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1952 Plymouth suburban wagon - what mopar drivetrain could we swap in?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by yeahRight, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. weeds
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 173


    do you have eny int parts or ss fender trim ? i have a 52 373 700r4 8" ford 373 g in the rear , we sub it with 72 nova ps pdb works real good ...
  2. yeahRight
    Joined: Jan 18, 2005
    Posts: 75


    Bumping this back up the food chain - just found a good 88 diplomat cop car with a 360 in it which looks like a good donor vehicle to frankenstein into the 52 Plymouth wagon. (Diplomouth, Plyomat...?)

    Decision time, measured the rear axle width, it's going to fill the fenders and then some, and I'm unfamiliar with what I assume are unitary modules for front torsion bar clip and rear axle, but it looks like a good idea to keep it all in the mopar family.

    Any input before we pull the trigger greatly appreciated...anyone grafted diplomat innards under a different vehicle out the in HAMBland?
  3. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620


    First, have you visited the P15-D-24 forum? Those guys know everything about these cars and can answer most of your questions; they are not hostile to hot-rodders.

    An Explorer 8.8 rear end, or 80s Bronco is the right width, and have the correct bolt pattern. Later Explorer rear ends will give you disc brakes too.

    The 360 engine/trans is a good choice. You may want to de-smog it of course. The only tough thing about the engine swap is the steering - you can either go to a rack and pinion using a 89 Caviler unit (Fatman has a kit) or leave the steering box in place and make up headers and add u-joints to the steering column. Either way you need to offset the engine to the passenger side a couple of inches.
  4. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,579


    If the Dippy rear is wider than the stock unit then keep looking. As for the front, keep the original and upgrade the pieces. The suspension is actually a pretty good design. PM olddaddy for disc brake kits.

  5. Go with the 360, replace the stock timing chain with a double roller, put a factory 4 barrel intake on it and drive the snot out of it. Lots and lots of torque to be had.

    If you want more power, the 360 is a great place to start, they respond very well to more cam (the compression is low, so don't go crazy - an E58 cam (340 style) would be a great choice), 1 5/8" equal length 36-40" primary tube headers, minor bowl porting on the heads, a better intake (Weiand Stealth, edebrock DP4B, LD4B, Performer, Performer RPM etc). Mill .060 off the heads and you will be around 9.2:1 compression and a 284 degree cam will work very nicely with the above mods and a 2400-2800 stall converter and 3.23 or better gears.

    If you decide to use the dippy front end, keep in mind the problems that the cops had with these units, which I think some judicious bracing when welding to the frame would cure for good, and doing away with the isolation mounts. I had a Dodge Mirada with this problem and the sucker just wouldn't go straight unless the road was glass smooth.


    "Another terror to beware of in the "M" bodied Diplomat and Gran Fury was the suspension towers. All of a sudden you couldn't keep the babies in line, and got some real squirrely handling. It took Chrysler a while to figure this one out. However the shock towers of the front suspension sagged inward! LA and LA Sheriff banned the transverse torsion bar suspension from participation in the bidding process. This problem started showing up as early as 1980!

    To make matters worse, the K-member of the frame where the suspension was mounted, cracked, allowing further degradation of the sagging due to low quality tensile strength steel. This was particularly evident in the 1984, 85, 86 and 87 "M" bodied cars.

    Once the suspension exhibited the nasty habit of going out of alignment within hours of having been reset, the only cure was replacement of the K-member and the shock towers. A rather expensive fix.

    As a sort of back handed tribute to Chrysler engineering, this "out of alignment" problem was related ONLY to severe service, i.e.: Police cars and or taxis. It was also directly proportional on the type of driving it had received. The NYC police, operating on the bombed out streets of the Bronx and Manhattan, had suspension problems within weeks. A Nevada Highway Patrol might never had exhibited any problem at all. No civilian vehicles were ever reported with this sort of problem. Chrysler did solve the situation by 1986, however, they won't discuss the cure, unless you happen to be a Police Agency with a suspension problem! They did NOT make the fix at the manufacturing end!!!! Not until 1988. WHY??? Obviously the tower mounts had to be replaced, and the K-frame as well."
  6. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Yes, use the Diplomat as a donor car! rear should be close, and the 360 will be great motor for that car. Just don't even consider using that front suspension! #1 - it's too damn wide for this car, period. The geometry is absolutely garbage - camber curve sucks, they have a bad tendency to bump steer, and on top of all that parts like torsion bar anchors are almost impossible to buy. For the front suspension there are really just a couple of ways to go. The first would be to rebuild the the stock suspension, relocate the upper shock mounts to the frame, add a disc brake kit and be done. To do this you will have to offset the engine install to the right by about an inch and a half, but don't worry, this was done in every Mopar "A"body car ever built. I have looked at almost every rack and pinion conversion made for this car, and I would not recommend any that I have seen. Steering geometry on these front ends is a hard thing to get right, as a matter of fact, factory was a compromise at best but does seem to work okay. When I build my '48 almost twenty years ago, this is how I did it initially, and if I were a very mellow "cruiser"kind of driver, it would have worked just fine. That said, I drove the car very little that first year, and was not completely satisfied. I drive very aggressively, very long distances, and am very particular about a cars handling traits. That said, my next move was to take it all off at the firewall, and Elpolacko and myself built a 2x4 tubing "subframe" that picks up a Mustang 11 crossmember. This is a bit time consuming, and these days a bit expensive, but fits the car like a glove, and properly done, is blessed with some of the best stock geometry designed. In the ensuing 16 years my car has rolled up almost 200,000 miles, has been to both coasts multiple times, been raced a bit, and for most of that time has been my only transport. If you can afford the expense, that is the best way to go.
  7. jeffh547
    Joined: Jun 21, 2011
    Posts: 30

    from Florida

  8. oldcarfart
    Joined: Apr 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,437


    Volare clip, slant 6, Volare rear axle, OD automatic.

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