Hello, I'm going to go in depth and detail on how I did my first Magnum Swap into my brothers 1965 Plymouth Valiant 200. The information I will be providing is intended to help you guys out there thinking about, or are Magnum Swapping your early/later A Body Mopar. Look into Magnumswap.com for more info as well. If you would like to find something here quick, make sure to hold down Ctrl + F to search keywords, if on a tablet or smart phone, use the 'find in page' option in Chrome. I would highly advise that you read over everything listed in this article before Mopar Magnum Swapping your ride. Last updated - 10/13/2018.
Back storyI purchased a 1965 Plymouth Valiant 200 a few years ago, it had a 273/4.5L Small Block V8, ran and drove but had no brakes, till those eventually got fixed. I have a 1965 blue Plymouth Barracuda that had a later slant six drivetrain swapped in, test drove it once and decided it wasn't enough power for me, so I pulled the drivetrain from the Valiant and threw it in the Barracuda 1 week before I graduated high school -- Achieved my goal for driving it there. Anyway, the Valiant sat and sat, after a few months of driving around the Barracuda, I decided I wanted to go with a different drivetrain. I had an LA 360 motor & 727 transmission that I intended to throw in it, and had also recently acquired a 5.2L/318 Magnum. So with intentions & hopes high, I removed the Valiant's 273 drivetrain from the Barracuda, separated the 904 transmission (cable shift/push button type), converted the magnum to carbureted, and swapped it into the Valiant. Currently my Barracuda is still sitting and plans have changed for it, planning on going with a 5.9L Magnum, most likely going with FiTech TB fuel injection. I currently own 2x '65 Barracudas, a '71 Satellite and a '74 Duster. I gave this '65 Valiant to my brother. So, that's pretty much my back story, now let's get onto how I did the swap.
Magnums are usually found in 1994-2001 (some 2002-2003) Dodge Ram's, Dakotas, Vans, Jeeps, and Durangos, an easy pick from the junkyard or online ad. A couple ways to figure out which is a 318 Magnum or 360 Magnum is, look under the driver's head, right on the side of the block and see the casting numbers, it'll consist of random numbers - ######## - 318 or 360. Or, look for factory stickers under the hood. One of the best ideal ways to check to see if a Magnum 318/360 from the wrecking yard is most likely good or not is to attempt to move the crank pulley by hand or using a 1 - 1/4" socket on the crank bolt to turn it over, make sure it'll turn over completely several times, it's also easier to move the crank over with the spark plugs out. Also, do a quick inspection externally of the block itself, make sure there's no holes in the block & rods showing through of course.. Another great thing to do is buy an inspection camera for your phone off eBay, you can inspect the inside of the cylinder walls to see how everything looks. If you see cross hatches on the cylinder walls, it'll indicate a very healthy motor, if you see glazed cylinder walls, that could mean a couple things - 1. It could've over heated in the past - 2. Lots of miles/possibly not maintained well. From my experience with these Magnums, it seems as if they don't care if they have very high mileage, such as 200,000 miles, typically they won't start smoking out the exhaust till the 300,000 mile mark.
If you are swapping from a slant six car, your 904 transmission will NOT work with any V8 as the bell housing & starter location is designed different (if manual, switch the bell housing). You have to get a specific small block V8 904 or 727 transmission, the 727 is beefier & can handle 600+hp stock no problem, it's also a bigger transmission (be cautious when searching for a small block 727 as most of them out there are for big blocks, the bell housings have very subtle differences, do a google image search to see the difference - also, to tell the difference between a 727 & 904 right off the bat is to look at the oil pan shape). Magnum & LA V8's have the same bell housing mount. If you're looking at building a mild or stock setup, stick with the 904 as they can handle up to 400hp stock + can be built to handle even more power, shorter gears inside = more power to the rear wheels & it's a lighter transmission in weight. Also, sticking with a 904 transmission will enable you to use your stock drive shaft as it's usually the same length from /6 to V8, the 727's tail shaft is much longer & uses a bigger/different slip yoke. The #1 failure in transmissions is either not having your kick down adjusted correctly, or HEAT. An external transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator is ideal for the better longevity of your transmissions life, but hooking it up to the radiator like factory is still fine if the transmissions not seeing a lot of crazy high power & torque constantly.
When I first got the 5.2L/318 Magnum for the '65 Valiant, I decided to do away with the stock fuel injection and go carbureted for simplistic reasons. The first thing I did was document/take pictures all around of the motor, then began to clean it up.
Clean upI used a metal scraper to get chunks of grease off first, then used a couple cans of Gunk engine degreaser from the autoparts store. I power washed it in the driveway with long cloth material from work (work at a print shop, 28x40" industrial presses, used, used impression & blanket washer rolls) on the ground to catch the chunks of junk flying off the motor. Made sure I had stuff I didn't want to get water in blocked off for the most part. Then used the air compressor to blow excess water out of various spots. After everything was dry, I bought 2 cans of high temp VHT Hemi Orange spray paint from the auto parts store. Shot the motor, let it dried, and then began to take the stock fuel injection stuff off.
Stuff orderedBefore I got too crazy disassembling stuff, I had to figure out what I needed. First thing I ordered was a re-gasket/re-seal kit. Thermostat - 195 Fahrenheit (Gates 33509). Since I decided to go with a carbureted setup, the intake manifold would have to be changed. I bought the Edelbrock 7577 AirGap intake manifold off eBay. This type of intake manifold has the intake bolts going vertically instead at an angle like on the LA motors, so it's the perfect fit on any stock magnum. For a carburetor, my buddy sold me an Edelbrock 1406 (600cfm) 4BBL Carburetor. I also had to get a special bracket to bolt onto the carburetor so I could still use my stock kick down linkage & throttle cable. This bracket is the Edelbrock 1481 bracket and can be bought from the autoparts store, ebay, or summit racing. I had to pull the nut & kickdown piece off the old 2bbl carburetor from the 273 to bolt onto the new throttle bracket for the kick down rod to snap onto.
Most people will buy a Lokar kick down cable to do away with the hassle of adjusting/modifying stock kick down linkage, there is a subject I cover about how I installed my Lokar throttle cable and kick down cable further down this article.
For ignition I decided to go with an HEI All-In-One Distributor. Going with this type of distributor required new female end spark plug wires, so I went to MSD's website, searched for the Magnum 5.2L/5.9L type spark plug wires and went with those, you can still use the stock magnum spark plug wires as well, my magnum ones were done in. The part number for the MSD Street Fire spark plug wires I bought is - #5532. The LA V8 distributors have the female type posts, and male type posts on the magnums, just like the HEI distributor. For spark plugs I went with E3 spark plugs, the part number for these spark plugs are - E3.48. The advantage of having the HEI all-in-one distributor is you get a much hotter spark, + no more ballast resistor - just a 12V ignition wire tied into the existing ballast resistor harness wires, and the ignition coil sits inside on top of the distributor. Plus there's a tachometer terminal/connection.
Update 2/19/2017 - The HEI distributor decided to start failing after nearly 2 years of using it in my 2nd Barracuda, am switching to the MSD 6A ignition box with a new stock distributor + MSD Blaster 2 Coil, don't expect to have anymore problems after that. I am assuming it began to fail because it wasn't seeing a consistent 12V upon startup from the existing old ballast wires, this could've been fixed with a relay.
Update 7/24/2018 - I am still experiencing ignition issues in my 2nd '65 barracuda even with the fairly new MSD setup, swapped to a 6AL box, no difference, swapped to an old stock electronic distributor, no difference, changed alternator, voltage regulator, still no difference, acting like its sometimes firing off all cylinders and then 6-7, will be unhooking the main firewall harness to see how dirty/corroded the contacts are, could be responsible for pulsating voltage between 13v-14v & ignition troubles.
(Above pic is of my 2nd '65 Barracuda when it still had a 273, clear cap and rotor bought separate off eBay)
I thought about going with headers but found out TTI headers cost a fortune on early A bodies, but there's a more vast header selection for the later A bodies because in '67 they widened the shock towers for more space + ease of throwing big blocks in, so I stuck with stock LA exhaust manifolds. On the driver's head of the motor towards the rear, some material needs to be ground off so the exhaust manifold will seat flush to the head. Since I decided to keep the stock serpentine belt set-up, I found out that I needed an AC delete bracket pulley which they sell on eBay or Summit Racing --
Dorman Air Conditioner Bypass Brackets 34178 (RNB-34178)
When I got the AC delete bracket, I found out that it wouldn't bolt up to my accessories bracket because the hole mount spacing's were different between a Ram van motor and a truck, so I had to head to the junkyard and pull an accessories bracket from a '94-'01 Ram truck to make the AC delete bracket bolt up. Note how I had to cut out a 2"x 2" square on the accessories bracket for the heater hose fitting to fit/work on the intake.
Update 7/24/2018 - My buddy pointed out my serpentine belt wasn't long enough and that it wasn't wrapped around the idler pulley, which of course caused slipping later on (didn't quite obviously realize that at the time), so technically you don't need an AC delete bracket if you can get the correct sized serpentine belt.
I ordered a later style ('70s) new voltage regulator & special 2 wire bulk head connector in order to use the magnum alternator, very easy to wire that up. Don't buy a cheap Chinese voltage regulator, specifically look up 'Mopar voltage regulator', it'll be black with white/yellow text, shaped like a rectangle and have a triangular connection with 2 little posts, they're made in the USA and will charge correctly/last sooo much longer + will dramatically lessen the risk of over charging your battery then having it explode, yes, that can happen. When you install the voltage regulator, make sure you have a PERFECT ground surface, so take the time to get some of the black wrapping off one of the bolt holes on the VR, I just ran a ground wire from the negative post of the battery right over to the bare metal potion on the VR. On the special plug connector (search Mopar voltage regulator connector, when buying it), doesn't matter which side you choose, green or blue, for example we'll go with blue. Blue wire ties into the ignition system (Best to hook up at ballast resistor harness wires since it's the main ignition source), then take a wire, hook it up to one of the 2 FLD posts on the alternator, then hook the other end of the wire to your ignition as well. Then for the green wire, take a long wire, hook it to your last/unused FLD post, and splice the other end in with the green wire. Buy a 12 gauge wire about 2 feet long, hook it to the BATT. (Charging terminal) post on the alternator, then the other end straight to the battery's +/Positive post. I DON'T recommend using your existing alternator BATT. wire because the magnum alternators typically put out a higher amperage compared to an LA - V belt driven style alternator, and you could risk causing an electrical fire because I believe there's an ammeter on the back of the instrument cluster panel that can only take so many amps (hope that makes sense), so going straight to the battery in this case literally bypasses that ammeter and works out perfectly fine. 4/30/2017 Update: The Mopar VR has been charging between 13.4-14V in my 2nd Magnum Swapped '65 Barracuda with no problems.
Since Magnums don't have a mechanical fuel pump eccentric or hole in the timing cover for mounting a fuel pump, I went with a low psi Holley fuel pump from summit racing. I discovered that having a magnum out of a ram van had an advantage for making the magnum power steering pump work because the pump sits significantly lower compared to the dodge trucks, made it so I didn't have to relocate the battery to the trunk. Went to the house of evco to get custom power steering hoses made to work with the power steering box. (Dimensions/info of those custom PS hoses will be edited here soon) --
2/2/2018 POWER STEERING HOSE UPDATE!! -- I just found out that there's this little factory adapter that is usually screwed into the power steering box for a female end PS hose to screw onto, as I was looking at the PS box on my 1973 Plymouth Duster, I noticed there wasn't one there. Currently working on my 4th Magnum Swap with a 360 in that car, so quite literally all I did was remove the PS high pressure hose (both male ends) from the LA 318 PS pump, hooked it up to the Magnum PS pump, and everything WORKS!! I will be revising this article & updating it with more info soon + this 4th build on the Duster. So I can't quite 100% verify that if you get a 1973 high pressure power steering hose, it will be the one you need because the LA 318 I pulled came from a 1984 Dodge Truck, so that hose could very well be a 1984 PS high pressure hose, however, it stands to be the most reasonable hose to work as it surprisingly did for me. Your low pressure PS hose should hook right up no problem as well.
2/3/2018 POWER STEERING INFO
While I was helping my buddy work on his 1971 Plymouth RoadRunner on his 318 Magnum Swap, we found out that the power steering hose he bought specifically for a 1971 Plymouth RoadRunner wouldn't fit into the power steering box with the 7/16" to 1/2" factory adapter removed because that end of the hose required a 1/2" male end to screw onto, not 7/16". So he found a 1/2" to 1/2" adapter that screws right into the pump like the other adapter, off O'Reilly's website, got it ordered, and it all should work out. The other end of the hose screws into the Magnum PS pump with no issues.
Bought the $200 Mopar Magnum valve covers off eBay. Had to buy an oil filter angle adapter + special bolt that has oil passages & comes with gasket + washers, from eBay. For an oil pan since all magnums have the truck style oil pan, I went to summit and bought a sum-g3536 oil pan, essentially it's an LA 360 car style mid sump oil pan, LA 273/318 oil pans will NOT work on any Magnum motor (I have about 2" of oil pan clearance to center link with this new oil pan). Typically on LA oil pans there's factory dents on the pan for the center link to clear when maxed out turning, the oil pan mentioned that I threw on my magnum won't have any issues, the center link will naturally put a dent in the new pan so you'll have perfectly fine center link turning clearance. If you are magnum swapping into a slant six car, early or later A body, you will need a V8 center link for oil pan clearance. If, for whatever reason you find yourself with lack of oil pan clearance, you can attempt to shim your motor mounts up with washers (Slant six people, you can try this and maybe get by using your stock center link without swapping to a V8 center link, this is only applicable to pre '72 cars since in '73 they went to the spool type motor mounts). I also had to order a mid-sump oil pickup tube (See MEL-72-S2 on Summit Racing). For later A bodies, you DON'T have to change your K frame out if your car is a slant six, simply go to Schumacher Creative Services website for conversion motor mounts, early A bodies share the same K frame between a slant six and small block V8 - Schumacher also makes motor mounts for Big Block swaps in early and later A bodies, heck, they even make slant six conversion mounts if you want to go backwards in performance! I used my stock motor mounts from the LA 273, the passenger motor mount ear of the block on a magnum is flipped around compared to the LA 273/318, but can still work with a long high grade bolt -- See my thread about this... That being said, something else important to take note is between an LA 273/318 and an LA 360, the motor mount perches/ears are different in dimensions, however, on the Magnum 318/360 they are the same on the passenger side, dimensions are based off the LA 273/318, again, it's only the passenger side that is flipped around on the Magnums. It would be ideal to make or get a torque strap so it puts less stress on the motor mounts.
Small block 318/360 Magnum Swap - Motor mount answers for those with questions
I bought a Champion 3 core aluminum radiator, and failed to take notice of which side the water pump faces, so I had to combine 2 radiator hoses and an exhaust pipe to couple them together along with hose clamps, still works just fine. For a cooling fan setup I decided to go with an electric fan. Also bought a $10 chrome oil dipstick tube. The magnum water pump I bought is the GATES 43034.
The Magnum SwapBefore I swapped the intake manifold, I had made sure that all the intake bolts were soaked in WD-40 (PB Blaster is better) because they are notorious for breaking upon removal, typically on the 4 outer corners (This happened to me on my 2nd magnum swap into my other '65 Barracuda, had to use my cheap flux welder to weld bolt ends to the stud of the broken bolt, out they came). When I got my new intake I was surprised to see how I would only be using the 2 front main head water jacket cross overs instead of 4 like the stock intake has, apparently this is fine. So I undid all the intake manifold bolts very carefully, then pulled the bee hive intake off. Another great tip when removing the intake bolts is to use an impact gun if you have one, it can sometimes put less stress on the bolt when pulling it out vs the full straight force of one's arm strength.
I proceeded to clean the surface where the intake manifold meets the heads really good with a straight edge blade + rags in the intake valley to catch junk & a shop vacuum. They say to not use the front and rear seal that comes in the re-gasket kit with your intake manifold for it can still cause leaks, but to rather use high temp RTV (gasket maker) and run a nice 1/4" bead across those surfaces + in the corners + smear some around your 4 head water jackets & still obviously use your new intake manifold gaskets (There's NO intake dowel alignment pins on magnums). Once the new intake is on, there's a bolt down sequence you're supposed to follow, I just kinda made mine up but you can look the sequence up online, and be oh so very careful when you torque the bolts, they can snap really easily, I'd say snug and just a bit more if you don't use a torque wrench (what I did).
Next I drained all the oil out of the oil pan, had let the RTV setup for an hour or so on the intake manifold before I flipped it over, just didn't want to chance getting any left over oil mixed in with it until it had enough time to setup. Flipped the motor over so I could work on the bottom end. Pulled the pan off, cleaned the surface up really good, should've pulled the rear main cap off to replace the rear main seal at the time but didn't... If you do, make sure you off-center your rear main seal halves slightly, this provides a near perfect seal.
Got my oil pan, and found out that you can still use the magnum (nearly leak proof) one piece oil pan seal, if it looks like the rear piece of the seal won't seat on the pan, it will, it'll stretch itself around the pan when bolted down + sometimes when you get these oil pans, the flat surfaces might be slightly bent but they will re-flatten out once bolted up to the block. Swapped the oil pickup tube out for the mid-sump car type, shorter in length and closer to the crank for the LA 360 car style oil pan to work.
Threw the new seal on the pan, then put some small gobs of high temp RTV only in the corners of the rear and front bearing caps, threw the pan on, bolted it down & torqued to spec. Note, if you find your new oil pan's sides are slightly bent from factory, they will straighten themselves out as you bolt it down, no problem.
Flipped the motor up again, then replaced the valve covers & gaskets, and forgot at the time to do some grinding work on the drivers head so the exhaust manifold can sit flush.
(above pic was the 2nd time having to go back in to grind the head after the front pump seal was replaced, spare the confusion... Note the bare metal on the drivers side head, that's where you have to grind)
I ended hooking just about everything up but the serpentine belt system, took it off the stand, got the trans mounted (REMEMBER TO SEAT THE TORQUE CONVERTER IN THE TRANSMISSION'S FRONT PUMP, DON'T SLIDE THE TRANSMISSION ONTO THE TQ BOLTED TO MOTOR, THE TQ WILL DROP IN 3 TIMES BEFORE SEATED), filled the motor back up with 10-30W oil - WIX oil filter 51515, installed the HEI All-In-One distributor w/new spark plug wires & spark plugs, did a test fire, success! Before I hooked it up to the trans I wanted to use the stock magnum flex plate, 1-2 of the holes of the flex plate that mount onto the torque converter needed to be slightly drilled to get everything to bolt up. At the time I failed to realize that the PILOT (back of the torque converter that recesses in the back of the crank shaft) of the torque converter was smaller than the hole on the crank, and I still managed to bolt the torque converter up, unfortunately slightly out from being centered up (out of round), most likely due to having the slightly 1-2 flex plate TQ mount holes opened up more/not keeping the TQ 100% centered up, should've just used the LA flex plate (Don't forget, LA and Magnum 360's are balanced differently externally from each other, you can't throw an LA 360 flex plate on a 360 Magnum, otherwise it'll cause damage/excessive vibration, you can go to summit racing to get the correct flex plate for the 360 Magnum - moon shaped - or, just make the stock magnum flex plate work, which I'd recommend on the 360 Magnum). All the pilot on the end of the crank does is center up your 4 torque converter bolt holes to flex plate for better ease of bolting the TQ up. There's no need for a bushing PERIOD to insert in the back of the crank's pilot or over the TQ's pilot (This subject is focused on automatics, this may be more important to focus on for manuals), just use a crow bar to gently pry the TQ upwards and center it up in place, go 1 bolt at a time, if 1 hole won't line up, spin it to the next hole till it's in it's happy position then mark one of the TQ bolts to flex plate so if you need to remove it in the future, bolting the TQ back up to the flex plate will be much easier. Sometime between '67 and '68 they changed the crank shaft pilot hole size to a bigger circumference for some reason, and also on the TQ, so pre '67 or '68 TQ's/Crank shaft pilots will have a smaller circumference. The one thing that killed me on this swap was not replacing the FRONT PUMP SEAL, the little seal that goes around the input shaft, has an orange/red color to it, so after everything was said and done with the swap, drove it for 3 months before it began puking atf fluid BAD, put it off nearly a year till I finally built up the motivation to yank the 904 back out and replace that darn front pump seal. If you got 2 floor jacks + a jack stand, it'll work great pulling/installing a transmission.
Aside from that and getting back to how I got it into the Valiant the first time, I bought an engine lift plate that bolts onto the intake bore hole where the carburetor would be, used my crap 1 ton engine lift, had a friend with me to help, pulled the hood off the Valiant, moved the motor with transmission attached into position, and moved the car towards the drivetrain as I began to lower it. My buddy eventually had to stand on the transmission as it went in to achieve the angle needed, note there's a firewall lip that the ball n trunion (Pre '66 trans) adapter/tail shaft has to jump across, and swoop right on in. For those with the later 904/727 ('66-up) try to not gack your tail shaft seal when installing the drivetrain.
I noticed things weren't right with the motor mounts, then found out they were backwards/on the wrong sides... Swapped sides and right on in it went. Hurried and secured the motor mounts with the motor mount nuts, then used a floor jack on the tail shaft of the transmission to lift it up, bolted the cross member in, then towards getting everything bolted in. When everything was all said and done, it was a SLEEPER. I would highly recommend NOT using the magnum flex plate, but rather use the X style LA flex plate to make everything easier. To this day the torque converter still spins slightly out of round, mainly because of the pilot of the torque converter being small, not lining things up properly when bolted to the magnum flex plate that has 1-2 holes that had been slightly drilled open more as well. If you have a 360 Magnum, you CAN NOT use a LA 360 flex plate because they're balanced differently externally, only then I'd recommend using the stock magnum flex plate. Ever since that front pump seal got replaced, it's been running strong for years now. Some things to note - LA 273/318's are internally balanced while the LA 360 is externally balanced, same rule applies for the Magnums. On a 360 Magnum/LA, there are counter weights on the flex plate (some years on the magnum had extra weights added to the torque converter instead of flex plate) and counter weights on the harmonic balancer/vibration dampener. Once again, according to Magnumswap.com, you CAN NOT use an LA 360 harmonic balancer or flex plate on a Magnum 360 because they're balanced differently externally, go to summit racing for a specific 360 Magnum harmonic balancer. On the 318 Magnum/LA motor there are no counter weights on the flex plate or balancer because it's internally balanced, again. However, that doesn't mean any torque converter won't have extra counter weights added to them (most TC's have weights added externally). If you have a torque converter that's used in your 904/727 Small Block V8 transmission, it can be used no problem with the 318/360 Magnum's (or LA's of course), there will be NO external balancing issues there for the 360, balancing externally for the 360's crank happens at the flex plate and harmonic balancer since they have weights.
Here's a very important piece of info for adjusting the kick down on your transmission. The way to adjust your kick down correctly, is lengthen your kick down cable/rod, open your throttle just barely until you start to feel the kick down pressing the throttle pressure rod on the valve body, and you're set. You basically want a 1:1 ratio with the throttle and kick down, so when you're just barely pushing on the throttle, the kick down lever should already, again, be pressing the throttle pressure rod on the valve body (go to the point of when you start feeling resistance). Having your kick down/throttle pressure set right is VERY IMPORTANT to the longevity of your transmission's life. Also, some would think it's ok to disable the kick down and always manually shift your automatic transmission without doing anything to the valve body, however, it WILL destroy your transmission because the clutch packs inside won't be pressed firmer together for minimal slippage as you're getting on the throttle. Manual/Reverse manual valve bodies do away with the kick down setup.
This build was done around $1000, every penny spent was well worth it, they're very fun and torquey motors! It's hard to kill a Magnum V8. Keep on reading for more important info...
More infoLast year I bought a 2nd 1965 Plymouth Barracuda (Chocolate frosty colored) - see my thread...
1965 Plymouth Barracuda - 318 MAGNUM V8
Also, back in late 2015 I traded my 1974 Plymouth /6 Duster for a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda 273 Commando - thread on that car is here...
1966 Plymouth Barracuda - Commando 273 V8
Anyways, I just recently got done with my 2nd magnum swap on my 2nd '65 Barracuda. I had to get my 904 push button/cable shift type transmission rebuilt because I had lost reverse but still had all gears in drive, that was kinda my justification for doing the swap since the trans had to come out anyways, had a 273. So I got the 904 rebuilt, hook it up to my 2nd 318 magnum, swap it in, and what do ya know, it doesn't have reverse or 1st. I had my trans guy put a shift kit in it but some reprogramer rod wouldn't fit, so most of a shift kit was installed. I tried multiple things with the valve body, pulling it out, putting it back in, several times, it got tiring. I eventually pulled that transmission back out, and decided to use a later 904 that came from a 1974 Plymouth Roadrunner. My trans guy is currently swapping the new guts he threw in the old 904, into the newer 904, pre '66 904's are very problematic, and it sucks having to constantly keep an eye on the cable adjustments + ball n trunion driveshaft was a bad setup from the get-go (Update 2/5/2017, got the 2nd Magnum swap finished, hauls A!!). Bought a B&M ratchet shifter to install in the Barracuda to work with the later 904 transmission, and already got a slip yoke driveshaft made for it. Gonna update my thread about this pretty soon, on this magnum swap I decided to go with the V belt style for that classic look and it's working pretty good so far. Used a LA 360 timing cover, bought a fuel pump block off plate, kept the LA 273 water pump so I could bolt the alternator up with ease, and for the future use my 273 LA power steering pump if I want to convert from manual steering to power steering. Also on this swap I used the LA - X shaped flex plate, the newer ('66-up) 904 torque converter pilot will fit like it's supposed to in the back of the crank shaft. O'Reilly's has the correct 10" LA-273/318 (non-weighted/internally balanced) X shaped flex plate that'll bolt up no problem on the 318 Magnum - Part # FRA303. Hope this info helps, post/message with questions, think I've covered it all in this article. Check out my threads & YouTube Channel full of Mopar -
Mopar or No Car!
Keep reading, contains more important information not mentioned above.
Intake fitting holes/intake bolt down sequence:
Update to this thread, added a pic, one side 12 8 3 1 5 9, other side, 11 7 4 2 6 10 for intake manifold bolt down sequence. The heater hose adapter size on the front right of the intake is 3/8", next to that on the left is 5/16-18" -- This is where I installed the temperature probe for my electric fan, can also plug it with an NPT plug assortment kit found at the auto parts store. Then on the very left is where the temperature probe goes (1/8"). On the passenger side towards the rear of the intake manifold runner there is a 3/8" threaded hole there just like the heater hole, plugged that with an NPT plug as well. Bypass hole size on the intake is 3/4", fitting comes with intake. For the heater hose fitting and thermostat housing, just pulled them from the stock magnum fuel injection intake manifold, cleaned up with a wire brush wheel on an angle grinder, and painted with VHT high-temp silver paint.
For a starter I bought a $60 rebuilt mini (high torque) starter off eBay, they crank 2-3 times faster compared to the stock dinosaur starter, use less power when cranking, and are very good for oh crap my engine stalled situations! Also very ideal for header clearance. On my transmission I left the inspection plate off, most do, cause they get bent so easily and then your left with this annoying noise caused by the torque converter bolts rubbing it.
Picture of Voltage Regulator - Note, this is not a Mopar voltage regulator, this was before I discovered non Mopar voltage regulators had BIG issues, buy one made in the USA!
Breather's and PCV
For a breather on one of my valve covers I went to the auto parts store and got an Edelbrock breather, came with it's own grommet, for the other side I used an old PCV valve and snugged it into a grommet, on my 2nd Magnum swap I bought an actual PCV breather that's as big as the Edelbrock breather, but has a snout to slide a hose over and connect to the front of the carburetor. Grommet sizes needed are about 1 - 1/4"
Throttle cable bracket
For a bracket to hold my throttle cable in place I used my existing throttle bracket from the 2bbl LA 273 V8. The intake bolt size on the Magnums are 5/16" - 18 thread pitch. I went to Lowe's and got a 6" LONG bolt, 2 nut-washers, then pulled 1 intake bolt out on the drivers side in relation to where the throttle cable is, secured the throttle cable bracket on the bolt along with the nut washer, then threaded in the long bolt to a point, then secured the bolt with the 2nd nut washer on the intake manifold.
Some bolt measurements
The bolt size to hold any small block mopar on an engine stand are 3/8"-16 (16's the thread pitch) for the top 5 (only 2 will be used, the first 2 away from the top center bolt hole) and recommended 2x 7/16" bolts & nuts (any thread pitch, just make sure the nuts have the same thread pitch for 2 bolts that pass through the lowest 2 holes on the engine), also get a few washers. I highly recommend getting grade 8 bolts as they are very strong. On my setup where my 360 Magnum is currently stationed on an engine stand, the upper 2x 3/8"-16 bolts that thread into the block are 4 - 1/2" long with 20 washers each bolt to take up slack in my combination (40 washers total between the upper 2), the thickness of the washers are 0.055" according to my digital calipers, 16-18 of these washers = about 1". The 2 bottom bolts are 8 - 1/2" long, using 2x 7/16" washers and 2x 7/16" nuts. You can come up with your own combination if you like, I could've used shorter bolts and less washers but it works as it is for now. A rotatable engine stand from Summit Racing dramatically helps this entire process, you simply spin around a crank to change the angle of the engine without needing any help flipping the engine over like on a standard engine stand without the crank rotatability.
IN CASE you need an extension for your kick down rod, you can buy 2 feet of 1/4"-28 all thread rod (size of the kick down adjusting rod, new 2ft rod can be cut to desired length), for a coupler, you specifically have to type in the same measurement and put 'coupler nut' after, bought off eBay all for $11. Your existing kick down linkage from an LA V8 WILL bolt up no problem on a Magnum, don't forget (for early A body people) you can add more throttle pressure/length to your stock kick down system by also adjusting the vertical middle rod behind the motor, going clockwise will shorten the rod, thus increasing throttle pressure ONLY for the middle rod, the role is opposite on the rod to the carb. I've attempted to use kick down linkage off a later A body ('74 Duster) in my '66 Barracuda and it would NOT work because the pivot that slides over this little rod that screws in the side of the bell hosing of the trans would run right into the stock exhaust system, so I abandoned that setup, pulled the stock kick down linkage to that car ('66) from my 2nd '65 Barracuda, threw it back on, all is well. Again, most people will get a LOKAR kick down cable to do away with factory linkage, this is what I went with in my 2nd Magnum swapped 2nd '65 Barracuda, along with the Lokar throttle cable, it is VERY easy to hook up and adjust, 'WhoSaidTyler' on YouTube made and excellent video explaining on how to install a Lokar kick down and throttle cable setup. Below you'll find a section explaining how I set mine up.
LOKAR KICK DOWN & THROTTLE CABLE - INSTALLATION
Alrighty, so first off I went on eBay and ordered these 3 individual Lokar items for my 2nd Magnum Swap in my 2nd '65 Barracuda - Lokar kick down cable (Lokar KD-2904HT) - Lokar Stainless Steel Carburetor Bracket and Stainless Springs (Lokar SRK-4000) - Lokar Universal 24" Stainless Steel Throttle Cable (TC-1000HT) if you can find a 1ft version that would work just perfect too.
LOKAR KICK DOWN INSTALLATION
So first off when I got my Lokar kick down cable, I opened everything up, once finally out of the pointless excessive shrink wrap I looked over the instructions very carefully, eventually tossed them cause I had to use plain common sense while installing the kick down cable. So step by step, I threw the cuda on jack stands in the front, unhooked all the stock kick down linkage, then got the Lokar kick down cable, used the little hex angle wrench to undo one of the ends to slide the cable out of the protective sheath in order to not damage the cable as I figured out how to get the sheath mounted right. This was before I decided to buy the Lokar throttle cable, so I got the Lokar carb throttle/kick down bracket mounted to the driver's rear carb stud, this can get tricky, I pulled the stud out, positioned the bracket in place, then slid the carb stud back through, bolted it on snug, not too tight cause there's more adjustment to be done. On the Lokar carb bracket take note of how there's a threaded stud and nut on the bracket itself right next to the carb, this dictates how much return spring force you will want, yes, you can hook up your return spring setup either way, front, or rear how Lokar instructs to install, but I wouldn't recommend having both because it causes the Lokar carb/throttle/kick down bracket to bend in a strange way, thus causing your cables to become lose over time, I'd recommend doing it the Lokar way.
Once you've got the Lokar cable removed from the sheath, remember as the instructions say, DON'T remove the clamped ends of the sheath, leave those on there. So get the sheath positioned in place, with the adjuster nuts backed all the way off so you can have the most length available as you're installing. Install the sheath at the carb end first, don't tighten anything up, just go finger tight at this point, the kick down cable will be installed on the LOWER hole of the Lokar carb throttle bracket. Then for the other end, you'll see on the sheath how there's a mount, this will be bolted on one of the transmission's tail shaft bolts. When you're looking at the tail shaft bolts, the bolt you will need to remove is the left/drivers side bolt that's 1 up from the 2 lower tail shaft bolts, it's a tight space on early A's. I'd recommend test fitting once mounted, don't tighten the bolt till you've decided if you need to either bend the mount a different way to just barely move it away from the rear transmission cooler line nut, or take a hammer and something to slightly dent your trans tunnel pan up a tiny bit for just a little more room to work with. Once you have it mounted to the tail shaft, have 2-3 threads showing on the adjuster nuts there, then tighten them up a bit. Next, slide your cable back in from either the top, or bottom, bottom half is better left alone in the first place so you don't have to bother with sliding so many things back on as compared to the carb end. Once you have the important stuff slid back on the cable and already installed back in the sheath, start working on the transmission end. You will need to remove your kick down lever from the shift shaft of the transmission to bolt up the tiny ball hitch looking nut, you'll want the ball end facing upwards, when I remove these levers I'll undo the bolt, then slide a flat blade and wiggle each end till it works it's way up, when reinstalling this lever you may need to slide the flat blade in between the halves of the lever to slightly open it up a little more for ease of re-installation, it will close itself back up on the throttle pressure rod of the valve body once the bolt has been snugged back up.. You may have to slightly bend this lever upwards to barely clear your stock/aftermarket shift rods/cables, or, slightly push downward on the shift shaft lever to barely gain clearance, in some cases you may just need to get a different kick down lever, there's a LOT of different kick down levers out there. At this point it would be really simple to snap the kick down cable on the shift shaft lever's ball hitch, then install it back on the shift shaft. For the threads on the trans end of the Lokar kick down cable, I went just about all the way out/most slack, have up to 3-4 threads of the adapter screwed on, most of your adjusting for the cable will happen at the carb end. So before you pull the car off the jack stands, check everything over again, make sure your cable isn't rubbing against the trans cooler line nut, it would eventually fray and break. It's POINTLESS to install an aftermarket return spring on the bell hosing of the trans, over to your kick down lever, it WILL return on it's own because of the spring inside the valve body. Once you've verified everything's hooked up correctly at the carb end, get the vehicle off jack stands/ramps.
Now for finishing up at the carb end, once your Lokar mount is slid back on the cable, and secure nut, install the other flat ball hitch at the lowest hole of your carburetor's throttle lever, have the flat ball facing towards you, then slide the Lokar mount of the cable onto it. You should have slack at this point, so here's where you can decide if you want to go with front or rear return springs for the throttle cable, again, I'd recommend the rear Lokar setup. Once decided, for installing the Lokar return springs, you'll want your tear drop mount, mounted to the kick down flat ball hitch on the other side of the carburetor throttle lever, once that's installed, get your return springs and hook them up to the lowest hole of the Lokar throttle/kick down cable bracket, then adjust how much spring return force you'd like with the adjuster stud next to the rear of the carb's driver's side's stud.
When you've dialed that in, move your adjuster nuts around on the Lokar kick down cable so that it has tension on the kick down lever when you're barely opening the throttle. Too much throttle pressure/kick down tension of the cable can delay the shift, too little will make it shift too soft/not shift or 'kick down' correctly when you need it to. Now you will only be able to get so much adjustment of the cable itself from those adjuster nuts, if you need more tension, simply undo the securing nut of the cable itself at the carb end and slide the cable outwards however much needed to obtain correct throttle pressure. Return springs DO NOT aid in the kick down lever returning, it's just the sole fact of physics, and the throttle pressure spring inside the valve body.
LOKAR THROTTLE CABLE INSTALLATION
Later on my motor began running not right, it acted like it had a vacuum leak of some sorts, someone informed me with how I had my stock throttle cable positioned at an angle, it can put excessive stress on the throttle shaft itself, wear out the bushings, and cause a permanent vacuum leak, whether this is true or not I'm not sure, so I found it reasonable, decided to get the LOKAR throttle cable, not only for this purpose, but for smoothness of pushing down the gas pedal. I could have just got a longer bolt to let the stock throttle cable mount sit higher, but then it would run right into the Lokar throttle/kick down bracket. So once my Lokar throttle cable arrived, I went and studied how everything works on the stock throttle cable in my 2nd '65 Barracuda. I found that the securing nuts of the throttle cable itself were too small compared to the hole opening of the stock throttle support firewall plate, so I remove the plate, found a washer the perfect size, welded it on with my cheap harbor freight 120V flux welder, and it was exactly what I needed to get the job done.
I then removed the entire gas pedal assembly that bolts to firewall to remove the factory throttle cable. Once the factory cable was removed, I reinstalled everything. On the Lokar throttle cable, just like the kick down cable, remove the cable from the sheath, starting at what would be the carb end, then install the sheath on the firewall support plate on welded washer. Hook the other end of the sheath up to your Lokar throttle/kick down bracket at carb end. Then reinstall your throttle cable starting at the gas pedal end, slide it through the gas pedal lever, then through the sheath, I'd recommend removing the weird looking end adapter of the throttle cable since it's kinda redundant to have that there if the stock gas pedal rod can hold the ball end of the cable in place no problem (like I did), then hook up your ball hitch nut at the top hole of the carburetor's throttle lever right next to the big hole where you'd have front throttle springs.
You'll more than likely notice how much excessive Lokar throttle cable you have, you'll need to cut it down with dikes. How I would suggest of how to go about doing this correctly, unscrew everything from the Lokar throttle cable at the carb end so you only see the threads, unscrew your throttle cable securing adjuster nut again, pull all the excess length outward, leave some slack in the cable as you can still adjust the length by how you screw the throttle adapter inward, it'll give more tension. At this point it's all trial and error, go little bits at a time if you have to, last thing you want is to have no more adjustment and the cable too tight that the return springs can't do their job. Be CAREFUL how you cut the cable down with dikes, it's a pain to get every strand perfectly back in the adapters if the cut is not perfect. So again, leave some slack cause you have a length adjuster right there if you need to make adjustments. That's it! Later on for some reason it just kinda fixed the running issues I was having before by itself, stock throttle bracket was later removed and correct intake bolt was reinstalled.
Throttle return bracket
For a throttle return bracket on this first magnum swap, I went and bought an aftermarket one from the auto parts store and got my throttle return springs there, bolted on the drivers side front runner of the intake manifold.
I wanted to use a 1" carburetor spacer on the AirGap intake to perhaps get a little more low end torque, but it makes the carb sit way too high, would need a hood scoop, so running without a spacer, got literally a 1" gap from the air cleaner to hood as is.
Oil Filter Adapter BOLT Pictures
Priming The Oil Pump
This probably should've been one of the first things to mention... It's a good idea to prime your oil pump/engine. In order to do this, you must first buy a OIL PUMP PRIMING SHAFT (Part # for the shaft -- P4286800). You'll also want a drill to attach the priming shaft to, have it set to go clockwise. Now before you pull the distributor, take note on where the rotor is pointing at, cause when you remove the drive shaft gear that the distributor flat blade shaft rides on inside, you'll only have 6 ways to get that gear drive shaft pointing the rotor in the correct direction 'hex shaft', and you will want the rotor to be pointing at the same spot as it was before when the drive shaft gear is put back in. Ok, so remove the distributor, get some fish line, wrap it around the drive shaft gear down inside, as you are pulling you might need to get a flat blade screw driver on the drive shaft gear, rotate it clockwise to let it raise a bit, to help it come out. Once you've pulled the drive shaft gear out, you'll notice how the shaft from the drive shaft gear has 6 sides, this will play a great role, again, in where your rotor points correctly. Insert the drill with the oil priming shaft down on the oil pump, make sure you got clean 10-30W oil in the pan, and then begin running the drill clockwise for about a minute. It is ideal to have someone help move the crank over as you're priming the oil pump so you're not just sending oil up to 1 head, but rather both, but remember, doing this will throw your position off of where your rotor should be pointing once the drive shaft gear has been reinstalled due to the fact that the rotating assembly will be in a different position before you started. A solution to this, make sure you're at TDC on cylinder #1 (Driver's front head) with both intake and exhaust valve closed on the compression stroke, then you'll be able to dial in the drive shaft gear to rotor position correctly. Once done priming the oil pump, put the drive shaft gear back in, slide the distributor back in and if you notice that the rotor isn't pointing where it was, you'll have to pull the distributor back out, insert a flat blade, rotate clockwise 1 out of the 6 faces over of the drive shaft gear, put the distributor back in, repeat the process if needed and you'll get it where the rotor was pointing before, if, you chose to not move the crank shaft at all while priming the motor.
Priming The Oil Pump Part 2.
DON'T use an impact gun when you're priming the oil pump, that's guaranteed to break something, has to be a drill, and has to be spinning fast enough to actually see oil flowing with the valve covers off. The idea is to get oil flowing through everything important in the motor, bearings, etc. vs spraying the cylinder walls with lubricant and calling it 'good enough'.
The reason why you really should have the drive shaft gear that the distributor rides on back in the factory correct position is because when you undo all your spark plug wires in the future, or perhaps a next owner does, they're gonna go off the relative position of where each spark plug wire goes according to any Mopar ignition timing picture/diagram, so if that gear is off how ever many sides out of 6, you can be spending a lot of time moving spark plug wires over trying to figure out at what point it's gonna run, rather than just simply looking at an ignition timing picture and getting right on the first time.
Remember again, there's only 6 ways the drive shaft gear will go back in because the shaft is hex shaped. Once you got the drive shaft gear back in, make sure it's where it needs to be like the factory had it, you can turn 1/6 faces over as many times as you want with the gear STILL INSTALLED, just rotate it clockwise with a flat blade screw driver.
Exhaust port difference LA vs MAGNUM
There's a slight difference in the center 2 exhaust ports on Magnums, they're spaced out farther compared to the LA heads and this could pose a performance problem if you use LA headers/manifolds. The performance on my first Magnum swap in the Valiant is going really well with stock LA exhaust manifolds. Don't forget to grind the drivers side head for header/manifold clearance, to make it sit flush. Some say you can actually make the Magnum exhaust manifolds work, I've tried this on my early A bodies only to find they run into the firewall, so unless the firewall is modified to recess an exhaust pipe, don't believe they will work on early A bodies, have seen them working on later A bodies, but a rare sight to see stock magnum manifolds in cars. Also, if you are going to use stock exhaust manifolds, you DON'T have to swap the thread studs from LA to Magnum, you can make the Magnum studs work perfectly fine with combining the exhaust bolts/nuts from the Magnum and the LA motor.
LA vs MAGNUM Timing Cover
Here's a picture of the Magnum timing cover on the left and an LA 360 timing cover on the right. I remember some stipulation on the front main crank seal when I was working on converting my 2nd 318 Magnum to a V belt style. Seemed like some LA 273, even LA 318 timing covers I got my hands on they would have a cast recess in the timing cover for the seal to sit against, but on the LA 360 timing cover there's no recess, just is a push through seal, same exact seal as on the Magnum.
LA 360 timing cover from an 1986 motor, old seal out (blue) - Now on my 2nd 318 Magnum.
Picture of a timing cover I bought to replace the corroded timing cover on the LA 273 in my 2nd '65 Barracuda (Before the 2nd Magnum Swap), note how there's a cast lip on the front, the seal for this timing cover is smaller in circumference and is installed on the back side. Ignition timing spots still on same drivers side, from what I know on '65 - 273 timing covers the ignition timing spot is on the passenger side + has the same action going on with the cast lip.
Broken Dipstick Tube? EZ OUT!
Another thing that typically happens is dipstick tubes can easily break on Magnum engines, the best way to get them out is to use an EZ out bit, turning counter clockwise because it's reverse threaded in order to pull whatever out. Using vice grips and a hammer while going counter clockwise it'll eventually get a bite and begin to come out on the next step. Once I got a bite on the broken tube with the EZ out, the oil pan was already off so I took a flat blade screw driver, slid it down the cast tube part of the block till it touched the EZ out tip, smacked the screw driver with a mallet and out the broken tube came! When I bought a new chrome dipstick, for the 2nd time I had to do some very slight grinding on the bottom end of the tube that slides into the block, so it would slide easily with some resistance into the block, along with a gob of high temp RTV/gasket maker.
Using LA Exhaust Manifolds
If you choose to use LA exhaust manifolds like I did, you MUST get the heater cross over valve on the passenger exhaust manifold taken out, they typically stick in inconvenient positions and CAN cause burnt exhaust valves + bad for performance. Once you've got the heater cross over valve removed, you'll have 2 small holes that'll need to be plugged, simply just weld them up, and make sure you have a very clean surface when doing this. Take to a machine shop if you don't have the equipment needed to remove the heater cross over valve. You can use Magnum exhaust manifold gaskets no problem, same for LA gaskets, however I probably would suggest using the Magnum gaskets because I think in theory they won't cut off flow to the 2 center exhaust ports as much since the center portion on the LA exhaust manifolds are a big oval-ish shape instead of 2 separated ports, they're combined.
Stock Magnum Heads & Performance Heads
They say stock Magnum Heads are prone to cracking, the cracking supposedly happens at the valve seats, however I'm heading to my 3rd Magnum swap and haven't found any cracks between all 3 Magnum motors I've worked on. They make so many different heads out there, one brand that sticks out are Engine Quest heads, they are supposedly a better design and specifically replace Magnum heads, I may be looking into getting a set for my 3rd Magnum swap for better performance later on, and they don't crack. There's an article out there either on the HotRod network or Mopar Muscle that talks about how to make an easy 400 HP out of a 5.9/360 Magnum with Engine Quest heads. They are sold with the 1.920 intake valve or 2.02 (1.620 exhaust), check hughes engines website for these heads, anywhere else that sells them based off my research indicates that hughes is the only place that installs bronze valve guides in these heads to drastically help prevent sticky valves, and, you can order them in either intake bolt patterns --
Hughes engines is a great place for Magnum performance parts, they KNOW their stuff! Don't let the head cracking portion change your mind about doing a Magnum swap, even if there are cracks, they are very very minor/more or less hardly affect performance.
Oil Filter #'s
I always buy Wix oil filters, for the shorty it's the 51085 filter, for the longer one that filters more oil (which is better), 51515.
Utilizing The Stock Fuel Injection
I'm currently embarking on my 3rd Magnum Swap and don't plan on making it work with the stock fuel injection, but rather FiTech TBI. I don't have much info on how to make the stock fuel injection work, but would suggest searching on FABO for more info. Stay tuned for the next Magnum Swap write up - FiTech TB Fuel Injection. Found some useful video/info content on YouTube, check out this guy's channel (MontanaLowGear), he goes through how to Magnum Swap into a Jeep TJ and using the stock fuel injection, very detailed & specific on how to wire everything up correctly!
Removing A Drive Train As A Unit Via Engine Lift
1st I'd start off getting a 2 ton engine lift, either borrow one or buy one, bought my 2 ton lift off eBay. I'd also recommend getting one with extendable legs for better leverage, or at least have a friend stand on the back of the engine lift as the motor is coming out, it's also ideal to buy an engine leveler.
2nd, if your engine is a 4bbl, you can remove the carburetor, buy a lift plate for around $20 at the auto parts store, and bolt it on in place of the carburetor (Yes, those little carburetor studs can take the load, make sure you have thick washers on before nuts, I used left over Magnum/LA exhaust manifold washers). If you don't have a 4bbl carb, but a 2bbl carb intake on your V8, buy a chain to bolt to the motor going from corner to corner on the face of the motor heads, if a slant six, bolt onto the front face of the head and on the top bolt hole that usually secures a vacuum amplifier or something else in place.
3, once you have the engine lift, lift plate or chain acquired, proceed to drain the radiator by opening the petcock on the bottom, and let it drain into a clean oil drain pan. Once drained, remove the top and lower radiator hose. Remove your transmission cooler lines from the radiator. Remove the radiator. Remove wires going to the alternator & temperature sensor + oil dummy light/pressure sensor. Unhook the battery. If you have power steering, remove the power steering hoses and pump from the motor. Remove the belt driven cooling fan from the water pump. Optional, remove alternator. Unbolt exhaust pipe(s) from exhaust manifold(s), use PB blaster if you need to get rusty bolts to come off. Remove the shift rod or shift cables (if early A body for shift cables pre '66) going to the transmission. Remove the connector for the safety neutral switch. Remove the starter from the bell housing (Can let the starter just rest on the center link if you don't want to completely remove it). Remove the driveshaft, if slip yoke type ('66-up cars) make sure you have a oil drain pan ready to catch transmission fluid. I usually get by leaving the transmission cooler lines hooked up to the trans as I pull it out, sometimes it can get caught on the front core support and be a little problematic to get out, you can remove the trans cooler lines from the trans before pulling if you want to. Remove the 1 bell housing bolt on the transmission that holds the trans dipstick tube in, pull dipstick tube, sometimes there's another bolt holding the tube to the trans right at where the tube goes into the trans. Remove oil filter angle adapter if you have one and or remove oil filter. Remove the drivers side exhaust manifold if a V8 and let it hang there on the gear box if you can't pull the drive train out, LA drivers exhaust manifold usually hugs around the gear box. Remove the trans cross member, undo motor mount securing bolts.
Lastly, get the lift plate or chain or engine leveler (for changing the angle of the drive train when coming out, easiest method) bolted on, have someone help pull the hood off, get the lift attached with the hook's length adjustment slack taken up as much as possible for max lift, if a chain, make the chain have as less slack as possible, use a couple bolts at the hook so the chain won't slide, and then start pulling it out, lifting it up as you push the car backwards. Note you may hang up at the firewall lip to transmission tunnel, have someone stand on the trans to get past that lip and to help achieve the angle needed for getting it past the front core support (again, you can use an engine leveler, bolts in 4 corner intake bolts on a V8 or front and back faces of the heads, easier for changing angles), or, wrap a tow strap around the tail shaft, pull from under the K frame to obtain a better angle, and swoop right on out. Pic below pulling the 273 drive train out of my 2nd '65 Barracuda while using a chain, and friend as counter weight since my 2 ton didn't come with extendable legs...
Firing order between an LA and Magnum engine are the SAME, distributor rotor spins clockwise, firing order is 1 8 4 3 6 5 7 2. I'd check online on some Mopar site for the correct timing, if I guessed it probably would be closest to 10° before top dead center (BTDC), using a timing light shinning on the crank and looking at the small slash on the harmonic balancer (while running obviously), in relation to where it moves to the stationary timing tag bolted to or part of the timing cover and also having the black crimp looking thing (sensor) of the timing gun hooked to cylinder #1 over the spark plug wire (drivers side front). Begin rotating the distributor clockwise or counter clockwise till you're around 10 degrees BTDC according to the flashes of the gun, again, looking at the timing slash/mark against the timing degree # mark on the timing cover. Only thing to watch out for is making sure your not 180° out on the distributor cause that'll cause it to backfire/not run. I mean it's perfectly fine to have it happen, won't damage anything, it'll just let you know you gotta pull the distributor out and rotate the flat blade shaft 180°, reinstall and should be fine. Remember to make sure you inserted the gear back in correctly that the flat blade shaft of the distributor rides on, if, you had pulled the gear out to prime the oil pump system, otherwise it will throw the rotor's firing position off, and you'll have to pull the drivers side valve cover + cylinder #1 spark plug out to find Top Dead Center with both intake and exhaust valves closed + #1 cylinder at the top. Can insert a long screw driver down the spark plug hole to get an idea if the cylinder is all the way at the top or bottom, and adjust the gear inside the distributor hole clockwise (only 6 spots that gear can go cause it's hex-shaped) till you find the rotor pointing exactly at cylinder #1. Do all that or move each spark plug wire over clockwise or counter clockwise 1-2 positions till it'll fire.
You'll also want to make sure you have your distributor advance hose plugged off while checking timing and make sure you maintain around 650 rpms or whatever site/book recommends your rpm to be at as you check your timing cause it's gonna change your rpms as you are rotating the distributor, best to have a tachometer hooked up while timing, I always buy the sun pro super tach 2/II from eBay around $30-$40 and they work flawlessly if new, and make sure on the back of the tachometer too that out of the 3 switches 4/6/8 you're on 8 cause it calculates rpms different based on how many cylinders there are.
Power Steering Pump LA - Places To Grind For Fit
On my 2nd Magnum Swap since I went to a V belt setup, I wanted to mount my power steering pump and found that I couldn't make my alternator or power steering work with the newer water pump (ordered a '86 Dodge ram water pump for a LA 360 to work on my Magnum, snout extends very long) so I swapped the good working 273 LA water pump on my Magnum to find that you have to have this type of 273 water pump if you want to bolt up your existing V belt accessories. The alternator & bracket bolted up with NO problems at all. Take note how the newer/later water pump's bypass and heater hose fitting are part of the pump. On the 273 LA power steering pump I had to do a tiny bit grinding on the motor to make it fit, see pics below.
Below 2 pics show the later water pump that will NOT work with 273 LA accessories.
Harmonic Balancer/Vibration Dampener For LA V Belt Conversion
For a harmonic balancer/vibration dampener for my 2nd 318 Magnum (internally balanced) I went with the SUM-163273 balancer from Summit Racing. I used an air driven impact gun to pull the front crank bolt out that bolts the harmonic balancer on. Then I used my harmonic balancer puller (can rent one from auto parts store) to remove it. On these Magnums, the serpentine pulley and harmonic balancer are one, non separable, and thus the reason for buying a new harmonic balancer with no pulley attached. Then, I oiled up the front timing cover seal, and shaft on the new harmonic balancer. Slid it on, used a 2x4 and mallet to give it a good start onto the crank shaft, you can't go wrong putting this pulley on cause it's only keyed 1 way. Once I got it on, I drove it home with the front crank bolt and impact gun. There's a torque spec for getting this on properly, I just kept going clockwise till I couldn't see the dampener moving on anymore, had like 1/8" or less from the back of the dampener to the timing cover info gauge -- good enough. I was going to use my LA 360 V belt crank pulley that have 4 V belt grooves, but found out it wouldn't work with my upper 273 pulleys because the circumference of 2 of the pulleys are bigger and rub against the upper 273 water pump attachable pulley. So I had to go with my 273 crank pulley that has 2 V belt grooves, and only lets you bolt 5/6 bolts onto the dampener, which is perfectly fine but at the time I wanted to have all 6/6 bolted up with the LA 360 crank pulley. I also have another LA 273 that has 3 V belt grooves if I wanted to add aftermarket AC later on, other 2 grooves would be for water pump/alternator and power steering.
Installing External Electric Fuel Pump
I went with a low psi Holley external electric fuel pump. You CAN NOT install the electric fuel pump in the engine bay because it will burn the pump up, it's a pusher, not a puller. I've had a cheap pump before this one acted up, like it would over heat, not from the engine heat but because it's too much for the pump to pull the fuel from the tank from such a long distance and pump it to the carburetor, bought this holley thinking the cheap fuel pump was bad, but the holley did the same thing, over heat, quit pumping till it cooled, and begin to kinda pump again till it overheated. I found out that you HAVE to install an electric fuel pump 10 vertical inches away from the fuel tank. I installed mine on the frame rail and tied it into the fuel line by eye balling and cutting a certain amount of the metal fuel line out in order to install the fuel pump. I installed the filter that comes with the pump, screws in, and then put the pump at an angle, following the down/up slope line of the fuel line & frame rail, and relatively below the fuel tank. As I had the pump positioned where I wanted it, I then grabbed a small flat blade, etched in the center of the mounting holes onto the frame rail so I'd know where to drill. The fuel pump comes with self tapping bolts. Once the 2 holes were drilled and big enough, I installed the bolts only to let them self tap first into the frame rail, afterwards I eventually bolted the fuel pump in place, note the bolt closest to the top will probably be nearly impossible to completely tighten down with the amount of space given, just at least have the lower one tight. I then installed the fuel hoses to the fuel pump, to the metal fuel lines. On the negative wire, I hooked that directly to the lower mounting bolt for ground. For the positive I was pretty meticulous on how that went on my 2nd magnum swap but on the first magnum swap on the '65 Valiant. There's a few rubber grommets that go to the trunk, so I slit a small hole in the center of one, ran a long wire from my aftermarket switch all the way through that grommet and then to the fuel pump. However in my '65 Barracuda with the 2nd Magnum swap, I used a ton of zip ties by zip tie-ing a very long wire going from the aftermarket switch inside, out the firewall, all along the brake line that goes to the rear axle and then spliced it in with the fuel pump. Used a 10 amp fuse to the aftermarket ATM/ATC fuse block I installed. Still run a see through fram fuel filter before fuel goes into the carburetor. For my random metal fuel line setup going from the main fuel line, to a fuel rubber hose of 5", then the metal fuel line going to the fuel filter, used some transmission cooler lines laying around, and slightly bent them accordingly to make everything work right.
Oil Pressure Gauge
It's HIGHLY recommended that you have an oil pressure gauge for any motor, BAD idea to rely on the oil pressure dummy light on the cluster panel, cause what happens when the light bulb there burns out and you have a real oil crisis going on? Boom. I went on eBay and bought a cheap 2" oil pressure gauge with a sensor. The sensor screws in place of your dummy light switch, and you simply wire the gauge wire to the oil pressure sending switch/sensor, must also be providing 12V to the gauge when ignition is on. It is NORMAL for the oil pressure to come down as the motor heats up.
Voltage Meter Gauge
It isn't a bad idea to buy a voltage meter gauge (from eBay) so you can see how your battery voltage is while the alternator is charging it. 14.7 Volts is normal. If the charging system's overcharging, you're at risk for frying electrical components, and chance having the battery literally explode. Out of the 10 Mopars I've owned/own I have never seen the drivers inner fender of the engine bay's paint not look like a meteor shower had hit it, meaning at some point of the cars life, one of the previous batteries exploded. So... make sure you got a Mopar specific voltage regulator, a nice heavy duty gauge wire going from the alternator to battery, and keep an eye on your voltage every now and again.
Water Temperature Gauge
If your water temperature gauge isn't reading correctly on the instrument cluster panel (most don't) then it's also HIGHLY recommended that you buy an aftermarket gauge so you know where your engine temperatures are at, last thing you want is to be overheating and not knowing before hand. Gauges can be found on eBay as well.
Aftermarket Fuse Box
I usually head to the auto parts store to buy a small ATM (Small fuses) or ATC (Bigger fuses) 6 circuit or so fuse box. I'll tie my hot leads to the Positive battery clamp connection to the new fuse block, then on the other bank of terminals that are filtered by the fuse is where I'll hook up aftermarket small switches that'll supply power to the electric fuel pump and/or electric choke heater on the carburetor.
I just barely found out that Magnum 318 and 360's are technically NOT the same on the drivers side... You more than likely will run into this problem '67-'72 swaps. The 318 Magnum has 4 holes on the drivers side while the 360 Magnum has 3 holes. However they are the SAME for the passenger side, for '67-'72 cars you CAN still use your passenger side motor mount no problem, same for pre (before) '67 cars if you use a long high grade bolt on the lower 1 hole. The way to correct this for you guys who are 5.9L Magnum Swapping into a '67-'72 car is to buy a set or just the driver's side motor mount for a 5.9L Magnum on Schumacher Creative Services website, 318 Magnum's drivers side WILL work with early/later LA 273/318 motor mounts, and again for the 5.9L/360 Magnum & 5.2L/318 Magnum, early/later 273/318 LA mounts WILL work on the passenger side. For pre '67 cars you CAN use your LA 273 drivers motor mount with NO PROBLEMS, again, passenger side just use a long high grade/heavy duty bolt to tie in the motor mount to ear perch. Remember, LA 360's motor mount ear perches are different in dimensions/closer inward, so if you're expecting your stock LA 360 motor mounts to work on a 318/360 Magnum, they will NOT work.
I'll probably think of more stuff to write about, refresh this page every now and again to see what's been added or revised! There's so much info here, use CTRL + F on your keyboard to search for specific things again.
Automatic Transmission Seals & Tips
Before throwing your 904/727 in, it's a really good idea to replace a few seals & other. Be sure you replace your front pump seal that the torque converter slides & spins against, also before seating the torque converter in the front pump, make sure the snout is lubed up with transmission fluid. I usually stand my transmissions up to seat the torque converter, there will be 3 initial drops before it's fully seated, and if the mounting tabs on the torque converter to the flex plate are sticking out past the bell housing, that means it's NOT seated, will have to slightly pull outward and rotate to different positions till it finds it's happy spot/lined up with the front pump gear tabs. Be sure to replace your shift shaft seal, the way I replace mine is I drop the valve body, if yours hangs up, get your drive shaft in the tail shaft and slightly turn it and it will release the parking lock rod that's attached to the valve body and will come out. Pop the old shift shaft seal out from underneath with a flat blade screw driver, lube the new seal with trans fluid, pop it in from above using the correct socket size and a hammer. Next, replace the filter on the valve body & pan gasket. Lastly, replace your tail shaft to drive shaft seal, and that covers the major points that typically leak, also make sure your transmission cooler line adapters are snug so they don't leak. If your tail shaft seal had/has a leak, the majority of the time it's the metal bearing race that has to be replaced inside the tail shaft (slip yoke of drive shaft rides against this along with a layer of trans fluid), the tail shaft rubber seal is more like a dust cover to prevent dirt & road elements, little rocks scratching that little race up and causing more leaks, the seal still helps retain fluid. If you find that your dip stick tube leaks and no new O ring will do the job, simply get some high temp RTV and gob it around that area of the tube, make sure you got a clean surface and also in the hole of the trans so it'll adhere better, works perfectly every time for me, also DON'T forget to bolt it back up to the bell housing to motor, as well for the bolt that holds the tube to the trans if you got that setup there. Best to do this when you don't have transmission fluid in the pan, let it setup at least a day before adding fluid.
An awesome tip for getting firmer shifts on your 904/727 is to take out the big spring that goes between the valve body and servo piston, this spring helps soften shifts, which is not actually ideal for the longevity of a transmission, you actually want hard/firm shifts (this is referred to 'knocking granny's head off'). Also ideal to look into finding a good shift kit to install in your valve body to make the shifts even harder (yes, harder the better). See that yellow spring in the pic below? Throw it in the garbage.
I'm still using the 7 - 1/4" rear ends with 2.76 gears (highway gears/stock) in both of my Magnum Swapped 318 cars and they're holding up just fine, but intend on throwing in an 8 - 1/4" or 8 - 3/4" rear end later on.
I'm still using the 9" drums all around on the '65 Valiant with the first Magnum Swap, they work ok, disc brakes are a much better setup obviously so look forward to converting the fronts later on, my 2nd '65 Barracuda has 10" drums all around which are way better than 9" drums, but also intend to swap the fronts to discs. For early A body disc conversions from what I've researched, is you can get the conversion kits from SSBC brakes, they even have conversions that'll fit over your stock 9" or 10" spindles. As far as the upper and lower ball joint, they should come with the conversion kit, if not, I've been told you can use '73/'74 types that'll bolt right up, typically it needs the bigger upper & lower ball joints.
Something I forgot to note on the mechanical fuel pump subject
There's a site suggested on magnumswaps website that sells an eccentric to bolt to your cam shaft if you choose to go V belt style & want a mechanical fuel pump (Scram Speed? Believe Hughes Engines sells one too). On my 2nd Magnum swap I thought about this and did quite a bit of research only to find most people saying the aftermarket made eccentric was engineered poorly or simply doesn't work, some saying it works for them, so I just got a block off plate from JEGS since my 2nd magnum swap was converted to a V belt style pulley system and got another low psi Holley electric fuel pump. Electric fuel pumps are very good to help stop potential vapor locking, and really help keep your engine running while going up a hill to keep the fuel bowl filled & not stall.
HEI all-in-one Distrubutor NOTE for LA V8's:
Something that needs to be noted about the HEI all-in-one distributor, there's 2 main ones found on eBay, one with a longer shaft, and the other with a short shaft. The short shaft will NOT work with a later LA 2BBL intake manifold because the runners of the intake are designed differently/sit closer towards the distributor, and, the short shaft version will interfere with most bigger oil sending units you install, it's better to get the longer shaft version for clearance, just something I noticed as I was fixing to throw my short shaft version on my LA 318 in my '74 Duster -- So I guess in all actuality, you won't have this issue on the Magnum AirGap intake manifold with either version, other than just the oil sending unit accessories portion being problematic with the short shaft version. A tree splitter adapter to screw into the block for an oil sending unit and/or accessories, such as a fuel pump switch, would be an ideal thing to have when using the shorter shaft distributor.
RECOMMENDED PARTS RECAP
Here's a list showing all the parts I talked about above in this article + some that weren't listed.
- Edelbrock Intake Manifold AirGap 7577
- Oil Pan off Summit Racing - sum-g3536 (Usually out of stock nowadays... See JEGS version, or just get a car style LA-360 oil pan off eBay/wherever)
- Water pump - GATES 43034
- Thermostat - Gates 33509
- Edelbrock 1406 Carburetor (600cfm Electric choke style, 1405 is manual choke)
- Mopar Magnum Valve Covers
- Dorman Air Conditioner Bypass Brackets 34178 (RNB-34178) <- Optional
- Bypass hose - Gates SX6229
- One piece Magnum oil pan seal - DNJ PG1142
- Engine gasket kit (NOT an entire gasket/seal kit) - FELHS9898PT1
- Double Row Timing Chain - TC3028
- Thermostat housing replacement - 902-318
- E3 spark plugs - E3.48 (for Magnums), and E3.46 (for LA's)
- Lokar -- Kickdown cable - Lokar KD-2904HT -- Throttle cable - TC-1000HT -- Lokar SRK-4000 Stainless Steel Throttle Cable Bracket And Springs Kit (Kickdown).
- Chrome oil dipstick - SP7172
- Mid-sump oil pickup tube (See MEL-72-S2 on Summit Racing)
- Wix Oil Filters - Long 51515 - Short 51085
- 904 Transmission's front pump seal - 12070
- 10" LA-273/318 + 318 Magnum (non-weighted/internally balanced) X shaped flex plate - FRA303
- Autometer gauges - I'm making a special mention of this companies gauges for they're highly regarded in quality & accurate functionality, if you want the best gauges, Autometer's where they're at.
- More to come...
Took my 2nd 1965 Plymouth Barracuda to Mopars At The Strip near Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, the 2nd 318 Magnum held up great!! Round trip was over 1,000 miles. I did however have a problem with fuel starvation 3 times on the trip. The Holley electric fuel pump mounted 10 vertical inches away from the fuel tank on the frame rail was heating up and would eventually stop pumping, had to pull over 2 different times to let it cool off and continue on. The next morning I swapped a spare on for the travel back home, it happened again only 70ish miles into the trip back. I figured that if I kept my speed between 60-65 instead of 70-80mph (70mph is 2,700rpms w/2.76 gears fyi) it would put less demand on the fuel pump, therefore make it run cooler, and that was the case since I got back with no more problems. I believe that the sending unit pickup screen is clogged, which would make the electric fuel pump have to work harder to pump gas freely. The car still has the original gas tank, and possibly fuel sending unit, so will be replacing both shortly and am betting it will fix the problem, weird how that never happened going 70-80mph on the way to Saint George Ut where I stayed at a relatives to head to MATS the following morning and back to SG with no problems, just the 2nd run/day to MATS and back. Besides all that, it was a very awesome experience to drive my 2nd Magnum Swapped Mopar to this event, was very fun at MATS this year 2017.
LATER A BODY MAGNUM SWAP -- 1973 PLYMOUTH DUSTER 360 MAGNUM
I've embarked on my 4th Magnum Swap into my 1973 Plymouth Duster with a 360 Magnum. There's a few things that have been different for me while going through this process and I will be writing up about what's been done so far to it soon.
Update 9/16/2018, I traded the '73 Duster for a '74 Scamp earlier this year and never ended up firing the 360 Magnum up in that car, however, after selling the '74 Scamp recently, I'm funding another 360 Magnum build for my '74 Duster and will post updates + some of the same challenges I went through with the '73 Duster, here.
Websites that I recommend
Magnum Swap - (no title)
Schumacher Creative Services 'Engine Swaps' - Schumacher Creative Services
Summit Racing - Fast Free Standard Shipping on Orders Over $99 at Summit Racing
JEGS - JEGS High Performance Parts | Aftermarket Auto Parts & Accessories
eBay - Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More | eBay
RockAuto - RockAuto
The Early Valiant & Barracuda Club - EVBC
The 1962 - 1965 Mopar Web Site - The 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 Mopar Web Site Welcome Page
TTI Performance Exhaust & Headers - http://www.ttiexhaust.com/Shipping-Ordering/OrderingInfo.htm
SSBC Brakes - SSBC Performance Brake Systems
AMD Auto Metal Direct - Correct As Original Restoration Parts for your car or truck project.
Auto Body Specialties - Autobody Specialties Inc
Classic Industries - Classic Industries | Restoration Parts | Mopar Parts | Camaro Parts | Firebird Parts | Nova Parts | Impala Parts | GM Truck Parts | Tri-Five Chevy Parts
Layson's Restoration - LAYSON'S RESTORATIONS - DODGE, CHRYSLER, PLYMOUTH RESTORATION PARTS
Year One - YEARONE Classic Muscle Car Parts | Chrysler, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Mustang, Buick, Oldsmobile, GM Truck, Tri-Five, Jeep
Hot Rod/ Mopar Muscle - Mopar Muscle Archives - Hot Rod Network
MSD - MSD Performance Products | Tech Support: 888-258-3835
Autometer - AutoMeter Gauges - Quality - Accuracy - Built in the USA
My go to local automotive stores are O'Reilly & AutoZone.
Thanks for reading, hope this helps! Mopar or No Car.