What's happening in Bigmoparjeff's garage?

bigmoparjeff

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Things have been a little quiet in the "Member's Projects and Restorations" department lately, so I decided to create a new post. Hopefully I can keep a decent flow of interesting content coming on a somewhat regular basis. Unfortunately, there won't be much C body specific stuff in here. Most of it will be general auto refurbishing, so at least many of the procedures and techniques will apply to just about any vehicle.

I'll start off with a couple of past, but recent projects, and get caught up to what's happening right now.

First up is a friend's 1966 Charger. This will just be a quickie, since I wasn't planning to document it while I was doing the work, and I don't have many photos of the work in progress. It will be back in the shop for more work in the future.

Originally, I was tasked with getting it up and running in order for the car to be put up for sale, but once he saw the car all cleaned up, he decided that he had to keep it. The engine had been pulled out over a decade ago and lots of parts along with all the hardware got lost. A different friend had much of what was needed and I scoured my parts boxes for the rest, along with some reproduction items that neither of us had. The engine was rebuilt at a backwoods machine shop in central PA. The first photo shows what I had to start with, and we had to scrounge up the rest.

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Ready for some paint.
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Mostly reassembled engine. A while back we had a big go-round on FCBO about Bill Hirsch's turquoise engine paint. People had me convinced that Hirsch had changed the formula to make it more accurate. Well guess what. He didn't. It's still the same sad gray-green that it was before. I'll never buy it again. The paint itself sprays beautifully, but the color is just too depressing, though I will say that it does look a bit better in direct sunlight.
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Somehow I never took a decent photo of the engine back in the car. This one will have to do for now.
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One regret was not running video during the maiden voyage. It was the first time the car had been on the road since 1979 and it would have been nice to have that trip on video. Other than the obvious rust, the car cleaned up quite nicely. It's all original paint and amazingly straight. It managed to survive 13 years of driving on Long Island without as much as a minor fender bender.
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I was disappointed to find that the car had the optional fake mag wheel covers instead of the cool deep dish spinners. They were in the trunk, but I didn't have a key at first.
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I don't have a good shot of the interior, but it came a long way from what it was like when it came in and how it is now. There were so many mouse nests in the car, and it, really, really stunk. The mouse urine had been so strong for so many years that it corroded a lot of the metal trim and the pot metal parts. The mouse nests completely filled my shop vac to the top and there was still more to go. One amazing thing is that the electroluminescent lighting on the instrument cluster still works, though I can hear some electrical zapping sounds coming from the cluster when it's on.
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Phase two will be getting it 100% road worthy. At this time there are no plans to do any work on the body. They don't make much in replacement sheet metal for these cars, just a patch for the lower quarters that isn't big enough to fix the rust over the wheel openings.

Jeff
 

Isaiah Estrada

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What a nice read!!! Glad to see that beautiful Dodge back on the road. It reminds me a lot of my own '68 New Yorker. Tags on the plate read FEB 1980, so it would technically mean they registered in Feb 1979. Been off the road since... and what a MESS of mouse nests in the car!!! I filled up the shop vac a few times, and it seems the further I go - I still find some left overs to this DAY. What was left of the carpet was absolutely disgusting and it's the first thing I removed. Dash board metal / chrome knobs etc were all trashed. There was a disgusting yellow tint around most of the dash. I believe that there was kind of a green house effect going on in the car with all that rat pee in the hot California desert!

The trans was gone, likely scrapped for another car. Thankfully the 440 was still there although it was seized. I had it rebuilt very close to stock back in Feb, but I prepared it for storage as it would be a while before it got to go back into the car. It was saran wrapped (used like a whole pack of it almost LOL), then put in an engine bag, then placed it in 2 huge GLAD garbage bags and duct taped them tight - and lastly covered with a thick tarp and bungeed tight.... i think it's safe to say it will still be as nice as the day it came back from being rebuilt when I take it out again sometime very soon to be dropped back in the car. Most definitely want to get THAT first fire on video!

Lately I've been collecting some NOS dash switches and I think I have almost everything I need to replace the old tarnished ones that came with my car originally. Can't wait to be finished with that...
 

bigmoparjeff

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What a nice read!!! Glad to see that beautiful Dodge back on the road. It reminds me a lot of my own '68 New Yorker. Tags on the plate read FEB 1980, so it would technically mean they registered in Feb 1979. Been off the road since... and what a MESS of mouse nests in the car!!! I filled up the shop vac a few times, and it seems the further I go - I still find some left overs to this DAY. What was left of the carpet was absolutely disgusting and it's the first thing I removed. Dash board metal / chrome knobs etc were all trashed. There was a disgusting yellow tint around most of the dash. I believe that there was kind of a green house effect going on in the car with all that rat pee in the hot California desert!

The trans was gone, likely scrapped for another car. Thankfully the 440 was still there although it was seized. I had it rebuilt very close to stock back in Feb, but I prepared it for storage as it would be a while before it got to go back into the car. It was saran wrapped (used like a whole pack of it almost LOL), then put in an engine bag, then placed it in 2 huge GLAD garbage bags and duct taped them tight - and lastly covered with a thick tarp and bungeed tight.... i think it's safe to say it will still be as nice as the day it came back from being rebuilt when I take it out again sometime very soon to be dropped back in the car. Most definitely want to get THAT first fire on video!

Lately I've been collecting some NOS dash switches and I think I have almost everything I need to replace the old tarnished ones that came with my car originally. Can't wait to be finished with that...

Thanks!

I've been keeping an eye on your New Yorker project and you're doing a great job bringing it back to life. I'm looking forward to when you have it ready for the road again. Did you ever locate the dash trim that you were looking for? I know that you wanted to replace the New Yorker stuff with the stick on vinyl sections.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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Nice work for sure!!!

Is it a 383 or a 361?

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

:thankyou:

It's a 383. I believe the only 383 you could get in 1966 was the 4bb, 10:1 engine with dual exhaust, where the 361 was 2bbl only. I forgot to take pics of the exhaust system that I cobbled together for it. Considering the circumstances, it came out pretty decent. I used some old pipes of a 1970 B body that were flanged for HP manifolds.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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tell us what you did to get rid of the urine smell?

Once all the debris were vacuumed up, I soaked everything with one of the scented Lysol sprays. The nests were long since active, so that may have made it a bit easier to reduce the smell. I can still smell something coming from the back of the car, and I think there must be another nest behind one of the quarter trim panels. I'll deal with that later when it's time to get the rear windows lubed up and working properly.

The heater box got destroyed from the urine. All the metal parts are rotted now. I thought it would be easy to find a replacement at Carlisle, but all the B body boxes for sale there either had the same mouse damage or the plastic housings were broken. I have a couple C body boxes in stock, so I think I can mix and match parts to make a good one if need be.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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I bought a heater box gasket kit from DMT and it actually came labeled for B bodies and the range was several years. I wish I could remember right now, but I cannot.

I think '65-'70 B body and '65-'68 C body use an almost identical heater box, just that the air inlet on the C body is on the side, where the B body is on the top. The metal parts, flapper doors, etc may be the same, just the plastic housing is a bit different. The fact that the gasket kit is the same, makes it real likely that I could swap the guts from a C body box into the B body housing.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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Great work! How did you get those exhaust manifolds? Are they the old ones cleaned up, or are they NOS?

Thanks!

The manifolds are a used set that I got off of ebay. They've been media blasted and painted with VHT flameproof paint. I wanted the darker silver, but no stores around me had it in stock, though the bright silver is a nice contrast to the blah Bill Hirsch turquoise paint. I followed the instructions on the can to the letter and baked them in the oven to cure the paint. So far, so good. It didn't even discolor a little bit while breaking in the engine.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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Next patient is a different friend's 1970 GTX. It was originally in for some minor stuff, but a new cam was added to the to-do list at the last minute.

This is a fairly low mile (50K) car that originally lived in Brooklyn NYC. It's not a factory 6 pack. That was added by the original owner a long time ago.
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First on the list is the cam swap. Time to get things apart.
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I have often criticized Totally Auto in the past, and here's one of the reasons why. They were the first ones to work on this car after my friend bought it. The car was shipped straight to their shop from the seller's house. This was before he knew me. Totally Auto had the cylinder heads and complete exhaust system off the car. Why didn't they just pull the engine, do a complete re-seal, along with freeze plugs, then paint the entire engine? Instead, they painted the heads, intake and valve covers, and left this mess on the front of the block.
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The cast iron 6 pack manifold weighs a ton.
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The next Totally Auto issue to deal with was all the silicone they used to put the engine back together. Had to be an entire tube. Not the squeeze tube, I mean the caulk gun sized tube! The intake ports has a 1/4 inch overhang of silicone in most of them. The valve cover gaskets were smothered in it, though they left rust and oil on the gasket surface of the covers. It took a good four hours to clean it all up.
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I had all the parts that I needed for the job, but suddenly realized that I forgot to order paint. I went down to the basement to check my inventory and found one partial can of street hemi orange, that happened to be 25 years old.

What are the chances that it'll still spray???
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Well, I shook it and shook it, and shook it some more. And it sprayed just fine!

But, it didn't matter, because the color wasn't even close to what was on the engine.

I've seen this reddish orange color somewhere before....
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Yep, Chevy Orange! Good job Totally Auto! One of the top Mopar shops in the country???? Maybe not.

Back down to my paint department and I was able to find a can of Farm&Country Allis Chalmers orange that was a bit redder than the hemi orange. It's not obvious in the photos, but it really looks sharp on the engine. Next time I need to paint an orange Chrysler engine, it may just be Allis Chalmers orange. Again, another 20 plus year old can, but it also sprayed fine.
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Prior to painting, I pulled the oil pump off and replaced the gasket and o-ring. I believe that was the source of the oil on the front of the engine.
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I had originally hoped to be able to jack up the engine enough to get the cam through the grill opening, but that wasn't going to happen. It was headed right for the metal panel under the grill.
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To be continued....
 
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bigmoparjeff

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To obtain a path for the cam to come out, the bumper had to be loosened and swung down, and the filler panel removed. It's quite a bit of work to get that panel out. It might actually be possible to tilt the engine forward and sneak the cam out under the panel, and only have to mess with the bumper.
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Time for some cam lube. A super-long bolt serves as a handle for guiding the cam into the engine.
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Cam and new chain installed.
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Legend has it that the 6 pack manifolds have sealing issues and that you need something in addition to just the metal valley pan gasket. Fel-Pro sells these thin paper gaskets for just such an issue.
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The owner of the car supplied the gaskets along with this can of Gasgacinch. I had heard of it before, but never used it. I'm in love. I confiscated his can.
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He also supplied these Fel-Pro performance valve cover gaskets. They seem to be made out of a sturdy material, but I wish they had the tabs to secure them to the covers. I decided to install them dry, so we'll see how that works out over time.
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Next up is a good priming with the priming stick. Apparently, it's not unusual for the slot in the intermediate shaft drive gear to no longer be perfectly parallel with the cam when you install an aftermarket cam. This one is a Mopar Performance cam.
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The thermostat that was in the car looked pretty crappy. I like to use the high flow stats in big blocks. They are expensive at $31, but it's what they had from the factory.
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The intake went on the same way it came off. A regular engine hoist would work fine too, but mine was buried at the time.
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All back together again.
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Continued.....
 
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bigmoparjeff

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When breaking in a new engine or just a new cam, it's a real good idea to use a break-in oil.
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Before starting the engine, you should have your timing light hooked up and ready to go. With the engine running at 2 grand with the vacuum advance hooked up, you should be looking at quite a bit of advance. Something in the neighborhood of 30-40 degrees BTC.
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Some supplemental air flow doesn't hurt either. This car has a freshly recored radiator, so I wasn't too concerned about overheating. On cars with a dubious radiator, I'll remove the engine fan and use water from a hose to keep the radiator cool. The water is much more efficient at absorbing heat than air is. It's also a bit safer not to have the fan spinning in your face while you're working around the engine.
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It's not a bad idea to use a temp gun to verify that your dash gauge is working properly. It's a must on cars with no gauge.
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The cam break-in went smoothly. The valvetrain is nice and quiet, like it should be on a low mile engine. The carbs could use some tuning, but that will be a job for another day. Tuning a 6 pack is a total pain in the ass and I need to do some research before tackling that job.

After about a half hour cam break-in and a test drive, I dumped out the break-in oil and put in fresh regular oil and another new filter.

Jeff
 

bigmoparjeff

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Nice work... you confiscator...
I've never heard of that gasket sealer. Who manufactures it?

Looks like a company that I've never heard of.
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I've used the yellow 3M weatherstrip adhesive for decades to secure gaskets in place, but I like this better. It smells very similar to Weldwood contact cement.
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Jeff
 
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