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Projects '53 Chrysler Hemi Wagon

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Steve in N.C., Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    Hi Guys,This Is My First Post here on H.A.M.B...I am Interested in Hotrodding my '53 Chrysler Hemi Station Wagon.Was wondering If Any of You have had any experience with Lowering the original Suspension or if Someone has already done a frame swap using a late model chassis..I have found that Fatman Fab offers 3" dropped Spindles but must also add the disc brake setup at the cost of over $1100 just for these two items.Would Love to find someone that has Been there Done that so this project Doesn't become a Nightmare,If You know what I Mean ! Any Help would be Most appreciated !! Looking forward in Your Responses !! Thanks, Steve
     
  2. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,369

    George
    Member

    1st off you need to do an Official Intro on the Intro page, it's @ the top of Pg 1. Sounds like a nice project. Search should show some Threads on lowering 50s Mopars. You might want to look @ the Hemi Tech Index if new to Hemis. There are disc conversion kits & shock relocation kits for the OEM front end. Of course there are a number of choices if you were to sub frame it.
     
  3. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,054

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

    I just Googled the 1953 wagon. Looks like you have a cool and unique project there. Can't help you with parts info, but if you have some ideas you'd like to have Photoshopped just post a picture of your car and your ideas and I'll give it a shot. I'm already envisioning a chopped and lowered sedan delivery version...:D Eli
     
  4. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    Thanks George ! New to this Forum and getting use to using it.Trying to download some pics of this project as well.Thxs
     

    Attached Files:


  5. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,054

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

    Interior looks like its in pretty good shape overall. nice!
     
  6. SMOG_GUY
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 388

    SMOG_GUY
    Member
    from Dinuba

    Howdy, Steve!
    I own a 1953 New Yorker so I'll be paying attention.
    I bought a 70s New Yorker thinking I could graft that front end on but it's probably 8 or 10 inches too wide.
    The frame is unusual in that it's boxed and there's no fixed crossmembers between the front axle and the rear of the car--just wide open space.
    Anyway, good luck, Don
     
  7. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    Thanks Don,You are Correct,Very narrow Front end ! I can use Fatman's 3" lowering Uprights and their Disc Brake set up however the Old steering still remains...There's gotta be an easy solution with All the available parts these days without spending 5 Grand just on the Frt Suspension....
     
  8. This looks a lot like the '52 DeSoto wagon that ICON company built. It's a part of their 'Derelicts' effort. Try doing a search on those key words. You might get some ideas.
     
  9. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,369

    George
    Member

    The Tex Smith Mopar Hot Rods book has a couple 50-51s in it that used early 70s Nova clips.
     
  10. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    Thxs Guys ! This Is how I'd Love for it to Sit ! Why Haven't I Won The lottery ?? lol
     
  11. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    A very worthy project!
     
  12. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,538

    73RR
    Member

    I will suggest that the front suspension is a pretty darn good design as is. Disc brake swaps (www.rustyhope.com) and shock relocation help and you can lower the front with either different springs or by moving the bottom spring mounting plate to the bottom of the A-arm.
    You might look at the Jag IFS, several projects on this board. I will also suggest changing the rear axle to something newer; Exploder or Grand Cherokee work well in many Mopes of this era.

    .
     
  13. Jackson300
    Joined: Dec 25, 2010
    Posts: 12

    Jackson300
    Member

    I am just finishing a 1952 Dodge wagon. '51-52 Dodge wagons share almost everything with the 51 to 54 Chryslers and Desotos.

    For the front I removed the springs and hogged out the a-arms and installed the biggest bags I could. I convinced ECI that they could modify their existing kit to fit my "big ass" hubs, They agreed but they said it was not as easy as they thought (they may not do it again). I don't know why but I wnated to keep the 5 on 5.5 lug spacing. This was used on 42 to 49 Chrysler 8 cylinder cars and 49 to 54 wagons, imperials, limos and taxis - along with some similar cars 54-55. I used air bags because the 5.7 hemi and other components would change the ride height and I could not predict it accurately. All Dodge wagons came with 115 hp sixes and fluid drive and that was not fun anymore after 30 years of ownership.

    For the rear i used a newer Dakota, narrowed to fit, with air bag helpers. all of the above works so far. Here is what is not right yet. I used the stock springs (7 leaves I think) but I wanted it lower that stock so the fabricator that helped (I did 75% of the build myself) took out 4? leaves. Now I have a very unusual curve on the spring happening. I took it to KC Spring (in business since 1914) and they said that he/we should have taken out every other leaf and never more than 3 total. So now I have to re-do it and perhaps add lowering blocks to get the last 1.5"

    Stay tuned for updates. ...Jack
     

    Attached Files:

  14. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,146

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    what you going to do about that transmission? Long tail hemi's didn't offer much in stock transmissions. Late 53 chrysler NY and Imperials went to Powerflite, even with the long tail hemi. Perhaps you can find one of those old PF's and use that, or use only the bell, adapter, flywheel, converter, and a cast iron Torqueflite.
     
  15. Firepower71
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 145

    Firepower71
    Member
    from Atlanta

    i love the early 50's mopar wagons. sounds like a great project, let me know if you ever get tired of it and want to unload her! haha

    Jackson300, nice wagon!
     
  16. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,369

    George
    Member

    Early 70s Mustang, Cougar & Dusters, some others, fit with a perch change. 67-68 C body is supposed to be a bolt in.

    The long tail in '54 used a PF with a flat bellhousing. Gary was talking a while back about making a flat bell to go on the C-4 to have a modern tranny on the long tails. Wonder how that's going......
     
  17. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,146

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Same flat bell as 53 used. Might have better luck with finding flat bell off a 54 NY.
     
  18. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,538

    73RR
    Member

    I suggest the Jeep/Furd axle simply because they have the Mopar bolt pattern and the boneyards seem to be full of them at half the cost of an 8¾.
    For those chasing axles, I have some dimensional info here:
    http://www.qualityengineeredcomponents.com/?page_id=1023
    Some day I'll add the others.

    As to the C4 project, it is essentially done, prototypes made, yada, yada, yada. Now that little problem of spending a small fortune on making a pile of them...who has the right lotto numbers???


    .
     
  19. Jackson300
    Joined: Dec 25, 2010
    Posts: 12

    Jackson300
    Member

    the 2008? Dakota and new durangos are 5x5.5 and the big hub bores are available from several wheel mfrs. I used the usual cavilier steering as I could not find anything else that would fit - I did not want to sub frame. As earlier mentioned the frame, a-arms, front sway bar and overall front geometry is good. I did move the shock mounts to get reasonable travel.

    Now I am looking for a rear sway bar set up. The Dakota rear came with a very odd set up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  20. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    WoW Is All I Can Say !! She's a beauty..I appreciate Your help in suspension Information...My Fabricator called me today and is measuring the front for a camaro Subframe however in listening to you all seems the Original suspension may just be Good enough..
     
  21. Jackson300
    Joined: Dec 25, 2010
    Posts: 12

    Jackson300
    Member

    I can email photos of specifics if you want them.

    ..and keep the old hemi, spend your money at hot hemi heads instead of a new souless engine with so many computers you can't fix it.
     
  22. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    Definitely going to use the Original 331 Hemi although Would Love a tire smokin 6.1 425 h.p. lol I have already purchased a Rebuilt 727 Mopar TorqueFlight and the Adapter plates already installed to the trans...
     
  23. whtbaron
    Joined: Sep 12, 2012
    Posts: 571

    whtbaron
    Member
    from manitoba

    You've already got the Hemi frame (which is wider than the 6cyl models at the front A-arms in 52 and 53... 54's went to the wider frames to accommodate V-8's) so I concur with the rest that cutting up the frame would be a crime. I wouldn't even dream about a 6.1. If you want more zip look for a 354 or 392, which should bolt onto your engine mounts and give you more tranny options. Personally I would just lower it moderately the traditional ways and forget about airbags.
     
  24. Steve in N.C.
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Steve in N.C.
    Member

    In chatting with you guys I'm just about convinced to use what I have..Only thing that gets me is the Cost of Dropped spindles and brake kit.Just those two items are $1200.Doesn't even consist of new Springs nor shocks.Then there's the Original steering box to deal with..Can you please explain how the Cavilier steering box is mounted and hooked up ? Thxs..
     
  25. Look, I don't want to bust your bubble, but if you're just getting started, and this is your first car, you've a LOT to learn before you go off doing swaps here and there.

    So dropping the front end will cost $1200.00 for parts. And you're complaining. Wait until you rebuild that transmission, or work on the engine.

    Though people have done for less (usually a common make, Ford or Chevy), a driver, a SAFE driver car of an oddball make can easily run far past 5 figures in cost. Then add paint and upholstery. Oh, and that is if you can weld and fabricate.

    Better choice - make it a runner, rebuild (not modify) what you have, THEN decide if you want to modify. It WILL be cheaper and easier.
     
  26. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,538

    73RR
    Member

    You need to verify what you 'think' you have...


    The cavalier is a rack & pinion assembly. Use the search button and you will find several threads on the subject, some with photos.

    .
     
  27. Woodwork is absolutely beautiful. HRP

    [​IMG]
     
  28. SMOG_GUY
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 388

    SMOG_GUY
    Member
    from Dinuba

    Completely off topic, I took the entire braking system rear end , too from my 1953 New Yorker and put the spindles and rear end under a 1941 Dodge pickup!
    These early " dual plane two wheel cylinder " brakes aren't everyone's cup of tea but get them adjusted correctly and these huge drums will haul down an old Dodge mopar BB pu.
    NOW I can lower my '53 AND put disc brakes on it without any self-doubt.
    That's called waste not want not.
    When you do your rear axle swap and lowered front spindles advertise those old parts ( throw in the m/c, too) to the Dodge PU guys. This stuff goes right on. The rear end is just a little narrower than the stock.
    Good Luck, Don
     

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