View topic - Great article from Bill/Donna Obrien!!! My thoughts on CtoC

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:23 am
Posts: 59
I read the article about the coast to coast adventure and thoroughly enjoyed the story. My plans are to do a coast to coast in my 52 S17 in the next few years.
Sadly, his mechanical issues echoed my greatest fear about the many spare parts to bring and which ones?
I had reached out and gotten some information about an engine swap to a modern engine and also a entire body swap using a Dodge Dakota extended cab chassis.
Plenty of thoughts about going each way but in the end, an engine/trans swap would be the way to go for me.
I contacted Butch's Cool Stuff and he has a motor mount that can be adjusted to the passenger side to assist in clearance issues with steering shaft. I also have saved (somewhere) a website that has Chrysler adapters to allow me to install a decent transmission with overdrive or at a least tall range and if I put a different rearend or changed the gearing I could be even more comfortable at Interstate speeds.
I know, there are lots of purists but realistically, my S17 is a 4 door lead sled, I want to enjoy it, not look at it. I had found a older guy who was an old school Mercedes mechanic and he has a shop in Tucson, AZ. After some coaxing, he let me bring my S17 in and after a few months, he was very happy to give me back a running, driving, stopping Desoto.
I gave the Desoto to my father in Vinita, OK as a gift and he drove it to a few car shows in Oklahoma but he developed engine issues and parked it. Strange noises/knocking he said. I checked it out a few years later and ended up getting the carb rebuilt by a guy in Salina, KS. Well, he did not do something right or I am not reading my manual right as it floods as I try to reduce the idle. (I know, it is a long story but in the end, it does not idle, it races to high RPM)
My daughter was begging me to drive the car, she is 18...I said no. Beg, plead, eye roll, fake I cave in. We were to move it 40 feet from one end of shed to the other.
She starts the car, engine revs up fast and high, I grab carb linkage, back in down manually (had linkage disconnected) and she goes to engage clutch and ease it forward. Somehow, the gods were not smiling upon me that day. As she eased off the clutch, the carb linkage popped free, engine revved high, she dumped the clutch...
Well, my 5000 lb Desoto left a 3 foot long black mark on the cement (mind you, I have never got it to peel out ever, and I had tried!). The end result was my travel trailer and the Desoto met ..... and "met" not in a good way. Totaled out my travel trailer, and the cars driver fender and shoved in my radiator support.
The end result? I now have a Desoto that is dented and non running. Lots of tears and a laugh or two later, I am over it. Kinda.
So, to wrap this up...I will remove and repair the fender and rad/support this summer. While I have it apart, why not go ahead with the long speculated about driveline change?
Maybe a 318 ci engine/trans out of a Dodge Dakota, early a year as possible to avoid electrical/computer add-ons?
Modify/make trans support?
Modify driveshaft?
Research rear end swap/gearing change using original rear?
Keep the gauges at 6V with a limiter and let the headlights/ignition be 12V?
Get new radiator from donor vehicle?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

To be clear, I had been frustrated by the non running of the Desoto, I had planned to get it running with the carb rebuild and sell it to a guy who wanted to use it on a cross country journey with his brother. Well since I could not dial in rebuilt carb and my daughter wrecked it, I backed out of the planned sale.
Plus, I hated to sell the Desoto after investing almost 10k in car/mechanical works over the last 10 years for a paltry price. Better to keep and modify and make memories? Go ahead and be buried in it, the heck with a casket?


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