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Engine Prep & Install

By: Nelson 08/12/2019

Next step was to get the engine prepped to go in. I wanted to drop the engine in with all the accessories & starter already attached, so I installed them all onto the engine.

The same co-worker that sold me the headers also let me have the x-pipe & trans cross member for a good price. Since my car was originally a single exhaust car, the cross member only had one bump in it for pipes to go and wouldn't work. The x-pipe took slight modification since his engine was a little different than mine. I cut one of the pipes & rotated it to line up better, then borrowed a friends welder and put it back together.

The next major thing to change was out back. Being a 1984 my car was too old to have the 8.8 rear axle from the factory, it had the old 7.5 that are notorious for exploding even with mild engines. It took me a couple weeks of trolling Craigslist, but I finally found a suitable axle and bought it. Much to my delight, the new 8.8 had 3.27 gears and a posi inside it already. I took some time to rattlecan rebuild it and shoved it under the car.

There were no brakes on the 8.8, and the old ones were shot, so I just put some stock replacement shoes on the axle and called it good for now. I also threw new pads in the front with new rubber lines. The master cylinder was also junk, and was replaced at this time.

Now, an issue that I knew early on reared it's head again, the wonderful TRX wheels. For those of you who don't know, in the 80's everybody thought the entire auto world was going metric, including wheels. So, they started making metric wheels & tires, Michelin being the main source of tires. This car was equipped with the TRX handling package, which meant if got the metric wheels. As it turns out, metric wheels & tires never caught on and the manufacturers returned to SAE sizes. It is nearly impossible to find tires for these wheels any more, Coker Tire was the only place I found, and they wanted $300 a piece for 20 year old tires. 

So a solution was needed, and more Craigslist trolling resulted in a $40 set of 16" Pony wheels. They look like hell, so they fit the car perfectly right now. I threw on the cheapest tires I could get (not pictured) with intentions of burning them off for future plans.

Now, the moment of truth had arrived, installing the engine. It dropped in with no fuss and looked slightly out of place compared to the unfinished engine bay, but that's how it is! The trans was installed from below, I put a new Ram HDX clutch in to connect the two along with new clutch cable, quadrant, and adjuster. Now just had to get it running!

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