1973 Dodge Charger SE work log 1999

Work Log 1999

Here is where the Charger saga begins for me.  At least after seeing the car and falling in love with it at first sight.  I bought the car from a man named Aaron.  He did not want to sell it to a "kid".  I figure I fit the bill.  He had set the car up to be an 1/8th mile racer.  This basically meant that there was little attention paid to street-ability of this car.  The car also came with 4.30:1 gears in the rear.  Behind a 727 transmission with the standard internal gearing, this was WAY too tall of a gear for the street.


Bought ’73 Dodge Charger.


I know that I have a multi-meter around somewhere, but I usually reserve that one strictly for electronics work, since it is an expensive meter. I bought a “cheap” multi-meter and began checking car out. Fixed brake lights by replacing 20 AMP fuse. Bought fuses (assorted).


Went shopping for car parts. Bought wrench set and socket set. Bought bulbs, steel wool, hand cleaner, wire, air cleaner wing nut, license plate screws and chrome covers, horn button, lighter. Replaced Driver side fender upper marker bulb and fixed socket. Replaced driver side rear marker light and fixed socket. Replaced dome light bulb. Installed Air Cleaner wing nut. Installed new license plate nuts and trim covers.


Bought oil, steering wheel puller (to investigate why the horn was not working), air filter, spark plugs, ford socket, (could not find a Chrysler socket in stock at the local NAPA dealer so a Ford 194 bulb socket will work with a little trimming with a razor…at least it will get the lights working until I can locate a proper socket), turn signal cam, spark plug sockets, horn button, screws, wire. Changed Air filter. Replaced turn signal cam and replaced it back. (The after market cam was not designed properly and did not fit correctly so I repaired the original signal canceling cam and put it back in the car). Added 1qt. Oil. Wired temporary horn. Installed lighter. Put in washers to shim up trunk lid catch. (I had to slam the crap out of the trunk lid to get it to close. A couple washers in the right place fixed the issue).


Got car inspected. Began changing spark plugs. Painted silver trim on dash and rear lights. (I used a paint marker to paint the edges of the gauges on the dash and the lights. It allowed me to just paint the edge and not get paint where I did not want it.)


Started removing over spray on trim. (Whoever had painted the car was obviously only doing a cover-up job. They simply taped off the trim, rather sloppily, and painted the car . There are also sanding marks that you can see if you look close enough. It looks like about a 80 grit. But, the car looks fine from 20 feet away). Finished changing spark plugs. Changed Spark plug wires. Investigated passenger window switch. (Switch is not operating the electric window). Painted flat black window trim. (There was a place on the trim that needed to be touched up with flat black paint. From the factory, it may have been a satin black, but the flat black will work just as well). Fixed tachometer. (The tachometer was connected to the wrong terminal on the coil). Fixed light (front marker / turn signal).


Bought and ran the vacuum line for the heater control. Scraped more over spray from the chrome. (It just never ends…) Installed new passenger front lower turn signal bulb. Cabled heater hoses and vacuum lines. (The ’73 Dodge Charger uses both a vacuum and cable for the heater controls, BOTH were missing).


Ordered heater control and cable from Suresky Chrysler. Ordered plug wires, cap and rotor from East Coast Speed. Installed Chrome vacuum advance cover. (Just to dress up a few things until they get changed).


Installed braid over 2 vacuum hoses. Re-wired passenger side engine compartment (installed split loom). Installed new Accel Super Coil. Used steel wool on wheels. (A very fine “0000” steel wool will remove the surface rust from chrome without scratching the finish). Cleaned up Alternator. ( I found out the reason that the horn was not working was the horn/door buzzer had been removed, I actually found the relay under the front driver seat). Examined and reinstalled horn relay. Unwired temporary horn button and reconnected working horn. Installed new floor mats.


Installed new Spark plug wires. Installed new breather caps. Installed spark plug wire holders. Washed, waxed, armor-all tires.


Bought heater hoses, thermostat and wiper bushing. (These old bushings were most likely original with the car and were cracked and broke when the wipers were turned on. They are a common part and I found replacements at NAPA.) Installed wiper bushing, (This was a MAJOR pain in the butt), started installing heat control cable.


Installed 192 degree thermostat. Installed chrome thermostat neck. Installed heater control and fastened cable to control. Started running hose dress kit. Installed dress up on upper heater hose. Installed dress-up on PCV hose. Installed hose dress-up on three heater hoses (one remaining). Need to buy more hose dressing and ends. Need to buy new vacuum hose for power brakes. Separated tools and parts into bins in the trunk. (At this stage, I am living in an apartment and with the work I am doing on the car, it seems better to keep the tools in the trunk...just in case).


Finished installing the heater hoses. Checked operation of the heater control. Installed dual fuel feed line for the Holley carburetor. Changed the fuel feed line from the mechanical fuel pump to the carburetor. Installed new side view mirrors. (These are aftermarket units and although they looked “okay”, they were barely functional since the angle on them was not enough to see down the passenger side of the car but they will be okay until I can get a set of original mirrors back on the car). Installed coolant return bottle (There was an empty oil bottle hanging in place of an overflow when I bought the car, so I bought a generic replacement part from NAPA and installed that…at least it was better than an empty oil bottle) and braided hose. Installed new vacuum line for the power brakes. Started installing bolt covers. Installed new horns. Installed carburetor return spring bracket.


Fixed front marker lights (both sides), install new distributor cap and rotor. Noticed a leak from the water pump. It looks like a gasket, I am hoping that it is not the rear housing. I will also have to make a gasket for the pump housing.


Removed front grille. Replaced front headlights (all 4), replaced two bulbs in the dash. Cleaned grille parts. Painted center ornamental parts for front grill.


Reinstalled front grill parts. Installed MSD ignition system. (The previous owner had bought the MSD ignition controller but said he could not figure out how to install it. The directions were actually pretty easy to follow. There was even a Chrysler section that showed the proper color wires to tie into. Readjusted front headlights.


Installed red wire ties on hoses.


Installed new water pump (The pump was leaking from the “Weep Hole”, so it was going to need replacement. I got the rebuilt pump from the local NAPA store…I would find out later that I should have gotten a different pump from Jegs or Summit, but more on that later) and polished fan spacer.


Install Windshield washer reservoir bottle. (The Washer bottle came from Iowa. I found someone online who had some Charger parts that they were looking to get rid of and luckily, he had one of these washer bottles to fit the ’73 Charger, and he even sent it with a working washer pump…Cool!) Ordered Car cover.