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Alan Sease's Diplomat Background (12/3/95)

I bought my Diplomat almost 2 years ago come December 17th. I bought it from a guy that bought it from a police auction.  I believe it used to be a Santa Rosa police car (more on how I figured that one out later).  This guy took meticulous care of her, taking the car to the dealer for _everything_!  He wasn't too much of a home mechanic so he still managed to overlook simple things like battery terminals and such.  He kept all of his receipts and he put a LOT of money into the car.  Some of the work he had done wasn't necessary but I'm glad he did it anyway and a lot of the work he could have done himself (oil changes and such).  I bought the car with over 104k miles.   I've had the transmission rebuilt, replaced the waterpump, battery, power steering pump, replaced all 5 tires (spare was worn out) and several small items.  I've had one tune-up done that made a dramatic difference, since then I've done most of the engine work myself.  The car is our only for a family of 4 (I look forward to buying a newer, smaller car for the family so the Diplomat will be "my" car).  At 135k miles today, we put on about 15k miles a year.  I need to replace the ball joints and replace the front sway bar mounts (one broke and the other's worn out).

As for extra equipment (all factory original), it's equipped with the 318cu HD (heavy duty) engine fed by a Rochester Quadrajet 4bbl carb; heavy duty suspension, high output alternator, temperature controlled A/C, oil pressure gauge, electric windows, door locks and 6-way seat, oh and yes, a remote trunk release that I rewired to work with the ignition off too.

The transmission linkage was modified by the last owner to allow shifting into 1st gear.    I understand that Dodge locked out 1st gear on the police package to prevent cops from slamming it down into first to slow down quickly after a high speed chase and to prevent them from doing the same for quicker acceleration thus over-revving the engine.

Overall condition is above average.  Apparently the car served some time as a patrol car, then possibly as either a watch commander's car or maybe an undercover car.  The original white with blue stripe was painted over to a gold color.  The paint job is typical city yard type quality, i.e. it works but it ain't real pretty, especially after lots of oxidation.  I can see where the blue stripe was by opening the gas filler door.  Santa Rosa has a police academy down the road from me and they use older patrol cars, many of which are Diplomats.  There I can see the matching paint jobs thus I figure it's where my car came from originally.  (I'd love to grab a car or two for parts!)

Did I mention the two chrome spotlights?  Yes, it's still outfitted with them.    It's a real laugh to see how people react when you come up behind them.    Freeway traffic slows and moves to the right.  If I'm in a hurry (which most everyone is here in California), I just get into the far left lane and cruise at around 75mph.  This is typical cop style thus people will automatically move over.   I didn't realize how accustomed I'd come to people moving over until I drove my folks' Sable a few weeks ago.  I was getting really pissed at all the slow drivers until I realized the difference> no one was moving over!  Yes, they actually come in handy for extra light on exceptionally dark country roads too.

I get an average of 13 to 18 mpg.  If I decide to "blow some carbon out", mileage drops to around 9mpg.  In talking with other Dodge/Jeep owners that have the 318cu engine (and reading the Chrysler newsgroup), that's average.  My neighbor has a '94 Grand Cherokee with an injected 318 that gets around 19mpg.

 

Andy Ihnatko's Hints and Tips for Fellow Gran Fury Owners (1/19/96)

When the ceiling upholstery begins to become unglued, just tear down the entire ceiling altogether. The result is a beautiful, clean metal surface to which you can stick maps and parking receipts with colorful kitchen magnets.

Problems getting your Fury to pass the emissions test? Drive from Boston to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, enjoy a nice lobster dinner and a little shopping, and then drive another hour back home and into the gas station. All those so-called "hazardous" Class-8 carcinogens will be left behind along Route 128.

Alternatively, arrange for your rear muffler to drop off somewhere along the road. The inspector will then stick the emissions sensor in a tailpipe which is connected to absolutely nothing, and will read nothing but the fine pine-scented air of the garage itself.

If you do still fail the test, as you take the report and climb back into the car, loudly yell that the bastards over at are dumping heavy metals right into the reservoir, but THEY can drive...YOU've got a slightly leaky Plymouth but noooo...you're an environmental-friggin'-MENACE, aren't you?!? It won't get you through emissions, but it'll make you feel a whole lot better.

 

Jay Candelmo's Global Awareness Group Moderator's Mother-in-Law's Fifth Avenue (1/23/96)

I once rode from Providence to Peterburough, New Hampshire in my Global Awareness group moderator's mother-in-law's Fifth Avenue. I'd say it was circa 1985, and boy, did it perform. We ate up more than a hundred miles of road in what seemed like no time. We were going to Mount Monadnock for a climb-for-charity event. I believe that the Fifth Avenue could have climbed the mountain with us were it called upon to do so. It comfortably seated 6 of us and made great time on the ride back. After stuffing ourselves at the local Friendly's, we were a little cozier in the Fifth Avenue's backseat, but comfortable nonetheless. The full size rear windows afforded us a panoramic view of the autumn roadside scenes. After realizing that we would be arriving home later than expected, our moderator "put the pedal to the puppy," going so far as to screech the tires turning off the Route 95 exit in Providence. (This really is true -- hard for most to believe -- but true.)

I hope this brief anecdote can be of some use, or at least give you some Dodge-inspired enjoyment.

 

Russ Perry's Observations About His '79 Diplomat Wagon (2/28/96)

Observations:

Worst car body build quality I've ever seen. Body panels don't line up, weld and grind areas are visible through the paint, trim is crooked.

318+2 bbl+Auto Trans+Lockup Torque Converter+heavy wagon body = well, I don't show my tail lights to anybody.

Underbody has now rusted so badly that when I jacked it up with a floor jack and set it on jack stands, the boxed subframe section collapsed under the load.

Seems like the 318 will last forever... Oh well, guess I'll fix the tranny and drive it a while... it's such a babe magnet!

 

Bryan Blackwell's Ex Cop-Car Story (3/1/96)

I posted this to the Mopar list, hope you enjoy it -

Cruising up the beltway one day, Ellie and I were getting tailgated big time by some guy with his buddies.  So I slide over to let him by, and as he goes past, his buddy in the back seat flips me off (I suppose 'cuz it's an ex-cop car).  Anyway, I slide right back in behind him, really close since this was my reward for being polite.    Since he's going faster, I speed up a little, so
we end up with about 2 car lengths between us.

Now it gets funny :-)

Apparently I made him a little nervous, because he hits the brakes, and slows to 55.    Then 45.  Now I'm getting seriously annoyed.  So I grab the mike for the CB (did I mention that we specifically bought the same brand as the VA state troopers?   Ain't I a stinker? :-), hoping to catch one of the bears monitoring, to turn in this turkey, but I was just a bit too far back to get the tag number, so I get a little closer, and he changes lane and slows down some more.

*Then* he realizes that I've got a radio in my hand.  And begins to wonder.  And takes off.  Now I still don't have the stupid tag, but I did have a cop on the radio, so I go chasing after him, trying to get the tag number.  It's really amazing how the traffic just *clears out of the way* when a big white sedan comes through at, ahem, a somewhat elevated speed.

So he makes a couple turns and parks, thinking he has enough lead that I got lost.    In reality, we'd seen where he parked, and coincidentally there was a Fairfax County cop with somebody pulled over just a couple blocks back.  What was really strange is that I tell the officer the story, all expecting to hear a short lecture on how civilians shouldn't drive ex-cop cars, but instead he jumps in his car and goes tearing up the road to nail this guy :-)

I'm not sure if the guy got a ticket, but I'll bet the buddy in the back never got a ride from him again :-)

Bryan Blackwell bryan@mitre.org (703) 883 7329
'65 Corvair, '66 E-type, '69 Road Runner,
'76 F250 Crew Cab, '87 ex-Cop Gran Fury, '89 Camaro RS
"There's no such thing as too much horsepower"

If I have opinions, Mitre won't admit to it <= Disclaimer

 

Drew Beck's Diplomat Experience (6/26/96)

Hello fellow Diplomat fans,

I'm a Mopar person from way back.  I've owned many different Chrysler products over the years, including our current family vehicle, a '96 Voyager.

Back in '87, I accepted a position with an agency in Wichita, Kansas.  That fall, a fleet of new '88 Diplomats was ordered for the police department and my agency "piggybacked" an order for staff cars on top of the PD's order.  So here I was in this
new job to find that the best perk was what I got to drive when I went out on the road!

We also had a few Chevy Impalas & Ford Fairmonts equipped with police packages, but the Diplomats were by far the
favorites with our staff.  They were quick with the 318 4V engines, and they handled very nicely.  The ride wasn't too bad considering the suspension settings.

One time, I was supposed to check an aircraft activity counter at the end of a runway at a fairly busy airport near Wichita.  The tower gave me clearance to drive the staff car out to the end of the runway, as long as I did it QUICKLY.  To me,
that was a green light to stand on the throttle and see what the car would do.  I chickened out as I hit 100, but the Diplomat was still accelerating strongly.  What a great place to "speed"--no other traffic and a perfectly smooth surface!

 

CopCar George Chang's "How to Tell the Civilian M-Body from the Police M-Body" (6/26/96)

In the M-bodies, there are several indications of a car's being a copcar:

1) VIN  "S" indicates the heavy duty 4bbl 318.  This almost always means "copcar".  A FEW private owners may have ordered that engine option, but I have only seen them on copcars.   Some copcars come other engine options... ordinary
duty 4bbl 318s and even 2bbl 318s.

2) Suspension.  Copcars come with stiff suspensions.  Fender tag experts will know how to read this.  All I do is
bounce the car up and down.  A copcar is MUCH stiffer than a civilian M-body.

3) Wheels.  Copcars have wide wheels with 4.5" bolt circles.  Civilian M-bodies come with 4.0" bolt circles.

4) Brakes   Copcar brakes are visibly beefier than civilian brakes are.

5) Differential  Copcars have the 8-something inch differential that takes lots of fluid to fill.  All of my copcars came with limited-slip rear ends.  Civilian M-bodies have the 7 1/4" ones.   My two civilian M-bodies had regular rear ends.

6) Rear Axle  Copcars have single-diameter axle tubes.  Civilian M-bodies have the lighter-duty axle tubes that narrow
as they get close to the differential.

7) Other Features... Copcars have tranny air coolers, power-steering air coolers, big alternators, and NO computer
on the air cleaner.  Copcars come only with 49-state smog certification.  If it comes with "California smog", it's a civilian car.

8) Vinyl Roof  I've never seen a vinyl-roofed copcar at an auction.

9) Miscellaneous Holes and Cut-Outs    For spotlights, antennas, shotguns, passenger cages, computers, dashboard
lights and pads, pushbars, sirens, etc.

10) Dashboards.  All of my copcars came with oil-pressure gauges and 135 mph "calibration guaranteed" speedometers.   None of my civilian M-bodies did.

Good luck!
CopCar George            
========================================================
84 Gran Fury (318/4bbl)     89 Diplomat         (318/4bbl)
87 Diplomat  (318/4bbl)     87 Crown Victoria (351W/2vv)

 

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