1973 Dodge Charger SE work log 2005

Work Log 2005


Took cover off of car and drove it a few miles to see how it ‘acted’. Seems to be ‘okay’.


Checked the brake fluid level and found it very low…again. I looked at the booster in between where the master cylinder attaches to the brake booster and noticed a fluid trail. Just like the master cylinder had been leaking. I put “2 and 2 together” and figured out this was why I was losing brake fluid. BOTH units will need to be replaced. I had realized that the brakes seemed a little “odd” for being “power brakes”. It seemed like there was very little “power assist” and the brake pedal seemed to travel a little far. Now I understand why. I am sure that the master cylinder has been leaking for awhile and I am sure that the whole system will need to be bled. The car also needs to have the right front brake hose replaced so I am sure that I can get the brakes bled at the same time as the replacement of the hose. I will replace the master cylinder and the booster myself.


Ordered the brake power booster (rebuilt) from NAPA and ordered a NEW master cylinder (not rebuilt). With Shipping, about $140.00. Master cylinder had to come from Connecticut and the booster had to come UPS from Philadelphia.


Both booster and master cylinder showed up. Now I just need to decide if I am going to paint the two pieces or not. Then I will need to ‘bench bleed’ the master cylinder and remove the old parts…etc.


Inspected the booster and the new master cylinder. Bench bled the new master cylinder. Checked the fittings on the old master cylinder to make sure they would not be corroded to the lines. Bolted the new master cylinder to the booster. Removed wire hold down on the old power booster. Looked over the linkage for the brake pedal in the car and read through the instructions and warnings that came with the master cylinder and booster.


Removed old master cylinder. Removed the power booster after disconnecting the brake light switch bracket, the brake pedal and the pivot. Removed the bolts that bolted the power booster through the firewall. Had to disconnect the linkage from the brake pedal to get the booster out and had to remove the booster with the linkage still intact. The upper pivot was seized on the booster actuator arm. Put the linkage on the new unit before installing it. Found that I had bought a new power booster to firewall gasket in a kit that I had picked up a few years ago at Carlisle PA. Finally got all the old pieces out and installed the new ones. I lubricated the linkage parts before I put them back in the car. Started the car…I will need to replace the power booster vacuum hose. The car seems to stop, but I will need to take it out of the garage to find out for sure.


Reconnected the brake light switch and checked it. Installed the wire bracket to the power booster and ran the wires through it. The brake lights seem to come on at the right time but I will have to see how it works when the car is running on the road. I may have to readjust the switch bracket.


Installed a new power brake vacuum hose and fitting in the manifold. Put the cover back on the lower steering column inside the car.


Took right side front wheel off car. Inspected brake pads. They will need replacement. Removed caliper and took pads out of caliper. They are worn, but not too badly. Wear seems fairly even on the inner and outer pads.


Removed rust and scale from upper control arm. Painted wheel well and control arm, etc. Removed left wheel and inspected pads. Wear pattern is very much like the right side. One note of interest…the caliper bolts had a 1/2 “ head on the left side but 9/16” on the right side. Painted the inner wheel well on the left side along with upper control arm, etc. Tried to remove the rotor on the right side but, it would require a large puller to accomplish it. Since I do not have a large puller, if I decide to remove them, I will have to borrow one.


Ordered the brake parts for the front of the Charger; 2 calipers, pads, 2 inner bearings, 2 outer bearings, inner and outer races, seals, brake hoses, banjo bolt. Talked to Joe Cherry about borrowing a puller to get the rotors off the spindles.


Borrowed puller from Joe. Right side needed only a nudge to get it off. The left side came off with no problem. Took the puller back to Joe since they use it ‘daily’. Took the rotors to NAPA and cut them to ‘true’ them. Removed old races and pressed new races in the rotors. Packed bearings, spread anti-squeak compound on the backs of the brake pads. Loosened the brake lines from the hoses. Put bearings in hubs and put them on the spindles. Inspected the caliper pins. I will need two new ones. I will also have to get two new copper washers for the ones that are missing. Yes, I cut the rotors myself. I had bought the rebuild calipers from NAPA and the calipers were A-1 Cardone rebuilt. One of the calipers did not come with the hardware pins for the pads. After researching the availability of the pins aftermarket, I found that there were no part numbers for the pins or there was no availability. I called A-1 Cardone (since one of the calipers came with the pins) and asked them what I needed to use for a part number to order the pins. They told me that their numbers were for internal use only and asked me how many I was missing. I told them that I was only missing one set of two pins. They told me that they would send a set to me.


I received the pins from A-1 Cardone. They actually sent me 4 complete sets! 8 pins in all! I was pleasantly surprised.


Assembled new calipers and torqued the rotors to spec. (Installed new washers, nuts, tin nuts and cotter pins) Attached new lines to calipers with new copper washers. Installed pads and pins in calipers and connected the new brake hoses to the stainless steel lines. Bled front brakes.


Removed some surface rust from rims and center caps with #0000 steel wool. “Staked” the left side dust cap to make it tighter in the hub on the rotor. Put the front wheels back on the car. Took the jack stands out and lowered the car.


Took car out to test the brakes. They seem to be working properly.


Took car to Cherry Tire for the yearly NYS inspection.


Joe Cherry at Cherry Tire is going to measure my Charger for rim size and tire size for a new set of rims and tires.  I know that Joe will take care of getting the right rims and tires for my car.


Took Charger over to Joe to have him measure the clearance for the new rims and tires.


Started wet-sanding a section of the passenger door to see if the paint would shine any better. Wet-sanding and compounding will help, but the car will eventually need bodywork and paint.


Scheduled an appointment with Cherry Tire to put the new wheels and tires on the car and change the oil. Washed the charger and cleaned the windows inside.


Checked and added synthetic transmission fluid. Level was low due to the (mystery leak) that the car has from time to time. Oil level OK. Power steering fluid OK. Fixed tachometer wire that had been sliced during the brake master cylinder replacement. Tachometer works now.


Took the car to Cherry Tire. He put on the new wheels and tires, changed the oil and greased the fittings on the front end and driveshaft. The car looks better now. I got American Racing Hopster wheels and Cooper Cobra tires. The rear tires are 1” taller and 1” wider than the ones that were on the car. The new tires help fill up the wheel opening.


Started waxing the wheels. This could take awhile in the cold.


Finished waxing the wheels. At least I have one coat on them now. That should help protect them from condensation. Ordered new gauges (cluster, tach and fuel pressure) from Jegs.


Received the new gauges from Jegs.


Took the retaining ring off the antenna on the charger to see if it would come off and to polish it to see if it could look a little better. I think the part will need to be chromed.


Installed new fuel pressure gauge.


The new fuel gauge seems to not be working correctly. Reads 9lbs all the time no matter how I adjust the pressure regulator. I believe that I am going to have to reinstall the old gauge and just ‘go with it”. Adjusted the steering play on the steering box. It got rid of the “slop” in the steering. Adjusted the ‘pump shot’ on the carburetor and that got rid of the lag when you stomped on it. Just finishing up a few things before putting the car to ‘bed’ for the winter.


Drained old anti-freeze and refilled with 50/50 anti-freeze and water. Put car up on jack stands so that the tires would not get ‘flat spots’ in them. The lower hose may be leaking a little. I will have to keep an eye on it. At least I hope that it is just a hose and not the water pump housing gaskets.