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1979 Trans Van (appears B300 based - dually)

3063 Views 23 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  seuadr
Hi all,
I am about to pick up a 1979 Dodge Trans Van with a 318/A727.

For those that may be unfamiliar, these are built off a cab and chassis (this one appears to be B300 based) with a fiberglass motorhome shell on the back.
(not mine, example pic)
Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle

the one that i am looking at is fully gutted minus the cab and i am in the planning stages of the project - which involves thinking of areas where improvements could be made, especially with everything currently being gone there are a lot of things that are likely simplier.

Obviously, one of the things on the list is replacing the A727 with an A500 or A518 and using hardness to control OD and lockup speeds - but that got me thinking about other improvements i can make with the 318.

Hence my visit here.

Now, this camper is a brick. a somewhat aerodynamic brick (and one of the things i'm looking at is improvements to help with that) but, there is only so much you can do - so i've made peace with the fact that this will either be fast or efficient (within reasonable expectations) but not both. given that tradeoff, i'm looking for things that i can do to help with low end torque, which should help at least to some extent with efficient.

I know that there are EFI systems out there, and/or more efficient carb setups that i could explore - as well as some 360 parts that may help like swapping valves, as well as things like aftermarket headers (edlebrock torquer headers) and i'm sure that the exhaust system could be improved.. but i'm thinking that you folks may have some input?


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Good call out on the rust; I looked at a clean conversion van for a customer that looked just like the photo ImperialCrown posted.

I'm a fan of the 3.9, but only in the Dakota. Dad had an 89 D100 (yes, they still built the 100 that year) and that engine had to work HARD, especially when he was towing his 19' boat. The original owner of that truck had traded it in within 6 months of purchase because of the disappointing mileage. I think Dad (with his heavy foot) averaged the same 12-13 that he typically got from his V8 trucks. In my 2wd Dakotas (and with my lighter foot) I always averaged 22. Now, I always thought of the 360 as a gas hog (the one I had, in an 83 D250, sure was) but the fact that it wouldn't have to work as hard as a 318 would be the plus here.

A few years back I had an 83 GMC full size van with the 6.2 diesel. Total dog, but no matter how you drove it, no matter how much or how little you had packed in the back, it delivered the same 20 mpg. A decent turbodiesel could have you in the 20s, maybe, but would take major surgery, and of course right now the higher pump prices will eat up the mileage savings. A shame Chrysler never came up with a serious diesel option for these vans, regardless.
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