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318 V8 help in Louisville KY


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Hello, I am looking for a person in the Louisville KY metro area who is knowledgeable about the 318 V8 who can help me get my 1973 Dart Swinger running. My family has owned this car for 35 years and it is in good original condition. Even when it was driven everyday it would not always start reliably. It has been sitting in a heated garage most of the last 20 years. I need help diagnosing and sorting so it will start reliably and we can drive it. I have car restoration experience but this one has beat me. (See pictures of 1940 Lasalle woodie in the National Woodie Club section). Can anybody recommend a website/forum with more '60's and '70's Chrysler/Dodge interest? There seems to be a lot of '30's, '40's, and '50's interest here. 

Edited by Tom Boehm (see edit history)
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What seems to be the major problem, no spark, popping through the carb, not turning over ?

Maybe we can walk you through some of the testing. I suspect either fuel or ignition on a car that sat for a long time.

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If its the early electronic ignition you might check what would be similar to a points gap.

The book says to use non magnetic feeler gauge.

I had a tricky one recently, it got a new distributor AND a new module before it got dependable.

Although you can change out the electronic thingy inside of the distributor.

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This car has always been temperamental. It will turn over but not start. Yes it has the early electronic ignition. I need a diagnostic step by step procedure and testing tools. Over the years it seems I changed the whole ignition system one piece at a time and the carburetor rebuilt. I had the gas tank restored at Gas Tank Renu. My suspicion is no spark and I suspect the ignition switch on the steering column. You twist the key forward to turn the engine over. After it won't start, you let the key go and it sputters a little as if it wants to start. If it does start, it runs fine. I have gotten stranded with this car many times because it won't start again. 

 

I also suspect poor quality modern parts for the electronic ignition. Chrysler does not sell the ignition module anymore. 

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Wife and I had a 1973 swinger with the 318 and loved that car.  I started having problems with it not wanting to start - off and on -.  It turned out to be an electronic module and after replacing it, it started and run every time.  It has been too long ago for me to remember just where that module was but there should be some kind of book out there to show it and it's location.  Something to check out.  Good luck and enjoy that ole Dodge.

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Thank you 35, I replaced the electronic ignition control module a while back. The original one "melted". It did not solved the problem completely. I have heard that the ones available in parts stores now are of questionable quality and may not work. I went on the website Keiser suggested above and they know which ones are good. 

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Jumping across the ballast resister is an old Mopar trick for hard starting sometimes.

I have one that runs perfect 99% of the time. But once in a great while when its hot all it does is crank.

I jump that resister and starts right up. (remove the jumper of coarse, if it dies then you have a bad resistor)

I believe this could be chineseium related.

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On 5/7/2021 at 7:04 AM, Tom Boehm said:

Thank you 35, I replaced the electronic ignition control module a while back. The original one "melted". It did not solved the problem completely. I have heard that the ones available in parts stores now are of questionable quality and may not work. I went on the website Keiser suggested above and they know which ones are good. 

Put a star washer between the electronic ignition box mounting hole and the fire wall. If the box has a bad ground the engine may run bad or fail to start.

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Funny thing, I had to run up to Seattle over the weekend and as I was getting ready to head out I got a call from a friend up there.

Car wouldn't start, so I grabbed a few things and stopped by his place while I was up there.

One of the things I carried was an old rusty module that I know is good.

Ran a few tests and then swapped out the module and it started right up.

I don't think there is any tests for that box except to try a known good one.

The one that we bought at O'rilies was made in Taiwan. 

Was working when I left.

 

Update, It looks like I used my test unit when I wired the car.

IM002382.JPG

IM002457.JPG

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Hello Turbine Tech, Thanks for your response. I tried that too. I sanded the paint off the inner fender around the bolt holes. I suspect I need to clean off all the grounds in the engine compartment. This car is nearly 50 years old and in original condition, which means it has never been disassembled. Where the battery cables attach to the engine/starter and the jumper between the engine and firewall may be rusty. Matt Harwood, Edinmass and others on this forum often talk about "sorting" restored cars that have set for a while. I think that is what this car needs. There may be more than one thing wrong.  

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I believe there may have been an earlier thread on this same car. Has it been verified that the coil has power on it's positive post while cranking the engine?

 

This car should start with a tap of the key after touching the throttle once to set the choke.

 

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You have a good memory Bloo. I posted once before about this car many years ago. No, I have not tried your suggestion. This car is not a priority. The 1940 Lasalle I am restoring gets priority. I got tired of throwing parts at it without success a long time ago. My 22 year old son wants me to get the Dart running. Maybe I should make it a priority so as to encourage his interest in old cars. 

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