Minor upgrade ideas that won't drastically hurt drivability or comfort.

kkritsilas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
420
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
650 Hp,440. in a volare'.. Twister to the max. I wonder how he boxed the frame to keep the torque from snapping off the body.
Does anybody remember the opening verse to "Disco Inferno"? It goes "Burn, Baby, Burn.....", an accurate description of the fuel economy of this combination. Not to mention just as accurate a description of the rear tires with any significant movement of the gas pedal.
 
Last edited:

Duke5A

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
1,661
Reaction score
876
Location
Michigan
How far into the weeds are you willing to go? I've had half a dozen engine and transmission combinations in my Fifth Avenue over the last twenty years. Been through the entire suspension from relatively inexpensive to why-the-fuck-am-I-spending-this-much-money?

If you're staying in CA, then don't even think about modifying the motor or controls in any way. Just don't open the can of worms of having tons of time involved in it only to find out you can't pass smog. What you have is what you get.

I'll try and structure this advice around your living arrangements allowing for the possibility of moving later on and being budget minded. So start here:

Grab the following from an AHB Diplomat cop car:

-8.25" rear axle with rear sway bar, including the shock plates
-front sway bar (it's an 1/8" thicker than the non-fleet models)
-five leaf spring pack

The 8.25" axles came in too flavors depending on how they were ordered, so verify the housing is a Sure Grip. If it is then it will have the 2.94:1 gears and this is what we want.

Grab the following from an early 90's Dakota:

-500 4 speed transmission
-speedometer cable (non cruise control model)
-speedo gear housing (has to be from truck not equipped with cruise control)

The axle is a simple bolt in affair with the sway bar. So is the front sway bar. The 500 will require modification to the transmission tunnel. I won't cover it here, but if you can weld it isn't bad. You may want to get the five leaf springs re-arched from a shop, or just get new springs. Your call.

Take this time to burn in sub frame connectors. You don't need to go to the floor. Connecting the rear and front sub frames is more than enough. This is a NIGHT AND DAY difference in the handling of the car without sacrificing comfort. $150 worth of steel is the only investment if you can do the work yourself.

Use a nice set of cruiser shocks like Monroe Sens-a-tracks.

What the above is going to give you suspension wise is a very comfortable cruising M body that can make a lane change at speed without diving into it. Slightly firmer suspension, but still very, very comfortable. Power wise the only thing you can do is make better use of what you have, so lowering the rear gear and adding an OD will do just that, and it'll do it without sacrificing any of your economy. You'll even gain mileage in the city since the motor doesn't have to work so damn hard to get the car moving from a stop.

Now, for the motor and after you're out of CA. Get a 5.2L or a 5.9L Magnum out of an early 90's Ram complete with the entire harness and ECU. The electronics and harness in this period were separate from everything else. Reuse the factory 318 exhaust manifolds as they're good for 300HP. Dual 2.25" pipes running to a 2.5" single to go out the back. You can swap it all right over and the only thing you'll need to science out is a fuel system; which isn't hard at all with aftermarket parts. 230HP and 300+ ft/lbs of torque with the drivability of MPEFI with a torque curve that starts at idle.

This is all off the cuff. If this is something you want to do I can help you with more details.
 

Camtron

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
1,867
Reaction score
1,415
Location
US
Could get a Edelbrock intake w/EGR valve to help the stock engine and stay compliant. I didn’t hate the stock 318 when I did the ignition swap and put headers on it with exhaust. It had plenty of grunt to move the car, the dif gear just blows, I had like a 2.7 ratio or some shit in the stock 7.25” . A 8.25”, suregrip and gears can definitely get the car moving, launch hard with minimal tire spin, little flash but plenty of functional, go.

DODGE 5.2L/318 Intake Manifolds, Carbureted - EGR - Free Shipping on Orders Over $109 at Summit Racing
 

69-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
361
Reaction score
238
Location
Germany
You worry about performance of a smog 318?
My 79 LeBaron stock-318 sometimes spins one wheel, but shortly only.

On the other hand - I am seriously worried about the performance of the 10.5k pounds camper with that 170hp truck smog 360 of 79... :D:eek::D
 

Oldiron440

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
3,050
Reaction score
740
Location
Iowa
Does anybody remember the opening verse to "Disco Inferno"? It goes "Burn, Baby, Burn.....", an accurate description of the fuel economy of this combination. Not to mention just as accurate a description of the rear tires with any significant movement of the gas pedal.
Have you ever felt the sensation of the weight of your eyes in your head or lungs in your chest from acceleration? Or possibly the feeling in the steering wheel as the front tires leave the pavement for a time then touch back down? My Volare has always been a street/strip car since I’ve owned it, it’s an adrenaline ride even when driving it slow, it requires a little more than a gallon of fuel to make more an 1/8th mile pass and will get 3 mpg if driven conservatively.
When I built the car in the eighties Fbody mopars were nothing more than a joke even in the mopar world.
I’ve always gotten a pleasure putting a Hemi car on the trailer.
 

armataz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2022
Messages
227
Reaction score
55
Location
springfield OR.
Have you ever felt the sensation of the weight of your eyes in your head or lungs in your chest from acceleration? Or possibly the feeling in the steering wheel as the front tires leave the pavement for a time then touch back down? My Volare has always been a street/strip car since I’ve owned it, it’s an adrenaline ride even when driving it slow, it requires a little more than a gallon of fuel to make more an 1/8th mile pass and will get 3 mpg if driven conservatively.
When I built the car in the eighties Fbody mopars were nothing more than a joke even in the mopar world.
I’ve always gotten a pleasure putting a Hemi car on the trailer.
I'm just hoping that they start repopping parts/panels for them, before they are all gone.
 

Justwondering

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2015
Messages
3,610
Reaction score
1,010
Location
North Texas
I just figure that the royalties I get off my portion of the oil well is just going to cover the gas for the cars each month.
Riiiiightt???
JW
 

SRTMirada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
102
Reaction score
67
Location
Niagara
I had 3.23's in my daily driver Mirada and I thought it was the perfect ratio. When I installed the overdrive transmission I went with 3.91. Gear swaps are the best bang for the buck.
 

LSM360

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
824
Reaction score
320
Location
Melbourne, Florida
I had 3.23's in my daily driver Mirada and I thought it was the perfect ratio. When I installed the overdrive transmission I went with 3.91. Gear swaps are the best bang for the buck.
I agree. I have 3.2 on my '89 with the factory police wheels and 235/70/15's and I think it's perfect
 

Ele115

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
637
Reaction score
245
Location
Tampa FL
How far into the weeds are you willing to go? I've had half a dozen engine and transmission combinations in my Fifth Avenue over the last twenty years. Been through the entire suspension from relatively inexpensive to why-the-fuck-am-I-spending-this-much-money?

If you're staying in CA, then don't even think about modifying the motor or controls in any way. Just don't open the can of worms of having tons of time involved in it only to find out you can't pass smog. What you have is what you get.

I'll try and structure this advice around your living arrangements allowing for the possibility of moving later on and being budget minded. So start here:

Grab the following from an AHB Diplomat cop car:

-8.25" rear axle with rear sway bar, including the shock plates
-front sway bar (it's an 1/8" thicker than the non-fleet models)
-five leaf spring pack

The 8.25" axles came in too flavors depending on how they were ordered, so verify the housing is a Sure Grip. If it is then it will have the 2.94:1 gears and this is what we want.

Grab the following from an early 90's Dakota:

-500 4 speed transmission
-speedometer cable (non cruise control model)
-speedo gear housing (has to be from truck not equipped with cruise control)

The axle is a simple bolt in affair with the sway bar. So is the front sway bar. The 500 will require modification to the transmission tunnel. I won't cover it here, but if you can weld it isn't bad. You may want to get the five leaf springs re-arched from a shop, or just get new springs. Your call.

Take this time to burn in sub frame connectors. You don't need to go to the floor. Connecting the rear and front sub frames is more than enough. This is a NIGHT AND DAY difference in the handling of the car without sacrificing comfort. $150 worth of steel is the only investment if you can do the work yourself.

Use a nice set of cruiser shocks like Monroe Sens-a-tracks.

What the above is going to give you suspension wise is a very comfortable cruising M body that can make a lane change at speed without diving into it. Slightly firmer suspension, but still very, very comfortable. Power wise the only thing you can do is make better use of what you have, so lowering the rear gear and adding an OD will do just that, and it'll do it without sacrificing any of your economy. You'll even gain mileage in the city since the motor doesn't have to work so damn hard to get the car moving from a stop.

Now, for the motor and after you're out of CA. Get a 5.2L or a 5.9L Magnum out of an early 90's Ram complete with the entire harness and ECU. The electronics and harness in this period were separate from everything else. Reuse the factory 318 exhaust manifolds as they're good for 300HP. Dual 2.25" pipes running to a 2.5" single to go out the back. You can swap it all right over and the only thing you'll need to science out is a fuel system; which isn't hard at all with aftermarket parts. 230HP and 300+ ft/lbs of torque with the drivability of MPEFI with a torque curve that starts at idle.

This is all off the cuff. If this is something you want to do I can help you with more details.
Print this and stick it into your service manual for later reference. It's good stuff. You wont go broke either
 
Back
Top