Dodge 360-3 restoration

Started by Mlw, April 01, 2022, 03:51 PM

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Again, many thanks for your help and the copy's

The engine is a 360, it's stated on the block, but also in the brochure and the manuals but I'm glad you are acknowledging my confusion.

The thing is, I measured the pistons today, also with a digital caliper and some seem like 1 to max 3/1000's of an inch larger than the Cylinder wall.

That can be off reading, because I don't have a micrometer, at the moment but It would explain why there are scratches in the form of the piston skirts in the corresponding cylinders and the skirts are scratched as well. What you see below is a bottom up picture of Cylinder 6

However I am looking if I can lent or rent one somewhere, because I want to be absolutely sure but the main reason I'm doing this is to see if things are in spec and they seem to be.


QuoteThe thing is, I measured the pistons today, also with a digital caliper and some seem like 1 to max 3/1000's of an inch larger than the Cylinder wall.

Unless you have a very expensive digital caliper I simply suspect the accuracy of it is questionable for this sort of measurement.

Based on the damage your seeing on the block (piston replaced, cylinder wall pieces broken off, etc.), I would say the scratches and such were due to the engine was ran low on oil at some point such that it threw a rod.  Lack of oil film on cylinder wall resulted in lots of scratching.


I question them myself too, Dave. that's why I try to find a micrometer, or i would have to buy a China Junk one of €50,= to use only one time. It's incredibly frustrating that you just can't find the right tools here in the Netherlands to do the job.

You are absolutely right about the oil starvation. There is a new oil pump placed by the previous idiot and I found parts of the old one in the oilpan.

I noticed the oilstarvation in the passenger side valve case when I removed the valve cover and that was also the reason I took the engine apart, and there we go.

ALL the cylinders on the passengerside show the same marks, with number six as the worst obviously because of the reasons you mention.

SO if I have to buy new pistons I will, but then i would need the right measurements of the cylinders and so I keep running around in circles.

We'll get there eventually. But it's going to take some time, which is a shame because when it keeps going like this it will be next year before I finally can go on a trip with Betsy.

Eyez Open

Boy that's a tough spot to be might have a builder/machinist look at that block...It is in bad shape. then there is your crank.


This may sound like a 'Devil's Advocate' reply, but are you quite certain that pistons and rings are enough? You may want to consider, as well, a crank grind, all new crank bearings, new cam and bearings, rebuilding the heads and a good check of the timing chain for possible stretching. Likely, I missed a few things - I am not a Dodge person.
I'd hate for you to go to all this work and then have to pull and strip the engine again.
Seems to me that you are at the point of either a total rebuild (assuming the block is within rebuild specs) or finding a known good replacement engine.
My thoughts only.
It is not our abilities that show what we truly are - it is our choices.
Albus Dumbledore


@ Eyes open, I did. The block is looked at by a retired mechanic who worked on American engines in his adult life. The damage done is out of range of the cylinderrun so that's a plus, but I certainly hear what you are saying.

The thing is, I took some basic steps when I bought the Motorhome. As It was sold as a fixer upper I couldn't drive it.

So I checked the fluids, they were clean as a whistle and topped off. I felt the engine if it was completely cold and it was. How it starts and runs you saw yourself in another video  I made last winter.

Starting up the beast on a cold wintermorning

Furthermore compression is OK except one but still within specification limits. The strange thing is that the engine was not always galloping, even with a broken pistonring in Cylinder 5 and following specs

Up 4.000 (cylinder with low compression)
      Mh 3.994
      Ml 3.994
      Lo 3.994

The Chassis has received a complete anti corrosion treatment at one point, and the interior was pretty decent at first glance, and that's why I bought here. This RV has spend her intire life traveling from the Bavarian mountains (south of Germany. It seems to be pretty clear what happened. The oil pump failed, probably during a climb, one of the piston rods broke off doing minor damage (says the retired mechanic) to the  cylinders above. I'll try to make good pictures of all if them next week.

@ Terry
For me you are not sounding the devils advocate. If I would have lived in America I would have seriously consider putting another block in there. But I live in Europe and i guess I'm just not ready to put a 4 or (when in luck) 6 cylinder diesel in there. Call me stupid, but i Like the sound of a V8 and whatever you put in there, that's the sound you will hear as long as you drive it  ;)

The biggest problem I'm facing is that the Previous moron was a digger, digging into things normal users never touch and completely destroying them because of his Redneck way of repairing things multiplied by a thousand.

As for your advise:
All the bearings are going to be replaced, as is the timing chain:

Pictures do weird things sometimes. The retired mechanic at the hobby garage who worked on American vehicles most of his said never to have seen a camshaft looking this well considering the miles.

As for the heads, I replaced all the valve seals. With this I removed the valves, cleaned them up and checking if they were straight, which they were, even cylinder 6

Next to check if the heads are straight as is the block. The crank i Will check too.


So it has been very quiet around the build of the old 360 so it's about time to give an update.

The biggest reason for this is just the state western society is in right now. I know we don't talk politics here, but I do hope Í can at least ask everybody in western society to aks themselves if this really is the direction we want to go to and what we need to do to fix it. If I would have build Betsy just 5 years ago I wouldn't have had half the problems I'm facing now getting parts and would have costed me more than half less than it's costing me right now due to transportation and importing costs.

After my last message I first had to find the right 2 ½ inch socket to fix the problems I thought I had with my rear brakes BrakeJob Dodge MB400 chassis It took me about 1 month to find out the socket was sold it at summit by a tip of Jupp318 As I needed parts for the engine as well I ordered them together with the socket. I took them about a month to order the socket and it took a month to deliver.

So now it's October already. The brakes were actually in very decent condition so I went back to rebuilding the engine again. I renewed all the bearings and the piston rings. The engine turned over very well so I was very happy with myself ( for a while)
Just to check myself I watched the video from Just Mopar Joe where he installed his piston rings to find out I made a mistake.

You see, the rings came in a box without instructions and the rings divided in three white bags without any marking. So I put all my top rings in the left side of the engine and the bottom rings in the right. I can be as angry with myself as with P.O's 😉 so I called myself a f-ing moron the rest of the night 😊
So,  next morning I got everything out again, replacing all the rings and making my next mistake. I marked all the pistons with a marker but of course with all the oil and grease this got off so I got confused how to get the pistons back in again.

Then it gets dangerous, I'm building my engine at a Hobbygarage so then you get all the "experts" swirling in. one says you should do it like this, the other says you should do it like that. Listening to them got me to bind my engine solid and destroying on of the scales of the crankshaft bearings. II got one of my famous tantrums driving the engine to the waste container and ready to throw it in,  to find my cool just in time an putting the engine away for a few weeks and use the time to investigate,
Now an (Dodge) engine has several markings in which you can find how to build your engine.

1.    The piston has a marking on the side of the pistons when they are flat heads. These should always point to the front of the engine or the pistons have valve releases which should always point to the top of the engine

2.    The piston rods should have a bigger chamfer on one side. This side should always point to the crankshaft journals.  In my case there were also dots on the crankshaft which caused a lot of confusion as all the experts said they should point to the front. Ignore this and look at the chamfers, not the dots. This is very important to lube the crankshaft bearings.

3.    All bearings should be placed notch to notch, these are very important to keep the bearings in place and stop them from slipping and binding. Next to this I could perform extra checks because the keepers for the main bearings has numbers on them with a dot in front of them. The numbers should go from the front of the engine to the back with the dot pointing to the front. In my case the keepers for the crankshaft bearings were marked as well. This way you can also see in which cylinder the piston goes. In my case I found out the PO switched pistons 3 and 5 and 4 and 6. As he did it on the correct bank, (3 and 5 on the left and 4 and 6 on the right this shouldn't cause any major problems but I put everything back where it belonged.

You should always turn your crankshaft once you place a main or crankshaft bearing. If you get a sudden increase in resistance turning the crankshaft STOP!!! Something is WRONG. I used my Torque wrench to measure the resistance but as far as I know there aren't official numbers to put that to the test.
Really TAKE YOUR TIME because there isn't any room to make mistakes. When you do your engine wil seize, something you don't want. Work Securely check yourself multiple time and when you are not sure, always remove the extra item even when is cost you more work. You will thank yourself later.

If somebody finds me making a mistake above, feel free to comment.



This is awesome!  There's not a lot of vintage RVs out there running the 360-3 but there are some so this is truly groundbreaking for the complete deal.
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Yeah well,

I'm a sucker for vintage and I think that when you go vintage you have to go all the way when you can.

For me it is reliving something the way it was, so in this case with the original engine as far as it would go. We will see.

I have the luxury to think this way, as I'm living in a very small country there aren't large deserted areas as in America. As i first have to learn to put my trust in the RV I will probably stay in the Netherlands with it the upcoming years to try it out. If something happens help is always nearby.


Well guys,

The project came to a shrieking holt again....

If somebody saw a few devils running around very scared.... That was me, $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@!  $@!#@!

Ripped out bolt.jpg

Now if somebody knows somebody who still has a decent 360 (preferabel) or 440 lying around and wants to sell it, I'm interested because you would't believe the price they dare to ask for the same engine like mine and then it's probably not a heavy duty, and they demand that you give them your engine which should be rebuildable. If not you pay $800,00 extra.

Dutch price 1980 Dodge 360.jpg

and of course I'm looking extra at the members in Europe.... ;)

Eyez Open

At times like this it is extremely important to keep breathing. Perhaps a fairly large mixture of bourbon,honey and lemon juice. Heavily chilled and consumed under a very hot shower. 

Marvelous therapy discretion is advisable.


 :)clap  :)clap  :)clap

This reaction made up for it...

I'll get the b**** running even if it's the last thing I do.

Just another obstacle to take, after all it's only money  :P

And... rather now then somewhere in the middle of nowhere...

To be continued


Well, a month later I have two option. Or I buy the shortblock of a 1995 dodge 360 Magnum and build that one up again, or I let a craftsman welder repair the damage.

The problem with the 360 magnum is that I just don't know if it can handle a RV with a GVWR of 6 tons. I know it has the power (more than the 360) but can it pull 6 tons? I just can't find this information anywhere.

In the meantime I'm patching up the engine bay and started at the passengers side drum brake.

Eyez Open

Quote from: Mlw on April 27, 2023, 02:49 PMWell, a month later I have two option. Or I buy the shortblock of a 1995 dodge 360 Magnum and build that one up again, or I let a craftsman welder repair the damage.

The problem with the 360 magnum is that I just don't know if it can handle a RV with a GVWR of 6 tons. I know it has the power (more than the 360) but can it pull 6 tons? I just can't find this information anywhere.

In the meantime I'm patching up the engine bay and started at the passengers side drum brake.

Just a opinion Mlw, that engine based on watching your thread just needs to be retired.

Again my opinion it is sloppy tolerances that kills engine's, that mag engine will do just fine make no mistakes. I've seen issues of this type many time overseas. It can be very frustrating.

Unforseen issues happen, the flooring in my rig was solid as a rock. Marine recon taught me to check no matter what you think you see test and verify. I took a hammer and whacked that floor from front to rear, all solid hits/report's..Until I pulled the icemaker...that really killed a few brain cells. Lmao then there was the morryde suspension  incident....


Well, no new developments with the engine at the moment.

We have a very complicated system for oldtimers here. It's important because it can cost (or save) you a significant amount of money in roadtaxes.

In the Netherlands a vehicle needs to be at least 40 years old to get an oltimer status, in which case there are no taxes. With a 1979 Minnie Winnie there would be no problems there.

However. When i'm replacing it with a 1995 360 magnum, chances are that this becomes the new age of the total vehicle. As this is not decided by law, but a public servant or a judge with no law binding them to which part decides the age there is absolutely no way that i'm going to take my chances!

I finally found someone who can fix the problem. Let's hope there is at least some good news to be found here.

Eyez Open

Good to see progress. I assume your having it welded.