I am venturing back into the
world of smallblocks and have a transmission
question. My platform is a 1973
Charger (the actual car from the TV show
Burn Notice) and the plan is to use a 1988-
1992 LA motor with factory TBI (I know,
nonadjustable system). Smallblock 727s
are getting harder to come by, and since
the stock LA motor is pretty tame I was
going to go the 904 route but I am seeing
web chatter about the A998 and A999
The Diplomat diehards recommend an
early version (1974-’78?) w/o electronic
lockup and swapping out the low gear set
from an ’80s version for a nice street piece. I
am also seeing that a hydraulic lockup was
used for a few years. Do I want the hydraulic
lockup feature or should I avoid it?
I have stacks and stacks of Mopar Action
mags going back to the beginning and I
don’t recall if you have addressed these
tranny variants before; I have been into big
blocks for a long time. If there is an article
that you can reference I probably have the
issue. I remember you did something with
lockup way, way back when you swapped
in the A518.
Am I just better off waiting for a SB 727?
I know the 904 family can be pretty stout
when done right and core A999s are probably
dirt cheap.

First of all, the TBI smallblocks are
some of the worst V8s Chrysler has built,
probably ever. No power, no upgrades.
(Exception: At least the ’89-’92 360 had
decent heads).
If I were in your shoes, I’d sure be using
a ’96-’02 360, SMPI, 46RE trans. No hesitation….
in a nanosecond!
The mid-’70s A999s were not lockup
and were pretty decent transmissions.
EG: My mother had a 1976 Volaré, bought
new, 360-2Bbl, tall gears. With the low first
gear it felt like a musclecar at launch, and
it cruised quietly and comfortably at 80+
The hydraulic lockup was never really
reliable, avoid it for performance use. If
you value reliability above all, an A727A is
the top o’ the heap, and these were made
through, as I recall, 1999 (redesignated
36RH, but unchanged otherwise, used in
B-vans at the end), so the junkyards are
ready for you.

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