Reviving the Dart Lite for daily driving...how should I spend the $$$?

Mopar General Discussions

  1. Backtobasics

    Backtobasics Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    I have asked this over at .org as well, but want you guys opinions:

    Existing daily driver is 1997 Ram, Club Cab, 1/2 ton, 2wd, 360, 5 Speed and 3.55 gears. 15-16 is consistent MPG even with Scan Guage and efficiency modifications, and good driving techniques.

    I am going revive the Dart Lite, and use her for what she was made for...MPG's. I have a budget of $500.00 to $700.00 for tweaks to get her back.

    Here is what I have to work with right now:
    --76 Dart Lite. 225, with alum intake, 1bbl carb, stock exhaust manifold, 2-2.25 exhaust with Dynomax "welded" muffler.
    --4 wheel drum brakes in small bolt pattern. Stockton 15" ralleye wheels with 235/60/15 radial tires
    --3 speed manual transmission
    --2.94 gears in 7.25 axle
    --No smog parts whatsoever.
    --synthetic fluid in both the transmission and rear end. Engine leaks too much for synthetic.

    See next post for basic needs.
     
  2. Backtobasics

    Backtobasics Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    Immediate Needs:

    Fix a leak on the top of the gas tank (added a sender for aftermarket fuel level gauge that is leaking) No cost.

    CARB! I have been through this carb a million times. I replaced it with another carb. Both rebuilt with basic parts store kit. I have had NOTHING but trouble, float sticking, leaks, accelerator pump linkage, etc.
    Carb is a 1945 (I think) with the base, main body, and top hat (like Thermoquad).

    I need to do something with induction. Either find a GOOD 1 bbl carb, or go to a 2 bbl setup.

    Presuming I can get these 2 things remedied, I can drive daily. Brakes and fluids will be checked, etc, but I do not anticipate any issues there.

    What are you recommendations on how to proceed?

    HEI mod?
    Electric fan?
     
  3. Backtobasics

    Backtobasics Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    I should clarify to help answers.

    Yes, the Dart came as small bolt pattern and 3 speed trans. Build date is in November of 1975, so I think it might be an early bird.

    I do have an A body 4 speed OD, with a loose shifter and linkage, and a spare /6 with the /6 bellhousing.

    My longer term goals are to check out the spare /6, de-clutter it (truck motor that had lean burn), and assemble the spare /6 with the bellhousing and 4 speed OD and drop them in later.

    Right now, I have 500-700 bucks to spend. I am OK with spending all or part, and saving the extra towards the swap goal, but swap will be a little while, so getting the best out of the existing combo would be great.

    Driving is mostly local, with a 15-20 minute highway commute in the morning, a 20-30 minute evening commute, and local, around town activites to the store, etc.

    I appreciate you reading my version of War and Peace. I enjoy driving the Dart, and ran it daily for 2 years, but couldn't get past the carb issues, and had to park her.
     
  4. HEMI-ITIS

    HEMI-ITIS PRO TOW

    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    109
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island
    Local Time:
    5:25 PM
    You have tried to the best of your ability to remedy the carb problem:read2: I would find a carb guy and pay for some help.If you have replaced the needle & seat and gaskets and it's leakin & chokin then it;s time IMO:munky2:
     
  5. 67valiant 100

    67valiant 100 go fast or go home FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    45
    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Location:
    Orange County NY
    Local Time:
    5:25 PM
    Your car is an oddity. I'm surprised you could even get the 3 speed manuel, let alone the auto in a Feather Duster or Dart Light. The major part of getting the good gas milage was the overdrive 4 speed trans so those other trans defeated the purpose of the car.
     
  6. '64 Cuda

    '64 Cuda Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,510
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Location:
    South East South Dakota
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    I'd say fix the carb problem, whatever that takes. MAYBE go to a super six setup. I'm not familiar with it, is it progressive? If so it would be good for mileage. I wonder about the future plan to use the OD trans with your current 2.94 gears. Result would be about 2.15. Curious as to how the slant would pull that on the highway. Would be interesting to see what kind of mileage numbers you could get. In town would be about the same as having the 3 speed you have now, just with an OD for the road.
     
  7. Backtobasics

    Backtobasics Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    Biggest struggle on carbs is age. Bodys have stripped holes, emulsion tubes break, acc pump linkage stick, etc. The carbs are so basic, I am comfortable I am re-assembling right, if I can find a good core.
    In theory, all Dart Lite or Feather Dusters were supposed to get the 4 speed OD, mine was an early model that got out before the OD were mandated. It should be big bolt pattern and discs too, but has small bolt pattern and drums.
    Reports are the 2 bbl setup roughly = the 1 bbl setup for MPG, provided you drive nicely. You have more HP with the 2bbl setup. If I can find a 2bbl setup I can afford, I would go that way.
    I imagine the ratios will be less than optimal, but my commute is either 55-65 or 25-30 on the highway. I figure that avoids the middle area where the ratios are no ideal?
     
  8. Backtobasics

    Backtobasics Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    To the member that PM'd me offering the Super Six setup, I'm sorry I haven't got back to you, my PM box was at it's limit, so I deleted everything, including your PM by accident.

    I am going to try to find a good 1 bbl carb for now. I need to stretch the budget as far as possible, and the Super Six + time to swap takes too much of the budget right now.
    Thanks for the offer.
     
  9. Hyper_pak

    Hyper_pak Old School Chrysler Fan

    Messages:
    3,663
    Likes Received:
    3431
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Location:
    Desoto Texas
    Local Time:
    4:25 PM
    sorry getting to this late, you still working on this car?
    I had a feather duster, 4 speed od. I was told all the slant six base models kept the 5 on 4 to the bitter end, mine was drum brakes and 7.25. I ran high pressures in the radials, timing right at the ping edge and got 25 plus in town and an honest 30+ on the interstate at the speed limit, not faster. the od has a steep first gear and the car was fun to drive.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. DartLite

    DartLite Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    75
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    Local Time:
    10:25 PM
    I was still getting 30 mpg on mine back when it had 100k miles. Compression is down and approaching 300k now. Mileage is way down but looking to rebuild it soon. LBP and manual disc brakes.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalize content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.