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Complete Rebuild of LA-318 Engine
1967 Dodge D-100

Engine in assembled form, prior to reinstallation. For this rebuild, all internal components were replaced except the crank, rods, pistons and distributor drive shaft.

Subject Vehicle: 1967 Dodge D-100 Longbed
Transmission: T-435 4-spd.
Engine: LA-318 ('73 block, 2bbl 2658920 casting heads)
Rearend: 8 3/4 Anti-Slip (3.91 gears, 741 case)
Owner: Kris Wickstead

4/6/99 - Reduced power and severe miss leads to diagnosis. Low compression found on cylinders two and four (all others at roughly 110psi). Head gasket is suspected, so head is removed. Gasket looks normal, head taken to S&B Machine for magnafluxing and valve check.
4/8/99 - Small crack found on outside surface of head. Decision made to completely rebuild engine considering possibility of other mechanical problems. Quality rebuilt 2bbl. heads ordered from Evergreen Engine Exchange.
4/10/99 thru 4/18/99 - Attended Mini Baja West `99.
4/20/99 - Engine hoist rented, engine stand purchased. Engine removed from truck.
4/21/99 - Teardown begins, all parts removed from engine. Pistons two, four and yet another show broken top compression rings (good thing I decided to rebuild it!).
4/22/99 - Block, crank and pistons/rods taken to S&B Machine for checking and necessary machine work.
4/23/99 - Rebuilt heads received.
4/24/99 - Cleanup of engine parts (other than short block items) begins.
4/26/99 - Machine shop checked over engine, recommend polish crank and hone cylinders. Work approved and Sealed Power overahaul kit ordered from S&B.
4/26/99 thru 5/3/99 - Cleaning of engine parts continues.
5/4/99 - Engine block, crank and pistons/rods received from S&B Machine. Reassembly begins.
5/5/99 thru 5/10/99 - Reassembly continues until engine is completed. Tranny and bellhousing bolted up and engine prepped for reinstallation.
5/11/99 - Engine back in truck. Accessories and components bolted in.
5/12/99 - Engine fired up on first try. Truck is back on road.
5/20/99 - First oil change after 500 miles on rebuilt engine.
5/21/99 - After just over 500mi, engine checked. Compression on all cylinders is 120 psi and all spark plugs clean.

Mileage Figures:
Total vehicle mileage: 197,067mi
Mileage (reading) at rebuild time: 97,067mi
Recommended break-in: 1,000mi
Mileage (as read) after first oil change: 97,663mi
Mileage after break-in: 98,067mi

Block and original forged crank as received after machining. Core plugs (with "VOID IF REMOVED" overheat pop-up tabs!) had been installed by S&B Machine as were the cam bearings. All remaining work was performed by the author with the help of Jim Pedersen and others.

Purpose for rebuild: Inconclusive diagnosis of engine miss suggests bad rings. Lack of evidence to show that heads or gasket had failed. Unknown condition of short block components.

Engine block after placement on engine stand. Block was very clean throughout, but was double-checked with a Summit Racing Engine Brush set. Small particles were found in only a couple of the oil passages. It never hurts to double-check!

The forged crank was pulled from the 318 and measured to be cut 0.010" down from stock. The third main bearing (thrust bearing) showed some signs of excess wear. S&B Machine recommended that the crank be polished to remove light scratches and bearing material. A 0.020" under cut was not required.

Pistons and rods organized on clean work surface prior to installation. Having a table and your parts organized really helps to insure a thorough job is done during assembly. Note plastic bag protecting engine block from potentially damaging foreign particles.

The pistons and rods were removed and inspected. Pistons from cylinders two and four had broken top compression rings. These rings were broken directly in half and were still in the upper ring groove when removed. A third piston had a similiarly broken top ring found to be in multiple pieces (although the entire ring was still in the upper ring groove). All rods had been marked during a prior rebuild and were in acceptable condition. These were all cut 0.010" under during a previous rebuild and were not modified from this state.

Here, pistons 1, 3 and 5 have been installed. This is probably the most well-lubricated part of the job, where the rebuilder(s) get as oily as the pistons are. A band type ring compressor was used to install the pistons in their bores.

After removing the pistons and rods, crank and camshaft, the block was inspected. Only light scratches were seen in some of the cylinder bores and most of the others still showed a good crosshatch pattern from the last full rebuild. Measurement of all bores showed a maximum of 0.003" wear, so a 0.060" overbore was not required on the already 0.040" over cylinders. The block was cleaned and all cylinders were honed. New core plugs were installed by the machine shop as were cam bearings before the block was returned. Prior to installing any new parts, all oil passages through the block were checked with the 6-piece Summit Racing Engine Brush kit. A new Melling oil pump was bolted on along with a new oil pump pickup tube, also from Melling. To properly connect the crank and cam, a Melling true roller timing chain was installed with a standard woodruff key (no timing offset). Moly lube was used to coat all bearings and wear surfaces prior to assembly. Pistons/rings were dunked in motor oil shortly before installation and all ring gaps were offset as recommended by the Sealed Power ring instruction sheet.

This front, right side view shows the crank and camshaft installed along with the true roller timing chain and fuel pump eccentric. Pistons in the 2-4-6-8 bank are not yet installed.

As installed from my own rebuild job in high school, the MTD-1 camshaft was removed and inspected. It had minimal wear on all lobes with only the tips of each lobe fully worn from edge to edge. For this rebuild, new cam bearings were installed and a new Melling MTD-1 cam with new lifters were installed. Moly lube was used to coat all components prior to startup and the lifters were soaked in motor oil prior to installation.
Camshaft Specs: Melling MTD-1 Cam
DurationTiming Cam LiftLobe Lift Lobe Centers
Int.Exh.BTCABCBBCATC Int.Exh.Int.Exh.Int.Exh.
SAE278288267275 116
@.050204214-63043 -9

In this photo the heads, intake, front cover, water pump, and valve gear has all been bolted on and torqued. New Melling Rocker Shafts holding Mopar Performance Extra Thick Stamped Rockers perfectly compliment the other performance enhancements made to this 318.

Initially, the 2-4-6-8 bank head was suspected as the culprit for engine problems as stated above (see TIMELINE). Luckily the engine was torn down further, as the small crack discovered in the head was found on the outside surface of the head between the front exhaust port and the corner head bolt hole. This was obviously not the cause for major engine problems! Nonetheless, the head was cracked for whatever reason and thus a rebuilt set of heads were ordered from Evergreen Engine Exchange in Spokane, WA. Since the old heads were questionable in regards to whether they had hardened valve seats and the guides had already been knurled once, it was a good deal to just exchange them for better heads. The replacement set of heads came with new valves, springs, guides, and hardened valve seats all of which were complemented with a three angle valve job. For rocker arms and rails, new Melling rails replaced the old ones and the Mopar Peformance Hydraulic Rocker Arm Kit added 16 new rockers with thicker cross-sectional material at the pushrod socket (P4529742). The original pushrods were all in straight, acceptable condition and were retained.

To put the oil pan on, the engine was flipped over on the stand. Note pad-type oil pan heater (affixed to sump of pan) to help fight extra cold Washington winters.

The NP-435 transmission remained unchanged, although a new clutch pressure plate, throwout bearing and pilot bushing were installed as a result of this rebuild.
Clutch Specs: 11" disk, 10 spline (1"dia.).
Replaceable throwout bearing was pressed onto existing housing.

Painting the engine was simply a matter of careful masking and proper cleaning. Lacquer Thinner was used on clean rags to remove oil and lube residue prior to painting the engine with a rattle can. The engine block, tranny and bellhousing required just over one can of paint. The heads required about a third of a can.

Improvements not in any of the above categories include a core plug type heater, Mopar Performance Cast Aluminum Black Wrinkle valve covers (P4529026), rebuilt water pump, new hoses and V-belt, Mopar Performance Chrome Distributor Hold Down Clamp (P4349278), 180 thermostat, and Mopar Performance bronze distributor drive shaft bushing (P1737725).

Bolting on the Mopar Performance Black Wrinkle Finish Cast Aluminum Valve covers really set the engine off. The great thing is that it runs as good as it looks; something you might worry about when you're spending all that time and money on a project like this.

In the engine, Sealed Power cast iron piston rings were used along with Michigan 77 Engine Bearings and Fel-Pro Gaskets. The engine was painted with Dupli-Color's 500 High Heat paint with Ceramic (block C#%vy Engine Orange, heads Aluminum). The hedders also got Dupli-Color's 1200 High Heat paint in Black.

All of the speed parts added prior to this rebuild were retained, including the Heddman Hedders, Edelbrock Intake Manifold and 600CFM Carburetor, Chrome Flexi-fan and Mopar Performance Electronic Ignition.

This is getting to be more fun now that you've got a 700lb assembly hanging a few feet off the ground. The assembly comes out and goes back in quite easily with the L-shaped rear-engine mounts, although it still requires some creative jockying to get the tranny casing past the firewall.

After assembly, the engine was filled with a detergent-type Valvoline Super HPO SAE 30 weight oil. The Mopar Performance Oil Pump Primer Rod (P4286800) was used to pressurize the oiling system prior to startup. On first startup, the camshaft must be broken in by running the engine at 2,000rpm for twenty minutes. As recommended by the folks at S&B Machine, the best break in therafter involves 1,000miles of driving under 3,000rpm at all times while not running at the same rpm for long periods. At 500 miles, the SAE 30 weight oil was drained and replaced by Castrol GTX 10W-30.

Special thanks to: Jim Pedersen, Tom Munck, Jason Heineman, Rick Shimskey, Lance at Evergreen Engine Exchange, Bryce at S&B Machine.

The finished product, fully installed. Driving impressions are the finest reward for any rebuild, and my feeling is that this engine really cooks! Carefully picking the best performance enhancements and buying quality parts will make any rebuild a success.

Kris' 318 Engine Rebuild Cost Sheet
ItemDateDescription CostSupplier
1 Unk.Gaskets, Sealant, Leakdown Tester Rental$Unk. 4th Ave. Shucks
24/20/99 1,000lb Engine Stand$64.79Clearwater Shucks
34/20/99Engine Hoist Rental (2-day) $34.56Bennett Rentals
4 4/22/99 Dupli-Color Engine Paints (1200° Black, 500° C#*vy Engine Orange & 500° Alum.) $22.63Clearwater NAPA
5 4/22/99 Rebuilt 2bbl Heads (new hardened seats, guides, rails and hardware) plus $10 freight $334.13Evergreen Engine Exch.
6 4/24/99Sandpaper, Lacquer Thinner, Scotch-Brite, Rags $22.00 Pay-n-Pak Clearwater
7 4/27/99 MP Valve Covers, MP Extra Thick Rocker Arms, Engine Brushes & MP Oil Pump Primer $175.15 Summit Racing
8 4/27/99 Coolant Hoses, Clamps, Chrome Dipstick Tube, Thermostat $59.75 Clearwater NAPA
9 4/28/99 Reman. Water Pump & Upper Hose$30.76 Clearwater Al's Auto
104/28/99 Pilot Bushing, Throwout Bearing, White Lithium Lube $28.98 Clearwater NAPA
115/3/99 Header Gaskets, Core Plug Heater, Studs & Fine Threaded Nuts, 2nd RTV Sealant tube $39.68 Clearwater NAPA
125/4/99 Engine Machining (clean, remove core plugs, honing, crank polished, etc.), Overhaul Kit (Rings, Cam & Lifters, Rod-Main-Cam Brgs., Gaskets, Oil Pump & Pickup Tube) $581.87 S&B Machine
13 5/5/99Clutch Pressure Plate$63.13 Clearwater NAPA
145/9/99 Oberg Engine Tilt-Lift, Anti Freeze, Oil and Oil Filter $60.00 Clearwater Al's Auto
15 5/9/99MP breather grommets, MP Engines Manual, MP distributor hold down clamp $39.04 Summit Racing
  Total-> $1,556.47  
Write-up Prepared By Kris Wickstead
Updated 6-8-99

Please Note: This page is intended as a guide for the project outlined, and is not guaranteed in any way. All info above is to the best knowledge of the author. Comments? Send in an Online Response.

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