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Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build

Posted by kwesley 
kwesley
Kevin Wesley
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: 02/28/2008
Age: Midlife Crisis
Posts: 46

Rally Car:
1976 Dodge Dart Lite


Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build
December 09, 2013 10:41PM
My seemingly never going to get finished project is finally getting finished. Since the cage was done in 2006/2007 and never log booked, I want to make sure it's good to go now in case it ever makes it on a stage.

Main question would be the bar location to create the "X". Is the attachment to the front portion of the cage too low? The way it's laid out now, access to get in and out is good. Just want to make sure it's legal.



Passenger side view...



Interior view before they cut out some gussets that weren't legal.



I dropped some standard gussets off for them to use and finish up all the gusset work. They came up with this solution which looks really nice and appears to be acceptable. They say it's stronger and I say it's fine as long as it's legal. There is still access to see the weld, but instead of being a single piece that is rolled, it is a multi piece that is welded. Where the cut out is near the weld, this piece rolls in and is welded to actually enclose the gusset short of the bar intersection weld. Any thoughts?



The car will mainly see duty at the road course to start with, but I would like to ultimately do a tarmac event, Pikes Peak and maybe Targa Newfoundland. So, it needs to fit the most stringent rules, which are for a rally event and then it shouldn't get too much grief at any of the others. It will have to be detuned a bit from it's current form for a gravel event, but that's not to say it won't hit gravel some day.

The fabricators are top notch current, or ex Cup fabricators, so the quality of work is there... just needs to be legal. Originally the cage was completed by SkyTek out of Detroit, but it was in the middle of them shutting down production going into the the downturn in 2007/2008. It kind of got pushed out the door, so there are a few things that needed attention. I had them cut out the main hoop cross bracing to put the "X" brace in it's place, finishing some chassis reinforcements, lightening a bunch of stuff, fuel cell and then just finishing it to the point it runs/drives.

Link to full size pics... Dart Lite Project

Little bit on the car and the shop... Hotchkis Performance East



Thanks,

Kevin Wesley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2013 02:52PM by kwesley.
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Reamer
Jeff Reamer
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 09:38AM
I did the door X in mine like yours. My thought was ease of getting in and out. Now that its done I wish I would of moved it back and made it harder to get in. With the X foward it makes the back to high and you smack your elbow on it while driving. I dont see any real issues tech wise but pad the bar by your elbow. E mail Hurst your pics he will say for sure.

PS Nice tacos!!

Edit. The rules say no part of the door bars can mount higher then the middle of the door opening. So you need to measure at the back it looks higher then center of door opening.



First rally 2013
Rally car type AWD subaru
Total rallies as driver 6
Total rally cars built 2
Total rally cars caged 3
Total rally cars repaired from offs 4
Total years racing exp other then rally 19 yrs
Like 31motorsports on FB!
Check out 31motor sales on ebay for used Subaru parts



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2013 09:43AM by Reamer.
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NoCoast
Grant Hughes
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 09:56AM
Upper door x seems high. Could make it hard to get seats low ans lots of elbow banging. Gussets probably fine though bit more welding than a bent one. But okay...



Grant Hughes
http://rally.build
Denver, CO
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kwesley
Kevin Wesley
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: 02/28/2008
Age: Midlife Crisis
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Rally Car:
1976 Dodge Dart Lite


Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 10:31AM
Quote
Reamer
Edit. The rules say no part of the door bars can mount higher then the middle of the door opening. So you need to measure at the back it looks higher then center of door opening.

Yeah, I'm screwed on that one. I was thinking I should just have them cut out the door bars.



Thanks,

Kevin Wesley
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fiasco
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 11:18AM
Door bars too high in back, dash bar looks too low, but I'm looking on my phone, not a real screen.



Andrew Steere
Lyndeborough, NH
KB1PJY
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NoCoast
Grant Hughes
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 12:08PM
Door bars suck to cut out...
They might be okay or close to limit. Best is to talk with Mike Hurst about it.
What was wrong with the old gussets? Seem fine to me though small in picture.

I don't think there is any rule on allowed height of dash bar. I do them higher to keep from bumping into knees and hopefully allow easier heat core servicing and such.

What kinda car is that. Oh, 76 Dart. Awesome. More pictures please...



Grant Hughes
http://rally.build
Denver, CO
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czwalga
steve czwalga
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 12:08PM
Quote
Reamer

Edit. The rules say no part of the door bars can mount higher then the middle of the door opening. So you need to measure at the back it looks higher then center of door opening.


But is that the door with glass or without. I'm assuming with glass, Looks like he's right in the middle.


I think when I was building my first cage Gene told me a good rule for the door bar is that it should pass right around the door latch area as it goes by.
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NoCoast
Grant Hughes
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 12:10PM
Just looked at your Flickr album. Awesome X 10.
Tell us more about the project!!!



Grant Hughes
http://rally.build
Denver, CO
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kwesley
Kevin Wesley
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: 02/28/2008
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Rally Car:
1976 Dodge Dart Lite


Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 01:31PM
Quote
NoCoast
Just looked at your Flickr album. Awesome X 10.
Tell us more about the project!!!

1976 Dodge Dart Lite (aka Dart Sport)

Basic goal when I first caged the car was to run Targa Newfoundland, tarmac rallies and smooth gravel events. It was going to be a fairly basic car, mild V8, 4 speed, etc... nothing real special. Something like Hurst had with the Mustang, but with a car I'm infinitely more familiar with and I knew wouldn't fold up like my Neon did when I ran Grp 2. Then it sat... and nothing happened.

Over the years I accumulated some parts, the car changed directions and I stepped up to a R5/P7 Cup engine (850hp @ 8,600 rpm) that I was going to use with a dogbox. I had that combo basically sorted so I could run road course events and Pikes Peak, but kept coming back to the same problem... no time to finish and no fab skills for all the work that was left. Moving in a direction like that meant it wasn't a bolt together car anymore like originally planned. So it sat... some more.

The Pro Touring (musclecars on a road course/autocross) craze started to take hold and has become pretty popular. So, during the down time with Dart I built a simple, bolt together PT car that has been popular. Simple formula of cheap car, power and a well sorted suspension and brake package. Handles great, beats lot's of very expensive cars, it's simple and completely obnoxious. It turned out really well and even got to do pretty cool video this year with Hot Rod and Tire Rack.






Hot Rod Unlimited - Taxi Tire Test

The Dart has always been my primary goal, however. I have always wanted a car that is multi purpose. Something with a simple suspension swap and you can run gravel one weekend, tarmac another weekend, road course, etc... Probably gravel would be the main area where you would give up the most with the multi purpose car, but there is no $$$ to win so what's it matter anyway. It's about fun and sliding and spraying the crowd with a shower of rocks and dirt.

So, I finally struck a deal with Hotchkis to finish my Dart. They have been great to work with on my Satellite project, so it only made sense to have them work on the Dart and get it done. Here's the final specs for it's debut Pro Touring configuration...

6.4 Gen3 Hemi - Assembly line crate motor that should make 525hp with a proper cal, headers and no cats.



Keisler T45 based SS700 5 speed, Quicktime SFI bell, RAM aluminum flywheel and dual disc clutch.

Chrysler 8 3/4" rear with 3.55 gears and an Eaton True Trac diff.

Full Hotchkis TVS suspension bits still running leaf springs in the rear and torsion bars up front.

Gen III Viper based calipers on a two piece 13" Baer rotor in front and late model Cobra 12" rear discs. All PT events run a 200 treadwear tire, so having a good pad combo with a realistic size brake package is the best choice in my opinion. You won't see any 6 piston 15" packages on my cars.

Tires - 295/40/18 Rear and 275/35/18 Front on 18x9.5 or 18x10 wheels.



Fab work to finish is a bunch of stuff. Cage updates, fuel cell placement basically where the rear seat was, engine fitment, aftermarket column and pedal box. The whole car will be tinned on the inside and rear seat area will be covered to enclose the cell. Still planning for a spare tire, tool box, etc...



The car is currently on a major diet and all the extras are being cut out. Hood, deck lid and bumpers will end up being fiberglass. It will have full glass and a heater, not going too crazy, and will keep the steel doors and fenders. Target weight with 15 gallons of fuel is 2,850 lbs. Rally spec will add a few pounds with underbody protection, but I think it will still be under 3,000 pretty easily.



In PT trim if it doesn't have enough power I will bolt on a supercharger and pick up another 100+ if needed. At the target weight I will still be about 400lbs lighter than most of the cars. It will be about 1,000lbs lighter than my Satellite and that is a top 10 car currently without any problem.

I think it will be a fun package for the PT events, Pikes Peak, Targa, etc... Lot's of plans where I could run it with fairly liberal rule packages. Still could be legal for something like NASA AI/AIX for road racing, etc... Have pretty decent plans in place to ship it to Europe and try to set a decent Ring time with it. I'd like to do a tarmac event while it's there, but who knows at this point, I just want it done finally.

One thing the car will always be is obnoxious in some way. It will still have it's goofy little turn indicators on the fenders, probably end up getting a vinyl top again and will keep it's ugly as sin stock grille. It just has to be a little different and it has to be cheap (relatively cheap) when compared to the competition. To put it in perspective, most of the competitive PT cars currently will have more in their brake/wheel packages than I will have in parts for my entire car... including the cost of the car.



Thanks,

Kevin Wesley
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phlat65
Sean Medcroft
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 06:44PM
This rules!!!!
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RALLYRS
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets
December 10, 2013 10:32PM
Quote
phlat65
This rules!!!!

Yes it does....Long before I morphed into a Ford guy..I was a Mopar guy..and still have a soft spot in me heart for them.

My first Dart(I've owned 4 Darts plus a Power Wagon and a 413 powered New yorker land barge)was a 273 small block car.

It was my first car and I was sixteen and as soon as my hands were on it I immediately headed for the hills (literally)above my house and ran it at speed on the local fireroads.

Learned car control in it.

Somehow didn't die.

Didn't know what a "good handling " car was(at least on pavement)But I noticed it had pretty good ground clearance and I could get the thing moving pretty good in the dirt.

Later when i started learning about suspensions,I learned the car had torsion front/leaf rear,apparently had a fair amount of travel for a passenger car at the time.

And then I learned what an anti sway bar was..took a look under my car and thought "hmm....I don't have any of those...no wonder-especially on pavement car leans over on the door handles!"

Anyway..good luck with your build and your plans for the car sound very interesting.
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starion887
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build
December 13, 2013 05:54PM
So is this an actual Dart Lite? Not the same as a Dart Sport, BTW. The Dart Lite came with:
- AL case 4 speed with OD 4th gear
- No bumper seal parts
- Some other minor AL parts
- Little sound dedeading
- Minimal other interior parts
- No A/C
- Net weight was about 300-400 lbs below a standard Dart
- 3.0 rear axle gear
- Real skinny hard Goodyear bias plies (like the tires a Prius uses)
- Super lean burn single BBL carb on a 225 slant six

This combo was good for a steady 29 mpg at 65 mph on old carb technology in a first gen smog era engine. The Plymouth version was the Feather Duster, BTW.

Standard leaf spring live rear axle was pretty messy on a rough surface. I put about 100k miles on a Dart Lite.....cool car IMO.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/15/2013 03:21PM by starion887.
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kwesley
Kevin Wesley
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: 02/28/2008
Age: Midlife Crisis
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Rally Car:
1976 Dodge Dart Lite


Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build
December 13, 2013 10:24PM
Quote
starion887
So is this an actual Dart Lite? Not the same as a Dart Sport, BTW.
Yes, it's an original Dart Lite.

Bumpers have inner aluminum bracing. Hood and deck lid have aluminum bracing that is bonded/crimped to the steel skin.

Interior had the Hang 10 striped seats, which I will have the race seats covered with if there is any budget left.





Thanks,

Kevin Wesley
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Eric Ewert
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Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build
December 13, 2013 10:55PM
Having green brick flashbacks?
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kwesley
Kevin Wesley
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: 02/28/2008
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Rally Car:
1976 Dodge Dart Lite


Re: Cage, Door Bars and Gussets - The '76 Dart Lite Build
December 14, 2013 08:11AM
Quote
Eric Ewert
Having green brick flashbacks?

That's one reference I didn't expect on here.

The Brick is still at my shop waiting for a new motor. Only been there a few years. Should actually be finished this year with a 6.4 like my car.



Thanks,

Kevin Wesley
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