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1966 Barracuda Gen III 426 Hemi swap ...

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Cruzinfnc
New member
Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 12:02 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
After lurking in the shadows and silently grabbing the information Iíve needed along my journey, Iíve decided itís time to share it, the progress, and the trials/tribulations to help someone else along whoís undertaking a similar journey. Also, the story and package of a car this will turn out to be is too sweet to keep to myself. I must sincerely apologize for not sharing this sooner and as I was going through it. And I must warn that this may be a long and rambling thread at times. Afterall, no good story progresses straight from start to finish; it happens with twists & turns, fits and stops, and successes and failures Öand life happens in between. And Iíve got a headful of info, anecdotes, and a harddrive full of pictures I need to get down into a coherent tale. Iím going to take you on this journey as I lived it, without cutting straight through to where it is now. Although Iím about 98% along the way to driving it (for the 1st time!!), this isnít going to happen overnight, so please bear with me. Some of you may infer the identities of those mentioned but Iím gonna shroud their names for now, and Iíll try to scrap the chaff where possible.

While Iíve only recently (relatively speaking) come down with this wonderful Mopar affliction, especially early A bodies (just love them!), I dove in deep and in a big way, which youíre about to see. Iíve always liked the look and the idea of the small but stout, classy yet modest, and solid understated style of the mid 60ís compacts, and think they make the perfect hotrod platform: small family car sleepers that just plain get it. And that theyíre like the disregarded red-headed step child, under-represented in their place in automotive history (and car shows) especially appeals to my affection.

This is the story of one such car. It has swept me up with such passion; Iíll never be the same again. This story starts with a longtime old friend who Iíd fallen out of touch with for many years and who is to blame for my sickness: Mr. MoparMojo. One fateful Halloween party two years ago almost exactly, I visited him and he gave me a tour of, what looked to my ashamedly naÔve and unknowing eye, a fleet of decrepit cars and trucks. One by one, he explained the intimate story of each and every one (their production, their particulars, and his acquisition): 69 L-600 flipcab truck, several A100 vans and pickups , 61 Savoy (just love that one!), 64 Polara, 65 Dart GT, 63 Valiant wagon, 68 Valiant, 2x 67 Barracuda Formula S's (one of which found a good home and will be featured on Graveyard Carz), not to mention a tractor trailer full of parts. Where there is the Grim Reaper (cash for clunkers?), he is the Savior and Resurrector; saving them from certain doom, and endowing some with new life and finding a home for others. His deep knowledge, obvious passion, and intimate stories were terminally infectious. Each vehicle became a novel, a piece of history defiantly standing up to the rigors of time, brings tears to my eyes even now. That was it, the seed was planted. I wanted an old Mopar to resurrect and upcycle, to salvage its place in history, to intimately know and appreciate. No more cheap and disposable Japanese cars. So we talked and my particular vision reminded him of a rumored project that was terminally stalled, based in a 1966 Barracuda. So he investigated itÖ
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 3
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 12:07 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
The car, originally a /6, 3 on the tree car, first belonged to a lady who obviously cherished it and treated it as such: immaculate original interior, garage kept (absolutely no rust, none) w/ 62k original miles. After she passed on, it was sold to the guy I eventually bought it from. This guy deserves the credit for having the initial vision and acquiring the major components for it. It started with a Gen III 5.7L hemi swap (from a wrecked low mile 2005 Ram). His vision progressed (AlterKtion, TKO 500, Wilwood MC & front discs, and Ididit tilt steering column) and he eventually went wild, deciding the 5.7L wasnít enough and acquiring an Indy Cylinder Head built 6.1L based 426 Hemi stroker short block and Mopar Performance CNC ported heads w/ oversize valves!!! Being an old school kind of guy he decided to go with an Indy ModMan Intake, 2x 600cfm Edelbrock carbs, MSD ignition, and a looong duration cam w/ LSA optimized for carburation. Not wanting to worry about overheating in Redding summers, he got a 32Ē wide Afco alum radiator, notching the frame rails and original radiator support to get it to fit! Finding the upper shock mount towers superfluous with the AlterKtion installation, he cut them out and fabbed aluminum panels secured with nutserts. He welded up most of the firewall holes, painted the engine compartment, cut the tranny tunnel for the TKO, and found and bolted in an 8.75 w 3.55 SureGrip. He dropped the motor/trans in for a test fit, and then the fatigue set in. He put the 18Ē wheels he got for the car on a 68 notchback he had and shortly thereafter bought a Viper. With his new turnkey modern hotrod, a Rumble Bee, a nice boat, and a Harley to boot, he decided he had everything he needed and that he just didnít have the juice to finish the Cuda; and so it sat unnoticed for ~4yrs. He later lamented that he shouldnít have cut up a perfectly running /6 mint Barracuda, but hey, what better candidate is there for a project like this? The damage was already done [shrug].
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 5
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 1:21 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
This is where I came in. I should now mention that he was ready to let it all go for HALF of what he paid for everything! He obviously didnít need the money and he wasnít jumping to sell it (remember, we only found this through rumor and Mojoís connections.), but thought if someone else could carry this project forward and make something of it, why not let them have a chance. And Iíll tell you something right now; Iíve found that most Mopar guys, Iíve had the pleasure of meeting, get this. They arenít in it for the money but for the love of the life of the car, its history, and what it represents. He mustíve seen the glint in my frenzied eye that screamed I would certainly take this all the way and never let it go! The only catch was that I had to take it all; if I pick and chose parts, the price went up significantly. Now, you must also understand that my initial intention was to just dip my toe in; a clean little Valiant or something with a Slant for a couple $k to start. Of course this was waaaaay beyond what I ever expected to spend on any car at once, especially at that time, requiring a MAJOR reshuffle of finances. But I had the wherewithal to see what a deal this was and Iím hard pressed to let a good bargain go by. This was a HUGE head start on my near dream hotrod! What was I to do? Iíll tell ya what, to dive the hell in! Deep.

At this point, I should emphasize that this isn't just a story about a car, but also of a flourishing friendship that has deepened around it. I reside 3hrs from my friend Mr. Mojo and where this project was sold/bought, and I didnít have the depth of knowledge and resources to take on a project like this on my own. He was self employed at the time with a trailer, a fully equipped shop and lift. We both agreed the project would have to be based there and I knew Iíd be engaging this from afar with a lot of driving. Just prior to the moment I committed to buying this project, I looked him in the eye, ďAre you with me on this?Ē Keenly knowing my situation, he replied, ďYou bet!Ē Bam! ďIíll take it!Ē That was on Thanksgiving weekend of 2013. While we were both terribly excited about this opportunity, neither of us knew exactly what we were getting into, especially me. I was thinking just the 5.7 would be plenty and fun, and I would sell the 426 at a swap or something to recoup some funds. Since almost everything was there it didnít seem like much to get running in time to take to Mopars at the Strip in 2014. Boy, was I in for a surprise! I reached out and talked to a lot of folks & shops (Indy, Inertia MS, Reilly MS, Arrington, etc), explaining my situation, what I had, and what my options were. Most advocated running the 426. That was a decision I belabored over for a looong time, because from it, everything would change.
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 6
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 9:39 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
When the deal was closed and I unloaded everything, here's what I got...
A super clean car




Complete 5.7L Hemi with all manifolds and wiring harness out of a 43k mile Ram truck



6.1L based 426 (queue chorus voices...)

ModMan/Edelbrock induction system, MSD ignition, & TKO 500 tranny

My daughter was almost as excited as I was!
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 7
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 10:17 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Here's what the previous owner did with the engine compartment...



Nice and clean, but he had a much different color scheme vision than I. That blue will be going.
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 8
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 12:04 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
We knew right off that headers were going to be a major challenge. TTi doesn't make headers for late Hemis in early A's ...yet. We'd seen an early A GenIII hemi swap in a magazine (a dart I think), so we tracked down the outfit that did it up and found out the headers were custom made one-offs, and I just didn't have the budget for that. And here I was still aggravating over which motor to run! It would be good to mention now that my ultimate desire was an electronic fuel injected motor (for efficiency and drivability), and afterall I'm a techie GIS/IT specialist by day. 5.7L= complete (cheaper), drivable, plenty of power, and I could run the truck cast iron log manifolds that would surely fit. That would be quick and cheap, but... just... not as fun. 6.1L 426= more complex & expensive, lots of fun (insanity), and barely drivable (at least how it was configured then). I started coming around to the realization that I would never attain the real value out of the 426 if I sold it. Only the original buyer, and I having seen the receipts, knew how much it was really worth (as much as I paid for the whole package!), and I would most likely never be in a position to have a motor that sweet again. I'm sure you know what happened next... Yep, the whole trajectory changed! And the search for a header that would fit was on. This prompted me to reach out to the forum (http://www.earlyabodyforum.com/board/messages/394/10449.html?1446570626) and Fstfish66 pointed me in the right direction to SRT Jeep manifolds/shorty headers (thanks so much man!! and to the others that contributed!); LX SRT8 manifolds don't hug the block close enough. I knew they would still be a bottleneck on the system, but they'd work sufficiently until I either could afford custom made headers, or TTi or somebody else made them (hint hint, TTi!).

After scouring google and coming up empty (plenty of LX's though), I decided to register and post a wanted ad on CherokeeSRT8.com. I was promptly contacted by Stage 6 Motorsports in FL (http://stage6motorsports.com/store/index.php?main_page=contact_us) and said they had a few laying around. They said performance minded new Jeep buyers would swap out the factory manifolds for long tubes right after buying them. I picked up a set for $150 plus shipping. Stoked!! I figured that if they didn't work, I wasn't out that much and I could probably sell them easy enough.
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 9
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 12:34 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
As I was perusing the classifieds on the Jeep forum, I came across an SRT8 alum intake manifold with a cable operated 80mm throttle body and a Mopar Performance blue billet fuel rail and regulator kit for $1k! This was exactly what I was looking for to fuel inject this 426 beast. So I quickly looked up the part numbers (http://www.bpeusa.com/P5153783.asp) (http://www.bbkperformance.com/products/new-products/cable-driven-hemi-57-61-64l-performance-throttle-body.html) and determined what a screamin deal this was!! I PM the guy (Thanks Chas!!), get on the phone and explain my story. He turns out to be one of those aforementioned diehard Mopar guys: very, very helpful and generous. He had a Jeep (DD) and a í68 Barracuda heíd done a late hemi swap into and drove it in a Power Tour! Heíd bought a fuel injected create hemi, got frustrated when the motor wouldnít run right, and swapped out the whole EFI setup for carbs. He was an old-school kinda guy too and swore by carbs and mechanicals, cursing down the electronics. He just wanted that crap out of his garage. So I ask him if he had the wiring harness to go with it. Yep (http://www.moparonlineperformance.com/product-p/p5153530ab.htm). Cool, does he still have the ECM too?! Yep (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/dcc-5153528). He said heíd throw all of it in the box for no extra charge!!! What in holy hell?! This guy could have parted these out and made a good buck but instead chose to help me along what he knew to be a long and daunting path.

Theoretically, this setup is ideal since it uses all the factory sensors, mechanically operated cable throttle body (no fly by wire bullshit to deal with), and is fully programmable for boost and/or nitrous if I ever go that route; doubtful though, I think this 426 will be plenty. The ECM is an AEM unit and programmable with their software. When I got the ECM, I booted it up and was able to pull tunes and load them back easy enough; the interface is a little daunting though! I figured the ECM needed customized tuning to run the motor properly, which the guy probably didnít want to bother with; it was voodoo to him. Who knows though, I might yet find that I go old school too, eschewing EFI in favor of carbs. Iíll be finding out very soon. Any advice or leads in this area would be much appreciated. The bees knees would be if someone has this box and a similar setup and could share their tune as a starting point.
Cruzinfnc
Junior Member
Post Number: 10
Registered: 11-2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 4:54 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Now back to the exhaust manifolds. We encountered a few challenges that are well worth noting. The passenger side fit just fine, but the driver side was a different story and we encountered some distinct challenges.

*The manifold flange interfered with the bellhousing & starter and had to be cut off, reclocked, and welded back on; Mojo has a MIG welder but we had to take it to a professional welder due to its material (stainless?). The bellhousing ear had to be trimmed to allow space for the manifold flange. We also had to get an adjustable & infinitely clockable ministarter (http://www.robbmcperformance.com/products/mopar_starter.html) to rotate the solenoid out of the way of the manifold, and the block had to be ground down a bit to get the starter to fit. Note, the starter in the 2nd pic didnít work and had to be sent back; the one in the 3rd pic is what I used.








* The steering column interfered with the middle of the manifold. We heated it up with a torch and ďmassagedĒ it our around the steering column zone. Although the column now clears well, the set screw in the U-joint is really close and may contact if the motor gets pulled down too far during hard deceleration, weíll see. At least this part wonít be too difficult to pull it out again later. God forbid we have to pull the motor out again soon!





*The motor mount that came with the AlterKtion kit came straight out from the motor and into the K member mount but the manifold came down too far and needed some of that space on top. Mojo determined that he could get it to fit if he fabbed up a new motor mount with a dogleg and offset the main brace forward to clear the steering column.







Mojack
Senior Member
Post Number: 403
Registered: 2-2002


Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 4:16 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Wow, you guys have done some great problem solving there. Just enough fab work to keep it interesting, but not enough to wreck the project. I'll have to admit, I'm not up on the efi world and that would intimidate me quiet a bit. I like how the AlterKtion K member makes things easier, does the oil pan fit OK? It's good you bought the project with so much already sourced out, I dig it!
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 11
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 12:27 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Thanks for your interest and compliments Mojack! This project did require quite a bit of fab but not out of hand. The oil pan just barely fits! I'll get some pics of that as I get to that step of the build, which I'll continue on with shortly...
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 12
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 1:42 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Remember when I mentioned that the decision to run the 426 would change everything? Well it did. Considering that amount of power (estimating ~500rwhp), we decided weíd have to build this car from the ground up: wheels and tires first. Power to the ground! Being that I live in an area that requires at least a 3hr drive through mountainous windy roads to get to any major town, my vision was a car that handles first and foremost and decided 17Ē all around was a good compromise. After much research and discussion with Bill Reilly at Reilly Motorsports, I decided to run Mustang Bullit style wheels: 245/45s on 17x8Ē (5.72Ē BS) up front and 315/35 on 17x10Ē (7.2Ē BS) in back. The front wheels just barely clear the tie rod adjuster.

BWAHAH
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 13
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 4:01 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
These wide tires were going to require mini-tubbing. Since weíre in there doing that we might as well install weld-in frame connectors too! So we strip out the interior. Anybody seen these before? What is their purpose, to hold the wind roller in position?


Upholstery still in wonderful shape!


Original spare tire? It says Atlas Cushionaire on it and is in amazingly good condition.
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 14
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 4:38 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
The mini tub introduced many challenges: the rear compartment floor and trim had to be narrowed; the support brackets for the trunk compartment door had to be trimmed to accommodate the filler neck;

and the rear folding seat would no longer fit do to the seat pivots and latches being moved in. Though, I don't have pictures, I had the rear seatback narrowed (frame and upholstery) so that it would fit and swivel.

Mojack
Senior Member
Post Number: 404
Registered: 2-2002


Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 5:10 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
I'm a Valiant owner, so this is just a guess on the straps and window handles. Is that just a handy place to keep the rear seat straps while the seat is in the upright position? Do those straps hook to the ends of the seat latch bar when the seat is folded down?
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 15
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 7:25 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Oooh, I think you're onto something there Mojack! I think you're right, They probably hold the seatback down in the folded position. I'll check that when I'm back at the car. Thanks!
Fstfish66
Senior Member
Post Number: 691
Registered: 3-2007


Thursday, November 05, 2015 - 8:49 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
nice project
1940 dodge street rod red ram hemi
1966 barracuda super charged 340 4 speed
2002 dodge cummins 4x4 dailey driver
2008 chrysler pacifica
Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 16
Registered: 11-2015
Friday, November 06, 2015 - 10:46 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
After tubbing, we determined the exact placement of the wheels in the wells, then had the rear-end narrowed to those specifications. Since A-body 8 ĺ arenít that easy to come by, we didnít want to cut up the one that came with the car, so we used one out of a van that my buddy had laying around w/ 3:23 gears, which I think will be better on the highways and short enough considering the 3:27 1st gear in the TKO 500.


Oh, did mention that I went all out and decided to go StreetLynx 4-link rear suspension and Wilwood disc brakes too? Like I said the 426 decision changed everything. It's a slippery slope! We installed the US CarTool weld-in frame connectors



Inboard relocated boxed-frame link bar hangars


And the 4-link


Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 17
Registered: 11-2015
Friday, November 06, 2015 - 11:01 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
To get the 4-link installed correctly and all the measurements exact, the rearend went in/out multiple times, same for the engine/tranny combo. With the rearend out, we sprayed the whole undercarriage, seam sealed all the welds/ seams, then painted it with truck bed liner (DuPont Bed Armor). I live on the coast where it's constantly moist, so I wanted it tighter than a frog's ass.

Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 18
Registered: 11-2015
Friday, November 06, 2015 - 11:34 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
The next challenge was the tranny tunnel. The previous owner had already cut the old tunnel out and the tranny barely fit in it, but it was still contacting the upper cross member where it went over the tranny. It wouldíve been quite noisy in the car with the engine running!



American Powertrain said it would be ok to just cut it out entirely and have reported other guys having success with that. However, we didnít like that idea and wanted to maintain that structural integrity. So we cut out the bottom layer and re-boxed it in to make a shallower layer, making clearance we were happy with.



We then welded in the new tranny tunnel that came with the TKO 500 early A-body conversion kit, painted it and coated with truck bed liner (same as undercarriage). I should mention that this TKO 500 kit was purchased from Keisler originally and has since become Silver Sport Transmissions.

Cruzinfnc
Member
Post Number: 20
Registered: 11-2015
Wednesday, April 06, 2016 - 12:04 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Well, I suppose its time to resume this thread and show the progress.

With the backhalf and metal work done and the floors coated, I covered the floors & door skins with DynaMat.


Installed the Hot Rod City Garage TIG welded aluminum baffled gas tank with EFI fuel pump. Since the tank has an extruded filler neck, we had to use a reducer to the original. Not the cleanest setup but it works and is tight.


I then bolted in the Trucker O'Brien bitchin battery box that holds an optima yellow top and routed in the 00 battery cables.
Cruzinfnc
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 21
Registered: 11-2015
Wednesday, April 06, 2016 - 12:13 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Next we move back up to the engine compartment.

We had to box in the frame where the previous owner had cut portions out to make the radiator fit. Here's a pic of the frame before...


...and after


Next was to roll the car over to the neighboring paint shop and have the engine bay repainted to a metallic charcoal grey.
Fstfish66
Senior Member
Post Number: 706
Registered: 3-2007


Wednesday, April 06, 2016 - 8:29 pm   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
comming along nicely
1940 dodge street rod red ram hemi
1966 barracuda super charged 340 4 speed
2002 dodge cummins 4x4 dailey driver
2008 chrysler pacifica
Cruzinfnc
Intermediate Member
Post Number: 23
Registered: 11-2015
Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 9:34 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
Thanks FstFish66! I credit you with pointing me in the direction of Jeep SRT headers early on, giving us a clear path forward.
Fstfish66
Senior Member
Post Number: 707
Registered: 3-2007


Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 10:10 am   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)   
i cant believe TTI doesnt have headers for this combo using the RMS front suspension set up,,over on forAbodiesonly use to be a topic from tinman he has a 63 dart, he did a 5.7 modern hemi in,,i dotn remember what he used for headers,,,maybe custom, search it over on that board see if it still comes up the car has been finished around 2 years by now im guessing,,
1940 dodge street rod red ram hemi
1966 barracuda super charged 340 4 speed
2002 dodge cummins 4x4 dailey driver
2008 chrysler pacifica

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