Caravelle Rebuild

ScubaSteve

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Hello Fellow FMJ Body Mopars (The forgotten children)

Im up here in Canada working on a 1986 Plymouth Caravelle, one family car passed down through 3 generations. I was lucky enough to get my crazy hands on it, just a young man and a dream to snap necks as it drives by. Currently I have brought her back to life with:
A deep engine clean.
Intake manifold acid dip
Timing chain and gear upgrade
New Retro Sound stereo system
New spark plug leads and plugs
New gaskets on oil pan, intake manifold, timing chain cover, valve covers
True duel customer exhaust with cherry poppers
and other little fixes

Im looking to upgrade the suspension and switch out all the dead and gone bushings. If you have done upgrades on the same car I would love to hear about it. I know with the 318 Im not gonna be setting any lap records but I would love to make this a low and loud cruiser.

20210726_162114.jpg
 

Camtron

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I’ve done a number of suspension upgrades but, none of them provide a cloud like ride. My car rides stiff as and handles real tight.
Direct fit suspension options are pretty limited but, I’d look into air ride suspension. There’s stock options and then there’s some big money custom kits that would require quite a bit of custom fabrication to make work on our cars. That’s the route I’d take myself for a cloud like ride.
 

dm330

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Firm Feel Inc. has a lot of suspension and steering components for these cars, to be purchased individually or as a near complete kit for a discount. I ordered the oem rubber bushings for my 88 Fifth Avenue, but they also have a urethane option, which didn't affect the price much. Mine is in the shop now to have the front suspension kit installed as well as a fuel injection system. Here's the link for Firm Feel's FMJ body suspension and steering parts. As of 3 months ago, the company was in the process of getting back into making the torsion bars for these cars too, so if you want to order those, they are on back order.
FMJ Body Parts
 

AJ/FormS

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I used to be an alignment specialist, which means I changed a chitload of suspension/steering/and brake parts, including on FMJs and the IIRC, the Caravelle. Nice looking car but ..... Low and loud, I wouldn't do that.

IIRC, that car has struts all around; not my favorite type of suspension. Kindof like a Fifth Avenue with K-car running gear. I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen one with a 318; hmmmmmmmmmmmmm I don't think I have! Is that a rearwheel drive?

Oh I think I remember, in those early years, the Caravelle was a rebadged Diplomat right? Yeah that would explain the RWD/318

In that case; the first thing I would do is get rid of whatever gears are in the back and get me some 3.23s. I bet that car has an A998/999 in it with the 2.74/1.54/1.00/Loc-up . That makes your starter gear to be 3.23 x 2.74=8.85, maybe not neck-snapping, but considering that she might currently be sporting 2.45 gears, that is afterall, an improvement of about 32%.
This will be your most bang for the buck with that car. Better make it with a "posi" cuz 8.85 is enough gear to fry just one tire, which usually, eventually, ends badly for the spiders and crosspin.
There is nothing cheap that you can do to your engine that compares to a 32% improvement in gears. The only downside is the same 32% increase will be applied to your cruising rpm. That translates to an increase of about 600rpm at 65mph.

BTW; sharp looking car.
 
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M_Body_Coupe

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1st M-body in our family was a '78 Plymouth Caravelle...cool to see it carried this long on our Canuck side (I suspect until the end of the production as that was the Plymouth model name equivalent of the Doge Diplomat, etc.).

Lowering it will be hard, no real aftermarket parts exist for our rides, unless you are willing to go totally custom and replace the K-frame, etc., which by the looks of your post you are not looking to do.
 
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