1973 Dodge Charger SE Pictures 2009


Click on pictures to enlarge

Here is the distributor that I have been working on since about mid December.  This is the BEFORE shot...   This is the way it came and it is passable.  But, I know that I can make it better.


And this is an AFTER shot.  This is after polishing the distributor and just before paint.  I am painting the distributor with Eastwood's Clear for Bare Metal.  It reduces the reflective clarity a little but it is acceptable since it does keep it from corroding.  I would rather have a little less reflection than have to remove the distributor every 2 years and re-polishing it.

Rear Lens

This is the rear lens after washing it.  It came to me with a little mud on it but the reverse lenses are clear and do not have cracks like the one I have on the driver side at the moment.  I bought this on Ebay last year and I was just waiting for the weather to get nice enough to paint the edges.

Paint Pen

This is the paint marker that I use for touching this stuff up.  I bought this one almost 10 years ago and it is still working.  It is made by Testors and you can usually find them in hobby shops or craft stores (like AC Moore).  This one happens to be silver enamel.  I used the same marker to touch up the silver around the factory gauges on the rally dash.  The marker gives you a nice tip to work with.

Painting Lens

These are the edges that need to be painted. If you examine a lens closely, you can usually see a little of the paint still on the edge.  Acid rain takes it's toll on these cars.  The SE had the edges on the lenses (rear, side & front) painted silver.

Painting Lens Technique

The technique I find that works the best is a very light dabbing of the paint on the edge.  It is referred to a stippling.  Making dots that overlap in this case.  These markers will dispense paint when they are depressed fully.  You want to be sure not to do this while working on these edges.  You just need enough paint on the tip to give you a smooth finish and just lightly dab the edge with the paint marker.

Lens Painting Technique

This is another shot of the procedure.  You want to be careful not to miss or slide down the side of one of the lens segments.  Just take your time.  This took me about 30-45 minutes.  If you get an uneven finish, you can go back over it in a couple hours using the same technique.

Lens Painting Progress

Here you can see how the edges transform.  Again, just take your time.  If you rush through this, you could cause yourself a great deal of trouble.

Lens Finished

This is the lens finished.

Door Hinges Rust coat

These are the rebuilt hinges that I bought from SMS Auto..  They really do a nice job on these hinges.  They may come with a little surface rust but it is nothing that a quick wire brushing will not remove.  They also make a note of that on a sheet of paper that comes with the hinges.  I bought these a few months ago so they did get a little flash rust but nothing major.  I did wire brush them and coated them with a rust converter as pictured here.

Door Hinges in primer

Here are the hinges after the first coat of primer sealer.  I also used a light gray since I want them to match the rest of the car as close as possible.

Primer 2

This is a different angle of the hinges.

Hinges in the oven

Here you can see two of the door hinges in my paint oven.  I bought this little toaster oven just for baking parts.  170 degrees for an hour.  There is a 60 minute timer on it that ticks down and shuts the oven off after 60 minutes (or however long you set it for).  All I use this oven for is baking paint.  DO NOT use your household oven for baking parts.  You have been warned.

Door hinges painted

Here are the hinges painted and baked.  I had to do two at a time since that is all that would fit in the toaster oven at a time.  After the color coat I clear coated them and baked them.  They really do not need more than one coat of clear.  They are not going to be wet sanded and polished.

Door Hinges Painted

Here is a view from a different angle.

Door Hinges painted

One more shot of the hinges.

JUNE 2009!!!
Old Exhaust Here is a pile of the old exhaust parts.  This was one of the first things to be removed from my Charger once it went up on the lift.  Right after the tires and rims...  The rims and tires were removed first to get them out of the way and so they did not get damaged in all the carnage that was about to ensue.
Old Exhaust System This is another angle on the carnage!  Braw-ha-ha-ha...
Old Exhaust System Yet another angle of the pile of crap that came out from under the Charger.
Old Exhaust System One more just for giggles.
Under Car Here is a shot of under the car after removal of the exhaust system.  You can see the headers (which will be replaced) poking out under the transmission cross member.  I decided to replace the headers after media blasting them and seeing how pitted they were from rust.  Pretty much the way I got them.  I had been nursing them along for years but it is time for them to go.
Exhaust pipe fabrication This is the beginning of the pipe fabrication.  This is a custom exhaust since a 3" exhaust never came on a 1973 Dodge Charger from the factory.  We have some mandrel bends and we are cutting them to get the exhaust to go where it needs to go under the transmission cross member.  I welded these pipes together after we 'dry fitted' them under the car.
Exhaust pipe fabrication This is a shot from the other side.  The pipes had to bend about 1 1/2 inch and then straighten out again to clear the cross member and get the mufflers where they needed to be.
Exhaust fabrication Here are the mufflers hanging in position under the car.  We are still 'dry fitting' them at this point.  By this time, the pipes from the header collectors to the mufflers have been welded and the mufflers needed to be hung under the car to see where they were going to be located and what angle we needed to to get the pipes to exit before the tires.
Exhaust fabrication Here you see one of the front pipes being fitted to the header.  You can also see the rust on the header and you do not realize how bad it is until you media blast the pipes and see how deep the pits are.  You can also see the transmission pan has been removed.  This was to explore the 'leak' issue (more on that later).  The forward pipes are welded together.
Joe Cherry I would be remiss if I did not mention my best friend Joe Cherry.  He is the owner of Cherry Tire and Area 58 customs.  He is also the owner, designer and builder of El Nomado (an internationally renowned, award winning, one-off 1958 Chevy El Camino).  Joe is helping me with all of the work that I am doing on my Charger and I owe him a great deal of thanks!
Front Shock This is a shot of one of the new front shocks.  It was necessary to shave about 1/16" off of each side of the cut-out in the lower control arm to get the shock to fit through the opening.  The top of the shock is wider than the bottom and it just needed a little shaving of the opening to get it to fit through.  Once installed there is no issue with interference with the shock and the lower control arm.  These are KYB shocks...just in case you were interested. :-)
Front Shock This is another shot of the front shock.
Front Shock And a little closer view.
Front Shock mount I had someone email me a few weeks ago and they were having difficulty removing the front shocks on their Charger.  Here is a close-up of the top mount.  It has double nuts or "Jamb-nuts" just like the originals.  Sometimes these line up well and sometimes they do not.  If they line up too well, and you can not see that there are two nuts on the top of the shock, you could try getting them off by wrenching but if you are trying to turn the bottom nut (closest to the shock) you may have a difficult time of it.
Fuel Pump This is the new location of the fuel pump.  I decided to move it to a new location.
Fuel Pump Here is another shot of the new fuel pump location.
Fuel Sender This is the new fuel sender installed in the tank.  This one is 3/8".  The old one was 5/16" which would have been stock with the 318 that this Charger originally had in it.  With the 440, it needs to be larger.  Another advantage of this sender is that it has a return line.  This will be utilized when I install the fuel pressure regulator with the bypass.
Headers Removed Here is a shot of the engine with the headers removed.  It needs a little cleaning and paint but overall it is not too bad.
Headers Removed This is a shot from the passenger side with the headers removed.
Brake Caliper Clip This is a shot of the current brake setup.  The caliper bolts are very hard to find and you should value a good set like gold.  There is also an anti-rattle clip that I made sure was there when I replaced these brakes.  The clip is very important.
Brake Caliper Clip This is another angle of the clip on the caliper.  You should have one of these on each side.  If you don't, get some.
Rear wire brushed This is a shot of the rear after wire brushing the entire thing.  I used my angle grinder with a twisted wire wheel.  It really cut down the time to get this cleaned up.
Rear painted This is the rear after etching primer, filler primer and paint.  It came out pretty nice even if I do say so myself.
Rear painted This is the rear from the other side.
Differential This is a picture of the differential housing.  I painted it with "Cast Blast".  A cast iron color paint.  This was after wire brushing, etching primer, filler primer and then paint.
Differential This is the differential from the other side.
Differential This is the casting number on the differential.  It is a limited-slip 8 3/4" unit.  It is known by the last 3 numbers "489".
Old rotors This is a shot of the old rotors and overall brake setup.  It will look, and perform, much different when I am finished.
Cross-drilled slotted rotor Here is the new rotor setup.  These are cross-drilled and slotted rotors.  They should perform much better than stock rotors.  Just adding these rotors should increase braking efficiency by 40%.  I got these from R1 Concepts in California.
Cross-drilled and slotted rotors This is another angle on the rotor install.  I also replaced the inner and outer bearings and the seals.  The new rotors came with the races or bearing cups already installed.  Since these rotors are balanced, the races would need to be installed prior to balancing.  The bearing cones and seals came from a local NAPA.
Cross-drilled and slotted rotors Here is a shot of the new rotor setup with the caliper and pads installed.
Headers Here are the headers after paint.  They came black but I wanted them silver.  I would have liked to get them in ceramic coated versions but I can buy 3 sets of these for the same $$$.  It is sometimes unfortunate that parts for MOPARs cost so much compared to Chevys or Fords.
Forward leaf spring bracketHere is a picture of the forward leaf spring hanger that was in my Charger.  This is obviously not "stock".  The bracket here was longer and had the holes 2" back from the original hole location on the stock bracket.  Those would be the holes you see on the right on the bracket.  I drilled in the other ones (on the left) 2" forward.  This allows me to use this bracket and I even added the 1" up/down adjustment holes.