''I'm going to fix it up someday'' The resurrection of a '74 Dart Sport......

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  1. Princess Valiant

    Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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    ok, maybe I missed it somewhere but is that the OD from the red car?

    if its the OD, then how do you like the OD? behind a 360 I am imagining that the OD will seem fine especially with some good gears out back.
     
  2. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Thanks for the comment and kind words, Rani.
    As most of you know, i have been around these A-Bodies for a lot of years now, and i've looked at them all top to bottom and in and out..... all years.
    I don't really like the early A-Bodies too much other than the 66's. Why? i don't know, maybe it's styling.
    When the newly designed A-Bodies for '67 came out, it was a drastic improvement in my opinion.
    BUT, they still had the lousy and IMHO weak small bolt pattern suspension which was fine for a slant six 2600 pound car. I really find it hard to believe that they carried it through the '72 model year across the board as the cars became heavier and a lot more powerful.
    That being said, when the 5 mph impact bumper laws came into full swing for the '73 models, the big bolt pattern front discs, heavier duty front suspension, wider front end stance, and spool mount k-members were introduced on all of the V-8 and slant 6 cars with power brakes. (All cars had the spool mount k-members though). This changed in '76 when all A-Bodies built after January 1st had the good big bolt pattern brakes. (finally!)
    The rear bumper on my '74 weighs 150 lbs, and i had a hard time taking it off myself and putting it back on. Maybe it'll be good for traction in the long run, lol.
    I do have a set of bumpers off of a Dart Lite that has aluminum rear reinforcements that weigh half of that, and, i might try them some time down the road.
    I won't use the front, because my '74 doesn't have the impact ''shocks'' in the front bumper, it's just regular brackets and reinforcements in the bumper. I will probably just remove the steel reinforcement stamped plate inside. I think i could drop about 200 lbs by gutting the bumpers and bumperettes alone.
    Styling is one of the key things that make a lot of us come to our conclusions.
    Some hate the styling on the post '73 A-Bodies, and i for one like it.
    I will never put down someone's ride that they have worked hard on to make them happy.
    Back in the old days when i was just starting to get into it, which was the early '80s, 340s were the thing for A-Bodies on the street. Maybe a big block transplant if you were an animal!
    The '73 340 and to a lesser extent the '74 - 76 360s were choked down with lower compression and heavier weight, but the E58 360 in the Dart Sports and the Dusters were pretty good performers out of the box.
    So, yes, i agree with you, i feel that the A-Bodies from '73 to '76 were better built cars, even though they were a lot heavier.
    I'm not putting down any one's car and the reason why they like them, i like them all.
    Is my car the ultimate for me?
    No, but i have fun with it knowing i have built it my way for the reasons that i have stated.
    It's a fun car, and i don't have a ton of money in it!
    Everyone it seems has on opinion on what year is better, what's wrong with this and that, blah blah blah.....
    All i really know is that i learn something new every day.
    I would love to sit down with you one day and talk about Mopars! :cheers:
     
  3. moparlover

    moparlover Well-Known Member

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    the years thing dont mean a whole lot to me. i had a '68 dart and when i was lookin to buy i ended up with a '74 duster. now it's about 3/4 done, fixin' it up it will be mine. i will enjoy it so in the end that's what matters.

    dartnut's is goin for that all original look i had to replace lots of body parts, including floor pan, fenders, quarters, even the tail panel part of it was just gone lol around the left side tail light to the left and above the tail light it was rusted away.

    no '74 tail panels were available i ended up with a '70 tail panel and tail lights.

    dash came out of a '73 dart sport. so technically my car has '70, '71, '73, '74 parts. heh the front bench seat was long gone the guy i got the car from said the front seats were from a neon or something. i have no idea what they are so i have something from the '90's too. actually i like the '72 version of the duster side stripe so i'll have that year covered as well

    i think my engine block - a 400 - said '76 on the side lol

    and of course all the sheet metal parts i replaced from amd that were technically made in the last few years.

    but it doesnt matter it'll be something i can drive and fill with gas and enjoy. hopefully for many years
     
  4. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    No, you missed it some where.
    I thought i mentioned it in the thread.....
    The transmission in the Green Dart Sport is a '72 vintage A-833 regular 4 speed. I got it from a '71 340 Duster i parted out 20 years ago. It obviously wasn't the matching numbers tranny for the car, but it was in good shape. I drove the car quite a bit with the '76 318 in it before i started parting it out. It was very rusty.
    I actually traded the radiator core out of the 340 duster for the driver's fender that is on the car now.
    The O/D from the red car is safely tucked in my shed awaiting my next project.
    Hopefully i will get started on it this winter, it will be much like this build, but a little different.......
    What's left of the red car is also safely at my acreage 180 miles away waiting for more parts to be removed for other projects.
    Yes! The red car still lives! :cheers:
     
  5. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Well,at long last, it's time for an update.
    The clutch that i installed when i built the car was a used stock replacement setup that i knew would get me by for a couple of years, and it certainly did it's job.
    The problem was, even though it worked well, it would not ''grab'' when i went to do a burn out, it slipped. I only tried it a few times and gave up on trying it anymore to prevent it from destroying anything.
    Remember, it worked well and was smooth without any chattering or noises.......
     
  6. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    So, out with the old.......
     

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  7. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Many thanks to my brother Les for buying this for me last Christmas, and to Rob (71Racer) for getting me a new throw out bearing at the same time and for helping me as well as letting me use his shop and hoist. Also thanks to my wife Christine for paying to have the flywheel resurfaced for my birthday.......
    All of the parts were ordered from Jeg's except for the needle bearing pilot bearing that fits into the crank register.
     

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  8. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Now was also a good time to change the old gear oil in the transmission to Pennzoil's Syncromesh oil that has a lot of good reviews here.
    At this time i also changed the leaking rear seal to a proper M.P. one with the dust boot on it. I changed the seal with a generic one at the time i first put the car together and it leaked a little from day one. The new M.P. one hasn't even weeped a bit after about 400 miles now.
     

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  9. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Continued.....
     

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  10. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    A few more pics.....
     

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  11. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    The biggest challenge was taking out the over center spring from the clutch pedal.
    I finally used a cut off wheel on a die grinder, what a PITA to get to!
     

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  12. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    I have about 450 miles on the new clutch as of this posting, and i will say it works well now that it's almost broken in.
    It was installed on May 20th, 2015 and it is now September 9th 2015.

    At first, i'll be honest, i didn't like the feel of the new clutch.
    It was STIFF to push in and you had to push it 1/2'' from the floor to get it to fully release, even with the pedal free play at about 1/2'' from the top.
    Engaging the clutch was easy, it grabbed nice and smoothly, as well as it was very forgiving. It did not lurch, chatter, or make any noises at all. The clutch worked so well, the car felt like it had 3:91s in it instead of 3:55s, it was that easy to drive.
    As of now, the effort to push it in has decreased to the point of being as easy to push in the pedal as it is to let it out. I followed the instructions to a ''t'' on the installation pamphlet in the box. I no longer have to push the clutch to the floor to fully disengage it either. All of the linkage was inspected and lubed at the time of installation. The over center spring was removed before i even started the car for the first time. The factory clutch fork spring is still in place and it's light enough to let the fork move easily, but it keeps the release bearing off the pressure plate fingers. I called a Centerforce tech and they said it will work good after it breaks in for about 500 miles of in town driving with no burn outs or putting a lot of stress on the new clutch. I tend to think they were right in my experience so far.
    Funny thing is, the same was true for the Pennzoil Syncromesh oil in the tranny.
    I hated it to start with, it shifted hard until i got it warmed up to full operating temp. and then it still was not great to shift the car.
    Now, it shifts great right away even when cold.
    From what i've read, it takes awhile before it works it's way fully into the syncros etc.
    Final conclusion:
    Now that it's all working well, i am very pleased with the set up.
    It had me worried for about a month there though........
    Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
    Tom.
     
  13. leblanc

    leblanc member 2883

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    Lots of new goodies I see Dart Sports are too often looked past I find. Looks like everybody rather have a Duster and if like me your car will be called a Duster more than once. Although they are brothers.
     
  14. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Almost everyone at work called it a Duster, and i ask them ''Who made the Duster?''
    They say ''Plymouth''.
    And my response to that is, "Can't you read? What does it say on the back ?"
    lol
    Then i say to them, "I'll let it go on a technicality, a Dart Sport is built on a Duster body, it just has the front sheet metal changed to a Dart and the tail panel and tail lights are their own thing."
    Which only confuses them more.
    At least it hasn't been called a Chevelle or Mustang yet, so i consider myself lucky........
     

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  15. Princess Valiant

    Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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    I tell people that its a reverse scamp ......***deer in headlights***
     
  16. sireland67

    sireland67 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I have the same clutch in my 73 duster, and honestly I hate the thing.
    The throw is about 3/4 of the way up before it releases.
    It does push easy and shift good though, with no slippage.
     
  17. Captain Canuck

    Captain Canuck Well-Known Member

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    Its nice to see some updates on the sport! I'm glad to hear you are still enjoying it!
     
  18. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    Wow.
    I had the opposite effect on my car where it wouldn't release until the pedal was 99% pushed in.
    Initially when it was very stiff to push in, i had to granny shift the car and be extremely positive with my actions or else it would grind into the next gear shifting up or down.
    Now it shifts easily and normally.
     
  19. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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    I have been driving it a lot and just enjoying it this year.
    There will be more updates, i've done a few more things to the car that i will be posting soon.
    Thanks for the good words and all of the responses so far!
    In a few weeks i should have enough miles on the clutch to see how it really works!
    :burnout:
     
  20. DartSport3604-Speed

    DartSport3604-Speed Well-Known Member

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    The Dodge looks great! Thanks for sharing the build info, very useful info!
     
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    • Dartnut

      Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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      Thanks for the nice comments, i've had a lot of fun working on the car, and a lot more driving it even though it's not a restoration and looks a little ruff here and there, but it's dead nuts reliable, i will say that! :cheers:
      There will be more upgrades that i've done to the car that i will be posting soon........
      I would like to see pics of your car, is it a factory 360 4 speed car?
       
    • Richie

      Richie It's a low power family compact officer

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      Very nice Tom. Great job!!
       
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      • Dartnut

        Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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        Thanks Richie, i see yours is coming along nicely as well! :cheers:
         
      • Swinger340Canuc

        Swinger340Canuc 72 Swinger 340 Special

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        Did you come to any conclusion on the Centreforce clutch setup you used Tom, happy with it? Pluses and or negatives?

        Dan
         
      • Dartnut

        Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

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        thanks for the question, Dan.
        Yes, i am now happy with it, (now that it's broken in).
        I resisted getting on it for 600 miles, and followed the break in procedure to the letter in the instructions.
        Then i finally got on it last fall before i put the car away for winter, and it hooks and feels good!
        I believe that it is a good clutch set up for a car under 500 H.P., and will last a fair amount of time at that power level.
        It is as good as advertised.
        Good and bad?
        Well, i'll try to explain my experience to you.

        First the good:

        -Easy installation. No problems whatsoever.
        I love the way it engages, it is mellow to drive with no finessing or special technique needed at all. I bet you couldn't stall the car unless you really tried.
        -It really locks up when you get on it from say 4000 rpm and dump it. Smooth initially for a split second while the front end lifts slightly, and then boil the hides off. No slipping, and no smells of burning clutch material.
        -It definitely isn't an ''on off switch'' type of clutch. Actually, it's quite the opposite.

        Now the bad:

        -It's tricky to get it adjusted just right.
        My setup uses 100% stock linkage with a nearly new flywheel. Initially i had about 1/2'' of freeplay by hand at the top of the pedal. That was too much, as the clutch wouldn't disengage fully even with the pedal pushed all of the way to the floor. I ended up with about 1/4'' by hand and it JUST disengaged enough to fully release just before the pedal hit the floor. Now that i have some miles on it, you have to push the pedal almost to the floor to release it, (i would say about 3/4'' from the floor), which is about right.
        -Removing the over center spring in the car is a pain in the ass.
        I ended up using a cut off disc on a die grinder for this. I'm an old man and not a contortionist, and i cursed this part immensely!
        -The pedal feel isn't as light as everyone claims it is.
        I was told that it's lighter than stock, and that is B.S.
        The original clutch i had in the car was a stock replacement Borg&Beck for a 340, and it
        was lighter feeling than this one. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning......

        A few more footnotes:

        My (maybe) 300 horse 360 won't even phase the capabilities of this clutch set up. If i had a 600 horse setup, i would probably look into something different, but up to say 450 horses, i would definitely recommend this clutch to anyone.
        The clutch works as advertised, and the car shifts well, so i feel that it is engaging and disengaging properly.
        In the past i have used McCloud street and strip Borg&Beck clutches and they worked very well and took a lot of abuse without failing or any problems at all for that matter.
        The pedal stiffness was slightly more with them than with this set up.
        I run Pennzoil GL4 Syncromesh oil in the transmission, and it works very well.
        The transmission is a '71 833 out of a 340 Duster that is all stock and in good shape.
        I also would recommend the Dakota pilot bearing that installs in the crank register and remove the pilot bushing. Some people say don't do it, but, i have had zero problems with it.
        The whole set up including all of the minor mods i made makes no unusual noises or vibrations associated with the clutch throwing off the balance of the engine etc.
        Overall, i'm happy with it.
        Thanks again,
        Tom.

        P.S.
        We could exchange phone numbers and talk some more if you want........or you can come down here and try it out and see how you like driving it, and make your decision for yourself! :D
         
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