The steeringbox mounting pad and brackets on a Mopar K-member leave a lot to be desired when it comes to rigidity.
After some assessments I decided to weld a simple curved plate from the mountpad to the K-member.
The result already was a very noticable improvement in steering-response, which felt much tighter after the modification.
More reinforcing is still possible but that will be probably addressed at a later date.
Compared the orange color of my Dodge Dart against that of an original Plymouth Superbird today in front of SixPack Speedshop in Wateringen, The Netherlands.
Looks like somewhat of a match, except for some gloss on the paint… ;o)
The 5.7 Hemi’s original steel (truck) oilpan had to be modified in order to fit between the Dart’s K-member and steering-centerlink.
I decided to cut up a bigblock Mopar oilpan and use the pan-rail of the Hemi-pan.
After a few tests I welded a small piece of angle iron between the pan-rail and pan-sump and started melting everything together. A friend of mine made sure the welds were good enough to not let any oil seep through and for good measure I decided to let a layer of solder seep in and onto the entire welded area the fully secure the pan.
Tried some big tire-fitments on the ’59 Dodge today.
I’ve got 2 pairs of tires I like to see ‘fitting’ under the car if possible. One pair are a set of 325/50 tires and the other is a pair of huge 375/60 tires.
The 325/50 Micky Thompson tires will fit without much modifications but the 375/60 Pro Trac tires will need the wheelwell enlarged to the framerails and probably new inner wheelwells be created aswell before the rearend of the car can be dropped low enough over the tires.
The heads of the 5.7 Hemi were milled about 0.020″ for some added compression ratio.
An important thing is the actual finish of the milled heads. Multilayer Headgaskets require a smoother finish than regular composite headgaskets like used on earlier motors. Luckily the headmill was able to pretty much get the machined finish smooth enough. I blocked and wet sanded the milled surface with some 600grit emerypaper and the result was better then I expected.
Today, after a fierce few hours long battle with the driverssside torsion bar, I was able to remove my Dart’s 0.87″ bars in favor for a set of 1″ torsion bars from Just Suspension.
The pass.side bar slid out with just a few taps.
The JS bars measure exactly 1″.
With currently just the 20 minute ride home from the garage as a reference I can (also) now say, from personal experience, that these 1″ bars are ‘nothing to be afraid of’ for a performance handling orientated daily driver. I was afraid at first these bars would be just too much for actual daily usage.
One thing I did do was invert the front/outer most strutrod washers so with the dished side outwards to the front. This was done to free up the front suspension a bit more, as I noticed that even without the torsion bars installed, the spindle/suspension was kinda difficult to move up and down by hand.
I would’ve liked to invert the inner cup washers aswell but I was a little pressed for time and didn’t want to take the entire front suspension apart for that.
The only ‘issue’ I’m still having is that the car’s frame still hits the LCA bumpstops sometimes, but that’s because I have it lowered as far as usuable, with only miminum play above the LCA’s.
A set of 1″ drop spindles would be perfect now I guess.
Because of the 2 propane tanks in the trunk of the Dart, the car tends to pretty much bottom out on the higher than usual speedbumps.
To solve that problem I added an extra leaf in the springpacks on both sides.
The car rides a little firmer now and I even noticed a little less body-roll in the corners.
To counteract any rise I also installed some homemade 1″ lowering blocks under the rear axle.
The car now has 7 leafsprings per side and rides over the speedbumps much better now.
Recently I decided to upgrade to a set of Hawk HPS brake pads, in favor for the old metalic pads I still had on the Dart, I had found on another car.
After the swap I did the proper brake pad break-in and cool down period.
During the next trip I didn’t notice much improvement still, but after a few days of driving I noticed the brakes getting better.
At moderate to firm braking, the car stops quicker now. At slow speeds and little pedalpressure, there isn’t much improvement noticable still.
I did notice these pads do get better as they slightly warm up. At early morning trips it takes a few stops before the brakes get really good again.
(First pic shows the brake pads that came off the car)
Recently bought a set of Showwheels Thrashstars through www.RookieParts.nl.
I wanted a little lighter wheels and some better handling tires under the car, so I opted for these wheels as they where available in the neighborhood.
My plan is to black-ouot the wheelcenters with Plastidip-paint later on, which will match the car’s appearance better I think.
Wheelsize is 7J-17″ and tiresizes are 215/50R17 for the fronts and 225/50R17 for the rears.