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Superfly
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Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:04 pm

Question for my fellow motorheads.  Smile

This is only an idea and not something I have decided to do.

I have a 1987 Chrysler LeBaron convertible that only has a 2.2 Turbo (4cyl.) engine that puts out 146HP @ 5200 rpms lousy in my opinion. It’s front wheel drive not my fault and is underpowered.
I was considering ripping out the engine, transmission, frame and everything else.
Mount the body to a full-length frame thus making the car body on frame, dropping in a 318 (5.2liter) V8 and making the car rear wheel drive.
I think that will improve the car’s integrity and make it much more powerful.
It’s pretty light weight (2,786lbs.) and the car is still in mint condition after 15 years.

I think NASCAR did the same thing some time ago.




This is the car in question.



Bring back the Concorde
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:10 pm

BTW, I don't like to modify cars from it's original state. 1987 Chrysler LeBaron just looks nice and that's it. Like most post 1981 Chryslers, the devil is in the details. Under the hood is an underpowered 2.2 liter engine originally designed for the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Remember those little boxes that was intended to compete with the VW Rabitt and only puts out 90HP?
Putting this engine in a larger car and adding a Turbocharger just created a big problem.
That's why many of these cars are already in the junk yard with low miles and body still in good shape.

Bring back the Concorde
 
n949wp
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:21 pm

Wouldn't it be easier to get one of those V6 powertrains that were available for these K-car derivatives and simply transplant it into your LeBaron? Improving the performance of the car while keeping the scale of the project manageable.

Just my thought!

'949
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:27 pm

N949WP:
I've considered doing that.
I still don't like front wheel drive.
I just may end up dropping in the V6 (3.0).
Bring back the Concorde
 
TurbineBeaver
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:39 pm

Superfly,

Sounds pretty cool. However, I'm not expert on maintenance so can't give you too much advice.

Out of curiousity, would you be performing the work yourself, or getting it done?

TB
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:44 pm

TurbineBeaver:
Some of it I will do myself but most of would be done by a friend of mine who is an expert on cars.
He worked for Ford for 26 years before working on his own.


This is what I get for not sticking to Ford/Mercury/Lincoln.
Bring back the Concorde
 
FLY 8
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:54 pm

You realy must love this car if you want to invest that much time and money to convert it!

If you love it, and the car is something special for you, than make the whole thing! Don´t make half things. If you just add the V6, i´ll bet that you will change it after some time to the V8 with rear transmission.
yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
 
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IHadAPheo
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:58 pm

Superfly, the 3.0 V6 sounds good, but why not go for AWD, I wonder if the AWD systems from the older Caravans (K-car based as well) might be useable in your LeBaron
Pray hard but pray with care For the tears that you are crying now Are just your answered prayers
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:01 pm

FLY 8:
I don't love the car, I just really like it.  Smile
Because me and a friend could do it saves me a lot of money.


Ihadapheo:
That would REALLY cost a lot of money!
Bring back the Concorde
 
FLY 8
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:07 pm

OK I could only imagine myself to do something like that, if I would be connected to that car. Like older cars, I mean older than 1978! Not from the 80´s!

But I were you I would change the whole thing, that would even make this LeBaron something special!
yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:22 pm

Here is an idea...stick a Tri-rotor 20B engine in it. Then do the following
Street Port, 3mm. Apex Seals, Race Bearings, Clearance Rotors, Twin Turbo = 550 H.P. @ 12.5 psi boost




Flown to 147 Airports in 62 Countries on 83 Operators and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:23 pm

FLY 8:
True.
Now the car I love is the 1977 Lincoln Town Car.  Smile
That car is perfect and does not need any modifications.
Bring back the Concorde
 
FLY 8
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:26 pm

Yeah that´s right! I would love to have such a car over here in Europe! And one day I will!!!!!

This summer when I come over to California I will satrt to look for some good one I can take over to Europe!
yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
 
Metwrench
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:30 pm

Superfly!!

Stepping down from the big Lincolns to a "K" car???

You just get unemployed???

If you must get a an "ach" "ach" Chrysler convertable, how about a late 60's Chalanger?
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:50 pm

Funny Metwrench!  Laugh out loud

Actually I bought this car 4 years ago as an gas saving alternative to the big Lincoln.
I found out the hard way that the big old Lincoln is much more reliable than the Chrysler LeBaron.
I refuse to by an ordinary looking econo-box like the Civics, Escorts, VWs etc. They just look to bland.
I like the consealed headlights, convertible top, woodgrain dash with electronic instrument cluster with verbal alert system, leather power seats and all other options. No other 4-banger has that much style and detail as the LeBaron does.

Oh well, I agree the Chalenger is a much better Chrysler/Dodge product.
I'd rather have the '69 Mercury Cougar, Olds. 442 or AMC Javelin over the Chalenger though.
Bring back the Concorde
 
Metwrench
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 5:31 pm

I am of the personal opinion that Lincoln/Ford made the best convertables ever. Big body, big power, big noise, etc.

However, yesterday, 03/17/2002 in Anchorage, AK, the largest snowfall in recorded history, (here). happened.

Your's truely, took his 90 Chevrolet Suburban out on several jaunts. OH What Fun I Had!!! Had to return to the garage a couple of times to clear out the wheel wells, and the hood. I can't remember how many modern SUV's I snatched out of driveways and ditches. Their low slung bodies, bald highway tires, and "all wheel drive" are no match for 6000 lbs of "full time" "4 wheel drive".

My thoughts are, why are we forgeting some of the past few decades of technology?

The ride has gotten smoother, but it's just not as fun!
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 5:44 pm

Ah the 1990 Suburban. One of the last true SUVs!  Smokin cool
What do you think of the new Ford Excursion 4X4 with the Diesel engine?


I agree about the big Ford products.
I just may go ahead and get the 1970 Mercury Marquis Convertible.
The last big Mercury convertible.


Bring back the Concorde
 
Metwrench
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 6:17 pm

I'll trade you.

Give me a ride in Wine Country with "Top Down" and I'll give you a ride in "Snow Country".

P.S. Ford is wasting their money building big SUV's. Better they stick trucks. Chevrolet/GMC has that market cornered.

The "knik name" of the Burb is the "Alaska Cadilac".
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 6:55 pm

Give me a ride in Wine Country with "Top Down" and I'll give you a ride in "Snow Country".

Sounds fair to me! Big grin


Ooh it's late.
Time for me to crash.
Bring back the Concorde
 
JetService
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 8:40 pm

Be careful putting bigger engines in cars. Some chassis' can't handle it. I put a dual-turbo Calloway Corvette engine in a 84 Cavalier and when I put the hammer down, it tore it in half and left the last half of the car at the stoplight. So I drove what was left to the nearest gas station (lots of sparks) and the guy told me should've used a washing-machine engine instead.
"Shaddap you!"
 
FordLover
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 10:14 pm

DO IT!!!!!!! Sure it would be easier to put in the V-6, but where's the fun in that? Actually, Mopar performance has done some of the work for you. Back in the mid-nineties, they offered a kit to "back-half" K-cars to make drag racers. It was essentially a rear frame half for locating the rear axle and 4-link. I remember reading about it in Car Craft. I'm at work now, but when I get home tonight, I'll see what I can dig up and re-post (I never throw out a car magazine!) I seriously considered doing it to my 87 Aries wagon (I know, I know, but it was free, and I was poor). You would definately have to build a full frame, most likely from scratch. Also, a V-8 is probably going to require firewall modifications (making a recess, moving the heater core, etc.) I won't lie to you, it's going to be a lot of work, but the best things don't come easy. I've also seen a website where some guy did this to his Mercury Lynx wagon (I idolize him). I'll see if I can find that and post it too. It's funny you should mention this, as I've been wondering whether I can fit a 3.0 V-6 and a 5-speed from a Probe into my Mercury Tracer wagon. I can't spare it long enough to make it RWD, but it needs SOMETHING. As for the Caravan AWD, I don't know much about it, but it sounds like something worth looking into, as a back-up. Either way would be something unique. I'm rambling now, so I'll just restate my original opinion, DO IT!!!!! (and I might just idolize you as well)
 
FordLover
Posts: 189
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Tue Mar 19, 2002 10:21 pm

Here's the link for the RWD Mercury Lynx. (I found it easier than I expected) I'll post that Mopar Performance Chassis info around 8pm CST tonight.

http://prolynx.hypermart.net/prolynx.html
 
Superfly
Topic Author
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 3:23 am

JetService:
Is that true?
What about the gas lines that run from the front to rear?
I would think that would cause a fire.
If this is true, it sounds kind of funny but I would hate to laugh at this because I know that would require a lot of work.


Forllover:
Thanks for the tip!
Since this car is a convertible, it already has extra reinforcement and stabilizers. I still would like to mount it to a full frame though.
Keep in mind, I don't want to alter the outside appearance of the car. I want it to look stock outside the car with the same 'TURBO' emblem on the side.
Bring back the Concorde
 
desertjets
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 4:32 am

While the 3.0 Mitsu V6 is definately a better engine than the 2.2 Turbo I it is going to be a decent bit heavier, plus you'd be best to mate it to the 4-speed ultradrive automatic. Even though you get better low-end and mid-range power and no turbo lag, the extra weight may be a drawback.

Without doing much more than dropping in a new engine and tranny you have a few more powerful turbo motors to play with. You've got the 2.2 174hp Turbo II, the only major difference is that is has an intercooler and really needs to have a 5-spd underneath it. And you could take that engine or your stock engine and easily squeeze some extra power out of it. Mopar Performance has a lot of speed parts for the turbo fours... so you could easily just play with the stock engine.

OR... find yourself the 16 valve twin-cam 2.2 liter turbo that was in a Spirit R/T or a Daytona IROC R/T. 222hp of front-tire spinning, torque-steerin' fun. But you'd certainly need to do some chassis mods to tighten up the car. Certainly a strut-tower brace at a bare minimim to keep your LeBaron from flexing like a wet noodle.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
JetService
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 4:43 am

Superfly, nah, I was kidding, but I have heard stories about over-powered engines being put on inadaquate chassis' and people getting hurt. But, I'm sure you know what you're doing though. Just looking out for you.  Big thumbs up
"Shaddap you!"
 
Superfly
Topic Author
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 6:09 am

DesertJets:
Thanks for the tip. I am aware of those Mopar modification kits for the 2.2 engine. I just don't trust the 2.2 engine. The Turbo I lives a shore life span and the Turbo II is even shorter. I had a mechanic at Chrysler tell me to not bother tinckering with that motor. They don't last that long. He told me to get a 1970 Charger instead. Big grin
The IROC R/T is even more unreliable. Not to many of those were sold.
I wish I can find this website dedicated to Dodge/Chrysler fans that stated that if you get this car, have a second car as a back up. That's not a good testimonial for these cars.
The Dodge/Chrysler 318cu" is a very trusted and reliable engine. I like the low-end torqe that a V8 produces.
It doesn't have to be a hot rod. I may just get the 318cu" out of a 1987 Chysler Fifth Avenue.

This is all just a taught.

Bring back the Concorde
 
FordLover
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 8:38 pm

Sorry this took so long, but I couldn't get on to A.net last night. "Couldn't find page" the computer says. Anyhow, go to the library and get a copy of the July 1992 Car Craft. There is an article on those Mopar parts I talked about. Although now I see I had the thing bass-ackwards, the kit is a K-member for the front of the car, and you have to build the back half yourself (hey, it's been 10 years, I can't remember everything perfectly!). Mopar Performance part # P4529533. I doubt it's still in production, but maybe some dealer has one gathering dust in the warehouse. Good Luck!  Nuts
 
sccutler
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 11:07 pm

'Fly- The scope and difficulty of such a conversion- virtually erevything needed would have to be custom-fabricated- makes it impractical. A best result would still not be satisfying like a real RWD convertible.

I say, find yourself a good Grand Marquis or LTD convertible.

And don't forget, there are still deals to be found on Lincoln convertibles, perhaps to most beautiful large convertible ever designed!
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
L-188
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Wed Mar 20, 2002 11:33 pm

Yeah...After that snowfall I was really wishing I would get a mid-70's Ford or Dodge 3/4 ton Pickup.

Preferablly a 4X4 supercab.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
desertjets
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Thu Mar 21, 2002 2:34 am

I always wanted a Daytona IROC R/T... not very practical, but kinda cool. I would have been more than happy to settle for an ES or a straight R/T with a 5-speed and the V6.

The V6 is a good engine though, probably because Mitsubishi made it.

The 2.2 turbo engines were generally better off performance wise from the carberated and EFI 2.2 fours. The turbos breathed better and had multi-point fuel injection instead of the damn throttlebody injector.

What about getting a 2.5l Turbo IV, those were in all turbo Chryslers from 88-91. Might be a better place to start off from.

Here is a decent site:
http://www.allpar.com/mopar/22t.html

Hell maybe you should just get yourself a 70's vintage Charger, Challenger, Duster or Dart Demon/Sport... 318, 340, 360... plenty of fun to play around with.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
wjv04
Posts: 555
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Thu Mar 21, 2002 1:00 pm

your gonna put more money, into a car then its even worth...
its a lebaron
get a camaro or something
 
Superfly
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Thu Mar 21, 2002 1:56 pm

OK OK OK OK ! ! !
It sounds like this would be more trouble than it's worth!
Sorry Fordlover.  Sad

I'll just run the current engine until it dies and then put in the Turbo II or IROC/RT engine. This car's body and interior is still in mint condition so there would be no point in me dumping this car just because the engine goes.
Believe it or not, this 15 year old 'K car' has got me laid many times! Big grin
What do women know about cars anyway?
All they see is a red convertible that 'looks' new with a super hot hunk (me) in the drivers seat. Big grin
So the truth comes out!
That's my emotional attachment to this car.
I must say Chrysler did a great job on the aesthetics and features of this car.
Electronic displays, concealed headlights and the car talks!
Many people today forgot that there were cars in the 1980s that had that feature.
I just wish it had raw power.

Oh well.
Sccutler:
I just may go with the 1970 Mercury Marquis convertible. I really like the 1966-67 Lincoln Continental convertible with suicide doors. The only thing I don't like about that car is there is hardly any trunk space when the top is down hard to believe on a car that size and it's unibody.
I know tisk, tisk, tisk

If I ever decide to go with a sports/muscle car, it would be a 69-73 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible, '69-72 Olds 442 convert or '71 AMC Javelin Pierre Cardin Edition.

Bring back the Concorde
 
bruno
Posts: 829
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RE: Car Modification Project (Need Advice)

Sun Mar 24, 2002 6:05 am

Superfly




All they see is a red convertible that 'looks' new with a super hot hunk (me) in the drivers seat.


What?  Laugh out loud
I support the women’s movement up and down!

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