Sunday, September 30, 2012

Charger's Floors Are In

I finally got to work on the Charger again, it's been a month and it's been driving me crazy, while the car its self has just been driving me around. Several things I learned from welding, is that one, it's ridiculously hot. It's also ridiculously difficult. My hats off to the people that can do it, can do it well, and can do it so it looks easy. It's not something I want to do again, not without a ton of practice first. Also I was in less than perfect conditions using after market parts which don't fit as perfectly as the originals, add this all together and what you have is a long day of annoying frustrating work! (with burns)
At one point right after welding, my dad set his hand down and then started to yell and scream that he touched a spark. As I chuckled at his pain and thought, "only you dad!" I set my hand down on the part that was just welded. Needless to say I said a lot more than he did, and as he laughed I knew that I was now forever part of my Charger, because putting your hand in molten steel will do that to a guy.

Once we had the new floor pans tack welded into place we used body putty to fill in all the gaps and surround the outside of the new floor. Using  that stuff isn't hard, in fact it's kinda fun, almost like playing with finger paint and clay at the same time. It dries really fast and if you aren't quick enough, you're just plain out of luck. You can see in the picture the rocker panel on this side is rusted pretty good, luckily not the whole way through, I'll be sanding that down and filling it in with body filler next. Just one of the small things I am able to do on my own without paying someone else to do it.

I got to drive the Charger back, it made the 11 miles just fine after it got warmed up. I also did my first peel out! It was an accident for the most part. At the stop sign at the intersection right before my dad's house I had come to a complete stop. I decided I was just going to jump on the gas and the tires squealed as I peeled out. My dad told me I left rubber. (He was driving behind me in his truck and got to see it up close.) Let those tire marks be a signal to all those who see it, that there are more of those to come in the near future. In fact, since I'll be getting new rims and tires and won't need the ones I have now, I may just do enough burn outs to ruin them!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Andrew's Top Ten TV/Movie Cars Of All Time

10. The 1977 Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit 
Coming in at number 10 is a car that made an average movie pretty good. In the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" Burt Reynolds title character drives a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am and honestly the car has a lot of good scenes including jumps, slides, peel outs, and high speed chases. There were two more movies which the Trans Am made more appearances but it was never the same exact car and even in the second movie it is explained that the Bandit loses his car and Sally Field and then goes into major depression. (I'm pretty sure losing the car was more depressing than losing Sally Field.) So why number 10? In an era where the muscle car was pronounced dead, the Trans Am showed America that there was still some muscle out there.

9. Herbie the Love Bug Volkswagen Beetle 
Now seriously how can you not love Herbie the Love Bug??? The volkswagen Beetle, (until very recently) was the most sold automobile in the entire world, and Herbie is the most recognizable one. This 1963 VW Bug was an idea of Walt Disney that spanned 6 movies. I always liked Herbie, he had a mind of his own and a personality that was full of charm and! I was very happy to see Herbie make a come back in 05 and continue to wonder why more of these wholesome fun family adventures are not being made??? 

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's Party Wagon 
Although it didn't show up in any of the Ninja Turtle movies, the Party Wagon was the main choice of transportation for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Loaded with a lot of goodies to help them fight bad guys, the turtles often used this van in the cartoon series. The other cool thing about the Party Wagon was that it was a toy too and you could use it for the action figures. You wouldn't think teenagers that lived in a sewer would need a car, but apparently they did. 

7. The Batmobile 
How on earth can Batman's Batmobile be soooo low on my list??? Easy, there were many different Batmobiles over the years and believe it or not, the most popular one was the original 1960's Batmobile, I however, think the best and by far coolest Batmobile comes from the 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. I don't care for the 1960's version, (the only version made from an actual car) and I really think the newest Batmobile is just plain hideous. BUT it is the Batmobile and Batman was always my favorite super hero. Still, that 1989 Batmobile was something so unique and bad-ass looking that I think it still remains a superior Batmobile. Also the name "Batmobile" is just really awesome in itself. 

6. The A-Team's GMC Van
The A-Team is one of my all time favorite shows, and their Van has to be the coolest van of all time. The 1986 GMC Vandura used by the team seems like an odd choice for an action show but it made perfect sense. The van concealed the team from the Government and law enforcement, plus they could haul around everybody and still have enough room for all the guns and explosives they used in each episode. Then they would slide open the door and start shooting people as Mr.T drove them around. Not to mention the van was supposed to be owned by Mr.T's character B.A. Baracus, and Mr.T could make ANYTHING bad-ass, including a van. Mr.T would often comment about the condition of his van and protected it by warning anyone else who drove it that he would pity the fool that put a scratch on his baby. A common misconception of the Van was that it was all black, although it often appeared to be, it was in fact black and metallic grey separated by a red stripe. A detail that is missed by some replicas. 

5. The Mach 5 from Speed Racer
Oh Speed racer! Now how can you have a cartoon show about a race car driver and NOT have an amazing car to go along with him?? Answer: You can't, so enter the Mach 5! He was often flying as he gunned that car around the track, jammin down the pedal like he was never coming back, adventure was waiting just ahead, and when the odds were against him and there was dangerous work to be done, you bet your life Speed Racer will see it through. Supposedly the fastest car ever built, Speed and his father built the Mach 5 to travel around the world racing it, solving crimes and saving people as well. The Mach 5 had a ton of cool gadgets like saws and things to make it jump over other cars. Although a cartoon, a live action movie was made and people around the world have actually made a real live Mach 5, which looks pretty cool as a real car, but it's the cartoon car that stole many kid's hearts.

4. Ecto-1, The 1959 Cadillac Ambulance from Ghostbusters 
If there's something strange in the neighborhood who ya gonna call? We all know it's the ghostbusters and we all know what they'll be arriving in. Their 1959 Cadillac ambulance known as Ecto-1. Their car appeared in the 2 movies and the cartoon series. Possibly the most distinct siren of any car, Ecto-1 was always rushing off to a spooky scene with the ghostbusters and plenty of room for all of their proton packs. In the second movie Ecto-1 was in need of major repair and the out of business Ghostbusters used it but not to go ghost busting, when they got back into business they repaired Ecto-1 and added a few things and renamed it Ecto-1a. It was cool because there were many Ghostbuster toys when I was growing up and you could even buy the Ecto-1. Ambulances of the time period were also used as hearses, a little known fact but a cool connection for the Ghostbuster's ride if you think about it. 

3. The 1982 DMC-12 DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future
"If my calculations are correct, when this baby reaches 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit." Oh and we did! 1985 was certainly NOT the future, but if you wanted the most futuristic looking vehicle you could find in 1985, you would probably go with a DMC-12. How can you make this car even cooler? Make it a time machine, what else?? Besides, like Doc Brown said, the way I see it, if you're going to make a time machine out of a car, you might as well do it in style! Gull wing doors, coming in only stainless steel as a color, and having the ability to travel back in time makes the DeLorean from Back to the Future my 3rd favorite car of all time. The Back to the Future trilogy is my favorite trilogy and Marty McFly might be my favorite movie character but where would that franchise be without the DeLorean? Although destroyed in the final movie, the time machine took audiences back in time and to the future for 3 wonderful movies, (not to mention a cartoon series in which the car was not destroyed). One of the best story lines in any movie, one of the most popular movies of all time, some of the best characters in any movie, and in my opinion, the best car in cinematic history. 

2. Knight Rider's 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, the Knight Industries Two Thousand, aka KITT 
Knight Rider. A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man....that does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals that operate above the law. Is there a car cooler than KITT? I don't think so. Not only was this a highly advanced futuristic machine that fought crime, he could talk too! KITT definitely had the most personality because he was able to communicate with David Hasselhoff. Many people don't know this, but my Charger is going to be black because of KITT. The second car on my list from 1982 and the second Trans Am, KITT may have been the perfect car, if it weren't for his tendency to talk back to his owner so much. Voiced by William Daniels, (the guy that later played Mr. Feeny) KITT helped solve super crimes and would combat the evil super criminals of the 1980's. Sill very recognizable, and often duplicated, not correctly I might add, KITT remains my second all time favorite car, a car that is VERY hard to beat. However, there is still one car left on the list that tops KITT and all others in my opinion, although I'm sure KITT would have a lot to say about it. 

........ and number 1.   1969 Dodge Charger Hemi, The General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard
No surprises here, the General Lee, what can I say about the car I've loved since I can remember? As a 3 year old I remember being glued to the TV when this car was peeling out and blasting it's Dixie horn and jumping over the bad guys. For me, there isn't a vehicle in the world that can touch the General, it's the reason why I own a charger today. 
The General Lee had personality, and being the true star on the Dukes of Hazzard, it was like a character on the show in many ways. The bright orange color, the big 01 number on the side, the Dixie flag painted on the roof and a hemi under the hood all came together in a perfect combination.  To this day, nothing has ever captivated me more than this car. I can get Alzheimer's and I won't forget the General Lee. 
The General Lee still holds several actual world records, including the longest recorded jump. The General Lee is the most recognizable car in the world. And it is number one on my list of all time TV/Movie cars. The Fast and the Furious featured a 1970 Dodge Charger, many people don't know this but it was actually a 1969 Charger with a 70 grill because the director thought the 69 Charger already had too much fame due to the General Lee. 

Here I am meeting Ben Jones, he played "Cooter" on the Dukes of Hazzard, and look who is behind us, the General Lee himself. Getting to see the General Lee in real life was a great moment for me. I plan to own one someday too. 

Well there you have it, my top ten time favorite TV/Movie cars of all time! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012


There is nothing worse than opening up a hood and seeing a filthy, dirty, gross engine is there? I decided to try an engine degreaser, mainly for the Charger's engine but also for my Honda's engine, which has become very dirty over the past year. I went with the GUNK brand engine cleaner which offers a range of different cleaners for your engine, ranging from just a bit dirty to caked on, baked on grease from years of use. Today I used the heavy duty gel for the dirtiest of engines.

PROBLEMS: I'll start out with the problems and draw backs. First of all, after you apply the engine cleaner you must then rinse it with water, like from a hose. This is annoying because not only do you need access to a hose but you also can not start the car until the cleaner is rinsed off, so when you put it on, you better be ready to take it off with a hose that is in close proximity. The engine must be off and cool when you do this so don't drive anywhere before you do begin. Due to all the electrical parts, there is always a scary moment after you spray your engine down with water and wondering if it will start again.

 Putting it on isn't difficult but it really smells bad and even after the rinse and dry there is still a pretty fumey strong smell to the engine. If you are spraying your engine with water you are probably already asking yourself, isn't that a BAD idea? Yes, IF you don't first take the proper precautions. If you have a distributor cap you must cover it in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, or anything that will keep water off of it. You also have to cover the intake so no water gets in there either, remember an engine bay is covered by a hood and rarely sees water so it isn't made to withstand a blast from a hose, this was something I wasn't too keen on doing.

Make sure you get all of the GUNK off the parts, if you don't it will dry and be just as bad as any baked on grease was before it was applied. Since you are being so careful not to ruin the engine and electrical parts with the hose you don't full get the GUNK off of the engine and you'll have to end up wiping a lot of manually, not a big deal but with all the small areas for water to collect, you'll be doing that anyway. A check on my engine hours later revealed a lot of new rust in places there wasn't rust before, again, I hosed down the engine, what did I think was going to happen?

 I really question how well the GUNK worked because in my opinion just spraying an engine bay with a hose would have taken a ton of the grime and dirt away on it's own. They say to let your car idle afterwards to help dry the engine, I didn't find this all that helpful myself but I suppose results may vary.

GOOD STUFF:  There was a lot of good about this product even if it appears I was pretty hard on it above. The cleaner really did do it's job of cutting through that grease. My car's parts look brand new and there is NO sign of old dusty dirt on them. I didn't even wait the full 10-15 minutes they recommend you wait, remember I bought this can for my Charger, which has worse dirt, grease, leaks, and years of crap, so my Honda Civic's engine really wasn't too horrible to begin with. I let GUNK on for about 7 minutes before I got antsy and had to start rinsing. I really feel I could have used the FOAMY or ORIGINAL cleaners for my Honda.

Most of the GUNK came right off with the water but other parts had to be wiped off with a cloth. Most of those parts now sparkle like they were just put on, which is really nice considering I think some of those parts were dirty and black when I bought the car 7 years ago, so it was really nice to see some shine under the hood.

Sure the prep work takes a bit of time, but far less than changing a spark plug or tire or doing an oil change, especially in newer engines like my 05 Civic, now when I do my 74 Charger I will have much more prep work before I start to spray the GUNK all over the engine bay. But if you want to sell a car or keep a classic car looking great under the hood, this stuff will definitely do the job for you.

I can't be sure but I think any cleaner would do just as good a job as the GUNK brand did. Ideally a cleaner wouldn't need a hose, after all you are going to have to wipe a lot of it and excess water off after you use it anyway, so why not just a spray cleaner that you wipe off instead? Perhaps they do make these and I just don't know about them? For the money though I think it is a safe choice, using just plain water won't cut through the grease and grime and a cleaner made for other car parts might harm some engine components. I think what it really comes down to is how dirty your engine truly is. The dirtier the better stuff is going to work for you, if your engine and car is pretty new I would suggest just taking the time and effort to using old rags or cleaning wipes. If your engine is very old and dirty then this stuff is going to help you out a lot more in the long run, even if you still have to wipe most of the engine off yourself. So all in all I would recommend GUNK brand engine degreaser, but that's just my two cents.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

100th Blog Post, The Charger Rides Again

Welcome to my 100th post on this site. It's been a long time and I know that I have recently focused soley on the Charger but if you look back, I have written a lot of different posts over the years.
So today I decided it was time to get the Charger's floor pans in by means of welding. The closest place that had a welder was my Uncle George's house 11 miles away. 11 miles, a distance the Charger had not driven in 10 years, could the car even make it? I didn't know but I was going to find out. Don't worry, I got insurance on the car before I drove it just in case. The inspection on the other hand.......well, I figured if a cop wanted to chase me around the country side, in a muscle car, on the roads where I learned to drive and had been driving on since I was 10 years old, then he would be welcomed to do so!!! And after he easily caught me, I would just go ahead and pay the fine. The point is, I was willing to risk it. My dad followed me in his truck in case the Charger didn't make it and needed to be towed home. The Dodge was built to drive and I know cars don't have minds but if this car did have a mind, it wouldn't have known what kind of rough shape it was in, because it drove just fine the 11 miles to my uncle's house. On a straight strech I got out the camera so you can see what riding in the Charger was like. It was noisy, dirty, smelly, and I loved every second of it. Keep in mind it had no floors! Floors do a wonderful job of keeping those deadly fumes out of your car, just so you know. The Charger made it with no problems whatsoever I'm happy to report and now sits in my uncle's garage where it waits to have the floor welded in, then it's off to a body shop to get the body work and paint job done! (Oh and, if you're wondering I only got it up to 65 during the trip because I wanted to take it slow for it's first trip.)

Thanks for reading my 100th post and check back for more updates on the restoration of my 1974 Dodge Charger!

New Battery, New Battery Tray

This is embarrassing but look at the before and after shot of the old battery "tray" and the new battery tray, can you tell which is which? A blind person with his eyes shut could tell you I needed a new battery tray. Yes, that's a block of wood that served as part of the old tray and I hate to say it but that was the strongest section. Makes you wonder how anything can get that bad. I can assume that a leaky battery and possibly water getting in and sitting in the tray at some point in the past led to the tray getting that rusted. The bolts were so rusted that when the old tray came out, they stayed bolted into the car! They were so rusted themselves that they couldn't even be removed, I had to install the new battery tray on top of them until I can get my grinder and cut them out. The new battery went in the new battery tray, was hooked up, and the Charger started right up no problems. I let it get warmed up because it was about to do something it hadn't done in ten years.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Charger Idle

I took this clip when the Charger was idling. The camera didn't pick up the nice sound like I had wanted, but if anything this is proof that the problem was a bad battery this whole time. If you think the rear valance looks rusted out and ready to be fixed, you'd be right, I'm glad the new one is in a box a few feet away just waiting to be put on! Notice the tail pipe, I feel it looks lonely back there all by itself, well that's ok, there will be two of them soon enough. Also check out the engine bay's horrible yellow color, that was the original color of the car. What they were thinking in the 70's I'll never know.....

New Starter Solenoid

So the new starter was installed today, the solenoid and the starter come together so when you change one you change both, which was good because I wasn't sure what the problem really was. You can see the difference in the brand new starter compared to the original. Turns out it didn't start once the new starter was installed. Scratching my head, all I could think was what I was thinking 5 weeks ago, the battery is no good. All the signs pointed to the battery, other than the mystery of how come when jumped the car still wouldn't start. Determined to prove myself wrong, and even having to tell my dad we are only doing this to shut me up, after he continued to insist it wasn't the battery, I unhooked the battery to swap it for another one I knew worked out of my truck. Some sparks flew and then it was completely dead, I guess it wasn't the battery after all, but then what was the problem??? Staring down at the starter looking back up at me the problem might have just been looking me in the face....
new starter

An exposed wire! Could this be the problem? After a taping it up we tried the Jeep Cherokee's battery, the Jeep fired right up when we turned it on, so the battery was good for sure. Once in my Charger and all hooked up the Charger fired right up, roaring to life as it loves to do. Ah-ha! The battery, and after weeks of thinking it was a bad battery but listening to everyone else. Just to be sure I turned off the Charger and it started right up again. A new battery is now at the top of the list. Some may say I wasted money on a new starter, solenoid, and alternator but lets face it, those parts were new in 1974. Needing to be changed or not they are 3 less parts I have to worry about for the near future. I said if something needs to be or can be replaced on this car it was going to happen, and I know those parts weren't first in line, but their time was coming soon, so it just happened a bit early. The Charger's body work is now becoming my first priority, I can't take too much more of looking at that old primer paint. Not to mention my plans for the wheels, interior, and the engine/exhaust system have to wait their turn until all the body work is complete.
old starter

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cutting Floor Pans Video

Here is a video clip of my dad cutting the floor pan, featuring my brand new angle grinder, which, I might add, worked perfectly for this job. Cutting floor pans is not an exact science, you can be sloppy and still be alright at the end of the day. The floor pan itself was more than enough to cover the areas of rust, so we cut it to fit better and because we didn't need all of the the new pan. It's nice to know that even if it looks rough or ugly it's all going to be covered in primer paint and then padding and finally the brand new carpet, hiding all the imperfections the new floor may have. When it comes to the floor it isn't about the looks.

Cutting, Fitting, Placing the Floor Pans

Getting the floor pans into the Charger is a fun and challenging project, now replace the word "fun" with annoying and the word "challenging" with headache ridden. In all honesty after market parts rarely fit perfectly like factory parts and so I wasn't surprised, not to mention the Charger's entire floor didn't need to be replaced, just certain areas, and so waste not, want not. Makes a big difference though!
Some things I learned while cutting metal floor pans were, number one, you wouldn't think tiny red hot flaming shards of metal flying at you and landing on your skin would hurt, but they do. Number two, metal getting cut is VERY loud. And number three, when metal is rough cut, its very sharp and it WILL cut you. Now that I am cut up, deaf, and burned, the floor pans are cut into shape and fit! They now can be added to the Charger. I haven't decided if we will be welding the new floor into place, which is what I would like to do, or if we will pop rivet them in. Either way works but welding them would be ideal. If we go the welding route we will have to get the Charger to a place where we can actually weld it. Outlaw driving the Charger is getting to be a habit.

New Alternator, Old Problems

Finally a weekend without rain! Although it was cloudy all day and looked as if it was going to rain at any minute, it held off and I was able to get some work done. I installed the new alternator, not as simple as everyone makes it out to be but even so it's only a several minute job. With some help from my Dakota in the way of a jump, the Charger roared to life on the first try. I suppose it was the alternator after all....or was it? The Charger started just fine on it's own several times until it just plain wouldn't start. Even a jump wouldn't get it going and I was back where I started. Now the list includes a voltage regulator and a new starter, two parts I have narrowed the problem down to.
I also added the thermostat using gasket sealing cement. Can you see where the thermostat is supposed to go in this picture? The big open hole without a radiator hose is a hint. Either way I am getting closer to getting the Charger up and running.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rainy Day Charger

For the second week in a row it was raining on Saturday, making working on the Charger near impossible. It proves several things, number one, I need a proper garage and two, the body man really needs to get his act in gear and get working on this thing! I also found what the problem with the engine was......alternator. So although that wasn't on the list of things I was going to replace, it somehow found itself to the top of my list. That's ok I guess, it is the original from 1974,  you'd think it's about time to get a new one. It gives me a chance to get a brand new shinny chrome alternator. It won't really look right in the engine bay at the moment, but once it is cleaned up and the new parts are added it will look right at home under the Charger's massive hood. I did replace the thermostat this weekend as well. I found the radiator needed water once we got in there so it was a good thing it needed to be replaced. You can see in this picture the ratchet ready to take off the radiator hose. You can also see the 2BBL carb, and take a good look at it because soon it won't be there and in it's place will be a 4BBL on top of a brand new performance intake manifold.
Also, the new rear window trim came in, but that will go on much later.

One Set of Wheels for Another...

It's no secret, I love my fourwheeler and we've been through a lot together, but the fact of the matter is, it's 3 hours away from where I live and I just don't use it enough. It's time I sell the old Polaris 400. Besides, with the money I'll get from selling it I can get wheels and tires for the charger. I've had a lot of good times on that fourwheeler, in the snow, in the mud, in the woods, in the fields, over rocks, over hills, over logs, and everywhere in between. And on the days where I was hurting, hurting real bad, there was nothing like getting on and just getting away from life for a little while. I have the fourwheeler to thank for all that. I'm not the only one that enjoyed it and once I sell it, I suppose I won't be the last either. But it all goes for the greater good, for "the cause." I won't forget my fourwheeler anytime soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Official Decision

Well it is official, I have decided to go with deep dish wheels for the charger. I had been toying with the idea off and on for a few years but since I am going all out why not? Deep dish wheels, as you can see in this picture of a 74 Dodge Charger, are a thing of the past. New cars can have deep rear rims but nothing as deep as they used to be on classic muscle cars. I've priced them and looked up styles but have finally agreed with myself that we are going with the deep dishes. I like them because they aren't used anymore, in fact they weren't used on all muscle cars even back in the muscle car era. It gives a unique look that will be sure to turn heads.
There are few things left up in the air on my decision making. The wheels are no longer on that list. The wheels are also 4th on the list of things that will be done to the car. First being the body work, second being the paint job, third being the interior, and then the wheels. Followed by the engine parts upgrade and exhaust system. More updates on the way!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Charger Floor Pans

Shouldn't the floor of your car be under your feet and not up against the car??? Usually yes, unless you ordered new floor pans and they just came this week and they haven't been installed yet, then you get what you see here.
Now that I have them getting them IN is the tough part, there are several ways to do it and the easiest might not be the best.
I ordered the rubber parts that go around the side windows, the original rubber was cracked and dry rotted so it's time they are replaced. I won't be adding them until after the body work is all done and the paint is on the car.
I removed the grille today as well, it had to be done sooner or later as they are going to be replaced with a grille that ISN'T broke and cracked.
The gas gauge still isn't working and is kinda annoying at this point, not that I have long trips I need to take and have to know how much gas is in the car, but still. I looked at the fuses and there was only one that needed replaced, but two looked to be a bit rough so I replaced those as well. The gas gauge still didn't work so it must be a wire, either way I'll find out eventually.

The body man didn't come to look at the car as he was supposed to, but he did tell my dad that he wasn't avoiding us he just happens to be really busy and he had a guy quit on him so he doesn't have a lot of spare time. I really hope he comes out to see it this week because I really want to get the body work started, it's the major part of the restoration.
I hooked up the air shocks to see if they work, they didn't ten years ago and they still don't today. I thought maybe it was just the air tube being dry rotted or cut or maybe there was a hole in it but you could hear air escaping so air was getting into the shocks. Those are on the list for things that needs to be replaced! (That was something I planned on anyway)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First steps of the restoration

Saturday I woke up and took the first REAL steps in restoring the Charger. First things first as I cleaned the seats and carpet. Cleaning the carpet, almost pointless considering I planned on ripping the entire carpet out that day. The carpet itself was torn and rotted in many places and I was able to see several rust holes in the floor so removing it was a necessary step.
You first have to remove the seats, not as difficult as other things but the bolts that hold the seats in the car are underneath the vehicle itself. After some WD40 loosened the bolts we were able to remove the front seat with ease! The seat belts on the other hand.....

I suppose the seat belts being bolted to the floor is a good thing when it comes to safety, but as for removing them, holy crap was that hard! We actually removed the carpet first, cutting around the seat belts. The bare floor revealed what I had feared, rust holes and very thin metal due to rusting. Not as many holes as there could be, it's going to be an easy fix, one that I plan to do myself instead of paying a guy to do it for me. The paint was flaking in some places and you could see the bare metal, it wasn't rusted at all, it shined like the day it was painted all those years ago in Detroit Michigan. Under the back seat we found several pennies, two combs, a pen, and a lot of dirt. We cleaned off all the loose dust, dirt, and rust. The floor was actually in good condition considering it's age, it has been sitting outside for 10 years, and it spent it's life before that in Vermont. All things considered, I was pretty lucky! We went to see a body man that is supposedly pretty good, he is coming to the house to see the Charger this week.
I also found a "Dodge" emblem, from what I can tell it goes on the dashboard above the glove compartment. It was inside the front seat and I don't know where the D is, because we took that interior carpet to the bare metal.

Now I will wait to see what the body man says, I'm nervous about what he will say about the estimated cost, I expect it to be in the thousands and I'm ok with that, I just don't want to hear that it is too big of a job for him to do, because I've heard that from others in the past.

Streching the Charger's tired legs

Last weekend I went to the Carlisle Mopar car show, it was amazing, I got to meet Catherine Bach and Ben Jones. Inspired by shaking the hands that actually worked on the General Lee, I started the restoration of my 1974 Dodge Charger.
First thing was first, I need to do what I can do on my own before I pay a body man to do the rest. This will keep the cost down, fixing some things on my own. There are some things I just won't be able to do and I fully understand that, but I'm also not paying a guy to do what I can do myself.
Friday night I turned the Charger on to let it run, it has been running on a daily basis for the last two weeks, just part of the process, I want that engine moving much more than it had been. Running the engine is one thing but the gears and transmission need to get moving too, and my dad said he drove it down the driveway and back up the other day. I decided it was time for a bit longer trip. I drove it all the way down to the fire hall, not even knowing if I could make it back! Later I heard my dad was mad that I did that saying it was too far, but if something was going to happen, it was going to happen out there. I made 3 more fire hall trips and it did fine. Each time was a smoother ride. I understand it is far from road worthy but it needs to get used to driving. On my last trip my dad came with me, he said, "this is about as illegal as you can get, it isn't inspected, it isn't insured, and I'm drinking from an open alcohol container." I told my dad I would be damned if I was going to get caught in Westoever PA.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Charger video

I decided to inspire myself, so I made this video.
When I first tried to turn on the Charger it wouldn't start. It had been sitting for months so I assumed it was the battery. I used my civic to jump it and it ran for a while, I just let it idle so all the engine parts could get used to moving again. It shut off on its own and wouldn't start again, so I needed to jump it again. After running for a while it shut off on it's own again, this time because it ran out of gas. I went to the gas station and came back, I only put in 4 and a half gallons because I didn't plan on driving it anywhere. Again I had to jump it AND pour some gas down the carberator. I wouldn't suggest letting an old car run out of gas. It eventually shut off again and needed to be jumped again. This was getting old and my idea of letting the alternator charge up the battery didn't seem to be working. I hooked up a battery charger to the battery and after an hour it almost started on its own. I jumped it and let it run for a little while before I turned on the lights which caused it to stall out, not enough juice in the battery just yet. Once again I found myself hooking up the battery charger. It then started on its own finally! I took this video then, since it was getting dark out. The lights work fine and the battery now has enough power to run them. The sound of the V8 and the darkness make my car look so menacing. I added a little preview at the end of this short clip to tell the world that I was going to restore the Charger. I consider this day one.

1974 Dodge Charger Restoration

Monday night I was watching a reality show on a place that restores classic cars and then sells them. They did amazing work and it made me wonder why my charger couldn't be fixed up to be as nice as the GTO they made on tv. I hadn't looked up parts for that car for probably 10 years so my curiosity got the best of me, as it usually does, and I checked out ebay. I was shocked to find all the parts I ever needed, and how low in price they all were. The interent has come along way in the past 10 years, not that 10 years ago it was too shabby, but even then it was much harder to find the parts I needed, and when I did, they usually cost an arm and a leg. Why not restore the charger? Why not? I couldn't come up with a good enough reason NOT to. And so I decided then and there that I would finally restore the charger.
I had given up on that idea years ago and even tried selling this thing a few times, each buyer fell through and now, I'm really glad they did. I plan to sell my 99 Dodge Dakota and my fourwheeler, with all that extra money to put into the charger, I'll be able to do quite a bit.
I'm not looking to take this car to car shows and win, but if I do take it to a car show I at least don't want to be embarassed. And so I'll start my mission to restore the Charger.