72 Dart 440 4-speed build

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  1. dart360swinger

    dart360swinger Boosted

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    The car is a 1972 Dart Swinger that was originally a 318/auto car. I bought the car when I was 16 (2002), where I pulled it out of a horse field where they had been filling the trunk with hay for the horses. I painted the the car Dodge Ram Atlantic Blue for my high school senior project. The original powertrain was quickly taken out for a 360/727 and a Ford 8" swap. It was a decent combo but the machine shop miscalculated the compression ratio and the motor ended up only having about 8.5 compression. The lack luster performance led me down the turbo path. I built a turbo system around a 6.0L powerstroke turbo I scored off craigslist. The first version had restrictive home build log style manifolds. After running into tuning issues on the chassis dyno I modified a set of ebay ram 1500 ss headers. The motor ended up making 450hp and 550lbs to the rear wheels on 6lbs of boost. It was a blast to drive but was constantly plagued with issues. I could never seem to keep a head gasket in it. Eventually I got fed up with the set up and sold the motor and trans out of the car. Just prior to selling the motor I swapped in a shortened 8.8 rear end. 8.8 swap Right around then I got married and soon started having kids. That was about 10 years ago and the car has pretty much sat ever since. Fast forward to now and I am determined to get the dart back on the road and keep it there.
    From day one of owning the car, I have always wanted to convert it to a manual transmission. Then came the snowball effect. 'well if I convert it to a 4-speed now but then later on decide to do a big block swap, I'll have to re-buy a bunch of the 4-speed parts. Only logical thing to do now is put a big block in it too!'
    The motor is a rebuilt low miles '78 motor home 440 with new bearings and rings but still using the stock 7.5 to 1 cast pistons. I chose this motor for the low entry cost. I figure it's a good way to get the big block swap done on a budget and then later on build something a little more stout. I tryed to put nice parts that I could reuse around the motor. The motor has stock 452 heads with upgraded comp springs to handle the mopar 284/484 cam. On top is a 750 cfm holley sitting on an edlebrock RPM air gap intake. It's using schumacher headers and engine mounts.
    I ran into an issue when reassembling the engine. The block had core shift in it. It was bad enough that the cam would not fit in the block. My machinist (different shop from the 360 builder) was able to hand file, shape, scrape the cam bearings enough to get the proper clearances around the cam. It's not the ideal situation but I decided to learn towards the 'dont get it right, just get it running' side this time. So partly for that reason and also because the car isn't ready for the motor yet I built a test stand to start the motor on and break in the cam. Here are some pictures of the car over the years and the progress now.

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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020 at 2:31 PM
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    • dart360swinger

      dart360swinger Boosted

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      Version 1 and 2 of the old turbo set up

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    • dart360swinger

      dart360swinger Boosted

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      Slowly being uncovered

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      • dart360swinger

        dart360swinger Boosted

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        fixing the lower radiator support from a small crash back in the day.

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        • dart360swinger

          dart360swinger Boosted

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          Fixing my younger selves hackery

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          • dart360swinger

            dart360swinger Boosted

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            On to the good stuff

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            • dart360swinger

              dart360swinger Boosted

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              ready for fire up!

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              • MOPAR4Me

                MOPAR4Me FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                Nice engine stand, good on you for going straight to the BB 4 speed set-up and avoiding having to redo things down the line.
                 
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                • Demonic

                  Demonic Well-Known Member

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                  Nice work!
                   
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                  • abdywgn

                    abdywgn dismantler

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                    Nice all around! Enjoy the progression of the project. Looking forward to seeing the 440/4-speed combo. Mechanical or hydraulic clutch?
                     
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                    • Idaho

                      Idaho FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      Too bad about the 440. Tell us more about the transmission.
                       
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                      • dart360swinger

                        dart360swinger Boosted

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                        Thanks! I'm happy with the decision.

                        I haven't full decided yet on the clutch disengagement yet. I'm starting from nothing with the 4-speed conversion and what I am quickly coming to realize is that every single little part for the manual clutch set up adds up quick! Long story short, I'm still on the fence.

                        The one on the test stand? It's just a only 727 empty case. It's only there to support the back on the engine and give a place to mount the starter.
                         
                      • Idaho

                        Idaho FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        The one on the test stand? It's just a only 727 empty case. It's only there to support the back on the engine and give a place to mount the starter

                        Making sense now :). Do you have a 4 speed?
                         
                      • dart360swinger

                        dart360swinger Boosted

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                        I have the 4-speed, bell housing and pedal assembly but nothing else yet. Still hoping to avoid buying the rest of the part new.
                         
                      • dart360swinger

                        dart360swinger Boosted

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                        • dart360swinger

                          dart360swinger Boosted

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                          I finished up all the metal work repairs in the engine bay and got it primered and painted tonight.

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                          • mbaird

                            mbaird mbaird FABO Gold Member

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                            Hey Jake ! Just ran across this thread and realized it was you .
                            Build is looking good !
                             
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                            • dart360swinger

                              dart360swinger Boosted

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                              Thanks! I was wondering if you were on here.
                               
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                              • dart360swinger

                                dart360swinger Boosted

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                                I've been doing what I can this week on the dart. I build new mounts for the 67 Mustang seats that have been in the car but were just mounted directly to the floor. They are just some simple 3/16 plate built to a similar angle as the factory seat mounts. I also got the trans tunnel cut and the 4-speed tunnel ready to weld in. I'm going to wait until the motor and trans are in the cars before welding it so I can perfectly center the shifter hole over the shifter. Last thing is I started the 833 rebuild today. I wanted to hot tank the case before putting it back together but they just shut down all non essential businesses today so I may have to come up with some thing else.

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                              • mbaird

                                mbaird mbaird FABO Gold Member

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                                Jake , I am off until Monday . Tomorrow I will ask Mike @ Hubcap Annie if we can clean your trany in his caustic hot tank .
                                 
                              • dart360swinger

                                dart360swinger Boosted

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                                More progress made this weekend. I got the 4-speed put back together. I'm really happy with the Metallic Dark Metal color I chose for the case.

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                                • dart360swinger

                                  dart360swinger Boosted

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                                  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. I painted the steelies body color. I'm really happy with how they turned out.

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                                  • halfafish

                                    halfafish 66 Valiant, hot-rod in training FABO Gold Member

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                                    Nice videos, the engine sounds awesome!
                                     
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                                    • dart360swinger

                                      dart360swinger Boosted

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                                      Thanks halfafish!
                                       
                                    • barbee6043

                                      barbee6043 barbee 6043 FABO Gold Member

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                                      Cool build. It will be killer!
                                       
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