Front Suspension Brakes and small fixes

Another month has gone by with some more progress. Its slow but steady. The first thing that needed to be taken care of was the air cleaner. Not that it "needs" to be done now but it was just bugging me because it was too tall.

You can tell by the picture that the air cleaner is going to interfere with the hood. Its about an inch high and if I leave it like it is I'm going to have to cut the hood and use either a Max Wedge or Hemi style scoop. I'm not sure at this point if I want to do that so I had to look for another solution.

The reason its too high in the first place is because of the high rise Mopar M-1 dual plane manifold. Its a good three inches higher than the stock 4 bbl. manifold that came on these cars. This wouldn't be a problem if I wanted to use a lower style air cleaner, but in my case that is not an option. So... the simple solution was to just go with a lower air cleaner element.

Here is the stock element on the right and a shorter unit from a 1970 Mustang Boss 429. Using this element lowers the top of the air cleaner by almost two inches which is enough to clear the hood with room to spare.... problem solved.

The next order of business, now that the engine/trans are installed, was to assemble the front suspension. Everything here was just refurbished with new ball joints, tie rod ends and adjusters. Assembly was strait forward and didn't take much time at all. The only noteworthy thing here is let everyone know that the 440 Source 7 quart oil pan has plenty of clearance for the steering on these cars. So, if you're working on a 62-65 Mopar and want or need the extra oil capacity then this pan is a definitely an option. The picture below shows the clearance.

With the majority of the front suspension assembled it was time to start on the disk brake conversion. There are a number of ways to install disk brakes on the front of these cars. Everything from high dollar made to fit kits to stock Mopar parts. The difference is really minimal and with judicial shopping you an install a nice set of disks for just a couple hundred bucks.

Below you can see the front suspension with the addition of disk brake spindles. These are from a '76 Dodge Dart with 11.75" disk brakes and they interchange perfectly on these cars. You can tell they are disk brake spindles by the extra holes for the caliper mount on the right side.

You can also see that this car came from the factory with a front sway bar. These bars don't mount the same way modern sway bars do and because of this the spindles need to be swapped left and right in order to move the calipers from the stock location to the rear of the spindle. YES, THE STOCK LOCATION FOR THESE CALIPERS IS ON THE FRONT OF THE SPINDLE. This is necessary because the sway bar mounting will interfere with the calipers. Because these spindles can be mounted either way, there is no change or effect on any steering geometry. The picture below shows the finished disk brake conversion.

I used the spindles and caliper adapters from a '75 Dart and the calipers from a '76 Dart. These are slider calipers.... some conversions use the pin type calipers. The rotors however, are not from a Dart. Dart rotors of that vintage were two piece units and were somewhat weak and problematic. These rotors are from a '77 Dodge Monico and like mentioned earlier are 11.75" diameter. They're single piece and have reinforcing ribs with make them much stronger than the stock Dart units.

I should mention here that this particular swap with the 11.75" rotors requires the use of 15" wheels. If someone wants to keep the stock 14" wheels they need to use the smaller diameter 10.87" rotors and the matching caliper adapters. All other parts remain the same.

A minor problem with the brake lines arose when I installed the clutch "Z" bar. Some of the brake lines I had run interfered with the "Z" bar so they had to be moved and redone. Not a big deal but I could have saved myself some time by waiting till the "Z" bar had been installed before running these lines.

I don't know at this point if anyone has noticed something different with the engine installation from last month. Here's a pic that might give you a better view of the change.

The headers are gone! After messing with them for quite a while just to get them to fit, I finally decided to replace them with the correct casting exhaust manifolds for a 426 Street Wedge. I didn't make this decision lightly, however since I have no intention of racing this car and I don't want to spend $700 for TTI headers that DO fit, it was pretty easy to just go ahead and install the stock manifolds. Besides they give much better clearance between the exhaust and the shock towers which makes changing plugs much easier.

With the front and rear suspensions done it was time to go ahead and have the tires mounted and balanced. I'm using 275/60 R15s on the rear with 15 x 8 steel rims with 4.5" backspacing on the rear. As you can see there are no clearance issues with this setup.

The front tires are 215/70 R15s on 5.5" wide steel wheels with 4" backspacing.

The last thing this month was to do a complete service on the driveshaft. First the shaft was cleaned and given a coat of POR-15. Then the front and rear universal joints were serviced. Prior to '65 Dodge used a "ball and trunion" on the front of the driveshaft instead of a conventional universal joint. These work fine but can be a pain to repair if the rubber seal is damaged or torn. In my case this unit was in good condition and all it needed was to have the old grease removed and replaced with new. Took about 10 minutes.

The rear of the driveshaft does use a conventional universal joint and I simply replaced it with a new one.

So, I finally have a rolling chassis. Next I'll install the driveshaft and start working on the doors. I'll also install the exhaust system which has been ordered but isn't here yet.

That's it for this month....check back often for more updates...

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