63 Dodge Dart newcomer questions/advice

Early A-Body Discussions

  1. 63rustydart

    63rustydart Member

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    Hi everyone I just bought my first project car, it’s a 63 Dodge Dart 170 with a 225 ci /6 auto. I have a lot of questions and looking for some advice on working on this car. I’m still pretty new to working on cars so if I get some terms wrong, please educate me, I’m very open to learning new things. I want to keep this short because I have questions about my car. My goal for this car is not for restoration, I guess I’m going more along the lines with a ratty build, fun car idea, Ratty muscle cars, roadkill, etc. You get the idea. It has a lot of rust, but I plan on fixing some of the bad rust.

    I bought my car as is for 500 bucks, I knew it was going to have some problems and missing things. So, I found out that the driveshaft is missing and I’m assuming since this is a push button trans, it’s a old style 904, with the ball and trunnion type driveshaft. My question is would it be more worth it to find the right driveshaft for this trans or buy a newer 904 trans that would fit a slip yoke?

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    • dartfreak75

      dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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      Cool car I love the color. Looks like a solid project.
      First off welcome aboard glad to have you!
      As far as your question I can't help much I dont know alot about the early cars but there are alot of members who do and I'm sure they will chime in and help. But I do know know this if you decide to change the transmission get one that came off of another slant six the slant 6 to v8 transmissions are definitely different the bellhousing bolt pattern is different.
      I scraped a perfectly good slant six transmission not long ago I wish I would have kept it now.
       
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      • 63rustydart

        63rustydart Member

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        Thanks for the warm welcome Dartfreak and the advice, I do plan on putting a 318 in the future so it could help me in the long run. I’ve been looking a lot on this forum and I’ve learned tons so far just by reading some pasts post but an update on the same topic could refresh some things.
         
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        • dartfreak75

          dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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          If your planning a swap anyways id go ahead do it and not waste your money on a new slant six transmission.
          But imo I like the original slant six's in these early cars!
           
        • Lee Robinson

          Lee Robinson FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          I've never done a V-8 swap in a 63, but the firewall in a 63 is one year only and may cause interference problems with the distributor on a small block.
          64-66 firewalls are the same except for the size of the electrical junction, 64 is slightly smaller and 65-66 are a little larger. 64-66 also have a different
          w/wiper set up.
           
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          • petty437

            petty437 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            Welcome from just east of Akron, Ohio! Are you in Lodi, Ohio? I am currently updating my 63 Dart 170 2DR & have some parts & local shop info for your driveshaft. PM me & we can chat! Great car to get started with!
             
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            • 63rustydart

              63rustydart Member

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              How are you and thank you! I’m actually in Lodi, Ca.
               
            • charles mill

              charles mill Wildman68 FABO Gold Member

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              U what u after this 6 or 8 is in the past K frame 67 or newer. the newer you can mount a 273 318 early 360 magnum. these old engine mopar superseded. to drive every day find a 67-70 a body K frame or after market mount kit;;;;
               
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              • Manuel

                Manuel Member

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                welcome, from Atascadero CA, I've also got a 63 Dart, it has the /6 with auto and is a daily driver.

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                • 63rustydart

                  63rustydart Member

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                  Thank you Charles, I will look into it!
                   
                • Lee Robinson

                  Lee Robinson FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  63-66 K members are the same for 6 or 8, engine mounts are different. I believe 67 up K members are wider than early A,
                  since they had already decided to put big block engines in those cars.
                   
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                  • Lee Robinson

                    Lee Robinson FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    Manuel, that is the first 63 Canadian Valiant I have ever seen. It makes for an interesting looking car.
                     
                  • '63GT

                    '63GT Well-Known Member

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                    Gee, and I thought I was the only one with a '63..
                    I've got the V8 firewall/distributor issue solved, if you're interested.
                    Good luck with your project! they're fun little cars
                     
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                    • Valiant63

                      Valiant63 Early A-body Valiants

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                      Welcome to the board. That's a very cool looking 63 Dart. Look solid enough, but may need a few things like you said the driveshaft and maybe some help with the springs in the back end. The front bumper looks great. Although it is missing the headlight trim rings oh, but you can make do without them. I love the color and I love the VP decal on the lower right front fender. I think you are to stick with the Slant six and get it running and driving with it and the small 9 inch brakes. Once you go with the 318 V8, you should upgrade to at least 10 inch brakes or possibly discs up front. Like previously said you're going to have to modify the windshield wiper motor area of the firewall, but I have done that several times when putting a V8 into a 63 A body. Some people cut that area out and weld in a later year area, but I choose just to carefully move that area backwards enough so that the distributor fits. Forget changing the K frame, your current K frame will accommodate a V8 just like the 64 65 and 66 has. Also you may want to upgrade two V8 torsion bars as I am sure 55 plus year old slant 6 torsion bars have their limit as to how far they can be cranked up to hold the extra weight of a V8. You'd have to find a V8 radiator and V8 motor mounts not to mention the early V8 exhaust manifolds to do the swap. If you can find a V8 parts car with everything in it then that would be the best thing to do, but for now get your slant 6 going and enjoy it. By the way, the only way you can use the push-button transmission with a V8 is using the 64 V8 transmission. 65 is a little different but you can use it.
                      I would find a ball and trunnion drive shaft for an early Dart locally, not a Valiant as the drive shaft is shorter. Fix your Springs in the back if needed, and put some decent wheels and tires on it and go cruising.
                      Good luck with it.
                       
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                      • 64DartGTinAZ

                        64DartGTinAZ FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        I've got a driveshaft with ball and trunnion setup from a '64 Dart - slant 6, 3 spd manual A903 - per this post, Slant Six Dan (Post #4) says it's the same length for manual or auto
                        If you want it, it's yours for cost of shipping (and, anybody got recommendations on how to ship a driveshaft?)
                         
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                        • '63GT

                          '63GT Well-Known Member

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                          I built a hybrid distributor to get past the firewall. it's a Magnum series housing with LA internals and MSD electronics. The advantage is obvious. the mag cap has a smaller O.D. too. works like a charm !


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                          • Valiant63

                            Valiant63 Early A-body Valiants

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                            A member shipped on to me thru UPS a couple of years ago. Its for a Valiant, though so it's between 3 and 4 inches shorter than the one you need.
                             
                          • Car Nut

                            Car Nut Mopar Master

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                            :welcome: aboard!

                            I used to live in Tracy and Manteca California.
                             
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                            • RustyRatRod

                              RustyRatRod 30 Degrees Outta Whack FABO Gold Member

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                              Put a low deck big block in it. No worries about where the distributor will go then.
                               
                            • Claydart

                              Claydart Well-Known Member

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                              Welcome aboard, I did the /6 to V8 swap in my 64. there is quite a lot that goes into the swap that I did not see going into it at first! That said, it was very satisfying once it was complete. I learned a lot on my journey. I always thought that I was a pretty good shade tree mechanic, so things were not overwhelming for me, but it certainly opened my eyes. I always loved the smaller A-bodies, and after my swap, I feel that I have a new appreciation of them. As far as the torsion bars go, I did not change mine out yet because the weight of a V8 is only about 50 lbs heavier than a /6. Maybe later on after I drive it for a while, they might start to sag a little, then I will change them. Whether you swap for a V8 or keep the slant in it, it will still be fun to drive though! And the looks you get from people will make you smile!
                               
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                              • Claydart

                                Claydart Well-Known Member

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                                If you are planning on the swap, start looking now for a V8 center link.
                                 
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                                • Manuel

                                  Manuel Member

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                                  Turners Auto Wreckers in Fresno CA. (559) 237-0918, has quite a few early A's with V8s. very good prices and will ship anywhere. I was there about 2 weeks ago and saw about 6 of them, with V8s, mostly barracudas
                                   
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                                  • 63rustydart

                                    63rustydart Member

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                                    Sorry for the late reply, but thank you! I’m figuring out my budget on things at the moment, and I’m a new learner also. I’m trying to learn as I go! Thanks for the help and advice.
                                     
                                  • 63rustydart

                                    63rustydart Member

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                                    Ahhh yeah, I’ve heard of turners auto from Roadkill, I’ve gotta look into that, thanks!
                                     
                                  • 63rustydart

                                    63rustydart Member

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                                    Hell yes! I’ll research on my end to see how the shipping works.
                                     
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