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Cars > charger’s Garage > Blog


Am I lucky or Unlucky?

By charger

Been a whole year since I blogged about anything and a lot has gone on with the 68 Charger just working out the bugs.

Yesterday I had to pause and ask am I lucky or unlucky?!

Took the 68 out for a quick run (it was over 60 degrees and sunny, weird KS winter) to determine if we got the electrical issue worked out. We did. However, while pulling in to QT to get some Premium gas. Felt a slight pop in the steering wheel while slowing down to turn. Got to the pumps and topped off. As I was leaving pump and beginning to turn. The Steering wheel just began to spin and the car didn't turn. What the X!@%#. Couldn't steer a bit. lifted the hood after kind of moving out of everyone's way. The steering shaft was spinning in the knuckle of the steering Geer. Nothing obvious but it was broken for sure. Called a tow truck to take me back to the shop since I couldn't see anyway to fix the issue on the road. Having owned Chargers all my driving life I've never experienced this before. I'm unlucky that it happened. But I'm damn lucky I wasn't moving fast down the highway when it did.

First Car Show & Trophy

By charger

WoW, talk about running around, obtaining missing or forgotten parts and trying to get ready for the first big show.

Starbirds Wichita received top 5 Mopar trophy for the 95% completed 68 Charger. All the WAM Mopar guys vehicles got a trophy as well so it was a good showing for all of us to start the year off.

Hurried up to get the interior installed. Lots of wiring left to do in hooking up the power windows, locks, trunk release, alarm system and more. Had fun trying to get all the new interior carpet, seats and side panels in. Paint dyed all the rest and it looks Great.

Still have much to do under the hood to get it running and expect to complete that in next sixty days or sooner. Will keep you posted.

Hope your project comes along for you too!


Charger is coming together faster now!

By charger

It's the NEW YEAR 2011 and we are trying like mad to get the Charger ready for it's first public appearance at STARBIRDS in Wichita Jan 14th.

The Engine and Tranny are in but need more connections, alignment etc. Exhaust stock manifolds are for the first fire up and burn in to protect the new ceramic headers from damage.

Paint and exterior is done and glass in in. this includes the Bumble bee stripe, Vinyl roof, chrome trim, mirrors, lights, grills, bumpers, door handles and locks, etc. etc.

Wiring completion and interior is next. We don't plan on getting it started before the show because there is just too much left to do along with fuel system and such.

Will keep you posted.

Happy New Year!


Holiday Charger progress 2010

By charger

Finally got some time to work on the Charger restoration.
Stabbed the New Engine and transmission in the car tonight with the help of my Mopar Club buddies Rick and Mike.
Installed the heating and AC unit along with the Dash that has new wiring. Used insulation and sound deadening mat on the interior.
Most of the firewall items are now in place and with the engine mounted we can begin to install components.
Steering column is mostly rebuilt and will go in next (kind of helps to be able to steer the car when moving it around).
Taking car back to paint shop for window installation and final paint work.
Getting closer to seeing the project towards completion.
Have added some goodies that include: power windows, locks and trunk release. What can I say, I like luxury. Did draw the line at the butt heaters the wife likes.
New FAST fuel injection system is also just come in.
Working on fuel tank and lines to handle the new induction.
More soon.

July Project 68 Charger progress

By charger

Temperatures here are 100 to 109 degrees and we are only working early hours of available weekends because the unair-conditioned shop is unbearable to work in. Wife won't let me add AC to the shop because she thinks I won't come back into the house from the shop. I think she's on to something there. I already have cable, internet, heating, restroom, shower, refrigerator and laundry unit. Why not Air conditioning. LOL.

Undercoating is done. I think I went through 15 or more cans of Rustoleum professional undercoating paint and covered all the underside surfaces and inner fenders.

Have all the suspension in place except the front sway bar because stock brackets are broken and cant' find replacements. Will have to repair them. Powder coated K-Member looks good along with the other gloss black items.

BRAKES - where do we start (or stop) . Have learned a lot about 4 wheel drum to disc brake conversion along with parking brake lines, rear axle modifications, bearings, and more. On back I Had to replace or modify the housing flange bolts, install green axle bearings, grind the axles shorter, change wheel studs, drill rotors mounting holes bigger, and add spacers to the axle flange to make up for the change from drum brakes. Front brakes were a breeze compared to back. Expect to continue installing the new brake lines, master cylinder, and proportioning valve. All the stuff is from "The Right Stuff" vendor and I highly recommend them because they have good support. Their new conversion instructions are also getting better because of my feedback. The drilled and slotted rotors look great though!

New 17"x8" and 17"x105" wheels with tires are mounted. They will look good on the car. American Racing Torque Thrust series polished.

I will confess that it seems like everyday we work on the Charger we end up chasing parts for the modifications and upgrades about 30% of the time. It took us six different parts stores to get enough wheel studs the right size. So if you are contemplating your restoration project - expect to do likewise and budget for these unknown items. Bolts, washers, and more.

Have a great August! Keep COOL.

Charger Resto update June 2010

By charger

Some friends and I picked the 68 Charger up earlier in month from Resto paint guy and have begun reassembly and finish work. It's really hot here (90s) so we are doing some work in early morning and at night as we feel like it. Guess the AC of the 1,500 square foot shop might have been a good choice, except for the cost. Maybe that lottery ticket will hit someday soon. LOL

Undercoated the front fender wells to seal them and kill some noise. Did the transmission hump area as well. Expect to continue through the back of vehicle with same undercoating. Been using Rustoleum brand spray can undercoating and like that it sticks well and drys fast. However, coverage per can is small compared to regular paint. About 2.5 cans for each fender well area.

Began assembling the front suspension with K-Member, front disk brake assembly and all new suspension. Most of the parts are powder coated gloss black and the balance are painted black where powder coating wasn't an option.

Once we get the assembly on for a rolling chassis I will be working on the firewall components and such.

More later.


I'm inspired by Garage Posts!

By charger

Here is a shot of a typical garage by a dirty hands, busy all the time no time to cleanup, gotta get the project(s) done guy. LOL

OK if can't relate then you are probably retired and have all the time to do these things that I envy you for.

Current project is the rebuild of a Torqueflite 727 in Heavy Duty fashion with a Transgo TF2 kit and a bunch of other Race or HD parts. This is the second one Rick and I have done lately for the 68 and 69 Chargers.

Still working on the 68 Charger resto with front end assembly being cleaned, blasted and painted. I'll try for a pic on that next.

Enjoy the Spring Car Shows and Meets!


Paint Finally!!!

By charger

Got a picture text from the Body Shop and they finally painted the 68 Charger. Went down end of February to take these pictures and scope out the wheels n tires someone has to offer.
Paint is 2008 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi Orange Pearl, Yep just like the other one I have.

The dash is all ready to go with LED lamps throughout which will save about 20 amp draw at night. If anyone wants a LED replacement lamp kit from me let me know. I'm using LED lamps on Dash, Interior, side marker, Signal and stop lamps. This will save about 20 amps draw and be just as bright as old bulb style. The 20 amp savings will result in less draw on alternator and provide for more electrical options.

Working over the Heating and A/C box unit to make sure all the vacuum units, levers, doors etc work. Replacing all the insulation, seals and such. Plus leak test. Man this thing is funky to disassemble and it needed cleaned.

Steering column, pedal assemblies, console and more to get ready to go as well..

More later

What is it with Anal retentive Body Shop guys in Restoration??

By charger

WoW. I've just taken a trip to the Chargers Restoration Body Shop and found that the primer is still in place and paint is yet to come. It seems the trunk will take more primer sanding to be smooth. Now this is where I am clueless. And why I don't do the bodywork and paint on nice vehicles. Why would you spend days final sanding a car trunk that will have sound deadening applied and then paint? Keep in mind the car will be driven hard and long distances too. It's not a trailer queen (no offense intended) It's just that I can't enjoy a 500 HP ride moving it from trailer to the show spot. Most trailer queens I know don't even get revved up for fear of having to clean it up.

Paint I chose will be the 08 Pearl Daytona Hemi Orange color to match the 08 with several base and clear coats and some orange peal so it's gonna look real nice.

Charger DASH. I've just finished using LED bulbs in most all the dash lights and they look good. Now I won't have to worry about replacing any burnt out bulbs in my lifetime. Charger owners can contact me for a LED kit to redo their vehicle that I'm developing. I've been doing all the homework on bulbs and equivalent LED bulb replacement. It's not as simple as some may think. However, I will bring the 20 amp draw down to about 2 amps and that means less hassle with alternator and battery demand. So there is a big reward if you are going to add more modern electrical demands.

More later!

Charger restoration update December 09

By charger

OK, Since the body shop guy insists on spending countless hours block sanding the body we've turned our attention to the other details that need done.

In the pics are the Dash with new paint, replaced pad, reworked gauges and switches to be sure all work, including the AM radio with new wiring harness and some added electrical capacity.

Been toying with the idea of LED lights conversion and still working out the details because you can't just screw in a replacement LED bulb.

Engine externals are starting to go on. Most all aluminum to shave off nearly 200 pounds of cast iron engine weight. Rick A helped me set the adjustable rocker assemblies.

Now gotta get the seats and AC-Htg unit ready to go.

Starbird is next week and I'm on the road a bit so more in late January.

Hope all your winter projects are coming along too!


Primer continuation

By charger

Muscle Car Factory continues to work the body n paint on the 68 Charger. Pic is of this last weeks progress as it is in block sanding now. Looks really straight with good lines and matching gaps at openings. Hope for paint by Christmas.

68 Charger RESTO Update 11/09

By charger

Been nearly a year but the 68 Charger is now back into the works with my body n paint guy.
We've got the pics to show the sheet metal is all smoothed and the first coat of primer is going on this week.
Meanwhile I have got the dash de-rusted and primered ready to paint.
The gauges and panel have been reworked and all are now working right (or so they seem). Dash resto with new wiring harness, pads, paint and more are being done to coincide with final paint and assembly of car.
Trying to have the Charger ready for January Rod N Custom Show. Paint n body guy won't commit. But, it looks promising.

Latest Racer just added to family

By charger

Newest family member, Grandson James Hornecker born this AM 2/20/09 to Daughter and son in law. Got all the toes n fingers to handle the competition.


By charger

My restroshop got back onto the 68 Charger after things slowed down for them and they now have the Sheet metal all welded into place on the Charger in preparation for reassembly. I'm trying to keep up with the rest of the items that need to be done as well.
As usual Donations Accepted.

I couldn't resist

By charger

2008 Dodge Charger RT Daytona Edition is now in my garage with all the goodies and a HEMI to boot.


By charger

The photos show the various state of rust repair to the Charger as part of the restoration. Some things have delayed the work but it's back on track now. The entire car has been dismantled for sandblasting and then welding up new steel where rust was cut out. Rotisserie is kind of a tool to make this easier.

A new 440 is being built to go into the Charger and it will have some goodies for better performance and still be tame enough for my lady to drive. Block is beefed up with steel and forged parts. Aluminum Heads and valve train. Comp Cam. Improved Oiling and more.

In case you are wondering this isn't a stock restoration, it's a muscle car improvement program that will include modern upgrades in engine and suspension performance, stopping power, and comfort. All while keeping it's great Charger looks!

More later...........

First Experience with restoration work and wow it adds up fast!

By charger

It's been 75 days since the Deer Strike and the 68 Charger is in a good Mopar restoration Boby shop. The project started out as a repair of damage, fix the body rust, and get a new paint job. Well, the more you dig, the more rust you'll find. At present the interior is all out and the body is nearly down to clean metal with lot's of rust repair being done. New sheetmetal covers the fender, hood, rear quarters, rear valence, inner fender wells, rocker panels and both front and rear glass areas. Never knew how much rust was lurching under the interior. Car should look fantastic when it's done. Hope to have it back in time for "Automobilia" car show in downtown Wichita, KS this July. Lot's of work to be done by the shop and myself between now and then along with a wedding for the son and WAM mopar car show in June. Wow. Hope to hit the lottery jackpot soon. Might even have to form a old Mopar owners restoration charitable foundation. Here's a pic of the restored Grill I pick up very soon to give a peek on the nice looks the Charger will have. Will also try to upload a progress photo albumn soon. Best Wishes on your projects!

Thinning the Deer Herd

By charger

Thinning the Deer herd
As I write this it’s been about 18 hours since I’ve experienced my first deer collision in my life. I’ve always thought that all the antenna on my vehicles acted like deer whistles and kept me safe as a result of my wireless radio business, this car didn’t have all that. Unfortunately, last night, in the rain and darkness at highway speed, on Highway 400 going home into Andover, KS that all ended. I first noticed the herd of several deer on my left going to my right and I began to slow. Strange I thought the deer usually cross the highway behind me near the two bridges and creek, I was past there with the RV dealership is on my right well beyond the woods. Just then coming up out of the ditch to my right were two more deer going left to meet the gang for a party in the highway median. I hit the brakes hard and swerved hard left to go between the herd, but there wasn’t enough space and I impacted one doe in front while the other deer hit my right front quarter. I saw the front deer go airborne and cranked harder to the left to avoid it from hitting the windshield. Because of the wet pavement and older drum brakes I skidded and did a 180 degree spin ending up bounding through the center median nearly two hundred feet away from the impact. Fortunately there was very little traffic on the four lane highway at that time. After a brief moment to compose myself I looked to see what the traffic was doing and then moved the car to the far right emergency stopping area now going the opposite direction from where I started. I put on my flashers and began to look over the damage and to determine if I can drive it the mile left to home. A nice young lady then pulled over and offered her cell phone to me to call for help and I thanked her and said I have one. I then checked to see that the deer were off the road so no one else would have to avoid them. Looking over the car quickly I could see that I could drive it home. Once home I called the Andover PD to report the issue and check on the deer in the ditch since I couldn’t see its condition in the dark. In the light at home I could see the damage to the hood, right front fender, center grill, passenger headlight assembly and trim. The car was covered in mud, grass, and deer stuff. Wow I thought pretty solid car for such a hit. Molly (my dog) came up and started sniffing the area with fur n stuff and I popped open the hood. No major damage could be observed beyond the grill and trim. If your wondering why this incident is of interest it’s because I was driving my 1968 Dodge Charger. My suburban was having starter wiring issues and I thought I’d be ok driving the Charger for a day until I could get the problem resolved. I did fix it last night and now the Charger awaits the process of insurance and finding a suitable body shop to repair the damage. Remember to always wear your seatbelt and watch out, where’s there is one deer the herd isn’t far behind, plus they don’t always go in the same direction. I hope you don’t have this same experience with your Mopar.

Suburban gets new engine

By charger

Wow, I guess bad stuff comes in threes. After having recently changed the torque converter then the whole transmission I found myself going down the road with a vibration then no oil pressure. Seems the flex plate/flywheel decided to grenade itself at some point shortly after putting in the new transmission. I'll upload a picture soon, I can't believe it didn't leave me stranded as the entire center section of the flywheel was broken out. This vibration caused the rear main seal to go out causing a tremendous loss of oil (3 quarts in about 45 miles).
So it was decision time. New car or fix the utility vehicle.
I decided on a new GM crate 350 engine. This weekend my buddies Steve R. and Mike S. along with son Mike M. worked with me to R&R the engine in the suburban. We finished up tonite and it purrs great. Given the 100,000 mile and 3 year warranty the new GM crate engine came complete except intake and was a better price than rebuilt engines. Lot's of work though doing the swap, clean up of existing stuff and making sure everything went back together right. My hats off to Steve as he did a lot of the work in the engine bay as he was the small flexible guy to fit in.
Still looking at the new Dodge Charger RT for consideration though.

Dodge Chargers Dominate Nascar Daytona 500

By charger

For us Mopar "Dodge Charger" and Nascar Fans we have to be proud that our Dodge Boys kept the Toyo's off the big win. No question about a dominating manufacturer when the Five Dodge Chargers took 1st (Alltel 12 Ryan Newman), 2nd (Miller Lite 2 Kurt Bush) , 5th (Target 41 Reed Sorenson), 6th (Best Buy 19 Elliot Sadler), 7th (Budwiser 9 Kasey Khane), & 8th (Jim Beam 7 Robby Gordon) places of the top ten. Toyos were 3 & 4 and were a strong force all day. Junior (Dale Earnhart) Chevy took 9th and a Ford (Greg Biffel)took 10th. If anyone missed the race it was exciting with the new car design that kept many wrecks from happening but didn't leave out the excitement. Of course the wife still doesn't understand the facination of racing round n round, but then she's never tried it. I HAVE!

Oh my aching back

By charger

OK, had to put a rebuilt 4L60E transmission is the Suburban last weekend. Thanks to son Mike and Son in law Nathen I was able to get old one down and new one up and stabbed. Yes I have a 4 post lift and no tranny jack. Really wasn't all that bad weighing about 150 lbs. I sold the Bonneville SE I was driving as a backup. Had been trying to sell it for a few months with no interest. It figures cars never sell until you need to drive them. LOL

Didn't drive the 68 Charger in the sub freezing temps because it's such a bear to get warmed up to run good. Old carburated muscle cars just hate cold weather even with electric choke and electronic ignition. Besides with ice n snow I don't trust any of the drivers on the road to retain control around my Charger. Too hard to fix em when they are wrecked these days. Don't believe me, just ask any body shop and they will tell you they don't have any real "metal body workers", just parts replacement people and painters.

However, found the Suburban heater wasn't working after sitting a couple of months. Required to backflush the system to get it working again. Ahhhhh heat is so nice in winter.

Well back to other things. Grandbaby Jordan is growing and some fun to be around. Translated into I'm sure glad he goes home after visiting. Old guys can't stand them diaper changes n crying for the bottle for too long.

Went to Starbird Car Show Fiasco in Wichita. They advertised $15 to get in and charged $17 at the door without any explaination. Century II exposition center and Starbird are all pointing fingers at who's to blame for the change from Advertised price. Add to the management gaft was that the show participants had to buy all thier food n drinks from the concession stands as they weren't allowed to bring in anything. Previous years they allowed those who showed thier rides and stayed at the show all three days to bring in snacks n drinks. I got a strong feeling the show partiipants won't be back.

Next it's get the 440 on the engine stand for a teardown inspection.

I'm a Grand Dad now

By charger

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Grandson Jordan Tyler born Dec 14th, 07 precisely at 8:00 AM by my Daughter MIchelle and son in Law Nathen. Was there for over 14 hours and witnessed the proud event. Now I think my graying hair shows the Grandpa status.

Picked up a 440 Block to work over for the 68 engine replacement. Got lot's of ideas from Mopars at the strip n Vegas and Mopar Nats. Yes the Charger made it all the way to Ohio & back in August.

However, been fighting suburban transmission replacement costs, it's my 5th one in 300,000 miles, ouch.

Been looking at new Dodge Chargers and Challengers.

Need to work on personal website more lot's of pictures.

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