Hemi / RB / B Crankshafts

Max – HP Tensile Strength
Cast ( stock ) 350 65-80,000 PSI
9000 Cast ( aftermarket Nodular ) 500-600 100,000 PSI
1053 or 1045 Forged ( stock ) high ductility 110,000 PSI
Welded stroker crankshafts ?
5140 Forged aftermarket 115,000 PSI
4130 Forged aftermarket 120,000 PSI
4140 Forged aftermarket 125,000 PSI
4340 Forged ( ” Imported ?” this is a grey area some may look like stock forged crankshafts, some 4340 alloys from offshore suppliers don’t necessarily conform to ASM standards ) 140,000 PSI ?
4340 (4310) Forged ( Premium forged-steel race cranks ) 1000 + / 1500 + 156,600 PSI
Billet – several different materials (EN30B, Timken alloy and 4340) 2500 + 162,000 PSI
Options :
Light weight
Center drilled
Center counter weights
drilled journals
cross drilled oil galleries
Knife edged counter weights
Splined snout
6 / 8 Bolt flange
7/16″ or 1/2″ bolts
Additional Key ways
mallory metal
Crankshaft Balance Factors

Strength Advantages :
Journal Radius
The main strength advantage to an aftermarket crankshaft is the increased journal radius….. stock cranks actually have a undercut here

as this radius is increased the bearing shells must be reduced in width to allow for
the oil to exit, bearing manufacturers offer race bearings designed to clear for most popular applications.

Base Alloy
Tensile Strength  – see chart above
Forging Process
Forgings generally produce a flowed grain structure, which is stronger than a casting. Even so, the forging process stretches, pulls and deforms the grain structure, and subsequent machining cuts through the grain structure. The strength of the forging also depends on the metallurgy of the alloy used, and the heat treatment that is applied to it after it has been shaped. Forgings require a die to shape the metal. Dies and forging presses are expensive (which adds to the cost of the crankshaft), so the availability of forgings for various applications depends on their popularity and how much people are willing to pay for a forged crank.
Billet Crankshafts
by comparison, are CNC machined from a solid chunk of forged steel. The grain structure is not stretched or deformed, and machining leaves fewer residual stresses in the metal. Consequently, some crank manufacturers say billet cranks are the strongest cranks available. Most Top Fuel drag racers run billet cranks, as do many circle track racers. Another advantage with billet cranks is that CNC machining allows a crank to be custom made with virtually any stroke, journal diameter, configuration or countershaft placement that will fit the engine. A billet crank can be one-of-a-kind or mass produced.
Most racing cranks are heat treated and case hardened to provide additional strength and durability. The journal surfaces may be hard chromed, nitrided or induction hardened. Some crank manufacturers use a “plasma nitriding” process that vacuum-deposits ionized nitrogen on the surface of the crank inside a high temperature oven. Others use a process called Tufftriding that soaks the crank in a hot “ferric nitrocarburizing” salt bath, or heats the crank to 950° F in an oven filled with nitrogen. Nitrogen penetrates the surface of the metal and changes the microstructure of the steel. This roughly doubles the hardness of the surface from about 30 to 35 Rockwell C to 60 Rockwell C, and increases fatigue life up to 25 percent or more.
Surface coatings like nitriding and nitrocarburizing can increase the surface hardening to any number necessary. And there are coatings that will repel oil from the non-machined surfaces to help improve the crank’s ability to move through the air with the least amount of parasitic drag. Another choice that is seeing more use is cryogenic processing where ultra-low temperatures are used to alter the state of the metal. The real advantage is that this is not a surface-only process so further machining will not eliminate the beneficial effects.
Micro Polishing
Another area of the crank that receives a lot of attention is the un-machined surface of forged cranks. To take another step closer to perfection with a forging the un-machined surface can be polished to remove the stress risers from its surface. Then those same surfaces can be shotpeened to form a tough skin over the surface that increases its fatigue resistance.
Note – When these steps are included the crankshaft appearance is unmistakably different from the stock appearance

Identifying crankshaft material / manufacture :

Cast ( stock )
Thin Line

Forged Wide Line
stock and lower cost Aftermarket

  No Line
Premium forged-steel race cranks

Premium forged-steel race cranks
(Note mallory metal to balance)

( * These names will be stamped on the aftermarket crankshafts )

Options :
A) Knife Edged counterweights

B) Gun Drilled (lightened) center of crankshaft is drilled from rear to front snout – frost plug is installed at rear so oil doesn’t exit motor

C) Full counterweights
on center arms – less flexing

D) Lightened throws

KB crank is also micro polished, has a peened surface, nitrated, hardened and double keyways that are separate from cam gear keyway

Left – Forged stock 440 crankshaft Right Keith Black Billet crankshaft

Rod Journal Sizes Rod Width Journal Width Rod Length Main Journal Sizes Stroke counter
weight diameter
Wrist Pin Sizes
Dodge Race-440/hemi 2.375″ 1.015″ 2.060″ 7.0″+ 2.750″ / 3″ 3.5 “- 5” 7.4″ + 1.095″ / 1.156
Dodge Hemi * 2.375″ 1.015″ 2.060″ 6.865″ 2.750″ 3.750 “ 7.4″ 1.0321″
Dodge RB-440 * 2.375″ 1.015″ 2.060″ 6.765″ 2.750″ 3.750 “ 7.4″ .991″
Dodge B-400 * 2.375″ 1.015″ 2.060″ 6.358″ 2.625″ 3.380 “ 7.3″ .991″
Chevy BB rods on aftermarket crank 2.20″ .995″ 2.009″ 2.625″ /2.750″ 3.380 ” / 4.75″ 7.120 ” +
Chevy BB rods on reground stock 2.20″ 1.015″( ? ) 2.060″( ? ) 2.625″ /2.750″ 3.380 ” / 4.15″ ( ? )
* = stock Note after market rods may have additional side clearance and chevy rods add .040 to side clearance

A little information from a reliable manufacture :

Failures: All bearing failures are caused by one thing. A lack of oil between the bearing and shaft. Of course, why that occurred isn’t always easy to determine. We continue to be amazed by the number of ongoing bearing problems that are solved simply by adding more oil to the crankcase. This is particularly true on drysump systems.

Lightening and knife edging: These do nothing to improve the reliability of the shaft, and very little to increase performance. Most racers would be better served to spend their money on other areas.

Bearing Information :

Bearing Failures:
Mahle/Clevite has a very nice guide to help you diagnose bearing wear patterns and failures. To view their guide, click HERE