Mission Creep on a D-150

Ugh. Work continues to intrude on my wrenching time. I figured when the COVID crap eased up the backlog of work would be a flood. Score one for me, I was exactly right - I'm working 5-6 days a week and hating it. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I make small progress anyway. The longblock is all wrapped up.



Who doesn't love clean freshly painted parts?



The trans is resealed with the exception of what needs a full tear-down to replace. I will take my chances with it not leaking from the few seals not replaced so far.

I'm lucky enough to know a local slant guy with a run stand. Barring something requiring a reschedule, I will be taking this thing up there next week for an initial fire-up and break-in. I continue to cross my fingers that I didn't screw the pooch somehow on this build. It's the first one I've attempted.

It's update time, and it was a Big Day in the halfafish world. I loaded the engine last night and took the drive to my buddy's house early this morning, about 40 miles away. Sometimes it pays to be lucky instead of good, and this was such a time. He has a full run stand for slants so it was off for today's big adventure.


It took a little over an hour to get the engine unloaded and hooked up to all the stuff needed for the stand.



Once everything was hooked up, we did a double check to make sure nothing was out of order, dumped a little gas down the carb and hit the starter. Bam! Two spins and the motor caught. We stopped for a quick verification on timing and hit the starter again, it was running before we could let go of the switch. 20 minutes later of cam break-in time and it was time to break it all down to take it back home.

Next up, fix all the intake/exhaust studs to seal them against the water jacket since I forgot to do that initially. :eek: Then I need to install a new oil pump o-ring and thermostat gasket and it will be time to bolt on the flywheel, clutch, and trans for a trip back into the truck. Saints be with us, this big white turd that's taken over the shop appears to be on the way outside as a running vehicle.

Soon it will be time for Re-Start of a Dart!

It's time for the next installment of "I'm almost there". The throw-out bushing was a major PITA to get out. I tried the "pack it with grease and hit a tightly fit dowel with a hammer" thing to force it out hydraulically but it didn't budge. I had to make a sharp awl out of an old punch and score it till I could chip it out a piece at a time. Very carefully, so I didn't booger up the crank. Then more hassle getting the new one in. However, perseverance pays off, as I got it in with the new flywheel, pressure plate, and bellhousing all ready to go.


I'm sure glad I decided to do a test fit with the shorty headers before dropping this in the truck. It turns out there was a blop of welding bead at the collector for the rear half that made contact with the bolt holding on the brace from the trans to the block. Measure-fit-grind, measure-fit-grind, measure-fit-grind, it finally clears. I had to thin down the head of the bolt to get some air between the two but it's good now. Today is the final install for the intake and headers, here it is in mock-up. Do I hear ZZ Top in background, singing about a sharp-dressed man?


There are two last things to do before the install. Haha, or so I think. Nothing brings on problems like thinking you are past them. Anyway, I need to clean up all the excess wiring under the hood. This was a lean burn truck, and that stuff is long gone but the wiring is still there. Out it comes. Also, I found this beauty at the pick-n-pull last week.


It's a cold air intake that sits on top of the driver's side inner fender well and routes below the battery to the radiator support frame, coming out behind the bumper. It will be perfect but getting access to make the hole for it will be a little challenging. I think the battery and tray will have to come out for some elbow room.

Wake up, Mr. Dart! It's been a long cold winter but it's almost time to get back in the shop for your front end work-over.