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71' Challenger resto-mod

Member Restorations

  1. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    This thread will cover my restoration of my father's 71 Challenger. These first few posts are copied from another forum. I didn't want to re-type the whole thing! Excuse if some of the commentary is out of context.

    The time has finally come for our 1971 Dodge Challenger to come out of storage and finally get restored. There has been some progress here in the past few weeks so I figured I would post up here so you guys could check it out!
    This car as many of you know was my Father’s car when he went to JMU from 1974-1978. It has received its share of JMU parking tickets and I’m sure seen its share of drunk college girls. It languished in a barn on my uncles property from the middle 1980’s until sometime around 1998 when we removed it and its long winded restoration began. It is a 318 equipped with a 3-speed automatic transmission. It was originally Copper in color with a white interior but was painted green in 1975 by my Father and some of his friends.
    The first try:
    During the initial “restoration” most of the body rust was fixed. Many parts were ordered and put in storage. The engine was rebuilt and bored .030 over. It however was fitted with its stock 2 bbl carb and stock exhaust. It was also pained a horrible enamel yellow color (partially). Around 2001-2 it was put in storage had little has been done with it until about 3 weeks ago.
    The engine sporting its tired chrome valve covers was timed and started.
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    The electronic ignition conversion from Mopar Performance was installed.
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    Then it was pulled over the body shop where they began work on fixing up some of the dents and dings from being in storage for 8 years. The decision was also made that yellow and white really just do not go together and we needed to go with another color. One of the body shop guys suggested 2010 “Plum Crazy” Purple. He shot a test panel. You should also note the 2005 Charger 18in wheel sporting one of Rex’s old 18in tires from the speed 3.
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    This car was a base model but it did have a few options. The 318 V8 was the basic V8 but the car was available with a 225 slant six engine. Also it was equipped with Rally seats and the smaller 14in Rally wheels.
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    The decision was made that the color would be changed (no decision on color yet, just that it will be done) so the engine, now running and driving, needed to be removed again for painting. This of course fell to me so this past Sunday I yanked the old beast from its lair. It took me two hours.
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    Horrible stock exhaust. I just got some full length headers for it and I am trying to select an exhaust.
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    Washed up the engine bay and pushed it back to the body shop.
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    Hopefully progress will be strong and stuff will get done relatively quickly. I will update as I can.
     
  2. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Engine compartment and door jams sanded and prepped.
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    Adhesion promoter
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    Primer
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    BASECOAT!!!
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    Cleared underhood
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    Door jamb done
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    Interior blacked out
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    Steering box detail
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    Headers prepped.
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    I got these vintage Mr. Gasket headers from one of the guys here at work. They are from the late 70's and very heavy. Nice thick steel. Just needed a clean up and paint. They are done but I haven't snapped pics yet. The engine is getting tore down as far as it needs to be to get painted orange. Lots of underhood stuff is back in. These pics are a few days old. I will get more soon.
     
  3. burntorange70

    burntorange70 Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking good. Nice work.
     
  4. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    340 4bbl intake, OEM valve covers, and headers all painted up.
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    More progress this past friday. Got a carb (1970 Carter Thermoquad). New stainless steel hardware for the engine. Got a new heater core and cleaned up the heater box. Doors are cut in and will go on monday. Oil pan is stripped and ready to paint. Engine should be painted up Monday. Here are pics!
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    I also dug out my 1971 tags!
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    Our Challenger's broadcast sheet. Discovered stuck in the coils under the rear seat.
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    I scanned these two photos as well. Polaroids taken during the first tear down.
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  5. ramenth

    ramenth Moderator Staff Member

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  6. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man. More pics coming after the engine goes in this weekend!
     
  7. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Pics from this past week! Got the engine in on Friday.
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    The last time (hopefully) this will be empty until I have a big block to stick in.
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    YAY!
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    New brake MC and refinished lines.
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    Mopar Performance Underdrive Pulley Kit.
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    Coming along very well. So we met our engine back in by Memorial Day goal. Now lets wee if we can get the "car done by August" goal.
     
  8. ramenth

    ramenth Moderator Staff Member

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    Setting a goal and managing to stick to it! Nice. My goal is for the world to leave me alone for a freakin' weekend so I can do what I've got to do!
     
  9. burntorange70

    burntorange70 Moderator Staff Member

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    She is coming together fast. Nice work. Keep it up.
     
  10. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man. That's the idea! We hope to have it on the road again by August. Really going to be about money more then anything else if we meet or miss that. I've got some more pics I will post later today or tomorrow. Getting the headers in was a HUGE pain and I have a water leak up top and have to pull the intake again. Happens to the best of us.
     
  11. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Oh man I have so much to post! I forgot about this forum for a bit but I am back and I wanted to let everyone check out the progress. Heck I don't even know where to start!

    So as mentioned above the engine was running and it had a water leak at the intake manifold to head. Little did we know it was leaking as much in as it was out. I had to drain the milkshake oil and replace that after doing the new gasket. I got a genuine Mopar gasket this time, much nicer. Here is a shot of the leak location.
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    Electric Fan Install
    I eliminated the mechanical non-clutched radiator ran in favor of the no-drag and modern look of an electric fan. This is a 16in fan I got of ebay for $40 shipped...beats the 12in fan I got for the Jeep at Autozone...$75!
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    Relay is close to the radiator
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    Custom Accel Super Stock wires
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    Looks sexy doesn't it? Now for the big mod....
    Some quick research showed that many later model Chrysler RWD cars can be donors for front disc brakes. So, this led me to my buddy Phil's house, and to his 1976 Dodge Aspen wagon.
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    From that I got a decent set of 10.5in disc brakes. Single piston calipers. I ordered new calipers from Advance Auto and after 3 tries got the right ones.
    Original drum came off.
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    Then I noticed the first problem... The black is the drum brake lower knuckle, the rusty is from the Aspen.
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    However, the bolt holes are the same, so I simply used the nut/bolt combo from the drum setup. The disc setup used a threaded lower knuckle.
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    Then came the second issue...the brake lines were far to long. We ended up having to order 3 different brake lines to find one that worked right. The source was a 1979 Dodge St. Regis sedan.
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    Two far off shots just cuz!
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  12. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    So much more, just thought I would break up the posts because I am sure there is a number of pictures in a post limit.

    Exhaust came in from Pypes. I like the kit, good quality and easy to put in. All stainless steel for under $400 shipped.
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    The problem however, it was supposed to be "header back" and work with "most any full length header." Apparently I don't have most any...I have "other." So I had to have it towed the quarter mile up the road to have the exhaust shop finish the install. I had it all in but not connected to the headers. I drove it back the following day...as it is. Anyway, pic of the engine with the orange air cleaner. The air cleaner was painted the wrong tint of orange, its hard to tell in the pic but obvious IRL.. I have removed the vac. valves from it (they are still on it in this pic) and we will be painting it wrinkle black.
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    Refinishing the trunk.
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    Stripped the trunk and a whole bunch of the original color showed its ugly shit-brown face.
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    Next came the overall paintjob on the body. This was a few months ago.
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    Now for the very most recent stuff. This has all happened in the past few days. Dash, rear deck and speakers, and glass all got dropped in!!

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    It took about 4 hours not counting drying time for the paint to get everything back together. The poorly fitting aftermarket dash pad was the biggest issue. It has a thick fiberglass core instead of the slim steel of the original resulting in a difficult fit. I had to redo all the silver details on the gauge rings and the HVAC controls with a paint pen. That took some time.
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    I also installed an modern CD player in the car. The all new for 2011 Pioneer 1300MP which is only $70! What a great deal for a great little unit. I needed something with NO bells and whistles because I can't afford any folding faces or anything as you notice the dash actually goes in front of the radio. A custom harness was made for said radio as well as a mounting panel in behind the dash trim.
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    Beyond that most of the wiring is back as it should be but I am getting funny feedbacks because the wiring has so many open grounds. For instance, when the key is off and the heater controls are off when you turn the headlamps on the radio comes on. If you turn the blower fan on the radio cuts out. Also, I wired up the cooling fan to what I thought was a switch power wire. Turns out it was the brake test wire. So when I push in the parking brake my cooling fan cuts out! lol.
    Rear Infinity Kappa 6X9in speakers installed. Working on the fronts.
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    Exhaust tips
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  13. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    Just time for a quick update! Lots of progress and the car is almost done for the Spring shows! Interior needs to be finished and final tune on the engine.

    New Headliner installed.
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    Mostly done on the outside. Paint is buffed and grille and chrome is mostly on. New wheels as well.

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    2009 Challenger logo in the grille

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    Rear panel is done now, I need to get a current pic. Custom "cuda" cut outs and modern challenger style tips.

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    Let me know what you think!
     
  14. ramenth

    ramenth Moderator Staff Member

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    This is turning out nice!
     
  15. greenmonsta79

    greenmonsta79 Active Member

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    Looking nice just wondering why you didnt paint the grille and tailight panel black like on a R/T? Looks great either way though!!7
     
  16. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    I have always liked the "Argent" color. I liked it so much I got wheels to match it! Anyway the car is all but done now. I am still waiting on B/E&A to get those correct bumper guards in for the rear.

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    Love the white interior, keeps it cool so the no A/C is not a huge deal.

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    I made a custom rear shelf panel with carpet to give it a more finished look.

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    A down low shot the looked cool.

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    I also recently installed some Just Suspensions 1in torsion bars to the front and I have Hellwig Motorsports sway bars coming this week. I picked up a used suregrip with 2.76 gears in it and I am looking for a set of 3.23 gears (big pinion) be fore I swap that in. Anyone have a R/T hood and some 3.23 gears laying around?
     
  17. 71Challenger318

    71Challenger318 Well-Known Member

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    I managed to score an R/T Hood at a a good price. Just waiting on getting some minor body work done and paint.

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    Sway bars came in! I got them on the car and it is night and day. The handling is SO much better. Totally worth the $350 they cost.

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    Another cool mod you folks might like. I got an electric trunk release and latch from a 1966 Imperial. Bolted right in and works like a charm! I have power door locks/keyless on my car so I just added it to the aux on the remote. I also installed a button under the dash.

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    Thanks for looking!