Need some direction with my Mom's 64 Dart

Discussion in 'South East' started by bam, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. bam

    bam Member

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    My mom passed away a few years ago and I got her 64 Dodge Dart. She was the second owner (bought back in the early 80's) and did a restoration in the early 90's. Over time the car was driven less and less until it was parked. It sat for years and when she passed I took it.

    I would love to get it back up and running, there is a lot of emotional value in the car but that doesn't always equal practical value. So I had it towed to my mechanic and he looked it over, did a compression test and found it was low, around 50-60. So he's recommending pulling the engine for a full rebuild. He's quoting 3-4K and then another 4k for labor. That doesn't touch any transmission issues that could be there, break issues, suspension, etc.

    On top of that the body and interior are in pretty bad shape, 3-4/10. So I'm debating on what to do with the car. Obviously it doesn't have a great deal of value that way it sits and I would like to get it back on the road at some point. But I don't have a spare 20K to throw at it.

    I guess I'm asking some advice or direction. Should I hold on to it in hopes that I can work on it a little here and there? Do I find a shade tree mechanic that could do the work cheaper? Any thoughts or advice?
     
  2. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    Welcome to FABO. Post some pictures of the car and that would help us help you decide what's best for it. It's a hard decision to make when there's emotional value involved. The overhaul and labor seems pretty steep to me. You could pull the original engine and set it in the corner and replace it with a good running 318 for a $1000 or less. The upholstery kits for the interior cost a $1000. Ya we need some photos. May be it would be best to sell the car if you don/can't restore the car. It doesn't have to be restored to be fun. Maybe the engine just needs to be started and ran and it will run better with time. My 66 Dart was like that.
     
  3. bam

    bam Member

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    Thank you for the quick reply. I should have included pictures before I posted. I will put some up tonight.

    I don't really want to do a complete restoration. I just want it drivable. I can work on the body later on. My son would like to drive it and I would love to take a road trip with him in it. Would be amazing.
     
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    • toolmanmike

      toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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      Make sure it's safe first, brakes and suspension after getting the engine to run on all cylinders. I started with getting my engine running and then went onto the brakes then the suspension. Is it a slant 6 or 273? automatic or manual?
       
    • bam

      bam Member

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      Of course, I want it mechanically sound before any driving goes on. I want the focus to be on mechanics and the body can wait. It is a slat 6 with pushbutton transmission.

      I'm not too versed in all things Dart so this is a learning process for me. I could do some of this at home but I don't know if investing in all the tools needed would be worth it?
       
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      • bam

        bam Member

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        Here are a few quick pics:

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        • DesertRat

          DesertRat FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          That is a nice little car. I hope it works out for you.
           
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          • toolmanmike

            toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            Yes. From what I can see it looks pretty solid. Something else to look at is the body condition. If you're not handy at body work it can cost a bundle if the car needs much. From what I see so far I would save that one.
             
          • AJ/FormS

            AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

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            Go visit another mechanic. Oil up the cylinders, let it set over night with the plugs out. Come back next day and crank it with the plugs out for 1 minute. Now it's ready for a compression test.

            $8000 for a slant build plus RnR is ridonculous. IMO.
             
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            • toolmanmike

              toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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              Absolutely agree!
               
            • AJ/FormS

              AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

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              Up here your $4000 is worth about $5300. I make about $25 per hour so that converts to about 212 manhours. Two hundred and twelve man hours. How long to RnR that slanty? Maybe 10 for a rookie.
              Ok so say it's winter and I up charge you $12 for the nice heated shop I got, that still comes to 143 hours. Do you know how much work I could do on that old Dart for 143 hours? Well I added up everything mechanical I could think of and couldn't break 100 hours.................
              Labor-cost is almost the same for V8 power!
              This is not a quote! lol.
               
            • toolmanmike

              toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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              8 holes to bore and hone. 8 rods to recon and assemble. I had the heads done although I traded tools for the work. It still cost me $3500+ for it all. Yes precision work costs $$$$$$.

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            • AJ/FormS

              AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

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            • gdrill

              gdrill OK, now what??? Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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              Find a decent running slant six for sale, maybe here on FABO, and get a different mechanic to change it out for you. Then you can get that decent looking car back on the road.
               
            • mopardug

              mopardug FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Getting back to your main question. This is your mom's old Dart. If you come into some $$ down the road, are you going to be able find this Dart to fix up if you send her down the road now? How much @ month to keep her while you do what you can? I get attached to cars, and don't like to send them down the road even without this much sentimental value, but you have to make this decision.
               
            • bam

              bam Member

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              wow, thanks for all the feedback. Yeah, it seemed pretty high but I also think he's probably quoting for Murphy. As they typically work on more modern cars.

              I will try the oil first and see what happens. As for keeping the car, it's not costing me anything. Just sitting in the garage. I think sourcing a new engine would be the best rout to take (if this one is a no go).

              I don't mind doing some of the work myself it's just budgeting time and the expense of getting all the equipment necessary to get the job done.
               
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