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.
Earlier this year I had a couple of calendar photoshoots with some of the cars. The shoots were for The Cruise Brothers carclub and a local animal shelter.
Pic of me and a friend cruisin’ in the ’65 Chrysler 300 convertible at our local july 2013 SaturdayNightCruise.
This was the car’s last ride with the 383ci engine under the hood.
Currently it has an empty enginebay waiting for a ‘fresh’ powerplant to reside in…
Somewhere in May this year I put my Dart on the dyno at Ludwig Performance to get a baseline comparison-number from it’s current poweroutput.
I didn’t expect much of it because in ’73, these puny 318 motors got a measily 150hp on the crank spec’d from the factory.
40 years of wear and abuse wouldn’t make things better either, and the switch to propane, a fuel with less energy in it won’t help either.
To top it all off I’ve replaced the transmission and rearaxle for beefed up versions.
The only things I’ve done to the motor are switching to 5w20 oil, cold air-intake, and improve the ignition curve for the propane fuel and it’s LPG convertor and mixer enrichmentcurves. The mixer is placed right on top of the stock 2-bbl carb on the all stock castiron engine.
After the first run I was surprised to see a rearwheel output of 145hp @ 4340rpm.
Still nothing to write home about, but in relation to the factory supplied number of just 150 ‘engine’ horses, I’m fairly amazed where those horses came from, or that the factory perhaps gave out very conservative numbers to satisfy the insurance companies at the time.
In some following dynoruns I played with timing and mixture a bit but all resulted in less power to the wheels.
Quite satisfying to know that I had adjusted the car pretty much ‘spot on’ with my butt-dyno.
Performance numbers of the first and best run;
(Click for larger)
Needed to make a pulley for the alternator and powersteering belt to run on on the blowermotor project.
I had a nice chunk of aluminium laying around so I went to work on the lathe and made a serpentine belt pulley, to be mounted between the balancer and blower pulley.
Mainly in order to create room under the hood of the ’73 Dart for the 5.7Hemi, and partly because a ‘new’ steeringpart is always better than a 40 year old one, I decided to purchase a Borgeson power steeringbox.
The box has a quicker steeringratio than the stock steering box and it’s a good amount smaller. It’s weight is noticably lighter than the stock box aswell.
A few of the gauges on the original dash of the Dart weren’t operational anymore, and frankly I didn’t like the squarish speedometer unit.
So I decided to create a custom dash.
I never liked the cheap looking plastic/aluminium edged Autometer or Autogauge gauges, but after some looking around a bit more I found a number of chrome bezeled gauges I liked from Equus. Used these to create a new dash from an angled sheet of aluminium.
Below is a mockup of the dashboard in the car. The plan is to top off the dash with a black finish when all the gauges and lights have found their locations.