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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Curious on opinions on a budget drag racer body, was thinking early 90s Dakota or a late 80s Diplomat. What are some good cheap platforms for a 318 or 360 build? Looking to get in the low 13's.
 

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The early Dak should be lighter from scratch and dragtrucks are cool..so a Dak
 

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The problem with a truck is weight distribution and therefore weight transfer on takeoff. Traction will be harder with a truck. Not impossible, as there are some fast trucks out there.
 

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Dakota was much heavier than the other small trucks. I think you'll find first gen (87-96) Diplomat and Dakota have fairly comparable weight. Dakota gained some weight for the second generation (97-03).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tha is for the replys I am leaning towards the Dakota, Diplomats are proving very hard to come by, I am open to any other mopar platforms as well but nothing that gets too expensive
 

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Dakota was much heavier than the other small trucks. I think you'll find first gen (87-96) Diplomat and Dakota have fairly comparable weight. Dakota gained some weight for the second generation (97-03).
As Valiant67 stated. My first choice would probably be a 1987-90 2WD standard cab/short box due to it being the lightest bodystyle. Shelby offered a package for 1990 that worked well for its era: only a 318 TBI but, note the dual snorkle air cleaner.

https://cdn.barrett-jackson.com/staging/carlist/items/Fullsize/Cars/213741/213741_Engine_Web.jpg
 
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Curious on opinions on a budget drag racer body, was thinking early 90s Dakota or a late 80s Diplomat. What are some good cheap platforms for a 318 or 360 build? Looking to get in the low 13's.
Traditionally "hot rods" were built out of stuff a fellow had on hand, or could pick up dirt cheap. No one really set out to spend a pile of cash.
If I was building a Dodge I would look for a light car, probably a 2 door Volare/Aspen, and stuff in the most powerful motor I could buy cheap. I live where vehicles rust, meaning there are Hemi powered rust buckets locally for under $1000 if you look, about half the price a warmed up LA engine will cost you. If you are in love with an LA engine try a V-10 from a junk 3/4 Ton pick-up. There is a topic here about 9" Ford rear ends, check what I posted for a cheapo narrow source/job, with 4:56 gears.
You should be more than able to scare yourself silly for low bucks.
 

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Recently, a guy showed up to a local cruise night driving a 1990 LeBaron Coupe.

I was probably the only FWD Chrysler enthusiast there and decided to have a look.

As I was walking over he opened the hood and to my surprise he was running a 440!!

It was such a clean installation it looked like it was born there.

Someone with decent fabrication skills could build a FWD Mopar into a RWD drag car inexpensively.

Depending on location, rust free FWD Mopars ore often a fraction of the price of rusty RWD's

Just thinking out loud, in any case "add lightness"!!

Thanks
Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some interesting Ideas in this thread for sure. Thank you guys for the input, as mentioned a V10 In a Dakota would be really cool , Im not really big on fabrication and 5.9's are dirt cheap around here so I will probably go that route. I would love to put a big cam in a 5.9 and some radical gears with slicks.
 

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Some interesting Ideas in this thread for sure. Thank you guys for the input, as mentioned a V10 In a Dakota would be really cool , Im not really big on fabrication and 5.9's are dirt cheap around here so I will probably go that route. I would love to put a big cam in a 5.9 and some radical gears with slicks.
None of the LA engines really breathe, well, ok, the 340 does, so to make the thing work you are going to have to find a couple of 340 heads, or aftermarket, or forced induction.
We used to run the factory "purple camshaft" with 360 heads on a 318, but you will need pistons as the 360 chambers are bigger than the 318............ power is good up high, but the torque takes a beating, so you will need either a standard transmission, or a high stall torque converter.
 

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Engine Masters Magazine did several SBM Mopar builds with great results.

The editor is a Mopar guy and built and tested various 318-360 and stroker combos.

Early 360 heads with a little work ran great and aren't as crack prone as the newer Magnums.

I think his goal was to try an match the above mentioned 340 heads as inexpensively as possible.

Also interesting was the stability of the early stamped steel shaft rocker setup.

It outperformed aftermarket roller rockers due to the "added lightness" and is essentially free.

From memory, his first 318 budget build with early 360 heads surprisingly made 425 HP.

One of his goals was to try as many common factory parts as possible.

He used inexpensive KB pistons that address the Chrysler "down hole" piston problem.

Thanks
Randy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Engine Masters Magazine did several SBM Mopar builds with great results.

The editor is a Mopar guy and built and tested various 318-360 and stroker combos.

Early 360 heads with a little work ran great and aren't as crack prone as the newer Magnums.

I think his goal was to try an match the above mentioned 340 heads as inexpensively as possible.

Also interesting was the stability of the early stamped steel shaft rocker setup.

It outperformed aftermarket roller rockers due to the "added lightness" and is essentially free.

From memory, his first 318 budget build with early 360 heads surprisingly made 425 HP.

One of his goals was to try as many common factory parts as possible.

He used inexpensive KB pistons that address the Chrysler "down hole" piston problem.

Thanks
Randy
That is great info im going to find that article for sure. Did he by chance say how much he spent on the build?
 

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Early F bodies are light. Later J and M's are quite a bit heavier, especially the sedans, which were never designed to be hotrodded.

You guys are losing it. 340's and 360's shared head castings, except the 340 TA. All the old X and J heads are junk.
Putting 360 heads and intake on the 318 is a waste of time and money.

Buy a good '89 - '92 LA 360. This engine has decent 308 heads, and a roller cam and lifters. You can use a Magnum crate engine cam to beef it up, and still keep the rollers. Any money spent on ANY 318 will only bring it up to 360 in power (but not torque).

Torque is what wins the drag race. The 360 is the LA king of torque. The 383 is also a great option, but requires the heavier, slower 36RH. Put a built 32RH behind the 360, a built 8.25 or 9.25 behind that, and go forth shaming Craparo's and Rustangs.
 

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Early F bodies are light. Later J and M's are quite a bit heavier, especially the sedans, which were never designed to be hotrodded.

You guys are losing it. 340's and 360's shared head castings, except the 340 TA. All the old X and J heads are junk.
Putting 360 heads and intake on the 318 is a waste of time and money.

Buy a good '89 - '92 LA 360. This engine has decent 308 heads, and a roller cam and lifters. You can use a Magnum crate engine cam to beef it up, and still keep the rollers. Any money spent on ANY 318 will only bring it up to 360 in power (but not torque).

Torque is what wins the drag race. The 360 is the LA king of torque. The 383 is also a great option, but requires the heavier, slower 36RH. Put a built 32RH behind the 360, a built 8.25 or 9.25 behind that, and go forth shaming Craparo's and Rustangs.
It's a toss-up. A heavy car needs torque, a light car, not so much.
An early F, stripped out, sound deadener scraped off, and you can sneak by with a low torque engine geared right.
But as I said in an earlier post: you can't build an engine cheaper than you can buy a junk vehicle with a hemi in it using it for a donor, too new? lots of junk full size vehicles out there with 440's.
I used to manage 10.2 with a 302 cubic inch modified Z motor in one of those Craparo's you mention, a '67.
 

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If 13s are what you want... just throwing it out there, I've seen Hemi 300Cs on Copart for $700-800 buy-it-nows. Cheap donor in a 13.x second 4000lb car stock.
 
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They did several builds over the years, in the winter 2006 issue they budget built a 302, 305 and 318.

The 318 was the strongest at 415( not 425) HP @ 6200 and 394 lb-ft @4400

They show the whole build and there's nothing exotic, early 360 heads with 2.02" intakes.

KB 167 pistons, approx $325.00, with zero decking are the heart of the build.

Milling the heads .060" netted a 10-1 compression ratio, CompXE 275 HL cam

Here's an example of the magazine.

Engine Masters Magazine, Winter 2006 Issue (at http://magazineexchange.co.uk/cw/engine-masters-magazine-winter-2006-issue.html )


Too bad mr AHBGuru wasn't happy with his 360 head 318 build many others sure have been!!

"You guys are losing it. 340's and 360's shared head castings, except the 340 TA. All the old X and J heads are junk Putting 360 heads and intake on the 318 is a waste of time and money."

Thanks
Randy

That is great info im going to find that article for sure. Did he by chance say how much he spent on the build?
 

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Anyway, the magnum heads outflow all of the earlier LA heads.
- what wins a dragrace is hp, nothing else.
You do need gearing/ turbine so the hp shows up...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If 13s are what you want... just throwing it out there, I've seen Hemi 300Cs on Copart for $700-800 buy-it-nows. Cheap donor in a 13.x second 4000lb car stock.
You are saying a hemi 300c body with a bad engine for $800.00? I see $2000.00 for blown engine hemis at the auctions around here.
 

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They did several builds over the years, in the winter 2006 issue they budget built a 302, 305 and 318.

The 318 was the strongest at 415( not 425) HP @ 6200 and 394 lb-ft @4400

They show the whole build and there's nothing exotic, early 360 heads with 2.02" intakes.

KB 167 pistons, approx $325.00, with zero decking are the heart of the build.

Milling the heads .060" netted a 10-1 compression ratio, CompXE 275 HL cam

Here's an example of the magazine.

Engine Masters Magazine, Winter 2006 Issue (at http://magazineexchange.co.uk/cw/engine-masters-magazine-winter-2006-issue.html )


Too bad mr AHBGuru wasn't happy with his 360 head 318 build many others sure have been!!

"You guys are losing it. 340's and 360's shared head castings, except the 340 TA. All the old X and J heads are junk Putting 360 heads and intake on the 318 is a waste of time and money."

Thanks
Randy
You need to find some old Mopar Action magazines and listen to Ehrenberg.

Torque is what wins in the quarter. Any money spent on a 318 can also be used on the 360, further solidifying my case.

I've had plenty of E48/ELE 318 4bbl engines, and they all ran great. But they were designed primarily for durability, not all-out performance. Gentle readers will recall the ELD 2bbl actually generated more torque than the 4bbl police engine. The quickest and fastest of ANY of the 80's squads was the 1980 Aspen/Volare with the E58 360.

As noted elsewhere in this thread, the Magnums were much better than the LA, and the 3G Hemi obviously carries the Chrysler performance tradition through today.

A good 360 Magnum can be had very reasonably, and would probably be the very best option.
 
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