1979 Volare wagon

F Body General Discussion

  1. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    Re-arching an original leaf spring will last (keep height) about 20 years.
    A quality new leaf spring will (also) keep height for about 20 (or so) years.

    No comment on the cheap Chinese leaf springs (I’ve stayed away from them, so can’t comment about their lifespan.

    If a person plans on not changing leaf spring capacity (going from 4 to a 5-leaf, or something similar) – I recommend to re-arch your original springs and insert new bushings.

    If you have an FMJ with a 4-leaf spring or have other needs (high HP racing, towing, etc.) – then a new spring or modification to original spring might be called for.
    4-leaf springs are, for most of us, the bare minimum to use (In my opinion), if not under-sprung (is that a word?).
    Most FMJ vehicles came with 4-leaf springs, except: wagons (most – but not all, have 5-leaf’s), Police/taxi or cars that have a towing package came with 5-leaf's.

    If you are looking at having new leaf springs made – I would encourage going with the older style round front bushings (instead of oval bushings). That said, most of us will not see a benefit of changing springs just because of the front bushing “type”.


    The ’66-72 B-body HP leaf springs (5-leaf on one side and 4+2 half leafs on other side) are great for those planning on HP engines – but they are not a direct bolt-on for FMJ vehicles.
    FMJ total length = 58” (24” front of center bolt / 34” after center bolt).
    ’66-81 B/R-body = 58” (22” front of center bolt / 36” after center bolt).
    Mopar Performance Super Stock Spring – 56” (20” front of center bolt / 36” after center bolt).
    Dakota (not sure of what years) – 56” (24” front of center bolt / 32” after center bolt).


    I have two old sets of the HP B-body springs (but need re-arched).
    When I get ready to big block my cars, I’ve considered using the leafs from them to replace the leafs from existing springs (keeping the main leaf in place – but re-arched) – but not done a side to side comparison to make sure that will work, yet.
    BudW

    Edit: If you are changing the leaf spring count (increasing the thickness of the leaf spring at the center bolt location), then you will also need to change the lower ISO spring clamp.
    The lower ISO spring clamp come in 4-leaf and 5-leaf versions (red arrow, below).

    Personally, I recommend getting rid of the ISO-clamp system and replace with the older style shock plate – for your car ride will be SO MUCH improved.
    This might be a requirement for some of you – for the 5-leaf lower clamp(s) is not easy to find.

    Also, the lower clamp is prong to breakage (blue circle) – leaving your car stuck where it broke at.
    IMG_2456a.JPG
    Note: someone added an ill-fitting "add-a-spring", in this case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  2. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    I've got the SS springs in the Volare, I used the mopar 6" spring hanger that was ofered from mopar at one time. I am considering using the Calvert rear suspension system on it now but I think the original length spring will work better. I had modified the long spring hanger and ran a bar down from my cage to support it. It's all a bolt in so I will be able to drill new holes for longer springs and modifie it for clearance for the suspension system.
    But I have the option of the B body or F body length.
     
  3. Raff

    Raff Well-Known Member

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    I thought it was maybe time for a quick wagon update. I still have not finished the rear axle repair and installation because I haven't had a chance to pick up the parts. I also still need to shampoo the carpets to see if they can be saved.

    In the meantime I was looking at some Auto Meter gauges I had set aside but not used. I thought they'd look good in the dash of the wagon. Since the factory AM radio had long since disappeared and in its place was an ancient cassette player which I have no use for, I took a few measurements and decided to install them in the spot the radio would have been. I've included a few pics and I think the job turned out OK and looks pretty good. IMG_8668.jpg IMG_8670.jpg IMG_8674.jpg IMG_8675.jpg IMG_8677.jpg IMG_8678.JPG IMG_8688.jpg IMG_8689.jpg
     
  4. slantman

    slantman Well-Known Member

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  5. slantman

    slantman Well-Known Member

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    Just got back from my summer in the north, Pa., and catching up on posts...glad to see another wagon in the group!!Yours looks like an interesting build and a all around fun toy.
     
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  6. slantman

    slantman Well-Known Member

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    Not familiar with The Load runner, would it be similar to the sport wagon of 1979? What amount of $$$$ would you consider to be a reasonable deal and for what condition???
     
  7. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    IMG_8688.jpg
    Looks nice! I know projects like that take time – but looks like you nailed it.


    Slantman, Load Runner was used for advertising (somewhere). Sport wagon or youth utility suburban are more official names. They used the front spoiler/air dam and front fender flairs the Road Runner/RT’s used. The rear fender flairs are a bit different because of 2-door vs.4-door body panels.
    The grills are blacked out, again like Road Runner/RT’s and tape stripes are unique.
    The sales code (on Fender Tag) is A47.

    It wouldn’t take much to convert a wagon to a Load Runner/Sport Wagon/Youth Utility Suburban – if you had access to Road Runner/RT spoiler and flairs (but some re-work of the rear flairs will be needed).
    Perform a forum search for “load runner” (all areas of our forum) and you will find a lot of data out there.
    BudW

    IMG_8688.jpg
     
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  8. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    There have been many hot F body wagons, I think
    Mc cormick ran one in stock class for years.
     
  9. ZieglerSpeed

    ZieglerSpeed Well-Known Member

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    I remember the Mc cormick stocker. 318 4 bbl I believe
     
  10. droptop

    droptop Well-Known Member

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    I use the Load Runner name because it makes reference to the Volare. Just personal preference. I like Plymouths. What do you have? Always looking for the right 79 or 80 wagon.
     
  11. ZieglerSpeed

    ZieglerSpeed Well-Known Member

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    I have a little of everything. 1 of my favs is an 80 Duster that looks like your pic. The body is great but the bottom may be bad. I would do a perfect (1980 318 police, 8 1/4 posi, police M body leafs and sway bar) clone job of a R.R. if the frame rails permit
     
  12. Raff

    Raff Well-Known Member

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    Now that winter is more less here in the great white North and other than going to work I try to hibernate it’s time to accumulate some parts for the wagon. I’m going to go through the suspension, steering and brakes to get it roadworthy. Wheels and tires will have to be dealt with. Since the the car has sat for the better part of five years I’ll flush all the fluids, rebuild the carb, do a complete tune up, hoses, thermostat etc etc etc. More than enough to keep me busy and keep my wallet empty. I was going to pull the motor and tranny but figured I’ll hold off on that until next year. Otherwise the project will spiral out of control and it will still be in pieces next summer. Here’s a few pics of some early Xmas gifts to me from me. So far mostly suspension stuff but a guy occasionally has to buy himself something shiny.

    7FE82DFE-3340-45C0-99F2-C16EBD91866D.jpeg
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    36C9FD1D-5584-4FE3-8FFB-151635329B75.jpeg
     
  13. old yellow 78

    old yellow 78 Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy! New toys! Love it! :) I also like the steering wheel.
    I see you are using a wood block under the dash which I presume is to keep the clutch slightly depressed? I need to remember to do that as, when my garage was full of stuff from cleaning out a house, OY had to sit outside for a few months, and the clutch stuck. Wasn't fun trying to get it unstuck again. I was thinking of using my old "Club" steering wheel anti-theft bar to hold the clutch down a bit, but I'm not thrilled with the idea because it might cause problems with constant pressure on the steering wheel. This wooden block idea seems like a better solution. ;)
    bda73acd-6439-4db1-a673-1d4347ff461e-jpeg.jpg
     
  14. Raff

    Raff Well-Known Member

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    The wood block is holding the brake pedal down just a bit. With the rear axle out I didn't want the master cylinder to lose all of the fluid which would mean I'd have to bleed the entire system. I'm no expert but I believe having the brake pedal slightly depressed blocks the ports in the master and prevents fluid loss.
    As for the steering wheel I've always loved metal flake and i thought it suited the unmistakably 70's colour of the wagon. A friend of my Dad's had a similar wheel in his custom Dodge van in 1976 and I still remember how much I liked it.
     
  15. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    What gear are you going to put in the 8 3/4?
     
  16. Raff

    Raff Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking 3.23 is a good ratio for a variety of driving. I want it to be highway friendly and the average speed on the highway here is 120 km/h.
     
  17. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    On July 20 (post # 65), he said he currently has 3.23’s with limited slip, in his 8¾”. .

    I like 3.23’s. It is a very good gear for both city and highway driving.
    2.9’s are my second favorite gears.
    Jeep has a 3.07 which would also fall in my favored group (for 8¼” - but not 8¾”) – but not driven one (or touched one) to have any experience with it (yet) – but it will bolt into an FMJ 8¼”.

    3.55’s will put a smile on your face – for city driving and with a 4-speed – but no smiles for the highway driving.


    Back when I went to college (35 years ago), there was a friend who had a high compression 440 Dart with gears to run the 1/8th mile with (5.8 gears, I think) and he drive the car home every other weekend (about 1½ hour drive each way). There few times I would pass him on a highway (posted at 55 MPH (90 KPH), but um, I was more like 60-65 MPH), but he would only drive at about 45 MPH (70 KPH). I don’t know how he did it, back then (patience or with fuel $).
    BudW
     
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  18. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    My Volare has 4.88s ,fun around town but on the highway with a cam with 290 degrees of duration at 50 you can watch the cars gas gage go down.
     
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  19. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    With the wagon I would consider the 3.55 gears with the four speed. At one time 3.55 gears were common in wagons and that's were we went looking for them in the yards.
    All these 2 and 3.0 series gears are just a bandaid for no OD transmission in the 80s.
     
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  20. AJ/FormS

    AJ/FormS Well-Known Member

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    I had 4.88's in my 68 Barracuda for a while. They weren't so bad........................... with double overdrive,lol; ..........A833od with GVOD behind, 4.88x.71x.78=2.70; not bad at all. But 4.88x3.09=15.08 and that was the down fall of the combo. I just put it in for the 550rpm=3mph parade gear.
    I agree 100% about 2/3 series gears. Mopar shouldda made 4 speed autos decades before they finally did.

    My wife recently acquired a 2014 chebby Orlando 2.5 VVT with a 6-speed, Who knew a 3500pound 4-banger could be so peppy!
     
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