'66 Imperial Convertible Rebuild: A Fresh Start

Member's Projects & Restorations

  1. Polara_500

    Polara_500 Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    A word of caution before you install the new tank - a lot of folks have been having issues with the new lock rings, seems they tend to be lighter weight (thinner) than the originals and they end up with leakage/seepage around the sender. Compare closely to the original before you get it in place as it's a lot harder to change out once installed and the tank filled.
     
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  2. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    Bumper shops straightened these all the time. Some years ago, I've had some bumpers worse than that redone by the local shop (Sandy's Bumpermart) and they came out pretty nice. Back when the cars all had chrome bumpers, this was the typical repair... Straighten and rechrome. Sandy's is still in the business and still does good work, but you can't be in any hurry, so I don't recommend them.

    How far away is Tri Cities? 5 hours? It might be worth a trip there with your core and a trip back to pickup.

    I'm no bodyman, but that deck lid looks like it can be fixed.
     
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  3. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Absolutely - the deck lid is easily repairable but would likely require at least a small layer of filler across the back edge. This concerned me due to the impact in closing it, wondered about cracking over time and figured if a clean lid was available cheap(like me) I'd grab it, if only for that reason. There's also something to be said for keeping all the original bits together. Just not sure what that is.

    The bottom line on the bumper will be cost, of course. Or economy of choice maybe? With labor, materials, and freight or travel figured in, I could end up at or near the cost of a rebuilt set.

    I'm going to look into the yards that Jim suggested as soon as time allows. Need to get the brake parts all rounded up first so I can get it into the shop and back on the road at a bare minimum to at least be able to move it around safely.
     
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  4. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    Just be aware that at the two larger yards I mentioned, Leon's and Fredricksburg, the cars won't be in neat tidy rows with limited vegetation. Those yards are heavilly overgrown. Some cars are so deep in weeds and thistles, you could walk right past without seeing them.



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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  5. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    ...but if you go in the winter time, some of the vegetation is not as bad.

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  6. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Man, oh man.....that brings back memories of wandering through Gates Salvage Yard in Hardwick, VT back in the day. Last there in the mid-80s, bet it's all crushed up now.

    That last shot looks like a 66, and even though it's a 4 door, the trunk lid and bumper are the same. Do you find the park and remove it or do they pull parts? Those bumper bolts might need some persuading with a torch....
     
  7. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    Bring your own tools. The Imperial in the picture is a 65, not a 66. The picture of the 65 was taken several years ago. Not sure if that one is still there or not. 65 trunk lid and bumper are different from 66. But there were other mid 60's Imperials there. You would have to ask about removing the bumper. I am sure that if they remove it, there would be an extra charge.
     
  8. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Got a bit more done, though I haven't followed up on the rear bumper leads (yet). Probably after the 15th or so.

    Received some small parts from a fellow named Charles out on the left coast. A true gentleman and class act - fair prices, honest descriptions, didn't charge and arm and a leg for shipping. And packing, well....have a look:

    Small Parts.JPG
    Every deal should be like this. Got the missing piece of hood trim, missing rear speaker knob, and a lens and backing plate for the driver's door pull. All areas that, while not critical to using the car, needed to be addressed at some point.

    I had noticed the pull had an issue in one of the original photos from the seller. The bulb was dangling out. Figured it was just left that way waiting for a new bulb or such, but it turns out the piece that holds the pigtail socket in place had broken off at some point and was missing, probably inside the door now. On top of that, the plastic lens was missing and one of the contact springs inside the socket was AWOL. Rather than try to wrassle a spring into the socket and around one contact I found a replacement pigtail previously for $7 and change, shipped. Charles provided the remaining two parts and now the completed door pull awaits re-installation, hopefully this weekend. Need to pull the door panel first to fix the outside door handle which appears to have become disconnected at some point before I got it. It was a fairly simple fix that will bring light back to that side of the car when a door is opened:

    Pull_1.JPG
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    The little missing piece of trim was annoying and let rain into the hood. Though it's a little cloudy compared to the bird ornament, it's a lot nicer than what I had (nothing):

    HoodTrim_1.JPG

    HoodTrim_2.JPG

    Thought I took a photo of the speaker knob in place too, but damned if I can find it. So instead, here's a crazy female trying to grab me from on top of the patio umbrella:

    CrazyBug.JPG

    Overall nothing big or exciting (unless you're into bugs), but the little details do add up over time. And they drive me nuts in the meantime, so it's at least a bit cathartic to get them done.

    Now, if I can just get the #@%! trunk open.....
     
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  9. bluefury361

    bluefury361 Old Man with a Hat

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    [QUOTE="Boomer,

    Now, if I can just get the #@%! trunk open.....[/QUOTE]



    Perhaps stopping at a local body shop and talking to an older body guy will reveal a trade secret for getting the trunk open.
    Tri city plating will straighten that bumper as part of their process. They don't plate any bumper until its verified as straight. Very high quality. Just do the rear bumper and save the front until later.
     
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  10. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    You absolutely want to reuse your old lock ring for the sending unit.
     
  11. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Okay then - out of hibernation despite winter's refusal to go, just GO. Temps topped out at 50 yesterday but the winds were calm, so in the afternoon I went out to get re-acquainted with the '66 Imp. Some excellent forward progress to report!

    First off, when last we checked in, I was messing with the driver's door handle linkage which had become disconnected. Got new clips but never managed to get it hooked back up. May need to remove the outside handle to hook it up?

    The main issue gnawing at me since the damage during delivery has been getting the jammed trunk open. Recently purchased a Whistler inspection camera on closeout, thinking it would answer all. Spent about an hour with it stuff down through the aerial hole someone blasted in the rear fender. Works great, but no joy. Couldn't even find the latch, just...blackness.

    Finally got a hair cross my ass and went for the drill. Turned out the be the best decision I've made in a while. Had that lock cylinder out in 10-15 seconds. Stuck a screwdriver into the latch, and voila - the trunk lid rose like it was hydraulic, smooth and steady. Turns out the latch is just fine - not jammed or damaged in any way. I had suspected it was okay because the lid wiggled up and down, but there was no 'click' or response to turning the key in the lock.

    Seems the flat aluminum rod between the lock and latch was the problem. Still haven't found it, in fact. But since it opens fine with the screwdriver, I'm sure it will be okay with a new lock (ordered one last night). The backseat option wasn't available since it's a convertible and other problems as well (like hydraulic fluid everywhere due to a leaky top hose).

    Here are some impressive (to me, because I FINALLY got it done)photos of my handiwork. The drill gets most of the credit, it did the real work.

    Open_1.JPG Open_2.JPG Open_3.JPG Opener.JPG Opened.JPG

    What I found inside was pretty interesting....
     
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  12. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    I knew the parade boots were in there because they were on the car when I bought it. The seller bagged them up for me for the trip. Despite the tree incident, they were right where he set them.
    Treasure_1.JPG

    The spare tire, cover, original bumper jack & tire iron are all in place, just missing the carpet cover for the tire (if there ever was one?).

    Also an ice scraper and a pair of gloves that look too small to fit me ("If da gloves don't fit, you must acquit!").

    Then it got really good. I had a dim recollection of the seller telling me the original radio was included in the trunk. Someone had replaced it back in '85-'86 with a stylin' Jensen cassette deck and crappy little speakers they cut into the rear side panels, along with aerial #2 they bored into the back fender. Might not be half bad if it didn't sound like Minnie Ripperton singing through cellophane stretched over a dixie cup. I mean, it'll make your ears bleed.

    Anyhow, I digress....happens more as I get older....I had actually started looking for an original radio just to see what was out there. I had though AM/FM was probably standard equipment, but not so, not yet. Seems many of the cars were shipped with AM radios that had the groovy auto-search feature controlled by a foot switch next to the dimmer switch on the floor. Sure enough, foot switch was in place, so I had a hint.

    Apparently the AM/FM radios are somewhat scarce. What's more, they made a different model for 1965 and another for 1966. The optional radio for 1966 was (no kidding) the model 420. What are the chances of finding one of these? Well, I did track one down in Kalyfornia for a mere $350. Decided to hold off since the brakes, top, and other, more pressing items need to be fixed first. Minnie would just have to do for now. And I think I dreamed something about a radio in that @#$%!&* jammed trunk.

    Sure enough - there was the original radio, connectors cut off by the genius who installed the Jensen (at least I can reclaimed them with some solder and heat shrink). No knobs, either. No big deal. So, which would it be - AM only, or the elusive AM/FM auto seek (or whatever)??

    Treasure2.JPG Treasure3.JPG

    Yes, I am still stunned today. Cannot believe it. Too unlikely.

    Believe it or not, it gets better.

    One of the tiny parts I located last fall (from the same guy who still has a model 420 if anyone wants it) is the knob for the rear speaker in the back seat. I wondered if it was possible that the car had the factory reverb installed. If so, the speaker control would have an in-out switch to turn it on, or so I read. Nope, all it did was turn. Also, the reverb was supposedly installed under the rear window/seat deck, not possible with the convertible apparently. And the @#$%!&* trunk was jammed, so no way to check. Even the trunk release in the glove box wouldn't open it. Sheesh.

    Well....after regaining consciousness after finding the model 420 radio, I noticed the cardboard siding was loose around the rear area by the tail lights. Thought I spied a mouse nest behind it, grrr.

    Sure enough, they had moved into a mouse condo with building material courtesy of the back seat by the looks. But! they had built their home up against....
    Treasure4.JPG

    ...a factory reverb unit! Incredible. I of course immediately became the nasty landlord and evicted them, condo and all. No rust, staining, or apparent damage to the reverb, however it is installed directly behind the impact area of the rear bumper, so I'm prepared for potential issues.

    As to the remote trunk release? It was disconnected at the solenoid on the latch. Either an electrical problem like a relay, or the former owner didn't want anyone else in his trunk. Remember, this car was driven into a metal shipping container in 1986 and didn't see daylight again until last spring.

    So anyway....there ya go. Though I will probably jinx myself by saying this, it would appear that the old car/Mopar Gods have finally chosen to smile upon me. At least for now.

    More work to do, a lot more to come. But finally, some actual progress. Brakes/gas tank replacement next. As soon as the door handle linkage is fixed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
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  13. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    Glad you finally got the trunk open. Is that Jimmy Hoffa wrapped in plastic that you found in the trunk?
     
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  14. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Freeze-dried! Straight outta Peabody.

    Hope you're doing well, Jim - been a while.
     
  15. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    Yes, it has been a while. Hope you are doing well. Not much progress on the Mopars here over the winter, but the new garage construction is moving along.

    snow garage.jpg
     
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  16. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Nice!! Damn, that's bigger than a lot of houses. My biggest gripe about this place (after taxes and all the 'too close to DC' crap, of course) is the lack of garage space. You will have it licked once that place is done. Hell, you can spend another year setting up and outfitting it inside and out!
     
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  17. Jim 68cuda

    Jim 68cuda Active Member

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    That's why I had to move out to the sticks. I needed room for a garage. And yes, its bigger than the house.
     
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  18. 65sporty

    65sporty Old Man with a Hat

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    That is going to be a awesome garage
     
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  19. garyh

    garyh Active Member

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    Treat those Boot Covers like Gold ! Because they are Gold !
     
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  20. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Absolutely! Brought them into the garage right after getting the trunk open. Need to find or have made the vinyl or leather piece between them, but that should be easier than finding the boots.
     
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