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Discussion Starter #1
The transmission in my LeBaron is on its way out. I knew this when I bought the car, as I got it with the intention of swapping out the transmission for a manual.

The car originally had a 2.5 T1. When I purchased it late last summer, I was told that it was swapped for a 2.2, or at least the head for an older 2.2 head (it sounds like it has the slider arms, or at least is noticably "tappier" on startup than my 88 Daytona with roller arms). Should have the original trans, as far as I know.

I'm looking for advice for the best course of action for this swap. I know that I will need, at the least, a transmission, clutch pedal assembly, shifter and all related hardware, and some sort of provision for the bobble strut.

Am I best off getting a donor car to get all of the parts from, or can this be done easily with a couple of trips to a junkyard? Will I need to find an exact matching model for the shifter parts, or are they all common among the models? What sort of year range will be compatible?

Lots of questions, I know. I also plan to upgrade the car to T2 status, already have the intercooler parts and will swap out the computer as well. Should I be looking for an A-555 to put in, or will I be fine with an A-520? I have no plans of racing the car at all or pushing it beyond T2 status, just some spirited driving every once in a while.

Thanks for any and all input! I hope to start this project in early March before taking the car out again for the summer.
 

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Sounds like you have things pretty much under control. I would prefer to have the donor car on hand if possible, really makes things easier as far as seeing and remembering little things you need (having the room helps), but someone else will have to say exactly which models and years would be a good donor.
 

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Depending on how things turn out, you may want tot track down a manual transmission computer and throttle body. Or you may be fine with the auto pieces after the swap. Sometimes after the swap the idle will tends to hang a little high when shifting. I'd put it together and see if it behaves properly then swap the computer if needed. I know the Neons used a different manual throttle body but I don't know about the EEKs.
 

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In addtion, you will need the entire pedal bracket that bolts to the firewall behind the dash for a Manual car. It was a stop welded to it for the clutch pedal, without the stop the clutch pedal will be to high compared to the rest of the pedal, uncomfortable, but still driveable. You also need to make sure you have the bracket for the clutch cable that attaches to the drivers side strut tower. The auto computer will still run the car fine, but if you have access to a manual computer use it. The throttle body of these cars are all the same manual vs auto. You will also need to loop the reverse/neutral safety switch so the car will start. The 520 transmission is good and will get the job done just fine if you can't find a 555. I would stick to trying to find shifter cables from a Daytona or Lebaron coupe/convert, just to make things easy since they are the same. Shadow/Sundance cables may be to short, and Spirit/Acclaim may work only if you get them off a 89 car. The 89 Daytona/Lebaron shifter would be the best to get since it is a shorter shifter. I think there is more things, but I can't remember right now, it's been quite a few years since I helped my friend convert his Spirit Turbo from an auto to a 5 speed.
 

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The LeBaron convertible and the sedan are NOT the same car-- one is an AJ, the other is an AA. You will need to get a console for the manual shifter, which of course brings up interior color and whether your car had a console in the first place (probably does since it's a Chrysler, but in the case of the AA body, the Spirit and Acclaim could be had with a bench seat instead of buckets, which deletes the console). It might also be a good time to put in poly shifter bushings and whatnot. Automatic cars all had larger brake pedals, so you'll need a smaller brake pedal to clear the clutch pedal. As mentioned before, you'll need the bracket for the clutch pedal, which mounts... somehow in relation to the brake pedal, I don't remember how, but I do recall that the supports for both are in close proximity.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So from what I'm gathering, I'd be best off getting a LeBaron or Daytona as a donor car. Does anyone know what year ranges will work for the swap, at least for all of the main pieces? I realize that one particular piece will be rather difficult to come by, the shifter bexel whick goes into the center console. I belive this is a part that is unique to a manual LeBaron...
 

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1990 was the year the interior changed so you'd want 87-89 I'd think.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Let's say that I didn't care about the bezel, in fact it is probably the last piece I will be able to find. Will I still need to be looking for an 87-89 for the rest of the pieces? Would an 85-86 Daytona be too old?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Would an 86 Daytona serve well as a donor? I've found one somewhat nearby, would probably take the engine at the same time as it was recently rebuilt. Would the engine and transmission drop in from that year, and should the shifter parts be compatible?
 

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From the firewall forward, the EEK's were mostly the same, with the exception of the bigger ones like the Dynasty and Imperial. So yes, the transmission and engine will just drop in. The linkages on the transmissions themselves are also identical. However, inside, the two platforms differ, and that's where you're going to run into problems. You may be able to use some of the interior parts from the Daytona, like the pedal bracket, but I imagine that there will be some parts that are LeBaron-specific, like the insert that you mentioned. Whether these parts are critical or not (like the insert), I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Would there be any sort of electrical difficulties or other reasons why an 86 engine wouldn't be a good idea in an 89 LeBaron?
 

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The 1986 engine would be set up for the two part computer system (separate power and logic modules). The 1989 LeBaron used a SMEC (Single Module Engine Controller, which houses both power and logic modules in one box). So you may find some sensor issues but nothing likely to stop you from the swap if you have the old 1989 engine to donate sensors if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I do have the 89 engine and sensors. Would I be better off grabbing both computers from the donor car, or just swapping sensors into the new engine, keeping the SMEC?
 

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I would say the latter would be easier to work with.
 

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+1 on the SMEC. The two-board controllers on the earlier cars had serious problems with condensation ruining the MAP sensors because of the location. They were moved in the mid '80s from behind the passenger kickpanel with the two-module controllers to the passenger side strut tower. I believe the update came in '86, but I would still go with the later engine controller.
 

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The change came in 1988, 1986 still used seperate power and logic modules.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Funny the way things turn out sometimes... I'm still pursuing the purchase of the '86 Daytona, however it has become pretty obvious that it is in quite a bit better shape than my own Daytona. So... If I do buy the '86, I will now likely be pulling the A-520 from my own Daytona, rebuilding it and putting it in the LeBaron. Good news is, in the end, I will have a donor car (though I didn't expect it to be my own!)
 
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