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.