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Restoration Journal

June 3, 2002

Spent the whole evening in the basement cleaning up emblems. Did the 2 on the trunk lid, the "fish-in-circle" from the hood, the "Plymouth" from the header panel, and the idiot light housings on the hood.

The fish emblem from the trunk isn't in very good shape. I think I'll need to replace that one. The others are ok. One of the idiot lights has some pitting, but reproductions are not made, so I'll have to live with it.

June 6, 2002

A very bad night. Decided to continue working on emblems. I waxed the areas where emblems were still to be mounted first.

Then I tried to mount the left hand "V8" emblem. This is the emblem I had to relocate the mounting post on, because the holes in the fender were in the wrong place.

Well, JB Weld isn't as strong as they purport. Strong as steel? Fixes cracked engine blocks? That post broke off pretty easily while I was pressing the emblem into place. Crap! It's probably futile, but I glued it up again, hoping it won't break if I'm more careful next time.

Next task was to replace the pentastar on the right fender. This would've been easy if I hadn't already installed the fender splash shield, but I figured I'd be able to remove the old one and install the new one from the back side (through the door/body opening).

Well, I was just able to reach the nut on the back side, but it was a major PITA. I eventually got the old one off. With much contortion and swearing, I got the nut started on the new emblem. Then I started snugging it down with a ratchet.

Now, given how awkward of a position I was in while I was doing this, I couldn't really tell when the nut was snug. It turns out I turned it about 1/4 turn too far, because the mounting post (which is plastic) broke off! Man was I pissed.

So, a frustrating evening with nothing accomplished. Except raised blood pressure.

June 7, 2002

Mounted the pentastar. There was enough left of the plastic stud that I was able to mount it by using a regular nut on the backside.

Then tried to mount the left V8 emblem, which once again broke when I was installing it. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do about it; I need to find some way to affix that post that will hold up to some lateral pressure.

Moved onto the "Plymouth" emblem on the header panel, and the "fish in circle" emblem that goes on the hood. Both installed without difficulty.

June 10, 2002

Cleaned up the hood mounted turn signals. That involved cleaning the wires, derusting the mounting studs, cleaning the gaskets, etc. They were taken completely apart, and everything cleaned. I had previously shined up the chrome housings, one of which has some pitting, but at $275 for reproductions, I'll have to live with it. One of the lenses is cracked also.

Also re-glued the V8 emblem that's been giving me so many problems. We'll see if the latest product works or not.

I then re-cleaned up the Barracuda script emblem for the trunk lid. I removed all remnants of the black paint with the Dremel tool. I hadn't done that previously.

Last task for the night was cleaning up the plastic nuts that are used to mount the rear license plate. I then installed them in the rear valence and bolted on the license plate.

June 11, 2002

Installed the hood mounted turn signals, after stopping at a hardware store on the way home to buy screws to replace the originals. I thought it might be a pain snaking the wires through the hood, but it wasn't too bad. After I got them wired up, I verified they worked. Then I installed the plastic wire retainers to that everything is nice and orderly.

Only other activity for the night was wiring and securing the marker lights. They've been in the car for quite a while, but I didn't have them tightly secured or wired up. I snugged down the retaining nuts and plugged the front connectors to the wiring harness; turned on the parking lights - they work!

Onto the rear markers. Just had to snug down the retaining nuts and plug the lights into the markers. I had replaced the sockets, and they fit quite nicely. The rear ones work also.

June 12, 2002

Turned my attention to the hood ornaments. I cleaned up the chrome portions with steel wool, as usual, and gave them a good cleaning. They're in very nice shape; not perfect, but very good for 35 years in Wisconsin.

At first I thought I would be able to re-use the old gaskets. They were only cracked in a couple places. But after I took a good look at them I realized they were extremely brittle and had shrunk over the years.

So, I improvised with some weather stripping I had laying around. It worked fairly well, but the wider weather stripping I used on the outside edge of the ornament ended up being too thick. When on the car I want it to be almost invisible.

June 13, 2002

Bought some vacuum hose on the way home to use as a gasket for the hood ornaments. Somebody on the email list mentioned it can be sliced length-wise, resulting in a nice, long piece of rubber.

After doing just that to a length of it, I realized it wasn't going to work. The rubber was too thick, which made it difficult to lay flat; it kept wanting to roll up into a tube.

So, I turned to some sheet gasket material I had bought weeks/months before. It's a rubber/cork combination. Very easy to cut and work with. I used that stuff on the wider, lateral edge of the ornaments, and used some foam weather stripping for the rest of the perimeter.

That worked quite well; I bolted them on the car (after cleaning up the retaining nuts on the wire wheel). If you look close, you can see the gasket material, but it's not terribly obvious.

It's good enough for now. If I find myself with nothing to do in a couple years, maybe I'll replace it with something black, which is the color it's supposed to be.

June 14, 2002

Installed the two trunk lid emblems. Next, I finished installing the nuts on the hood ornaments; I had missed the 2 rear most nuts on each one.

Last task for the night was trying to install the left V8 emblem again. This time I used contact cement, and got the same result; the post broke off. So, I glued it back up again with epoxy before quitting for the evening. If it breaks again, I think I'm gonna resort to tape.

June 16, 2002

Hard to remember what I all did today. It was comprised of several short sessions, doing miscellaneous stuff...

I cranked on the LCA height adjusting screws a bit, to get the front end up a little more. Took it for a drive with the vents open for the first time and found myself in a sand storm! When I got back I had to vacuum out the interior. Hopefully all the sand is out of the cowl now...

I got under the car to search for an oil leak. Hard to say exactly where it's coming from, as some of the oil was from a valve cover leak that I believe is sealed now. There was also some oil on the clutch inspection cover; I hope the rear main seal isn't leaking.

I rerouted the choke and tach wires through the firewall, and tidied those wires up in the interior. They had just been lying on the floor for a couple months, as I just threw them in the car for the initial firing of the engine. I spliced the choke power source into the tach power source and bundled up the wires. Also routed/secured the antenna behind the dash.

Bear came over with a spare pair of 69 tail light housings for me to use until mine get back from AllTrim. Then we took the car for a spin. I'm slowly getting better with the clutch. We got on it a little bit, and burned some rubber of the BFGs. Much fun!

When we got back he tried to help me align the hood; the left side's been sitting too high. After fiddling with it, we discovered it really can't be lowered any more; the hinge is up against the hood already. I'm not sure how we'll correct it; a fender adjustment may be necessary.

June 17, 2002

Installed the trunk weather stripping. I never did get any information from the email list or Soffseal on the proper orientation, so I winged it. It took a fair amount of time; since there aren't any clips, I had to hold the weatherstripping in place while the adhesive dried.

Also tried to install the V8 emblem again, which broke again. Time to go buy some emblem tape, I guess.

June 18, 2002

Installed the left door weather stripping. I must've been doing something wrong, because it was a complete PITA! Lots of cursing. It seemed ridiculously hard to get the plastic clips in the holes. Because of that, and having to hold things in place while it dried, it took most of the night.

I had to stop after a while because I was too pissed off. I found a low-stress tasks: removing a small dent I put in the quarter window stainless steel. I had tightened down the screw that holds it in place too far, and it actually pushed a small bump into the trim. I tapped it back down, sanded, etc.

June 19, 2002

Finished installing the left door weather stripping; I hadn't glued down the hinge side. I also installed the rubber coated metal part that covers the end of the weather stripping on the latch side of the door.

Next, I installed the troublesome V8 emblem. I resorted to trim tape. Hopefully it will hold. I'm not happy about using tape, but I'd rather do that than drill an extra hole in the fender.

Started to do the right door weather stripping, but quickly found out I didn't have room; that side of the car is up against the wall of the garage, and I can't open the door fully.

So, I cleaned up and installed the sun visors instead.

June 20, 2002

Cleaned up the left and middle front seat belts. WD40/steel wool on shiny parts and Mr Clean/scrub brush on the fabric and plastic. They look very good. The only problem is the elastic which holds the shoulder belt taut against the roof is stretched out. I'll have to ask Dawn to replace it with her sewing machine some day.

June 21, 2002

Degreased/cleaned up the left quarter regulator. A very non-glamorous night of scrub brushes and Simple Green.

June 22, 2002

Reassembled, lubed and installed the left quarter regulator and glass. After having done the other side, it wasn't very difficult. Also adjusted everything so I've got a good seal at the roofrail.

June 23, 2002

Took the car for what has become its weekly drive. The water leak is all but fixed, but I've still got a small oil leak at the right valve cover, and also from somewhere near the rear seal. It bums me out; I'd like to have a car that doesn't leak any fluids, but this may just be part of having a collector car.

Adjusted the hood, again (with Dawn's help). I removed the popup spring, as that seemed to be causing some problems. We got it lined up perfectly. I'll add the popup spring some other time. Also used a little touch up paint on the left hood hinge; all the re-adjusting had removed some paint around the bolt heads.

Gave the car a sponge bath also. Removed bugs from windshield and front end, as well as some road grime from the quarters and fenders.

June 24, 2002

Drove the car to work! There was no reason to, other than to end an office pool: "when will Jeff actually be able to drive his car to work". Got to play show and tell with about 10 co-workers.

June 25, 2002

Decided it was time to fix the oil leak, which has been getting a little worse lately. I'm not sure if it's a single leak or multiple.

I started with the valve cover, which was definitely leaking at one point. I removed it and cleaned the gasket and cover. I used a little Permatex Ultra Black on each side of the gasket where it had been leaking. We'll see if that takes care of the leak.

I was also going to straighten the valve cover, but it didn't appear to really be bent, so I left it alone. If it still leaks, I'll probably have to start hammering on it.

The only other thing I did was get under the engine and wipe all the oil off everything. The airflow caused by the fan and driving down the highway got oil in a lot of places, making it pretty much impossible to discern where the leak is (if there is one other than the valve cover). All I really did was wipe everything down and look for possible leaks.

I think the next step is to let it run at idle, and then get under the car to try to find the source of the leak.

June 26, 2002

Started the car to check on the oil leak. I let it idle for about 5 minutes, and then got underneath to look for oil. Didn't see any. Whether that means it's fixed or simply needs higher RPMs to show itself again will be determined the next time I drive it.

Did some other miscellaneous things: checked all the front suspension bolts to make sure they haven't come loose from driving...tweaked the alignment a little bit...used a tiewrap to secure the starter wires to the steering column. Looks kind of lame, but at least it's not in contact with the Z-bar any more; I was worried about damaging the sheathing/wires from repeated clutch use.

June 27, 2002

Took the car for a 10 minute drive to check on the oil leak. Good news: no leak! But, it was a short drive, and I kept the RPMs low. The next test will involve a longer, more vigorous drive. But I'm getting hopeful that the leak may have just been the valve cover and that I may have fixed it...

Checked bolts on the rear suspension for tightness. Didn't find anything loose.

Last activity for the night was installing the right door weather stripping. Went much better than the left door, once I found the proper tool for getting the clips in the holes: a punch.

June 28, 2002

Didn't work on the car, but did trade a couple nasty emails with AllTrim. I found out it was going to be at least September before I got my grille and trunk trim back. I'll wait to write more when I find out how the situation resolves itself.

June 29, 2002

Installed a carb gasket/heat shield in an effort to fix my hot starting problem. I took the car for a spin to warm it up, and then tried to start it within a couple minutes of turning it off. Problem solved! Now I don't have to worry about stalling the car in traffic.

Replaced the right window weather stripping and fuzzy with the new pieces I bought. Started to replace the right quarter window weather stripping also, but stopped after getting frustrated. It's difficult to get the clips on the stripping into the holes.

June 30, 2002

Finished installing the w.s. from the previous night. Ended up using a clamp to get it in place. That slightly marred the stainless trim, but some steel wool corrected that.

Then I re-adjusted that window. Now that the new weather stripping was in place, I needed to make sure there was a good seal.

I then did the same thing on the left quarter window. Even with the clamp I wasn't able to get all the clips in place, but it's pretty good. I also re-adjusted that window's alignment. I think I am now done messing around with regulators!

Also installed the driver's shoulder belt. Dawn replaced the elastic. It looks great!