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Yard Sale Valiant

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  • Yard Sale Valiant

    FNG here, Ive been lurking for a very long time. For many years was wanting to build a budget 4 door. I had a 59 apache that I decided to let go. It was a super cool truck that I rescued from the dead, but I just wasnt really feeling it. Not really sure whats wrong with my brain, I basically sold a running/driving swb Apache and jumped on this.
    This is a 69 Valiant. I found it local to me on marketplace. It was the guys driver, had the basics up to speed... so I drove it home for $2200. Its a 318/904 with 71/4 out back. Disc brakes, fresh trans and electronic ignition. The down and dirty is I want to be deep 13's on the engine and then spray it. Ive already acquired most of the parts (just waiting on time) and im currently hovering right at 5K.

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    Last edited by GEARHED73; July 3, 2019, 01:21 PM.
    BBR likes this.

  • #2
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ID:	1247382 ​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​One of the very first things i noticed was the massive amount of pinging under load. This early 318 has (had) a timing pointer bolted on the passenger side, it was long gone. In its place was a twisted up hose clamp. Using what was available the engine liked about 5 degrees of timing (didnt check total). Also note worthy, a heater hose ruptured as I was under the hood, lucky for me the rusty water wasnt up to temp.
    I was pretty much ready to start throwing parts at it. I found a guy out by Irwindale that had a huge stash of mopar parts.I picked up a set of headers, performer intake and a set of leaf springs from a 340 car for $200. Ive owned other A body mopars and very familiar with the joys of installing headers, especially with power steering. It took about twice as long as expected, and after they were installed i decided to swap over to a manual box to save weight and gain some clearance. I built up a 2 1/2 pipe with a crossover from ebay tubing and parts and stuck a set of the longest magnaflows i could find it. I realized very quickly that the mufflers need to be shorter, they dont tuck up very tight. So, when I get around to running everything out to the bumper I'll install shorter mufflers. Until then they are too long, low and dumped in front of the axle.
    Knowing that I wont have a major powerhouse with this low compression 318 we decided to remove all extra weight.. power steering, A/C system, entire heater box etc.. The weight of some of this stuff is staggering.


    • #3
      After the exhaust and manual steering we installed I started planning my top end. I did a compression check and had low 140's in all the holes, the oil pressure was high enough not to trip the dummy light so i decided to leave the short block alone. I score a set of fresh 302 casting cylinder heads from a diplomat in the junkyard. I purchased a comp xe262 cam and new timing chain to top it off. The performer intake was cleaned up and I put a Holley carb that was on my shelf. I did some very basic port pork on the heads and lapped the valves. Planning on running stock springs until after the cam is broke in. I had everything ready to go and had a free weekend, was ready to make it happen. I was all motivated, until I popped the first head off. There was a ridge big enough to catch my nail... I decided to roll with it because its just a beater. That was the plan until I started puling the cam. The cam bearings were in sad shape. That was it, not going any further. I need another short block. After searching around for a serviceable 318/360. With some digging I found a .040 318 disassembled block. Drove down to San Diego to pick this pile of parts up for $140. Spent some time cleaning and inspection, rod bearings and rings were in good condition but the rod bearings had to be replaced. I also added a new oil pump. After a quick cylinder hone job the entire
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      Last edited by GEARHED73; July 3, 2019, 12:59 PM.
      BBR likes this.


      • #4
        very cool, keep us updated as your build
        Doing it all wrong since 1966


        • #5
          At this point it needed to be in the garage. So I rented a 5X10 storage unit and moved all of our karting stuff in. That gave me the ability to keep it out of sight while we play in the engine bay. I try to keep everything low key as possible with my can be tricky at times.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            At this point it was just assembling everything. I was on the fence about the converter. I decided to go ahead and do a mild converter now, I dont feel like dropping the trans in 6 months to swap it. This converter is something like a 2800 stall (memory is slipping), we'll see what we get once its installed. It will all be backed up an 8.8 explorer axle with 3:73s and traction lock (31 spline), so it should be happy together. I also scored a set of new 235/60 drag radials for $310 shipped and a set of 15x7 cop wheels from Long Beach. The rear axle is not really happening just yet. I want to get everything running and driving before head out back.
            I also included my cut down Crank pulley, I was looking for a 2 grove but the ones i found were too pricey. After inspecting mine, I realized i could cut it down without wasting the part.
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            Last edited by GEARHED73; July 3, 2019, 01:13 PM.


            • #7
              During the reassembly process i went ahead and took care of the total timing issue these distributors are known for. I used the a timing limiter plate and an old Mr Gasket recurve kit. I used one factory light spring and one from the kit. With the mechanical limited to 18 degrees and my initial at 17, total is at 35.
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              • #8
                Sleepers are awesome.


                • #9
                  Now is where it gets fun.Really tried not to screw this first start up, oh well. Oil pump was primed, Carb was full, timing was correct the cooling system was ready to run. It fired right off the key and I was stoked for about 2 seconds. Fuel started shooting out of the primary vent tube! Shut it down, Ill save you the play by play. But I hit all the normal suspects like float adjustment, needle and seat, fuel pressure..,e very time having to crank the engine over....Im getting very worried about the cam. I decided to the safest thing would be to install a known good carb... happened to be a 650 EVS2. Fired right up, set timing and proceeded to break the cam in. It was all unicorns and rainbows... then i began to notice a popping in the exhaust and a very slight shutter, ugh. Even with that i completed a 20 min run cycle. Went back over everything i though could cause it, even searched the interweb... my brain hurt. I did find a minor leak, had my fingers crossed. No bueno. It wanted to act up at lower RPMs. It really started to think I wiped some lobes. My stomach hurt. I just sucked it up and pulled the top end for inspection. Too my surprise everything looked great, I was semi relieved. I even cut the filter apart, it was clean too. Probably a good thing i used a zinc additive and stock valve springs! I slammed it all back together, I still didnt know what the problem was but I felt better knowing i wasnt pumping metal shavings through this engine. I needed a break.

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                  Last edited by GEARHED73; July 3, 2019, 05:02 PM.


                  • #10
                    Nice! I have always thought valiant were over looked. There was guy who had one he said it was the stiffest Mopar chassis so that's what he uses for his road race car.

                    Hope to see how it does at the track!


                    • #11
                      Its hard to be an A body mopar from this era,the B bodies get alot of the mopar love. I was kinda leaning towards a GM product but when this popped up for sale it was too easy. It was local, ran and drove with current tags. I need to get a few more things sorted before we get some numbers. My ass dyno says 300ish but really hard to tell with these freeway gears. I do know that if you even start to load it up on the converter it will blow the tire right off. Super fun but not a good way to go fast.
                      Last edited by GEARHED73; July 3, 2019, 08:33 PM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Russell View Post
                        Nice! I have always thought valiant were over looked. There was guy who had one he said it was the stiffest Mopar chassis so that's what he uses for his road race car.

                        Hope to see how it does at the track!
                        There was a guy who derby several of these. Slant 6, 2 barrel.. 5:38 rear ratio.. Fought with the big cars and came very close several times to winning.


                        • #13
                          After a short break I was able to regroup and take another shot. It ran well enough to move it around but the shudder (miss) and the popping in the exhaust was giving me fits. I decided to perform a compression test. I fully expected a weak or dead cylinder. They were are in the mid 130's, nothing dead but very weak. This isnt uncommon for these 318. My pistons are.090 down in the hole, so even with 60cc heads and thin head gaskets my compression is still under 9. Sucks, but it's what I have to work with. So, as im running my wires back to the plugs ( wires had been previously loomed together with the old zip tie trick) I notice something... I double checked.....DAMM IT! #4 and #6 were swapped! I put everything back where it should be, the idle was great, vacuum was solid at 14 inches and no popping in the exhaust. I spent the last few weeks just driving around and blowing the tire off every chance I get. The other day after a good garage clean I decided it was time to get on with the axle swap. We made a liitle spin around the block, took some pics of a burnout and parked this yard sale in the garage.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            I have the 8.8 ready to slide under. However, the perches are only tacked on. Ive learned the hard way to not weld it all up until after I've measured it while installed on the vehicle. I'm sure there will be some adjustments and odds and ends to do before it rolls back out of the garage.


                            • #15
                              Not sure how I missed this, but what a cool project. Keep’em coming.
                              Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.