engine rebuilders

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  #1  
Old 03-14-03, 09:15 AM
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engine rebuilders

1985 Dodge van, 318, 3 speed auto, 293 rear. I want to be able to tow a small car and have decided to change the engine and rear. Does anyone have a recomendation on an engine rebuilder, Jasper, ATK, etc. Also want to change the gears to something in the 350 range, is this only a matter of changing the ring and pinion or should the rear axel be changed. Thanks, by the way I'll be in the Phoenix area in the next week or so and will be driving toward NYC mid April so anywhere in the country will work for me.
 
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Old 03-14-03, 09:53 AM
Joe_F
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Mopar rebuilt engines are the best. You'll get a warranty and they will include all the updates, improvements and enhancements made over the years.

Leave the stock ratio as is.
 
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Old 03-14-03, 11:03 AM
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Thanks Joe. Chrysler recommends a rear of anything other than I have, such as 325 or above, what´s involved in changing it and why do you recommend leaving it. thanks
 
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Old 03-14-03, 02:57 PM
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changing your gears will get you more pulling/acceleration power, but on the freeway with a car being towed will suck you gas out of your tank faster than a leak

Changing the engine can be a lot of work. The 318 can be a great little workhorse. I would suggest that you perform all the street legal modifications first such as exhaust, intake,carb, whatever is legally allowed. If you want to change your gears, keep it around 3:27 or so. Good luck. Honestly though, that 318 might be ok.
 
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Old 03-14-03, 03:16 PM
Joe_F
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Keep the vehicle stock. Gear sets are pricey for those applications, and it is VERY involved to set up correctly. Rear end work requires skill and proper tools to convert and measure up or new parts will become dust very quickly.

As for doing anything to the 318, just keep it stock. The upgraded 318 from Chrysler will be a big improvement. Go through the carburetion, cooling system and expendables soup to nuts when you do the job. Why are you changing the engine?

As Jeremy stated, a larger numerical gear set will likely mean more gas sucking.
 
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Old 03-15-03, 01:30 AM
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I have never used ATK motors but I know some people that have and they were very pleased. Your axel might be limited as in to how low(numerically higher) gear you can install. Some machine shops can machine your carrier to accept the gears you want, but that is something that needs to be kept in mind. Superior Axel And Gear makes, 3.21,3.55,3.90,4.10, and 4.56 ratios for the Chrysler 9 ¼ Axel, that would not require any case modifications. If you count 12 differential cover bolts, you more than likely have the 9 ¼ axel. You should be able to get a ring and pinion for your application for about 160$. If you plan on setting it up your self you also need a backlash gauge. At 70mph with 3.55 gears your cursing rpm would be 3100 with a 1:1 transmission reduction. If your van is not already equipped with a transmission cooler it would be a good idea to upgrade while you are doing the motor swap. If I was looking for a replacement motor for a Dodge I would order a Mopar Performance motor, you can get many different applications and prices. Plus, they come from Mopar with all sorts of trick parts already on them. You should be able to get one through your local dodge dealership.
 
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Old 03-16-03, 10:31 PM
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With the van being an '85 and the prospect of travelling while pulling a load, I would pay some attention to the transmission as well. Does it have a towing pkg? A cooler? Been serviced lately? Sometimes you can improve pulling performace by doing nothing other than transmission changes. A 3 speed tranny with less than 1:1 top ratio in front of a 3:27 rear may not pull as well and efficiently as a 4 speed with a lower first and higher fourth ratio, in front of the same rear. Be careful if you have overdrive. Pulling a car in OD is usually ok on the interstate, at constant speed and fairly level land, but take it out of OD when chugging around the mountains and in super hot areas.
 
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Old 03-25-03, 02:24 PM
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Reasons for rebuilding are as follows. When I bought the van I wasn't sure if it was going to be a keeper, Now after 2 years of driving and living in it I have come to love it, all mechanical and fairly easy to work on. I have a 318, 3 speed auto, 294 rear with a holley 2280. When I bought the van it had a shot motor and I installed a junkyard motor as I wasn't sure if I would keep it. I have now replaced almost everything in the van and I want to pull a small car from NYC to Mexico each year. The valve guides are shot as I smoke a lot on initial start up every morning. However the van runs perfectly. The thing that botheres me is I get 10 miles to the gallon and I keep meeting people with somewhat the same configuration as I have and am told they are getting 14/16 mpg. Something is not right. I also weigh 6020 pounds with passengers. I've visited a few Dodge dealers and they really don't even want to mess with "something that old". Any suggestions or thoughts on what would bring my fuel mileage up would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 03-25-03, 03:31 PM
Joe_F
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The engine could be old and tired. If the van has seen a lot of work, I would go for a Mopar rebuilt. Well worth the money and a good investment.

As for fuel mileage, Chrysler's (well Holley's or Carter's) carburetion flat out sucks. They were always pigs on fuel. You can use the estimates put out by the EPA back in '85 as a guideline as to what to shoot for, but there's a fat chance you'll come close to it on a 20 year old truck in real conditions.
 
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