V8 (5.2) swapping a van

Small Block Mopar Engine

  1. Princess Valiant

    Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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    So I am thinking of buying a 92 dodge ram shorty van that has a dead 3.9 v6. The van is VERY clean as far as the body, with NO rust.

    The interior is faded and old but very solid and complete.

    Would it be better to pull the 3.9 and see what's wrong with it OR v8 swap with a 318

    Any foreseeable advantages or disadvantages

    20220622_152840.jpg
     
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    • Slowswinger

      Slowswinger Well-Known Member

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      How much power does a shaggin van need?
       
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      • Princess Valiant

        Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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        All of it :D
         
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        • 318willrun

          318willrun Utube channel 318willrun

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          The 3.9's actually pulled those quite well. I mean, not a race vehicle but it won't be if you put a 5.2 in it either. If you just want to drive it, the 3.9 will do just fine and you won't have to mess with any wiring/computer for the FI system. Just my thought...
           
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          • SpikeWills69

            SpikeWills69 Live Free or Die

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            That looks like a Conversion Van, as in finished off inside with "plushness." We had a Chivvy G20 back in the 90's and they are pretty heavy. That had a 350 and don't think a V6 would have made me happy, LOL. I don't know how much different fuel mileage would be from V6 to 318. If it is not a conversion, then ignore my rambling.
             
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            • RustyRatRod

              RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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              Put a 440 in it. That doesn't look like a shorty.
               
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              • Princess Valiant

                Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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                Not sure what you guys mean with "conversion van" ???

                Does this help any to know what it is ?

                20220622_190226.jpg
                 
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                • Garrett Ellison

                  Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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                  OH YEAH! Sunhawk Products is who did the Conversion. It's classified as a custom coach van. I imagine it's automatic transmission equipped. That's a whole lotta vehicle to pull around the mountains of Colorado, but the 3.9 has decent low end torque. I would say magnum V6 swap while using the existing LA engine TBI and distributor with the kegger intake. The other deal would be figuring out if the EGR control would work with the externally connected magnum EGR setup, but it should be fairly adaptable, too.
                   
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                  • RustyRatRod

                    RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                    That means it was sent out to an aftermarket company and it was modified. Like with that big whopper john window on the passenger's side. That's not factory. Get us a good shot from the side. I don't believe that's a shorty van.
                     
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                    • 67Dart273

                      67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      Conversion vans, old ones, can be good or bad. Like, if you need the special "conversion" parts to fix something. "Good luck" with that
                       
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                      • Princess Valiant

                        Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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                        I can get the whole van for 4 hundo.

                        I'm getting the idea its not worth messing with since it's a conversion thingy??
                         
                      • Ottmundr

                        Ottmundr 68 Fastback

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                        318!
                        But I'm partial.
                         
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                        • Garrett Ellison

                          Garrett Ellison Amateur driver on public roadway, do not imitate.. FABO Gold Member

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                          I’m actually partial to 318, too. It’s probable that it could get better fuel mileage in that heavy vehicle if you are going up or downhill all the time. As far as it being worthless as a conversion van, that depends on what you intend on doing with it. You can gut it out and make a standard utility van out of it, but just with extra glass in it. I went to a bike rally (Boozy Creek) for a weekend years ago in a dodge conversion van much like that one. Good Times!
                           
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                          • bcschief

                            bcschief Well-Known Member

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                            Consider the current price of gas.
                             
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                            • YY1

                              YY1 Well-Known Member

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                              "Shorties" have no panel between the front door and the side door.

                              I believe that's what we see in the pic.

                              We've had several 3.9's in Dakotas and they seem to be inconsistent with power.
                              A couple have been almost as strong as a 5.2 and a few have been WAY less powerful.
                              I don't even think it was related to mileage or care.

                              5.2 OTOH is pretty consistent.

                              I see 90's vans cheap around here.

                              I wonder if a 70's grill and fenders would bolt on?
                              That van body didn't change much during it's really long run.
                               
                              Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
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                              • 67Dart273

                                67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                I'm not sure the V6's, when they are loaded heavy, do any better than a V8. This was a huge "internet opinion" concerning the Dakotas when they were popular
                                 
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                                • Princess Valiant

                                  Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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                                  Ok maybe it's not a shorty ...I don't know vans very well and the seller mentioned shorty but I don't know.

                                  Gas is in the top few most abundant resources in the planet. Just because one regime wants to price gouge, doesn't mean it will be high priced forever. :rolleyes:
                                   
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                                  • RustyRatRod

                                    RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                    But look at the rear overhang. Isn't it a bit much, or is that my imagination? It just doesn't look like a shorty to me. Maybe it's the camera angle.
                                     
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                                    • Princess Valiant

                                      Princess Valiant A.K.A. Rainy Day Auto

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                                      I would have to go back to the place but I posted this on YouTube, if this angle shows it any better

                                      https://youtube.com/shorts/DeCEW6L8IFw?feature=share
                                       
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                                      • mgoblue9798

                                        mgoblue9798 Well-Known Member

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                                        I have a 2002 B1500 high top van with 5.9. It was a sick whore that could not get out of its own way before I pulled it and rebuild it. Step on the gas to pass going 70 and no one was home.

                                        I would skip past the 3.9 and 5.2 and go straight to a 5.9 with the smallest cam hughes offers. That plus the eq heads I installed made it fun to drive and no matter what the speed it will haul the mail when I step on it.

                                        I have a lead foot and use my van to haul some heavy stuff pulling a trailer. If you are just putting around town with yours as a commuter car you may get by with the 5.2, but I would not even consider putting back another 3.9. Just my two cents.
                                         
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                                        • RustyRatRod

                                          RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                          There are actually many different lengths. Yours isn't the longest by a long shot, but not the shortest. Here's a shorty. See the difference? It's still a cool van though. Worth doing something to......cept for maybe the gas mileage. Even with a V6 it'll suck. lol
                                          SHORTY.jpeg
                                           
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                                          • TT5.9mag

                                            TT5.9mag Two atmospheres are better than one

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                                            The correct answer.
                                            It takes the same amount of work to install a 3.9 as a 5.9 or a 5.2. I agree with above. No way would I even consider putting a 3.9 back in if I had to pull it.
                                             
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                                            • mgoblue9798

                                              mgoblue9798 Well-Known Member

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                                              Gas mileage? That is funny. Mine gets 11mpg. It is really nice having the conversion van to take on road trips though. Gas is still cheaper than my chiropractor.
                                               
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                                              • mgoblue9798

                                                mgoblue9798 Well-Known Member

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                                                "Put a 440 in it" - said no one that has ever had to work on a big block van. :)
                                                 
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                                                • RustyRatRod

                                                  RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                                  Simple. Just build it right. One and done!
                                                   
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