Performance Upgrades for the Chrysler Flathead 6 Engine

by Alexis Writing
itstillruns article image
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The Chrysler Flathead six-cylinder engine series was an L-head motor that was used in Chrysler vehicles from 1953 to 1960, and later used in applications such as airport tugs, baggage handling carts and certain types of large stationary hauling machinery into the early part of the 1970s. The Chrysler Flathead was never considered to be a powerhouse, but was a good, reliable and easy-to-maintain engine that has a number of different models, some of which were used for passenger vehicles and some of which were used for trucks. There are a few performance upgrades for the Chrysler Flathead six-cylinder engines that can make them even better.

Hardened Valve Seats Help with Unleaded Gasoline

Tetraethyl lead, or white lead, used to be added to gasoline in order to reduce temperatures and lubricate the valve seats in the cylinder head. With the advent of unleaded gasoline, many engines that did not have hardened valve seats eventually experienced problems. Having your cylinder head removed and hardened valve seats installed in your Flathead six-cylinder engine can help improve performance as well as longevity with conventional gasoline.

Increase Compression Ratio by Swapping Cylinder Heads

Another performance upgrade that can be completed with the cylinder head out is a slight increase in compression ratio. By researching interchangeability between different years and models of the Flathead six-cylinder engine, you can increase the compression ratio by putting a later model cylinder head on an earlier engine block, and vice versa.

Bore out the Engine for Maximum Displacement

The Chrysler Flathead six-cylinder engine was offered in a number of different displacements, ranging from 230 cubic inches to 250.4 cubic inches and even as high as 264.5 cubic inches of displacement. More displacement transfers into higher horsepower, so by boring out the Chrysler Flathead to one of the higher displacements you can improve performance without a noticeable loss of durability of the engine.

Install a Screw-on Type Oil Filter

Installing a screw-on type oil filter mounted to the engine block can also improve performance. Many of the Flathead engines had either no oil filter at all or a remotely mounted oil filter that caused the oil pump to work excessively hard. Replacing this setup can lead to improved performance and longer life of the vehicle engine.

More Articles

article divider