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#2390696 - 10/21/17 06:25 AM Revisiting the 57 Plymouth
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ


My 50th High School reunion is in 2020 and I've pretty much decided that I'll be driving my 57 Plymouth back for it. It's been 11 years since I originally built the old Plaza to drive to Tulsa when they dug up the buried 57 Belvedere.

57 Plymouth by M Patterson, on Flickr

The car runs a 56 354 Hemi with Tri-Power, PAW cam, 56 exhaust manifolds, front disc brakes, iron case overdrive A833 4 speed and a 9 1/4" rear end with 4.10 gears.


57 354 by M Patterson, on Flickr



The paint and interior have both held up well, and it has working AC, cruise control, and a stereo with a reverb (what can I say the 60s were good to me LOL).


57 Int by M Patterson, on Flickr

Right now I’m just doing some general maintenance stuff on it. It needed a set of rear tires and while I had the wheels off I replaced the rear wheel cylinders that has started seeping a little.

The steering gear is has some slop in it so I dug up another one to send out and be rebuilt. I’m not looking forward to that little job. The column and gear have to come out as a unit, which requires taking up the carpet, removing a plate in the floor and bringing out the whole unit thru the interior.

sg by M Patterson, on Flickr
the steering shaft runs all the way from the box to the steering wheel so there is really no way around it. At least it’s not a PS gear which are a good deal larger and heavier.

rs by M Patterson, on Flickr


The clutch in it has always been a bit on the stiff side, so while I have the steering gear out (and out of the way), I’ll probably try to modify the linkage a bit to take care of that issue.


That’s pretty much it for the maintenance, but there are also some changes I’m contemplating.

I’m gathering the pieces I need to build a set of dual quads for it. There’s nothing wrong with the Tri Power, it works great. I’ve just always wondered what kind of performance gain I would see if any with 8 barrels instead of 6.

I’ve also been kicking around changing the 4 speed out to an automatic. I’m getting older and on occasion my left leg gives me a few problems. Of course making some changes to the clutch linkage may buy me a few more years being able to row thru the gears. While I generally really like the OD 4 speed, the gear ratio splits kind of suck for any spirited driving.

My first choice would be to do another 46RH like I have in the 37 Dodge. Now that the Compushift controller is dialed in I really really like that transmission. It also would give me a bit more of an overdrive than the OD A833 does. The two major down sides are cost (by the time I buy the transmission adapter, Compushift controller, shifter, trans cooler and shorten the drive shaft I’d be into it well over $1000, and that does NOT include the cost of the transmission! The other issues are; the size (I’m pretty sure trans tunnel mods are going to be needed) and the trans mount location which would require some major changes to the crossmember.

The second and much easier and cheaper automatic route is to use the small block 727 I have sitting in the back shed. That’s pretty much a bolt in, but would require a rear end gear swap to something more highway friendly than the 4.10s that are currently in it.

The other major change I’m looking at is adding power steering. I purposely built the car with manual steering as I hate the lack of road feel with the stock 57-62. Even if I did decide to go with the factory power steering I’d either have to go with the more restrictive 57-58 392 exhaust manifolds or build a set of custom headers for it. The one option that looks like it might be feasible is to use electric power steering. I’ve been researching the units that go in the column between the steering wheel and steering box and fit under the dash. If I do that route the switch over to an automatic transmission becomes mandatory, as I’ll have to lose the clutch pedal to make room for the unit.

Right now the automatic transmission and PS changes are just in the contemplating stage. I’ll hold up making any final decisions on those until I get the clutch linkage modified and the rebuilt steering gear in it and see how I like it after those changes.

At least I know what my next project is going to be.
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2390725 - 10/21/17 08:46 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
71charger Offline
top fuel

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 1833
Loc: Frederick, MD
Impressive. Most '57 Plymouths had rusted away by the early '60s.

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#2390729 - 10/21/17 09:04 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
moparx Offline
master

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 7925
Loc: north of coder
hurry up and retire. the guy that stated :
"when i retired, i can't understand how i even found time to go to work, there are so many projects that need done !"
really knew what he was talking about ! eek
[i speak from experience biggrin]
beer

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#2390767 - 10/21/17 10:25 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
“……hurry up and retire. the guy that stated :
"when i retired, i can't understand how i even found time to go to work, there are so many projects that need done !"
really knew what he was talking about !
[i speak from experience…..”

I’m having that very same experience. shock




“……Impressive. Most '57 Plymouths had rusted away by the early '60s……”


Thanks. That’s the nice thing about living in AZ. It wasn’t all that impressive when I drug it home, but it at least it was virtually rust free. Even out here though they didn’t have a good survival rate and I spent 6 years look for a 2 dr sedan to build. As one wrecking yard owner told me when I asked if he had any 57-58 Plymouths…… “Naw, haven’t had any of those in years, they were so damned ugly we crushed every one that came in.”

This poor old thing had somehow not found its way to the crusher. It came complete with the original flat head 6 (with a rod sticking out thru the block) and 2spd Powerflite.

P by M Patterson, on Flickr


At least it was in better shape than the new 57 Plymouth (with 14 miles on it) they buried in Tulsa in 1957 and dug up in 2007. There wasn’t a square inch on that car that wasn’t pin holed with rust.


C2 by M Patterson, on Flickr


The Tulsa event was a lot of fun and I’m glad I had mine built in time to go to it. It was likely the biggest gathering of 57-58 Plymouths in 50 years.

This was the row of 57-58 Furys that showed up.

Fury row by M Patterson, on Flickr

This had to be my favorite though. It started out life as a 4 door and in the 60’s the guy who owns it decided that was just too many doors sawzall

It run a 392 Hemi and 4 speed and as I recall 3.91 gears.


Short 1 by M Patterson, on Flickr


I’m kind of thinking that could be a handful (but a LOT of fun).
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2390830 - 10/21/17 12:15 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
RUNCHARGER Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 15262
Loc: Chilliwack B.C. Canada
Anyway you can put Rack and Pinion in it>
_________________________
Sheldon

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#2390856 - 10/21/17 01:04 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
I looked at that quite a bit when I built the car. It would have to be a rear steer rack, and there just isn't enough room to put one in (oil pan interference) It would make life a lot easier if I could.
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2390907 - 10/21/17 03:35 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
RUNCHARGER Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 15262
Loc: Chilliwack B.C. Canada
Yes: I got two original PS setups going on Sweptline trucks that I owned, I never want to mess with antique PS systems again.
_________________________
Sheldon

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#2391017 - 10/21/17 10:02 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Satilite73 Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 12353
Loc: Between Houston & Galveston TX
Originally Posted By Mike P
I looked at that quite a bit when I built the car. It would have to be a rear steer rack, and there just isn't enough room to put one in (oil pan interference) It would make life a lot easier if I could.



(I know squat about '57's, so keep that in mind)

Based on what you said, it looks like no matter which route you go for PS, you have to modify/change things up.

What kind of oil pan mods are needed for the rack to work?

Beautiful car. I'd love to have something vintage one day.
_________________________
John




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#2391092 - 10/22/17 08:10 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
“…….What kind of oil pan mods are needed for the rack to work?.......”


Not the best picture, but what I had in the computer.

drag link by M Patterson, on Flickr


It also refreshed my memory that it would really take. The pan mods would be the minor part.

In order to keep the stock spindles and suspension I’d need a rear steer rack. It would have to sit just about where the drag link goes. That would require installing a crossmember to mount it to. Even though I could run holes in a new crossmember to run the torsion bars thru, where the ends of the new crossmember would need to go are right where the frame kicks up and there is nothing there to attach the crossmember to. Then there is the issue of connecting the steering column to the rack. Where the pinion shaft would be would require the steering shaft to make an almost 90 degree drop straight down from the firewall.

I had briefly considered a front steer rack. The first thing I would need is front spindles that would be compatible with the Chrysler ball joints and control arms. Then front crossmember makes a big forward curve and would end up having to be changed to make it straight to bolt the rack to, which I’m pretty sure would require cutting into the front of the pan which I’m not sure I could do without getting into the oil pump pickup.

At that point doing a front frame clip like 5280Dart is doing to his 57 looks like a much more viable option. He’s doing great work by the way and I’m really looking forward to seeing his car done and his impressions on how it drives and handles.

That being said the clip swap is not for me. It would be easy enough to do especially as he has pretty much blazed the trail. The thing is, I really like the feel of driving my 57 with the old torsion bar suspension. I grew up in the 50s-60s and in 68 started working in a Chrysler Plymouth dealership. It hit me first real test drive I took with the Plymouth that the car had the same “feel” as driving the base (4 speed/manual steering) Road Runners I used to test drive. I know that I could take advantage of the suspension advances of the last 60 years and make a lot better handling and comfortable car out of it. The thing is I think I’d end up losing some of the things I really love about the way the car drives…..and brings back a lot of nice memories for me.
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2391118 - 10/22/17 09:11 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Supercuda Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 12560
Loc: West Texas
Cavalier center pivot R&P. Fab cross member to bolt it to the original idler arm bracket and steer box mount. Already paper engineered this for install into my Cuda, once I finish getting the shop built.
_________________________
Moparts hosted sig picture

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#2391122 - 10/22/17 09:27 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Satilite73 Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 12353
Loc: Between Houston & Galveston TX

Thanks for the lengthy reply Mike!

It does look like the T-bars would be the biggest challenge of the R&P mod. I understand the suspensions are completely different, but, this set up for a '57 Chevy was what I was thinking of in terms of mounting. It looks like they handled the kick up by mounting the cross member to the side of the frame rather than the flat.

R&P Linky

And then there's the matter of making sure mounting and angles are right so you don't end up with bump steer.

"The thing is I think I’d end up losing some of the things I really love about the way the car drives…..and brings back a lot of nice memories for me."

I totally get your reasoning not wanting to do a clip swap on your car. I feel the same way about the (original) engine in my wagon (400). Hemi swaps are all the rage but I want to keep the original to show how it used to be done.
_________________________
John




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#2391251 - 10/22/17 12:51 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Satilite73]
RUNCHARGER Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 15262
Loc: Chilliwack B.C. Canada
I would never pull the T-bars out of a Mopar either. Would that
smaller replacement Borgeson (came in Jeeps maybe) PS box for the "newer" Mopars work?
_________________________
Sheldon

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#2391529 - 10/22/17 09:26 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
poorboy Offline
master

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 5955
Loc: Freeport IL USA
My son has a 57 Dodge wagon with power steering. Before we installed the 5.9, I spent a lot of time looking for a way to mount up a rack & pinion. I have done several R & P swaps on 30s-50s Mopars. I have an Intrepid rack (a front steer version of a Cavalier rack) sitting here, so I had an actual rack to hang in place. Even without a motor interfering, the rack would not work without major modification to the frame and suspension and completely changing the steering column. The torsion bars get in the way at the rear, and the forward strut bars get in the way in front. To clear either, the rack would need to mount too high to fit in a motor, or too low for ground clearance. Gene

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#2391570 - 10/22/17 11:01 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
rowin4 Offline
master

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 5760
Loc: gulfport, ms, west mi
Once the steering box and shaft are out why not cut it and fit a rag joint or trunnion joint in like 60's cars have. sure would make it easier if you ever had to do repairs again.
_________________________
it's ok to butt heads, just don't do it with a butthead

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#2391598 - 10/23/17 12:38 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
CrAzYMoPaRGuY Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 16117
Loc: Canada
Good looking Plymouth!!!! up
_________________________
CrAzYMoPaRGuY

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#2391694 - 10/23/17 09:17 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Supercuda]
DaytonaTurbo Offline


Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 20339
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Beautiful car! Only thing I might change is to go with a hydraulic clutch to really cut down on pedal effort.

Originally Posted By Supercuda
Cavalier center pivot R&P. Fab cross member to bolt it to the original idler arm bracket and steer box mount. Already paper engineered this for install into my Cuda, once I finish getting the shop built.


What's your plan to account for turning radius loss? Are you making longer steering arms?

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#2391702 - 10/23/17 09:26 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
Thanks for all the replies guys.

"..... Only thing I might change is to go with a hydraulic clutch to really cut down on pedal effort......"

Thanks. I'm going to play a bit with the ratios on the mechanical linkage first and if I leave it a stick the hydraulic clutch is one of the things I'm looking at.



Gene (poorboy) pretty much summed up the rack and pinion situation.



“……Once the steering box and shaft are out why not cut it and fit a rag joint or trunnion joint in like 60's cars have. sure would make it easier if you ever had to do repairs again…….”


About 10 years before I built the Plymouth I built a 57 Dodge Coronet 2dr post car. The 57-58 Dodges have engine compartments, suspensions and steering that are identical to the 57-58 Plymouths.

57 Dodge by M Patterson, on Flickr

I ran a dual quad 440 with a 64 pushbutton torqueflight. Originally it was a manual steering car but with 69 C body HIPO manifolds and I had plenty of room for the larger factory power steering. I originally changed over to a 57 power steering gear before the engine went in. The 57 PS was actually worse than the 58 and later units. I found a later unit in a car in the junk yard and figured as I had the car up in the air on the fork lift I’d just drop it out thru the bottom. I quickly found out that with an engine in the car there was not a hole big enough to drop the gear out without removing the torsion bar…….something you definitely don’t want to do unless you have to on these cars. Coming out thru the interior, the column actually makes a decent handle to hold on to while you thread the unit out thru the hole in the floor.


“……..Would that smaller replacement Borgeson (came in Jeeps maybe) PS box for the "newer" Mopars work?.......”


The biggest problem with most newer boxes is the length of the pitman shaft. The 57-62 (?) used a long pitman shaft to place the pitman arm where it needs to be.


sg by M Patterson, on Flickr


The only readily available stock PS box I’ve come across with a long pitman shaft is on the mid 70s Ford F150s.


F150 by M Patterson, on Flickr


The major show stopper on that box is that it is designed to bolt to the outside of the frame rail…..the second problem is that it’s huge.


The Tri 5 Chevy guys had kind of a similar issue with their steering and many years ago came with this solution. It’s a 605 Saginaw box with a custom longer pitman shaft and an add on casting to support the bottom of the shaft.

57 Chev by M Patterson, on Flickr


If I had more room between the steering box and engine (like with a big or small block instead of the HEMI) I’d probably research this one a bit more. It would likely have to be close to bolt in (length wise) to make sense as having a one-off custom built pitman shaft made would likely be cost prohibitive.

Sheldon your question did get me thinking along an avenue I hadn’t consider before. To use a smaller modern PS box “as is” would require dropping it way down to get the pitman arm in the right location….. but at the same time it would alleviate my steering box to manifold clearance problem.

The issue then becomes the steering column. The column is supported at the top under the dash and at the bottom where it goes thru the firewall. There is only about 6” that comes thru on the engine side of the firewall.

57 Ply by M Patterson, on Flickr



If I cut the column on the firewall side and try to run an intermediate shaft to connect the column to the dropped steering gear on the engine side the angle the joints would have to run would be too steep to work without binding. I might be able to get decent joint angles if I cut the column up in the passenger compartment. That would just leave figuring a way to support the bottom of the shortened steering column. I don’t know what other show stoppers I might run into…..just like every other option I discarded over the years, but I think it’s something I’ll explore some more.


Edited by Mike P (10/23/17 09:33 AM)
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2392109 - 10/23/17 10:05 PM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
RUNCHARGER Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 15262
Loc: Chilliwack B.C. Canada
Darn: Yes I've went through this with sweptlines and my friend has a 66 Ford Pickup he is trying to figure something out with as well. It sure is a hassle, that electric unit is starting to sound pretty good.
_________________________
Sheldon

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#2392202 - 10/24/17 06:30 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
"........Darn: Yes I've went through this with sweptlines and my friend has a 66 Ford Pickup he is trying to figure something out with as well. It sure is a hassle, that electric unit is starting to sound pretty good......."


Yeah Sheldon that pretty much sums it up.

My big plan was to ship out the spare steering box to a rebuilder in Phoenix yesterday. I was actually in the process of packing it up when I realized IF I can make a later box work by mounting it lower and using an intermediate shaft I'd end up with a box I spent over $350 on sitting in the pats shed. So late yesterday afternoon I put the Plymouth back up in the air where I can get better look at everything.

After 20 years of off and on thinking about how to get PS into these cars deep down I suspect that after doing some looking and measuring this will likely also end up pile of discarded ideas, but you never know.
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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#2393259 - 10/26/17 07:59 AM Re: Revisiting the 57 Plymouth [Re: Mike P]
Mike P Offline
pro stock

Registered: 08/09/07
Posts: 1338
Loc: AZ
Sheldon I don't know if this box would have worked for you or your friend. I came across it while I was looking for something else. It's a Ford box and would mount on the inside of the frame (instead of the outside like the other box I posted). It wouldn't help me with the HEMI, but might work with other engines.


f Bronco by M Patterson, on Flickr


https://www.wildhorses4x4.com/product/Po...AyABEgKZcvD_BwE



On my 57 I went thru my pile of steering gears to get some measurements and drug a couple into the shop so I could get some measurements and make some comparisons. At this point it looks like I might be able to fit a Saginaw 800 box in there. The measurements I could take look good, but I really won't know till I get the original steering gear out. If it physically fits issues like shortening and modifying the original column and coming up with an intermediate shaft and joints should be fairly straight forward.

Once I determined the gear might physically fit I figured the next show stopper would be whether it would be mechanically compatible with the stock steering linkage. I was really surprised on how close it meets the requirements. The stock Plymouth pitman arm will fit the steering box and indexes where it needs to be on the master splines (but may need to be tweaked a bit). The pitman arm rotates in the correct direction....a big plus up . The steering box I have is 3 1/2 turns stop to stop (the manual gear in the Plymouth is 4 1/2 turns stop to stop) which is right where I'd like it to be. Finally both boxes have the same 7" of pitman arm rotation stop to stop. Basically I don't think I could have speced out a box any closer to what I need.

Figuring the cost of using a rebuilt Saginaw 800 box and the bits and pieces I'll need to modify the steering column, add an intermediate shaft, and custom made PS pressure hoses (I already have a new PS pump on the shelf), I will still be under what it would cost to have the Manual steering gear rebuilt. Provided I can get the Saginaw mounted. I've got a couple other things I need the bay for before I'm ready rip the steering out of the 57, so it will be a bit before I get back to the steering.

As far as some of the other things I want to do to the car;

I should hopefully finish of the modifications to the clutch linkage today or tomorrow.

Yesterday I picked up the dual quad intake for the HEMI (it's an original 57 Chrysler intake). At this moment I'm not sure what carbs I'll be using, other than they will AFBs. I've got a pair that are pretty well matched that would work in a pinch but I'm still looking at options. On the bright side the dual quad intake is so much lower than the Tri-Power that I'll be able to run 1" Phenolic spacers under the carbs and still have plenty of hood clearance.

Even with the spacers I could actually go back to a stock flat hood. I actually wouldn't mind doing that but with an 11 year old paint job I know I'd never be able to match the paint where I'd be happy with it.


Edited by Mike P (10/26/17 08:25 AM)
_________________________
1957 Plymouth (Hemi, Tri Power, A833 4 Speed 9 1/4 w 4.10)
1937 Dodge Pickup (Hemi, 6X2 intake, 46RH, Dana 60 w 4.56)

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