72 fury sport suburban

Fireguyfire

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So I have a Mike Bradyish car (1970 300 convertible) so I thought I might as well have a Carol Brady like wagon as well. I just picked up a 1972 Plymouth Fury sport suburban that has a bit of rot in the lower rear 1/4’s but is surprisingly solid and original. It has the factory 360 in it but it hasn’t run in 20 years, however the owner made sure to manually turn the engine over a couple of times a year. I’m hoping to do a vice grip garage type of project and hopefully get it running and then pick away in things that need addressing.
I’ll post up some pics in a bit, but it’s very 1970’s with the GY8 gold exterior with woodgrain, to the avocado green interior.
I’ll be posting on here asking wagon related questions, and I thought I would kick it off with a question regarding the rear tailgate.

The ignition key doesn’t work in the lock, and I climbed into the back and tried the latch from the inside with no luck either.
Obviously I don’t want to get rammy and break something and I’ve only briefly tried, but it would be great to get it open.
Can you wagon gurus give me any hints or tips on the best way to go about figuring out how to get my tailgate open?

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Fireguyfire

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The seats and door panels are in excellent shape, just dirty.
I’m thinking Eventually I will polish up the gold paint, replace the woodgrain decals, carpet and headliner and she will be nice.

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ThisAwesomeCOLA

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Nice find, I love the unique color combination!

Is that a CB Radio?

I am no mechanical guru but you might try this for a start:
When you tried opening the tailgate, did you manage to get the rear window down?
To do that you need power, and to use either the window switch in the front or the key in the back and twist it to get the window down. If not it locks out the opener so you cannot break the window (Does on my 71 T&C anyway).
If I have not used the tailgate in a while it might be a bit slow and need a knock to get it to open, so it might be that as well.

Best of luck with your project
 

Fireguyfire

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Yes, has a 70’s CB radio; I will likely pull that out.
I haven’t powered up the wagon yet, but when I do I will drop the rear window(hopefully) and maybe that will help with opening the tailgate?

Hopefully you guys can educate me on the 72 tailgate operation; does the window need to be down to open it with like a gate, or down like a tailgate?
There is a lever on the inside; is that a lock, or an open lever?
It wouldn’t open the gate either
 

Fireguyfire

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Great info; cheers!
So I’m guessing I need to take the interior panel off off the tailgate from the inside, and figure out what is going on from there?
Is the latch on the inside a lock latch?
 

ThisAwesomeCOLA

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That explains why the '72 has a handle on the outside of the tailgate, I had not thought of that.

Does the latch on the inside go both ways? Mine goes both ways depending on which way you want to open the tailgate.
I would suspect that it is not a lock latch and only opens the tailgate down if only one way, to make sure the rear window is down when opening from the outside.

I would be interested in the CB radio if you are getting rid of it, I suspect my car had one installed at some point.
 

Mr C

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Great info; cheers!
So I’m guessing I need to take the interior panel off off the tailgate from the inside, and figure out what is going on from there?
Is the latch on the inside a lock latch?
There should be a plunger on the tailgate like the other doors to lock the car. It should be next to the door-gate swing latch. Make sure it isn't locked.

You can see the plunger to the left of the door gate latch ...mines a 77, but it should be the same.

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Fireguyfire

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So I spent the day vacuuming out and cleaning the inside and outside of the wagon today; it is cleaning up great!
A couple of more questions came up for you wagon guys.

So the woodgrain decals down the sides are the originals, and the top half of the decals are chalky and whitish. I was surprised when wiping down the body panels with soapy water that when wet the chalky appearance disappeared and the decals looked 1000 times better; but then when they dried again they went back to looking chalky.
Is there a way to “condition” the chalky part of these decals so that they stay looking like they should, or will I have to eventually replace the decals to get them to look good?

And secondly, the wagon has full Plymouth wheel covers on it; I just wanted to co firm that these would have been the factory correct wheel covers in 1972?

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MonacoBlue

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(Frankly I really like the faded patina of the wood grain. That’s just me.)
 

MonacoBlue

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3M makes a rubber wheel specifically to remove the vinyl wrap material. Any paint shop should have one. A lot of elbow grease, you use an electric drill. Wear safety glasses (and hearing protection?). I think I went through two or three of the wheels, removing my wood grain. It was very VERY baked on. Yours should come off easier. But… I like it just as it is! I wonder if you put some spray on furniture polish like Pledge on it, if it would brighten/clean up any(?).

It’s a lot of work getting the old vinyl wood grain off. Be patient. Especially when messing around with body side trim. Dislike that stuff.
 

MonacoBlue

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One other thing. Be VERY careful with the interior lever on the tailgate. If you activate it wrong in conjunction with the outside door handle the tailgate will fall off. It is extremely heavy and is “dangerous in the wrong hands”. Only try to open it in “Gate” mode OR “Door” mode. Do not change your mind in the middle of opening it. And close it ALL THE WAY before attempting to open the “other” mode. It’s a litigation lawyers dream, waiting to happen. Hopefully you are already aware of that. Research this more if you don’t understand what I am saying.

You’ll get it open. Just be gentle and patient. One sloppy but effective method is to spray massive amounts of PB Blaster oil up and down the gap on the drivers side between the LH tail light and the tailgate. Once you get it open as a tailgate (“GATE” Lever position ONLY, DO NOT MOVE the lever to “DOOR”, after opening!!!), put some thick lithium or axle grease on the rod on the LH side. You’ll see.
 

MonacoBlue

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One other thing about the C-Body fuselage wagons. The next time you see a Pacifica/new Voyager minivan, compare the styling. The big back pillar and the rear end “ovoid” hatch opening look similar. Heritage!
 

MonacoBlue

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So I spent the day vacuuming out and cleaning the inside and outside of the wagon today; it is cleaning up great!
A couple of more questions came up for you wagon guys.

So the woodgrain decals down the sides are the originals, and the top half of the decals are chalky and whitish. I was surprised when wiping down the body panels with soapy water that when wet the chalky appearance disappeared and the decals looked 1000 times better; but then when they dried again they went back to looking chalky.
Is there a way to “condition” the chalky part of these decals so that they stay looking like they should, or will I have to eventually replace the decals to get them to look good?

And secondly, the wagon has full Plymouth wheel covers on it; I just wanted to co firm that these would have been the factory correct wheel covers in 1972?

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Experiment on those wood decals. Try using hair conditioner - make sure it’s with lanolin. That might brighten them a bit, for a short period. Mechanics hand cleaner with lanolin might work too. Liquid car wax or polish might help too, if the lanolin doesn’t work? Glycerin? Think moisturizer, like skin! Just experiment in an inconspicuous area, as they say…
 

Fireguyfire

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I was able to get the gate open and working perfectly last week. I had to remove the inside panel off, and then slowly sprayed all of the lock mechanisms with PB blaster and slowly worked them free. Turns out the gate was frozen in the locked position so once it freed up it was pretty easy to get the latch freed up and working.
I’m now soaking the cylinders of the 360 with marvel mystery oil. The engine is stuck but after looking in the bores with my camera, I do t think it’s stuck very badly.
 

3175375

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Experiment on those wood decals. Try using hair conditioner - make sure it’s with lanolin. That might brighten them a bit, for a short period. Mechanics hand cleaner with lanolin might work too. Liquid car wax or polish might help too, if the lanolin doesn’t work? Glycerin? Think moisturizer, like skin! Just experiment in an inconspicuous area, as they say…
When my parents had a 73 Mercury Colony Park wagon, my dad used Scott’s Liquid Gold. But knowing the product, I am skeptical if it will help.
 

Fireguyfire

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I’ll post some more pics. The passenger side woodgrain looks pretty saveable (pic above) but the drivers side is 50% gone in most places right down to the paint.
 

Mr C

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A used car lot trick in the old days to brighten up woodgrain was to soak a rag in used trans fluid or oil a "bingo" woodgrain looks great for weeks (unless it rains, then just repeat).

They also sell products to rejuvenate the black plastic on newer cars...same idea.

That's what I'd do. But then again I love the wallpaper wagons over the plain Jane variety.

Oh. and the wheel covers are original.
 
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