Now one of my slightly longer term plans is to respray the who car, once I have the car back together & legally on the road I plan to drive her for a few months as I really miss driving her & then once I’ve had my hit on the Mopar 6 pack crack pipe I’ll then look to get the body sorted… sadly the English & Irish climate has not been kind to this old girl.. there are some rust spots showing up just behind the doors, & on the drivers side I think that this is actually the result of a shoddy repair job in the past.. I won’t know until the paint is off but this just screams to me I’ve just 2 inches of bog & chicken wire here to patch up this… so I’ll be ordering some rust repair panels I’m sure to this sorted. The other issue is the vinyl roof that was not fitted correctly, I know it was a DIY job by the last owner & he either didn’t do the prep right or the conditions in his garage didn’t suit the job… but there are more bubbles in this roof than in an aero bar.. I’m not planning on refitting one either, once it’s off I’ll leave it off. Another thing that I plan to do is to change the front & rear valance panels they are shocking.. the rear is a simple one, just buy a new panel & have it installed.. the front I’m going to play with, I’ve bought a set of clear lights from a ’68 Charger to fit in place of the orange ones that she has stock.. now of course they are not even close to being the same size or shape, so I’ll be buying a new front valance & grafting in the correct openings to accept the Charger clear lights
The Cancer bubbles passenger side
The drivers side splitting bog
The vinyl roof… very bubbly
It’s also actually lifting up now around the front windscreen & the wind is starting to peel it back…
These are the ’68 clear Charger lights
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When I was going over the car looking at what my untrained eye could see that needed to be done to get the car on the road here in Australia I noticed that the tie rod ends where buggered & would need to be replaced. I also knew from when I replaced the rear shocks many posts ago now that the rear springs where also shot & really needed to be replaced too. I then started to go over all the suspension bits using my biggest pry bar to see what if any slop or play was in there.. hmmmm… lets just say that most of the rubber bushes & the ball joints where past their prime.
So I had been doing some research on the Interweb about resto-mod Muscle cars & Challengers in particular & I’d been looking at several options open to me other than just replacing the buggered parts with stock parts.. after some late night google research I finally had what I assume alcoholics call a moment of clarity & I settled on the set up that is on the Hotchkis E-Max Challenger (I’ll wait whilst you go google that now).. so I bit the bullet & ordered what they their Total Vehicle System, or TVS package as they seem to call it. The main reason I went with this kit over the others on offer was because I didn’t have to replace the while K-Frame to install this kit & there seemed to be many more positive reviews around this exact kit & Hotchkis in general on the web than the others out there.
The kit came with the following:
Geometry corrected tubular upper control arms
Adjustable Strut Rods
Adjustable Steering Rods
1 ¼” Tubular front sway bar (rear bar in the pic) & a 13/16” Tubular rear sway bar
Geometry Corrected rear leaf springs
A set of Chassis Sub Frame connectors to join the front & rear frames together
Also with the kit was all the hardware, so U-Bolts, brackets all nuts & bolts needed etc
Stay tuned for a step by step guide to tearing down the old suspension, the clean up as needed of the parts that will be re-used (this is as far as I am to date) & then ultimately the build up as I install all of these new shiny bits back on the car… as soon as I can find someone who can weld, as the rear sway bar brackets & the Sub Frame connectors need to be welded on & that is definitely outside of my comfort zone so as much as I want to do all this myself, I will be outsourcing that piece to someone who knows what they are doing.
---------- Post added at 10:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:58 AM ----------
Next came the strip down of the original suspension from the front of the Challenger so that I can bolt up all my shiny new Hotchkis bits that have been sitting around the garage taunting me the last few weeks. I wasn’t thinking that any of this would be a major difficult job, it would just be time consuming.. I have a rattle gun for undoing stubborn nuts & bolts, I had a couple of different ball joint breaking tools, 6 axle stands & 2 trolley jacks.. so I figured I had all the bases covered.
I got the old girl nice & high in the air & onto the stands to allow me to work under her, I swear when I finally buy a house here I’m getting a hoist, they are definitely the must have toy now for the home garage. I soaked every nut & bolt that I would be removing with lots & lots of penetrating fluid to hopefully ease the removal as some of the parts looked like they had not been off the car since 1972…
Now the last owner had done a great job of coating the underside of the car with vast quantities Schultz for rust protection & whilst I’m very grateful of that from a rust prevention point of view whilst the old girl was living in Ireland.. man it caused me no end of issues with regards to getting the nuts & bolts off the car.. you can see in the pic below how the threads are all gunked up with this ****.. now the issue this caused was that the nuts didn’t want to come off at all, so when I had to use the rattle gun to remove them the resultant friction heat invariably stripped the threads either off the bolt or from inside the nut.. so my advice for anyone thinking of spraying sound deadener or rust protector under you car take the extra bit of prep time & tape over all the suspension nuts & bolts so you don’t end up with this issue later on down the track. Luckily I had all new nuts & bolts as part of my kit & I had planned on not reusing any of the old stuff as it was all rendered useless once it was free of the car.
So basically all the parts you see hanging off the car here need to be removed
The first piece I tackled was the tie rods, I removed the split pins & rattled off the nuts then I attached the joints with my breaker tool
Then I lay the old piece next to the new to measure up the length so I can get it at least close as it’s going back together, obviously a full alignment will be needed at the end of all this
After both of them where off I decided to remove the old front sway bar first, this couldn’t be simpler really, undo the bolt that holds the bar to the mounting bracket on both sides
Then unbolt the bracket from the body, the TVS kit comes with both the bracket that holds the rubber & a new bracket to bolt to the K-Frame also
Old vs new, according to the info with the kit the new bar is 220% stiffer than the old one was
I then replaced the K-Frame bracket with the new one