Most enthusiasts like to do things for themselves, but when it comes to major driveline components in our cars-like the engine, transmission, and differential, it takes special tools, knowledge, and skills to perform the work correctly. Of the major components in your Mopar, none is more important than the engine, and we all like the sound of a powerful V-8 with a choppy idle rumbling through the dual exhaust. But while some of us prefer to build the engine ourselves, the fact is that most of us don't have the time, or specialty tools required, so we either pay someone else to build the engine for us, or purchase a crate engine that is already built.

Of the many reasons to buy a "crate" engine for your car rather than piecing one together or having the existing engine rebuilt, convenience is definitely at the top of the list. It's really nice to be able to pick up the phone, and then days later have a complete, dyno tested engine at the door of your garage ready to install. And though the shipping can be a little pricey for an item as big as an engine, shipping a crate engine by truck freight will certainly cost less than buying and shipping all of the individual pieces to your house to do it yourself. The greatest convenience, of course, is that you don't have to dedicate the time required to tear down, clean, inspect, and rebuild the engine yourself, which for most enthusiasts can take months or even years to accomplish.

Another advantage of purchasing a complete crate engine is price. Since most of the engine manufacturers who provide crate engines buy their parts in bulk, they get greater discounts on the parts and shipping, passing that savings on to you. Also, the builders of crate engines have spent considerable time refining their combinations, so it can be very difficult to beat the power of a crate engine for a similar price. Additionally, most crate engines are dyno tested or dyno testing is available as an option, so there's no doubt the engine will run well and be leak free when you install it in your Mopar.

Small Blocks

Indy Cylinder Head is known for building big cubic-inch powerhouses, but they also offer competitively priced crate engines as well, like the 360 and 408 cubic-inch Magnum crate engines. These engines are filled with high-quality new internals, and assembled by the professionals at Indy Cylinder Head. Competitively priced, these small-blocks are available in race and street versions with impressive power. As an example, the 408 street crate makes a whopping 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque on pump gas, and would really turn your Mopar into a street/strip terror.

Summit Racing offers a complete line of Mopar crate engines, like the popular 360 Magnum from Mopar Performance as well as larger displacement engines such the 408 cubic-inch engine from Blueprint Engines. All of the crate engines offered by Summit are balanced, blueprinted, and assembled with all new internals. It's still hard to beat the Mopar Performance 360 Magnum crate engine with 405 hp, but Blueprint Engines has competitive offerings as well with their 408-inch small-blocks making as much as 435 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque.

Muscle Motors knows Mopar small-blocks, offering their "Killer Krate" engine at a very competitive price. This potent LA motor utilizes a fully prepped and machined 360 block that is combined with a 4-inch stroke crankshaft and forged internals, and is completely assembled by an experienced Muscle Motors engine builder. These engines utilize the same RHS/Indy cylinder heads featured in this year's engine challenge, making an impressive 440 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Best of all, it bolts right in place of any Mopar small-block, for the ultimate sleeper.

Carolina Machine Engines offers several levels of small-block Mopar crate engines as well, from stock headed 318s all the way to 408 cubic-inch stroker small-blocks. The crew at Carolina Machine Engines is all about performance-having earned two NHRA world championships, and they offer complete crate engines as well as long- and short-block assemblies. Each crate engine is dyno tested to ensure the proper camshaft break-in, so all you have to do is drop the engine in your car and turn the key. Their 400hp aluminum headed 360 is priced right and would be a great addition for your Mopar.