COAL Capsule: Dirty Dart Update Volume Two


Well, I’m pretty much all-in on the Dirty Dart now, because it’s officially a submarine.  Oh yeah, I’m underwater. Like Arthur Crudup and Elvis said, however, “That’s All Right, Mama,” because fixing up junk is what I do, buckeroo.  Here’s Dirty Dart Update, Volume Two!


This picture is evidence of what will happen if you forget to plug the bore for the speedometer gear when you pull your engine and transmission as a unit.  Oops.  By the way, never try to do that; there’s not really enough room. When I dropped the engine back in, it was sans transmission.

As I mentioned in my first update, the old engine had to go.  This was good, in a way, because the old clutch was just toasted.  The bellhousing was filled with oil from the engine AND transmission, and the pilot bushing fell out with the input shaft.  No wonder the clutch was chattering.  My new engine seems to have a good clutch, so I’m giving it a shot, along with a new pilot bushing and throwout bearing.


Here we are mid-swap, the new 225 on the engine stand and the old 170 on the floor.  I had to swap the oil pan and pickup from the old engine to the new one, or the pan would have hit the center link.  Taking the pan off gave me a chance to look at the cylinder walls of the 225, and there are still obvious honing marks.  That’s good!  The 44,000 mile claim by my machine shop looks accurate.


Here’s the bottom of the 225, waiting for it’s newly cleaned oil pan.  There was about an inch of sludge in the Dart’s pan, which took awhile to clean.  I also had to swap to the Dart’s old distributor, because I didn’t want to buy a module to run the 225’s electronic ignition (just yet anyway).  I also decided to run the Dart’s Holley 1920 rather than the 225’s emissions Carter.


It is amazing how long my engine swap to-do list grew as I kept finding problems.  The front and rear transmission seals needed to be replaced.  I still have to do the rear pinion seal.  The radiator was junk, so I bought a new one for an air conditioned Dodge Aspen, because they’re cheap, big, and available, unlike new Dart radiators.  Someone in the past mixed-and-matched the clutch linkage and bellhousing, so I had to get creative with the adjuster screw and a long bar to get the right pedal free play.  The engine compartment wiring was questionable in some areas.  The alternator bearings were shot…The list just goes on and on.


The 225 is an inch taller than the old 170, so the exhaust (which was already too short) didn’t match up.  I didn’t want to pay a shop to do it, so I welded up this adapter out of two flanges and some pipe.  You can see the old broken speedometer cable in the background, stretched out with the new one.


Long story short, the Dirty Dart isn’t on the road yet, but I started the engine today.  The ominous oil light was still glowing, even with a new sender, so I hooked up my oil pressure tester, and was pleased to find 50 pounds of oil pressure at cold fast idle.  It started and ran great!  I couldn’t run it long because there’s no oil in the transmission, so I had to keep my foot on the clutch and my dad watching the gauge.  I’m guessing there’s a short somewhere in the oil light circuit, so I’ll probably just run a gauge rather than try to tear into the harness.  A gauge is probably better anyway, even if it does give me one more thing to worry about.

Hopefully, Volume Three will bring good news of a roadworthy Dirty Dart.