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1972 Dodge Challenger

tsaarts

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Hello from Europe. First of all i will sorry for my English. It is not my native language.

I have been restoring my 72 Challenger and reading this forum from 2016. Now i have got something done with the car and i think it is time to share it with you.

Tha car started his life with 318. I will us 400 big block with automatic. Rear gear was open 2.76. I put LSD 3.23.
Back of the car is rusted out. Some may say it is not worth to repair but here in Europe these cars are hard to find.
Some pictures how car was:
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Got new spare roof with the car:
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I needed the new trunk:
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Old trunk cutted:
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Front clip not so bad:
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tsaarts

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I started working with the floor pans. First to be said this was time when i started learning welding. My first attempt to weld floors were like this:
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After a while i looked them and they looked bad. I started over and the final product is this:
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After the floors i started working with back side of the car and discovered new surprises:
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Crossmember in back and end of one framerail was really bad and had to be replaced:
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By the way all framerail repairs are not buttwelded but have about inch of overlap.

Nex job was rocker panels. Front ends were fine but back sides were rusted:
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tsaarts

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Next logical step was to move to the c-pillar extension to the inner fender. This car had the vinyl roof which destroyed the roof and mostly everything underneath it :D
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This thing looks so bad:
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Cut almoste verything out to get better access.
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And then just start start copying avery cutted peace:
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tsaarts

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Next step was to rebuild outer metal:
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Trung gutters where made of sheet metal but deck filler panel was new.
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Inner fenders and trunk extensioners where also made from sheetmetal because importing new panels are so expensive. Better make my own. This car will never be restored to original condition.
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When the inner structures where done and how to weld learned it was time start with outer sheetmetal. To make my life easier i ordered new quarter panels.
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Now it started looking like car:
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tsaarts

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When quarters were done it was time to cut them out of the car to access to the inner structures of the roof. Here you see how it looks inside when you buy a car with bad roof.
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Inners rebuilt:
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And also made myself new rain utters:
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Next step was firewall cowl area. It looked like this:
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tsaarts

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A little DIY how to repair cowl.
Start with plank sheet of metal:
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Mark where there will be blends:
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And then bend it and make tube out of sheet metal:
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Add some weld through primer:
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And weld together:
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Same with other side:
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Made some patches and done:
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tsaarts

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Next big thing is to remove every peace of outer sheetmetal and go to the sandblaster:
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After blasting:
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Next move was to prep the surface and remove any sand residues with wirewheel:
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Had to be quick with preping and priming because bare matel tends to rust fast. Here in Europe we often use wash primer plus surfacer primer combination together. Always look what material manufacturer instruct.
Primed:
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Underneath the car:
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tsaarts

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Now it is time to put car back together.
Starting with new roof. Painted inner structure:
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New roof welded:
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This is example how wash primer looks like. It is basically a acid which kills any corrosion underneath it:
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Now the surfacer to protect it:
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And finally the paint:
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Paint the cowl:
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Weld it on:
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Now grind the welds and apply wash primer
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And finally surface primer. Here you can see inner frond fenders were also done:
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DetMatt1

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Wow, nice work! I took the same steps as you when I did the metal work on my ‘68 Road Runner.
 

Danny Boy

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You fabrication is outstanding!!! I wish I knew more than one language. Keep up the good work
 

tsaarts

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Wow, nice work! I took the same steps as you when I did the metal work on my ‘68 Road Runner.
Thanks. After doing this i am really sure that it is better to buy a better car to start with. Outer rust means always there will be more inside. Repairing trunk extensions and cowl correctly requires disassemble car completely. If you do it yourself it is much cheaper but require huge amount of time. Forming sheetmetal - more cheaper but more time. I have more pictures in my folders and i have more jobs done but i have spent about three years doing it next to my main job and family.
 

budascuda

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Man... You must be someone who absolutely doesn't take NO for an answer. Nice work, great effort!
Glad you could save another challenger.
 

rbbruno3

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Nice job !! Your skills are very good and came a long way since that first floorpan repair. Keep us posted on your progress :thumbsup:
 

tsaarts

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Thanks for the response.
I add some more pictures.
Assembling rear end of the car:
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Here i am trying to get averything aligned. Because gutters were cut out it was a bit of the problem but i got it alright.
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Here are quarter installed. What i did here was that i sandblasted upper part of the quarters. Insides are primed. One thing to always remember is that if you butt weld quarter for example, you prime and paint the outer side of the weld but inside will be left unprotected from rust. That is why i welded upper and lower part together and after that sandblasted it.
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Next job was to finish undercoating. My scheme was primer>paint>black undercoating>paint. By the way color of the car will be Chrysler PR4. Falme Red, Tor Red or whatever it was back then. All paint products are Spies Hecker.
Here you can see underneath is primed and welds are seams sealed. Look underneath the back seat how much patches were used.
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Rubber alike undercoating:
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Final coat of one stage color:
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Next thing is i tried to lead the deep seams on C-pillar:
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tsaarts

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I first thought i got decent doors on car but after closer inspection it wasn't true.
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Send the door to to sandblaster guy and after that primed it. This is the job a previews repairman:
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I do not have any spare door near me anywhere so i started to repair them. Here you can see i cut the bad parts out. I welded steel strips on the door to prevent heat bending on door skin:
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Final product:
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I really like the TA hood and import one.

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hellrats

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Wow! I can't image how many hours you have in that. Nice work. It's tough to find a nice Challenger in the states too. Nice work :thumbsup:
 

tsaarts

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I also made some repairs to get door gaps about right. Also bought new right frond fender and even this new one needed welding:

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I also started to rebuild drivetrain and suspension parts to get car on the wheels. Everything was sandblasted epoxy primed and painted with polyurethan single stage black paint. Read that front lower control arms need some reinforcements. Made my one from scrap metal.

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tsaarts

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Here in Estonia we have cold winter here and my goal was to paint the enginebay before winter to get engine done and start the car.
With the engine i had a 400 big block witch is already 30 over. At the moment i was not sure do i need a new block or not. Bore was a little bit too worn out, same was with the crank journals. I decided to just put new bearings, gaskets and put everything together to get it just running. I knew that before it was running engine. I bought new E-street edelbrock heads and intake. When most of the car is done i seek for a new short block and swap edelbrock heads and intake.

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I also final painted the engine bay. And i had to do it twice. First time i got bad orange peel and had to sand everything down and prime, paint and clear again. And sanding engine bay isn't the easiest thing to sand.

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tsaarts

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Next job was to install the engine. It was strange to me i did not need any special parts to install big block to small block K-mamber. Internet warned me that i would need some Schumacher engine mounts. Really what i need were stock big block mounts and that is all.

I have also read that big block swap needs shorter shorter driveshaft. I tried to mount my small block one and it look like this when car is one the ground. Does anybody can say do i need shorter driveshaft or not?

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moparlee

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Welcome to the site from Michigan, USA. BTW, you don't need to be sorry about your English, you are doing great and even better than some people on this side of the ocean. Very nice fabrication work on your Challenger:thumbsup:.
I am not sure about your drive shaft question, but someone on here should be able to answer it.
 
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