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Restoration Journal

August 1, 2001

Degreased the starter with my old friends Simple Green and a wire brush.  Had to use a screw driver and shop towels after that to clean out all the nooks and crannies.  Then derusted the armature using a combination of sand paper and the wire wheel.  Then put a coat of POR15 on it.

Then decided to bolt the steering arms that came with my rebuild kit to the steering knuckles.  Found a problem with the right side - the bolt holes in the steering arm aren't wide enough.  The geometry and size of the arm look correct, but I can't insert the bolts.  Looks like PST sent me the wrong piece.

I'll have to give them a call and have them send a replacement.  This is the second problem I've had with their kit.  Their picking procedures could use some improvement.  I don't like dealing with unexpected little problems like this, especially when it's caused by other people's incompetence.

August 2, 2001

Tested the starter by hooking it up to the battery in my Outback.  The gear popped to the end of shaft when I applied juice, so I believe it still works.  Put a top coat of grey on the armature.

Then started the nasty job of cleaning up the bell housing.  It is covered in grease and grime.  First I took it apart - the splash shield, inspection cover and clutch fork.  I then settled in with my brush and Simple Green.  Got the bolts, fork and inspection cover cleaned up before bed.

I'll need to clean the bell housing outside - that's gonna be a big mess. 

A couple shots of the "ready to be bolted back on the car" parts pile:

August 3-5, 2001

I've grouped the weekend days together because I don't remember what I did on each particular day...

I degreased the bell housing.  What a freakin' mess.  I had to take a shower with Lava after that.  I then thought I should measure the old and new flywheels, just to make sure they were the same size...

Very bad.  The flywheel for the new motor is the 143 tooth kind.  The one from the 318 has 130 teeth.  The former is for 11" clutches, and the latter is for 10.5" clutches.

The really bad news is that the new flywheel won't fit in my bell housing!  Damnit!  I didn't know there were different diameter flywheels when I bought it, so I didn't know any better.  This flywheel is meant for trucks.

I spent lots of time reading books, searching the internet, and posting message on the list trying to determine what to do.  The bottom line is that I need either a new flywheel or a new bell housing.  The easiest route is to find a new flywheel.

The only problem is that the 130 tooth flywheel weighted for a 360 (yes, I need the flywheel for a 360, not a 340; that's another story) is pretty rare.  I may end up having to buy a new one, which will be another $250 I hadn't planned on spending.

As part of my clutch/flywheel education, I took the clutch assembly off the 318.  Just to see how things fit together and work.

Other weekend accomplishments:

  • degreased the bell housing splash shield
  • painted the K member
  • painted the transmission cross member
  • painted the bell housing, inspection cover and splash shield
  • painted the clutch fork

August 6, 2001

Assembled the various parts of the bell housing, and noticed that I didn't paint a couple areas that will be visible.  I'll take care of that when I paint the engine.

Degreased all the bolts associated with the bell housing.  Noticed some mildew/mold growing on the back seat, so I cleaned up both parts (the seat back and seat) with Mr Clean. 

August 7, 2001

Degreased and painted one of the valve covers from the 318.  I'll be using the original covers on the 340.  I'm glad I'm almost done degreasing parts; it's a messy job.  But the valve cover looks like new again.

Also removed one of the bushing shells from the driver's side control arm.  I did that in case I decide to use it after all.  Most of the opinions I've gotten have said it's ok to tack weld the ball joint in the arm if the threads strip out (like they have).  The UCA I was going to buy from a guy in Minnesota ended up being too rusty to use.  I've got a line on a couple more replacements.

August 8, 2001

Degreased and painted the remaining valve cover.  Also put a coat of POR15 on the replacement steering arm that was delivered.  It doesn't match the other one in appearance, but the geometry is correct, and the bolt holes are the right size.  It is a different size ball joint, and the grease boot they sent me won't fit it.

But I'm tired of dealing w/ PST on the phone, so I'm not gonna have them fix yet another error on their part.

August 11, 2001

Did a little painting on the various bell housing parts.  I wanted to paint the bolt heads and portions of parts that I hadn't previously painted, but then learned would be visible.  Got a couple things painted before running out of paint...

Decided to start on the transmission.  Carried it from the garage into the basement.  Taking lots of video tape of the process, so I don't screw anything up.  By the end of the night, I had the side cover off the case, and the bolts that hold the extension housing to the case out. 

At first look, everything looks great.  Of course, I don't know what it should look like, so...

August 12, 2001

Removed the extension housing from the tranny case, and started removing gears/stop rings/snap rings, etc from the main shaft.  It's pretty cool to see how this stuff works and fits together.

Removed all the 3rd and 4th gear stuff from the shaft, and then removed the shaft from the extension housing, with a little help from my lovely wife.  I did not remove any of the 1st/2nd gear stuff from the shaft, as that would require removing the rear bearings.  Everything looks great, so I'm not gonna mess with it.

Removed the front bearing retainer, degreased, and painted it.  Also started scraping away the remnants of the various gaskets.  At this point, I don't think I'll be replacing any parts at all.  Just gaskets and seals as necessary.

Various images of the dismantled 833 (click on image for full-size):

August 13, 2001

Bought some more engine paint on the way home, so I finished the touch up painting on the bell housing parts.

Also bought a gasket scraper, and proceeded to clean all the gasket remnants off all the transmission pieces.

August 14, 2001

Carefully inspected the tranny bearings.  Listened to them, inspected them with a flashlight.  I think the front bearings are ok.  But I discovered some pitting on the inner race of the rear bearings, so that dog will need to be replaced.  I then struggled with the snap rings that holds the rear bearings on the main shaft for about an hour.  I don't' have a snap ring pliers, and it was a pain.  Much cursing.  But I did finally get it off.

Now I need to determine if I can get the bearings off the shaft myself, of if I'll need to have a shop press them off.

August 15, 2001

After reading the manual and a timely article in the Mopar Muscle that arrived, I decide I can't remove the bearing myself.  I'll have to take it to a shop.  Not a big deal; I just like doing stuff myself when I can.

As I couldn't dismantle anything, I spent the nice cleaning up the tranny case.  Sand paper, steel wool, and a little POR15.

August 16, 2001

Ran errands over lunch.  Got the bearing pressed off the main shaft, so I'll be able to continue disassembly.

Then I went to see the car.  Progress is being made!  Pictures below tell the story.  Things to note:

  • both quarter panels are on
  • both doors have been repaired
  • rear valence modified for dual exhaust
  • engine compartment blocked
Scott says he should be done by 9/15.  I can't describe how great it's gonna be to have a pristine shell.

As usual, click on image for big version:

August 21, 2001

Was out of town for a long weekend, and had some personal matters, so the car didn't get worked on for a few days...

Finished removing gears and whatnot from the tranny main shaft.  All the synchros look good, and as I can't find replacements for a decent price, I've decided to re-use them.  Also measured the snap rings with my handy new micrometer, so I'll be able to buy new ones.

Can't really do anything else on the tranny until new gaskets and bearings arrive, so I moved onto a little problem I'm having with a spring hanger.  The holes in the hanger for the bolt are about 1/16" too wide.  So, I'm fabricating a couple sleeves for the bolt so that they'll fit snugly.  I picked up a brass sleeve that is 11/16" OD and 1/2" ID.  I need to drill out the center so that it will slide onto the bolt.  My trusty Dremel tool and I didn't quite finish the job before retiring for the night.

August 24, 2001

Finished fabricating the bolt sleeves for the one rear hanger.  It was a pain in the ass, but the bolts fit very snugly now.  I was pretty happy with myself upon completion.  The only question now is how durable they will be.  After I get the car on the road, I'll need to inspect them occasionally.

I then tried to install my new poly-graphite sway bar bushings.  Oh my god, what a pain in the ass.  They fit very snugly, and trying to jam them into their brackets while on the sway bar was frustrating.  After about 30 minutes, I gave up.

So I returned to the tranny.  I derusted/degreased and put a coat of POR15 on the side cover.

August 26, 2001

Well, I returned to the sway bar, since I can't do anything with the tranny until my replacement bearings/seals/gaskets arrive.  While thinking about how to get the bushing pressed into the brackets over the weekend, I came up w/ the idea of using a large pair of pliers to press them in.  I had been avoiding this, as it would mean scratching my nicely painted surfaces, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right?

Well, this worked very well for one side.  After about 5 minutes, I had the bushing pressed in.  I was happy.

The other side did not go as well.  This might be because the bracket is slightly bent (probably from the car bottoming out on the road at some point).  At any rate, I struggled with that thing for 30 or 40 minutes.  It was INFURIATING.  The best word to describe my state would be LIVID.  I don't know if I've ever been as mad in my life as I was trying to install that stupid bushing.  I wasn't yelling, but I was spewing a constant blue streak the entire time.  A sailor would've been proud of me.  My wife listened from upstairs by putting her ear to a register.  She said I was hilarious.

I finally gave up.  I was so pissed I had to take a walk to calm down.

After collecting myself, I tried to think of a better way.  I decided to bolt the thing to the K-member.  That way, the bracket would be stationary, and I'd only have to fight with the bushing.

This worked too well.  I was starting to be able to press the bushing in, but it tore in the process.  So now I'll need to get a new one rom PST.

August 27, 2001

The tranny parts that I'd been waiting for showed up, so it was back to that project.

I reassembled the 1st/2nd portion of the main shaft.  While doing that, I swapped the 3/4 stop rings with the 1/2 stop rings.  My reasoning is that the 1/2 stop rings take a worse beating, so swapping them should even out the wear.  I wanted to install the new rear baring myself, so I had bought a length of 1.5" PVC pipe.  The plan was to run that over the shaft, and drive the bearing into place.  Well, I got it part way on, but it wasn't going any further, and I didn't want to hit the assembly any harder than I had been, so I stopped.  I'll take it to the shop.

I then re-installed the bearing retainer, with a new gasket.  Next mini-project is to replace the rear seal.  The old one is rusted into the extension housing.  I gave it a little heat and sprayed WD-40 on it, to loosen it up over night.

August 28, 2001

Ran the main shaft to a shop over lunch & had the rear bearing pressed on.  It was such a simple job, they didn't even charge me!  Very nice of them; they'll be repaid with my return business.

Finished reassembly of the main shaft.  Next thing to do is clean up the etension housing, so I have something to put it in.  The old rear seal was rusted tight to the housing.  I used a hack saw to reveal where the joint between the housing and the seal flange was.  I then used a chisel to pry the old seal out of the housing.

Next step was to de-rust it.  Out to the garage, where my wire wheel is currently bolted to my Workmate.  After 15 or 20 minutes, I was satisfied.  I didn't get it clean down to the metal, but I got all the loose rust off.  POR15 will stop the rest.

I then hammered in the replacement rear seal.  I also did a little painting around the speedometer hole, as that area would be a little difficult to paint once the entire transmission is reassembled.  All that's left to do now is bolt everything back together...

August 29, 2001

Followed the instructions in the FSM to put the tranny back together.  As I don't have it bolted to a stand, another pair of hands was needed, and my lovely wife helped out.

First, we slid the main shaft into the extension housing.  That went quite smoothly.  Seating the retaining ring in the housing was not difficult.

Then we needed to mate the extension housing to the case.  This was a little more difficult, as space in the case is limited, and getting all the gears to mesh properly with the counter shaft takes a little wiggling.  In the end, we set the case on its end (input shaft pointing at the floor), and lowered the shaft into it.  After a little jostling, the extension was seated against the case.

I then derusted the bolts that hold it in place, and torqued it down.  I also derusted/degreased the speedometer parts and installed them.  I also "shifted" the tranny into every gear to make sure I assembled everything correctly.  I accomplished that by sliding the clutch sleeves by hand.

My plan for tomorrow is to put some oil in the case and check for leaks.  If there aren't any, it will be time to paint.

August 30, 2001

Used the wire wheel to clean up the bolts that hold the shift plate to the case.  Also cleaned up the shift levers and the nuts/washers that retain them.

Then I poured a quart of 20W-50 into the case to check for leaks.  I titlted the case this way and that, to check each gasket.  Much to my surprise, when I titled it backwards, oil came pouring out of the rear seal.  At first I thought I had missed something, but with a little detective work, I learned that the inner portion of the rear seal is for the drive shaft, not the main shaft.  So, unless the drive shaft is inserted, oil will pour out the rear of the extension housing.

I then replaced the O-rings on the shift shafts, and reassembled the shift plate.  I greases up the new gasket, and positioned the plate on the case.  I followed the FSM instructions, by positioning the shift place so that there is a small drag between the reverse and 1st/2nd cams, and then tightened everything down.  It was too late to start the painting process, but the tranny is now completely reassembled!

August 31, 2001

Masked the parts of the tranny that I didn't want paint on.  Then I carried it up and out into the garage.  Hopefully that will be the last time I have to lug it up/down stairs!

I put a coat of POR15 on it.  After that dried, I put on a coat of cast grey.  It looks pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself.