stroker
stroker UltraDork
2/7/19 10:41 p.m.

Just noodling at this point.  Saw an article on an engine swap that gave me ideas and there's a cheap one nearby.  Thinking snailish thoughts...

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
2/7/19 11:21 p.m.

I don't know but I'd love to have one with a 5.9 magnum and a stick just because.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/7/19 11:59 p.m.

Since they are the basically same as the F (Aspen/Volare) and J (Mirada/Codoba) bodies with the bent torsion bar suspension, you can swap around suspensions and steering between them.  Depending on what you are looking for, you can start from mild, with solid or poly isolators replacing the original rubber mounted K frame mounts, upgrading to a "Firn Feel" steering box, using police spec front and rear sway bars, suspension, and brakes  and ditching the "Iso-Mount" spring rubbers that locate the rear axle on the leaf springs,  to wild, with a full tubular K frame replacement with tubular upper and lower control arms, coil overs, and rack and pinion. 

As an added bonus, here is Steve Dulcich's take on on your dilemma from nearly 20 years ago.

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/8/19 12:01 a.m.

Oh no. Now I have to follow this thread. I have no idea why I've always wanted a Diplomat, but... There you have it.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/8/19 12:08 a.m.

In reply to Ransom :

I just want a 1981 Dodge Magnum



Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
2/8/19 4:25 a.m.

Question for Mopar guys: The blue car above has a neat bit of blackout trim around its headlights.  (Compare with the chrome on the red car.)  Does anybody know whether that was OEM or just something the owner did?

Knurled.
Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/8/19 5:30 a.m.

I understand that some Chrysler engineers were so upset with how the suspension got "simplified" by using the torsion bars as the tension arms that they up and left.

 

The old straight torsion bar suspensions had really good geometry, but they concentrated a lot of road noise to the chassis right under the front seats, which is why they moved to attach everything up front.  Me, I wonder if the old A-body (or maybe B body) suspensions can be swapped in without too much drama.  The rear torsion bar mounts would be a problem.

 

I remember these cars having a lot of issues with the rear axle shifting on the springs, causing all sorts of thrust angle problems.  I never actually had anyone want it fixed so I don't know the precise failure, just a lot of people who want their Diplomat aligned again because it still pulls left.  Yes I know you said the rear axle something or other, can't you align the front so it doesn't pull?

stroker
stroker UltraDork
2/8/19 8:08 a.m.

BTW, I'm thinking Challenge budget here.  I read the Dulcich column before posting but I doubt there are many police Diplomats in the junkyards any more (or at least any that haven't been picked clean).  A Gen 3 swap was in my mind but I'm not finding any on Copart anywhere near the price range necessary.  

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/8/19 8:12 a.m.

In reply to stroker :

Gen 3 can easily take you right out of Challenger Territory all by itself.    You can find the drivetrains, but engine management will be the toughest part.

Any F/M/J upgrade isn't going to be quick and easy from a handling perspective, but the same rules I mentioned apply.  Solid mount the K frame, get rid of the Iso-Mount rear spring setup (the rear end isn't mounted directly to the leaf springs, but instead has a rubber isolator that goes between the axle mount and the leaf spring.



There are plenty of old M body police cars out there, and they go for pennies on the dollar.   You just have to be willing to look.  

But this isn't going to be as easy as tossing together a Miata with cast off parts.  



F/M/Js aren't the Answer.

They are more of a Question.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/8/19 8:16 a.m.
Stealthtercel said:

Question for Mopar guys: The blue car above has a neat bit of blackout trim around its headlights.  (Compare with the chrome on the red car.)  Does anybody know whether that was OEM or just something the owner did?

Both of those are Mexico-Only cars, so I can't tell you for sure if it was OEM.

However, MoPar was well known for interchanging argent with black highlights for performance models, or model year changes, so it is quite possible that those are factory parts.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/8/19 8:40 a.m.
Knurled. said:

I understand that some Chrysler engineers were so upset with how the suspension got "simplified" by using the torsion bars as the tension arms that they up and left.

 

The old straight torsion bar suspensions had really good geometry, but they concentrated a lot of road noise to the chassis right under the front seats, which is why they moved to attach everything up front.  Me, I wonder if the old A-body (or maybe B body) suspensions can be swapped in without too much drama.  The rear torsion bar mounts would be a problem.

 

I remember these cars having a lot of issues with the rear axle shifting on the springs, causing all sorts of thrust angle problems.  I never actually had anyone want it fixed so I don't know the precise failure, just a lot of people who want their Diplomat aligned again because it still pulls left.  Yes I know you said the rear axle something or other, can't you align the front so it doesn't pull?

With good reason.   The geometry on the bent torsion bar cars is less than ideal, to say the least.  The move was done as much for cost cutting, and easy of assembly, as anything else.

It would be far easier to build your own tubular K fame and coilover setup than to try to swap an early K member and straigh torsion bars under there, IMO.


The rear end problem is from the rear spring isolators I mentioned above.   For a Challenge car, they would be the first thing I got rid of.   Heck, they would be changed out on a driver, as well.   An easily sourced stock Explorer 8.8 would go under the back with an LSD and 3.73s or 4.10s.  Just need to weld spring perches in the correct location.

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
2/8/19 8:42 a.m.

Dammit. First the 2nd gen Ramchargers, then the turbo 2.4 Stratus, and now this? Why did Chrysler give all the cool things to Mexico?

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/8/19 8:48 a.m.

In reply to Daylan C :

Because Americans.

 

America didn't want a large, RWD, performance coupe in 1981.

Or a Full Size 2 door SUV in 1999

Or any Stratus at all.  Ever.

chandler
chandler PowerDork
2/9/19 3:18 p.m.

 

 

The day I was parting one Michigan pursuit to swap into my D150

They don’t handle all that well but I haven’t been into them since 2000 or so

 

in the garage was my 79 LeBaron which is the closest we got to a diplomat coupe 

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/9/19 7:11 p.m.

So, of course now I had to go out and find a LeBaron notchback coupe...

chandler
chandler PowerDork
2/9/19 8:18 p.m.
Cooter said:

So, of course now I had to go out and find a LeBaron notchback coupe...

I had the finest red crushed velour interior, 8 track player and a spider gear that shifted the rear end around as I went around right turns lol.

buzzboy
buzzboy HalfDork
2/9/19 8:31 p.m.

Straight up pro-lux. Drop in a 90s spec 5.9 Magnum and let it eat!

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
2/9/19 8:34 p.m.

I know we are supposed to be enablers, and im not one to kink shame, but i just really cant imagine why anybody would want one of these. Ever.

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
2/9/19 8:50 p.m.

In reply to gearheadmb :

Because they're awesome.


 

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
2/9/19 9:31 p.m.

With the right combo of suspension and engine that right there SCREAMS sleeper.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
2/9/19 9:54 p.m.
gearheadmb said:

I know we are supposed to be enablers, and im not one to kink shame, but i just really cant imagine why anybody would want one of these. Ever.

Don't blame us for your lack of imagination. 

stroker
stroker UltraDork
4/5/19 10:19 a.m.
11110000
11110000 Reader
4/5/19 12:11 p.m.

In reply to gearheadmb :

You just answered your own question.  Think about it.  wink

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
4/5/19 12:20 p.m.

I'm seeing too much wear, dirt, and damage on the wheel, dash, and under the hood for that.  I suspect there is another 100K miles on top of that.

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
4/5/19 12:20 p.m.

I really like the button-tuck Parisian Brothel Red leather interiors they put in these.

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