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  #1  
Old 09-20-2013, 09:01 PM
rippyrip rippyrip is offline
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Default Advice on a chassis and engine swap

Not really sure where to post this, if the mods want it somewhere else, I apologize.

I have an awesome old 1955 Dodge Power Wagon. I want to upgrade it to a more freeway friendly and modern suspension and running gear. After researching and thinking a while, I'm thinking it would be best to just pop the body off and onto a modern RAM. That way I can still keep the original chassis intact and set aside.

I know I'll need to do a few things like shortening the frame, custom body mounts, etc. The Wheelbase on the old Power Wagon is 126", so at least 10" shorter than any of the newer Rams that I know of.

complete frame specs are here: http://www.dodgepowerwagon.com/main/frame.jpg

At this point I'm thinking of a late 90s to early 2000s RAM 2500 4x4

I do NOT want a diesel swap.

I'm usually a Ford guy, preferring the big 460. I want to stick with Mopar in this Dodge though to keep it all in the family. What engine should I be looking to for the same type of low RPM high torque and horsepower figures?

One thing I love about the newer Dodge's is the much tighter turning radius than the Ford trucks I'm used to.

I'll be running 33-37" tires, depending on what gets me the right "stance" without a lift. Also will be running a manual tranny with overdrive. My goal is around 1700 RPM at 70 MPH.

As of now I'm looking at a multitude of engines, mostly crate motors.

5.7L

Any of the new gen EFI crate motors like the 392, 360/440, 426, etc.

I can't seem to find any specs with the actual engine dimensions for fitting in my engine compartment. I also can't seem find any info from people that have swapped in and run the new gen crate motors.

Ideally I'm looking at decent MPG (it is a big truck though) while cruising at low RPM down the freeway, while still having the low end power I'm looking for.

I'm just gathering information right now, I'm a year or two away from even starting this project.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:20 AM
richmond richmond is offline
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Well, considering you've obviously "smoked" this over. Perhaps you should visit Legacy Power Wagon. As a purist, the 4BT Cummins is the closest thought I could lend to any mileage considerations and/or Provenance to Dodge in general. Legacy has a Magnum version if you were to inherit the Saudi Kingdom. R...
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:30 AM
rippyrip rippyrip is offline
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Well, let me ask this a different way.

Does anyone have any experience with the mopar crate engines such as the 440 stroker, the 392 and 426 hemis? preferably in EFI, and preferably in a dodge ram, real world power, torque, towing, and fuel mileage?

I gave serious thought to a cummins. I even borrowed a friends truck who is a hardcore Cummins guy, has the 1998 12v built up to around 550 horse. I liked it, it just wasn't for me.

I've also looked at Legacy. However I don't want to spend $150,000 to have a truck built and still not be exactly what I want.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:50 AM
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Inherit the Saudi Kingdom.... that's funny! I don't have anything to add, but I do want to follow this thread.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rippyrip View Post
Well, let me ask this a different way.

Does anyone have any experience with the mopar crate engines such as the 440 stroker, the 392 and 426 hemis? preferably in EFI, and preferably in a dodge ram, real world power, torque, towing, and fuel mileage?

I gave serious thought to a cummins. I even borrowed a friends truck who is a hardcore Cummins guy, has the 1998 12v built up to around 550 horse. I liked it, it just wasn't for me.

I've also looked at Legacy. However I don't want to spend $150,000 to have a truck built and still not be exactly what I want.
You will need custom mounts right off to put a hemi in the frame you are talking about, but not a big deal. Do you intend to carb the engine or stay with EFI? A stroked hemi tuned properly for your combo/intended use, lotsa power and torque, with a decent set of gears towing will be awesome. This "fuel mileage" you speak of, kiss that goodbye.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:26 AM
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Coming off a Ford 460 I'll be happy with mileage being from 10 to 18 MPG.

I'm looking for basically the same performance as the 460, just a bit better. I can tow 12,000 LBs all day on that at 70 up and down the hills just fine.

I drive mostly freeway, very little city, so without a trailer and with an overdrive, running around 1700 RPM at 70 I'm aiming for 15-18 MPG.

Towing, doing a bit of shifting, 10-13 would be nice.

I'll probably stay with EFI if I go a crate motor yes.

I know I'm going to be doing some fabbing of body and motor mounts, not a big deal there.

Last edited by rippyrip; 09-22-2013 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:12 AM
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if you go with the original hemi (426 big block) the first thing you should take a look at is whether the frame your gonna use will handle the torque of it. in alot of cases an added cross member or if the frame your using is a "c" channel style just boxing in the frame will make a huge difference in strength. thats part of the reason all the new power wagons have fully boxed in frames. it also helps with the chassis twist of hard off roading. as for an engine i'd probably rather go with the 383 magnum. it's not the 426 hemi but it's a stump puller of an engine and has the possibility to make more torque if it's done right. keep us posted what you decide and pics of the build i wanna see this beast.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb power wagon View Post
if you go with the original hemi (426 big block) the first thing you should take a look at is whether the frame your gonna use will handle the torque of it. in alot of cases an added cross member or if the frame your using is a "c" channel style just boxing in the frame will make a huge difference in strength. thats part of the reason all the new power wagons have fully boxed in frames. it also helps with the chassis twist of hard off roading. as for an engine i'd probably rather go with the 383 magnum. it's not the 426 hemi but it's a stump puller of an engine and has the possibility to make more torque if it's done right. keep us posted what you decide and pics of the build i wanna see this beast.
An 'original hemi' would be a 50's Chrysler/Dodge/DeSoto engine. The hemis the OP is looking at are variations on the new 3rd gen hemi.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:18 PM
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In my mind, I immediately think 440. A mildly built 440 has gobs of torque and will pull heavy loads all day long against a tall final drive ratio. Hemis are awesome with all the wow factor, along with additional cost and big wide cylinder heads that can be an issue when fitting to a vehicle. A stroker smallblock will get you close to the 440 power output in a modestly smaller and lighter package, but for cost and ease of hitting power and mileage goals, the 440 is my #1 choice.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiLonestar View Post
An 'original hemi' would be a 50's Chrysler/Dodge/DeSoto engine. The hemis the OP is looking at are variations on the new 3rd gen hemi.
Correct. While I absolutely love the nostalgia of the original 426, I'm looking at the new 3rd Gen with an EFI setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen1dak View Post
In my mind, I immediately think 440. A mildly built 440 has gobs of torque and will pull heavy loads all day long against a tall final drive ratio. Hemis are awesome with all the wow factor, along with additional cost and big wide cylinder heads that can be an issue when fitting to a vehicle. A stroker smallblock will get you close to the 440 power output in a modestly smaller and lighter package, but for cost and ease of hitting power and mileage goals, the 440 is my #1 choice.
This has actually been the top contender in my mind. I'd think the crate motor 360 siamese blocked stroked to 440 would be my best bet for fit. I'm just not sure on the power/torque comparison to the big blocks. Relatively speaking on the crate motor aspect, the 440, 392, and 426 are all fairly close in price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mb power wagon View Post
if you go with the original hemi (426 big block) the first thing you should take a look at is whether the frame your gonna use will handle the torque of it. in alot of cases an added cross member or if the frame your using is a "c" channel style just boxing in the frame will make a huge difference in strength. thats part of the reason all the new power wagons have fully boxed in frames. it also helps with the chassis twist of hard off roading. as for an engine i'd probably rather go with the 383 magnum. it's not the 426 hemi but it's a stump puller of an engine and has the possibility to make more torque if it's done right. keep us posted what you decide and pics of the build i wanna see this beast.
I'm going to be using a late 90s to early 2000s RAM 2500 frame. Any idea how that will stand up to the 426? Or will I need to strengthen that frame?

I'm still really looking for some real world info on the MOPAR crate 440/392/426s. Plus some exterior dimensions would be nice. Can't find those either.

Has anyone installed any of those in a RAM? Since that's essentially what I'm doing.
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