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HELP - I've an Australian built 1960/61 Dodge 1/2 ton 108 wheelbase pick-up and am having difficulty finding any information


Nigel Robson
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The title tells the story. I've just got the barn find. A good, solid chassis/body with all the glass, doors and so on. But it has no engine and a gearbox which may or may not be original. The Chrysler Australia Ltd VIN plate says it's a A1-08 E. From what I can find out this should be a '59 BUT the nose of the pick-up has the double L and R hand headlights (not single lights) which should be a '60 or 61 (the last two years before a big design change. The nose has not been changed by the look of the paint patina. OK, that's a mystery but my biggest problem is what to put in as a drive train. I want to put in something modern but with a similar power output as the original engine (here in Australia modifications are regulated and extreme power to weight ratio is one of them). Problem is I can't find anything about the original engine. Any help really appreciated. Also, I'd like to find a garage workshop manual as this would help with dimensions to work out what will fit or not. Thanks in advance. Nigel

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Nigel..........I just checked my Gavin Farmer "Great Ideas In Motion" book where he states that the last of the Pilothouse series of trucks came in April 1960 with a new egg crate grille and quad headlighted front panel.....the 313 poly V8 was also available instead of the 303 version.....................this book states that it could have been either a AT-2 or an AT-3 series ...........can you gently clean the data plate?..............do you have a picture of the engine bay.....especially the chassis/frame areas where mounts would have been......if it had the side valve six it would have had a solid mounted pressed steel upside down style of mount that bolted solidly to a frame crossmember right near where the radiator may have been.........if a V8, which would have been the 303 or 313 Poly V8 then the V8 engine mounts are about 8-10" back from where the radiator rear is located and are more or less in line with the first V8 cylinder on each side ..............does it have a gearbox still?............as for an engine....unless you really want a side valve six which if used would have been a "Kew" version, ie a 25" DeSoto/Chrysler based engine, NOT the 23" Plymouth /Dodge version then  I'd be inclined to use a Valiant/Mopar 318/340/360 Wedge which although are a later LA series rather than the original A series Poly are easier to get parts for........or even a Valiant sourced Hemi 6 could work also..........BTW....where are you?..........I'm in South Grafton, NSW am happy to talk if you want to call also.......02 6642 5963 anytime.......I have had a 318 Poly in my 1940 Dodge since 1973..........regards, Andy Douglas   

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Hi Andy, thanks for the reply. Good to have someone in the Aus with knowledge. I'll mull through all you've said and get back to you. Will give you a buzz at some time.....I'm juggling my passion for the ute with "life", the latter getting far too much in the way. I am in Perth WA. I don't have photos of the engine bay right now. Just bought the ute and won't get a chance to take more photos until I collect it w/e of 2 Oct. Once I have the photos there's an opportunity to move forward with the puzzle. Again, thanks for the reply I am hugely grateful. Regards, Nigel 

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Hi Andy, the gearbox I have was provided with the ute, but was out of the ute. The previous owner said the gearbox came with the ute but he's no idea if it is original or not. Here are a couple of photos - the gearbox and the bellhousing casting stamps.....I wonder if the "61" in the concentric circles is the year of manufacture, in which case, it could well be original as it seems to be contemporary with the double light nose cone. Still turns and has oil in it which is very clean. But it's been stored for 10-15 years (at least) according to the previous owner. It will need stripped down to check and refurb if it gets used again. Cheers, Nigel.

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Well.........Ve have good & Ve have bad news...........first ze bad news..........lol.........that gearbox is NOT original to your car/pickup/ute.....its an Alloy Chrysler/Valiant Torqueflite which as it appears to have BOTH shifter cables, ie the forward one is from the push buttons that is used to select the gears, the rear cable is as far as I know the "Park" cable which is a separate lever that is pushed down to lock the gearbox in "Park"..........there were two versions of this torqueflite alloy gearbox used, a small one called the 904 used behind the slant 6 and low hp 273/318's and a large one the, 727 used behind high performance 318'360',  and larger mopar V8's.........these alloy gearboxes were introduced in 1963 and were used in Oz Valiants and Dodge Phoenix..................If your ute had an auto it would have been whats known as a Cast Iron Torqueflite, which has an alloy bellhousing, cast iron gearbox and alloy tailpiece, all bolted together.......and the cast iron torqueflite only had one cable going into them from their push buttons......they did NOt have "Park" in them.........so the good news is that the gearbox pictured is definately worth keeping........someone will want it.........btw ...does it have the torque converter?...........andyd

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Hi Andy, thanks for that explanation. Good to know about the gearbox. How would I know if I have the torque converter? Sorry, my ignorance of this type of gearbox. Next interesting one - it came with an engine, which I'm told isn't original and came out of the ute. Unfortunately, the previous owner's dad took it out and partially dismantled it as a favour for the owner.......and it was then left for a long time, in various parts. Block, 2 separate heads (it's a V8) and top plate with carb. All very rusty and I've no idea what it is (not looked for an engine number or any other markings yet. On my list for the coming long weekend here in WA. It doesn't fit in with my plans only in so much as resto, if possible, will probably be more expensive than it's worth. Also, not sure it fits with my "modern driver train". I guess the interesting thing is how it relates to the gearbox. I assume they were once together. Thanks again for your knowledge, tips and advice. Regards, Nigel

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Hi Andy, I took some photos of the engine. They're attached. There seems to be a number on the block and on the "manifold" the carb is mounted on. I think the  block number continues....seems like there's a "3" after the initial 3 digits and a gap. It's dark now, so I'll see if I get a better photo tomorrow (and of the second making on the carb manifold which is a bit out of focus. I decided to take the pistons out - done the ones I could at the moment - as part of a complete disassembly of the block, so I can get a better idea of overall condition and to see whether it's rescuable.....even if I don't use it. Aim is to also preserve it from further deterioration until I decide what to do with it. Not sure what to do with the heads yet. Cheers, nigel. 

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That head/valve config is certainly a poly V8. With the transmission I'd guess a 318. Curious about Andys post of the 727. My 64 belvedere does have a push button setup and a park lever. I wonder if there was a transition period where park existed along with pushbuttons

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I recall driving some vehicles equipped  with the sliding lever along with the push buttons.  Both power flites and torque flights..  What I don't know was the slide controlling an actual prawl within in the trans, or if it was controlling the parking brake.

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Nigel.........the pic of the heads answers the question as to what the engine is.....that "saw toothed" shape to the rocker cover with a single long rocker shaft and rocker arms on either side for intake and exhaust is a Poly V8......used by Plymouth from 1955 thru to 1967, with that specific style from 1957 to 1967 in 277/303/313/318 & 325 cubic capacities..here in Oz its more than likely either 313 or 318 judging by the use of the alloy gearbox as well...........you asked what a torque converter is.........at the front of the gearbox, inside that large bell shaped housing there should be a stamped steel plate with the starter ring gear around its circumferance and a large cylindrical "thing" that bolts to the stamped steel plate, this large round thing is the torque converter................which also then bolts to the rear of the engine crankshaft and is driven by it ............there should be a STAMPED number on the machined boss shown on the first of your most recent pics..it should be that shown above where the fuel pump bolts ont....its on the front of the Oz drivers side of the block top.......this number may start with some letters also which may give a hint as to what the engine is from..........I doubt that this engine & trans is originally from this pickup but I could be wrong..............I'd be squirting some oil or wipe some grease on all the bearing surfaces, ring surfaces and wiping the bores also........won't remove the rust but may stop it getting any worse........the rust on the block & intake manifold outsides won't harm them tho'.......if you have exhaust manifolds take care of them as they can break easily and are hard to fine and expensive............and finally I have had one of these engines in my 1940 Dodge since 1973, see pic...............Andy Douglas 

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Edited by Andydodge
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Hi Andy, thanks for the last message. Some further information. 

Engine block No. is 228 4370

Head 1 Nos. are 2268341    G-12 (or possibly 0-12)

Head 2 Nos. are Head 2268341-5    7-20

 

Also a picture of the gearbox to answer the torque converter question.

 

Thanks as always for your thoughts and knowledge.

 

Regards

 

Nigel

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Nigel......looks like its missing the flexplate which bolts onto those 4 threaded blocks and is attached to a flange on the end of the crankshaft.......I can't help re those numbers you have quoted as I think they are casting numbers, and will actually relate to when the block and/or heads were cast by the foundry in the USA and could be anytime from 1957 onwards, the casting numbers can also be used to indicate whether its a special performance engine or what ever ...........BUT........... as it has a 2 barrel carby, a BBD Carter carby,  I think its more than likely just a basic grocery getter 313 or maybe 318 which is all we got here in oz, NO oz Poly V8 came with anything other than that standard 2 barrel carby and a single exhaust pipe...........the STAMPED numbers on that machined boss it the front of the drivers side row of bores would be more helpful and may help identify where the engine first lived..............I just went and checked a spare 313/318 Poly I have had for 30 yrs, it was removed from a 1955/56 Packard of all things, the Packard engine went kapput and this Chrysler Royal/Dodge Phoenix V8 was installed, this was in the 1960's in Sydney....the Packard rusted out and was parted out in the late 1980's......I obtained the complete engine as a spare......its STAMPED engine number is PV20911C and I also checked the engine number on my 1940 Dodge rego papers and its PV26154C ...........my understanding is that the PV stood for "Plymouth Vehicle".............the engine in my Dodge I removed from a running, complete 1962 Oz Chrysler Royal AP3-4VCA.........which equates to a 1961/62 Chrysler Royal V8 Torqueflite Auto and was a 313 but I had it bored out 80thou to 325 cubes which its been since 1975...........anyway the stamped numbers might help................andyd.    

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Hi Andy, thanks again for replying. I'll look for more numbers and see what I find. I do have the exhaust manifolds. I actually have a load of parts (some from the disassembled engine / gearbox, other engine bay equipment, brake system etc. etc. I have to get though it all. We have a long weekend coming up next weekend here in WA and this is on my list to do. No idea if I'll come across the flexplate you mention. I don't recollect anything circular in size and that big of the top of my head, so may not be lucky with that. We'll see I guess. Do you know whether there as such things as dealership workshop manuals for the ute? It's probably hen's teeth if they are about....I've seen earlier manuals (early to mid 50s but not anything later, which is what I'd need). Maybe the mechanics didn't change in that time, but I've no idea. If I could find one it shorten my path, dimensioning things, to work out a suitable replacement. Maybe "period" correct is the right way to go. Probably more likely to get a similar power unit and maybe not have to change out the diff / rear end of the drive. Anyway, thanks again. I feel like you've helped me with quite some steps forward. Seems to be fair bit of Aussie poly stuff - parts to complete rebuilds to refurbished engines - on Gumtree and Ebay. The price of some parts is quite a shock though. I guess that's rarity for you. I'm sure I'll be posting more in the coming days if not weeks. 

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Hi Andy,

 

A quick search in the boxes of bits I have and I'm thinking this is the flexplate you mentioned......either that or what are the chances that the 4 bolt holes just line up with threaded block holes. It has a slight bend in it. I'm guessing either from a careless removal or subsequent careless storage. I doesn't look difficult to make it true. As I've no example to go by, do you know if this is the right way around or not? (the centre "dome" with the hole surrounded by 6 smaller holes - does it stand outwards towards the engine or go the other way around as in dome to torque converter / gearbox). 

 

I'm beginning to ponder whether refurb and re-fit of engine and gearbox would be the way to go. Any idea what parts availability is like - not everything will be salvageable......or maybe the idea is sell what I have to offset an already re-built. Choices, choices 🙂 

 

Regards,

Nigel

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Hi Andy, a bit more digging, this time a google search. 

 

Based on : A Guide To Mopar V8 Cylinder Head And Block Casting Numbers (enginelabs.com) the head casting Nos. are for a 1962 – 1967 318 LA-series small-block, 1.84/1.56 valves. Your educated guess was spot on. So another piece in the jigsaw falls together. 

 

The other thing is it confirms that the engine and gearbox are not original to the ute but were a replacement for whatever reason some time later. When is, in all likelihood, never going to be known. Not that it's important really. 

 

I guess based on other information on the enginelabs webpage, the original engine could well have been an A-series small block produced from 1956 - 1967 on the assumption the ute was fitted with a V8 from new. Now, I've no idea at this time if it was or if another non-V8 engine was available. I wish I had the original ute options spec. More digging required. 

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Nigel...........it is confusing but here goes.......Mopar introduced the 277/303/313/318 in 1957 as the A series small block V8..the 318cube  and a 325cube version were used until 1966/67 and as the A series engine they always had the "poly" heads with the saw tooth rocker covers.........however in 1964 Mopar introduced a "cheaper" small block V8 which was called the LA or "Late A" series engine in 273 cubes initially.....this LA engine was available from 1968 with 318, yes 318 capacity and from 1969(?) as a 340 and subsequently a 360 and even a 400 cube version with various changes..........BUT those head casting numbers that you say are to suit an LA series engine is NOT correct...........if it says its for an A series engine then yes, o/k but those heads cannot be from an LA series engine.........all LA series engines had straight sided rocker covers and no single long rocker shaft.........all Valiant V8's used LA series V8s both in the USA and here in Australia from 1964 when the Oz AP6 Valiant came out with the 273 V8 till the last 1980/81 CM series with the 318 Lean Burn version, in between we here in Oz also had the 340 and 360 in some Valiants.........

...........the 313/318 polys were used here till 1962 in the Chrysler Royal, from 1960 to 1966 in the Oz Dodge Phoenix....all were two barrel single exhaust grocery getter cars and the Poly was used in Dodge heavy 2-3 ton & larger trucks from the early 60's thru to the late 60's(I'm not a truck expert) but am pretty sure the Poly V8 was NOT available in the small 1/2 ton size pickup trucks  and if they were available in 1960/61 it certainly would NOT have been with that engine gearbox as that gearbox is from 1963/64 and cannot fit to the earlier 1960/61 engine without changing the crankshaft as the crank flange is different up to 1962 then from 1963 it changes to what you have.........I said it was confusing...............one more question.........does your pickup have handbrake/parking brake cables going into the rear brake drums?........andyd              

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Cheers Andy, more good information. I guess it's not all that's on the internet is gospel. i'm going to work on the block this weekend and see if I can find any more numbers on it which may give a more definite change to identify what exactly the engine is. I've no idea about the brakes without looking at the rolling shell. I'm not going to see it for until the week after next to be able to take a look. I have a recollection that the back brakes are disc and that they would originally have been drums....but I'll have confirm my recollection. Do you know if the brakes would have been drums all round? 

Once again, thanks ever so much. I'm hugely grateful. 

More to come I'm sure. 

Cheers

Nigel

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Original brakes would have been drums all around........not sure about the number of studs or bolts into the drums......some mopars used studs, like a "normal" late model car that stick out from the brake drum and attach the wheel with nuts...........others had threaded holes in the brake drum and used a bolt with a taper under the head to attach the wheel.........generally the bolt pattern from the mid 30's onwards was the same as that used by Ford from 1949.....same as Chrysler Royals, Dodge Phoenix and other full size mopars but NOT possibly not Oz Valiant...........thread/wheel bolt is 1/2" UNF, and should be right hand thread but Mopar did use Left hand threads also...............lol..........got any more pics of the overall vehicle?............andyd      

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Hi Andy, thanks yet again. I expected drums all round. It would be consistent with vehicles of the day - my '54 Triumph TR2 has them. Sorry, no other photos right now. I'm moving storage on 2 Oct and intend to take masses of photos then. Then I can post (easier to email if you're that way inclined...my email is nigel.robson@optusnet.com.au to establish email contact). Regards

Nigel

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