By on November 29, 2012

Since my brain threw a code and made me buy the 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Junkyard Find yesterday, I need to choose a suitable modern engine and transmission combo for the thing. I’ve hired a rocket scientist and weirdo hot-rodder (the lunatic who built the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-engined Renault 4CV) to execute a chassis modernization program on the old Mopar, and I need to make my drivetrain choice ASAP. Suggestions?
Much as I’d like to go with a 2,500-horse Chrysler IV-2220 engine for this project, I need to stay on a fairly strict budget, say $2500 for engine and transmission. Most likely I’ll buy a complete donor car and truck, grab the engine, transmission, driveshaft, computers, and any other goodies needed for the swap, then sell everything I can on eBay and feed the rest to The Crusher at $250/ton. It would be (slightly) nice to stay within marque and go with a Chrysler engine, but I also like the idea of enraging the purists— you know, the guys who have those creepy Time Out Kid dolls leaning on their numbers-matching Road Runners at car shows. So, before everyone starts yelling about how I should get a 440 and Torqueflite 727, problem solved, let’s go over some of my requirements and preferences for this swap:

1. This car must have a manual transmission. Sure, I’m going to drive it on the street and take it to the drag strip, but this car is going to be set up for road racing and taken to track days at my local track. You don’t need a manual transmission for that, and I’m not a sufficiently fast driver to get the extra couple of seconds per lap a manual transmission might give you, but you’ll have a lot more fun with a stick. Long-term, I plan to enter it at Pikes Peak and, if I get really crazy, the Carrera Panamericana. I’m willing to contemplate the idea of swap bellhousings, weird adapters, and the like, but the easiest solution is to get an engine/transmission combination that came together from the factory.

2. The engine must fit a narrow prewar engine compartment. There’s not enough room under the ’41 Plymouth’s hood for a typical 90-degree overhead-cam V6 or V8 engine to fit without fabrication hassles beyond what I am willing to contemplate. That means the excellent Ford Modular V8 is out, which eliminates the tempting Lincoln Mark VIII DOHC engine/Tremec 3550 transmission idea. The fairly narrow Toyota UZ engine might fit (barely), but bolting a manual transmission to one— as done by many drifters already— requires the application of cubic dollars. The BMW S62 V8 is also fairly compact, and manual transmissions are readily available in crashed E39s, but the computer nightmares with these engines are legendary to put it mildly. The most likely candidates at this point are Detroit pushrod V8s and screaming Japanese or German L6s, though the idea of a hopped-up GMC 292 L6 lurks at the edges of this discussion.

3. The engine must have potential for non-insanely-expensive bolt-on power upgrades later on. This could mean that the engine has a vast aftermarket of quasi-affordable performance add-ons (e.g., turbocharger/supercharger kits, better heads, stronger rods, and so on), or it could mean that related engines can be swapped in without cutting anything. I don’t plan to go above 400 horsepower or pound-feet (the point at which the differential I’ll be using— that’s a secret to be revealed later— becomes the weak link), and 250 horses will be fine to start with.

4. The engine must have electronic fuel injection. Even though I’ve been on this planet as long as my ’41 Plymouth has been sitting in a Colorado field, I don’t subscribe to the curmudgeonly view that carburetors are good. That means the best engine candidates come from vehicles built in the early 1990s or later. If absolutely necessary, I’m willing to apply Megasquirt to an engine, but my very strong preference is to use all the factory computers, sensors, wiring, everything. Buying a complete donor vehicle makes the most sense for this approach, which means that I need to take into account the resale value of the donor vehicle’s leftover parts.

5. No Hemis. No LS engines. The going rate for an LS with T-56 or TR-6060 transmission, yanked from a GTO, CTS-V, or Corvette, is $5000-$8000 and up. Way up. You can get early 5.7 Hemi engines out of Dodge Rams for much cheaper, but they came with slushboxes exclusively and you’ll spend your louie in a hurry getting a sufficiently beefy manual transmission attached to one.

6. I really want an overdrive transmission. I’m going to be running a fairly wild (4:1 or shorter) differential gear and I plan to take this car on highway road trips, which means screaming along at four grand at 60 MPH isn’t going to cut it. Thus, no 833, Muncie, or Toploader 4-speeds. No, I don’t want an overdrive 833 4-speed.

At this point, my top choice is the Chrysler Magnum 5.9 (aka 360) engine, descendent of the venerable LA family of small-block V8s and available in Dodge Ram 1500s and 2500s with the NV3500 5-speed manual transmission. The 360 is a great engine, it’s within marque for the Plymouth, and performance parts are cheap. The problem here is that it is virtually impossible to find a two-wheel-drive Dodge truck with a manual transmission (I’ve been beating my face against an online-search brick wall for weeks, and that’s with a willingness to bring a donor vehicle back to Denver from two-wheel-drive places like Omaha or Lubbock). NV3500s are commonplace in junked V6 Dakotas, so I could do the wrecked Ram Van + junkyard transmission + 360 flywheel + ECM from a manual-equipped 5.9 truck equation, but that’s a lot of hassle for a truck transmission that starts to get explode-y at 350 ft-lbs.

My second choice, but gaining ground in a hurry, is a GM LT V8 engine with Borg-Warner T-56 transmission. In other words, buy some hooptied-out-but-strong-running fourth-gen Camaro Z28 or Firebird Formula for $2500. This gets me a 275-horsepower motor with near-limitless hop-up capacity plus a very nice road-race transmission that can handle big power… but it also means I’ll be the 900,000,000th person to drop a small-block Chevy into this kind of project car, plus there’s the whole Optispark ignition headache. In terms of bang-per-buck, you just can’t beat this setup, and the logic of using it is the same one used by hot-rodders in 1948 who put flathead Ford V8s in everything, but I’d prefer to be a little oddball here.

I’m just beginning to research the idea of a Vortec 5300, 5700, or 6000 V8 with manual transmission, a combination theoretically— though probably not in practice— available in 2WD Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra trucks. The Vortec makes great power, but the manual-transmission options appear to be the pure-truck, granny-gear-equipped NV4500 and ZF-S6-650 and some 5-speed that I’m guessing is either the NV3500 or the even more fragile T-5. Anybody who knows more on this subject, or even anyone who has seen a two-wheel-drive/manual-trans/V8 Silverado on the street, please share your info with us in the comments.

The real wild card here is the idea of buying a bashed BMW 540i with factory 6-speed and facing the horror of turn-of-the-century BMW computers. You can find these cars in ugly-but-running condition for two or three grand, the engine is much lighter than Detroit iron-block V8s, the Getrag 6-speed is a joy, and I know the 282-horse M62 V8 engine will fit in a BMW E30 (there are two of them racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons and, yes, I hammer them with penalty laps despite being butt slow due to handling problems) and thus is quite narrow. On the downside, there is no cheap way to add power to this engine, and the hassles involved with making BMW computers behave are so severe that anecdotes about them are not mingled with ordinary stories of problems with automotive electronics.

What else? Turbo Buick V6 with absurd boost and hope-it-lives T-5 transmission? Big L6 out of a Detroit truck, equipped with centrifugal supercharger? Mercedes-Benz M104 six? Something I haven’t thought of? Rack your brains!

So, here we go! I will be reading your comments and advice closely as I prepare for a new round of donor-vehicle shopping. Mujahideen of the Mopar Jihad (I picture you driving your Oerlikon-equipped Ramchargers through the Khyber Pass while sneering at those fools in their weak-ass Toyota Hiluxes), feel free to inform me of the hair-raisingness of the fatwas to be issued on me by your warlords, should I choose to run a GM engine in a Plymouth.

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161 Comments on “Question: What Engine/Transmission Swap Belongs In the ’41 Plymouth?...”


  • avatar
    86er

    The 360 is a good choice, and fits into your 3rd criteria.

    • 0 avatar
      Lawyer Applegate

      Oh god – there’s a nearly infinite number of weird things you could do here!

      1. Pull the motor out of a wrecked Dodge Caliber SRT-4. , which made 285 hp STOCK and can easily and reliably push close to 400 hp all day long, weighs hundreds of pounds less than a 360, preserves provenance, and serves as tribute to 70 years of hi-po MOPAR motors. While you’re at it, swap out the rear end for the 6-speed transaxle and fab up a driveshaft/torque tube,

      2. Put in a built Slant Six and add a turbo when it gets stale.

      3. Put in a fuelie straight-six from a Jeep – lots of performance mods available.

      4. Diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin

        I really like the SRT engine idea!

        I’d also consider the old slant six. Performance parts should be plentiful, and getting one with a stick shouldn’t be a problem.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I love your passion for project cars, but you’ve simply drawn the lines for your engine/tranny swap so narrowly that all the good stuff has been excluded. No hemi? This will be the equivalent of seeing the ’32 roadster with Chevy-crate engines – why bother?

    • 0 avatar

      If someone can find me a way to get a Hemi and manual transmission that fits my budget, I’ll do it.

      I disagree that this car with a Chevy engine will be like all the others. How many fat-fendered Chryslers do you see on a road course these days?

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        I have a big soft spot for the smooth running straight 6 and almost any straight six would be my vote getter I would favor a flathead in a car as old as this but that M Benz 104 series has a lot going for it…. Tuners got it up over 300 hp so it would provide the needed performance the 90s vintage electronics… Well super clean every contact eliminate splices and unneeded circuits use modern high quality connectors and large copper heat sinks and I bet a lot of those problems will cease to be a factor…. The same can be said of the BMW straight 6s as well

        I do not have any knowledge of what can be done with the immortal slant 6 but if fun things can be done to it it would I think be my top USA built engine.

        What ever you go with I do hope you super document on line the whole process so that your fans can kibitz

        What do you plan to do with the dashboard and the rest of the interior?

        Cheers
        Windy

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I have no idea if it would work on a very old Plymouth, but HD Ram 5.7Ls used to come with a manual transmission.

        In 2003 it was a 5-speed, those go for around $1000. The later 6-speeds are closer to $2000.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s going to be fully caged, so I’m just going to gut the interior and install a pair of race seats and harnesses. I’ll keep the 1941 instrument cluster and make it work with modern guts.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “It’s going to be fully caged, so I’m just going to gut
        the interior…”

        Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

        (I’m still excited about this project no matter what you do to it!)

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @Zackman

        Aside from the dash, the interior’s already pretty much gutted at this point. Granted, the chair height bench seats in these things are pretty comfy, but the ones in this are just down to the rusty metal frames.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        Ms. Martin;

        The Ram Heavy-Duty 2500/3500 trucks with the early Hemis were available with manual transmissions.

        The 2008 Model Ram 1500 came with a ~300hp 4.7L V8 and a 6-speed trans that would bolt up to and work with a similarly-rated earlier Hemi should you need to yank a trans from one truck and an engine from another truck (or LX car).

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        Not sure if it’s an oddball idea or just plain wrong, but have you thought about hooking up one of the digital dashboards in your collection to this beast? Perhaps preserve the original instrument cluster on the driver’s side of the dash and put in the Subaru or Mitsu cluster with a glove compartment mount for passenger-centric redundant gauges? (Just in case you wanted to run a time/speed/distance rally or a road course with a co-driver.)

  • avatar
    sean362880

    Chevy LL8 I6?

    I don’t know anything about engine swaps, but it’s fairly modern and it’s got to be narrower than a V8.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      I was thinking the same thing, but the Atlas straight 6’s only came with an automatic in the GMT360’s; The 5 cyl versions in the Colorado etc could be had with a manual I think, but no idea whether it’d bolt up, take the torque etc

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        As far as I know (just looking at then and doing some maintenance in the past) the 4.2 I6 is just an 3.5 I5 with an extra hole. So in theory, the 5 speed manual found in the Colorado/Canyon should bolt up.

        Definitely worth researching.

      • 0 avatar
        sean362880

        Ebay’s got a low mileage junkyard LL8 for $1750, and the manual transmission from an LLR Hummer H3 for $750.

        This leaves a generous $0 for incidental expenses.

      • 0 avatar

        I believe it uses the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the contemporary V8 motors, so anything will bolt to it. You’d need to get a 3.5l or 2.8l flywheel/clutch set up, and research whether its neutral balanced or not. Hell, just find a beat on Colorado with the 4cyl and the 5 speed and swap that in, its already got 175hp.

    • 0 avatar

      Huh, didn’t even think about the LL8. Seems to have potential, if I can sort out how to convince the ECU not to freak out too much with a manual transmission attached.

      • 0 avatar
        357

        Do it. The engine, engine harness, and ECU are one unit (the ECU is bolted to the intake manifold), which ought to make the swap very straightforward. Ideally you want one out of an ’06 or later truck for the extra power. ECU hardware seems to be the same across all of the Atlas engines, so you might be able to sweet-talk a GM dealer into reprogramming one from a 4.2 to the manual transmission option (assuming auto vs manual is a calibratable option in the service tool). Probably can’t just buy an ECM from a manual 3.5/3.7 though, since it’d be looking for 5 cylinders.

  • avatar
    theshiftpattern

    Do it up Cuban-style and put a diesel engine in it! Mercedes-Benz 3-liter 5-cylinder turbodiesel perhaps? Will fit great in that narrow engine bay, a 240D manual trans will bolt right up too.

    • 0 avatar
      rrsquid

      I was thinking along the same lines. Cummins 4BT, the 4 cylinder version of the Cummins in Ram trucks. Easy to find in a junked delivery van. Turbo, propane, etc. are possible upgrades or even going to the 6BT if found at a good price.

  • avatar

    Nissan VQ?

  • avatar
    rwb

    2JZ, the obvious choice.

    Alternately, Detroit Diesel Series 71. Longest one that fits.

    EDIT: Missed the budgetary requirements. Can we assume you’ve won Powerball for this exercise?

  • avatar
    akierstein

    7MGTE + W58?

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    It’s your car and your project, so I’ve got no right to force any of my views on the subject, but that said, IF I was to build something like this, I’d at least keep the options open as far as other straight sixes.

    A Slant Six can be woken up pretty easily, and it would be hard to argue with the shear durability. The AMC straight six was also offered with manuals, is equally bulletproof, and there are tons of them around in junkyards for cheap. The 4.0 is going to be pretty modern and nice increase in power over the stock flathead, it would also keep the car within Chrysler’s extended family tree.

    If you wanted to get real crazy, junked Jaguars aren’t hard to find and you could always grab one of their I6s, although a manual is going to be tough, and a J-gated automatic would just be out of place in the old Plymouth. Also, the reliability on that lump would probably be the main reason the car was junked in the first place, so it might defeat the purpose.

    Those old flatheads are nothing to sneeze at either though, good old fashioned, low tech durability. Definately more than a little sluggish for modern traffic though.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah 225 slant would be the way to go, but probably requires more working over than M&M’s looking to put in. AMC 4-litre it is, unless someone gives him a stovebolt 302 for Christmas.

      Hmmm, how many of the Jeeps ever had the 4-litre in a 2wd setup?

      • 0 avatar
        Nate

        Many, many thousands of Cherokees had a 4.0 and 2WD. You can even find them mated to the equally bullet proof AX-15 5 speed manual transmission. Not sure how that would handle the amount of torque required for this project though. Also, it might be costly to extract the kind of power MM needs out of the 4 litre. For reference:

        http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge/ax15.htm

    • 0 avatar
      millmech

      Some years ago there was a story, maybe by Dick O’Kane?, about a foreign car mechanic out west who drove a pickup truck. He came up with a Jaguar 6 with the Moss gearbox. The engine was tired in the truck, so he put the Jaguar engine & transmission in it. Story said that the engine was easy to tune for torque or high-end power. It was also mentioned that the Moss gearbox shifted pretty OK, with a few extra feet of gearshift welded on.
      Story went on to say that the engine was not so prone to leaks when surrounded by air to cool it. That also made it much more easy to service.
      Story said that the only problem he had was when he was at a gas station with the hood [bonnet?] up and an Englishman saw the Jaguar engine in it, took offense & started beating him with his umbrella.
      So- there’s my recommendation- old-time Jaguar 6 with SUs.
      To keep it in a context, Powell made pickup trucks out of 41 Plymouth frames.
      Jaguar front subframes and the modular IRS are also popular with swap people.
      Solution- obtain junk Jaguar, use engine & manual transmission, along with the front and rear suspensions.
      If you must- later Jaguar 6s had fuel injection.

      • 0 avatar
        USAFMech

        Murilee, I haven’t hit on you since the Jalopnik days, you sexy minx. I have a 95 Jaguar XJ-6 that you can have for nearly nothing. The engine needs rebuilt (oil leak-down from rings, seals, general Englishness?), but the car is complete and you could drive it the 1 hour from my house to your home (or cross-country). I believe that Jaguar was using GM transmissions (TH400, sayeth the Intertubes), so your transmission options are near limitless. It’ll make good power and pass the standing nickel test.

        The rear-end is also a sub-frame, so you could just bolt it up to your chassis for IRS. Funny enough, the mechanical bits are not the expensive parts of the Jag. The expense is the leather, wood, and gremlin-chasing.

        You’ll need an Ancestry.com subscription to figure out the degrees of seperation Sir Lyons and Walter P.

    • 0 avatar
      skitter

      Actually, regarding the Jaguar suggestion, the Getrag 260 and 265 also used in the junkyard regular BMW 5-series should bolt right up. I was going to suggest an E30 or E28 drivetrain swap, but a Jagvarian Plymouth hits even sweeter notes.

  • avatar
    stickman

    Random thoughts:

    1) The Jeep 4.0 inline 6 can be had with all sorts of transmissions and performance improvements.

    2) One those MBZ diesel 5cyl/6cyl might be nice. Not sure about the transmissions available but I’m sure you could find an injected one.

    3) A Cummins 6cyl. I think some variants had a manual available.

    4) Will that 4.7L PowerTech V8 fit?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      What does a Cummins 6 weigh? I’m guessing that it might be excessively heavy.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        Ooooh a Cummins, nice idea, but I doubt you’d find one for the sort of money he wants to spend. Round where I live, prices of high mileage beaters with a Cummins engine tend to plateau around $3-4k and rarely sink below that.

      • 0 avatar
        stickman

        It’ll definitely be heavy. My Googling says 600 to 700# vs 400 to 500# for a flathead vs. 500 to 600# for something like the 360 V8. But that car has some heft to it (before it’s stripped anyway) and although I can’t quite tell what the front end looks like, perhaps some of that weight can be placed behind the front axle. Murilee says his limit is 400hp/400ft*lb so the trick is to keep under the limits of his weakest link.

    • 0 avatar
      markholli

      Of course the solution is a Cummins Turbo, because why would you want to put anything else in? Man, would it be a mean sumbitch!

      Yes, there is a manual transmission that mates to the Cummins, my friend had one a long time ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike

      Another vote for the Cummins I-6 diesel kinda like this…

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    How about the GM Atlas family? LL8, L52, LLR etc. Inline 6s and 5s.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    B18C.

    Or, if you must go Mopar, the Neon SRT-4/PT Cruiser GT 2.4L turbo.

  • avatar

    I think a Volvo B230ET would do nicely. Compact, turbocharged, robust. You could even fit it with the superior Saab APC system if you wanted. It would sure have oddball value.

  • avatar

    …”if I get really crazy, the Carrera Panamericana.”

    What is this “if” you speak of? I’ll happily navigate, just let me know.

  • avatar

    I believe the 4.2 GM Atlas six in the Trailblazer will bolt up to the Aisan 5 Speed that came in the Colorado & Hummer behind the 5cyl version. But having one of the few stick shift Colorado trucks, good luck finding a donor.

    I suggested the Jeep 4.0, which is easy to find with a stick, but its too trucky.

    So, now I’d go to the Ford 300, which from the mid 90s came in the F150 with FI (a cool dual throat throttle body, like a Webber or Del Orto) and were backed by the same Mazda 5 speed that came in the Thunderbird Supercoupe

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    There’s a a mostly together and solid 38′ Plymouth in the barn behind my house. Not mine, but I’ve looked it over well enough. Always thought how cool it would be to put a diesel in a car like that; such as the 2.8L VM Motori in my Liberty CRD, or a Izuzu drivetrain out of a box truck. Pretty sure that wouldn’t fit your racing and track criteria, but would make a hell of a daily driver.

    Within your wants and needs, can’t go wrong with a Mopar small block. How about a later model AMC-6 out of a Jeep. Plenty of them had factory manual transmissions (2wd in Cherokees) and the later ones were near 200hp stock.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I would go with the Yamaha V8 aka the Volvo B8444S. It is especially designed to be narrow. It was in the Volvo XC90 and the Noble M600.

  • avatar

    The dilemma facing me here is much like that faced by hot-rodders in, say, 1953. Do you buy the cheap, easy, and well-understood flathead V8, or do you spend the big cash for a Cadillac or Olds OHV V8? Much like my choice between a pushrod LT or Magnum versus a Hemi or LS.

    The manual transmission requirement is the real hurdle here. I won’t compromise on that.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    How about the Chrysler Pentastar? A wrecked Jeep would probably be your only option for finding a manual and performance parts are likely less than plentiful (for now) but it would be an interesting choice if you could find one.

    If I weren’t so opposed to mixing engine and chassis brands I would suggest a Toyota 2JZ of some variety; it would make for a very cool combo if you can wrap your head around the idea of an ancient American truck paired with an import racer’s dream engine.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    One random thought: what are you going to do for the driveshaft? Were these things torque-tubed?

    • 0 avatar

      It will have an IRS and diff out of a modern car. Ain’t saying which one yet. All the 1941 suspension and axle stuff is going away.

      • 0 avatar
        Creature of the Wheel

        Ditch the IRS and spend the savings on the engine. Your lap times will respond better to the increased power.

        Back when I worked in that world, you could buy rebuilt but mileaged-out Cup components on the cheap straight from the NASCAR teams – engines, transmissions, driveshafts, axles, brakes, uprights, etc. I’m pretty sure they still sell the stuff, but since the word has gotten out, the prices may not be such a deal. If the price is right, a 4-speed would be fine coupled to an engine with a broad power band. It would certainly be more durable on track than any street transmission.

        EDIT: Never mind. Either my memory has completely gone to hell or I used to get a MUCH better deal than they currently offer on used parts.

      • 0 avatar

        Hmmm… Pratt & Miller still owes me a racy small-block, from the time we claimed their cheaty engine at a LeMons race in 2009.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Smells like you scored the rear end from a Catera, CTS or STS…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You claimed the Pratt and Miller cheater motor at Detroit fall 2010. I remember.

        Our car was in the top 10 (maybe top 5) lap times and that 3rd Gen F-body was conservatively driven 4 seconds faster around the track.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Indulge us and do the LL8+MT so you can tell us how it’s done. Several people have done this, but there has never been concise and thorough documentation on it. They sound righteous, and are especially cool with a hairdryer bolted to the side.

    Alternatively, I would say:

    -SOHC Nissan VG turbo with a lot of mods. They are super easy to work on and cheap to modify.

    -Cummins 4BT diesel.

    -Ford modular V8 would be nice, but perhaps too wide.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    I’d say a 5.9L Magnum and an NV3500 is the way to go. Recycle the ‘beer-barrel’ intake and replace it with a single-plane Edelbrock (with bosses for the injectors and fuel rail). The stock ECU from an “automatic” Dakota R/T 5.9L will work – just ground the Park/Neutral pin (#30?), and it’ll think you’re in drive, delivering spark and fuel just as W.P. Chrysler intended. Buy a wrecked/rusted Dakota R/T, yank the motor and wiring, and sell the rest on eBay to Mopar geeks who must have the proper date-coded washer bottle to complete their concours restoration of said vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      Really, you can fool the ECU by just grounding a single pin when in gear? Will this work on all 5.2/5.9 ECUs, or do I need a Dakota R/T unit?

      • 0 avatar

        It’s maddening trying to get this kind of information about engine-control electronics online; either the forum guys see that stuff as scary voodoo to be avoided at all costs, or they’re tuner idiots who think that they’re L33T hackerz. This is why I’m turning to the TTAC readership for such answers.

      • 0 avatar
        CopperCountry

        Absolutely it will work – I have a friend who did this just a few weeks ago on a ’90 Dakota 2.5L manual. He couldn’t fine the same ECU at the U-Pull, so he yanked one out of a ’91 2.5L Dodge Spirit (3-spd auto). Works great. The only benefit of the R/T unit is that fuel & spark are calibrated for the hotter cam, whereas the std. 5.2/5.9 unit would need to be reflashed.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        I don’t see why you couldn’t… if you have the wiring diagrams and the knowledge.

        $80 at factoryautomanuals will let you in to part of that Kung Fu.

        I think you may be able to pull the trick with a 90’s F-150 too. I can’t recall the details of the wiring going down to the E4OD (it’s been 10 years since I’ve touched a Ford manual or car), but I recall a big maze going to the solenoid body and a small connector to a sensor near the selector, that one tells the ECU whether it’s on PRND21.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    This one’s easy baby! Swap in the Avco Lycoming AGT-1500 1,500HP/2,500 torques, gas turbine engine coupled to the Allison X1100-3B Cross-Drive Transmission; 4 speed forward, 2 speed reverse, with pivot and neutral selections! I can get you both at the LOW, LOW price of $650,000, shipped to your house after you pass a security check.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Keeping with the BMW theme, how about an M30 inline six? Cheap and easy to get, absolutely bulletproof both mechanically and electronically, and easily available with a great 5spd. ~180hp stock, but they can be hoped up reasonably easily too. European trim was 218hp.

    I’m assuming that a ’41 Plymouth is actually pretty light by modern standards, no? 3000lbs?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I really like the Magnum FI small block idea. Cheap and swappable with lots of power. I think it’s a great default choice.

    I myself have begun working on an LT1 swap into a ’63 Thunderbird. The optispark really isnt a headache at all, just keep the water pump from pissing on it and it’ll be trouble free.

    The swap should be fairly straight forward save for a front sump pan modification (which the Gen 2 SBC never had). But luckly the SBC aftermarket comes to the rescue and someone offers just such a kit complete with custom pan, pickup, different oil pump, dipstick delete etc. for under $300.

    If you see yourself getting out of project car hell mode with this thing in the very near future and onto road course racer/street terror hell, the SBC based swap will be your way to go IMO.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    Oh, and for use on the street/cruising scene, you’ll need a pair of round, rimmed glasses and a Stetson hat (to pull off the Harry S Truman look). Battleship gray paint would help as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Did Truman drive a Plymouth? I thought he had a Packard while he was president.

      • 0 avatar
        CopperCountry

        Actually, it was a ’41 Chrysler Windsor … but wasn’t the Windsor just a badge-engineered Dodge anyway? Proclaim your car to be the exact same model that HST and Bessie drove … the only people who’ll challenge your claim have their cars parked on the grass at shows & swap meets. And they’re too busy adjusting their carefully-placed mirrors on the grass (so you can see the authentically-replicated chalk marks on the lower control arms) to notice anyway.

  • avatar
    rawtoast

    I like the Nissan VQ Idea. Nissan puts them in everything so they’re cheap. They come with manuals in everything from Altimas and Maximas to 350/370Zs and Infinitis. And they make close to or above 300 HP depending on what vintage you get and they are crazy reliable.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20121026/carnews/121029892
    these dude at AM has a just as formidable task of shoe horning a vee12 into this pint size toy car or tender boat.

  • avatar
    groovetini

    I’m all about absurd swaps. I say go with a Nissan RB25/RB26, or a 1JZ/2JZ. Hearing a nice big turbo under the hood of that Plymouth would be just amazing. Plus both are available with 6 speeds, and have been put in absurd chassis before. You should be able to throw either one in pretty easily, and at least it would be interesting.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    Volvo B230FT + m46 (4sp + OD). You could always just get an N/A B230, and then +T it later.

    Or get an Amazon drivetrain, and get that nice long cement-mixer shift lever.

  • avatar
    George B

    Murilee, how about a starting with a wrecked mid-90s Ford F-250 5.8L/5 speed manual work truck as a donor vehicle and building up a 351 Windsor? If I remember that engine is fairly compact for it’s displacement. Not as common as the Chevy route, but you might be able to come up with some combination of truck parts for torque rating and Mustang aftermarket for higher horsepower.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    Is rebuilding original drivetrain out of the question? I’d probably do that before making yet another hot rod. How many of these Plymouths are original nowadays?

    • 0 avatar

      This won’t be a hot rod in the sense that it will show up at cruise nights with a drive-in tray full of plastic food. It’s going to be set up as a road racer, and it is going to get around a road course like a modern sporty sedan.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    1.8T!!!!

    The Audi A4 always had longitudinal-mounted engines. Late 90s/Early 2000s examples with the manual transmission and Quattro (!) are in your general price range. Plenty of them around, and tons of aftermarket potential.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The obvious choice is the (early) 5.0 commonly found backed by a 5sp and tons of parts to hop it up. Suitable Mustangs should be cheap enough and a number of the parts should be easy to sell getting your cost down low enough to either get it on the road quicker or hop it up sooner. It is narrow as far as OHV V8s go.

    A BMW 6 wouldn’t be a bad option either, definitely narrow enough and finding one already bolted to a MT isn’t going to be hard to do. Plus the little bits should command premium prices on E-bay. I’d run it with a MegaSquirt for sure, much easier to deal with especially when you start upping the power.

    Bang for the buck for as low a mile as possible, powerful donor it’s going to be hard to beat a 6.0 Chevy.

  • avatar

    What about an GM Atlas DOHC L-6? nearly 300hp and torque, get a manual from a L4 or L5 S-truck (Colorado/Canyon) and bam an oddball swap!

    It might be too tall for the engine bay though.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Mercedes-Benz 60 degree, 6.0 liter V12, powering a ZF 6-speed manual gearbox out of a 1988-96 Chevrolet Corvette.

    389 horsepower for $2000 on car-part.com out of an S600.

  • avatar
    nikita

    300ci (5.9L) Ford I-6/M5OD, some speed parts are made for it. There should be some ’80s/’90s rusted out F-series awaiting the crusher.

  • avatar
    sportsuburbangt

    I would go with a 360 magnum from a truck, van, 98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, or Dakota/Durango R/T and the 6 speed trans from a wrecked Viper or Ram SRT10. You might be over your budget with this combo but you will have 2 overdrives. The trans will bolt right up, the Mopar V10 was based on the Mopar LA block (273-360)

    Another option is a 302 HO (5.0) and 5 speed trans from a 95 or 94 and down Mustang GT. Cheap to make power from them and that combo is pretty common

  • avatar
    chaparral

    A good drivetrain for this would be a KA24DE out of a 240SX or a Nissan pickup. They’re durable, reliable, factory EFI, not too bad on fuel, and readily turbochargeable.

    On the other hand, the GM Atlas 2.9 Four with the right intake and exhaust would probably sound (and go!) remarkably like an Offy.

  • avatar
    steronz

    I’ve wanted to see a F20C in some 40s iron for a while, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to bust your budget. Alternatively, there’s KA24, but going faster means aftermarket turbo.

    So then I thought of Ford 2.3 a la budget-friendly XR4Ti, but that just made me think of the real answer: 4G54 from a StarQuest. Budget friendly, Chrysler family (if you just ignore the fact that it’s not at all a Chrysler), big power potential and it will look gnarly tucked way down in there.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Mercedes Benz M125 from the W125. 5665cc straight-8, factory supercharged, 500~600hp. Haven’t seen any at the local junkyards, though.

  • avatar
    and003

    My choice would be a 360 Magnum crate engine and a Richmond Gear 6-speed overdrive transmission. :-)

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    How about a 3-cyl 1-liter Ecoboost from Ford? Looking in the engine bay, folks might think there was no engine at all.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    The Mercedes M103 and M104 are very inexpensive engines to find. Both versions can be turbo charged to big horsepower. Check out Pumpish on youtube.

    With that said, you can also get huge horsepower out of a 24v OM606 merc diesel engine. All three of these engines can be mated up to a manual tranny. The manual stuff is out there but you will have to look a bit or search europe ebay.

  • avatar
    LeadHead

    General Motors Vortec 4200 I6. DOHC, 24v, 291HP, Aluminum, you can get them dirt cheap out of wrecked Trailblazers and Envoys. While they come with a 4L60E, but it turns out Supra and Solstice/Sky manual transmissions bolt right up. The Vortec 3500/3700 5 Cylinder manual bell housing also bolts up, and let’s you use many transmissions including the AX15, NV3500, and much more.

    • 0 avatar

      The Colorado/Canyon/Hummer with a stick shift all have an Aisin 5 speed AR5 that is similar to the one used in the Supra, Tacoma, and other Toyotas. I do not believe any of them are a true direct swap. The Solstice/Sky used the same unit with minor changes. I believe the Atlas motors use the modern SBC bellhousing pattern.

      The NV3500 is a completely different transmission, with an integrated bell (if Wikipedia is correct).

      • 0 avatar
        LeadHead

        The NV3550 is the one that can use the same bell housings, I’ve correct this error earlier but this commenting system is pretty awful and seems to loose posts. The Atlas engines do not use the SBC bell pattern.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    I was going to scream Slant six until I saw the EFI requirement (although people have shoehorned GM TBI setups on them). I’m going to say Jeep 4.0L, if you need more in the future throw a stroker crank and cam in it. Just get one that’s OBD-II so it’s at least slightly possible to tune it.

    I also put in a vote for the Magnum small block, 5.2 or 5.9. Drop an intake on it (or at least replace the plenum plate on the stock intake) and you’re good to go. Same EFI problem as with the 4.0, and its a Small Block Chrysler so you’re $1000 away from a 392-408 cube stroker motor… Or supercharge it etc.

    Heck if you want to be different get a 3.9 Magnum V6 and point a turbo or two at it until it explodes, them just drop a built up V8 into the same motor mounts… For a trans I’d say a REBUILT NV3500 (they don’t like to be abused much as-is) or get a Getrag six speed out of a last gen Dakota and figure out what it takes to make it work. Or a Viper six speed.

  • avatar
    andreroy55

    A Toyota Supra engine would give you all sorts of upgrade potential and should be available with a five-speed. Turbo, too. And would have an IRS if you get the whole car. And I think it came in assorted Lexuses, too.

    Otherwise, as some people have mentioned, the AMC/Jeep straight six, with parts swapping can be made somewhat bigger, displacement-wise, and five-speeds are available with it, along with computer controls. http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/category/our-rides/project-hmx/ has a bit of a write up on it. But you wouldn’t be getting everything from one car.

    A turbo slant-six would be cool, but lots of work. One of these years, I want to do one, use an injection system from a Buick turbo. But that would entail a lot of fabrication.

  • avatar
    Buster Brew

    I’ve read a bit about Mopar’s 4.7 stoker in line 6, based on the 4.0 Jeep 6. Good HP and torque and manuals were available in the XJ and first year of the ZJ.

  • avatar
    LeadHead

    General Motors Vortec 4200 I6. DOHC, 24v, 291HP, Aluminum, you can get them dirt cheap out of wrecked Trailblazers and Envoys. While they come with a 4L60E, it turns out Supra and Solstice/Sky manual transmissions bolt right up. The Vortec 3500/3700 5 Cylinder manual bell housing also bolts up, and let’s you use many transmissions including the AX15, NV3500, and much more.

    Here’s one in a ’51 GMC:
    /watch?v=qn6Do9gCbRA

    They also can absolutely scream:
    /watch?v=rjvW8IimN0Y

    • 0 avatar

      The Sostice/Sky used the transmission from the Colorado, so that makes sense. Its not the same as the Supra, but its similar.

      Are you talking about the turbo Solstice? I think that had a different one.

      • 0 avatar
        LeadHead

        I got a little mixed up. The Colorado bell housing will bolt up to the Vortec 4200, but the transmission to bellhousing pattern is the same between the SolsticeSky Transmission/AX15/NV3550/Supra Transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      Yep, the R154 Supra trans shares a bell housing bolt pattern with the AX-15 (Jeeps, V6 Dakotas before 2000), NV3550 (Jeeps) and the Isuzu trannies in the Colorados/Canyons and Solstice/Skys… (Only reason I know this is through research to swap one into a first gen Dakota with a 392 stroker motor).

      I would think the only problem with the 4200 Vortec is the electronics, I don’t know if it’d be as easy as it is with an LS motor to defeat the transmission programming and let the motor run with a manual trans. Any difficulty in that could probably be offset by the fact that you can probably pick on of these motors up for scrap value…

  • avatar
    andreroy55

    Oh, and a late-ish Explorer should get you a 5.0 and an IRS of some sort, but you’d have to scrounge a five-speed from a Mustang somewhere.

  • avatar

    How about an aluminum Buick/Rover V8? They’re compact, they’re light, you can hot rod them and you can bolt up a manual transmission. With the right parts you can take them up over 300 cubic inches.

    Don’t just put a SBC in. That takes no imagination.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I’ve got to go along with those pushing for the Jeep I6 4L. Torque, reliable, common enough to be relatively cheap, lots of options to customize. I’ve had a few, and while the vehicles had various issues, never a major problem with the engine.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Motor and rear suspension/differential from a Jag XJ-6, mated to 5-speed from a Supra. Scary maybe, but definitely different.

  • avatar
    01 ZX3

    How ’bout a SC 3.8L out of a T-Bird Super Coupe?

  • avatar
    BobAsh

    My first idea was Aussie Hemi 6. Not cheap, hard to get FI for it, but extremely cool, with ability to puzzle bystanders (What engine do ya got? A Hemi? It’s got six cylinders, that ain’t no Hemi!)

    Second idea – Jaguar straight six. Preferably not the old XK, as known from E-types and old XJ6’s. You need AJ6 from XJ40 or X300 – the X300 is pretty reliable vehicle, the engines are cheap and it’s possible to get a manual transmission for them. And it’s freaking Jaguar engine!

    Third, most boring, but most effective – LQ9.

  • avatar
    Theophilus138

    You could always be weird and drop a rotary drivetrain from an RX-7 into the thing. Sure it’s torqueless, but it’s nothing if not compact.

    If you’re more worried about engine height than width, a longitudinally-oriented Subaru drivetrain could work, and give you all wheel drive. But it sounds like you already have ideas for a rear suspension, so AWD drive might screw things up there.

    Or you could do a “dead marques” theme and pull the V6 and stick shift from a Suzuki Grand Vitara. Bonus points if you can find the first-gen XL-7 with its larger engine with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    You will be investing a pile of cash into the suspension, brakes, driveline, etc.
    Think of about consolidating those funds…

    Identify a FWD car that has a good suspension, reliable power, and they are found everywhere on the cheap.
    Buy two complete low mileage assemblies, subframe, axles, brakes, engine, transmission and all as one unit! One for the front and one for the rear. Hide the rear one, hot rod sleeper, ha!

    Yes you need to go with automatics, but it could be a very reliable package. I would name it the Plymouth Special Deluxe 959.

  • avatar
    raph

    Pushrod 5.0 out of an exploder or foxbody Cobra – best 5.0 from the factory while being fairly lightweight and compact with huge aftermarket support and can be equipped with a variety of manual transmissions and can be cable or hydraulically actuated.

    Second reccomendation would be a 5.8 out of a Lightning if you can find it, slightly less compact and heavier but still huge aftermarket support and easily equipped with a manual.

  • avatar
    tedward

    M42 project engine out of an E36. Only E30 owners really desire this engine (like myself) and tons of forced induction builds are out there in various stages of poorly done. Mostly because you will make every purist scream, from every possible angle. Many are running at your starting hp number, few above it though.

  • avatar

    I find it hard to imagine putting a powerful engine into this beautiful 70 year old body. If I’d bought that body, I’d be looking for something that wasn’t going to stress it, and I wouldn’t be looking to race it. I’d get enough pleasure cruising around, waving to the people, being the center of attention in Harvard Square, or on the outer Cape. Whatever you do, you’ll have the satisfaction of beautifying the nation’s highways. Have fun!

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I would normally concur the interior is dead. The body isn’t ruined but a frame up resto is close to asking price at a mopar-friendly auction. In short this was either a resto-mod or dead. MM is atleast going ballsy with his resto-mod decision.

      I’m with the VQ people. Tons of maximas/altimas with it and plenty of parts. I spent a few years in college doing mech engineering, we never really discussed it but it is possible to do a unibody switch. You just need a really solid floorpan and near identical dimensions and then basically build a second floorpan on the body and merge them. The ultimate issue is matching the wheelbase since that is less forgiving. Otherwise you’ Good to go.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Though somebody else mentioned it, this one isn’t getting enough play; the Nissan RB26DETT, better known as the Skyline GT-R engine. 2.6L, twin turbo DOHC I-6, all came with manual trans, the only problem all modern GT-R’s were AWD, though a manual trans from a lesser Skyline (such as an R33 GT-S)would bolt up the RB26.

    300+ hp right out of the box, 8000 redline. Plus the RB engine series has a whole industry of modification parts. You can reliably attain 500 hp without touching the internals and the RB can be built into a 1,000 hp terror.

    Plus you can get a RB26 out of a R32 GT-R 9(’89-’94) on ebay around $2500.00 or so, most have the computers and transmissions.

    There are other members of the RB engine family; the other notable would be an RB25DET, that one is a 2.5L single turbo DOHC I-6, those came out of Skyline GT-S and the like. The RB family itself is large and they also come in 2.0L form, SOHC, carburated (very rare but they exist)and non-turbo.

    I would love to get my hands on a ’70 Datsun 240Z and drop in a RB26 and build it into a clone of the ‘Devil Z’ from the manga/anime series Wangan Midnight.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    There are only 2 engine choices I could imagine being proper for a LeMons Justice.
    1. Turbocharged /6
    C. Detroit 3 or 4-53

    C’mon, a Screaming Jimmy would be pretty neat and you could burn Erl in it!

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    What about the 4.3 liter turbo charged engine from a Typhoon/Cyclone etc.

    I believe the block is the Chevy V8 small block pattern for your transmission so bolting up a manual shouldn’t be too hard.

    It’s not the Buick motor but it delivered similar power etc. And I think you’d win a prize for uniqueness.

    From Wikipedia
    “Both the GMC Syclone and Typhoon trucks featured a Mitsubishi TD06-17C/8 cm2 turbocharger and Garrett Water/Air intercooler attached to a 4.3 L LB4 V6 intake manifolds, fuel system, exhaust manifolds, and a 48mm twin-bore throttle body from the 5.7 L GM Small-Block engine. “

    • 0 avatar

      They don’t take well to being spun past 6,000 rpm.

      buddy of mine worked for a GMC dealer when these were new, LOTS of warranty replacement engines due to being pushed to the absolute limit of the 4.3 block from the factory. Didn’t blow head gaskets, just tossed cranks and rods if you so much as touched the 6k redline.

  • avatar
    DeadInSideInc

    2.3L intercooled, turbo Pinto from a Fox body. Opens up a world of mods, both engine and driveline/suspension.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I have a Toyota 1FZ-FE inline 6 in my garage you can have, however getting a 5 speed hooked to it would likely blow the rest of your budget. With that engine bay I do like an inline motor.

    I have seen the old Benz inline diesels thrown around. The mechanical injection motors would make for an easy swap. However, you mentioned race duty (and EFI). I am not sure this motor would be much fun.

    I like the GM Atlas motors, providing you can get a manual hooked to the 6. The 5 may work too.

    Cheap option would be a classic Ford Small Block. I have worked on one in a Miata and there was plenty of room. Much moreso than the LS motors I’ve seen in them. Would anger the purists.

    Not sure if you can get it for the money (I’ve seen the engines and trans for around 3k), but if you wanted to really flip off the purists, Toyota 2JZ-GTE I6. Some of the lesser inline sixes may work and would equally flip off the purists.

    Lastly, wasn’t there a story on here about a guy with a Ford 2.3 Turbo powered Edsel? Folks have gotten a lot of power out of that motor.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    There it is…The Edsel EcoBoost:

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1959-edsel-eco-boost/

  • avatar
    mkirk

    The Vortec V8 is an old school small block with the Vortec Heads. Good motor, but he can likely just buy any old small block and buy a set of the improved Vortec style heads the aftermarket offers. The rub is they need a special intake but the aftermarket is plentiful. A simple solution would be a dime a dozen TBI 350, bolt on the Vortec Heads with an aftermarket 4bbl intake, and use a TBI to 4bbl intake. I had such a set up in an early bubble Caprice and it ran very well. For an application like yours I’d get the stuff to burn my own chips for the ECU. When I was into it the equipment could be had for a few hundred bucks but I never did it. I would datalog and then send it off but I wish I had just purchased the stuff.

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    A Viper engine is right out, but older Ram pickups (non-SRT10) with the iron-block V10 can be had for under three grand. You’d still need a Viper or Chally T56/T6060.

    Also, I’ve seen a lot of Cummins suggestions, but the Ford 7.3 Powerstroke might be an option, too. It’s a better performance motor, with nearly a liter and a half of extra displacement. This one fits your budget, and comes wrapped in a free F150! http://dayton.craigslist.org/cto/3444618189.html

    The problem with both those motors (and the Cummins) is that they’re so damned heavy. That’s not a problem with the old 2.2/2.5 K-car motors, which can be used in rear drive applications with certain year Dakota bellhousings (see this thread for details: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/teach-me-rwd-mopar-2225/55515/page1/). Sure, they sound agricultural, and vibrate like an out of control sex toy, but you can turbocharge the bejeezus out of one (I’ve heard people claim upwards of 300 hp, but 250 should certainly be achievable), but when it blows up a replacement can be had for cheap. It’s certainly within the Mopar tradition, and definitely would be oddball.

    • 0 avatar
      MarionCobretti

      Or, you know, just do the easy thing and find a cheap 360 in Colorado, and stick a Tremec TR-3550 behind it. Like so.

      http://denver.craigslist.org/pts/3416865680.html
      http://denver.craigslist.org/pts/3409853874.html

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      Only problem with the iron V10 is they have the Cummins 6BT bell housing pattern since they were used with the same transmissions. You’d need a diesel manual trans (non-race friendly gearing), a 47/48RH/RE transmission (expensive but durable enough if rebuilt right), or the adapter they used to bolt the diesel 48RE to the Viper V10 in the Ram SRT-10 quad cabs (small block bell housing engine to a diesel trans).

      I like the idea for the K-car motors, and you could use a Neon motor too since they used them in front of NV-3550s in Jeep Libertys.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    As to the Cummins, I’m not sure he can get a 4B or 4BT in that price range let alone the 6. And they are loud loud loud.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Wait, you were talking the LS series Vortec motors. I was thinking of the Vortec Headed SBC motor. It was the last of the original SBC motors. The trucks got a 350 variant and the Vans had a 305 one.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I assume you were joking about the Chevy (it’s -NOT- a GMC engine !) 292 C.I. truck L6 engine as it’s long stroke means it dies very quickly when subjected to high RPM’s for longer than it takes to upshift….

    I highly agree fuel injection is the way to go .

    Be aware that unless you also upgrade the suspension seriously , it’s be dangerous @ anything over 65 MPH or in any corners….

    Oddly , those weird WPC dual leading shoe brakes are better than most realize in high speed stopping .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Allison V-3420. Little more power and even more cylinders (W-24) then the Chrysler you were looking at. Alison’s GM connection should offend the purist. Have a feeling you won’t find one under the price cap though.

  • avatar
    Micah

    SUZUKI HAYABUSA SWAP!!!

    On a more serious note, I’d be looking into:

    AMC/Jeep 4.0: cheap, lots of low-end torque, and I’d love to sell you the one out of my Wrangler when I spring for a Cummins 4BT. Plus, it keeps the I6/Mopar connection.
    GM/Buick 3800 V6: Get a supercharged L67 version from a Bonneville, add 5 speed from a Camaro, and have a great, lightweight, reliable powerplant.

    Whatever you do, please don’t get a small block Chevy. Please. Even if it’s the most sensible, it’s way overdone.

  • avatar

    I think I’m going to have to rule out the LL8 engine, due to the hassle of getting the engine controls to be happy with a manual trans and still being able to control the VVT, etc.

    The idea of the 2JZGTE and RB25DET seems less crazy than it did at first glance, so I’m doing some research there.

    Anybody have any info on getting the Magnum 5.9 V8 to bolt to a T-56 or TR3550 with off-the-shelf stuff? I’d rather not get into making my own adapter plates, and I realize that the NV3500 probably can’t handle the boost that I’d want to add later to make the car get up Pikes quick enough to be allowed to race.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Quick Time offers a T-56 bellhousing for the Mopar LA small block. It should also fit the modern Hemi if you end up finding one of those cheap enough.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      As the owner of a Ram with a 4.7L/NV3500 truck on its THIRD NV3500…stay away from that trans. An NV4500 will take the beating but the gearing makes it useless for a car with racing intentions. I know there are bellhousings available to bolt a Tremec TKO to a Hemi, and a Hemi and an LA motor have compatible bolt patterns so that would be an option even if down the road.

      If you use an LA/Magnum 360 remember they’re unbalanced motors so you’ll need flywheels and flexplates from a manual HD truck with a 5.9 or find a shop to balance out the rotating assembly for you. The automatic trucks used a 5.9-specific torque converter to balance the motor.

    • 0 avatar
      USAFMech

      I believe that Kennedy Engineering will make you a plate to bolt anything to anything. That’s the name I’ve always heard for people doing mid-engine LS’s to G50’s and the like. The even have the rotary plates. Handy for my plans to rotarize every car in my garage after the next PowerBall.

    • 0 avatar
      LeadHead

      A few people have done manual swaps to LL8 engines. There are plenty of tuners (EFI Live, etc…) that can simply change the transmission type to manual and it’ll be fine.

      Some people just convert them to MegaSquirt and leave the VVT alone. The VVT in the LL8 was just on the exhaust side primarily for emissions reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Several SFI approved belhousings will get you a bolt pattern to fit Richmont, BW, Tremec, etc. Keisler also makes a kit to swap a TKO in there.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Since you like enraging purists, how about Ford 300 out of an F150? The later ones had EFI with BMWesque aluminum manifold and probably had a 5 speed option, or get a 4 speed and hang a Gear Vendors overdrive off the back for even more fun. The only problem I can see is finding a 6 cylinder F150 that hasn’t been run into the ground.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    Just did a quick search, and it looks like no one has chimed in on the M62 option. Let me add a brief word – NO. You hit on many of the immediate downsides, but let me add that an engine in a 540 or 740 in your price range (minus parts resale) is going to be poorly maintained, and all it takes is one missed oil change to doom the engine 30k miles later.

    I for one would love to see a turbo-charged fuelie slant six, but would be willing for a serviceable turbodiesel.

  • avatar

    Update on the Plymouth: the flathead 217 isn’t seized and has at least some compression. In fact, we got it pretty close to starting today– a little more futzing with the ignition system and it might run. Which is good news, because I’ve got a potential buyer for the engine/trans already.

  • avatar
    Jimmy7

    I just sold my ’49 Plymouth Business Coupe, after years of debating what engine to swap in. The 360 is the reasonable choice. The Jeep 6 looked a little long for my engine compartment, it might fit yours. But where I thought I’d go was a 2.7L Toyota truck 4 banger and a 5-speed. Mine was going to be a stocker, but I could see a TRD supercharger in your future. Light, and what weight there is is sitting further back behind the front axle. Lots of room up front for the intercooler plumbing. Plenty of hop-up parts from our off-road cousins. Take the whole front frame and get the disk brakes and other goodies. Good luck.

  • avatar
    Angus McClure

    Too many comments to read them all but I will go with the same suggestion I had yesterday. 4.9 ford six, otherwise known as the 300CID six. Put a turbo on it if you want but it’s the best engine I ever had in a truck and made it run like a car. There are some five and six speed ford transmissions available that should fit. If you aren’t happy with the power, Clifford really wakes them up.

    I sort of envy you. Had a 40 international half ton and would have gone that way but no bucks available for play like that.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Does your friend (Andy?) still have that orange Free Candy Mopar van with the 4-speed?

  • avatar

    BMW S54 if you’re looking for power. Jaguar 4.2L XK (with an EDIS & Megasquirt mod) if you want the ultimate vintage beauty with your power.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    One thing the does need to be sorted out though on OEM ECUs, is whether the module has any factory “theft alarm” functions (e.g. door switch, ‘handshake’ between ECU and ignition key module, VIN verification between ECU and body module, etc.) Disabling these functions is near impossible without access to the OEM tools and software, so you either need to buy a “racing” re-flash (if available), or you could make the expensive leap to a Megasquirt setup. The problem with a re-flash or OEM ECU route is that you won’t be able to easily tweak the fuel and spark tables, which is necessary if you’re going to modify the engine. For a Mopar V8, you could always get it to “run” by using an early-to-mid ’90s SBECIIa ECU out of any V8 Dodge truck or van (and grounding the P/N pin), but you’ll never get the full potential out of a modified engine without access to fuel and spark calibrations.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Would a small, low deck early Hemi fit? Either a 241/270 Dodge or a 276/291 DeSoto? You should really stick to Mopar.

    These guys http://www.hothemiheads.com/ can sell parts to make it a good performer.

    Failing that, a built up225 /6. I’ve seen one in a Dart with 240 RWP without forced induction or anything.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Go for a hemi out of a Challenger these were available with 6MT.
    Not sure it could be had for your budget.

  • 0 avatar

    I mention the Vortec V8 engines, which aren’t really LSs though they share some features. I don’t know much about prices/availability/transmission compatibility, but they’re good engines and I welcome any info on the subject.

  • 0 avatar
    AMC_CJ

    What about the 4.3L Vortec V6 engine line? Plenty came bolted to 2wd manual drive trains in S10 trucks; add a turbocharger via Typhoon/Cyclone.Lighter then a V8, and would push your weight back more into the center of the vehicle.

  • 0 avatar
    danio3834

    I lump the ’98 and up Vortec V8s in with the LS motors because everything mixes and matches and bolts up together with LS stuff.

    A really really dirty 450hp combination can be made well under your budget (ask me how i know).

    Junkyard LQ9 6.0L out of an Escalade or any basic 2500 pickup ($500), a set of stock LS1 862 heads ($75 a pair), TX speed MS3 cam ($300), LS1 intake ($100 or less). Get some LS6 valve springs and hardened pushrods in there (~$200) and if you’re cheap, tear apart a stock harness and use a stock PCM with a flash to run it all.

    Of course you’d probably be pretty content with the stock 320hp the LQ offers and could skip the mods and buy a used T56 for ~1-1500.

  • 0 avatar
    mkirk

    Standard SBC so the sky is the limit with transmission choices.

  • 0 avatar

    Hmmmm… worth looking into.

  • 0 avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I’m pretty sure the 4.3 in the Typhoon/Cyclone had different internals to the normal 4.3 found in everything else…
    “Both the Syclone and Typhoon trucks featured a Mitsubishi TD06-17C 8 cm² turbocharger[1] and Garrett water/air intercooler attached to a 4.3 L LB4 V6 engine with unique pistons, main caps, head gaskets, intake manifolds, fuel system, exhaust manifolds, and a 48mm twin bore throttle body from the 5.7 L GM Small-Block engine.”

  • 0 avatar
    dolorean

    Not to be persnickety, but the Syclone 4.3L turbo 6 was attached to the bullet-proof Corvette 4 spd automatic. However, you may be able to bolt the six speed ala Cobalt SS that should do the trick nicely.

  • 0 avatar
    danio3834

    Agree with the 4.3. would probably be your cheapest easiest, yank out and bolt in affair right here.

  • 0 avatar
    DepreciatedDerelict

    Curses Murilee!

    After 3 years lurking you have finally pushed me to comment. Concurring with danio3834, I would highly recommend you look into the LQ4 and LQ9 motors. They have no unnecessary LS price tax but all the same modding options.

    The 4.3 Vortec would be great, but the most common manual tranny with these, the T5, is a grenade waiting to happen. There is a reason stock L98 F bodies were not equipped from the factory with these.

    My recommendation? Save money by picking up an LT1, buy an MSD optispark for peace of mind. Put money into a T56. Then get nitrous!
    LT1 + Nitrous = Bundles of cheap fun.

  • 0 avatar
    Flipper35

    Or get an SFI approved belhouseing for the Magnum 5.9 and have the same options.

  • 0 avatar
    windsormarxist

    I agree with the idea of a B230 Volvo engine- you can really build HP into a Volvo Redblock, plus, you could use an M46 overdrive gearbox, which these things were designed for. You might even be able to modify a b20 bellhousing to allow the engine to sit vertically if space is a problem. I believe the basic Redblock was quite similar between the B20 and B21. There are so many Volvos with good engines/gearboxes and bad wiring/bodies that the parts are almost free.

    If you want to stay Mopar, what about an Aussie Hemi 6? I don’t know about the exchange rates/shipping costs, but they are ‘vertical’ instead of slanted which is a plus if clearance is an issue, and they have heaps of tuning potential.
    http://www.valiant.org/valiant/hemi-six.html

    If you want to keep it REALLY stock, how about a Power Wagon 251 flathead six with twin carbs? The torque would be slingshot like to say the least, and because its the same engine as yours, it would be quite straightforward, and would have a totally different character to everything else on the strip, plus, on the road, that torque would make for a less highly strung drive than a peaky hot cammed V8 like everyone uses.
    http://www.allpar.com/model/ram/powerwagon.html

    Then again, the Cummins option seems quite tempting as well…


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