Slow, Driving Rustoration 1972 Dart

Members Restorations

  1. dartnlo

    dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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    Long weekend, long post.

    I started looking at removing the steering gear so I could put a rebuild kit on it. The more I looked the less I was interested in doing it this long weekend. It looks like the best time to do it would be when I'm changing the exhaust manifolds. So I started out working on my used manifolds to see what I needed to do. I decided I'm going to cut off the bell on the smaller 1 7/8" outlet passenger side and change it to 2 1/4" at least to the depth of the flange, then flare it smooth the rest of the way into the runners. I got the bell cut off and am sending it off to a friend who owns a machine shop to enlarge the outlet and smooth out the flange to match the driver side manifold.

    exhaust.jpg

    Since I replaced the rear end and springs, the ride has been better but the stance was moderately raked back to front. I had previously tried to adjust the torsion bars but they wouldn't budge. I soaked them overnight with penetrating fluid and tried again on the morning of the 4th. I used an impact and slowly started switching forward and reverse to try and break it loose. I was taking turns side to side to give it a break. Finally it started budging and I'd slather on the liquid wrench each time it moved forward or backward. Once I got it moving easily with a ratchet I set it back to where it was and moved out to smooth pavement, the church parking lot. After about 3 adjustments and trips around the block I got it looking and feeling like I wanted. I only raised the front end up about 5/8" but that along with installing new front suspension bumpers really made a difference in the ride. When I got the car in October it had no bumpers at all so it frequently bottomed out loudly. Now with the extra travel and bumpers and new springs in the back I'm pretty happy with the ride height and comfort.

    2019stance.jpg

    With Winter going straight into a rainy Spring and directly into a hot Summer I can feel my time to do body work slipping away from me. Add in the fact that I'm likely moving before next spring and I've started reevaluating my plans... again.

    ***This section not for the faint of heart.***

    The reason I lost my last Dart was because I tore into a full restoration before I was ready. I had done a literal "weekend paint job" on that 1970 Dart back in 1988. That included rust repair, body damage, vinyl top re-paint, and custom scallops and trunk stripe. It looked good. Good enough to cruise in, and clean enough most people wouldn't guess it was basically a hack job. That hack job still looked good 3 years later when I tore it all apart. Then life happened and I had knee surgery and quit my job at the body shop to go back to college. While there my dad sold the home where I grew up, and where the dart was stored, so he could move into the city. He had no room in the city to store the Dart so I agreed to sell it. If I hadn't torn her apart, I would likely still have the old Dart.

    That's why I have tried to make sure this is a true driving restoration. 3 weeks is the longest she has sat undriveable. So I have made a decision for the short haul to do a decent hack job of body work on the rust. I am not kidding myself, I know this job I do here could be what ends up being what the Dart looks like for 5 years. I'm not exactly repeating what I did with my 1970 Dart. For one thing I actually had a shop then. I have a cramped driveway from which to work. But I will allow myself more time to at least do it as right as possible while doing it wrong.

    Rust remediation:
    Yesterday I spent the morning sand blasting the driver side lower quarter rust. I was able to reach the rust from pretty much every angle, including from inside the trunk. After sand blasting I coated everything in a generous coat of rust restorer spray. Even if that stuff doesn't do much it makes me feel better. Next came the foam fill, yes, expanding foam. The best part about foam is it doesn't rust and is way faster than welding! Again, I'm not fooling anyone, I know its limitations and knowledge is power even when ignored.

    Next came the all-metal filler, another great product to make you feel better about your hack job. I just make sure all of the foam is encapsulated in this stuff before adding regular body filler. Makes a guy feel like he's doing something substantial ;)

    I'll spare you the play-by-play pictures. I believe this method will allow me to get a better looking car by winter and keep me cruising all summer and fall. Thankfully I have friend with a bodyshop who is willing to let me paint in his paint booth and has a PPG paint mixing system in-house!

    As I said in the first post on this rustoration, "So here's my plan, and yes it's not for everybody."

    Happy Moparing!

    hack.jpg

    2018stance.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  2. dartnlo

    dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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    So I got in a hurry and didn't wait for space in my friend's body shop to open up and did all of the work in my driveway. I am happy with the results and will probably drive around one-sided for awhile till I work up the energy to do the other side.

    I used the the PPG Omni basecoat clear coat and that stuff was thin. It took 5 coats to get coverage. First spray gun job in over 13 years, with a new gun and a very under powered compressor, but it looks good enough for now. Excited to get the other side finished and a trunk stripe painted along with the roof.

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    • whiteghost

      whiteghost Well-Known Member

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      very presentable.
       
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      • my68barracuda

        my68barracuda Well-Known Member

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        You do nice work!
         
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        • dartnlo

          dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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          I got my rally wheels last weekend. Cleaned them up, painted them, and got the tires taken off my old wheels and remounted. I'm really liking the change, like a whole different car.

          Looks like I'm going to be rebuilding my transmission sooner than later. It was slipping last week, pulled the pan and the filter was completely plugged up. I had last changed the filter and fluid 1500-2000 miles ago.

          20190804_130316.jpg
           
          Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
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          • 74 DART'

            74 DART' Well-Known Member

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            looks awesome! It’s amazing how much the ralley wheels can change the look. It did the same on mine
             
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            • my68barracuda

              my68barracuda Well-Known Member

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              That Dart has to be happy that you found it.
               
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              • dartnlo

                dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                The feeling is mutual!
                 
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                • 74 DART'

                  74 DART' Well-Known Member

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                  You have done a great job with this car. Don’t let anyone tell u other wise. Looks very presentable and is back on the road where it belongs. Wish u had posted more pics of the body work, paint and wheel resto!
                   
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                  • dartnlo

                    dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                    This stage of bodywork isn't something I would normally share or recommend in general. It was purely a way to get the rust hidden for awhile while I enjoy the car. That said....

                    Here a few more pictures of what I did. All of this "bodywork" was done over about 20 hours. The first coat of all-metal filler set up very quickly because it was about 100 degrees that day. My method on the quarter and the rocker was to press the all metal into fiberglass cloth and lay it over the "great stuff" spray foam. I had previously sand blasted, wire wheeled, and "rust restored" the pitted rust that was left over.

                    I blocked and reapplied all-metal filler until there were no more holes and no more foam or fiberglass showing. I then used regular body filler to shape and block out areas.

                    I used regular filler primer until the scratches were gone. This side had been panel painted on at least 3 separate occasions. There were hard paint lines where the body side mouldings used to be and had been masked off. Other than that I left most of the blemishes in the finish. I prepared the entire side with a comet and gray scuff pad bath. I masked off at the top of the body line with the reverse mask method that leaves a fuzzy line.

                    The paint was a great match but covered very slowly so I ended up with far more base coat outside of the repaired areas than I had planned on. But there still isn't much basecoat above the door handle line. I also used reverse masking a the front and rear valances. I cleared over a few chips and buffing thin spots in the old finish.

                    I have a very small air compressor and it would lose pressure in about the same place every time resulting in some very nice orange peel in the clear. I also managed to hang a spectacular run on the lower rear of the fender. It was near dusk when I finished and I was painting on the East side of the fence, so I'm going to blame that on the very honest fact that I couldn't see what the hell I was doing.

                    Like I said before, this isn't even close to a decent job, but seeing this side all in one color, and shiny, and "rust free" has given me a big boost. I'm ready to do the same on the other side now! I did buy a lower fender patch panel for that side because there just isn't much to work with on that side.

                    I wish I had taken a before picture of the rally wheels. They were pretty ugly, 2 of them had been painted orange. It was a quick repair too, just comet and red scuff pad scrubbing and a can of genuine mopar Argent spray paint. I did wire wheel and paint the rust off the bead areas though.

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                    • dartnlo

                      dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                      The old Dart has now officially been immobile for the longest stretch since I picked her up last October, almost 4 weeks! I've been trying get ready for dual exhaust and get my power steering gear rebuilt but it's going slowly and it's been hot and or rainy here along with too many other summer activities.

                      I was planning on just doing the power steering gear rebuild first but as I looked at getting it removed I realized that it would be much easier with the exhaust manifolds out of the way. The manifold to down pipe bolts proved to be a formidable adversary. Two came out after a week of daily rust penetrant soaking. Of the other two, one broke off nicely and the other one rounded the bolt head off leading me to using a reciprocating saw to remove it.

                      Next as I started back on removing the power steering gear I was removing steering linkage and decided that if I was going to go to the work of removing these parts I should replace them with new ones. So I've ordered: tie-rod ends, upper and lower ball joints, stabilizer and sway bar bushings, pitman ar, idler arm, and control arm bushings and caster/camber bolts. They have started trickling in.

                      After dropping a wad of cash on front end parts I am now considering buying an exhaust kit rather than having a custom dual exhaust system installed. My only concern is the downpipes. By the time I buy them I'm just back to paying for the install so I'm still weighing my options there.

                      I have the passenger side manifold off but I'm leery of snapping the bolts off on the driver's side manifold. It seems that with the power steering gear it's a bit of a catch-22. It looks easier to take the exhaust manifold off first but also vice-versa.

                      Anyway, that's my update. Persistence will eventually win the day.
                       
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                      • Stephen Hotz

                        Stephen Hotz FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        Keep at it, one bite at a time.
                         
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                        • dartnlo

                          dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                          Slowly getting ready to put back together.

                          Everything on the suspension is fighting me. It took me 4 hours to get the right rear upper control arm bolt out. I broke the head off of my right torsion bar adjuster bolt. The left lower control arm bolt came out of the bushing with the inner bushing sleeve attached. Finally got the upper ball-joints out. I discovered that I am dumb, the 360 exhaust manifolds will not work on a 318. My first set of lower ball joints came in with two passenger side mounts due to mis-marked packaging.

                          The power steering gear is rebuilt. I "just" need to remove and replace the lower control arm bushings and install the upper control arm bushings, then I'll be ready to start reassembling everything. I have cleaned up and repainted the front suspension mounting area. I really want to drive again soon!

                          To top everything off I got a new phone and lost the SD card with all of the photos :( Here is the after picture of the suspension mounting area.
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                          Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
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                          • Stephen Hotz

                            Stephen Hotz FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            Looking good. I know how that goes. My hard drive crashed and thats where my photos are.
                             
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                            • dartnlo

                              dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                              I've got my QA1 Torsion Bar Adjusters on their way, should have them by Friday. So this weekend is my big push. Hoping to get back on the road by Sunday night, she's been parked for 7 weeks as of Sunday. When I'm done, everything suspension-wise front-to-back will be new except the original torsion bars.

                              A lot to get done in 20 some hours...

                              R&R LCA Bushings
                              Clean and paint LCAs
                              Clean and paint spindles
                              Clean and paint strut rods
                              Install Exhaust Manifolds
                              Install steering Gear
                              Install Steering Linkage
                              Install exhaust down pipes
                              Install UCA & LCA Bushings
                              Install LCAs & UCAs
                              Install Strut rods and bushings
                              Install Spindle Assemblies
                              Hookup steering linkage and align
                              Install Shocks
                              Bleed brakes
                              Put Tires on, check fluids, and drive!
                               
                              Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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                              • dartnlo

                                dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                A lot to get done in 20 some hours...

                                R&R LCA Bushings
                                Clean and paint LCAs
                                and paint spindles
                                Clean and paint strut rods
                                Install Exhaust Manifolds
                                Install steering Gear
                                Install Steering Linkage

                                Install exhaust down pipes
                                Install UCA & LCA Bushings
                                Install LCAs & UCAs
                                Install Strut rods and bushings
                                Install Spindle Assemblies
                                Hookup steering linkage and align
                                Install Shocks

                                Bleed brakes
                                Put Tires on, check fluids, and drive!
                                ----

                                I also cleaned up and painted my valve covers and intake manifold and replaced the gaskets. I need a couple 90 degree zerk fittings for my tie-rod ends. Ready to make an alignment and exhaust appointments. I did start it without exhaust pipes. I'm hoping to at least have the alignment done by this weekend in time for my first anniversary with the car. I could have got more done but I got the suspension put back together before I realized I had forgotten to install the strut rods. :mad:
                                 
                                Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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                                • my68barracuda

                                  my68barracuda Well-Known Member

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                                  Very organized approach, you are doing a great job!
                                   
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                                  • dartnlo

                                    dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                    Alignment appt. this wednesday. Fingers crossed!
                                     
                                  • sireland67

                                    sireland67 Well-Known Member

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                                    On my Duster, I bought the down pipes from Mancini, and a header back duel kit from Summit.
                                    I had to buy a piece of 12" pipe to complete the instillation, I added header flanges to hook up to the Summit kit, plus it would make trans removal easier.
                                    I completely installed the exhaust, tacked it together with my welder.
                                    Took it apart and welded all the joints on the bench.
                                    No leaks, sounds great.
                                     
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                                    • dartnlo

                                      dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                      My next appointment is with an exhaust shop. They are installing my dual exhaust. I'm just putting my single downpipes back on until then. I have a set of 340/360 manifolds but I didn't realize that they only go on 340/360 heads so I reluctantly put my stock manifolds on for now. If I ever get around to changing heads the exhaust should bolt back up the same I believe.
                                       
                                    • sireland67

                                      sireland67 Well-Known Member

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                                      I don't think they are in the same place.
                                      Why would the other manifolds not work, they have the same bolt pattern.
                                       
                                    • dartnlo

                                      dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                      My 318 exhaust ports are shorter by almost 1/4" and there isn't even mating surface to match the manifolds. I had almost 1/4" of manifold mating surface hangin off of the head surface.
                                       
                                    • dartnlo

                                      dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                      This isn't my photo but this is what mine looked like with 360 gaskets.

                                      20180607_091927.jpg
                                       
                                    • sireland67

                                      sireland67 Well-Known Member

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                                      I have used plenty of headers on small blocks, there is no difference.
                                      Just bolt them up and ride, same with manifolds.
                                      The gaskets pictured are for smog heads, air ports.
                                       
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                                      • dartnlo

                                        dartnlo Has Dart Fever FABO Gold Member

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                                        I ordered a different set of 340 gaskets. Hopefully They'll give me a better seal.
                                         
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