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V8 Conversions



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I'll see a 70's Dodge Colt 2-door hardtop show up at the various Carlisle shows. It's one of the older RWD models, and is sporting a 440 in the engine bay! :surprise:

    I'd be curious to see how something like that performs and handles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Probably a lot of push in turns and hard work to drive around town. With a tricked out suspension and good brakes and decently quiet exhaust, it might make a decent straight line highway car. I would imagine you wouldn't nail the gas pedal on a turn or you might forfeit your life.


  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    Ronnie Sox had a hemi powered Colt pro-stock in the mid seventies. He abandonded it because with the short wheelbase, the handling was horrible and the car was quite skittish.

    Anyone remember the pro-stock 4 door Mavericks from the mid seventies?
  • the thing was to put a Dana rear end into a Chevy?

    .... or those little cars (sort of like a Citation) that used to be modified with a 350?

    Isn't there a BIG car show in Pa. next week?
    ... and a cruise, too?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    in Macungie, PA the weekend of August 5. I had intended to put a car in, but I just checked the registration sheet and missed the deadline, which was July 1. :-( Dangit. Well, I'll keep it in mind for next year.
  • chicos48chicos48 Posts: 1
    I have a 48 chrysler windsor and am wanting to change the factory 6 cylinder/6 volt to a 8 cyclender/12 volt but keep the original gages is this possible if so what do I need to do thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    You mean change over to a Chrysler straight-8 from a Saratoga or New Yorker of the same year, or to a modern V8 engine?

    If it's a modern V8, the best thing to do is buy a plastic full-size dummy of the engine you wish to use. This allows you to figure out your clearances and motor mounts and exhaust/manifold paths and radiator clearances and cooling. Once the dummy engine has been properly located, you can worry about the transmission mounting and clearances and floor tunnel cutting, probably using a gutted transmission case. Then you've have to fabricate a driveshaft. Depending on the power of this V8, you may need to completely change your differential, but maybe not.

    As for the gauges, simple resistors should protect them but I'm not sure how you'll get the speedometer to work. That's going to take some research.

    You're in for a big job.


  • doty805doty805 Posts: 2
    My name is Carlin Doty and I am 16. I own a 1960 Chrysler windsor four door sedan with a 383 big block V8. I have been having problems with getting enough fuel to the carbuerator. I have replaced the fuel pump recently so I am wondering if I should bipass the old metal fuel line that goes to the gas tank in case it is blocked and install a rubber one.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    A big No here. If you have to replace the fuel line, go with metal. But fist, buy/rent/borrow a fuel pressure gauge and plumb it into the fuel line between the pump and carb, and see if it is a pressure problem. Now that it has a new pump, low pressures would be caused by some obstruction. Sometimes, the fuel tank pickup can be blocked, and replacing the line won't help. Most of all, be careful working on the fuel system, especially if it comes to opening up the tank. Explosions are known to happen! Good luck with it, my family's car growing up was a '63 Dodge Polara with the 383. We still have it, drove it recently, so they'll run forever!

    p.s. - did you check/change the fuel filter?
  • doty805doty805 Posts: 2
    Thank you for your reply. I did replace the fuel fiilter. My only problem is that the original metal fuel line runs inside the frame so if i were to replace it with another metal fuel line i would have run it along the frame because i dont see how i could run it through the frame. I thought that it would be easier to run a rubber one instead. i will try to get ahold of a pressure gauge and test that out. thanks again.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I had to replace the fuel tank on my '68 Dart. Getting the old one out wasn't too big of a deal, but trying to force the new one back in was a pain. Once I was finished, I started up, pulled out of the driveway, and the car just died on the street. Luckily it was on an uphill grade so I could let it roll back into the yard.

    It turns out that there was a rubber connector in the fuel line somewhere back towards the gas tank, and all the pulling and pushing and yanking, with getting the old tank off and the new one on, ended up ripping that rubber part.

    Now, I don't know if a 1960 Mopar's fuel line would be similar, but it could be possible that there's a similar rubber part back there that's got a hole in it, and not allowing enough fuel to get through. Now if you had a leak like that, you'd think you'd see or smell spilled fuel. But I didn't with my Dart. I think the torn part was at a spot high enough that the fuel in the tank wouldn't drain out, but then it still seems to me that the fuel already in the line, between the rupture and the engine, would drain out. :confuse: But, maybe not. I did have the car jacked up in the rear to get to the tank, so maybe that was enough of an angle to keep it in?

    Anyway, my guess would be that there's sediment at the bottom of the fuel tank that's blocking the flow. Probably wouldn't be too surprising for a car that's almost 50 years old.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    It could well be a tank problem. Here are two more things to check before going to all that work. First, try to look at every inch of the line you can see from tank to carb, to look for kinked or pinched steel lines or deteriorated (possibly collapsed) rubber. Also, if you can get to it, you could try disconnecting the line at the tank and pump, and blowing air through it. It could either show the line is clear (meaning the obstruction is elsewhere), or it might even blow out something.
  • I have a 1973 Merc 450 SL Convertable in great shape. However, in typical elegant German engineering fashion, the V8 is a nightmare. Between the distributor, electronics, and some very odd pneumatics, the whole thing is impossible to keep in top running form. Fortunately I also have a Ford 5.0 L Fuel Injected V8 at my disposal that I would like to drop into it. The engine compartment has more than enough room to accomodate it. With the Ford power and the gearing on the Merc rear end, the combo should really rocket. But I would rather not engineer the whole transplant from scratch. Does anyone know of anyone who has an aftermarket solution for mating a Ford powerplant/auto tranny to this the Merc running gear?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I have seen a 280SL done with a Ford 289 (and the trunk script changed to 289SL as well!) but they used the Ford transmission, which I would recommend. I can't imagine any kind of commercial adapter in existence---this isn't a very common transplant.

    Also I have bad news---I think the car will be slower with the Mustang engine, unless you are putting out significantly over 250HP. Of course, if your current engine is tired and ornery, you might notice a difference, but the stock car when new should have done 0-60 in about 8.5 seconds....given the porkiness of the 450SL I don't see how the 5.0 Mustang in stock form is going to better that by very much.


  • Thanks. Yes the plan was to also use a Ford transmission. The available one I have is three speed auto with an overdrive 4th. The Engine/Tranny are actually out of a Ford Explorer XLT. If I can get the mechanicals sorted out, I will probably wind up converting the engine to a tricked out normally aspirated variant to get around the also archaic computer module in the Merc. I will do a search on teh 289SL, maybe someone has a webpage on it. I really like the badge change. Personally I would look into getting a couple of badges in the shape of spades (as in "Ace of Spades") made up for it as well.
  • thullthull Posts: 1
    I'm thinking also about doing an engine swap, have you started putting your ford engine in yet, and if so could you tell me how it is fitting or if any mods that need to be done to make it fit.


  • I noticed your conversations on the Mercedes motor swaps. I am in the process of doing one now, I am installing the 1976 Chevy 305 or 5.0L small block w/4 barrel carb and a chevy 4 speed tranny in my 1973 350sl (same as 450sl) This should push between 250 and 300 horse. If you install a motor that is close to the production year of the car you need not worry about emissions. I'm not sure about California laws on this. But this will free up a lot of space.
    Fortunately I have tons of valuable resources and I am a custom heavy duty Truck mechanic and My brother has been in the parts business for 20 years.
    I am fabricating motor and transmission mounts for this swap.. At my job we have a person that specializes in drive trains, he will be cutting my mercedes driveshaft and will weld it to a chevy yoke for the transmission, then he will balance it. This will allow the use of my mercedes rear end.
    I have done the measurements and research and this seems like one of the easiest ways to install a more affordable and more powerful motor. Let me know if I can help anyone!!!
  • 800sl800sl Posts: 2
    My turn to jump in.
    I am building a replacement front crossmember for the w107 body. This solves all the clearance problems with the steering box. And it doesn't matter if it's a Ford or Chevolet you will have clearance problems.
    I will also be offering a rear suspension kit. It will be a three link with watts linkage to support a 8.8 or 9 inch Ford.
    Why the major up-grades you ask? Well I'm installing an injected 468 inch big block Chevy backed by a T-56 six speed and a 9inch Ford. Oh did I mention it's turbocharged?
    This otta make this pig junp!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Well both you guys keep us posted on these interesting projects, please!

    If you want, you can start your own pages, and post photos there. It's also a great way for you to store your own restoration record in one place. Let us know when you do that, if you do.

    As for California, if you install a '76 motor, in theory you'd have to pass '76 emissions testing. As a '73 car, there is no smog testing required, so you may never have to deal with this issue unless CHP stops you and wants to bust you for an engine swap. Not likely.

    I think a 350SL differential could handle a normal 305's torque but not that stroker motor! The Mercedes overall structure is very solid so I'm pretty sure you won't get any chassis twisting----but you know, that depends on how much power we are talking about. I've certainly seen big block motors twist and crack stock frames.

    Are either of you expecting difficulty in getting the stock shifter console to sit properly on the floor pan, or will you have to build something there? Will the AC still work (not that it ever did on a 350SL :cry: )


  • 800sl800sl Posts: 2
    I'm going to build frame connectors and at least a four point roll bar ( got to be safe )
    The turocharged big block will reach 700HP on pump gas, and yes the A/C will be retained and steering will be upgraded to power rack and pinion. I'm going to go with the stock climate control for now because everything works but if anything fails it will all be replaced with a Vintage Air system.
    And remember. The front suspension conversion will be a bolt in. The rear suspension may take a bit more than a "bolt in", we'll see.
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