Monday, March 24, 2014

State of the Project Address

My fellow Moparians, this is where I am now.

Checked with three car guy shows about using short clips of theirs as part of my upcoming Fund Anything campaign. My attempt at one anyway.

I found some products I am interested in using on Jay Leno's Garage, so I contacted NBC through the only thing close to a contact that they had.  No response yet.  I really don't expect a response until I can find a better way to contact his people anyway.

There are some products featured in Adam Carolla's Car Cast that I found interesting and I plan to use.  Emailed them and received no response, which is not unexpected.  He has the busiest podcast in history and his crew travels with him a lot.  Combine that with me being a complete unknown and there you go.

The car guy I've been watching by far the longest, Stacey David, has an exhaust size selection technique that I liked, as well as another product or two I plan to use too.  I did get a response on that, only his sponsors are allowed to use pictures and clips from his shows.  I am not a sponsor, and doubt that I will be before I get this going, so there you have it.  BTW, that is cool with me too (I don't have a vote anyway, but what the hey) it is a perfectly valid element of a successful business model.

Have not checked yet with Eric The Car Guy or Capone Auto yet.  Both have substantially different techniques of presenting their video, as well as radically different presences in their videos, but I find great value in both of their videos.  Will be checking with them about clearances for clips.

All that said, my first video is pretty simple and it is up in the previous post.  All of my videos will be under the Creative Commons license, which means anybody can use them or parts of them WITH ATTRIBUTION.  No need to ask me for permission, so long as you link back to where you got it.  No nastygrams from lawyers or any of that jazz, so long as you give proper attribution.

So there you go.  Hopefully when the weather warms a little here I will be able to make that video about removing rust and protecting the metal with a good primer so the rust stays away.  If the weather does not cooperate, perhaps I will do a more detailed walkaround and give some pointers for buying a classic car that needs work.

Until then, Xièxiè (謝謝)

Walk Around of the car

A short video walkaround of the car as she sits now.

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Post

Hello all, glad you could stop by.

Disclaimer: To my knowledge, the Chrysler Corporation never delivered a 318 Six-Pack setup from the factory.  For a fact, it was not an option in 1972.  I am sure a dealer, local mechanic, or even a customer or two would put one together for you if you asked them, but the manufacturer would not.  The Six-Pack carburetor setup was available in the 340 and larger displacement engines that year.  This was also the first year that the HEMI was no longer available.

Back a few years ago I purchased a 1972 Dodge Rallye Charger from a fellow in Northern Virginia.  She was running decent, had a solid body with some rust-through in the expected places, but in much better shape than most of these cars you find anywhere.

One of the things that drew me to that one was Richard Petty.  He was the driver/owner who got me interested in NASCAR around the time that car was built.  As a matter of fact, he started the 1972 season driving a Plymouth Road Runner, but switched later in the season to a Charger for an aerodynamic advantage.  Same body style as mine, with the Rallye package body.  More on that body in a later post with video.

Mind you, I bought the car when I was making around $100,000/year and the purchase was something I could easily afford at the time.  Things change, and my finances are no different.  Shortly after I had most of the body work complete, mostly solo, I was supposed to go to work overseas.

One moment while I highlight a mistake I made in the order of work on the car.  What I should have done was make all of the suspension, engine and drivetrain changes I wanted to make first, and cleaned up under the car before doing the body work.  If I would have spent my money in that order, I would be driving a 318 Six-Pack now, with a bad paint job, rather than having her sit in a driveway under a tarp.

As soon as I got the car moved to a safe location in Tennessee, I got a call that the project was cancelled.  At least the participation of the firm I worked for was cancelled.  I found a new project pretty quickly, but I did not have my hands on my car.  Every few months or so I got down to Tennessee to do some minor tweaks and such, except for a coolant leak from an engine block plug where a petcock is supposed to go.

A few years later I was laid off, has been rough financial straights for a few years now, but I still have that car.  If things got really bad, I would have to sell her, of course, and that particular year with the options that were on her from the factory does not demand a very high price.  Fully restored to showroom condition might fetch $17,000 to $20,000.  The car is not in that shape, not even near it, and I will not just slap it back together and pawn it off on an unsuspecting person as a fully restored car either.

So, what am I planning on doing with this car?  I am launching a video and blog platform with it to show other classic car owners, or those who want to be, what is involved in doing restoration and modification, aka RestoMod.  I will be producing my own video, from the walkaround of what to look for when you buy your car, to how to preserve your car while you work on it, how to find the right vendors, etc.

This particular blog is about the engine and where I plan to go with it.  At my skill level, there are plenty of things I can do myself, and plenty more that I can mess up.  That is why I will be consulting with a master MOPAR shop on all matters to do with the engine.  What I can do myself is decide how the engine is going to look sitting in the car.

  • The Six-Pack was not offered by Dodge, so I am modifying the engine to look like it came from the factory that way anyway.  It will be Chrysler Corporation Blue from the intake manifold to the bottom of the block.  This is a period correct detail that one can apply anywhere really.  Dodge painted the intake manifolds, heads, valve covers, and oil pans on the engines of my displacement the same blue color.  Alternators, starters, and any other parts bolted on later were not painted.
  • Every Six-Pack breather assembly was orange with a black baseplate.  Even though the 340 engines were blue, they came with an orange breather lid with a "340 Six-Pack" sticker on top.
  • I am changing my valve covers and have a few ideas about how they will be presented.  What I want are some no-name cast, unpolished covers and paint them "Early Chrysler Blue," which is a lighter blue than the rest of the engine.  Why?  Because I want to make them look like I picked them off of another engine to put on mine.  I also like the sticker that was on old tractor engine 318 valve covers that said "200 H.P. 318 CU. IN."  Going to change that to 210 H.P. and I already have the graphic designed.
  • If I go with a larger oil pan, depending on what my machine shop tells me on this engine rebuild, that will get the early blue too.
  • All engine paints will be chemical resistant, high temp, ceramic infused primer and paint.  Eastwood sells one and so to a couple of other places.  Have not decided on a brand yet, will check with the engine builders on what lasts the best.  The previous owner painted the engine and transmission a metallic blue, which is cool for him but not my style.
  • I do plan on replacing the exhaust manifolds with headers.  My engine builder has a brand he likes, and I forgot what brand that is.  I was looking at TTI headers with an unpolished ceramic finish and thermal barrier applied inside.  TTI does not appear to have them in stainless, which is my preference unless compelled that it is somehow a bad idea.  To my eye, unpolished ceramic has a stainless steel look to it.
  • The rest of the exhaust will be stainless steel, unfinished ceramic outside and Eastwood spray-on thermal barrier inside.  Will be using an X pipe rather than H pipe for a couple of reasons.  Coating the crossover tube with thermal barrier paint looks impossible and would lead to a hot spot at that point.  Secondly, it just looks cooler.  A Flowmaster sales tech told me a while back that there is no performance difference between the two.  Frankly, at the RPM range I will be operating, any performance difference would be imperceptible anyway.  This is a street car, not a race car.  Exhaust will exit in front of the rear wheels.  More on this in a later post, since The Man and his legalities are involved.
  • The engine compartment is pretty sloppy right now.  My plan is to hand sand it down smooth and use two-part Eastwood high-temp primer and satin black paint.  Everything that bolts into the engine compartment will be the correct OEM color and finish, mostly.  For example, I need to check if I can continue using my stock brake master cylinder or if I need a bigger one when I put slightly larger brakes front and back.  If I can keep this one, the rusty iron body will be cleaned up, shot with phosphoric acid, then painted with an iron colored high temp paint.  If I replace it, the body will be protected with some sort of paint.
  • Will be running the largest radiator that will fit in the radiator support and I might even build a different radiator support for the car to house a bigger radiator.  The top of the radiator, whole radiator support, and parts forward from there will be gloss black.  High-temp paint where needed, maybe everywhere if I have enough.  I think the bigger blocks ran a separate transmission oil cooler (I have the original Torqueflite 904 in the car) and I plan on doing that anyway.  I might be able to run that to one side and an engine oil cooler on the other side, or even below the main radiator.  The air conditioner condenser mounts directly in front of the radiator and I don't see any way around that.  Bonus there is I can either paint the condenser or leave it bare aluminum, depending on the look I like when one peers in through the grille.  Preference for an engine oil cooler is a vintage police package oil cooler.
  • If you note a bit of over-engineering in the cooling department on my part, you are probably observing correctly.  Every vehicle I had from that era, well into the 1980s, had cooling problems.  With the time and expense I have going into this car, that is one problem I can and will avoid beginning at the design stage, especially since I will be running  aluminum heads and other expensive pieces I do not want broken.
Will be back to link this up and add some pictures.  Again, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for a possible Fund Anything campaign related to this!

Even Stephen, but you can call me Steve.