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Dodge - Different

Restoration Project (73 Dodge Charger SE) Progress

6/2001 - Buy / Pickup Car, and inventory all things done and that need to be done, plan restoration, shop for parts, services, insure, etc. Fix Throttle cable linkage using a couple brackets to raise cable from manifold to a more horizontal angle. I still have to find a nice hold down bracket so it looks better, but atleast the pedal moves uniformly now. The transmission is the next mechanical thing to be looked at. It leaks and it probably was not taken care of for its first 90K miles so I will get a new and better pan, gasket, and "tune it up" at a nearby tranny shop to make sure anything worn is replaced. It shifts fine, but linkage is out of adjustment as it wouldn't start the other day until after I moved the shifter on the column a couple times and god knows what that nasty "stop leak" stuff did to it.  I'm also looking for a garage to keep her out of the elements when I'm not working on her and I get my everyday "summer" driver back in one piece. Since I cant get any contractors to do any work now, I'll be getting one of those "portable" garages to keep her dry.

7/2001 Spent this month working on designing the new engine for the Formula... I got a electric choke kit, cast aluminum tranny pan with filter, and separate filter and gasket kit.

8/2001 Today I fell in love with a dodge again. I measured her and Sarah and am going to see if I can keep HER in the garage with Sarah this winter by jacking her up so that Sarah's front end can roll under her. It will be tight, but I wont need to worry about a portable garage since I have no problem with leaving the Nova out in the snow. I'll test this theory out soon.

9/2001  I installed the radiator overflow bottle and windshield washer bottle, pump, hoses, and power to stock control. There seems to be something shorting out at the dome light so I'll have to take that apart. I tried to install a new bulb, and it just sizzled, and I'm pretty sure it just blew the fuse. I'm trying to get it on the road so I can take it to the "Mopar Day" at the Valley. I've cleaned up the interior quite a bit so I can live with it until I can find better parts - which I may find during Mopar day (swap meet and many possible contacts). Next, I'm going to jack it up and change out the oil, filter, and tranny fluid and filter and install the new pan and gasket. After Mopar day, I have an appointment at my tranny shop to have it totally dismantled and "rejuvenated" to new condition. I've checked the plugs, and they are bosch platinum which I was surprised at but they seemed to be all in the same condition - a solid dark brownish color. I will check to make sure this is the best plug to run in these. They were also all gapped the same at .035.  I painted the engine compartment black, and painted black primer over the exposed blue and grey paints (for now) so atleast it is all one color.  I changed out the stock platinum plugs for some new cheapo plugs to make sure it would fire good at the track. I checked the timing and it turned out to be 9 degrees BTDC at idle. I do not know how to check it above that rpm since the gauge only goes to 10 so I left it there for now. I will try to find a tachometer to mount on the steering column so I can better check this later. I got her registered and inspected, flipped the white lettered tires on the rear wheels to the inside so all tires are now "black walls" and I removed all the wheel locks and replaced them with new lug nuts.

I got the tranny (which turned out to be a 904 - not a 727 like the previous owner told me) totally rebuilt.  I'm going to try to return my 727 pan that I bought for it.  At Mopar Day, I met a couple people that may help me with parts and I discovered that I was lacking the important three piece rod that connects the tranny to the throttle to adjust the pressure. It is not just a kick-down mechanism like my chevy. The tranny shop wired the tranny lever back somewhat to give it some pressure, but I'm going to try not to drive it much until I can find the rod and bearings and get it installed. At Mopar Day, I realized that it wasn't shifting in the 1/4 mile, so I shifted it manually from first to second on the column. With her stock 318 engine, and stock weight of over 5,000lbs, and stock size rims of 14" and 2.03 rear end gearing she pulled a 17.087 @ 82.49mph.  (I figure this is not too bad considering the weight, gears, and running in only 2 gears with no tach - guessing at shift point, and the heat of the day).  I'm not planning on racing this car again - at least not regularly, but I may return with it to next year's Mopar Day when I have it painted and hopefully have the interior finished or mostly finished.

10/2001  I returned from my vacation with my main goal (for this car) being to find the tranny adjuster rod mechanism. Secondary - get estimates on paint job, weld floor pans welded in, remove the seats and fix them.

2002-2003 Let me review some of the work I've done during this time... I installed a new dash pad, painted the interior: dash satin black, interior white vinyl panels painted black, roof black to prevent rust, painted the exterior with black primer, touched up various other painted parts. I bought a lokar cable setup for the tranny and installed that onto the front of the carb. Its been working well. I installed a tach and a fan inside along with some stereo mods. I fixed the passenger door lock which was missing the C clip lock holder. I put new seat covers on the front and rear seats. I installed the new fuel pump that was included, a new 160 stat, a new upper radiator hose.

I did run her in Mopar Day 2003 and managed to edge her into the 16s after some trial and error and learning what works with this car.
When I find the Time slip, I'll post it next to the other ones. 2004 - Its posted! 16.884 @ 84

2004 Work to be done: Floors, Amp Meter Bypass (outdated-can cause problems), Install New Meter, Headlight Relay Upgrade, tuning. I also picked up some new weather stripping and hose covers. I will only install the stripping if I have leaks where rain can enter now since it will only be in the way when painting. I do plan on installing the hose covers early on. I picked up a volt meter to replace the amp meter and will do this conversion as soon as I can.

The hose covers are on. I added a second spring to the throttle so it will be legal at the track. I've got a spare now! - from an old tire from my Sarah (best tread of remaining 4) and an old rusty rim I bought from a guy on the dodge-charger.com site which I sanded and painted chrome. I've done the rough sanding of the old glass materials and metal areas that were rusty, and added the bondo glass and am in mid sanding of this build up now, once done with this, I'll move on to another coat and then further fine sanding, then I'll add a new layer of primer paint. Next I'll remove the driver fender and install the newer one I have. I also undercoated her with rubberized black coating to help to prevent any rust from occuring on the bottom. The rust it did have seems to be minor - surface and around the bottom of the wheel wells

Then I hope do get help finding someone to do a paint job for her, not thinking that the supplies and equipment will be worth the labor and time of me trying to learn how to do it right, fixing my mistakes.

The new Go-Wing is on now. I'll have to post some new pics of the car. I think it looks very nice with the "stock option" go-wing.

I'm still having this quirky problem with her starting - She doesnt want to start on the first crank unless I shoot a shot of carb cleaner down it. When its hot, it seems to be worse, yet when its totally cold - sitting around for a week or so, its bad too. I've tried playing with the choke all the way close, partially, and now totally open since its hot out. The dodge-charger tech list has suggested I change the accelerator pump lever hole closer to carb. So that is what I will try Spring 2005.

2005 I tried changing the carb acelerator pump but it did not help the starting problem. I posted on the dodge-charger list again, and foundsomeone else who tried adding a Mallory CD ignition box so I bought a new one from Summit, installed it and VROOM! It starts much better now. It seems when it sits for a long time, it still needs a bit of cranking (I believe this is because how many speculate - the gas runs out of carb bowls when it sits). Atleast now, it starts up without needing carb cleaner after sitting, and starts right up once it has been started that first time. The idle also seems smoother, and I can take my foot off the gas immediately after starting, and dont have to stay on it, warming it up.. it no longer wants to stall out after starting - just runs smooth like it is supposed to!

This summer has been too hot to do much work on it. I ended up driving her quite a bit this summer since I did not get the Formula tuned well for everyday driving and the Charger runs on cheap gas as opposed to the high octane needed in the high compression LT4 Engine.

2006 I drove the charger quite a bit, but when it didn't pass inspection in the fall, I knew it was time to do more work on her. I fixed the emergency brake issue by fabricating a new brake line adjuster bracket and installing the new brake line for the one rear brake that wasn't installed. Parking brakes work great now. I still have the issue with the shifter sometimes not completely getting into park so I'll have to play with the adjustment again. I purchased new summit headers to replace the old rusty ones that had a hole in them. I installed them, but I had a bad leak on both sides, so I tried gasket maker on one side of the gaskets but still had the leak. I also tried to work on the driverside floor pans, tearing everything out and trying to get down to as much good straight metal as I could. The floor had been covered up with sheets of metal on top of various fixes like bondo. When I tried to weld in the patch, I realized that my welder was just too strong and I burned holes right through the floor. I really need a MIG welder I guess since my flux welder even on the lowest setting goes right through it. So I didn't even try to weld the pans in. I ended up throwing it all back together so I could test out the headers. Now it sits for the winter until next year. I'm going to get some fancy header gaskets which will hopefully compensate for the obviously crappy summit headers. Hopefully I will be able to clean up the headers without completely removing them again, since that is such a pain - jacking up the car so high and pulling the steering components.

2007 - Headers work great with the new gaskets. I drove it with the floor pans still sitting in there. I basically need to weld the front pans in and pant it. A little time and money should do it.

2008 - Still enjoying driving it but no time or money this year to paint her. She still turns heads even in primer :-)

Stay tuned - I can't wait to get her "finished".