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Engine swap 1950 wayfarer


Jakob126
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So I just got a 1950 dodge wayfarer, hasn’t ran in 27+ years, engine isn’t seized but I wanna do an engine swap without tons of fabrication. I’d like to do a mopar 383 and possibly a TH350 with a ranger or Cherokee rearend. I would like some thoughts, advice, references, and some real good experienced knowledge. With that being said I’m not opposed to a 318/360 engine or a mopar trans instead. Any and all input is appreciated 

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I can't offer specifics on that chassis, but I can caution that using unlike engine and trans pairs will take longer and cost more,

 

Any 'A' series Mopar and matching trans, 904 or 727, would be a better choice IMNSHO. We, or at least I, have no idea what the goal may be.  Tire shredding monster or nice cruiser, but both can be done using a 318, 360 or 400 as the base.  Check out this thread for high level engine potential, not your chassis but begins with an A engine.  A stock 318 would be at the other end of the spectrum

Edited to add the missing link.

Edited by kencombs
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well, putting a Chevy transmission behind a mopar engine and in front of a Jeep or Ford axle is asking for "tons of fabrication".  Every part of that combo will need hand fitted.

 

Minimal fabrication would be putting a built flathead into your chassis.  Like the 230 I am slowly, with the emphasis on slow, building for my Cambridge.  Now I have had to do some fabricating because I put a Thickstun dual 1bbl carb intake on it and chose to go with two 1bbl TBI setups rather than carbs.  Then there is the split exhaust that will require a custom exhaust system.  Finally, I plane to convert the points distributor to electronic ignition using the guts of a slant six distributor as the donor.

 

You bypassed any mention of improving the brakes or suspension, something to think about before you double, or more, the horsepower and top speed.      

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Jakob...welcome aboard.......I have had a 318 poly in my 1940 Dodge since 1973 with a cast iron Torqueflite and rack & pinion steering, late rear end and 4 wheel discs, etc , etc so can give some comments on your proposal............anything is possible however you indicate that you want a TH350 on the Mopar 383 big block........got to ask why the GM trans...nothing against it but it adds another no "stock" adaption that will add to the cost......a mopar 727 or 904 as indicated would be a better, bolt on choice.....now getting into the actual engine installation as you mention a Mopar 383 we'll assume that its a big block, not a bored/stroked A/LA series engine........a big block mopar can be made to fit but you may find a couple of things to complicate the installation........the oil pump/filter assembly for one and the stock 1950 Dodge steering box and column....all can be overcome tho' the simplest would be to use a Mopar small block, LA series......ie, 273/318/340/360 or 400......these are quite narrow, make plenty of power or can be made to make even more and are a quite common installation in pre 1960 Mopars........so what I would suggest is a 318-400 LA series, 727/904 auto, disc brakes on the stock style front end, late model rear axle of your choice and away you go........have attached a pic showing the 318 Poly in my 1940 Dodge.......whilst I DID this I would not recomend this unles you want to do a bit of fabrication......BTW ....theres is.no engine swap that doesn't involve some sort of fabrication...its part of the deal....regards from Oz.........Andy Douglas   

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Like Sniper said, everything you want to do will take some fab. If you go with the 383, nix the turbo 350 and use a 727. I would also use an 8 3/4 rear. Unless you have all of your parts for a swap, get the original running and drive it before you tear it apart. You can enjoy the car while you're gathering parts and getting a build plan. Anything is possible if you are willing to put the work in. My 49 is in the middle of getting a Desoto 291 hemi, 4 speed and 8 3/4 rear. I'm making every mount bracket and tab myself. Really not that difficult. You have to remember going in, these aren't shoeboxes or 69 Camaros. You can't just call Jegs or Summit and order a "kit" to mod your old mopar. There are a few things out there but not much.  Good luck and have fun.

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The only reason TH350 was even mentioned is because I had one offered to me by a friend. A 360 is a more likely option due to the availability of them I’ve found. A 727 is more likely now with finding them cheap on marketplace. I don’t have a ton of knowledge or money, fresh out of highschool…anyone have any ideas of the best front end setups or just refurbish my stock front end with new bushings and disk beakes

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Jakob.......no need to apologize, we were all like you at some time and I'm pleased to see a young guy interested in and involved in old cars........WELCOME ABOARD from Oztralia!!..........getting back to your question re the front end.........by far the most cost effective thing to do to the stock mopar front ends is to keep the basic design and just upgrade the parts and design...........depending on how much money you have then a rebuild of the stock brakes or better still a disc brake swap will improve the braking, however the braking swap will be really improved if the rear end with the associated late model brake is also swapped a Cherokee or Dakota rear ends seem to be a good start.........getting back to the front end........new shocks or while you are at it maybe look into a shock relocation kit or fabrication which involves moving the upper shock mount to a fixed upper chassis mount........if finances allow swapping in newer increased thickness front coil springs and or a upgraded sway bar can also be of some benefit........but basically go through the stock front end and check that its o/k and back to original specs as far as wear and tear are concerned........even if you intend to swap out things getting a paper copy of the workshop manual is worthwhile. ideally one that covers a range of years, ie, say 42-54 or similar as it will give you an indication of how the design of the cars systems may in fact allow swapping well past the specific year or model that your car is..........my car uses 1940 lower A arms, 1941-54 upper A arms, 1954 stub axles, 1940 spindles, a 1940 shaped sway bar with heim jointed links and relocated upper shock mounts with 11" vented disc brakes and a 9" narrowed BMC rack & pinion...........see attached pic........you DON'T have to do this much but there are lots of things that can be done in a cost effective way so welcome aboard and have you got any pics of your car?....we all love pics....regards, Andy Douglas

 

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Jacob126,

 

Check out this co. for weld on Mopar motor mounts and trans for V-8,s to older Mopars.

 

https://www.hotrodhotline.com/butchs-cool-stuff-quality-line-1928-1965-custom-and-rodder-parts

 

DJ

 

 

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Good news, I’m going to pick up a near complete 360 with a 727 trans in the next few days which will be a decent start to the process. Below are the few pictures I’ve taken so far, more and better pictures will be taken later on. I’m sure most of y’all on here aren’t much on the whole patina look but I love it. On that same note, I’m not sure how popular mild rat rod builds are on this forum but I’m sort of going with one mostly because I don’t have the resources, time, money for a full perfect restoration ( I also just love rat rods). 

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Very good and solid looking project. I remember my days out of high school like they were yesterday. I also think those fastback wayfarer's were some sleek looking cars. Im also a fan of the patina look. Much props to you man for going for the engine swap. What happened to your stock engine, if I may ask?

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Right out of high school I was still into Japanese rice burners.  You are already ahead of the curve.  (In my defense the first Fast & Furious had just come out and my friends and I went to see it about 25 times at the dollar theater).  
 

What happened to your stock engine and accessories?  Want to sell them?  I’m trying to piece together a good spare engine from not-good spare engines.

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O/k.....I'll bite...........I'm not a fan of rat rods or as I call them, crap rods.........HOWEVER I do understand keeping a cars "patina" within reason........I mean we all have to start somewhere.......heres a couple of pics of my car, one soon after I bought it in September 1971, 50 yrs ago next month, I was 17, another on its first foray with the 318 poly installed, with me at the helm, yep I drove it around the block like that, another rear shot when I was widening the rear fenders by welding 2" into the whole fender, front to back and now as it has basically been since the vinyl roof was removed 10 yrs or so ago.......everything takes time but how about calling it a "work in progress"...........much kinder and doesn't belittle it or its history.............BTW......do you know from whence the Rat Rod term originates?.........andyd   

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The stock engine is all there and pretty much complete, I haven’t pulled the head on it but I don’t think the internals are in bad shape since I can somewhat easily spin the crank, it just hasn’t ran in 27+ years. I’m not too sure if I’d sell the old engine or not. And to all who said I have a good start out of highschool thank you, but actually I bought my first classic (1971 c10) my junior year but that project got sold. 

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Have you thought about getting it running and stopping as is?  That way you can drive it a little and see if you like the car before you tear it apart for years and sink a bunch of money in it.

Having a shoestring budget usually means engine swaps and other large projects can take a lot of time.

Having a large budget, these projects can be done in short order.

 

Nothing worse than sinking lots of time and money into a project only to find out you don't like the car.

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I am just remembering when I was in HS... 

Got a 39 Plym business coupe my sophomore year

Got it running and driving stock junior year, too slow.

Swapped a 413 / 4spd mid-senior year because I thought it would be better.

Sold it that summer for a muscle car because it wasn't my thing.

Wish I had it back now :(  Started missing it in my 30's

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Well I’ve got to put new floors into the car, and new metal in the trunk. I’ve definitely got a lot of time to invest, I mean money isn’t going to be a huge issue but I’m not spending all my money on my car, this project is partly something to keep me busy as well as a learning experience. I like the car no doubt and I’ll like it even more when I’m ripping and running. I am not going to get it driving and stopping as is, I may try to get it running which won’t take much, but I’m not gonna be driving it as is the floors are in no shape to do any driving with 

 

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What is for sale on EBay may be cheap but noes not hit all that well and all will require cutting, fitting, welding, adapting,  plus make room for changes in the floor for the updates needed! If you can do it-go for it!

 

DJ

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Well I’m a welder on the bright side so I’m not real worried about floors, I’m not much of a mechanic past the typical “I work on my own stuff” kinda person, so that may be the only place I run into any issue if I do run into anything big

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Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots of knowledge here. Join a local car club if possible. I agree with Andy about keeping the front suspension stock for now. It’s a pretty robust setup. There are a few options for disc brake conversion. Check the download section of the forum. Good luck and keep us posted.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update to anyone who still has any interest… I ended up going with a 383 mopar and a 727 trans instead of a 360. Motor is torn down soon to be sent off to the machine shop. I made up my mind on a rear end, searching for a Ford 8.8 from a fox body mustang or an old explorer. If anyone has any tips, suggestions, comments or concerns lmk. 

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