The time has finally arrived-it's 6:00 a.m. on Thursday the 3rd of July, 2009, and that leaves four days until the All-Chrysler show at Carlisle. The body is painted, the glass and the dash is partially installed, and that's about it-yep, we can make it.
As the garage door opens, the unfinished Sport awaits us, the deadline looms, and there is a sinking feeling that we might not make it, but we can't think about that. We have to make it, and the threat of Paula standing over me with a large motivator isn't the only reason I say that. I say that because one year ago, I said we would make it. So now that it's 6:05 in the morning, we start by installing the exterior items, and hope for the best.
The hardest part of re-installing the previously installed exterior items is not scratchin
With new paint, there was no way we were installing used and not-so-nice exterior trim items. We didn't have any NOS items for our '75 Dart Sport lying around, so we had to rely on reproduction parts. Over the years, reproduction items have gotten a bad rap, and rightfully so, but as of late, the restoration parts market has improved its quality, and thanks to places like The Paddock, quality reproduction parts are available. Items like new door handles, exterior mirrors, and some other trim and the required clips were a welcome sight when they arrived. Focusing on the outside means buffing paint, installing items like the hoodscoop, the rear wing, brake lines, bumpers, and all the trim. Since we're not routing the brake lines in the factory fashion, this required custom bending and flaring. If you remember, we previously showed you that we tossed the factory rear bumper that protruded from the rear of the car for one from a '72 Duster that we got from Stephens Performance. It made for a cleaner look, since we could tuck it nicely up into place. Installing this earlier-year bumper required a few modifications to the factory '72 brackets, but it was definitely worth it.
....New parts from companies like The Paddock are a must when reassembling a freshly paint
We decided to take a break after a while from installing the exterior trim, as we were seriously contemplating the use of a hammer, and that's bad! We figured it was time to focus on the interior for a while. It didn't take as long as it could have, because we were simply returning everything that we took out of the car prior to the paint job. It was all fairly new anyway, so why replace it? But making sure that it was all clean before it went in, and touching up some details with a little paint did take some time. It's amazing how many little items can be missed and not detailed until you finally need to install them. Another issue is: Where did the bag of clips I now need end up after disassembly, because I can't find them. One thing I was painfully reminded of is that it's not as easy as it used to be to climb out from under the dash of a car once it's installed.
After several hours of throwing carpeting in, installing the headliner, seats, door panels, adjusting the windows, and hooking up all the interior electrical, the clock told us it was 10:00 p.m., the end of day one. We didn't quite get all the exterior items installed, but tomorrow is another day.
The tailpanel is not available in reproduction form, so with a little elbow grease, polish
Day two arrived a little earlier than I thought it should, but nonetheless, it's again 6:00 a.m.-or something like that-and we're off. We pick up where we left off in regards to installing the exterior items, and by noon, all the trim is polished, and the new parts are installed-the Sport is starting to look like a car. This is also the day that a couple of friends stop by to check on us and let us know that they don't think we'll make our self-imposed deadline-more incentive to get it done. Apparently, they're used to failure, but they're Chevy guys, we're not.
Aligning the panels can be a stressful job. You have to worry about scratching paint-even
Aligning the windows is definitely a job for a person with patience. Since we knew that wa
Years of opening and closing your Mopar's doors results in a lot of flexing in the metal a
Remember, installing pitted or rusty parts on a newly repainted car just doesn't make sens
The face of the rear bumper on a '75 Dart Sport was almost 5 inches away from the body of
We wanted a nice easy-working clutch pedal in this car, so a Centerforce unit was chosen.
We didn't have the resources to lift the body, and slide the engine underneath....
Anyway, a couple hours after the day gets started, it's time to finally install the engine and transmission. Back in our August 2009 issue, we showed you Mopar Performance's all-new 340 crate engine. Well, even though a '75 Dart Sport never came with a 340, let alone a 340 Six Pack, that isn't a good enough reason that we couldn't put one in ours. All you need to do is order PN P5153526. You can do like we did and talk to the guys at Roseville Chrysler. Now, the easy way to put an engine and transmission assembly in a Mopar is from the bottom. But we didn't have any way to raise the car high enough, support it, and then remove the K-frame to install the engine on and slide back under the car, so we did it the "other" way, from the top. We installed the new Centerforce clutch and our bellhousing, and proceeded to drop it in without dropping it.
It took a little longer than usual because we had to be careful about not scratching or chipping paint, but it went in fairly easily. With the engine swinging, we climbed under the car and lifted the Passon Performance-rebuilt transmission up into place (we'll show you how we rebuilt it later). I am not sure why, but for some reason, the transmission seemed to be heavier than it used to be. Anyway, with the driveshaft finally re-installed, it was off to the topside. Here is where we ran into a self-inflicted hiccup. After we installed the carburetors, linkage, and fuel line, we then focused on the engine's electricals. We thought we had everything wired, only to hit the switch and listen to the engine turn over but not run. This is where an electrical diagram would've come in handy. I say would've, because for some reason we didn't have one. After a couple of frustrating hours of tracing wires, we called it a day on day two-why is it so dark outside?
....the car like we normally do, so this time, that meant doing it the hard way.
The beginning of day three started with a fresh mind, but a face that was a little bleary eyed. The first thing to tackle was the ignition. It's amazing what walking away from something for a while can do for your frame of mind when you come back to it. Anyway, within the first 15 minutes, the wiring culprit was found, and the fix was made. The oil pressure gauge now had a problem, but that's all I have to say about that. So, once the engine was fired, it was time to climb under the car and install the tti exhaust. Man, am I glad that their stuff fits and is easy to install. It only took a couple of hours and it was done. So, we have the car almost done, but now it's time to tackle the stripes. The Dart Sport has a stripe that consists of four individual stripes that surround the car. Thanks to the guys at Phoenix Graphics, you can reapply that factory stripe. The stripe took the better part of the day to install, but most of that time was due to us being overly cautious with the install. This was the first time we installed a kit this large, and it's relatively easy. Look for a complete install article later on.
Anyway, we basically have the car ready, but now comes the final cleanup. We need to buff some paint a little more and completely clean the car inside and out. We'll save that for tomorrow.
Any brand headers are usually a real pain in the butt when it comes to installing them in
It's 6:00 a.m. again, and I slept in a little today-man, am I beat. But, at least it's downhill from here. It's a little tough to get going this morning, but we have to get the car finished in order to make it to Carlisle. So I climb in the car to start it up to work on it outside, and it decides that it doesn't want to start. Oh, it turns over, but when it starts to fire, I touch the throttle and then it lets me know I shouldn't have done that. Now it just turns over, so I pump the throttle a few times, and guess what happens-oh yeah, it's flooded now. So we clean the plugs off and try to start it again-go back and repeat step one. OK, something's not right. After some deductive reasoning and a little diagnostics, it was determined that we had a bad ground. The wiring was there, but so was the fresh paint. Anyway, with the problem fixed, we need to get the car cleaned up and ready to head for Carlisle. We made it. It took a lot of hard work and help from friends and family. Thanks to Lynn, Wayne Colley, and Lorne Burkhart, because having friends in the right places at the right time is a must.
....Make that a freshly painted A-Body and it's more than a pain in the butt. The tti exha
Before we could install the stripes, we needed to make sure that the paint was free of any
The stripe install took a large portion of a day. We'll show you a full install later.
Finished, the Dart was ready for its debut at the 2009 All-Chrysler Nationals at Carlisle.