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Mopar Girl's 360

One Year Later...

Nothing ever goes as planned. Duh. If this swap had gone as intended, the Mopar 360 you saw in our Oct. 2000 issue ("Taylor-Made 360") would have dropped into the car in a mere day, every little accessory and bolt would have fit perfectly, and this '68 Satellite would have been running with its new engine a year ago. Well, that's exactly what didn't happen. The wrenching part of the swap itself was fairly simple, but we ran into several problems after pulling the engine, and our B-body became a lounging area for the local cat population for longer than we'd care to admit.

We started the swap with a trip to the coin-op car wash to spray away all the built-on sludge from the original 318, affectionately nicknamed The General Leak. After the washdown, we were startled to find out that our valve covers were actually orange. Then it was back to the driveway in 100-degree-F weather to tear out the tired powerplant. Yanking it out was easy. The only part of the removal that required careful consideration was the air conditioning. We couldn't trash it because it still blows ice cold, and cutting away that big air compressor would be like cutting away a big chunk of our flesh. We carefully pulled it out without disconnecting the hoses and used some bungee cords to secure a cushion on the fender. After we got the 318 and A/C out of the way, the problems began.

The Satellite's original tranny turned out to be a 904, not the anticipated stronger, longer 727. Why didn't we check and research all of this beforehand? Don't ask. This sent our engine swap to a screaming halt because we had already gotten a B&M HoleShot 2,400 torque converter made for a 727 trans, and the 360 engine was balanced using a B&M flexplate with a 727 bolt pattern. After doing the math and calculating the cost and hassle of getting a different converter and a new flexplate match-balanced to the first one, we decided the best idea was to take a 727 we had lying in the garage, have it rebuilt, shorten the driveshaft, and be on our merry way. And besides, it's a stronger tranny anyway. The other problems we ran into were compatibility issues with some of our aftermarket goodies along with a minor motor-mount modification. To ease the simplicity of the installation, we also decided to temporarily hook up the 360 to the stock exhaust manifolds to get the car running. Yes, we know this robs power, but hey, we didn't have to cut or weld anything. It's still got freeway gears and an open diff, so we've got work to do before anybody will believe that the 360 is putting out over 400 hp.

SOURCES
B&M Performance Products
8-18/-882-6422
bmracing.com
Wenco
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