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'58 Desoto Fireflite: low deck retrofit/cam selection

Old 05-11-2017, 05:45 PM
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'58 Desoto Fireflite: low deck retrofit/cam selection

Hello all.
I might drone on and on here a bit, but I want to explain what I am trying to do, give as much info, invest some time. About what my lady's and I's goals are, as there is little consensus during my homework before asking for experienced gurus here to invest THEIR time.

And I am assuring everyone, we are not of a broke ignorant mindset and attitude that slapping a cheap CL sourced 750 mech sec double pumper on a beat on, tired, smogger low comp 383 will somehow make a fast car. or even run worth a crap.

We are trying to do something a little unique.

We are the very proud owners of a 1958 Desoto Fireflite 4 door sedan, with BMV verified 47,xxx. Gorgeous survivor. Body and interior needs minimal work(compared to MANY Desotos, even LA,CA cars). More time, skill, and money than anything. Never been so proud to own a car in my life(my steel tub diesel cj5 build aside).
Google 4fb1, that caterpillar themed Isuzu 4FB1 is mine, that I built for my CJ. #1 Google result!!

Anyways:

I want to preserve the original drivetrain 361 to 8.75, with it's 47,xxx miles, as is, "serviceable" condition. To preserve/protect and pickle everything, stopping it in time(for now). I can go on and on why I want to do this. I have had an absurd amount of issues with the tapered axles and single circuit brake system. The rockers are eating into the pedestals. Trans leaking from about everywhere possible. Last owner probably never oiled that generator or distributor.


Now before anyone wonders about my ability to keep up with fussy old gorgeous junk, I have been a mechanic on everything to F-15E's, semi tractor/trailers, and I have built a lot of strong gas and diesel power plants, numerous customs builds. For decades.. It's not lack of tools, skills, or fun funds, so ya folks know. And I have a #1 Google search result. That's one in millions, or something, right? haha

I want a safe, easy to drive, simple to maintain as pristine, and easy to service, DRIVER. I want to SHARE one of the most beautiful jet aircraft looking cars every made in America in the 50's with many folks. Brakes that can violently lock the rear axle if a leak, or the drums surface rust over winter, and expensive, week away, ebay only service parts are not acceptable. Neither is obsolete single circuit brakes that every shoe requires adjustment, and has 5 different slave castings. I can dump BIG money into stock original, obsolete parts, sure. And my brakes could still need money and parts next week AFTER dumping $600 into it repairing the vacuum assist.. Better yet, have issues (sometime violent, perhaps even dangerous)with obsolete, ebay only, pricey parts, a few hundred miles away from home.

Cause ORIGINAL. Then not drive it much at all like seemingly many Forward Look owners soo determined to be "factory original".

SO:
I have a perches relocated '67 Newport axle(with cheap, easy and everywhere service brake parts) clean and brand new looking about ready to install. Waiting on slaves, ect to arrive. Fronts will be scarebird disk sometime this year. Although that amazing highway cruising 2.76 rear gear ratio *may* have to go, eventually. Seriously thought of a warn( or ?) overdrive so to NOT be turning 3K down the highway if we require a rear gear change. Manual trans with 5 or 6 speed completely out of the question(as sad as that makes me, lol)

One problem we have is the assisted pedal system. I don't trust(after reading horror story after horror story about good money after bad). Expensive to maintain "original". Still untrustworthy. Want to update master to 2 circuit at minimum. Would prefer a vacuum assist MC piston(Dakota, PW, ? mopar newb trying to do Desoto and MOPAR respectfully) . But Desoto survivor. No holes or welding unless absolute LAST resort. Prefer to keep 100% MOPAR, but if a Toyota part would BOLT on, you bet I would. 'Cause Desoto survivor. Please help with ideas or advice. Mount an adapter plate that looks funny, perhaps? Uhg. Might be only choice without welding or drilling...

Already have a last year of push button trans sourced for modern B block crank differences vs. early 361. Need advice here too, concerning stock converters, excessive heat, creeping at lights, ect. I don't want to chirp 3.25 whitewalls every shift into 2nd. Maybe sometimes occasionally when we mash the fun pedal.

As far as the 361 goes, they can be built strong of course. But, still very limited by valve diameter, then the Aluminum pedestals. No weird noises, but. I don't want to stress the original, low mileage 361,

My lady and I both want to build a a rumpity, but mild mannered street dragon of a MOPAR Block low deck, as mopar newbs wanting desoto to have the best possible. Best of parts, love, and potential, of a MOPAR B block that won't be very stressed and live a LONG while, making stout street driven power. As she deserves with modern available parts and garbage fuel her stock exhaust valves and seats don't like.Mi

Tentative plans on my own research so far:
considering a 400 B low deck(any certain ones better than others?), probably a 451 stroker(I love geometry, and ponder rotating mass). 440source stroker kit? What do folks think of them? Alternatives?

Aftermarket aluminum heads with 2.18/1.88 valves(not 440source heads). The one's I am considering are .6 max lift. Aluminum 1.5 roller rockers.

Custom headers, dual 2 1/2 or 3 inch mandrel bend exhaust, with crossover pipe.

Intake selection is open to advice, and a single plane open plenum with EQUAL cylinder breathing(name brand ground off, painted silver to match desoto 361) MUST fit under desoto hood.

It will work, finish hearing me out.

Biggest problem for engine pre planning so far seems is cam selection. I am considering Lunati's "Voodoo" LUN-10230704LK (summit part#). total lift would not tax springs or aluminum rocker at all, and may be small enough duration that lower end torque would be sufficient for mild in town driving.

Before you say power and manners/desoto/heavy car lumpy duration cam won't work, here's the kicker. I want to use a wet intake FI system. Must have a spark/advance control, and probably adder capable. I dream of a mild twin turbo(docile and quiet, until ya hit the fun pedal). Such as the ones in Jegs and summit that replace a square bore carb. If not a modified for port injection system. That way weather, temps, cam will have almost zero effect on mixture, and drivability at ANY rpm.

So "overcamming a big block chrysler" isn't "as much" of an issue as would be with a carb. Even in a car that weight 300lbs LESS than the new Challenger R/T Venom, @ 3,990 lbs.

Enough vacuum for brakes biggest concern, and I do have a factory canister.

Problem is, no much info on solid, well built, big power low deck builds, in a "heavy" car, with Fuel Injection.

Anything I should consider or study? Engine or car build threads?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by DieselJeep; 05-11-2017 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:33 PM
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Pull your 361 motor and trans set it aside and get it ready for a long nap. Build what ever suits you but leave the original motor alone.
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:01 AM
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I like the 451 and F.I. idea, cam is too big and manufacture asks for 2800 stall converter, I like modernizing brakes. I wouldn't be concerned with finding a similar build, Pick camshaft with proven engine build to match torque rpm to converter stall, rear gear ratio and vehicle weight. I really don't like an engine that will power from 2200 to 6400 rpm for this vehicle.

I would,

Down size cam.

Have custom torque converter built.

Look at 727 with O.D.

http://www.gearvendors.com/aghr3s.html
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Coronet 500 View Post
I like the 451 and F.I. idea, cam is too big and manufacture asks for 2800 stall converter, I like modernizing brakes. I wouldn't be concerned with finding a similar build, Pick camshaft with proven engine build to match torque rpm to converter stall, rear gear ratio and vehicle weight. I really don't like an engine that will power from 2200 to 6400 rpm for this vehicle.

I would,

Down size cam.

Have custom torque converter built.

Look at 727 with O.D.

http://www.gearvendors.com/aghr3s.html

I like this also, the B motor will let you have the look of the 361 and have an incredible amount of torque from 2500 to 4000 rpm.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:44 AM
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I agree, Set the 361 aside....
Stuff a 3.9 4BT cummins in it.... Or maybe a good Pratt & Whitney F135 engine In that old tube of iron and go cruising
Should be rite up your alley there Colonel Sir !!!!

All joking aside... Welcome to the site. Sounds like a great and awesome project. I feel that the direction is not all quit set in stone.
Every aspect has it's challenges. You just need to decide what your willing to live with for modifications. All these car were great back in the hay day. But sitting in traffic now days was not what they were intended to do.
So you kind of have to ask yourself, what is the bottom line here and it's purpose going to be? What and How am I going to use it? and then if this is the car you want to fab too do the job. If it's to nice of a car and dose not fit the thought process then it time to set that one aside and find something thats a little more fitting and not so heart felt in changing.

Just my 2 cents.... Or did I get it all wrong?
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Old 05-13-2017, 09:52 AM
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How about a Hellcat Hemi?!!!!!

See what happens when I get time to dream with someone else's money.

But you have to admit it would be COOL!!!!!
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Old 05-13-2017, 10:00 AM
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You can still use the 8 3/4 because you're not going to have any (zero, zip, nota) traction.








Have fun

Last edited by Iowan; 05-13-2017 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:15 AM
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Thanks everyone for your input and encouragement!
A long nap is how we see it too. She isn't very tired, but being one in a million and living this long, she too deserves the most detailed overhaul to factory possible.
Just not today.

She is insanely nice, albeit "heavy". And having a "B" big block that makes silly, absurd power, @ 500+HP but parts are not strained for longevity, but looks like a warmed over factory 361 with intake, headers, and finned valve covers(perhaps) is the goal. But as mild mannered in town(aside from noise) as my Lady's 44mpg '01 cavalier with only 20,xxx more miles than desoto. ECU controlled FI will allow this to be feasible.

The thing with cam selection is everything available is beyond tame compared to other manufacturers. Even SBC's. An equivalent build in a 65 galaxie, 390FE with stock ported 390/base FE heads had a 280/290adv, 214/224*@.50, .510/536. cam, and actually sounded very near stock, with 12hg @ idle, with a 750 vac secondary Holley. Was totally tame, with a fair sized carb. The cams available for the B block being called streetable with a carb cams are tiny and puny in comparison. Like 488 lift.

What I have found so far is, when I get the lift I want, the duration gets too choppy. The valvesprings, roller rockers, and hyd. roller cam will allow for up to .6 lift at valves. I want .5 or so. Everything should not be stressed at all, and should live a long time. But most of the cams at .500 are adv 300 with a 270*@.50. lol
Plus it has to be wideband O2 sensor compatible. LSA has something to do with that as well.

I have a lot of homework to do.

As far as a 727, Push button shift MUST stay. I don't believe there is a pushbutton 727. That's why a last year push button TF. Converter and and rear ratio change might happen. Depends on what she does on the highway. This is planning it out. The only reason I am not twin turboing for 600-700HP but very quiet and docile is because it would LOOK modern. NOPE.

Other problem is how to tackle the master cylinder. Again, without welding and drilling.

The only thing set in stone is no drilling holes or welding on anything(other than repaired to stock) factory desoto. A stock appearing car, even the motor looks like a 361, with absurd stock appearing power. Updated, safer. But 100% reversible to factory stock.


Here's one when we first brought her home, non running(what a HUGE gamble!!). Never mind the neighbor's house, lol So everyone knows I'm not some kid talking garbage.
Attachment 11283
Attached Thumbnails '58 Desoto Fireflite: low deck retrofit/cam selection-14700849_10153850041005825_3507635843308772347_o.jpg  
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:19 AM
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I spent 30 minutes(I type with 2 fingers) on a reply post, answering and addressing everyone who kindly replied. Even posted a pic of Desoto.
Admin had to "approve"(maybe because of the pic??) and 2 days later still not posted...

I'm on lunch, so quickly:
Cams available are TINY in comparison to say a 390-FE ford I built with 280/290*adv, 210/224* @ .50, and .510/.536 lift. That barely had a noticeable idle. The cams I see to have that much lift are like 250* @ .50. Makes no sense. Has to be crazy rough idle for ANY mild lift on a mopar big block?

Second, pushbutton is a MUST, no 727.

The car is UBER clean.
Hell, the hardware all came out with hand tools on the shackles and perches and shocks. Even the top of the fuel tank was still shiny, and all it's hardware came right out too. THAT's how clean she is. Car body and frame cannot be touched by drill or welder for any updates. That includes the Master cylinder(HOPEFULLY).

The goal is to have the car appear factory original, but with @ 500HP, best of best parts that are not at all stressed for longevity.

Just don't need 300* adv, 280* @ .50 to get a measly @ <.550 lift. Or a whopping 488 lift with a streetable duration. Absurdly dinky with absurd lopey duration for the lift. My car idles like crap, but I have a ford stock smallblock lift at the valve? Awesome!! lol

Last edited by DieselJeep; 05-15-2017 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:49 PM
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With the small cid I would be looking at an rv cam, something to give you more grunt at lower rpm.
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:08 PM
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I'm confused about your limited cam selection for B,RB engines. Contact a few cam manufacturers and fill out their cam recommendation form you should get many cams offered.

I am also confused about your push button no 727. I thought this came Torqueflite auto.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:20 PM
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Small cid? You must have missed the part about pickling the factory original 361, and building a 400 b block 451 stroker?

If I am mistaken, I apologize, but I thought the pushbutton typewriter shift with no park detent were phased out by 62 or so? That would be a torqueflite? Or is this a 727 as well?

And what I mean is there seems to be no middle ground with both. As all the cams I have found so far with .500-.540 lift have absurd duration for the lift at like 290* @.50. If I look at duration and a vacuum capable, mild lope idle of @ 224*-230*@ .50 the lift is TINY at like .480-.500 or so. A 451 cube big block should easily handle BOTH, ESPECIALLY with roller everything AND FI. My mild 390FE ford @400HP through log manifolds did with mostly stock parts and I regret how small I went on duration. Meaning the 510/536 lift could have been fine on the street with more duration than 280*/290*adv 210*/224* @ .50.
On a mopar cam, so far what I have seen, that amount of lift is @ 20*-30* more, which is too much.
The lift is absurdly small compared to how fast the duration gets lopey.

Maybe a builder familiar with WHY can explain it to me.

Well I wasn't done at a $2,000 stroker kit, $1,200 aluminum heads, $700 roller rockers, $200 parts for custom headers, and $1,000 FI system. And another $2,000 for everything else like machine work, oil pump, gaskets, pushrods and intake. Might as well throw a $ 1,200 completely custom grind roller cam and hyd roller lifters in there too!!

Please excuse the neighbor's house. This is right after we towed her home 70 miles, non running. So glad THAT gamble paid off so insanely well!!:
'58 Desoto Fireflite: low deck retrofit/cam selection-14700849_10153850041005825_3507635843308772347_o.jpg

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Old 05-15-2017, 06:25 PM
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Looks like your on point. There are a lot of good cam grinders out there that know Mopar, just ask Bob.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:38 PM
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From the sounds of what your looking to build.... I feel It is going to scatter that old trans....
Just my 2 cent.

Why do you feel it needs such a big cam ??? But yes, To bee in the 500 HP range... I'm guessing 500-540 Lift and a good set of heads and around 10.5.1...
and about 450-475 Hp with 906 and a old 598 Mech. Mopar cam.... But your going to break other stuff...

I would Check with John Cope at Cope trans and also A+A trans, Or Red and Arts... See if it is even possible make the trans live behind something with some modern H.P.
That might be the deal breaker....

Dont get me wrong... I'm not trying to dampen you hopes... Just looking at veribles...

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Old 05-15-2017, 07:28 PM
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Here's the cam I have in my 452 440 it's 520 hP and 545 tq, its snotty but it will [email protected] 700 rpm.https://www.hemiperformance.com.au/s...mpaign=legacy:)
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Old 05-15-2017, 07:58 PM
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And yes it's very cappable of breaking parts!!!!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:09 PM
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How about a cam with 220 @ .050 and a pro carger or a turbo, I think you could get to your :goals much easier in fact surpass them and have very nice street manures.
I've seen guy that are making 1000 + hp with 500" and a pro charger, and FI is perfect for what 600 hp.

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Old 05-17-2017, 09:26 AM
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Mopar variables are what I am asking for as a MOPAR newb Sir. But it's hard to imagine a updated well built cast iron housing trans blowing. I'm sure anything is possible with enough power.


I appreciate everyone's thoughts, opinions and input.

A smaller twin turbo motor build is actually my first thought, as keeping her mild and streetable until the throttle is mashed would be easy. Smaller turbos spin faster. As I have to make headers, and will be using FI anyways. Although I don't want to spend the money required to support more than 500-600HP. Although I am unsure what power levels a late 400 block can handle. So much to learn and research yet.

Then the trans, rear. But as you pointed out, factory sized whitewall radials won't be getting any traction.

But I believe keeping the motor close to factory stock appearing appeals to me even more. I'd keep the duration down to do so.

I have found "Howard" brand roller cams that make sense as far as duration and lift to me @ summit.

street manure!!

Last edited by DieselJeep; 05-17-2017 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:38 AM
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Gotta love spell check
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:48 AM
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The 400 block can support 500 to 600 hp but some blocks are better than others. 440source.com has great information on the 400 block.

The turbos can be mounted under the car, it makes more plumbing but it works.

You have a cool project and can't wait to see the direction that you go.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:10 AM
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One thing on the 400 is I would use the smallest over bore you can get by with. Core shift and thin walls can bite you in the butt, it's not uncommon to sonic check the block.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:58 PM
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Sounds like a fun Project...
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:25 AM
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Thanks all for the input and advice.
And encouragement. And the warm welcome.
I have never been a "mopar guy" before. I like all makes, if they are different and unusual. Especially unique, well engineered and thought out builds. I'd rather see a cherry but hideously styled '62 valiant, a Kaiser, or even a rat rod homebuilt, than a Camaro or chevy truck with too much chrome garbage bought with a CC at Summit plastered all over a 350. Yawn. Too many folks think a lot of money guarantees a cool ride. Harley owners get soo indignant when their girl on the back starts whooping and hollering at me in my lil diesel cj5. Never knew 60HP could be so intimidating. And the folks that act like being faster than a baby tank is somehow an accomplishment. rotfl
The forward look forum is a bunch of know-it-all **** purists that are trying to out do and rip each other off, soiling themselves over that ONE example of Plymouth wagon ashtray ever made. Ignoring everything I will do to Desoto will be 100% reversible and causing zero destruction to the factory originality of a Desoto survivor. And probably drive that "investment" original THEY own like 20 miles a year because they have more money than skill and knowledge. And forget tapered axles and single circuit brakes.

Plan on making the taillights LEDs to protect the lenses, with 2 lights as turn/4 as stop for extra safety for all them kids driving with their faces buried in digital devices. Minor wiring.

Anyways, enough of my opinions.
I have been diligently studying everything I can find about a proper MOPAR B block build. Why I am going high dollar best of the best parts, but not pushing it to the limits for longevity. And 440source is an excellent site. Hoping I can find a late 70's model 400, as they suggest they are the best. I am considering the smallest overbore possible for longevity as well. I had considered their heads, but the max lift is smaller than what I want without buying new springs(and possibly retainers). I want over .500 lift, that's why I am thinking the ones at summit that are max lift .6, but shooting for @ .540 or so.

As far as the build itself, everyone remember please I am in planning stages. I plan on running the 361 for at least this season, possibly next. The I am going to put into her is pretty hefty, probably over a few years. Plus I have to balance that out with a custom M939 build, DieselJeep needs refinement, and I have a Fiero GT that I am building pretty wild with a 3500 V6 and Eaton M90. Still gotta pay the bills in the mean time.

Darn responsible adulting crap.
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:40 PM
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Sorry I have been away so long folks. Couldn't log in for a long time for some reason. Anyways some interesting things have happened like what was discussed before.

But It involves a '62 transmission with low miles, barely any wear and a mild shift kit installed by the PO, and a '77 440 with 17,000 miles, with perfect grey innards and zero ring ridge. Now painted Desoto fireflite interior metallic "titanium"...

I probably need to make a build thread...

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Old 09-26-2018, 08:16 PM
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That would be cool....
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Old 09-26-2018, 08:17 PM
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How did the Fiero turn out?
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RacerHog View Post
How did the Fiero turn out?
I haven't touched her in a loong time, actually. She was driven I winter at some point, has the cancer. so I need to find a solid chassis one to swap my parts over. Decided the M90 SC could cause safety concerns in a squirrely fiero, so will be turbo when I get back to her. Side note: have a nice M90 and M60 for sale, haha
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