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New to the Mopar world. A few questions (yes I searched!)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by NAES, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 484


    Hey all, I recently scooped up a very original 53 Town & Country and am now in the process of digesting all that makes up this fine little machine.

    Disclaimers first. I'm a VW guy from the get go and this is my first real foray into the American Car world.

    The things got a Spitfire 6 with a knock and the Fluid Drive trans. With the anemic power and the proposition of the engine being toast, I'm considering a engine/trans transplant.

    In keeping with the Mopar theme I'd like to find something that'll pretty much drop in with minimal fabrication because I'd like to be able to undo what I've done in the future. I've done a lot of reading online the past few days and it appears that the 318 or 360 will pretty much drop right in backed by a 904 or 727. If this is the case then this'll be the route I go. Prices are doable and it looks like a pretty good bang for the buck.

    If anybody has some tips, links, ideas or more reading for me to do, please help me out.

    I'd like to make this journey a great one.

    Thanks, NAES
  2. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620


    First go over to the P-15/D24 forum:
    and look at the archives. Lots of hot-rodders and restorers both at that site - nice folks there.

    Basically the flathead (if you can get it working, often it's something simple) is better than you think torque-wise. That trans is weird but can work. If they are broken, you would need to *want* to run the old gear to fix them up, a modern swap makes sense to me.

    But if you go V8, there are lots of choices, but nothing drops right in due to the steering column and big steering box. There are disc brake swaps available up front, and a Explorer 8.8 is the right width and later years give you disc brakes too.
  3. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    Your Town & Country uses the same chassis as nearly all Mopars from the late 30 through about 56. Anything that pertains to the mid 40s cars will mostly transfer to you T & C, except your T & c may have a bit more room. That said, there is a lot of info here covering 46-48 Plymouths.

    You may also find useful info over at the street rod section at and I'm sure others will give you some other web sites. Gene
  4. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Actually, I have never done a v8 swap in that particular mopar, but I have done several in the previous generations body, and it's quite a bit narrower than yours. So the old method of installing a 318-360 offset about an inch and a half to the right should be a piece of cake. Go ahead and make those mounts permanent though, 'cause once you've driven this thing with modern power you won't want to go back. I had a clients '52 in my shop a couple of years ago, and one thing I did out of curiosity was to measure the front and determine what a good modern suspension would be for this car. I came up with a '78 - '87 A or G body GM product. Allot of people that know me will be shocked by that because I'm not usually too much for clips, but that would work well. I know you didn't ask about that, but it would be a major improvement. And believe me, once you drive your car a bit with new power, you will want it to handle better too. This stuff becomes addictive...

  5. fenian65
    Joined: Feb 5, 2009
    Posts: 136


    i put a 318 and 904 in my 52 coronet and the only fabricating was a tranny mount,bought motor mounts from sasche rod shop and offset 1 1/2 inch you may need driver side exhaust manifold from 70's dart to clear steering but it was simple to do
  6. Vandy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2009
    Posts: 368

    from L.A. Ca

    I drove a 56 Ply while I was in Hi School & loved it. 56 is the last year for the old style suspension but I never saw any need to change it, and now disc brake change overs for the front are easy as is the 95 & up Explorer disc rear. I am starting a restore on a 56 Ply and that's how I am doing it. I have some late Hemi's and will use a late 5 speed manual with a carburetor on the late Hemi. What ever you do just consider it permanent and think about Overdrive for a road car.
  7. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    X2 on the overdrive!
  8. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,372


    And use the rear sump set up from a Van or P.U.
  9. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 484


    Awesome! Thank you everyone for the tips and advice. I'm beginning to realize that I'm going to have to make some permanent choices here pretty soon and only want to improve what is there, not reinvent the wheel.

    I'm sold on the idea of the 318/360 being fantastic engines that have been overlooked so I'll most likely go that route. Fabbing or purchasing some engine mounts to help with clearace seems easy enough. 6-12v seems like a no brainer safety wise. It's all the finiky stuff that'll kill me I'm sure!

    As for the Explorer rear end. Is this something I should think about purchasing for the disc brake rear and the E-brake hookups? Again, it seems like a simple enough swap with minimal fabrication needed.

    Thanks all for the help, this is such a great crowd here.

  10. grimmfalcon138
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 164

    from az

    Go with a 727! the 904's take alot of cash to be as strong as the 727 is stock! A 727 with a shift kit and a good converter, your gold!
  11. buckeye_01
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,441


    Baloney! What do you need to do to make 904 as strong as a stock 727? Please explain, this could get interesting.

    Finding a small block 727 is not as cheap and easy as you may think. A stock 904 behind a 318 or 360 will hold up just fine. I raced roughly 3 seasons on the 904 I built, sold the car 6 years ago and its still going. Never had 1 problem with it. I've built many 904's over the years from stock to roller bearing trans brake monsters. The cost between a 904 and a 727 is all relative. Want to push your tubbed car with a spool though the staging lanes with your index finger? Open your wallet up!
  12. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,537


    A couple of thoughts on the 904 vs 727 issue...the 904 was simply not used in any heavy duty applications. It is considered a light duty trans. Can they be made to hold up? Sure. But, inherently, the 727 is stronger and is the reason they are/were used behind all B-RB and used in all truck packages.

    With all that said, I would be looking for a A518.

  13. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    How about skip both the 727 and 904 and go for A518 overdrive so you've got some actual usage in today's freeway conditions? Nothing worse than than driving your hot rod and not being able to keep up with Hondas and toyotas on the freeway. If I remember correctly, Isn't it late eighties and early nineties vans and pick ups that have the most adaptable of that transmission? Oh, also figure on a complete rewire on this beast as well.

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