Year 2005

31-Mar-2005

Wow, has it really been 3 years since I last updated this page. Well, we didn't have to move within 90 days, but the county did purchase the land that we had been renting for the previous 10 years. But the good news was that the relocation funds were enough to put a down payment on a house. So in December 2002 we moved into our new home. The good news is that I was able to drive the Dart to the new house. Yep, fully assembled and under its own power. In fact it has become a daily driver ever since. A lot has happened since the big move, my father-inlaw passed away, my mother-inlaw had a mild stroke, I had to move my parents to assisted living and then my father passed away. Right now, both my mother and mother-inlaw are doing fine. Cross your fingers, I hope it lasts for a few more years. Both are well past the 3 score and 10 threshold.

Now back to the Dart. Right after the big move, I put new tires on the car. They are P205/R60 and P235/R60 on 15x5.5" and 15x7" rims. Both of the rims are stock Chrysler steel rims, with Dodge dog dish hub caps and I must say the car looks very dashing with this setup. Then for a year, I just drove it. After a year I got tired of running out of fuel. The gas tank would only hold a couple of gallons of gas and the gauge didn't work correctly. So, I bought a new gas tank off EBay. I got it for a really good price. When I swapped the tanks, I found that the fuel sender float had a pin hole leak. So I soldered it up and everything was OK until winter 2004.

At this point the radiator was developing leaks. This radiator was originally off the '64. The radiator had came with that car and when I removed it, I found junkyard markings that indicated it was from a '71 Duster. After 33 years that radiator wouldn't hold any pressure and had a stress crack along the upper tanks solder joint. Trying to patch it with JB Weld didn't help. So, I went to the local pick-and-pull and found a radiator from a \6 Aspen and a 5 blade factory flex fan from a mid '70s \6 Dart that had factory A/C. After some work, I installed them, but the radiator was partially plugged. So after some thought, back online I went and found a 18x22" 3 row HD A/C radiator for a '76 Aspen. Yes, a \6 F-body radiator will fit into a '65 Dart. The v8 radiators are about 3 inches wider so they won't fit. To use this radiator, the lower mounting holes on the mounting bracket needed to be moved up a couple of inches so that the radiator would bolt in. The upper radiator hose is for a '76 \6 Aspen with A/C and the lower is for a '75 \6 Dart. Once that radiator was mounted, I had to shorten the fan spacer down to 1 1/2" so the fan would clear the radiator and the dampener. I also installed a overflow tank. The radiator was working fine, but sometimes when you start fixing things, other stuff breaks. So now the water pump developed a leak. So I replaced it, then the heater core started to leak, so I replaced that also. Now it holds it's cool and I believe this is the largest radiator that will fit into the '65.

Over time, the 4 speed has been getting difficult to shift and the car would vibrate and shake when first starting out. So off to the tranny shop for a rebuild. I guess after 40 years, the tranny deserved one. While in the shop, I had them replace the clutch. That clutch had originally been in the '64 and was at least 10 years old, so it was time. Wow, what a difference when I got it back! Nice smooth shifts, no more gear whine and no more shaking and vibrating when first starting out. But, I still have some gear clash when shifting into 1st and down shifting into 2nd, which seems to be a trait of the A833, but overall, what an improvement.

At this point I have 3 major things to do on the car. I need to rebuild the engine, finish the interior and finish the exterior. See, almost done!

The web site is now running on a system in my home. What can I say, a DSL line and dyndns.org are wonderful things. I am contemplating doing a site redesign. I have even looked into a CMS system. But, none have caught my fancy. Most are written in PHP and I prefer Perl. Most seem to want Apache 1.3x and I am running v2.0. I even tried OpenACS and AOLserver. Nice stuff, but to complicated for what I want to do. I have added a simple photo album and dumped all the photographs into it so that you can view them. One of these days, I will get them captioned. I still have a roll of film that needs to be processed from before the move. The site has been scanned by several web spiders so it should be showing up in the search engines by now. Welcome one and all if that's how you happened to wandered by.

26-May-2005

I just about have finished the redesign of the web site. After trying several tools that purported to make this an easy task, I have reverted to the Perl based Template Toolkit and make files. So much for all the fancy graphical editors. Unfortunately, an update to mod_perl2 has broken the Apache::Gallery module that I was using to display the pictures. So, I an waiting for Debian to come out with a fix in the Unstable branch. I hope this doesn't take to long...

13-Aug-2005

Well the summer is starting to wind down, and I would like to recap what has happened. I fixed the gas gauge, this required a new float for the sender. The old float had developed some hairline cracks. When I changed the tank last year, I had soldered up some cracks. That fix lasted until winter. So now I have three gauges working. Those gauges are the gas, water and alternator. Now all I need is a speedo cable to hook up the speed-o-meter. Unfortunately with the rear gears that speedo would be wildly inaccurate. Just about like the gas gauge. I have a 18 gallon tank, put the gauge reads full at 12 gallons. Oh well, at least I know when I have gas now.

I had the 4 speed rebuilt, along with a new clutch. New bearings and syncos, clutch disk, pressure plate and throwout bearing. This was probably the most expensive thing that I have done to the car since the new tires. But boy, what a difference it made. The tranny shifts so nice and smooth now. I still have to double clutch to get into first at anything above a roll. But at least I can do that now. No more "grind, grind, damn it shift, grind, clunk".

I had to replace a front wheel bearing. The old one wouldn't adjust anymore and it was making quite a whirling noise. The transmission guy first noticed it when test driving the car, the tranny had quieted down enough to hear the noise. After doing that, I had the front end aligned. First time since the car was on the road. It's nice not having the car careen to the left when you let go of the steering wheel.

With all of the improvements and upgrades it was time for only one thing.

ROAD TRIP

Yep, I took it for a couple of drives to see how everything works. The first drive was north, up I-5 to the Arlington exit. Then to Darrington, then to Rockport, then to Sedro Wooley via the North Cascades highway, then back to Everett on Highway 9. About a 2 1/2 hour drive. The Dart performed flawlessly. The second drive was east on Highway 2 to Leavenworth. I was only going 50 mph over Stevens Pass, but at least I passed a Volvo! On the way back, I found that I need a serious power boost. When passing cars in the passing lane, I would just run out of steam. Pretty scary, especially when you run out of passing lane. Other then that the car performed flawlessly on the 4 hour trip. I averaged about 22 mpg on those trips. Pretty good, for an engine with a quarter of a million miles on the old ticker.