Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chrysler 440s are Amazing Engines

Let me start this blog entry by saying that my respect for the Chrysler 440——yes, even the ‘detuned’ seventies ones——tripled today. Those engines are no joke. Grab some coffee and listen to a tale of power.

The Taurus blew some sensor or other (says the ASE guy) and had to go back in for scans and repairs and whatnot. I had to make a run to work for a discounted part (oh yea, baby!) and when I got back to the garage where the Taurus was, an early seventies GMC long bed pickup was stuck in the middle of a tiny road with its bed hanging out onto the main boulevard, around a bend——not good.

So I walked over and offered to pull him at least out of danger with my Ramcharger. He laughed and thumbed toward his bed. “It’s full of brick, son, and I mean full,” he says.

I look back there and yep, red brick is stacked literally right to the cab window, and even higher in the middle. We are talking two thousand pounds, easy. Three hundred bricks weighs one ton (thanks, Google!), and there was at least that many in his bed. His truck was a one-ton and it was sagging like a Compton gang member.

I look at him and say, “I have a big block Dodge and a strong strap. Let’s do this.” 

And we did. The hill was probably a quarter-mile long, maybe a bit more. It started relatively mundanely, then got a little steeper, and then got very steep toward the top, complete with loose gravel to make things interesting.

The guy’s truck was so heavy that each time I’d stop to give the Ramcharger a little break from smoking the tires, both trucks would slide back down the hill three or four feet, even with me standing on the brakes. This was some serious weight.

After the hill went from mildly steep to holy hell, man, that’s steep, I was smoking all four tires pretty badly and starting to hop. I stopped, put the transfer case in 4-low and hit it again. Hard. The ease at which my rig pulled his truck the rest of the way up was almost scary. As a rule, I try to avoid low lock on asphalt, but these were special circumstances.

I got him to the top, unhooked him and he rolled the big pickup right into his driveway. Oh, and it started, immediately. It was just the angle he was on not allowing the thing to fire.

To say the Dodge impressed me would be grossly understated. I felt like a proud father. Yes, I knew the 440 was strong, but had I known it had grunt like that, I’d have tried pulling something earlier, just for the kicks of it. Back in the day, I was really impressed with the 318 in my Fury, but the 440 in my Ramcharger just dwarfs it in the torque department.

So, I figure this is a fair estimate:

My Ramcharger is somewhere in the 4k pound range, empty (nothing at all in the truck).

His one-ton truck is probably about 5k pounds or so.

Add in 2k lbs worth of brick, and you have a very conservative total of eleven thousand pounds, all pulled uphill on loose terrain by a single engine (that’s likely very tired) in what amounts to an early SUV.

Unreal. Just unreal.


  1. Nice man :) Thats why they were put in so many motorhomes.

  2. Low end torque in a 440 is hard to beat, the garages with GM and Ford have a difficult time with it too, as they have larger size motors, remember, the 440 was the biggest Mopar, but smallest of the big 3 "Big Blocks" in regular option of road vehicles.. BUT That is what Mopar is known for!

  3. Yes! Truly. Thanks for the read, John! :)