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Just bought a 63 Imperial I would love to put a Cummins in....

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  • Just bought a 63 Imperial I would love to put a Cummins in....

    1963 Imperial - 413cid (340hp) 4 door, loaded, weighs maybe 5500lbs? torsion bar suspension. full frame

    I do have a 94 Ram, cummins, auto that I can rob the drivetrain from. What would have to be done to the car to handle the extra weight? I have thought about finding a 4BT Cummins (doesnt weigh much different than the 413) but what would have to be done to the 4BT so it wasnt a dog?
    Has anyone here ever airbagged a torsion bar suspension?
    it has drums on all 4 corners, would love to get discs upfront. Would swapping parts from a newer Imperial convert it?
    thanks
    Last edited by Moparfreak77; 03-12-2018, 08:27 AM.

  • #2
    Going to air bags would mean replacing the torsion bar suspension completely. A torsion bar suspension has no location to place a bag and the existing components won't support the bag.

    The Imperial torsion bar front suspension may (or may not) support the weight of the big diesel. Unfortunately, if it can't, you will likely end up with a broken torsion bar, which would need to be replaced, if you can still get one. I can not see any way to add capacity to the torsion bar suspension.

    The Imperial chassis ended before disc brakes came along, newer then 1966 Imperials have a different suspension design, I'm not sure anything interchanges. The full frame went away at the end of the 66 production. It should have a 5 on 5" bolt pattern, maybe a modern disc brake can be converted to fit, but you may be on your own sourcing something. Not a lot of people interested in making a kit for a suspension system that was unique to one limited production car that ended production in 1966.

    To get more power out of the 4BT, I suppose you could always turbocharge it, that was what they did with the 6BT. Sorry, Gene

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not familiar with the imperials, but if it has like a standard upper and lower control arms with some ingenuity one could fab a bracket off the frame and a bucket in the lower control arm and stick a bag in there to assist the torsion bar. A 6 cyl Cummins would be sweet in a car like that!

      OR.... Would there be any way to take a set of torsion bars from a modern GM with a duramax and make them fit?

      But if like gene says it's harder than helll to find disk brakes (which really should be done with the extra weight) it may be easier to just replace the front clip.... salvage parts from.... say... a wrecked duramax...??
      Last edited by Burnin#2; 03-12-2018, 10:22 PM.
      My build thread:
      https://www.killbillet.com/forum/20s...at-is-it/page7

      Comment


      • #4
        If you go 4bt you will want an inline p-pump set up for the injection pump. Not the rotary style pump. You can make 400 HP with a compound turbo P pump 4bt if you wanted. That would be cool!
        Clutter is the evidence of life!

        https://www.minterfab.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          On all Mopar torsion bar suspension systems, there is only about 2" of clearance between the frame rail and the control arm (which is about 2" wide) and the raised suspension, and a solid rubber bump stop for clearance at the lowest suspension position. There is a forward facing strut rod that connects with the outer edge of the lower control arm and connects to a crossmember about 16" ahead of the control arms. Because of the design, the pivot end of the lower control arm is within a few inches of the frame rail, and more then 1/2 the length of the lower control are hangs out in the open wheel area.

          Generally, the frame rails are not wide enough to support an air bag. For a bag to work it would have to be less the 3" in diameter, and would only have, maybe, 2" of travel. Then it would have to be able to deflate completely to have the 2" of travel. That pair of small bags would have to support the entire weight of the car.

          Swapping the torsion bars for high capacity bars may be an option, the limiting factors would be the size of the end cups, and the length of the bars.

          Another option may be some kind of front air shock, but I believe the Imperial's front shocks fit through a pretty close hole into the frame for the upper mounting.

          There is one more possibility, but it will be more difficult then the other options. Maybe some kind of motorized adjusting bolt could be used, but it would have to be very heavy duty stuff with about 2" of movement ability. You need to keep in mind that the adjusting bolt loads the torsion bar. With the factory stuff it is recommended that the car be lifted before attempting to raise the adjustment on the bar. Lowering it is easy. Remember, you need to rise both bars the same amount, and at the same time. Gene

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Gene. I know the mopar a/b/c bodys are similar (but still torsion bar, i have a 68 valiant as well) but there are "kits" out there for them that uses coilovers instead of shocks. There is an upper hoop that gets welded to the frame and fits into the upper shock mount to support the weight. You also need a tubular upper control arm for the coilover to fit through. Cant see someone making a tubular arm for the Imperials though. :)

            When guys run these big diesels, are they using the diesel front ends or will the "V8 front ends" work? Even if I could convert to discs/airbags/coilovers, would the steering/suspension components handle the extra weight?
            I did find 2 places that sell disc brake kits...
            Wilwood setup that uses my stock drum spindle.
            The Ram Man - newer disc brake spindles from a 65-73 C body...but again, can they support the weight of the diesel?

            Turboing the 4BT would be a given, but I wonder if that would still be enough to move this beast?

            Comment


            • #7
              I hear the P-Pump is the way to go, thats why I bought my 94 Ram. Would the P-Pump from it work on the 4BT? This car will definitely be a cruiser but would be sweet if it hauled ass, not sure the 4BT could do that, it would definitely fit better than the 6BT. A quick measurement showed the 6BT is about 10 inches longer than the 413cid in it right now.

              Comment


              • #8
                I know anything is possible but what about using the front clip from the truck? either using the frame/suspension/steering itself or cutting the suspension off and welding it on?

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Imperial has a nice big boxed frame, a diesel truck front clip may attach OK, but it would probably kill the ride height. You might be able to weld the truck frame on top of the Imperial frame which would drop the ride height, but then is there going to be enough under hood clearance? Would there be enough hood clearance anyway? It seems to me the 6 diesel was pretty proud height wise as well. If the diesel is 10" longer then the 413, will the motor even fit under the sheet metal without major modification? The front sheet metal on the Imperial is one piece.

                  How much more does the 6BT weigh then the 413 or the old style Hemi motors? I think the Imperial was built with heavy duty truck suspension parts, but at the time a Hemi was about the heaviest motor used in automotive use. I'd have to look it up again, but I think the 392 Hemi was near 800 lbs and then had a cast iron trans attached (the 50s Hemi was heavier then the 64 426 Hemi), the diesel may be within a couple hundred lbs, which may not make that much of a difference in the Imperial. Gene
                  Last edited by Gene; 03-15-2018, 10:07 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's some specs I found for the 6bt. And if you want a bit of an idea there's a pic of my build with the 12 valve.
                    Oh and the injection pump from a 6 will not work in a 4 cyl... it's like putting a 6 cyl distributor in a 4 cyl engine.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    My build thread:
                    https://www.killbillet.com/forum/20s...at-is-it/page7

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gene View Post
                      The Imperial has a nice big boxed frame, a diesel truck front clip may attach OK, but it would probably kill the ride height. You might be able to weld the truck frame on top of the Imperial frame which would drop the ride height, but then is there going to be enough under hood clearance? Would there be enough hood clearance anyway? It seems to me the 6 diesel was pretty proud height wise as well. If the diesel is 10" longer then the 413, will the motor even fit under the sheet metal without major modification? The front sheet metal on the Imperial is one piece.

                      How much more does the 6BT weigh then the 413 or the old style Hemi motors? I think the Imperial was built with heavy duty truck suspension parts, but at the time a Hemi was about the heaviest motor used in automotive use. I'd have to look it up again, but I think the 392 Hemi was near 800 lbs and then had a cast iron trans attached (the 50s Hemi was heavier then the 64 426 Hemi), the diesel may be within a couple hundred lbs, which may not make that much of a difference in the Imperial. Gene
                      I dont think there would be a problem with the height, yes they are tall but they have been put in similar vehicles, usually needing an oil pan shave. As far as the length goes, the rad support would have to be moved forward but there is plenty of room that way, probably feet! From what I can tell the 413 weighs about 650/670lbs, the 4BT is 750lbs, the 6BT is 1100lbs

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Burnin#2 View Post
                        Here's some specs I found for the 6bt. And if you want a bit of an idea there's a pic of my build with the 12 valve.
                        Oh and the injection pump from a 6 will not work in a 4 cyl... it's like putting a 6 cyl distributor in a 4 cyl engine.

                        [ATTACH=CONFIG]145556[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]145557[/ATTACH]
                        thanks Burnin#2

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gene View Post
                          On all Mopar torsion bar suspension systems, there is only about 2" of clearance between the frame rail and the control arm (which is about 2" wide) and the raised suspension, and a solid rubber bump stop for clearance at the lowest suspension position. There is a forward facing strut rod that connects with the outer edge of the lower control arm and connects to a crossmember about 16" ahead of the control arms. Because of the design, the pivot end of the lower control arm is within a few inches of the frame rail, and more then 1/2 the length of the lower control are hangs out in the open wheel area.

                          Generally, the frame rails are not wide enough to support an air bag. For a bag to work it would have to be less the 3" in diameter, and would only have, maybe, 2" of travel. Then it would have to be able to deflate completely to have the 2" of travel. That pair of small bags would have to support the entire weight of the car.

                          Swapping the torsion bars for high capacity bars may be an option, the limiting factors would be the size of the end cups, and the length of the bars.

                          Another option may be some kind of front air shock, but I believe the Imperial's front shocks fit through a pretty close hole into the frame for the upper mounting.

                          There is one more possibility, but it will be more difficult then the other options. Maybe some kind of motorized adjusting bolt could be used, but it would have to be very heavy duty stuff with about 2" of movement ability. You need to keep in mind that the adjusting bolt loads the torsion bar. With the factory stuff it is recommended that the car be lifted before attempting to raise the adjustment on the bar. Lowering it is easy. Remember, you need to rise both bars the same amount, and at the same time. Gene
                          I'm in the same boat with my '63 440, but I'm Unibody as well.
                          I would like to gt my nose down as well, and RideTech Shockwave "Air Overs" look like they could be the answer, but not sure if I want to fork out that kinda cash on a "maybe".
                          Speedway sells a universal rear disc break conversion called a "hat-trick".
                          They come in 5 on 4.5,4.75, or 5. Also with out without E-Brake.
                          Willwood makes them, as well as the Speedway brand.
                          They work really good, just remember to use "saftey wires" on your "Hat-Rotor" bolts.
                          Front Disc are a different story.
                          I'm still looking for mine, and if I come across something for the Imperial as well, I'll post iit up in here for ya.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A lot of the modern vehicles use the "hat" rotors that fit on your hubs in place of the brake drums with little modification. Once the rotors are set up, its a matter of making a plate that will bolt onto your front spindles that will hold a caliper at the correct location for the rotors you are using. The late 70s GM 2 bolt calipers are about the easiest calipers to mount, and the were used on a ton of different vehicles over the years. After that you need a brake hose that has the correct end to attach to your caliper, and will accommodate the steering wheels.

                            It all sounds so simple!

                            There are several disc brake conversion kits out there, something has to be able to adapt to your ride. A few of the manufacturers are willing to modify their offerings to to fit your project, or may already have something that will work. Find someone that offers a lot of different conversions, and email or phone them to see if they may have or are willing to make what you need.

                            I know the guy from www.rustyhope.com makes kits for several older Mopars (30s through the late 40s) and has modified his kits to fit other vehicles, he might be a place to start. He is not the only one that has done this. Gene

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