74 Dart Sport Restoration

Members Restorations

  1. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Howdy from Texas,
    Ya'll know how we Mopar people are, we can't stand to see them go to the crusher! So I rescued this Sport. Paid too much for it for what I found wrong with it, but isn't that usually they way.

    It's a 74 Dart Sport 360 console automatic with a Tuff steering column. Just like the one my wife and I had when we first started out some 36 years ago.

    The front end is ok but the rear has problems as you'll see. The plan was to restore the car, since I am a professional restorer that's not a problem, but finding the time is. I've had it since 2006.
    Anyway I was going to retro fit a 93 vintage magnum 318 with MPFI and the Od tranny out of a Dakota to replace the 360.
    I don't have the time it would take to do the retro fit with the Dakota computer, floorboard modifications, fuel injection system and so forth. So I'll use the 360 for now which I have ready to go in.

    It's not going to be factory correct but that is not what I'm after.
    The exterior color will be Redfire Metallic paint code 5U-57067-00-C BC application. The engine valve covers are this color.
    The interior seats, door panels and such will be white, but using the 73 Dart style seat covers instead of the 74 and with the Dodge logo or the Pentestar embroidered in the head rest in red stiching. The dash will be painted the exterior color, carpet & console black.

    Restoration in this order - Body work, paint, suspension / steering, wiring, drive train, interior.

    More to come.
     

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  2. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Starting on the rear body work. From preliminary inspection both right and left rear fenders will have to be replaced.

    Also both right and left rear tail light panels need replaced. Repairs done from privious owners was not done correctly so a lot of rust problems.

    I'm going to tackle these problems a section at a time. First the right tail light panel. The more I got into it the more rust I found. I purchased a complete rear tail panel in really great shape for a 74 Dart from craiglist. This was cut off the donor car about 6 inches into the fender so I had plenty of material to work with.

    I cut out the bad metal as a whole piece and used it as a templete to get my donor piece cut from my new rear tail panel and then clamped everything in place to eyeball the fitment. I overlapped the body with the new tail panel 1/2 inch and off set the edges so that it was an even fit with the original body. I used sheet metal screws placed 2 inches apart to hold the new tail light panel to the original back and side panels with a spot weld hole drilled only into the replacement tail light panel every inch.

    Using a mig, I filled the spot weld holes up alternating the holes so as not to warp any of the panels. Once that was done I went back and removed the sheet metal screws one at a time and welded the hole shut again alternating holes so I wouldn't warp any of the panels. Using a flap disk on a grinder I sanded down the welds and coated everything inside and out with primer.
     

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  3. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    I completed the left rear tail light panel replacement the same way as I did the right. Make sure you take plenty of measurements before cutting. I used a cutoff wheel to do the cutting.

    I did not weld the new tail light panels to the side fender panels as I knew I would be replacing the rear side fenders at some point. I just used the sheet metal screws to hold them together enough to keep everything in alignment. I will fully weld them when I replace the rear side fenders.

    I primer painted the new tail light panels inside and out to keep them from rusting untill I can do the final body work. I will sand off the initial primer down to bare metal and use epoxy primer as the base. Then do the final body work on top of the epoxy primer.

    If you are careful and use proper planning and welding techniques it requires very little body filler on the weld seems to fill them.

    More later
     

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  4. j-miller

    j-miller Demonized by Dodge

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    Looks like you got a plan and a good start tackling your project. It will look pretty dang nice with that color combo too!
     
  5. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    On to the rear side panels. I appoligize for not taking a lot of pictures while I was doing the side panel replacement.

    I marked out how much forward on the side panel I wanted to cut. Leaving the rest of the replacement panel intact. Then I transfered the measurements to the new side panel. The only cut to the replacement panel is a straight line down from the top to the middle of the wheel well lip. Again I overlapped the panel 1/2 inch and offsetting the edge of the remaining body side panel to get an even flush fit. I completed plenty of measuring and test fitting before cuttin the old panel off.

    The top of the replacement panel fits down into the inside of the trunk lip and wraps around the rear tail light panel just as the original did.

    Around the wheel well lip and accross the top side of the replacement where it fits into the inside of the trunk panel and on the bottom side of the lower quarter panel I drilled out the spot welds with a spot weld cutter. The trunk inner side panel was in good shape so I didn't have to replace it.

    Again when I put the replacement panel on I held everything in place with sheet metal screws and used a plug weld technique to attach the replacement panel.

    The replacement panel fits onto the body like a glove and the alignment of the trunk lid to the side panel is right on. Take plenty of time and check the aligmnent of the trunk lid often to make sure your panel gaps are good before welding anything.
     

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  6. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    On the right side I replaced the entire panel. I just drilled out the spot welds around the panel with a spot weld cutter and removed the complete panel.
    Don't forget while your are doing this it is a great time to seal and repair any problems to the inside of fender.

    Over lap your panel at the top under the window, again I used 1/2 and offset the edge. The rear of the panel is factory stamped to fit inside the trunk lip and around the tail ligjht panel.

    Do not force the panel to fit because you will dimple or dent it. If the replacement panel doesn't fit right around the wheel well lip, or at the rear edge of the door, or down around the rocker panel, fix it by adding or removing metal. If that panel is really bad send it back where it came from.
     

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  7. moparlover

    moparlover Well-Known Member

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    very nice work
     
  8. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    The major body work is now done and the body is painted in epoxy primer. I'm just going through it and fixing all the little small stuff.

    I had to fix the passenger door under the mirror where it had rusted out. I fabed a small patch panel 3x5 and replaced the bad area. I had gotten replacement doors and a deck lid for free from a duster before it went to the crusher. A guy let me take them off.

    I was just going to replace the passengers door but I didn't want to fool with door alignment. The original fit perfect so I just fixed the bad area.

    I'll finish blocking down the body with 400, then apply a grey primer surfacer and block that down with 400, then apply a grey primer sealer and wet block that down to 600.

    In the mean time I've been working on the inside of the deck lid. It's the replacement deck lid I got off a duster for free. The original had rust holes poping through it. The replacement has a dent in it right in the middle near the lock latch hold down as you can see. Right in an area that would be extremely hard to remove the dent. It doesn't affect the alignment nor the top side of the deck lid. Only I will know it's there, I'll fix it some other time.

    Stripped it down to bare metal, applied an epoxy primer, applied the grey surfacer and sealer and sprayed the top coat the other day.

    The top coat is actually much darker then the pic shows.
     

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  9. unknownsnake

    unknownsnake Well-Known Member

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    looks like some solid work there. Good to see all these dart sports coming out of woodworks
     
  10. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Thanks for the encouragement. Like I've said I have had the Dart for some time but just haven't had the time to do anything with it. I work on it when I can.

    Depending on a persons interest, ie drag racing, cruising, concourse restorations and so forth, A lot of the A Bodies are somewhat under appreciated. More of the focus has been toward the B Body muscle car type and Hemis under the hood. At least that is the impression some get from watching the car auctions on TV. I will be participating in the Mecum Car auction in Austin this December as a driver.

    I love to see the Hang Ten Darts, Dusters, A Body Road Runners, Demons and so forth.
    There are still lots of good A Body cars out there with lots of parts available and a person can turn them into a very nice cruiser for the car shows and cruise nights. And with some effort you can transplant more modern drive trans into them and get good fuel mileage if that is a persons goal.

    I think the average vintage car lover can have a great A Body ride for a lot less then a B Body.

    A friend of mine in the MMCA, Mopar Muscle Cars of Austin, has a beautiful black and orange Demon that attracks a crowd everywhere it goes.

    I'll post more on the Darts restoration as I go and I'll try to get back to the forum more often.
     
  11. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Lets talk paint stripping for this post. There are many different ways of accomplishing this. There is sand blasting, glass beads, plastic media, sodium bicarbonate, aluminum oxide, coal slag, crushed glass etc. Many of these kinds of media can be done wet or dry. Some of these "harder" media are hazardious as in using sand so wear a breathing mask and face shield or media blasting hood.

    Then there is chemical stripping. I don't like chemicals because they are too hazardous, especially to skin so thats out.

    With any kind of media blasting, the idea is that you don't want to harm the metal, warp it due to heat build up from the blasting process or high air pressure.

    I have done soda blasting and I like the way it leaves the metal smooth and doesn't "etch" it like a more agressive media does. If you look at the MSDS sheets it is non harardous to the environment. It strips the paint off but it will not remove rust and has a real hard time with built up bondo. It leaves a coating of soda that can protect the metal from surface rust for a while. However the metal must be cleaned very very well before any painting. You don't have to remove all the glass and such as it will not etch the glass but it does get into every nook and crany.

    For the inside of my hood there was some surface rust and some areas of heavy rust with some light pitting so I thought a more aggressive media was needed. I used Black Diamond which is a product sold at the local tractor supply store. There are mainly 3 categories of gits of this stuff. I used 30/60 grit which is classified as fine. I had my air pressure set on 90 psi and did not linger very long in one spot. It removed the built up paint very easily and removed the rust. It took me about 3.5 hours to do and cost me $37 for the 3 fifty pound bags. I have a large 60 gal 5hp 2 stage Ingersol Rand air compressor capable of 10 cfm sustained air pressure and air dryers in the air lines. If you have a small compressor you may not have enough pressure to do this kind of thing.

    Next I used air pressure to blow out the hood to remove the left over media. Then I used soap and water and washed the hood 2 times. Then I used air pressure to dry the hood to aid in preventing surface rust from forming. I let it dry for a couple hours then applied an epoxy primer as the base. Next I'll coat it with a primer surfacer and wet sand it then apply the BC top coat.
     

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  12. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Some great work you're doing there, keep on posting the progress pictures......
    LOVE the Dart Sports!
     
  13. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    When I did the inside of my hood I had enough time to blast it, clean it, dry it and apply the primer. If you can't get it done in one day spray the bare metal down with WD40 this will keep the flash rust off until you can finish it.

    WD 40 washes off easy and I use any kind of dish washing soap that has a grease cutting effect. Then I use a grease and wax remover cleaner before painting.
     
  14. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    The Dart has really good floor boards and frame , no rust, so there isn't much work to be done there, just a lot of cleaning and top coating.

    I completed the engine compartment refinishing. The before pic it looks really nasty and the engine although painted blue was actually blue paint over dirt and caked on grease.

    After stripping the engine compartment, I used a pressure washer, lots of grease cutting soap and a scrub brush to get it clean. There was very little rust and problems with the engine compartment mainly because of all the grease dirt and oil.

    See where the voltage regulator sealer material melted onto the fender. Man that was a pain to get off!

    I hand sanded the engine compartment until it was smooth and gave it a good bath again. I applied a primer sealer, wet sanded it with 400 and gave it a bath again before applying the top coat.

    The metallic paint looks to be lighter then it is, its the way it catches the bright light. The gold, silver and hit of green tiny metal flake in the paint is stunning in the sunlight.

    See my pic of the engine valve covers and you can see the true color of the top coat without bright light.

    Man we have to be in love with our cars because we put sooo much time into them!
     

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  15. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Here is the decode information for my project

    1974 Dodge Dart Sport

    VIN Code: LM29 L4G 162525
    Model Year: 1974
    Car Line & Model: Dodge - Dart Sport 340 / 360
    Price Class: Medium
    Body Type: 2 Door Sports Hard Top
    Engine: 360 CID 8 Cyl
    Assembly Plant: St. Louis Missouri
    Sequence Number: 162525

    Fender Tag Decode
    N95: Emission Control System (EMS)
    R21: AM / FM Radio - Solid State 5.5 Watt
    V21: Hood Performance Treatment
    V8L: Undocumented
    V9L: Undocumented
    CTD: Code Continued on 2nd Fender Tag
    J54: Sport Hood
    L31: Turn Signal Light - Hood Fender
    M21: Drip Through Mouldings
    M26: Wheel Lip Mouldings
    N41: Dual Exhaust System
    C73: Fold Down Rear Seat / Spare Duster Pak - Fold
    Down Rear Seat with Security Panel and Carpets, Truck Dress Up
    G54: Left Hand Outside Mirror - Remote/Chrome/RAC
    G64: Right Hand Outside Mirror Manual/Chrome/RAC
    G74: Dual Outside Mirrors - Left Hand Remote, Right Hand Manual
    J25: 3 Speed Windshield Wipers - Variable
    J52: Hood Release - Instrument Panel Mounted
    GE7: Undocumented
    U: Build To Specifications For USA Order
    A88: Interior Decor Package-Carpets, Rear Armrest/Ashtray, Instrument Panel Woodgrain, Door Trim Panel Woodgrain, Deluxe Steering, A-Pillar Garnished Mouldings
    B41: Front Disk Brakes, Rear Drum Brakes
    C16: Console
    C56: Bucket Seats
    E58: 360 CID 8Cyl 245hp H.P.
    D34: Standard Duty Automatic Transmission
    B27: Production Date - 11/27/1973
    GE7: Paint Code Russet Metallic
    000: Upper Door Frame - Full Door Panel
    F6L3: Trim Code - F Class
    Trim Style - Vinyl Bucket Seats
    Trim Color - Parchment

    138348: Order number
    162525: Serial Number
    L4G: Engine, Year, Production Site (VIN)
    LM29: Dodge - Dart Sport 340/360 - 2 Door Sports Hardtop
     
  16. Thunder

    Thunder Well-Known Member

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    Nice work there. I think I'm liking the color. Looking forward to seeing more.:coffee2:
     
  17. chgr1

    chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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    Its a long time posting my progress on the Dart. A lot of other priorities got in the way. Finally did manage to get it painted. Didn't paint the white stripe down the side and over the top like I wanted, changed my mind. Just going to put the white stripe decal down the side.
    Also managed to get the engine installed and hooked up some of the subsystems, quarter windows installed and rear glass put in. The power steering gear has to come out now because it started leaking.
    Always on the look out for the rear sail panels. Also have to get a new windshield because its delaminating. Cant see putting it in. Might as well get a new one.

    Reinstalled the braking system and made all new lines. Had to rebuild the proportioning valve but got that all taking care of.

    Managed to put in the old radiator for fitment with a new replacement AC condenser. Then got a new radiator and finally got that in.

    I haven't got much else accomplished. Short on time, short on cash. You all know the drill.

    IMG_0333.JPG

    IMG_0347.JPG

    IMG_0362.JPG
     
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    • 73hcode

      73hcode Well-Known Member

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      Looks great just take your time and it will be done when it gets done. I have been on mine over 7 years. When money allows
       
    • chgr1

      chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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      That's what I keep telling my wife!:poke:
       
    • chgr1

      chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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      IMG_0467.JPG IMG_0469.JPG I took time to make an initial alignment tool. Bought the steel from Lowes and the angle gauge from Harbor Freight. Will eventually obtain a digital angle gauge to be more accurate. Probably have $50 buckets in all of it.I can always use it on other vehicles.

      I had the complete front suspension out of the Dart and I rebuilt it. I made up some brackets to attach to the front wheels to set the initial alignment and got a needle angle gauge to see where its at. Works pretty good to within a 1/2 degree. Put some extra lengths on the front and back of the brackets and just use a 1/16 graduated tape measure to set the toe. Works pretty good!
       
      Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
    • 73hcode

      73hcode Well-Known Member

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      Great idea
       
    • 73hcode

      73hcode Well-Known Member

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      Here is mine image.jpeg
       
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      • chgr1

        chgr1 74 Dart Sport

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        • Like Like x 1
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