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A-100 Van: Replacing a 273V-8 with a 3.9lite V-6

Discussion in 'Pre-1994 trucks, commercial vehicles' started by Rampart66, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. pt006

    pt006 Active Member

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    I might go in a different direction. There are some Dakota fans on this site with more knowledge than I have. Some of the early Dakotas came with carburetors. An intake manifold swap may be necessary. 273 carb might fit? A 70's alternator with an electronic regulator would be an upgrade. An electronic ignition system from a 70's V-8 SB. might be modified by changing the star wheel [reluctor] in the distributor from an 8 point to a 6 point. And swapping in a 6 cyl distributor cap. This is old school thinking. Or, an aftermarket ignition system might be available.

    You can always keep the 273 in there and leave out 2 spark plugs. Then tell people you have an 'uneven fire' V-6.
     
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  2. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    There is no stand alone distributor for the 3.9 V6, the early carb engine used a Lean Burn style ignition with a feedback carb. It was not a strong setup.ipar offered V6 carb hop up parts but those are long out of production.

    I think you can do what you have planned without having to swap in the instrument cluster, especially with a pre-OBDII (92-95) donor.
     
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  3. Rampart66

    Rampart66 New Member

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    My A-100 originally came with a 273 V-8, but the engine was gone when I bought the van. Only the short tailshaft transmission was included. Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'd prefer to go with current set-up in the donor van. It's all there, and it runs great, so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I think I will go with what I have. I have various engines I could put in (slant 6, late 60's 318, even a 440), but all of those have been done in A-100's. Nobody (to the best of my knowledge) has put in a 3.9 fuel injected V-6, so I think I'll give it a go.

    Rampart 66
    St. Augustine, FL.
     
  4. Rampart66

    Rampart66 New Member

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    Thanks, valiant67. All of these suggestions are very helpful, and you guys obviously know a lot more than I do.

    Rampart 66
    St. Augustine, FL.
     
  5. scatpack_69

    scatpack_69 Active Member

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    I see zero reason to swap dash clusters. They just aren't very integrated back then.

    Computer for engine (and maybe trans control?) and wiring for both. That's all you need.
     
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  6. Rampart66

    Rampart66 New Member

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    Well, the gauges (instrument cluster) is the least of my worries. Just for yucks, I looked at a few Dakota dash clusters at the junkyard I went to today, but nothing I saw would fit directly in place of the original instrument cluster in the A-100. I like the looks of the original anyway, so I'll make it work.

    I have the computer and wiring from the running 1992 donor van, so no worries there.

    I'm concerned about motor mount brackets and the motor mounts themselves. Not sure what I'll need to do on that subject.

    I also need to climb under my donor van, and measure the length of the engine (from the mounting points) to the rear of the transmission, and see if length wise the combination will be usable in my short wheelbase A-100. That's the most important thing to begin with.

    Thanks for posting!

    Rampart 66
    St. Augustine, FL.
     
  7. dana44

    Ad-Free Member

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    I think the motor mount locations are the same for the 273 and the 3.9, but just so you know, the motor mounts for the Dakota 3.9 is bolted to the K member, to which they could be unbolted and welded to the existing K member if they are indeed different (cut the old ones off), but I think they are the same location as far as that goes. Being the age and all, they might be a different style, not positive on that though.
     
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  8. Rampart66

    Rampart66 New Member

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    At the junkyard today, they had several Dakotas with the 3.9 V-6 (1987, 1990, 1993, and 2002). I noticed the motor mount brackets were bolted to the frame on the '87. '90, and '93, but the '02 was different. It had motor mount brackets that were welded to the frame rails. The older mounts were more of a pancake style, like most older vehicles are. The '02 had a round, spool type motor mount. I took photos of everything I could for future reference. I wish there was such a thing as a plastic, mock-up V-6 engine that I could set in the A-100, and figure out what I'll need for brackets and mounts. But, there's no such animal. Little by little, I'll get this figured out, especially with the help of everyone here on the Allpar forum. Thanks!

    Rampart 66
    St. Augustine, FL.
     
  9. dana44

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    Well, since you do have to put the engine in through the passenger door, I know the doghouse comes off to give you room to do everything. Otherwise, since I do remember seeing an Overhaulin' issue where they put a V8 into an early Dodge van, I am pretty sure they did it from the bottom up, meaning the K member does come out of the van, giving you all that extra room to maneuver an engine/trans onto the K member and be able to install the motor mounts accordingly, outside the van floor (which is the hassle), then drop the van back on the K member, just like the A/B/E body cars. Hadn't thought about that. Mount-wise, this would make it rather easy to get new ones set up pretty easy. Width isn't an issue, same as the 273. So, to determine if the existing mounts are in the right location, measure from the back edge of the block to the back edge of the motor mount boss ears. If it is the same, or within half an inch, mounts isn't an issue at all.
     
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  10. Rampart66

    Rampart66 New Member

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    Chip Foose and the magic of television makes everything look so easy. Unfortunately, there is no removable K-member on an A-100. As you said, figuring out the motor mount situation with the K-member sitting on the floor out of the van would make matters a LOT easier, but that isn't possible. When the time comes to experiment, I guess I'll have to hover the V-6 over the existing, welded on frame brackets in the A-100, and see what I can come up with. It would be AWESOME to find out-of-the-box mounts to work without having to fabricate something, but I have my doubts about that happening. I'm not even close to the time I'll be attempting to do all of this. I'm just trying to gather up as much knowledge as I can before the time comes. Maybe I could talk Chip Foose into coming by and doing all this for me. That would be GREAT!!!

    Rampart 66
    St. Augustine, FL.
     
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  11. awyseguy

    awyseguy Well-Known Member

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    Any update on the project?
     
  12. dana44

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    Earlier this season on Wheeler Dealers, Ant put a V8 in an early 65 or so Dodge van and they installed a Mustang II front end under it pretty easy. He was pretty detailed as far as installation goes, might be worth it to check it out.
     

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