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75 Dodge Dart Swinger turbo LS1/th400 swap

Old 10-07-2018, 01:33 PM
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Default 75 Dodge Dart Swinger turbo LS1/th400 swap

Well everyone I've finally got my Dart up and running and moving under its own power so I figured it was about time I posted a thread up on here about it with pictures and all. Forgive the virtual photo explosion that's about to follow.

Back story on the car. Originally purchased in downtown Chicago in 1975, and pretty much remained there garage kept with the same family until 2003. Was then sold to another family until 2011 and then to the gentleman I purchased from in 2015. Originally a slant 6/904/7.25 car it had 75k miles on it when I found it online one day hiding in a garage in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. I purchased it from him with the intentions of just using it as a cruiser and being happy from there having recently gotten out of the EVO/DSM import scene thanks to the hipsters and stance nation taking over the scene.




I drove it around for a little while on all the factory stock stuff to get a feel for what I wanted to do with the car, cleaned it up a little bit and redid the engine bay area because that ford blue and nastiness under the hood wasn't working for me, so I redid that and went to some shows and had a little fun. Then it turns out you cant go from a 500hp evo 8 that handled like a dream to a 90 hp Dodge dart that drove like a ship in water. So then the modifications to the suspension started since I had always done motor first and everything else later, this time I was going ground up then power.



So I started with a full Hotchkis TVS kit and a set of their 1.5 street strip shocks. Pretty sure their only parts for my car I don't have are the subframe connectors.....maybe later.
New front end bits

All the front end pieces installed including the new front swaybar.

New rear leafs and shocks.(haven't finished adding the rear sway bar yet because I needed the new rear end that I just installed recently.)

Then I hit a few more shows after installing the new suspension including Automotion up in Wisconsin dells, my friend Breanna shot some pictures for me while we were up there. if you're ever in need she is an amazing photographer/editor in the Wisconsin area and a fellow automotive enthusiast.




Still not knowing which direction I was fully going with powerplant, and simply enjoying the new feel of the suspension, I decided I wanted a more of a muscle look and less weekend cruiser. After PCS'ing to Alexandria, VA thanks to the Navy, I picked up a set of weld prostars for the Dart and threw them on, instantly making me love the car more.


Last edited by YoungDart75; 10-14-2018 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:52 PM
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I wouldn't go too wild on the power; no real lopey cams in my opinion. If it were me, I would go with a 6.0 or 6.2, shoot for about 450-500FWHP, put a 4L80E behind it, and you will surprise a lot of potential stoplight matches!
I like those wheels on that car! Looks period-correct. I like how it looks as is; don't change it too much!

Last edited by G Atsma; 10-07-2018 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:09 PM
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After adding those weld wheels I began researching what kind of powerplant I wanted to swap into the Dart and weigh cost options. Originally I started with a 360 idea swap, but came to the realization I hated carbs and every Dart at every carshow in the world has 318/340/360 setup in it, and decided to go with a 5.7L Hemi swap. After adding up the costs for the 5.7L hemi swap(north of $12k for a simple swap) I realized it was not reasonable for me and my brother, having listened to me complain about the price, put the ls1 bug in my ear.

Shortly after he started finding parts and pieces for the swap for pretty cheap and after about 6 months of research of my own, decided it was well within my reach and budget. So back in October of 2017 I decided to pull the trigger and start the swap, much to the dismay of Mopar Purists worldwide. After all, I needed more oomph to be able to fully use my suspension correctly. Out with the slant 6 and cleaning up the bay before the new motor went in.



To kick things off I picked up a 2008 Gen IV 4.8LS1 from a Silverado with 100k miles on it and no known issues. I didn't end up getting the harness and ecu from this truck because the original owner was simply upgrading to a 5.3 from the 4.8. So I ended up finding a 2011 Express van harness and ecm.
Original drop in to see height and clearance issues that could arise. Also brainstorming ideas for mounts because no one makes drop in mounts for an LS in a Dart that allowed for clearing the stock k-member.

So after finding a few stray pieces online about people attempting to make their on spool style mounts, a friend Dave Akre and I got together on these mounts, added the poly bushings and got them on the motor, then got it set in the car. I obviously cleaned up the dirty stock motor and sprayed it to look a little better before going in, and added the forward facing manifolds to ease in clearance on the fenders as well as ease the 78mm turbo later on down the road.



Once the motor was set in place the next obstacle of the oil pan and how to attack it came up. Unlike most, I was not okay with hacking my kmember to death and wanted to keep it 100% intact. So a lot of combing through threads on here about pans and measurements and looking at mine and taking measurements on mine. I eventually came upon the Sikky center sump a being the only one even close to clearing. But I didn't want to spend $700 to 1000 on just a pan/remote filter setup. So I did some research and bounced some ideas off a buddy Dave Akre and we came up with the idea of using an all steel center sump, flipping the sump and making it a center sump and using a remote filter as well. So that's exactly what I did. We also added a camaro oil pickup to move it to the middle of the pan where we needed it to fit.







clearance on the front kmember installed and bolted in.

Clearance on the rear center link.

Last edited by YoungDart75; 10-07-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:43 PM
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Shortly after that was done I started thinking about cam options, whether or not to upgrade the valvesprings, and the intake manifold options. I cam across a LS7 cam for pretty cheap and after reading the hotrod article on cams and the ls7 picking up 69 hp over the factory truck cam, and the fact my Dart is about 3000lbs and not 5500 like a truck made me lean towards that cam...and its cheap cost per hp gain. So I threw the ls7 cam into it with the proper gear of course.

Then I picked up up some stock length Texas speed hardened pushrods, pac 1219 springs, and some titanium retainer and new valve seats all the way around in my 243 heads. and threw some MLS headgaskets when they went back on.





Then shortly after I came across a deal on a Fast 102mm intake complete with fuel rails 32lb injectors and the 90mm LS2 throttle body for about $600 which I thought was a hell of a deal. So I picked it up and sold my tbss intake with rail and injectors for $225. So it only ended up costing me about $375 to upgrade to my new fast setup.

Simultaneously I reworked my engine harness, got rid of all the stuff I didn't need and set it up for 4 wire hookup and sent the ecm off and had the vats deleted.


Seeing as everything was looking much nicer in the bay I continued with an array of ICT billet goodies including their accessory drive/ mount kit.



Then I saw a set of wheels that infatuated me Jegs SSR Spikes. I couldn't shake my obsession with them so I had to pick a set up. 15x4 with 165/80/15 in the front and 15x8n245/60/15 in the rear.





After my hiatus in the outside looks department I got back to the engine/drivetrain. I picked up the th400 with a shift kit from my brother, modified the tunnel for it to fit. which was essentially only cutting the top u shaped portion out to allow for the only slightly bigger trans to fit.


Luckily with how everything was set in, the trans lined right up with the factory 904 support member so I simply cut the factory mount for the 904 off and welded a piece of angle iron on and bolted it right to the th400 and the driveline angles were right on the money.

Then came the new driveshaft to match the th400 to the new 8.25" track look rear end(3.55 Richmond gears) I picked up.


I also made the lines and added the trans-cooler up front. this pic was it just sitting. it was lift higher and hard mounted shortly after for added ground clearance.

As well as mounting the radiator, fans and remote oil filter mount at the same time to get it all buttoned up.

Last edited by YoungDart75; 10-07-2018 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:55 PM
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With the Driveline all in place finally and hard mounted I shifted to the fuel system. Originally i thought fuel cell, but then found that Tanks Inc. made a setup for the 70-76 Dart that you could order with a drop in 400lph in tank pump and it fit right where the factory one went. So I went that route instead of the cell. I made all my -6 lines and installed that tank and wired it all up.




Then I picked up a B&M Megashifter from a buddy of mine for basically free. So I got that thrown in.

And ceramic coated the manifolds(later known to be in vain because it ended up peeling anyway)

Got the ICT billet battery tray mounted in the trunk too.

With some troubleshooting and testing I was finally able to get through the struggles and get the car to fire up. Turns out it was self induced because I was suing the wrong wire for power. It was dropping the 12v power when cranking so I had to switch it up and ta da! it worked.
Excuse the madness of jumper wires and things everywhere. Until I got it all working I wasn't going to finish putting it all in place.

After fixing the vacuum tube and adding some more fluid I was able to get it to move under its own power.

Last edited by YoungDart75; 10-07-2018 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:30 PM
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Looks great!

Hold your phone sideways when you shoot video. You won't get the annoying letter-boxing that way.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TipsyMcStagger View Post
Looks great!

Hold your phone sideways when you shoot video. You won't get the annoying letter-boxing that way.
I literally had it sitting on the creeper leaned up against the wall.

Ill have my son come with next time to be the photographer
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:09 AM
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Shoot, man, you do nice work.

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Old 10-14-2018, 12:41 AM
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Now that shes running and driveable(for the most part) I've found myself knocking out some small things that are required for a know, street driving.

I knew there was an issue with the wipers but never looked into it too much. But during all this time spent u def the dash I found the issue. The darn linkage that runs from the wiper motor over to the drive side had actually popped the bushing off the other arm. So I pulled the arm off today and went to go get more bushings and should have them on soon as well as I noticed my turn signals start and the hold solid rather than blinking so i grabbed a new flasher today as well just in case that's the issue.

Topped off the ps fluid and it's working fine with my braided line and adapter fitting modification. So no more leaks.

Also went to go see a friend about the hotside fabrication. Ideas I had and trying to narrow down my idea of a big single or two smaller twins for the turbo setup. If I go twins it will probably be twin 57 or 58mm's(or 35rs), single would most likely be a single 78mm. Decisions decisons......

I also got the base of the shifter pulled back out to put the USB port in. Originally it was supposed to go to the rear. But seeing as that meets flush with the bench, I needed to move it to the passenger side.

Ta da!

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Old 10-15-2018, 07:22 PM
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Hint for this weekend....you might be seeing double...or have double vision.
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:28 PM
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I have a soft spot for Darts! Very cool build.

You have the Gen4 rods..... which are good for around 900rwhp reliably...... don't be afraid to turn it up You don't need a crazy cam to make big power.

Twin 35R's would spool nicely..... or get an S480

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Old 10-15-2018, 11:50 PM
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th400 with a stall, go for a s480 or some variant thereof

also you're probably gonna need more pump
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gnx7 View Post
I have a soft spot for Darts! Very cool build.

You have the Gen4 rods..... which are good for around 900rwhp reliably...... don't be afraid to turn it up You don't need a crazy cam to make big power.

Twin 35R's would spool nicely..... or get an S480
I heard that about the GEN IV motors, plus the 4.8 should like rpms a little better than some of the bigger motors I figure. Or at least I hope. I didn't get a crazy cam for it just yet, the ls7 cam should work a lot nicer in my car than the truck cam would have. Not to mention make a little bit more power. Ill post up some pictures this weekend of the mock up, most likely will be Saturday. I went with the twins for what I hope will be simplicity in routing things(kinda backwards thinking I know), but also because I already had these manifolds and twins just look bad *** and will drive the Mopar purists even more insane when complete as long as I finish it off nice and clean.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:47 PM
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well well well.....
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:51 PM
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Still gathering more parts to get this thing together. But hopefully before spring she is running good.

anyone have any experience running oil and coolant cooled turbos on only oil?
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:04 PM
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Well a while back I spoke with a company called XS Power a while back about a set of their topmount single t4 turbo manifolds and possibly testing them and doing a review to share online. Sent him pics of the car and the link to my build thread. But had since told him I was going twins so I wouldnt be needing his set anymore.

I sent him another email last week checking in to see if he had gotten anyone to review them yet and he said no, and since I was going to be removing mine for wrapping them anyway I figured what the hell, let me see if they'll work. At least I can share the info with fellow swappers.

Well today I went to the office expecting to pick up just the 90 degree mount for the 2nd t3 turbo, and then they hand me a rather large box that I wasnt expecting at the time. I got the manifolds in the mail.


So here are the initial pics. Initial impression from me is positive. Welds are nice and clean, they took the time to smooth out the inside of the runners as well where its welded to the flanges.



Passenger side manifold. T4 topmount, wastegate flange welded on, and the downward pipe to connect to the crossover tube.



Driver side manifold. I'm only worried about this one clearing because I still have the power steering on my car.

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Old 11-19-2018, 08:07 PM
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New toys! Start playin'!
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:35 AM
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WOW YOU HAVE AN AWESOME SET UP FOR THAT SWINGER, i JUST HAVE TO SAY THOSE WELD WHEELS YOU HAD ON THE CAR WERE SO BEAUTIFUL MADE HER LOOK GREAT. BUT IT'S YOUR CAR SO DRIVE THE WHEELS OFF OF HER!!!!!
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Old 11-24-2018, 12:21 PM
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Unfortunately that setup didnt clear the fenderwells on my car, but I'll be test fitting them on a few other ls swapped vehicles too and will find a home for them.

in the mean time I'm going to continue pushing forward with the twins. I got a few more pieces ordered last week and as a birthday present to myself I ordered the radistor setup that should provide enough cooling as well as give me quite a but more room in the engine bay.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F351323855024
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:33 AM
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Well I got a mount made for the coolant reservoir today and moved it to its final home. Here it's simply placed and not buttoned down. So it will actually be slid all the way to the edge on the left.

I also made brackets to raise the coil packs 2 inches in Order to all for me to use the coil packs up top and not remote mount them, as well as keep my plug wires. I made one of my drain lines for the driver side turbo, removed the corvette radiator setup in preparation for the new one showing up tomorrow or Thursday. Started brainstorming the mount for the fuse box and for the trans dipstick too.
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