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Hey guys I need some help! I'm wanting to build the 5.2 in my 1996 dakota to about 400 hp to the rear wheels. I'm looking for some suggestions on a parts list like cam,lifters,rods,pistons,ignition,etc. Keep in mind that this is gonna be a daily driver and farm/work Truck too.I also need it to still get acceptable gas mileage since it's a daily driver.Also, is there anyway I can keep the stock heads instead of spending $2,000 on just heads. I also have a minimal budget. How much would it cost to make 350-400 hp to the rear wheels?Thanks!
 

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400hp is almost double what that engine was originally rated for. Can it be done? Yes, Can you keep your heads? Yes. What parts do you need? Well thats hard to say, it will depend on your budget. If you know how to do the work yourself, you can pick up a copy of "How to Rebuild the Small-Block Mopar" from Amazon or your local book store. The author details exactly the parts you need and the work you have to do to get power out of a Mopar engine. If you not doing the work, interview your local speed mechanics, and make sure they are familiar with building Mopar engines, and get an estimate for the build.

Ed
 

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Thanks for the reply Ed and yes I will be doing all the work myself except the machine shop work. I'm thinking about Harland sharp roller rockers and what size comp cam should I get? I want something that is fine for daily driver and idle capabilities but not too mild. I want something where you can tell it's cammed but not a rough idle.would I need to do anything to the bottom end?
 

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Will you need to anything to the bottom end? Well it depends on your build. Are you building a stroker? There are tons of ways to build an engine and there no one size fits all approach to this.

Reality is, no one is going to recommend a particular cam because no one knows how you plan to build your engine. Every cam is different, for a reason. Never select a cam based on a sales brochure The best suggestion is to contact different cam builders and tell them what you have in mind and shop around for the best deal. Be prepared to answer a bunch of questions too, concerning your build. If you're in the dark as to what you'll need to reach your HP goal, either buy the book or find a local mechanic who specializes in performance engine builds, particularly those who can build a Mopar.

Keep in mind as well, that your engine may not get better fuel economy. 400hp out of a small displacement engine is a lot to ask for. You're either building for power or economy. Its really tough to get both. Another thing, while that lopey cam sound is bad ass, it isn't going to be good for saving gas.

Ed
 

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Thats really not a bad price for a stroker which will certainly get a 318 to 400HP or more. Understand that you're not going to get to 400HP with a 318 on a cam alone. You also should consider that if the engine has some miles on it, that you'll be replacing parts, and your build will probably cost a couple of grand (And that could be just for the basic rebuild) If your budget is tight, you may want to think about an engine swap to something either already putting out 400HP or something that won't take much money or effort to get to 400HP, such as a big block swap.
Your only other option if funds are limited is to reach for a more attainable goal, like building for 300HP instead of 400HP. But it's also going to depend on the condition of your engine.

Ed
 

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Thanks for all the help and with my budget it looks like I'm gonna have to wait on the stroker kit
You're going to have to wait on 400HP then.

Power isn't cheap. The stroker is just about the cheapest way to up the horsepower on an older, tired motor, since you really need to rebuild the lower end ANYWAY.

But, hey, if you don't care about blowing it up, you can always go for a 200 shot or so of nitrous. It'll be fun, as long as it lasts. Might even get three or four pulls on it ...

RwP
 

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Has anyone read the op's original post? It said he wanted 400 hp at the rear wheels which means his little 318 would need to make 485 hp if it's an automatic. To answer the op with all of the criteria you mention in two words....no way.

You would need a good 10 grand to just get you started. Then you'd have to spring for some type of power adder such as a sc or nitrous. You would make next to no vacuum with the cam needed to support 485 hp n/a. It would have to become strictly a race truck otherwise. Personally, you are barking up an entirely wrong tree. Don't believe magazine articles in the least.
If you want a nice drivable truck, put in a cam with short duration of less than 210 @.50, a set of shorty headers, stronger springs to support a cam of no more than 480 lift. Put a 3 angle valve job on your current heads leaving the keggar intake with a mopar performance pcm a cold air intake with a Fastman 50 mm TB and then just enjoy your added gas mileage and livable street/farm truck.
 

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Has anyone read the op's original post?
Uh yeah. I was the first to respond, come to think of it….

It said he wanted 400 hp at the rear wheels which means his little 318 would need to make 485 hp if it's an automatic. To answer the op with all of the criteria you mention in two words....no way.

You would need a good 10 grand to just get you started. Then you'd have to spring for some type of power adder such as a sc or nitrous. You would make next to no vacuum with the cam needed to support 485 hp n/a. It would have to become strictly a race truck otherwise. Personally, you are barking up an entirely wrong tree. Don't believe magazine articles in the least.
If you want a nice drivable truck, put in a cam with short duration of less than 210 @.50, a set of shorty headers, stronger springs to support a cam of no more than 480 lift. Put a 3 angle valve job on your current heads leaving the keggar intake with a mopar performance pcm a cold air intake with a Fastman 50 mm TB and then just enjoy your added gas mileage and livable street/farm truck.
I will agree with you that this kind of build won't be cheap. I disagree in your two word response of "No way"

I believe it's totally possible to build a 318 to make 400 "RWHP", and that such a build could be driven on a daily basis, and get "acceptable" fuel economy (If he can resist the urge to nail the throttle to the floor)

IMO the best way to get there is by building a stroker motor. Anotherwords, via increased displacement. Currently several "kits" are available to stroke a 318 out to 370, 390, 396 or 402 cu.in.

Once the displacement is there (and he's in big block territory) it's well within the possibility to get within the 400 RWHP ballpark….

Here is a "stroker" 360 available thru Mopar with 408 cubic inches of displacement:
http://www.moparproshop.com/inc/sdetail/6202/12364
You'll note that the engine is rated at 480hp. Thats within the ball park of what he would need. The 318 shares the same block as the 360 and if he goes with the max displacement of 402cu.in, which is available for that engine, he will only be short 6 cubic inches, so thats going to be within ball park too. Or he can mix and match other speed parts, such as using a hotter cam or different intake, so that even if he used a stroker kit that had one of the smaller displacements, he can still be within ball park of his desired goal. If he tries to build a 318 for 400RWHP without increasing displacement, it will be much more difficult and probably be less "user friendly".

His best options to build a 318 for 400RWHP is either;

1) Massive engine mods, porting polishing, big intake, possible multiple carbs, etc

2) Forced induction…Supercharging or Turbo

3) Injectables, thats Nitrous, or Water/Meth

4) Converting to Nitromethane

5) Stroker kit Or,

6) A combination of all of the above

None of the options above will be cheap even if he takes on all of the work himself….Except maybe Nitrous. In fact he could leave the engine alone and just hit it with about a 200hp shot of nitrous and reach his 400rwhp goal….But then again, after a couple of shots, it's still gonna end up being an expensive endeavor.

The only way to get there is;

1) Save money, until you have enough

2) Reduce your HP goal to say 300rwhp

3) Use another engine, such as a 440, or for those who like to live on the edge, a Viper V10

4) A combo of all of the above……or,

5) Forget it and live with what you got

Ed
 

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I have to disagree entirely. I am not sure you are reading his full criteria. He wants a truck with added gas mileage for not so much money and be used as a street/farm truck. To all of THIS COMBINATION, I still contend-"no way". A 200 shot of nitrous on a stock motor might hasten the end of that motor especially w/o the proper essentials for running nitrous. Will the op be cognizant of fuel pressures or timing take out or atmospheric conditions or burn gauging or intake temps? It is the cheapest route to hp but a 100-150 shot seems more reasonable for a stock motor and even with a 200 shot, this will never produce 400 rwhp. Do not forget that whatever he produces at the crank, he will lose 20% of that in an auto so in actuality, he's lucky if he is currently making 160 rwhp.Will he spring for the additional money toward the transmission to support that kind of power?
He is asking way too much as he does not need hp as much as he needs torque. Sure you can build a 500 hp 318 but do you want this as a street/farm truck? A 500 hp 318 and the word "cheap" is an oxymoron. I think it a totally unreasonable quest. The only part of your post I concur with for HIS reality is lowering his expectations but even to 300 rwhp is not enough.
If he does the things I suggested, I think he will be more than happy and actually meet his goals.
 

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I have a 96 with a 408 stroker with iron heads and it only makes 385 hp at the crank. It also gets the worst mpg of any car I have owned 6to10 mpg
 

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Underdog, you should be getting better mileage with the 408. Something is off in you build. If your cam is too big or has too much duration for the much beloved rummpity sound everyone desires, that can hurt mileage.
Did you get a tune for your motor after the build?
 

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237d-474lift 750 double pumper with 355 gears.It runs 12.20s consistently. Spark plugs are a nice light brown on one side and white one the other.
 

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No offence 5speed but this guy asked how to build a 400 hp 318 and gets 15 replies in a few hours I post a problem with my truck that is running and get no reply ?
 

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UD. Oh...It's carbed. That explains the gas mileage. I never got better than 10-11 mpg with the 750. I like your cam choice. Most guys chomp at the bit to get over .525 lift in their builds. Your truck runs quite strong. The new body styles on the Dakotas (97-2003) are something like 300 lbs heavier. Put your engine in one of those and you'd get12.5's.

I'm not certain ppl are understanding your complaint of low gas mileage as a problem. I know some guys with EFI on their 408 builds get 12-15 mpg if they stay out of it.I also know that when guys are running a steeper gear say like 3.92's or 4.11's, their mileage actually improves as a result of the engine being happier in a more efficient power band.
Your cam would have had to be a bit lower in duration to get better mileage. I can only hope the fun factor of your truck makes up for the mileage.
 
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