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Restoration Journal

September 1, 2001

These shots were actually taken Aug 31.  The hood and deck lid are ready; they just didn't happen to be on the car when I was there. Click image for huge version.

The night of Sep 1st was mostly clean up.  The garage and basement were a mess from the weeks of transmission work, so I got everything put away in its rightful place.  Other than that, all I did was a little service manual reading on sure grips.  I picked mine up from the shop over lunch, and I wanted to check it over a couple extra times before bolting it to the axle housing.

I made sure the thrust spacers were in there, and that there wasn't any dirt/gunk in the case.  The shop checked it over and said it's ready to be bolted in.

September 3, 2001

Time to mate the carrier with the axle housing!  I figure it will be easier to do this before the axle housing is bolted on the car.  God knows removing the carrier from the housing while it was on the car wasn't much fun.

I thought it would be wise to put the new axle oil seals in the axle tubes before installing the carrier.  On the suggestion of a list memeber, I used a piece of PVC pipe to drive them in.  It worked pretty  well - they ended up getting slightly bent, but not to the point that it shoudl affect the seal around the axle.

I scraped the old gasket off the carrier.  Using a little lithium grease, I placed the new gasket on the axle housing, and then set the carrier down over the studs.  I did all this with the axle housing sitting in a milk crate.  That worked really well - the axle housing was nice and stable, as opposed to rolling around on the ground.

After securing the carrier with the nuts, I now had a really nice setup for detailing the carrier.  So, I made another pass over the carrier with simple green, and then put a coat of POR15 on it.  After that dried, a top coat of chassis black was applied.

Took pictures of the finished tranny as well as the assembled housing:

September 4, 2001

I'm getting ready to order my new tires, and I still haven't finished cleaning up the new Cragar wheels.  I did 2 of them a couple months ago, but the other 2 are still dirty.  So the entire night was spent first rinsing the crap off of them, and then using WD40/steel wool to get them shiny.  At least as shiny as possible; they have some surface rust and the chrome has started pealing in some places, but they look pretty good.

September 6, 2001

Cleaned and shined the remaining wheel.  Then put a coat of wax on all 4 of them.

September 7, 2001

Went to take pictures of the car over lunch!  Scott will be painting it tomorrow.  He's done an absolutely amazing job. 

The undercoating is on and the interior/trunk/engine bay are painted.  The GG1 is gonna look absolutely fabulous.  It's a little darker than I thought it might be, which is just fine by me!

He used a spray-on truck bed lining product for the undercoating.  It's rock hard, and he says it will prevent rock chips, etc.  Seems like a great idea to me.

As usual, click on the image for full-size version:

The only work I did that evening was to install the replacement sway bar bushing.  God, what a PITA!  My wife had to help me.  It took 2 pliers and 3 screw drivers, but we did eventually get it pressed into the bracket.  We did tear it slightly in the process, but it should be ok.

After that, I put some fresh POR15 on the scratch marks that results from installing both bushings.

September 9, 2001

Put top coats of satin black and clear coat on the K member and sway bar.

Began work on the intake/heads that I bought from Bear (we removed them from his engine on the 8th).  I scraped all the old gasket pieces off the intake, and then degreased the whole thing with a brush and Simple Green.  I think it's now ready to be bolted on.

September 10, 2001

My replacement UCA showed up.  The ball joint is missing, so first thing I did was take a look at the threads.  Didn't look good; I saw some cross-threading.

My fears were confirmed when I put a new ball joint in the arm, and it just spun and spun.  No better than my original UCA.

Thinking I'd have to use the original UCA, and just tack weld the ball joint in place, I hack sawed out the remaining bushing shell that was still in it.  I also loaded up the car with part that I will need to take to the shop/parts store.  Now that I'll have the car home soon, I need to get a few little tasks done that I haven't gotten around to, like having the new bushing pressed in the UCAs.

I also scraped the gaskets off one of the heads before bed.

September 12, 2001

Well, another possible replacement UCA showed up on my doorstep on the 11th.  So I figure I'll give this one more try before using the old one.  I'm sure tack welding the ball join in place will be fine, but I'd feel better if I found a UCA that will actually take 130 ft-lbs of torque.  I wasn't able to remove the old ball joint myself, so I took it to my sandblaster over lunch to get it cleaned up before I take it to the shop.

These pix were take by Scott sometime in early September. They show the car immediately before and during the final painting process.


September 13, 2001

Picked up the UCA from the media blaster.  Put a coat of POR15 on it.

Finished de-gasketing a head, and degreased it.  It's ready to be bolted to the block.

September 14, 2001

Took both UCAs to the shop over lunch.  One just need the new bushings installed.  The other need the old bushings and old ball joint removed, and new ones installed.  Also ordered a clutch set.

September 15, 2001

Cleaned out the garage in preparation for the car coming home.  The less dirt/grease I'll be laying on, the better.  Removed everything from the garage, swept and then flushed the floor with water.  Reorganized a few things and hung stuff on the wall to leave as much floor space as possible.

September 16, 2001

She came home today.  My uncle once again came to help me with the transportation, just as he did when I first took it to be sand blasted.  It took a little longer getting it on the trailer and securing it than I thought it would, but we wanted to be sure it wasn't going anywhere!  Plus, we had to be concerned about marring the body, where that really wasn't an issue with the first trip. Here we are securing it to the trailer:

The trip from the body shop to the house was uneventful.  Unfortunately, we did put a small scuff in the rear valence getting the car off the trailer.  While backing it down, it momentarily scraped the garage floor.  It doesn't bother me though, because a) it's a minor scuff b) it's below the license plate, so it will never be seen c) I can have it fixed if I want to.

Thanks to Bear for helping us get the car on/off the trailer, as well as Scott and his brother. And a really big thank you to my uncle, David, for spending his day off helping me.

As usual, click for full-size image.  I went a little crazy with the pictures, but can you blame me?  =)

September 17, 2001

Got the K-member bolted back on.  There was a little cussing, as I tried to start the bolts with the K-member balancing on my floor jack, but it wasn't too difficult.

I then got the car up on 4 jack stands, and rolled the dolly out.  That dolly sure did serve its purpose well, and it even survived a couple things it wasn't designed for, like moving the shell between the media blaster and body shop, through a bunch of gravel.

So, I'm just about ready to start getting the suspension back on the car.  Last thing I did was POR some spots on the undercarriage that didn't have undercoating sprayed on them.  That was due to masking and the saw horse that the car was resting on in the body shop.  Now there's no bare metal anywhere to rust!

September 18, 2001

Picked up my clutch set and control arms over lunch.  Good news - the replacement UCA ball joints threads weren't stripped!  So I won't need to tack weld the ball joint in place.  Third time's the charm, I guess.

Back in the garage, I started on the rear suspension.  Before mounting the springs, I replaced a couple small things, like the exhaust hanger, emergency cable bracket, and axle housing bumpers.

Then it was on to the springs.  First thing to do is bolt the front hanger to the spring.  Then mount the rear shackle hanger, and slide the rear of the spring onto the shackle.  Then it's just a simple matter of lifting the front of the spring into place, and bolting the front hanger to the chassis. 

September 19, 2001

Touched up the driver's side UCA w/ POR15, as it had some nicks from the ball joint/bushing installation.  Unmounted front of springs so that I could also POR the front side of where the hangers mount.  While I had the paint out I also painted a couple other spots on the chassis.

Then it was time to get the axle housing back in the car.  I placed it on a crawler, and wheeled it under the car.  By rotating the housing, I was able to lift once end at a time up and on top of the springs.  Using a floor jack and several trips from side to side, I was able to get it located properly.

My wife, Dawn, came home and offered to help.  Together we got the U-bolts/shock plates in place and torqued down.  The car has rear suspension again!  We then mounted the shocks.  Dawn had a surprisingly good time using the torque wrench and lying on the crawler under the car!

Before quitting for the night, I moved the jack stands from the frame rails in front of the rear end to the axle housing.  Greater distance between front and rear jack stands = greater stability.

September 20, 2001

It was a light night, as I'd been going pretty hard at the car all week.  All I did was properly torque the nuts on the spring shackles and the front eye bolts.  FSM said not to do that until the weight of the car was on the springs, which is why I hadn't done it earlier.

September 21-22, 2001

I can't install the axles, because I don't have the foam gaskets that go between the axle flange and the backing plate, so I started on the front suspension.  Getting the UCAs in place was a small struggle, as the bushing fit very tight between the brackets.  But some pulling, tugging and light raps with a hammer got them in place.

Moved onto the LCAs.  I got the right LCA bolted to the K member, and the torsion bar in place, before realizing that the LCA and strut rod need to be bolted on as an assembly.  So, I removed the t-bar and the LCA, bolted the strut to the LCA, and then replaced the LCA.

At which time I discovered another problem.  I couldn't tighten the nut on the front of the strut far enough to expose the hole for the roll pin.  So I took everything off again, and discovered that the brass sleeve that the bushings ride on was too long.  I had to hacksaw about 1/2" off of it.  When I put everything back together, it fit properly.

I also struggled with getting the t-bar dust boots over the end of the t-bar.  I finally resorted to using some grease, and it was a snap after that.

Only one issue remains.  The LCA/bushing/pivot flange are not all snugged up against each other, as I would've expected.  I don't think this is a problem, but I'm trying to verify this is normal before I go any further with the front suspension.  There is about 1/4" space between the pivot flange and the poly bushing.


September 24, 2001

Put the axles back in the car. I reused the metal gaskets that sit between the axle housing and the backing plates. They were a little rusty around the edges, but they should do.

Everything went pretty smootly, considering I'd never done this before.  I just followed the instructions in the FSM.  The only thing that was a little nerve wracking was setting the axle end play.  I had to set it quite a bit deeper than what it was originally on the car.  For a while I thought something was wrong, because I kept turning the adjuster and turning it, and the play of the left axle wasn't diminishing!  Not fun pounding on that adjuster with a screwdriver and hammer.

But eventually it did tighten up, and I believe I've got is set correctly.  I threw a couple drums and wheels on the car so I could get two of the jack stands out from under it.  The ride height is very high - we'll see how high it is when the car is sompletely assembled again.

September 25, 2001

Loosened the nuts on the each end of the springs, just in case that was causing the high ride height.  That didn't matter, but I'll leave them loose while restoring the car so that the springs can move freely.

Back to the front suspension.  I took off and replaced the right LCA/strut at least a couple times, trying to figure out a way to get the LCA pulled all the way up to the K member.  I wasn't successful.  I'll have to do some more research to figure out a solution.

September 26, 2001

Did much research on my strut rod bushing problem, and came to the conclusion that the PST kit contains strut rod bushings for B/C bodies!  I don't believe they will work on a Barracuda without modification.

So, I ordered new bushings from Year One, along with some other items I'll need in the future, including the left hand side motor mount bracket for a 340.

September 27,2001

Decided I couldn't wait for the parts from YO, so I picked up a Moog strut rod bushing kit from a parts store on the way home.

Removed the LCA/strut once again, replaced the PST stuff w/ the Moog parts, bolted it back up, and VOILA!  The LCA is now positioned where it's supposed to be.  Made me very happy.

I only did the right side, just to see if the Moog stuff would solve the problem.  I should be able to get both front wheels on the car this weekend.

September 28, 2001

Removed the left hand LCA/strut, replaced the strut bushings w/ the Moog stuff, and bolted it back on.  As on the right side, everything is lovely now.

I then bolted on the steering knuckle/lower ball joint.

September 29, 2001

Got out the POR15 and painted a few spots on the front suspension.  Just spots that were missed with the undercoating, or were marred during the installation process.

Next thing to do was to get a wheel on the front end.  I couldn't do the right side, as I'm still waiting for a grease seal, so I did the left.  After bolting on the splash shield, greasing up the hub and packing both sets of bearings and installing the inner grease seal in the hub, I was almost there.  Just had to slide the hub on the spindle, install the outer bearing, and install the lock nut.

I hope I packed the baarings properly.  I've never done that before.  I put the wheel/tire in place and let the car down!  Only one more wheel to go!

September 30, 2001

Removed the old gaskets and degreased the remaining head.  I still need to degrease the bolts/rocker assembly, but I'm just about ready to finish building the motor.