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D150 Project: Takeout Hemi Drivetrain


Kevin
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I have the truck pictured below. It's a 1980 Dodge D150 Custom. I've owned it since 2009. It was originally a slant 6/automatic truck. It has a low compression smog era 1978 440 and 727 automatic transmission now. I bought it pretty much like it is except I lowered it 3"/6" with 1 ton B van lower control arms and a rear axle flip. I also put the American Racing Ansen Sprints (slot mags) on it. You wouldn't believe how solid this truck is. It's rare to see a Dodge of this era without a rusted out bed. There isn't one spot of rust in the truck and there are no metal patches I can see. Whoever painted the truck did a really good job.

I am at a crossroad with the truck. It sits alot and I haven't driven it in a few years. I've contemplated selling it or finally doing what I wanted to with it. If I keep it, I'd like to do something with the complete drivetrain. These options would include a heavy duty rearend like a Ford 9" or Dana 60.

1. Build the 727 and a 500 horse big block. This will probably be the easiest option
2. Pull a complete Hemi (preferably a 392) out of a wrecked Charger or Challenger. Holley makes everything you need for this swap which will probably be the most expensive option.

I'm leaning toward keeping the automatic transmission, but have considered an American Powertrain T-56 swap if I stay with the big block. I would probably go with whatever transmission came with a Hemi takeout. I know there are outfits who sell complete drivetrains (Cleveland Performance) ready to run on the crate. I've done searches and can't find too many other places. I've also heard about Copart. How reputable/expensive are they? Do you know of better places/salvage businesses? What would you do if you owned this truck?

I have a complete 440 block, crank, rods, etc. I'll probably look into crate engines vs. building one. I do like the modern drivetrain in older vehicles, but it may be too costly. It would probably be much cheaper to go all out on a 440 with aftermarket aluminum heads and intake, cam, and even aftermarket EFI than it would be to go with a stock 392. It's hard to beat a well built Chrysler RB. Since I have the 727, it will also be cheaper to build it than to do a T-56 swap. I'd have to convert the steering column and find a pedal assembly.

I helped a buddy put a Holley EFI system in his 1968 Cougar. I really like it. I think that would be cool on a 440. Then, there's air conditioning. This is a non-AC truck, but I think an under dash kit would work fine in a regular cab pickup.

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I've been kinda wanting a 1988-1998 GMT-400 short bed.  One of my employees was telling me about a 1997 Chevy stepside that his dad just bought for $3500.  He said it has 75k miles and is a near perfect garage kept truck.  I told him to tell his dad I'd give him $2000 profit on the truck.

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1 hour ago, Kevin said:

I've been kinda wanting a 1988-1998 GMT-400 short bed.  One of my employees was telling me about a 1997 Chevy stepside that his dad just bought for $3500.  He said it has 75k miles and is a near perfect garage kept truck.  I told him to tell his dad I'd give him $2000 profit on the truck.

That’s a steal!

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I'd do a built 440 if it were mine. Engine Masters did an episode with a .030 over 10:1 440 with a fairly small hyd roller and the TFS 270 heads. That motor made like 590hp. I have to believe that would be a riot in that truck.

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Those Trick Flow heads are ready to rock and roll out of the box aren't they?  I have truck headers and a good cam that I've forgotten the specs on.  I'd probably have to get a good intake.  I'd probably stick with the 727 unless I could buy a complete manual swap and transmission for the same or less money.  Either way I go, I'll have to build a rearend.  Since the truck is already set up for the Chrysler RB engine and I have some parts, that's what I should do.

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Unless you already have a hyd roller cam, i'd sell the one you have now and get a good HR cam to match the heads. I'd keep the 727 unless you can find a manual that can handle the power.

 

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/tfs-61617801-c01/make/chrysler

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/wis-pts531a3/make/chrysler

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/tfs-61602003/make/chrysler

 

 

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What if I just drop a block, a crank, and 8 connecting rods off at your house?  😆  I'm not looking to build an all out drag engine.  I'd like a healthy 500-600 horsepower.  Do you think TF heads beat all the others on the market?  I was looking at a crate engine from Indy Cylinder Head (they used to be the Chrysler RB specialists.  May still be.) for about $10,000.  It had their alum. heads and intake.  It supposedly makes around 600 hp.  I figure I could beat that building my own.  Indy's heads are high dollar.

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On 11/11/2022 at 6:30 AM, Kevin said:

What if I just drop a block, a crank, and 8 connecting rods off at your house?  😆  I'm not looking to build an all out drag engine.  I'd like a healthy 500-600 horsepower.  Do you think TF heads beat all the others on the market?  I was looking at a crate engine from Indy Cylinder Head (they used to be the Chrysler RB specialists.  May still be.) for about $10,000.  It had their alum. heads and intake.  It supposedly makes around 600 hp.  I figure I could beat that building my own.  Indy's heads are high dollar.

I'm not talking all out drag engine. I'm talking a pump gas daily driver type engine. 10:1 compression. Roller cam under .600 lift (durability, longevity), and "modern" heads (still MAx Wedge design from the 60's). That crate motor for 10K would be nice too. As long as it's under 11:1 you can keep 93 octane pump. 

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Disney, could you shorten a driveshaft?  When I lowered this truck (6" rear) a squeak developed.  When the engine is under load, the squeak comes from the rear.  I think the driveshaft needs an inch or two cut out of it.  Also, my buddy Ronnie is having issues with his Ford 9" in his Cougar.  Could I get you two in contact so he could talk about it?  He can't find anyone who wants to fool with it.

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33 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Disney, could you shorten a driveshaft?  When I lowered this truck (6" rear) a squeak developed.  When the engine is under load, the squeak comes from the rear.  I think the driveshaft needs an inch or two cut out of it.  Also, my buddy Ronnie is having issues with his Ford 9" in his Cougar.  Could I get you two in contact so he could talk about it?  He can't find anyone who wants to fool with it.

Can shorten, cannot balance. 

What kind of issues? I just took in a car this weekend that is getting a gear (and everything else in the rear) and some other things. Once it's done I could look at the Cougar.

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I will probably just have a custom driveshaft build when I get my transmission and rear end choices figured out.  Ronnie's 9" was never set up right.  He bought the housing from Currie and the gearset off some guy that never used it.  The axles don't seem to engage fully.  We've measured them and they should work.  It seems to me that they are slightly short, but won't seat for some reason.  I'm not a rear end guy, so...

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This 440, how healthy is the short block?   How was compression ratio changed at the factory, via piston changes or combustion chamber sizes?   If the short block is healthy and chamber makes compression ratio, a heads/cam swap might be all you need.

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