Dodge Dart Rebuild [Part 2]

1963 Dodge Dart GT

Part 2


Ok, see if you can follow my logic here….

When I bought the car, I was told that it was smoking, badly.

They took off the head, rebuilt, replaced valve seals, reinstall head, but still smoked.

They took off the head again, found that the car will filled with diesel, then did nothing else.


When I cleaned the head, found that the combustion chambers were all covered with a light dusting of black carbon. The carbon came off in a few seconds with WD40.

Which reaffirms that all the cylnders were smoking, thus probably fuel, rather than just one (or a few) pistons leaking past the rings or something cracked.



On a completely different note, the car has been sitting for years with the head off, which means that the rings are probably rusted or stuck so that they *will* burn oil after I put it together.

Now is a good time to replace the piston rings. (it has 12,XXX miles (assume 112,XXX)) and they say that these engines are reliable so maybe not an engine rebuild.

So that would mean: drop the pan, check the bearings, and pull the pistons to change the rings and hone the bores.

Simple, right?

So I start to take out pan bolts, and notice that the steering arms are in the way, so they will have to come out.

And then it seems like the pan is really close to the cross member.

So I look at the book and search the internet, and the engine needs to be lifted up a couple inches to remove the pan.

And most people of the internet persuasion say it is just easier to pull the engine and do it then.

Ok, there is a lot of grease and dirt on the bottom of the engine, and the suspension.

Also the engine bay is really messy looking, with paint peeling off and stuff, so it would be good to clean that up.

Also… I found that this is a later engine (clues: different engine number and all the parts (head, air cleaner, pan, etc….) are painted blue.

The 1963 engine should be painted red.

It would be nice for everything to be red.

So the answer is to pull the engine.


But nothing is ever simple…..

I built a temporary shade structure to rebuild the car under, and because the roof it is attaching it to is low, I needed as much angle for the rain to run off (it’s only 5 degrees) the roof is 6 foot 3 at it’s lowest.

That height does not allow enough room to pull the engine out of the car with it sitting on the jack stands like it is right now.

So I have to put it back on the wheels.

But I was stupid and broke off the wheel studs on the left rear, so I need to pull out the axle to replace the studs.


So I began to take the rear drums off.

And of course they did not want to come off, so I hit them with my hammer (not hard, but a big hammer softly to break off the rust) then they started to move around but would not come off.

So I backed off the adjusters and pulled the drums off.

One had a big groove in the drum, I assume where a rivet once gouged into it, so I will need to replace that.




The other one came off more easily.

Then I undid the four bolts holding the brake backing plate on and tried to pull out the axle.

It would not pull out easily, that means there is something else holding it in.

Time to check the manual.

For this year there is a c-clip holding the axle in place, which is in the housed in the center of the differential.

Remove the bolts holding the backing plate on the diff.

Let the oil run out, the level was low, but at least there were no huge chunks.

Now search for the bolt to pull out, so I can pull out the shaft, so I can push in the axle and remove the c-clip.

Now that’s weird, there is no bolt to remove.

Which means I have a different diff from the one that is supposed to be in this car.

What axle do I have?


Ok, so it is a 7 ¼ rear axle, which is the same size as the original, but definitely different.

Must be a later year.

After a whole bunch of wandering on the internet, found someone who discusses their 7 ¼ rear axle from 1967 which has a press fit axle, so a slide hammer is needed to remove it, no c-clip.

I must assume that my axle is from later, but when I do not know.

(There is no metal tag with the gear ratio for this diff. Note to self: count the teeth.)



Ok, that is enough for today.

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