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Features The 1955-1956 Plymouth and Dodge Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by MrBelvedere2, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Have a '55 Dodge Coronet. The speedometer/odometer doesn't work. Is there any kind of secret to removing the speedometer from the dash or does the entire dash have to be pulled?
     
  2. dang - RoyalBobber - your off to being a good horder in your country:eek: - stop the maddness.....:p

    Lawrence
     
  3. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    I'm still entertaining ideas for modernizing various parts of my '56 Plymouth without doing a complete front frame transplant.

    Disk brakes are not a problem, but has anyone considered replacing a stock manual steering box with a power box from a later Mopar? It appears that it would take extensive frame mods to get it mounted in the proper location.
     
  4. da dodge brother
    Joined: Apr 2, 2010
    Posts: 387

    da dodge brother
    Member
    from wisconsin

    Why don't you just locate a power uniy from a '55 or '56. I'm running a stock unit on my '55 and no problems. It would be a bolt in...
     
  5. ramrod36
    Joined: Mar 20, 2007
    Posts: 165

    ramrod36
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Gary---I am running a GM rack & pinion on my 55 Plymouth Suburban. I used the Fatman brackets to do so. The same setup was under my 41 Plymouth. Both work well. It is not a hard installation - uses the firewall mounted rack from a Cavalier. If you want to know more about this install, PM me.

    Larry



     
  6. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    There are a couple of reasons. First, there will be a lot of customizing and I want to replace the stock steering column, especially the integral shaft and worm gear. I also dislike the light, numb-feeling power steering that came stock on those years, and I'm concerned about the availability of repair parts.

    I haven't eliminated the idea of stock power steering, but it's not my favorite option.
     
  7. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    I've been sandblasting and painting the frame and rear end of my '56 Belvedere, and it looks much better than it did a few days ago.

    While I have everything out in the open, I'm trying to work the rear shock situation. The lower shock mounts on the new rear end are located inboard about 2" and down about 2" from the stock location, so I'll need a longer shock if I keep them in that location.

    The choices I have are to leave it the way it is and use longer shocks mounted at a slightly different angle. Or, I could relocate the upper mounts inward and downward to maintain the stock angle, resulting in a 4" narrower span and 2" lower center of gravity. Or...?

    I'm interested in hearing opinions.
     
  8. MrBelvedere2
    Joined: Jan 13, 2009
    Posts: 189

    MrBelvedere2
    Member
    from Davis, CA

    So what's your guys goals for 2012? I'm so close to getting mine running! Should be soon. I also go the imperial services kit (finally!) so I'm going to install that so I can use my pushbuttons. I also am looking for a 1957-1959 Dodge Truck torqueflite pushbutton assembly, as I am told by another 56 plymouth enthusiast, that it will fit with no modification and be able to access low gear. Anyone got one for sale?
     
  9. 49F1Jeff
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 184

    49F1Jeff
    Member
    from Oregon

    I found this in a yard in southern Oregon. PM me if you want parts and I'll get you a number to call them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    I'm at least a year from completion, probably more. I've been cleaning and painting detail parts, and polishing stainless trim whenever I have some time.

    I'm building a new house that won't be done until late this spring, so car hobbies are on the back burner. The new house will have a heated and cooled workshop, so it will be friendlier than the one I have now. Once I move in, the '56 restoration should pick up steam. I'd sure like to have it on the road for a few shows in late 2013.
     
  11. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    The time has arrived to make a decision about my ’56 Belvedere. The two choices were to either replace the stock front frame with a modern or aftermarket clip, or to rebuild the stock parts, with brake and suspension upgrades. I’ve decided to pursue the latter, so now I have some questions that I hope others might have already solved.
    I’ll be installing a later model small block (318 or 360) with an aluminum A727. The car originally had a manual transmission, so I have to remove the rear engine-mount cross member, and install a custom mount for the transmission. I have a truck cross member that should work, so I think I have that part covered.
    The front mounts will be the later style spool mounts which will require fabricating new towers to support them. I think I have that figured out, but would like to see what others have done with theirs.
    Here are some of the things that I don’t know, or am unsure of.
    1. I don’t have any of the original drivetrain, and I haven’t yet bought an engine, so I don’t know the fore and aft measurements for mounting the engine. I understand that transmission clearance in the hump is tight, so I certainly don’t want to mount the engine too far back, and with a small block, distributor clearance is also a consideration.
    2. Based on the firewall shape, the original engine location appears to be offset 1” to the passenger side. Is this required for the exhaust manifold to clear the steering box?
    3. The original 277 had a front sump oil pan, but I can’t find a later model pan that looks like it will clear the tie rods. Has anyone used a rear sump pan from a truck, or a front sump from a van? It would seem that the depth of a truck pan might cause road clearance problems, and since clearance in the trans hump area is already an issue, I don’t think I can raise the mounts.
    4. I plan on using Dakota rear-dump exhaust manifolds. Has anyone tried them? They appear to hug the block tighter than the car version.
    5. Does anyone know of a place that rebuilds manual steering boxes?
    6. I’m told that there might be clearance problems between the crank pulley and the front cross member. Has anyone experienced that? Since I won’t have power steering, I only need a two groove pulley, so maybe that won’t be an issue.
    7. Can anyone tell me the dimension from the rear face of the block to the centerline of the front motor mounts?
    8. To compensate for manual steering and to improve handling, I will be using aluminum heads, aluminum intake, aluminum radiator, lightweight starter and possibly moving the battery to the trunk. Any other suggestions?
    9. When I bought the later model 8-3/4, it came without any brake parts, so I’m considering converting to rear disks to go with the AAJ front conversion. Has anyone done that?
    10. How about shocks? Any late information or opinions about what’s available?
    <O:p</O:p
     
  12. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,519

    George
    Member

    Have you checked out www.forwardlook.net ? Haven't done a '56 Plym, but have done late 40s & a '60. on my '60 I went from a /6 & stick to a 331/727. I was able to modify the OEM tranny crossmember for use with the 727. Used 318 Poly upper engine mounts & made the lowers. 1 to 1 1/2" to pass side is typical for the engine. Typically you need a rear sump set up, van or pick up is right. I used KYB shocks KG 5511 & 4507. The rear shocks were direct bolt in on my '60, check your front shocks, my '60 had horizontal mounting tubes, might be different than yours. If yours also have the mount tubes, the mounting tubes need to be narrowed to fit yours, they're actually for later in the 60s cars that had wider lower shock mounts. If you use alloy heads you need to up the C/R one point to compensate for the greater heat conductivity of the alloy vs iron. On the 40s Mopars the drivers ex man off the boxy late 60s to mid 70s Dart/Valiants were needed to curl around the steering column, where the 56 had an A in it you should be able to find an ex man to fit if you use the 318, don't know on the 360. There are threads on putting newer engines in cars @ the forward look site.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  13. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    George, thanks for all the info.

    Yes, I visit the forward look website every day, but I've learned not to discuss major modifications on that forum. Some folks are very offended when you deviate from stock, and I understand since that site is dedicated to preservation, not hotrodding or customizing.
     
  14. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,519

    George
    Member

    The subsection "The exhaust pipe-modification &___" is for us hot rodders & customizers. There a Thread in there on putting a Hemi in a 56 Plym, for instance.
     
  15. SteppinOut
    Joined: Jul 19, 2008
    Posts: 542

    SteppinOut
    Member

    Just saw this link on another thread and went to site. Some great stuff for our beloved mopars. Never used it but looks promising.
    Hey Gary S. Check out the engine install kits for mopar small blocks,
    http://www.butchscoolstuff.com/index.htm
     
  16. sickboy713
    Joined: Sep 9, 2007
    Posts: 263

    sickboy713
    Member
    from oildale

    what do you guys use for headers when putting a 440 in a 56 plymouth? what about a small block 360? thanks
     
  17. Found another pic of it ... this one with lancer hubcaps ... and without any people "in the way" ...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    Very interesting products. I wonder if the front mounts are designed to use the existing pads on the '56? A '55 would need the welded-in mounting pads, but the '56 is unique.
     
  19. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,708

    73RR
    Member

    Have you looked over at the p15 site? Although this link is to a 1950 swap it might help with some of the basic questions.
    http://www430.pair.com/p15d24/mopar_forum/showthread.php?t=28578

    And of course, a project thread with photos would be good;)

    .
     
  20. 56 Royal Lancer
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 395

    56 Royal Lancer
    Member

    I bought a set of Hedman headers from JEGS for my 440-'56 Dodge project. Fabbed my own mounts & offset the engine a bit to the right. Headers fit like a charm. (Stock frame/suspension & manual steering box). I am taking lots of pics of the swap but am having download issues with my camera. BTW: the 440 & 727 fit fine, with no alterations to the heater box or trans tunnel. Real close to radiator, will have to run electric fan in front & a remote oil filter, but that's no biggie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  21. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    Thanks for the link! Lots of good info that I can use since the frame design is similar to the '56.

    I'm taking lots of photos. I have everything torn down, and now I'm cleaning, polishing and gathering new parts as time and money allows.

    When we get moved into our new house, I can start sheetmetal repairs and building up the rolling frame, so I won't really have much to show until then.
     
  22. Elvis169
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Elvis169
    Member

    Hi All, i am trying to strip my 1955 Dodge kingsway 4dr sedan, i am struggling to find out how to take the door cards off. i cant seem to find out how to take the window winders and door opener off, can anyone help please?

    Thanks
     
  23. It's a funny thing how these '55.and '56 Dodge and Plymouth cars have transformed into so much better looking cars than when they were new. I never liked that side trim, but whish I had bought a bunch of these cars when I was about 20 and these cars could be bought for about 3 hundred bucks. That ford roof sure looks good . That is a good looking car. Not a lot of them in Canada.
     
  24. Studebakester
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 264

    Studebakester
    Member
    from Oxnard, CA

    I have a Chrysler and a DeSoto. 55 & 56. They have a weird spring type clip that holds the handles on. Chrysler had a special unobtanium tool for removing them which I don't have. I did manage to get mine off eventually. I'm trying to remember how I did it. I have a Chrysler shop manual that shows it. I will try to look it up for you later today and hopefull scan it and post it. My scanner has been acting up so I'm not sure I can. May have to take a picture of it. Whatever, I'll try to post it as soon as I can.
     
  25. GaryS
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 90

    GaryS
    Member

    Someone still carries the tool, but I forget where I recently saw it. I've always removed them with a flat screwdriver.
     
  26. Studebakester
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 264

    Studebakester
    Member
    from Oxnard, CA

    Yeah, I think I got mine off with a scredriver also. The trick is to figure out which side to push against to relieve the tension of the spring clip.
    I can't find my shop manual right now, so I can't post a pic. Maybe someone else on here has one.
    OK, I found a pic of the old KD tool for this job. I hope it loads.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  27. Jack Gifford
    Joined: Jan 24, 2012
    Posts: 15

    Jack Gifford
    Member
    from Phelps, NY

    I just discovered this thread, and will need to come back and read it all.

    For now- anybody got a decent domelamp lens that will fit my '55 Belvedere four-door? I've been looking for a few years.

    Trivia that you probably already know: 'Belvedere' in Italian means 'beautiful view' (according to an old Plymouth ad).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  28. Elvis169
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Elvis169
    Member

    Thanks for the help. will try it when i get home tonight.
     
  29. MoparFinman
    Joined: Feb 6, 2011
    Posts: 363

    MoparFinman
    Member
    from Okla

    I was getting ready to order the dropped spindles for my 56 dodge from Fat mans and wondered if anyone has used them and how the car handled?? I have heard differnt guys talk about them; but wondered if it was a good way to go. The stock suspention is good on these cars and no reason to subframe them.

    also to GaryS my 56 Dodge has a 270 in it. Its 26 3/8 wide, 23 9/32 long ( from rear surface to front of fan its 30 21/32), from top of carb. to bottom of oil pan its 31 1/2 tall. it has starter left side and oil sump at front of pan. the 318 to 360 mopar is 20 1/2 wide, 29 1/2 long and 28 tall. left side starter, front oil sump. From distrubutor to front of fan its 23 1/2 . I think that the 277 looks bigger than my 270. (Not Sure). There should be no problem putting the motor in your plymouth.
    Good Luck. "Mopar or no Car"
     
  30. Sperduton
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 69

    Sperduton
    Member
    from NJ

    2. I don't recall if the original was off set, I had a 6 cyl and was going to go to an la 318, but went to a 277 instead and now in the midst of going to a poly 318. A buddy is building one with a 360 and a 6 speed trans and another buddy is building one with a early hemi. But I'm in the process of offsetting my poly engine so that the starter will clear the steering box, but I'm running power steering, that box is bigger.

    3. When I was fitting the LA engine, it needed what's called (I think) a center sump. It was needed so that it would clear the steering linkage

    6. YEs, I had pulley issues with the LA and my buddy did also, he went from the stock 7 inch wide pulley to an aftermarket alum 5 inch pulley and a high flow water pump. I'll see if he can log on here and answer better.

    8. I've found on my car, the newer mini starter is actually wider and sits closer to my power steering box than the stock 70's style chrysler starter.
     

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