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jaak

Jaak's (Jason's) 1968 Dodge Charger GENERAL LEE Project

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I haven't worked on the car in a while. I had to do some work to my shop I am just about to complete (new siding, paint, trim) before starting back on the 68.

But I got a heck of a score today. I got me a nice used 69 Dash pad on eBay this morning for 22.50 + 12.00 shipping!!! Its in pretty good shape for an original part, it has no cracks on the top, but does have a small one on the bottom side (near the heater controls).

Since I scored this dash pad, I pretty much have everything needed on hand (except paint materials) to redo then assemble the whole dash assembly. So that will probably be coming soon!

Jason

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I didn't saw your Post from March 1 before today as it didn't show up in the 'Today's posts' that day. :(

You did a very nice job on the grill. :tup: At first I thought why black but then I remembered it was black with chrome trim instead of just chrome. Don't understand how I forgot that as I have a few scale models of the Charger...

Is the grille really made from plastic? I thought that would have been way to un-sturdy and make a lot of holes in it if you have something small.

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I didn't saw your Post from March 1 before today as it didn't show up in the 'Today's posts' that day. :(

You did a very nice job on the grill. :tup: At first I thought why black but then I remembered it was black with chrome trim instead of just chrome. Don't understand how I forgot that as I have a few scale models of the Charger...

Is the grille really made from plastic? I thought that would have been way to un-sturdy and make a lot of holes in it if you have something small.

Yeah its made of plastic. But its somewhat sturdy, as you can see by my pics it wasn't in too bad of shape for a 45 year old part. Just a few small cracks and breaks to deal with.

Thanks,

Jason

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Even though I am still waiting on my dash pad to come in, I started prepping for dash restoration. The dash frame that goes with this car was removed by the previous owner. He made a couple of small repairs to it, blasted and primed it. So really all the dash frame needed was sanding/painting.

In a previous post(s), I showed where I recovered my upper door bolsters. Well I really wasn't too crazy about the color, it looked more of a copper color than tan. So I am planning on painting them with SEM tan paint. Since I'm got some tan vinyl/plastic paint, I had to find a spray can paint to match to paint the other pieces. At Autozone they carry Rustoleum auto paint products, they had a color called satin Nutmeg, that I liked really well. It's a touch lighter than the SEM tan, but it makes a nice contrast. Another cool thing (going along with the budget theme), was I had some reward dollars on my Autozone card, so I got 2 cans of the Rustoleum paint, and two packs of stainless steel screws (for dash components) for the grand sum of zero dollars!

I first started with the dash frame, like I said, it was pretty much ready for paint, just had to sand it, clean it, and paint it.

Dash frame Before pics....

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Dash frame After a couple of coats (3 on top surface) of Satin Nutmeg...

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Next up was prepping trim parts....

The hard vinyl parts (glove box door, lower dash pads), were thoroughly cleaned using degreaser, scotchbrite pad, thing a final cleaning. They were pretty nasty, and they need to be cleaned good in case there is any contaminants (such as armoral, etc). After cleaning parts were painted using SEM brand Saddle Tan. The glove box door was tan to begin with, so a couple of coats was all it took. The green parts needed 3 coats to get good coverage.

Hard vinyl parts after cleaning, but before painting....

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After applying SEM 'Saddle Tan'....

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These parts, ash tray (metal) and steering column cover (plastic) were cleaned in the same manner, but were painted with the Satin Nutmeg paint.

Before....

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After....

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Here is an up close pic showing Tan trim part against Nutmeg dash. Like I said earlier, the tan is a little darker, but I really like the contrast in colors.

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That's all I got so far, but I should finish up the dash shortly and I will post those pics when I finish.

Jason

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Well, my 34 buck dashpad showed up the other day, so I finished up restoring the dash. The dash pad was in pretty good shape, has a couple of small flaws, but for 34 bucks I am tickled with it. I cleaned it and dyed it the same color as all the other hard vinyl parts (SEM Saddle Tan). Here is a few pics put together...

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A couple of notes on this pic. The heater controls was in decent shape, it has some pitting. I cleaned/polished it the best I could using 000 steel wool. Then I repainted the black strip with flat black paint, after the paint dried, I touched up the lettering using a silver Sharpie marker. Also note the radio plate, as of right now I do not plan on putting a radio in it. As you saw in an earlier post, the radio plate has been modified for a radio larger than the factory one (I only gave 15 bucks for it). I cut out a filler piece out of sheet metal, and painted it with the same flat black I used on the radio bezel. It is mounted to the dash frame behind the radio bezel. It I ever want to install a radio, I can simply remove it. Just wanted to put something in there to fill the large radio hole in the dash.

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So here is before/after pics. The before pic is all the components piled up in the corner of my shop way before I started the resto. After redoing the instrument cluster (see earlier post) and buying a few missing components (glove box door, ash tray) and replacing my busted up 68 dash pad with a nicer used 69 dash pad, I have somewhere around $250 bucks in redoing this dash.

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I did a quick makeover on the steering wheel, while I was doing my dash... I will post pics of it as soon as I take some.

Until Later,

Jason

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I went ahead and did a 'makeover' on the steering wheel while I was doing the dash parts. When I got the car the steering wheel had a cover on it when I got it. I was expecting the wheel to be cracked, but to my surprise, when I removed the cover it had no cracks in it. Like with every other part, I cleaned the wheel real good, used a scotchbrite pad to scuff it up, then painted it with the same paint I used on the dash frame. I cleaned/prepped the horn pad in the same manner, then painted it with the SEM tan paint. The horn ring was in good shape with minor pitting, I simply cleaned/polished it using #000 steel wool.

Here is how the wheel looked before (after cover was removed)...

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Here is an pic, after a quick makeover...

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Jason

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After finishing up the dash/steering wheel, I guess it's only natural to go on to the steering column, and other components that can be reached with the dash out of the way. With the steering column, the only work I did was rebuild the steering coupling, replace a broken spring I found on the shifter lock, then clean and paint everything.

I actually took a before pic, but accidentally deleted it from the camera before uploading to my PC, so I had to go back to some old pics, here is a before picture while it was still in the car, after I bought it.

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Here is a pic of the coupling before. When the previous owner removed the column, instead of taking the coupling loose from the gearbox, he just tore the retainer/seal from the coupling, which is no big deal I guess a 45 year old coupling needs rebuilt any ways. I had to piece it back together just so I could steer the car when I bought it.

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Here is a tip... When rebuilding a coupling, most places like eBay, or vendors like YearOne, etc. sell the coupling kits for 20 to 30 dollars, plus shipping. After searching around online, I found Summit Racing had them in stock for 8 bucks. I had ordered it back when I got all my gauges and stuff, because with Summit, any order over 100 shipping is free, so I always try to buy at least 100 worth when I order from Summit Racing. Also note the kit is made by Dorman, and most auto parts stores stock Dorman parts, or can at least order them and have them the next day.

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Here is the coupling refurbished...

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When I started prepping everything for paint, I noticed the orange needle for the shift indicator was crusty looking. I was looking around my shop, of course I didn't have any orange paint. I didn't want to have to go to the store and buy a can of orange paint just to paint this small part. Then an Idea popped in my head, I run in the house and asked my daughter if she had some orange finger nail polish. She did a brand new bottle of bright orange that hadn't even been opened yet. So I popped it open, and painted the needle with it...

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The only other problem I found with the column was the shifter wouldn't lock in park. I found that the spring for the shifter lever was broke. I found a small compression spring at the local auto parts store that was similar in size for under a dollar. I was able to trim it and make it work, now the lever works as it is suppose to. Another note on 68 (and earlier) was the switch for the back up lights was on the lower column. 69 models and up, has the switch on the transmission (on the neutral safety switch). Since the trans I plan on using has the backup light switch already on it, I simply removed the switch from the column, and when I wire the car, I will wire it like the 69-up models.

Pic of column mounted back up lamp switch...

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I sanded/prepped and cleaned all the parts good, then painted. Like I said this car is a budget build driver, so It isn't going to be as detailed as my R/T. I painted everything from the mounting bracket up (interior side) tan, ever thing from the bracket down flat black, and the mounting bracket itself gloss black.

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Here is a pic of the column completed, with the steering wheel sitting on it, just to get an idea of how the look together.

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Now since I did all that stuff, I address what is under the dash. I just want to clean/refurbish what shows beneath the dash. I started with the brake pedal. I remove the whole pedal assembly, removed the brake pedal, clean/sanded/painted the pedal, and cleaned/reused the original pad. Also at this time, I noticed the studs for the master cylinder were loose, so I put a couple of tack welds on each one. Did not want to weld it solid, just tack them in case I ever have to replace a broken stud, It could still be drove out fairly easy with a hammer.

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Next was the heater box. I removed it, and while it was out and easily accessible, I went ahead and put a new heater core in it. I had the core on hand because it was another thing I had picked up when I placed the order with Summit when I bought my gauges. After replacing the heater core, I scuffed it up with a scotchbrite pad, then shot it with a coat of flat black, just to freshen it up.

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I also removed, cleaned and painted the vent box on the left side at this time too, because it also hangs below the dash and can be seen.

DSC_2495_zpsc0e91f3a.jpg

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While everything was out, I also shot a strip of flat back on the lower firewall, just to coat the area that doesn't get covered with carpet.

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Everything reinstalled under/behind the dash...

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Everything was rolling good, then you know it bad luck strikes. I had everything done, and I was dying to see the dash mounted in the car, so I started to install it. I sort of lost my balance inside the car and dropped the dash. The studs that hang down for the column scratched the top of my dash, so I got to resand the top of the dash and put another coat of tan on it. I will also have to touch up the dash pad too. It sucks, but that's part of building a car, stuff like that happens every now and then.

Until later,

Jason

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I can't believe you are able to re-use so much stuff and let it almost look like new!

I'm wondering, wouldn't the nail polish come off a bit too easy after some time?

In the USA an automatic is standard in cars I believe, and a lot of times the shifter is on the wheel. that is here too the case. But I only see two things sticking out of the steering column. Am I missing something? Cause I never seen a car with only two of those were one is the shifter. Maybe it's because I never seen it in Europe. Could you explain me?

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I can't believe you are able to re-use so much stuff and let it almost look like new!

I'm wondering, wouldn't the nail polish come off a bit too easy after some time?

I don't think that will be a problem. I believe the nail polish is Lacquer which is what most spray paints is made of.

In the USA an automatic is standard in cars I believe, and a lot of times the shifter is on the wheel. that is here too the case. But I only see two things sticking out of the steering column. Am I missing something? Cause I never seen a car with only two of those were one is the shifter. Maybe it's because I never seen it in Europe. Could you explain me?

Not really sure what you are asking, could you be more specific.

Jason

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On the steering column I see the shifter, and an indicator. shouldn't there be another one for the wipers?

The wiper switch was mounted on the dash on the Chargers. Old 60's cars are pretty basic....

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As far as shifters, there was several different options back in the day, As you saw in my pics, my 'General Lee' has a column mounted shifter. But my 69 Charger R/T has a floor mounted shifter with a console, so the column doesn't have lever mounted to it....

DSC_0849.jpg

And to add to that if a car had a 4 speed manual transmission it had a floor shifter (with or without a console, console was optional). If the car had a 3 speed manual transmission (rare in a Charger, but they did use them) It had a column mounted lever.

Hope that explains some,

Jason

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good, explanation. thanks. :tup:

So do you have a preference to the floor or the steering column shifter?

Yes, I prefer a floor shifter. But like I said, with the General Lee build, I am watching my budget. By the time you bought all the parts to do a floor shift conversion.... it would cost several hundred dollars. Plus I already have a floor shifter in the R/T... so I will have one Charger that's floor shift, and one that's column shift.

Jason

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Not a big update, but a little work done nonetheless. I went ahead and rebuilt the thermoquad carb that I plan on using on the 360 I'm going to put in the Charger. The reason I went with a thermoquad is, this being a 1979 Factory 4 bbl motor, that's what was on it when it was new, plus T-quad cores can be bought dirt cheap. The motor did not have a carb on it when I bought it, so I bought a core on eBay for 19.99. What's cool when I ran the numbers on the the carb (model # 9207s), it turns out the carb came from a 1979 360 in a D-150 pickup. I won't bore you with pics and descriptions like with other post, because all kinds of information on thermoquads can be found online, if you a rebuilding one. I tore the carb apart, cleaned everything real good, installed all the parts from a kit, plus installed new floats, new choke pull off and bought a new choke thermostat. Also did initial adjustments/settings that can be done right now, final adjustment/tuning will be done when it is installed on the running engine.

After buying the carb, kit, and parts I have about $112 invested in a fresh carb. A couple of pics of the finished product....

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Until later,

Jason

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I cleaned up around my shop today, making room and moving stuff around so I can start back working on my Charger. I needed to reinstall the steering column so when I move the car around I can steer it (well don't guess I NEEDED to, but WANTED to). I decided to go ahead and install everything. I installed the dash, steering column and steering wheel. Right now I don't have a windshield in, so I have to be careful and keep the dash covered when I start cleaning, bodywork, etc., but I figured it would be safer in the car as opposed to just laying around the shop. My wife gave me a hand and I got it all installed quickly without a hitch. I am happy with the results! Its cool to see the dash in the car. Below are some pics, note... when taking the pics in the shop when its dark the camera flash makes it look lighter than it actually is... I may try to take more pics in the daytime without the flash on.

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