Barracuda Challenger Forum

Author Topic: Saving a 4 speed JH car  (Read 8880 times)

Offline cudamadd

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #180 on: July 29, 2017 - 02:33:45 am »
 :wow: I Have followed this from the start ,as many others have . And think your work has been fantastic .All i can say is you must love the challenge to bring her back    to life ,because that is some job you have in front of you . Great stuff  :2thumbs:
Go 4 a spin Ya Why Not.




Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #181 on: July 29, 2017 - 09:27:23 am »
:wow: I Have followed this from the start ,as many others have . And think your work has been fantastic .All i can say is you must love the challenge to bring her back    to life ,because that is some job you have in front of you . Great stuff  :2thumbs:

Thanks! The challenge of it was exactly the reason I wanted to try this. Always wanted to learn metal working and this seemed like the perfect candidate since it was a little different to begin with.

Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #182 on: July 29, 2017 - 09:46:33 pm »
Got the rear trim and rear window out. The Dutchman panel wasn't as bad as I expected. Started clearing out some wasted metal too. Tomorrow, I'll try to get more of that floor out so I can examine the rails properly. I also spent some time fabricating pillars to attach wheels to the front leaf spring hanger.











Offline jimynick

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #183 on: July 29, 2017 - 10:27:06 pm »
Jesus, that's ugly. Are you going to try to salvage the rear body panel? If you do, be careful to save the trunk lock support, too. As with most cancers, you're doing the right thing by cutting it away to see what's left. You may be able to patch/save one or the other inner wheelhouses, but I'd figure on replacing the rest. Use a one piece floor, it'll make your life a wee bit easier. I'd also try to support it on the rocker pinch welds as you may need to get into the frt spring hanger area and those wheels there will prove to be a PITA. Try to envision- seriously- that you're building this thing from the get-go and as I mentioned, get the tin all hung and get out your vice-grip/Cleco collection because you're going to need them. Start from the rails up and note the order/arrangement of how the panels currently overlap and fit each other. Lots of pics/measurements/notes will pay dividends too. You're moving up from the minors to the big league  here and I think, although it won't be cheap, that you can do this!  :thumbsup:

Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #184 on: July 29, 2017 - 11:10:32 pm »
Yeah, it's pretty bad. That's why I titled it saving a JH 4 speed car. Haha. Where's the fun in saving a boring Six pack or hemi car?

I'll take a closer look on supports tomorrow. Hard to really take it all in through pictures but up close, the rust seems to be in the wheel houses where they meet the trunk floor, in the lower quarters of course, and in the last two feet of the trunk floor. Most of the inner wheel houses are really solid, especially where the braces and speaker shelf are. The panel the meets the front edge of the trunk floor and drops behind the upper rear seat is really solid too. The Dutchman panel is actually a lot better than it looks. Only one small hole in one corner. From what I've seen so far, the rear frame rails appear to be junk only at the last 12 inches or so. Of course everything could get worse as I inspect more. That's what happened up front.

Tell me if this is a bad idea.

Step one: remove floor only but leave all else as is for reference points. Then focus on rails one at a time so the other can help as another reference point.

Step two: replace outer wheel houses since they are trash. Trim back the quarters only enough to get the new outer wheel houses back in.  Leave inners in place to maintain correct positioning and to avoid moving rear shelf of trunk hangers. Splice in the corner areas as needed on the inner wheel houses. Little bit of work splicing a curved piece but I've done it before.

Step three: get the new floor fitted in. I can easily pull the rear panel out and back into position to make room for the floor. This might not be realistic but maybe I can slide the floor in from underneath or from the side if I trim a bit more quarter out of way. I have a really nice original tail panel I've been saving for this car so I don't care if this one is damaged. I'd probably cleco in the floor and not weld/seal just yet.

Step four: full passenger quarter. Thinking this side first since there is no collision damage so dimensions should be good. Do the trunk floor extension drop down at the same time.

step five: maybe do the tail panel and driver quarter at the same time. Not sure on this but since the is some damage back in that corner, can't really rely on one part or the other for a fixed reference point.

Last: work on Dutchman as needed. Replace if I have to.

I'm nervous about the idea of removing everything and fitting all new metal panels with each other all at the same time. I picture the thing looking like some kind of hunchback elephant man car shuffling down the road when I'm done.

Offline 70chall440

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #185 on: July 31, 2017 - 11:52:41 pm »
I am sure there is more than one way to do it, however I would leave as much of the quarters on as possible and tail panel. If possible leave or position the ductchman panel and clamp it in to the original position. Now you can install the floor and extensions (using clecos). You can also do the inner and outer wheel houses. If it is possible to clamp and/or tack all of these so they don't move, then you can cut the quarters off completely. What this allows you to do is align everything and set gaps (as much as possible). The frame rails need to be in the right position however for all this to work. I basically did this on my Cuda and while it was a lot of work, it worked out well. Just know that nothing will want to fit as you think they should, its amazing how crappy they were put together in the first place  :bigsmile:
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #186 on: August 01, 2017 - 12:24:47 am »
Well did some more work and Jimynick was right. Not going to be able to do this one piece at a time as I originally hoped. I finished removing most of the trunk floor on Sunday and was starting to think about doing what 70chall440 just described.

Once I separated the floor from the tail panel, the whole panel popped back mostly into original position and the crease in the driver quarter disappeared. I trimmed the quarters back just enough to access the wheel houses. The overall outer shape is good so I think I can get internal stuff done first then do all outer stuff next.

So I'm gonna try and get the rails perfect first, followed by wheel houses, then trunk floor. I'll get some pics up soon. Some of the metal is ordered and on its way.

Offline 70chall440

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #187 on: August 01, 2017 - 11:22:52 am »
Perfect, that should work out nicely.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #188 on: August 05, 2017 - 04:11:53 pm »
Getting the car all leveled out on beams again so I can tackle the rear frame rails. Currently taking notes on which panels overlap others and so forth.

Question: are 1973 Challenger frame specs gonna be the same for rear frame rails as 1970? I have a sheet with all frame specs but I seem to have misplaced it. All I find on the Internet is 1973 specs and of course Cuda

Offline 70chall440

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #189 on: August 13, 2017 - 11:56:56 pm »
I "believe" they are the same in terms of width and location. As I am sure you know, a Cuda is 2" shorter than a Challenger. If you have a body shop with a frame rack, stop in and see them, most will have the specs.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline 70chall440

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #190 on: August 14, 2017 - 12:14:10 am »
This are for a 70 Challenger. If you need a better copy, let me know.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline jimynick

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #191 on: August 14, 2017 - 09:23:12 pm »
Sorry, on holidays for 2 weeks and just saw this. I take no pride being right about these things, they're just the way they are and, as you mentioned, they were built poorly from the get-go. Once you get the car on your supports, measure the height and width of the rear rails. We used to use plumb bobs to extend the measurement lines so that you can use the schematic 70chall440 has so kindly provided. just to ascertain that all is kosher before the cutting commences! I'd clip the rails if you're not into replacing the whole thing and once they're trimmed and matched/measured up I'd tack them and get the floor in the hole. See how it meets the inr whlhses and rear seat floor panel up at the top seam. If they look good I'd slide in the otr whlhses, temporarily clamp them and hang the 1/4's. See what the otr whlhse fits like to the 1/4s and inr whlhses. If you can make them work, then I'd fit the trunk extensions to the floor and 1/4's and see where you are. DON'T weld the extensions at their bottoms to the 1/4's until you've also installed the rear valance and fitted it between the 1/4's as it's very easy to just weld them up and then find the valence doesn't fit. Like I said earlier, it's a large, sheet metal puzzle and you'll have to jiggle and joggle, bend and cut to get to where you want/need to be, but patience and perseverance will pay large dividends here.  :cheers:

Offline 70chall440

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #192 on: August 15, 2017 - 12:40:44 pm »
Completely agree, especially with the last part. In your head you think new panels should "drop in and fit" but anyone who has ever done this knows, this is a rare situation as almost always they require "some fitting". All the sheet metal boxes should be labeled "some assembly required... :bigsmile:". As Jimynick states; patience is your friend here. Don't be afraid to cut, trim or bend but ensure you are doing it for the right reasons; meaning you really need to mock up all interacting panels/components and see where everything lines up and determine what has to be "adjusted". On my Cuda, the drivers side quarter literally dropped on and lined up, the passenger side required probably 8-10 hours of work to get it to an acceptable position. IMO mediocracy was the goal back in the day; nothing fit as I would have thought but you have to take in the whole assembly, not just one panel.

Lastly, Jimynick is absolutely on point with regards to the trunk extensions. When I put the trunk floor in my Challenger, no one mentioned this to me and I just lined them up with the trunk floor and wheel house, then welded them up. Well, the rear valance did not fit worth a crap which I found out after painting the car... I finally got it to fit by beating, bending and modifying the rear valance but had I known then what I know now, I could have avoided the drama. I didn't make this mistake on the Cuda, subsequently the rear valance on it fits much better than the other one.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #193 on: August 15, 2017 - 10:54:56 pm »
Well I'm thinking all my fancy plans are going down the drain. The more I cut and disassemble, the more I realize you guys are right about needing to loosely fit everything together before installing anything permanently. The rot in this car is incredible! Those salt roads really destroyed this car. Got my work cut out for me.








Offline Beekeeper

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Re: Saving a 4 speed JH car
« Reply #194 on: August 15, 2017 - 11:06:13 pm »
70chall440, thanks for the schematic. I put the car back on rails just like I did in the front to get reasonably accurate measurements. I took lots of notes, photos and measurements before hacking everything out. I plan to replace the entire rear rails rather than section. On the passenger side, the torque box area for the leaf spring hanger is seriously rusted out so I'll replace all that with new. Been cutting out wheelwells and prepping remaining back seat floor pan for fitting new wheel houses.

Last night I found the rocker area is gonna need some major repair but I'm confident it will come out okay in the end. I also get the pleasure of sectiontioning in some new metal to one of the braces between the wheel house and speaker shelf.

I think I may need to take a weekend to completely remove all traces of old quarters, trunk floor, etc. and then focus on doing the repairs as needed one by one.

I was feeling really ambitious last couple nights after work by cutting out the jack brackets so I reuse them and save a couple dollars. Not really worth the effort but I don't want this project to eat me alive in new metal purchases.