

Okay... here's the results of the sonic check mentioned above. I'm not sure which cylinder is #1, but I'm going to assume that it's the top left pictorial.

Thanks for the scan! Looks like the #2 hole was the worst of all of them.

Image

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