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98 ram 1500 rebuild

I’m rebuilding my 5.2L magnum from my 98 ram I wanna make as much power to the rear wheel as possible. I would like to know what parts should I upgrade to make the most power possible? And is a mopar purple shaft too much lift for this engine ? Or are new performance heads and rods required ?

The answer depends om whether you want to use it as a truck or hot rod. And how much torque you will make for a truck or how much horsepower you can make as a hot rod depends on your budget. At some point, an engine swap will be cheaper than trying to further increase the power of the 318.

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The parts responsible for the lions share of power usually will read like this… Crankshaft, Pistons, Cam and Heads…

If you cannot afford all these items…then the pistons and camshaft would be where to direct your cash flow… Once they get to a certain point that cylinder heads also need to be able to breath better.

This question isn’t really that simple to answer because honestly… One thing sort of begets another if you know what I mean.

But yes, higher compression pistons can work miracles…but then…that will require better breathing…so that starts to go into the intake manifold, the heads, the exhaust… etc… again…one thing begets another and its hard if not impossible to ignore this fact. Anyone who knows what they are talking about will surely tell you the same information. The 5.2 isn’t exactly every ones Go To favorite for horsepower…but like any engine it can be built to do things it wasn’t configured to do from the beginning…all depends how deep your pockets are honestly.


Witch engine would be ideal to drop into it without too much modification and fabrication tho :thinking: and I’m rebuilding the truck as my first major project and I want the truck to be able to pull a 30 foot trailer that’s loaded with no hesitation or issues and also I want it to have more power And be quicker than a normal 1500 nowadays

Well a normal Ram 1500 is frequently equipped with a 5.7 , 390 HP Hemi coupled with a 9 speed transmission. Your 5.2would have a cery hard time matching that no matter how modified and exceeding it would be a ridiculous task. A late model Hemi or an earlier hotted up 440 would ne necessary to make that kind of power and depending on where you live, it might not be legal to use an earlier engine.

This has to be further defined. The length doesn’t mean much. How much weight? Is it flat or is it a box? What height box? This will determine the loading on the tow vehicle. And the engine is only one component to consider. Is your frame up to the task? What about brakes? Transmission and rear-end?

You may be starting with the engine but you need to think of it as a system and what other implications will need to be considered to accomplish the desired task. It would be a big bummer to invest heavily in a motor upgrade only to find that an extended cab frame can’t handle the tow load for example…

No matter what you do to the engine, the rest of the truck is unlikely to be able to handle the towing job you’ve described.


I live in Illinois and a what is your definition hotted up 440 ?

You mean someone from Illinois doesn’t know what a 440 is? I thought that would be known by every citizen since the 1980 film… “The Blues Brothers”


Lol I’m 22 :joy::joy:

This might be helpful

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That engine probably cost more than a crate Hemi and has rpm and torque characteristics that would make it entirely unsuitable fot pulling a 30 foot trailer.

it is a dyno queen , built for the engine masters competition.

The 440 was Chryslers poor mans alternative to the 426 Hemi, possibly the strongest engine ever put in a stock sedan available to the public until the last few years supper high horsepower Dodges and Mustangs. if the 426 had been available with a turbocharger or supercharger it would still wear the crown.

The 440 was a cheaper to build version with more cubes but without the cross flow Hemi heads so the engine was lighter and took up less space in the engine bay.

Performance versions were available with a six -pack carb but many motor homes still on their way to the junkyard can still be found today.

Google or Wiki Chrysler 440 engine.


I’m just joking around… I was 22 once…and now I’m 22 twice and if you are crafty enough this too will happen to you. I can name a long list of friends who weren’t as lucky, I promise you.

A 440 was a Big V8 made by the Chrysler corporation back in the muscle car days…Being 440 cubic inches…or 7.2 Liters. Pretty solid reliable power to move Land Yacht’s, motor homes and muscle cars around and with modern hardware on it…like fuel injection etc it makes ridiculous amounts of power (as do most big inch engines from the same time period). A 440 is simply an old Mopar engine design from the 60’s. As @oldtimer_11 so eloquently stated as well…

Also something to remember, no matter how old you are…you can always watch a movie that is not from your “time period”, I just watched a film from the 50’s for instance…and I wasn’t even a thought at that time. Try it…you just might learn ya something.

And just because I like you kid… I will include a clip from the movie I quoted that further burned the memory of how nasty one of those 440 cubic inch mills (engines) can be. They can make plenty of power, to jump bridges, chase speeders and even to cruise through shopping malls if you so choose.


I think you’d be better off with a 2500 . . .

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Though GM big and small blocks were more common, some boat manufacturers in the 70s used Chrysler 440s.

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Illinois? They don’t plow roads, they put more salt down. You had this thing up on a lift? Is there any metal left?

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Has anyone tried this kind of swap? Sounds like it may be more work then you are willing to get into. Motor mounts and the wiring can be made but you have to look into a transmission. Also do you have smog checks where you live and if so you would need to look into the laws to tell you what you can get away with. My suggestion would be to look into dropping the 5.9 in, or getting an old RV with a 440 and strip it down. Or just take what you have open the exaust and intake a bit and throw in some cans and leave it at that. I do have a wrecked ram with a 5.2 I may look a bit at my 64 Plymouth and get an idea of what it may take to drop that motor in just out of curiosity when I put a tail shaft bushing and u joints in the car.