The Dart is great. I got it 1990 for $700 and it was in pretty good shape, with only a few problems. Both front floor pans were rusted away, the front end was getting tired, and only one windshield wiper worked. Also, the AC was dead. (Later, I learned the wiper problem *caused* the AC failure. Try and guess how!)
Well, after all the Fred Flintstone comments were made, I fixed the floor pans, but I *still* haven't figured out where the notorious water that drips on the speedometer cluster and fuse box actually gets in. One day I will, but until I do, I continue without carpet up front. Also I left out the drain plugs--and that's where this story starts.
Here in Austin, Texas, there's an area near downtown that floods pretty badly when we have a strong storm. Well, one day, my roomie and I were downtown and rain came DOWN bad, like buckets even. The Dart has never had a single water-spark problem so this was no big deal. The wipers had long since been fixed, as well. We got to the flood-prone area and it looked bad. The water wasn't really moving; it was more like the roadway was a pond. Anyway, we went for it. It ended up being a two-mile-long pond.
We passed about 15 drowned out cars in about 8" of water, but kept going, the whole time throwing up sheets of water and making a fine wake. The water seemed to be getting deeper. Indeed it did. Gradually, the water came closer and closer to the floor pan drain holes until it was coming in and filling them. Then I looked down to the floor and the water was almost 1 1/2 feet deep! Water was seeping in at all four doors and still it seemed to be getting deeper. We were running strong, but I was getting very concerned about what would happen if I slowed down, so I DIDN'T. I just hoped 3300 pounds would be enough to keep our tires planted to the road surface.
For the record, no other cars were able to venture where we were. The water reached a maximum depth of about 30 inches for a time--long enough for the water to rise to the top of the trans hump and well over my high-tops. Every so often, the car would push a "pile" of water high enough to break like a wave across the hood. That was a scary sight to behold while feeling water rise around my ankles. I could hear the fan slapping water above the splashy roar, but the engine was delivering smooth power so we were literally pushing through.
We left the flood area passing more drowned or drowning cars and made it home. When we got there, we high-fived and chanted "Dart Almighty!!!" I popped the hood, and the distributor and carburetor were dry as the desert. The white hats get the prize on distributor location: top center near the fire wall!
The carpets in back dried out pretty fast the next day, and they looked a lot cleaner too. Right now the Dart has a broken rod and is "resting" out back. I'm building a new motor for her and hope I will have it in this winter.
Oh, here is the answer to the windshield wiper / AC failure: The right-hand pivot bushing of the wiper had worn away and the pushrod ended up against a AC line. Then, the motion of the rod "sawed" through the copper. I still haven't fixed it.
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