I need help with a suspension switch and an engine test stand

October 1, 2012 | By Richard Prince


I have learned a lot from both the articles and other readers’ letters, but now I have two questions of my own.

I have just started the process of installing a 1985 Plymouth Grand Fury power train and front suspension into a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere.

I have the rear end installed as near perfect as I can get it. I did this first so I would have something to go by when installing the front suspension. Is there any type of laser tool that might help in positioning the front end?

I also am building an engine test stand. My engine for this project is an automatic transmission engine and I have several other Mopar engines as well.

Short of buying a flywheel for this project’s engine, how can I start and run all of these engines on the stand?

I know I could leave the automatic transmission attached, but that will be a bit of a nuisance.


Your goal is to get each of your car’s four wheels in the correct location, which means you want them to all together form a precise rectangle that’s correctly positioned relative to the chassis structure. Precisely positioned relative to the chassis means each axle centerline is centered to the body’s wheel openings (thus yielding the correct wheelbase) and also centered between the left and right sides of the car. To achieve these things you need to use fixed reference points and make exacting measurements.

While a skilled technician can identify fixed reference points on the chassis/body just by looking at it, an easier way is to get your hands on a crash repair manual for your car. Such a repair manual will identify the fixed reference points to be used for repairing structural crash damage to make sure all critical suspension parts are in their correct position.

As far as making precise measurements is concerned, you can use whatever tools you have at your disposal and are comfortable with.

In the old days people normally used old school measuring tools, namely tape measures and rulers. Today, nearly every body shop out there is using a laser system and you can do the same but you’ll have to improvise a bit to mount your system’s components to your 1955 Plymouth.

I don’t have a free and easy solution for how to start the engine on a test stand. One way or another you need to spin the engine over sufficiently fast enough to get it going, and it seems clear to me that using the OEM-style starter motor is the easiest and best means.