Poppy, my first C-body

ayilar

Old Man with a Hat
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I have made various posts here and there about Poppy, my 1970 Polara convertible, but I never created a thread for her. Early on, back in 2018, I made a number of posts in her "For Sale" thread. I had planned on using the latter as the news page for the car but, after all FCBO FS threads started getting locked 30 days post-sale, that stopped being possible. In any event, save for bringing Poppy back to the same shop to solve an overheating issue 2.5 years ago (leading to top end work — done by the same MD shop), there was not much to post about Poppy beside the trips on which I took her as she was and remained in very good shape.

So, why create a Poppy thread now? I did build garage for her, after all! Well, Poppy arrived today in Indy, where @david hill will be giving her the attention that she needs after 5 years of driving with me (especially the engine, which experienced issues when I was driving her with @Trace 300 Hurst last fall). Like all my other C-bodies, I will take the opportunity to document the condition of the car and what is being done to her -- so I am starting this thread, which is dedicated to her.

Her fender tag is here, decoded here. DL27G0D170979 has few options, yet her ER6 Red livery makes her look like a million dollars. Indeed, when she was first listed for sale in 2014, the asking price was an even $200k! Four years later, in March 2018, I acquired her for (far) less from her second owner of 40 years :)

What is low, and makes her special, are the miles: Poppy had just over 31k miles when I bought her. She spent all of her life with two owners in Pottstown, PA: they were neighbors and, after the first owner passed away in 1978, his widow sold the car to her neighbor and his son (from whom I made the acquisition in 2018). The son drove the car in the mid-Atlantic all the way to Rehoboth Beach, and told me that he was meticulous about washing her underside -- which, together with the factory undercoating, likely explains the fact that the lack of rust.

Poppy was dusty but in great cosmetic shape when I bought her (excellent paint, impeccable interior) as shown in the photos that @polara71 took in 2014. Of course, she had been sitting for 32 years, so she needed a complete mechanical go-over. A classic Mopar specialist from Maryland, recommended by @Imperialist67, did the work in a timely manner -- and here is the result at her first (2018) Carlisle:



Almost 5 years later, Poppy has yet to pass the 35k miles mark -- but I do drive her, she has been on quite a few multi-hours runs, and she has gone to Carlisle four times already. The only year when she missed the Mopar Annuals under my ownership was in 2021, when I brought instead Medina (my 1971 Monaco) for the 50-year reunion.

David will be adding to this thread, as he documents the work that he will be doing so that I can enjoy her for years to come.
 
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Michel's 1970 Polara convertible arrived today fresh off the transporter from Wash. DC. First on the list of repairs was to find the cause of a sever engine miss. I ran a vac. gauge plugged into the power brake booster nipple. The vac gauge needle had a fluctuation of about 5" of vacuum between 10" & 16" of vac. Compression test confirmed no compression on cylinder 1. All other cylinders were found to be good.

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As you can see in the photos below w/ the valve cover removed the push rod for cyl 1 intake valve has pushed through the rocker arm. Closer inspection revealed that there was wear on the push rod tip. What I didn't expect was the push rod was still straight. The heat-treated tip of the push rod worn away rendering it unusable. There were no indications of poor lubrication or plugged oil feed holes. Also note the odd wear pattern on the exhaust on cyl. 1 and on the corresponding rocker arm for that cyl. Clearly misaligned rocker arm to valve present. That will necessitate cyl. head removal. Note the metal pasty sludge in the intake runner for cyl. 1. Defiantly this sludge paste is the result and caused by the failing rocker arm. Will be removing both heads for inspection and to any contaminated oil in the lifter valley. This pair of cyl. heads should have held up better considering the low miles on them. More updates to follow.

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I guess this explains why that new plug we installed in that dead Number One hole at a NAPA along our drive last fall didn't solve the problem. It was worth a $5 try.

Surprisingly, the engine had a slight tick and a slight engine tremor, and a few burps from the carb but otherwise ran fine for 50 miles. It got us back to DC from Fredrick MD, anyway.

And now we know why we had a MASSIVE muffler explosion after coasting down a slight hill and going back on the gas. Massive, like a shotgun blast! :elmer: That muffler now looks like a football instead of an OEM item. Maybe Professor Hill will post a pic in the future. It would be comical if it wasn't for the fact that the exhaust system is somewhat new and was in perfect condition.
 
It would be comical if it wasn't for the fact that the exhaust system is somewhat new and was in perfect condition.
"Somewhat new"? It had 15 months and just over 1k miles on it when the "pop" happened.

BTW, I would not call it "massive" -- the latter would have caused damage to the car, whereas in this case only the muffler is puffed up :)
 
"Somewhat new"? It had 15 months and just over 1k miles on it when the "pop" happened.

BTW, I would not call it "massive" -- the latter would have caused damage to the car, whereas in this case only the muffler is puffed up :)
Pop? Puffed up? Muffler completely changed in shape with the seams spread? Do you recall us looking at each other with giant, startled eyes? :wideyed: I'll stick with massive.

Indeed, after looking underneath at the "puffed up" muffler (and possibly a bent pipe) I could see that it wasn't old and rusty. I think David told me it was quite somewhat new. :)
 
Pop? Puffed up? Muffler completely changed in shape with the seams spread? Do you recall us looking at each other with giant, startled eyes? :wideyed: I'll stick with massive.

Indeed, after looking underneath at the "puffed up" muffler (and possibly a bent pipe) I could see that it wasn't old and rusty. I think David told me it was quite somewhat new. :)
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Here is an update to my post from yesterday. I removed the intake manifold and right valve cover to further inspect for oil contamination and or any other abnormalities. What was found is conclusive and the cause of the rocker arm failure. After removing the right valve cover the next two photos show the right rocker arms having the same misalignment as was found yesterday. Note the rocker shaft washers. There width is noticeably greater on each end of rocker shaft. note the position of the rocker arms to the valve stems. @rags noted this yesterday. This is the cause of the misalignment. The washers push the rockers off center. The large washers were mis installed during previous cyl head work as proven by today's discovery on the passenger side cyl head. Switching the washers to their proper locations corrected the rocker arm misalignment. Unlike yesterday no rocker or valve stem damage was found.

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shameful that such a thing should happen. a problem that is naked eye visible not detected on a final inspection before assembly. mistakes happen but this is why we check, double check... everything.
 
shameful that such a thing should happen. a problem that is naked eye visible not detected on a final inspection before assembly. mistakes happen but this is why we check, double check... everything.
For sure. I'm flabbergasted about this obvious mistake. I was 16 (~1973) when I rebuilt the 273 in my grandfather's 65 Dart GT, and young stupid inexperienced ME knew the reason for the proper placement of those spacers. Geeeze.....
 
I am a little curious about the blue headbolts.....must be made of tantaldelanium or something!
The top of the head bolts appears to be powder coated. I share in @Trace 300 Hurst and @rags disbelieve that a simple assembly blunder of this magnitude took place. I always take notice of component relationship and condition on tear down. Considering the cleanliness of the found I too was blown away by the mistake found. @Trace 300 Hurst for your viewing pleasure one very bloated muffler.

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