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Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant

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  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    The value of a car like that very much depends on the finances and motivation of whoever is interested in it. While V-8 Valiants are relatively uncommon, I expect this one probably has a bread and butter variety 318 engine. And that engine is not particularly desirable in the classic car market. Now, if it was a 340, a 383, or a Hemi; that would be a whole different picture. I wouldn't consider a 318 engined Valiant as a potentially valuable investment. If it was completely and thoroughly restored, it might bring a few thousand bucks; but it would cost close to that much to do it up. To me, this seems far more like a car that someone would own because they particularly liked that model; rather than something that would be expected to gain much value. Look through some of the magazines that list the sale prices in recent collector car auctions, and you'll get a better idea of what the market is.

    Joel
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    In 1969, the Valiant was little more than a low-end economy car. There were no high performance options, or even cool body styles. When the Barracuda was restyled for 1967, the hardtop and convertible versions of the Valiant were dropped, to eliminate competition from within Plymouth. As for the hot engines like the 340, the 383/440 big blocks, and even the Hemi, they were offered in the Barracuda, but not the Valiant.

    The Valiant's only V-8 options around that timeframe were a 273-2bbl with 190 hp, or the 318-2bbl with 230. Now in 1970, when the Duster fastback and Scamp hardtop were added to the Valiant lineup, the hot 340 returned, available in those styles. But not the sedan. Oh, as for production, they built 21,492 Valiant Signet 4-doors in 1969. My book doesn't break out V-8 production, but if I were to take a guess, I'd say around 1/3 to 1/2 of them were V-8.

    And yeah, don't expect it to appreciate in value. Buy it because you like it, think it's neat, has some sentimental value, etc...but don't buy it as an investment!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Do you really think V-8 production was that high on those?

    I would have guessed more like 20% but I could be wrong.

    Personally, I would rather have a slant six in one of those cars.

    And, I definatly agree. I wouldn't put much money into that car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    Do you really think V-8 production was that high on those?

    I would have guessed more like 20% but I could be wrong.


    I dunno, to be honest. Awhile back, one of my friends was able to break out Dodge Dart engine stats for 1968, and I think something like half of the 270 model were V-8, and 1/3 of the 270's had a/c.. I think the American Standard Chrysler book might break out stats like that. I have one of those packed away somewhere, but danged if I know where it is!

    I had a '69 Dart GT with a slant six, and still have my '68 270, with a 318-2bbl, mildly hopped up. The V-8 is A LOT more fun in acceleration, but oddly, once you're out on the highway, it really didn't roll along at high speeds any better than the 225 did. It would get from, say, 0-60 or 0-100 much quicker, but if you were rolling along at 75 and stomped it, the difference seemed negligible.

    The 225 was a lot more ecnomical, too. 15-18 around town, 22-23 on the highway. The 318 was more like 12-14 around town (sometimes worse) and, if I was lucky, 17 on the highway.

    Chrysler switched the slant-six version of these cars from a 2.94:1 rear, to a 2.76:1, for 1968. That cut 0-60 times, at least the way CR tested their cars, from around 13 seconds to 14. quarter mile stayed about the same though...19 seconds at 72 mph, IIRC.

    I never saw a CR test of a late 60's A-body with a 273 or 318. However, they did test a '68 or '69 B-body (Coronet or Satellite, can't remember which) with a 318-2bbl, 2.76:1 rear, and got 0-60 in 10 seconds flat. So in a Dart/Valiant, I'd guess the 318 probably got to 60 in around 9-9.5?

    I liked both of my Darts...the slant six and the 318. They both had their good points and weak points, so I dunno that I'd have a favorite. I did like my '69 GT better than my '68 270, but that's mainly because it was in better shape and a nicer trim level. It only had about 49000 miles on it when I bought it. The 270 had 253,000! I dunno if I'd buy another, though. After around 27,000 miles in the GT and another 85,000 in the 270, I'm sort of Darted out!

    **edit: if I ever can find that American Standard Chrysler catalog, I'll post the slant six/V-8 stats.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    It just seems that almost every Dart of that era that I remember had the slant six with just a few exceptions.

    We have talked about the slant six in these forums many times and I guess that's because of the respect we all have for them. They were primitive polluters to be sure, but rock solid engines that people couldn't kill

    The term "bulletproof" is overused but in the case of those engines, I can't think of a better word to describe them.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    It just seems that almost every Dart of that era that I remember had the slant six with just a few exceptions

    I just dug out my Chrysler catalog...
    1968 Dodge Dart 170:
    3400 V-8
    58900 slant six

    1968 Dodge Dart 270:
    21300 V-8
    55200 slant six

    1969 Dodge Dart base:
    24600 V-8
    61800 slant six

    1969 Dodge Dart Custom:
    22100 V-8
    41600 slant six

    Unfortunately, the book doesn't break out Valiant engine production. If the Dart is any indication, the nicer trim level did tend to be more likely to have the V-8. But still, not anywhere near 50%. Maybe 30% at best for the Valiant Signet?

    I have a feeling though, that one thing that may be weighting the V-8 average for the Dart was that it offered a hardtop, which was viewed as more of an upscale body style than a lowly 2- or 4-door sedan. Note that in 1968, when the base 2-door Dart was a sedan and not a hardtop, the V-8 hardly saw any installations at all. Yet in 1969, when the 2-door sedan was replaced by a 2-door hardtop, V-8 installations were suddenly around 25%.

    I wish my book did break out engine production for the Valiant, because now I'm really curious!

    Oh, I did notice that my old '69 Dart GT was one of only 5600 that was built with a slant six. The remaining 15300 were V-8.

    Not that it really counts for anything, but I think that '69 Dart GT slant six might have been the rarest car I've ever owned! In contrast, they built 12,179 of my '57 DeSoto Firedome and around 10,000 of my '67 Catalina convertible.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Thanks for doing the research!

    I wouldn't have thought V-8 production was nearly that high.

    Do you still have your Intrepid? Must have a bunch of miles by now.

    We had one traded in, I think it was a 2000 model with 165,000 miles. It still looked and ran fine and the guy said it had been pretty troublefree. It'll go to some wholesale lot somewhere.

    Funny how we talk about how long lasting the slant sixes were but nowdays almost any modern car can rack up a lot of miles.

    Back in the sixties, 100,000 miles was about the end for most cars and today, it's nothing. The slant sixes were the exception back then and that's why we remember them so fondly.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    Yeah, I still have the Intrepid. Has about 137,000 miles on it now. For the most part it's been a good car, but 2007 hasn't been a good year. So far I've sunk about $2000 into it this year...and yesterday the check engine light came on! :sick:

    I wonder if one reason the slant six was so sturdy is that it was initially designed to be a big car engine, and they just shrunk it down for use in smaller cars? In contrast, the little 6-cyl used in Falcons was specifically designed for little cars. It would ultimately get massaged to 200 CID. I don't think they were bad engines, per se, just not as durable as a slant six. And now that I think about it, wasn't the Chevy 230/250 inline six derived from the 194? Which was originally desigend for the Chevy II, if I'm not mistaken?

    Ford had another 6-cyl engine that came out for 1965...the 240. It was designed originally for big cars, and later came in 250 and 300 CID displacements. And similarly, I've heard tales of the Ford 300 inline 6 being one of the most durable engines ever.

    There was a 2-bbl version of the slant six offered in export markets in the 60's, up through maybe 1972. It put out 160 hp gross/120 net, compared to the 1-bbl's 145 gross/110 net. Too bad they never offered that in the US. Seems to me an A-body with a 225-2bbl and a 2.94 rear would make a good middle of the road car. Probably would have been a nice alternative to some of the milder compact car V-8's of the era...stuff like the Nova 307, Dart Valiant 273, and Falcon 302.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Yes, the Chevy 194's came out in the 1962 Chevy II's and they did evolve into the 250's. Very good engines and those old Chevy II's were quite peppy for what they were.

    And your knowledge of the Ford sixes is accurate too. The 300's were one TOUGH engine that didn't break! Seven main bearings and torque galore.
  • Ok thanks for all the information. I didn't know if i wanted to keep it or not. If I want to sell it what would be a good asking price for it. Also if anyone is interested I can send pics.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Sounds right up your alley!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    " The 300's were one TOUGH engine that didn't break! Seven main bearings and torque galore."

    Yes, but as you probably know, the Ford 300 c.i. I-6s were also gas guzzlers. while I don't have first hand knowledge, I've read that the smallest of the optional V8s (302, maybe) delivered better fuel economy, although it may not have been as durable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    The inline 300-6 sucked gas like a whale eating krill, as they say. You'd be very lucky to get 14 mpg on a good day.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Yes, they were terrible on gas but not nearly as bad as the 360's. The 390's actually got better mileage than a 360.
  • The wiper switch on my old Valiant is on its last legs. I thought this would be a good opportunity to replace the single-speed switch with a 3-speed or variable speed switch from another/newer Mopar. Has anyone done this? Can it be done? And if so, which make/model/year switches would interchange? New switches for my year (1966) seem to run between $140 & $190, so I'd rather be able to scour a junkyard for one, but I don't know what I'm looking for. TIA for any info you might have.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    I dunno which years would interchange with a 1966 Valiant, but I have a feeling that the 3-speed wiper is going to be pretty rare. My '69 Dart GT had 3-speed wipers, with an electric pump for the windshield washer fluid. My '68 Dart 270 just has 2-speed wipers, with a foot pump for the washer fluid.

    I wanted to pull the 3-speed assembly out of my '69 Dart before it went to the junkyard, and try swapping it onto my '68, but never got around to it. Anyway, I'd say your chances would be better by looking for the more upscale A-bodies (Barracuda, Dart GT, Valiant Signet, etc). I guess it's even possible that the larger B- and C-bodies used the same basic setup?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,617
    It's probably not just a matter of a new switch - wouldn't the motor need to be swapped out (based on motor listings that distinguish single from multi-speed units)? And even if the new switch worked, it would just give slower speeds, right? Here's one option - an add on delay unit from JCWhitney:
    JCW delay unit
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    If you're looking to save money, the cheapest way to do it would be to buy a wiper switch from another model. My 1971 Dodge B100 van has a two speed wiper switch. For a long time, I thought it was only a single speed switch, because you couldn't pull the knob out. But then one day, I tried turning the knob, and lo and behold, there was a second speed. That switch is about as small as it could be. I'm confident it would fit into the stock position in your Valiant. There are three wires coming from the switch (slow, fast, and a wire to park the wipers when you turn the switch off). If the Valiant really has a single speed wiper, your switch would just have two wires (run and park). The neat thing is that Dodge vans from the 1970s were very common, and should be plentiful in wrecking yards that deal with older models. And the wiper switch probably was the same from 1971 until at least 1976; and very likely some years beyond that; so it should be easy to find.

    The two speed motor has a porcelain resistor mounted on it, and has four wires going into the motor. I'm assuming a three speed motor would have five wires, and either two resistors or a two section resistor.

    Once you found that switch, you could use it with a single speed motor by only connecting the slow speed wire (the slow speed switch position would run the wipers at full speed, because you don't have a resistor in the circuit to slow the motor down). You could then add an inexpensive wiper delay unit, which would give your single speed motor infinitely variable speeds.
  • That delay unit looks like a backup idea, but not as elegant as having it in the dash. It looks like you're right about having to swap the motor too, though. The only place I've found offering new wiper parts lists 1- and 2- speed switches AND motors.
    Jim's Auto Parts. 3-speed and variable wipers weren't introduced until 1967. Hmm. I wonder if it could be made to work...
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,617
    You're absolutely correct, "elegant" and "J. C. Whitney" never go together...but it's a (kludgey) option.
  • hey everyone i just bought a 1965 dodge dart 270 slant six... my problem is the car is not charging, the alternator is good though any info will help..... first ever mopar!
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,617
    Only a few causes:
    Battery - get a battery hydrometer and a charger (never hurts for an old classic car owner such as yourself to have a charger), unhook the cables, charge it up, test if there are any bad cells.
    Alternator - how do you know it's good?
    Regulator - Is it separate, or built into the alternator (I don't remember)
    Connections - make sure they're all clean and tight.

    Edit- where is the Alt. gauge pointing? And what are any other symptoms?
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    As the other person suggested, it could be a variety of things. If the ammeter doesn't show a charge, then you probably have a defective voltage regulator. The regulator in that car is external, and is mounted on the firewall. The original regulator was mechanical, but there now are more reliable solid state replacements made by many manufacturers. There also may still be some mechanical regulators out there, so it is a good idea to check the type of the one you plan to buy.

    If the ammeter does show a charge, but the battery keeps going dead, then you probably have a bad cell in the battery. You can confirm this by having the battery tested with a hydrometer and a load tester. Many auto parts stores will test batteries for free.

    The battery also can go dead if an alternator diode is bad. There are 6 diodes in the alternator. If one of them goes bad, the alternator may pass a voltage output test, but it will not produce enough current to keep the battery charged at low engine speeds, or when headlights and other electrical accessories are in use. The only way to confirm this kind of problem is to test the alternator's current output.

    A certain combination of bad diodes can also cause the battery to drain after the engine is shut off. If the battery has a charge in it, you can check for a battery drain by disconnecting the battery negative (ground) cable, and then touching it back to the post it was removed from. If there is a spark of any significant size, there is a drain. Of course, the lights must not be on, the doors and trunk must be closed, and the ignition key must be turned off. If you get a spark, disconnect the heavy cable at the alternator, and try the test again. If you now don't get a spark; you have bad alternator diodes.

    There is also a fusible link in the positive battery cable. If that link goes open, the charging system will not work.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    with old Mopars. When in doubt, change the ballast resistor! It's like a 2-dollar part, mounted on the firewall, and looks kinda like this.

    On my '68 and '69 Darts, it was mounted on the driver's side of the firewall, kinda high up. I think its main purpose is to cut down the voltage to the igntion coil so you don't fry the points, but it may cause other problems when it goes bad.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Good suggestion as a general rule but it probably wouldn't apply here. If the ballast resistor is bad, the car will start in the key's "crank" position but will stall the minute you release the key.

    The owner could take the alternator off and Autozone will bench test it for you for free.

    Or there's a way to by-pass the regulator but I'm not giving out electrical advice of this sort over the internet---I don't want somebody burning the garage down because my "green" wire has been changed to their "blue" wire.

    A chilton's manual will tell you how to do the by-pass test (library book?)

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • my dart didnt come with a back window and i have looked online for one but have realized they are pretty expensive.. amy info on where to get one in the san joaquin, California area.
  • i need to replace my voltage regulator but i was told i have to be careful with polarity? never knew! what caution should i take or do before replacing .... thanx
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,617
    hmm...as long as you disconnect the battery before doing anything, and make sure all wires are connected to the proper posts, I don't know what the 'polarity' warning is all about. Is the new regulator identical to the old one?
  • or any i can order online
  • zaken1zaken1 Posts: 556
    It sounds like the person who told you to be careful with polarity meant that you should not exchange the wires to the regulator's two terminals. But one of those terminals is a quick disconnect tab; and the other one is a screw terminal. It would be impossible to exchange the wires to those terminals, unless someone modified the wiring harness, which is highly unlikely. I expect the person who gave you that advice was not familiar with this regulator. It almost sounds like he was talking about a regulator for an old DC generator.
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