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New guy here looking for some help on 56 build

sluggish

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I'm just getting started on my 56 build so I'm sure to have alot of questions but here's a bit about my project.

Bought this truck from original owner's son 18 yrs ago when I lived in Calgary Alberta. All original except rear diff, and drove it until a few years ago when the clutch finally gave up. Was bad when I got it so it did well for me. truck kind of got put aside but in the last couple years, with a bit of life lessons involved, and a daughter who will be driving soon, it has come to the forefront and my daughter and I will be building it for her. So last year I decided it's time to do the clutch, ordered the parts and COVID hit. Well I figured I would have some time to kill with that going on so I tore into the truck a bit more. (You see where this is going?) Long story slightly shorter, the truck was completely disassembled, sandblasted and primed. While it is out getting that taken care of, I cleaned up the motor, got ready to put the clutch in and of course it is the wrong one. This cost me almost $1000 to get it to me after a long while searching and it's the wrong one. Place I bought it from swears it's correct and won't take it back since it has been so long since I bought it. Anyway, that was the catalyst i needed to make me decide I am going to do a motor swap rather than start the search all over again. Went from thinking about a 318, to an ecodiesel, to a 5.7 hemi, then to a v6 Charger engine, and back to an eco diesel, and finally settled on a 6.4 Hemi, which is now sitting in the garage. Slight hp increase from the old 230 flathead 6, though the flathead does still run like a top.

Anyway, question 1 is this. I am going to need to do some frame boxing with the added power and wondering if there is someone who makes the reinforcing plates to do that, or am I going to have to make my own. Based on the research I've done, it looks like I will have to make my own but figured I'd ask in the off chance that someone has been down this road.

Next question, has anyone done a swap like this, maybe a 5.7 hemi that I can lean on for some advice and pointers. Going to be a learning curve for me for sure, but if I can avoid a few pitfalls along the way, it would be a great help.

I've attached a pic of what I started with and will try to update as I go along.

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richard d woolsey

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neat truck and good looking daughter. there is a book out there called " how to build chrysler plymouth dodge hot rods.book one. by tex smith/rich johnson. there is a section on putting aspen/volare/ny/5th ave transverse torsion bar suspension under trucks. gives you late model brakes etc. i will try to post a picture later after supper. also probably lots of placed you could get front subframes or there is a guy named porboy on another mopar site that used dakota frames. glad you and daughter are doing this together. go getum girl.
 

65 sporty

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Nice project, what trans are you going to use with the 6.4? A 727? Have you decided on what engine management system your using? Factory PCM or Holley?
 

richard d woolsey

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here is picture book cover. my grand daughter wants a truck also. going to be 81-93 short bed. i got 14 trucks to chose from.
 

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7mopar

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That truck looks to nice to cut up. Think if I were putting in a 6.4 the trans mated to it would be installed also. A few around me have done it using the management system from the donor vehicle the engine and transmission came from. As to the boxing of the frame buy some plate and have at it. I would not do anything with the frame until the engine and transmission location had been established and mounts have been installed.
Also in the Dodge form there should be a few older trucks like this people have done such swaps to.
What is your skill level at welding and body work?
 

sluggish

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Thanks guys. I struggled with keeping it all original because it is in good shape but part of the decision to update was so that she could get parts for it easier in the future when I am long gone. :) I'm planning to keep the frame intact and not do a subframe swap at this point. I do want to improve the front suspension and obviously the braking but cutting the frame and grafting another on on to it is very frowned upon by the MTO here. Don't want to have issues trying to get it safetied for the road. I also plan to use the transmission that came with the engine, and if possible, I may try to use the entire rear diff setup as well. If that proves to be too problematic, i have an explorer diff with disc brakes that can go in it. Would definitely be less work to do the explorer diff. I bought an entire wrecked car so I have all of the wiring that came with it as well. Fuel tank and everything will be swapped to the truck. As well as the brake booster setup if I can get it to fit under the hood. Power steering will likely be a struggle to get sorted out. Lots of what ifs at this point and I'm sure many things will change along the way but I have to start with some sort of plan in mind. Trying to find another hemi block right now to make mock up a bit easier than trying to manhandle the entire setup. I know I need to keep the engine as low as possible in order to get some tranny clearance under the cab. These things are quite tall and I'm hoping to avoid cannibalizing the entire trans tunnel. As far as my welding skills, well they can definitely use improvement. I'll likely tack things where I need them and have a buddy come do the final welding for me. I don't trust my welding skills to keep my daughter safe. Might have to put a block under the gas pedal and shave it down as her driving skills improve.:nailbiting:
 

7mopar

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Sounds like it maybe come a struggle. I have done a few swaps over the years. Some that worked well and others not so good.
You will not only have drive line constraints but also body. That is why I asked about welding skills.
Don't want to discourage you because at this point you need all the incouragement you can get.
Set your priorities and stick with them. Some things will change. You may decide to go with a different engine. I have not seen the new hemi without all the composite on top but they look huge for that little truck.
At this point I would leave the engine complete. Hang it into the engine bay some how and set the cab and front clip back on the frame. Don't need to bolt anything in just sit it into place the best you can.
Post plenty of pictures and stay in touch. We will give all the support be can. Just don't lose sight of the original plan.
 

sluggish

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Well I got the motor pulled from the car yesterday and it is definitely big. Dropping it between the frame rails to keep it low is definitely a problem. The frame rails on this truck curve in drastically where the motor would mount and flares back out for the bumper support. Without cutting the frame and putting straight rails, there is no way this motor will sit in there. I assume this will be the case with any other motor than the stock flat 6, as any V8 would be wider. Back to the drawing board.
 
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7mopar

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How low in the frame did the in line sit? Was wondering if the width of the new hemi might be a problem but thought it would be higher and farther back.
Can you give us some frame dimensions?
I know something V8 should fit as I have seen older hemi's in them just not sure what all had to be altered to get them there if anything.
 

7mopar

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57 doge d100​

Here is an other.
Just a few examples of what can be found on here just in this form alone.
 

sluggish

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How low in the frame did the in line sit? Was wondering if the width of the new hemi might be a problem but thought it would be higher and farther back.
Can you give us some frame dimensions?
I know something V8 should fit as I have seen older hemi's in them just not sure what all had to be altered to get them there if anything.
Frame width at firewall is 28”, then tapers in to 19.5” at rad support then back out to 27” at bumper. Where I estimate the mounts to be located is 22.5”. Center to center on the actual engine mounts is about 26”. I can probably mount on top of chassis but that won’t give me clearance for the hood. I can get a better look once I get the car carcass out of my way and actually drop the engine in the bay. Hopefully things will look a little clearer at that point.
 

sluggish

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Frame width at firewall is 28”, then tapers in to 19.5” at rad support then back out to 27” at bumper. Where I estimate the mounts to be located is 22.5”. Center to center on the actual engine mounts is about 26”. I can probably mount on top of chassis but that won’t give me clearance for the hood. I can get a better look once I get the car carcass out of my way and actually drop the engine in the bay. Hopefully things will look a little clearer at that point.
Original engine sat about 9” below the bottom of the fram to bottom of oil pan.
 

sluggish

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What would be the reason for that? Driveline angles? If that is the case the mounts at the top of the frame would be pretty close to keep crank at same height.
 

LocuMob

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Nice truck, and nice build idea. Those subframes from aspens, volares often times line up like they were made for the older cars and trucks. It's worth checking into. Does the truck need to be inspected? That's the only reason I can think that you'd avoid that route. I'd also think the newer Hemi would be an issue in that regard as well.

For the frame, like @7mopar said, buy some plate and get to work.

That sucks the clutch is wrong, but look at all the fun you've enabled because of it!
 

7mopar

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What would be the reason for that? Driveline angles? If that is the case the mounts at the top of the frame would be pretty close to keep crank at same height.
Ending up with the wrong driveline angles could create some serious vibration issues.
 

sluggish

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Thanks. Just in the process of working out the front suspension now. I can get the motor to fit as long as I can get the crossmember low enough. Might have to trim the center tunnel a bit but it needs to be patched or replaced anyway.
 

mopar56

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Well, you got some work ahead of you, lol, I have the same truck, and started the same way you did, I tried the Volare clip, I tried adapting disc brakes to the original frame before that, honestly if I were to do it all over I would gave went with the Dakota frame, that being said I went with a 81 Dodge s/b frame, ONLY because the price was right AND I am using a A833 4 speed trans and I knew it would bolt right in however the frame is wider there fore you end up with some tire poke, also the frame will to be shortened, lastly I had to cut the fire wall to set the engine back further, lots of work, if your going with a auto trans I'd use the dakota frame. Also consider upgrading your steering column to some safer and collapsible.
 
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