Building up a Dart

Small Block Mopar Engine

Which engine

  1. Slant Six

    4.6%
  2. 318/360

    34.5%
  3. 318/360 Stroker

    31.0%
  4. Big Block

    29.9%
  1. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    Hello-


    I have a 1976 Dodge Dart Sport Lite Spirit of 76(whew I need a breather after that one....) Its box stock and am trying to decide what to do with it. I already have plans for brakes/suspension,interior,exterior...etc....where I am stuck is the motor!

    I want to keep things lite to go along with the whole "Dart Lite" theme.I am going to take out the orignal engine and trans and store the away for a later date when I may go back to stock. I dont want to cut the car up in any way!

    What I have :

    1976 Dodge Dart Sport

    225 Slant Six
    A-833 O.D
    Manual steering Manual front disc/rear drum brakes

    What I want :

    Its going to be a daily driver,and may see the 1/4, 3 times a year at MOST.Will probally see a auto-x track an average of once a month.Mostly around town driving,but want to be able to drive to Vegas and back (300 mile round trip) every so often,and mabey to florida and back once or twice a year! I dont expect to be the fastest on the road but I want to have a "fun" daily driver that may just happen to make the mustang and camaro kids do a double take,but be reliable and get decent gas mileage(with consertive driving of coarse!)

    So:

    Mild Slant Six
    318/360
    318/360 Stroker Aluminum heads/intake on any combo!
    383/400
    440/HEMI
    ???????

    The car does not have a/c,but I want to add it with one of thoose modern compact/lightweight kits(small compressor,r-134a) from classic auto air or vintage air(dont want to cut up the firewall,and like how classic auto air all goes through the old blower motor location!)

    Has to be able to run on 91 pump,dont want to suffer m.p.g/performance by running 87,so I want to run 91!

    Also what do you guys think of just using the stock slant six k member with conversion mounts(IF I go with a V-8)??? I will of coarse be upgrading the T bars/bushings, and brakes!


    Let the ideas flow!
     
  2. briankaplan

    briankaplan greenduster

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    Go with the big block, but keep all the old stuff. That way
    you could( after a big block you won't go back)return it back
    to the /6. You really think you will?
     
  3. khughesprime

    khughesprime Well-Known Member

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    The biggest difference on the gas mileage was not so much the weight but the undersized carb and bigger exaust. Darts are very well balanced in terms of weight that it does not make much difference. (Ask anyone who swapped in an aluminum for a cast iron slant) If you are worried about the weight then I would keep what you have, get fiberglass bumpers and that is all you can pretty much do for the body. If cost is important to you then I would build a 400 stroker (to make a 451 and you can pretty much build it all yourself w/o worrying too much on the casting.) On the flipside- If you are willing to invest- a small block with aluminum intake and performance heads will keep the weight down and win a few races. Or you can go to the Darkside- find some stuff on slantsix.com and try to push your slant to the limits. (Not cost effective) Too many thoughts. I'm probably no help but I'll vote the big block. Just my 2 cents.
     
  4. khughesprime

    khughesprime Well-Known Member

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    I forgot- it has the fiberglass fenders- right?
     
  5. mikesduster

    mikesduster Well-Known Member

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    a BB would cost TOO much to put in.
    a 318 is a WASTE of time
    a 360 STROKER is gonna cost some money to build
    a 360 is the way to GO!!!!....there cheap to build,fit EASY in a A-body and with a LITTLE HP,will run pretty well in the 1/4 and still be a GREAT daily driver!!!

    360 is the ONLY way id go!!! :headbang:
     
  6. demon seed

    demon seed The Original Demon Seed

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    I know Mike's going to hate me for this but I vote 400 stroker. There's lots of these blocks around for cheap, get a good set of 452 heads or 902 with the hardened seats and build that puppy from the ground up. I'd say you could do it for 4-5K depending on how much work you farm out. Either way if you go to a 360 or 400 you're going to need larger torsion bars for highway handling, 3 pass rad. (you're near Vegas) and I'm guessing you've got the 8 1/4 rear with highway gears like 2.75 to 1 that came with the slant 6. Therefore the rearend will need some money spent on it to. Remember it's only money and speaking for myself Big Blocks are good for the heart, kind of like Viagra without the blurred vision.
     
  7. grumpuscreature

    grumpuscreature Resident Curmudgeon

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    I bought one of these things new to get the /6,OD 4 speed, and rear for a 32 Plymouth coupe. The bumpers, front fenders, hood, and decklid were aluminum (had 'em off) and possibly the door skins as well. Pulled a 440 Magnum running gear out of a junkyard 69 Charger for $800 (those were the days) and bolted 'em in. The car was balanced and handled like a smallblock A body, but throttle induced oversteer was a little too sudden and brutal for my taste, and I was more wrapped up in the 32, so it went to a new owner for what I had in it. Learned a lot about slants with that 32 and now, 30 years later, I'm working on a 66 Valiant to have fun with. Yeah, it's got a slant, and if you can have fun with around 350 lbs/ft of torque in a light car, the slant will do all you need for cheap. It's your car; the big block won't make it the nose heavy pigs the late 60's GTS big blocks were, a small block would be tons of fun, but you can have fun with a slant too. It all boils down to what you want. Just my $.02.
     
  8. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    I know on the torsion bars,I am going to go as big as I can take for a street car! Also, I am not sure on which rear end to go with??? I guess it all depends on which engine I go with!


    Besides building this car up for dependability,I want it to corner like its on rails! I like to take on ramps/off ramps at high speeds for fun :burnout: and I do ALOT of auto-x and such! I think a big block would be fun(cant beat the big block rumble!) it just seems like it would be really nose heavy???
     
  9. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    Not sure when or if I will but, I would like to keep the option open! Just in case I want to restore it and show it off for how rare it is! I mean this is the only Spirit of 76 Dart Lite I have ever seen or heard of! I have heard of one or the other,but not the same car having both packages!

    By keeping all of the old stuff,I dont know. Depends on how much the engine will cost(which ever one I choose) but if I have the funds I would like to go with EFI......definatly a plus for daily driving/tuning/and auto-x.......
     
  10. 6t8 Dart

    6t8 Dart Well-Known Member

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    Bang for the buck, I'd go with a '89-'92 360 roller motor from a truck or van :headbang: . They are littering the 'Pull-A-Parts' nowadays- and with a correct bellhousing and crank pilot hole (may have come factory), you'll have a budget performer. Higher up the money/power/handling food chain- a 400 stroker with aluminum heads, intake, timing cover :love4: . Will handle like a small-block A-body then, but isn't really too "Budget." Slant six? Got a buddy building a '66 Dart GT and the blower kit for it was $3000 :blackeye: . It has the cult/odd/different cool factor to it and the cubic inch dollars sunk into it.
     
  11. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    How much would a 400 stroker done up with all of the goodies and aluminum parts cost(with me doing all assembly?) Also why stroke the 400? 400 is alot of cubes,would it not be better to just balance the rotating assy and put some aluminum heads on it?
     
  12. rumblefish360

    rumblefish360 So close, yet so far away FABO Gold Member

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    This is preety much hitting the head of the nail. A stroker small block is a nice idea, minus the gas mileage and cost.

    For long trips, a reasonable gear ratio is assumed to be desired. To make the comp sweat a little, more gear is required. It's a catch 22 here. In order to achieve both, I would suggest a 4spd. automatic w/lock up trans and a mild stall converter at best. MoPar has mild stall lock converters for both trannys. There also inexpensive.

    A O.D. 904 for example will look like this;
    3.91 X .69 = 2.6979. or 2.70 final ratio

    I would look for a 8-1/4 rear. Cheap, plentyful with many ratios for it. It can handle a mild small block easy. It also will accept 11 inch drums or a conversion for disks.

    For a power plant, I would do a 360. Mild cam and compression will go far for power. Low stress for long life and low maintance.
    This what I would do myself given your list of goals on the engine;

    360 bored and honed if needed with a torque plate.
    Zero deck Hyper-U pistons such as KB's or Federal-Moguls anit scuff coated pistons. (A zero deck piston is about as far up the hole as I would go. Slighty under the deck is also fine.)
    Gasket thickness depends on heads used.
    .039 for Aluminum heads like Edelbrocks for a tight and excellent use of the quenched area or .054 with iron heads to keep the above as much as possible, but at a slightly lower ratio for use with iron heads.
    Iron heads would be a 1.88/1.60 valved head and bowl ported/gasket matched.
    Intake would be a RPM. (Air gap or standard is your choice)
    Carb; OE or Edelbrock AVS. If a Holley is your flavor, fine. 650 cfm is what I would yeild at.
    Hooker super comps or tti headers.
    Comp cams XE262 or XE268 max or similar speced. More lift the merrier.
    (The 262 can use the stock converter well.)

    Options?

    Magnum heads. Bennifit? Better flowing heads with a 1.6 ratio instead of 1.5.
    Intake; Edelbrocks old *LD-340* or Weiand Action plus. Why? Spread bore T-Q. Excellent carb with tiny primarys and whoopppin secondarys.
    (*LD-340 is a square bore intake that can be modified to accept a T-Q. Chrysler part numbered intakes have a choke well for OE carb use. A little hard to find, but an interesting option and intake to sport.)
    Carb Yep, you guessed it, a T-Q. Don't laff. A little harder to dail in and find rods and jets for, but IMO, worth a look.

    Tires; 26 - 27 inch. (26 inch is a 235/60/15)
    A MSD igniton would do very well here. A low RPM engine (In cruise) would bennifit from it well.
    Exhaust pipe size would 2-1/2 with an X pipe. Muffler of your choice.
     
  13. HemiPar

    HemiPar Well-Known Member

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    :headbang: Yea, what he said.

    I am in the thinking process for my Swinger. I think I'd go with the 360 and beef it up.
     
  14. gremlin

    gremlin 268Darts

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    360 or a stroked 360. Either way I'd go smallblock for what you want. Big blocks are alot of fun, but the nose is a bit heavy unless you use aluminum heads and intake. Dart Lite or Feather Duster...I've searched the parts yards for years and never seen one. I always wanted to get all that aluminum stuff for my car.
     
  15. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    Thanks for all of the advise! But I will be keeping the A833 O.D,I will never drive an auto unless I am missing BOTH legs LOL The rest looks like a good plan though!
    THanks
     
  16. moper

    moper FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Mike's idea is what I'd try to sell you on. Start with a Magnum 5.9L, and go thru it, add a better cam, intake, and ignition. You'll need the Magnum flywheel too. Otehrwise..all the same and drop in.
     
  17. Jim Lusk

    Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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    After everything else required to upgrade the car for more performance (rear end, suspension, etc.) it costs very little to go big block. Schumacher big block mounts require modifications to the V8 k-member that are not reversable. I'm not sure about the /6 to V8 mounts (small or big). It's not hard to make a big block a-body handle well, either.
     
  18. demon seed

    demon seed The Original Demon Seed

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    Thanks Jim, I couldn't agree with you more. With a little work like torsion bars, good shocks and subframe connecters you "can" make an A Body handle very well with a big block out front. Something that gets left out in the weight discussion is usually a BB conversion will also include headers, aluminum intake and sometimes aluminum heads. All these mods shed serious weight from the total engine combo. Then if you want to go a little further and go to a fiberglass hood, well I think you now where I'm going with this. :burnout:

    P6020033 (Custom).JPG
     
  19. Dustpan

    Dustpan Well-Known Member

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    I would vote big block, but since it is only going to see the 1/4 @ 3 times a year, but will be used for Auto-X @ once a month, I would have to go with a aluminum headed small block (360). This will give you good power and still keep the car balanced.
     
  20. rumblefish360

    rumblefish360 So close, yet so far away FABO Gold Member

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    Sorry, goofed on the tranny. I like to row my own boat as well. I kind of feel the same way. "When both legs are missing, I'll drive an auto, until then, the car stays a 4spd. However, I'm not going through the pains of convertering to a manual. I'll just suffer with being bord.
     
  21. Jim Lusk

    Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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    This car is pretty well balanced and the only aluminum is the intake and radiator. Still has cast iron wxhaust manifolds.

    Cuda 06a.jpg
     
  22. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    Whats the engine combo? Also,that car seems to be more of a race car than a driver,where as I want more of a driver than a race car!


    I will have to contact schumacher to find out what kind of mods to the k-frame will be needed.




    So whats everyones general opinion on the schumacher mounts? I figure that they seem pretty nice,plus they are filled with urathane right?
     
  23. demon seed

    demon seed The Original Demon Seed

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    Hey Grinder, if you haven't already go to www.engine-swaps.com and they got you covered whether you're going to a SB or BB from your existing /6. I used their mounts and headers to put the 383 in the Demon with no cutting or dicking around required and my Demon was originally a /6. Don't quote me on your newer Dart cause I know they use different mounts. :burnout:
     
  24. Grinder

    Grinder Banned

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    Thanks,I will give them an email!
     
  25. moper

    moper FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I like big block darts too, but I've never seen one that can match a small block for handling or AutoX. They're nose heavy. With good T bars, the nose wont dive..but the car will slide sideways and really push the tires. Even with better tires, you cant fit much under the fenders. So any tall weight will hurt it. The weight's just in the wrong place. Add to that the cost of a new bellhousing and exhaust, it's just not the best idea IMO. Big block A bodies do drag racing best. Leave the stopping and turning to a small block.
     
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