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Out With The Bad Engine...

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After getting my Project Van Hell '66 Dodge A100 last weekend, I was a bit apprehensive about removing its rod-knockitty engine through the doors. I've done plenty of engine swaps, but never out of a mid-engined van. No problem!

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Surprisingly, it turned out to be an extremely easy process. Remove the doghouse, disconnect a few wires, pull the fan, detach the torque converter from the flexplate, all the usual stuff. Everything was quite accessible, no fastener put up a death struggle, and the van's big ground clearance meant I didn't really need to jack it up.

Illustration for article titled Out With The Bad Engine...

For those of you who work on cars built in the last, oh, 20 years, feast your eyes on the engine wiring harness for a 1966 Chrysler LA engine. Yes, that's about seven wires, three of which go to the alternator. Which isn't to say that I won't be ditching the points distributor and carburetor for electronic ignition and fuel injection as soon as I can, because old automotive technology sucks.

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The old engine turned out to be a smog-era 318, not the 273 that the factory would have installed in 1966; note the EGR valve on the intake manifold. I'll take it apart and see if it's rebuildable.

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The starter, distributor, carburetor, alternator, engine mounts, and all the accessory brackets and pulleys will get swapped over to the replacement engine.

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Illustration for article titled Out With The Bad Engine...

Yes, another Malaise Era 318, which I like to think came from a Chrysler Cordoba equipped with soft Corinthian leather.

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email-LiLien
Spell RACECAR backwards and it spells... RACECAR!

Oh yes, the mention of the doghouse engine cover brings a chuckle. When my 1962 Ford van's throttle bellcrank broke in half I just pulled off the aforementioned doghouse, pulled the air cleaner to expose the one barrel carb. Turned out it was really easy to drive by opening the throttle plate with my right hand and steering with the left! Didn't even have to reach, the carb fell easily to hand. Auto trans, no problem. Drove like that to a muffler shop where they welded the two bellcrank halves back together for a few bucks. I hooked up the throttle linkage and Bob's your uncle. Another great advantage of having the engine between the seats is that you can do lots of needed repairs right inside the van. Nice to keep dry when it's raining and out of the wind when it's snowing.