1973 Dodge Charger SE work log 2008

Work Log 2008

Date 5/3/08

Well, we start this year off where I left off last year.  The last show that I took the car to was in the dark and it had just rained.  I had some trouble with the lights on the car.  The front connection I found I had not bolted a couple wires together and it was causing the headlights to not work.  Well, I needed to get to the show (to help register cars) so I twisted the wires together and went on my way.

That took care of the front lights temporarily but I found that I also had an intermittent open in the rear taillight assembly.  I left this stuff to this year to resolve the issues.  I had replaced the tail light assembly when I changed the rear bumper out a couple years ago.  I found that the plug-in connection on the driver side needed to be tightened up.  The female side of the pin receptors had expanded inside the connector and was not making a good connection.  I used a probe to just slightly bend the inner connections inward to make them tighter against the pins.  This resolved the issue.

Connections on these cars is always interesting. The connections are old (over 30 years old) and they are usually metal fatigued, corroded or tarnished.  Many times it makes sense to just replace the connections and/or sockets...if you can find replacements.

We will see what else this year brings.

Date 6/29/08

I took the Charger out a few weeks ago.  For some reason it quit (the fuel pump stopped) twice.  The second time I could understand (it was hot) but the first time the FP quit, it had only been running for about 15 minutes.  The pump did not feel hot to the touch like it usually does when it stops working.  Both times the pump started working again after a few minutes but this is annoying.

I have been spending most of my 'car time' helping a friend with his car.  Eventually I will have to make some time for mine to resolve this fuel issue.  I am considering putting a manual pump back on the Charger.  I just have to decide which one.

Date 11/13/08 - Update

I have had a great deal on my plate this year.  Suffice to say that my Charger has taken a back-seat to other obligations.  However, I did take my '73 Charger out last week and the electric fuel pump issue was even worse than before.  I only got about 1 1/2 miles from my house when the fuel pump quit again.  And in attempting to restart my Charger, I just about killed the battery (This is a deep cycle yellow-top Optima battery).  Luckily a passing police officer took pity on me (luckily I was on a 4 lane road but blocking one lane) and gave me a jump.  I thanked him and did my best to pick the fastest way back home.  On the way, my Charger fuel pump quit again about 1/2 mile from home.  I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then was able to start the car again.

Last year I had bought a Mallory fuel pump on Ebay to replace the Holley Red pump that was on the car.  I had heard that the Mallory was a better pump and quieter than the Holley (The Holly Pumps [red and blue] are REALLY LOUD...even after using upper shock mount rubber washers to mount the pump).  I checked the pump when I received it and heard it run.  I then sealed it in a "Seal & Save" vacuum bag since I figured that it would be months before I changed the pump.

This was the first time that I actually had some time and ambition to change the pump out. I removed the old pump and removed the fittings to install on the Mallory pump.  I connected the pump and turned the key...nothing!  ARGH!  So, I figured that I must have a bad connection somewhere.  I unwired the Mallory pump and hooked my battery charger up to it.  It made a very quiet humming noise.  I figured that the pump was okay and started tracing power to the Mallory pump.  I had power and had already verified the ground to the frame of my Charger.  So, I proceeded to remove the pump.  I was ready to go in the house and order a mechanical pump but decided to remove the Mallory pump since it was not going to do me any good if it was not working.

I thought that perhaps something had gotten stuck in the pump like a burr from the fittings so, I took the fittings off to take a look inside.  I did not see anything apparently wrong with the pump at this point so I decided that I would not be able to return the pump, I might as well disassemble the pump to investigate this further.  I really had nothing to lose at this point.

I took the pump apart and inspected the electrical portion of the pump.  I looked fine.  I then disassembled the "business end" of the pump hoping to find a burr in the gears or something.  Once I got the bottom cover off the pump, I quickly noticed the pump gears were 'frozen' and not moving freely.  I was able to get the gears apart (there is an inner gear and an outer gear).  I looked and saw some surface rust on the gears where they meet up with the pump body.  I thought this may keep the pump from working.  I took the gears inside the house and used some "Barkeepers Friend" (I usually use this on stainless steel cookware) to polish off the rust.  The rust came off and I hit the gears with WD-40 and put them back in the pump body.  The gears seemed to move more freely.  I reassembled the Mallory pump and reinstalled the pump on my Charger.

This time when I turned the key, I heard a slight "whirring" sound.  Much quieter than the Holley electric pumps but it was definitely working.  The fuel pressure gauge under the hood verified that I did indeed have fuel pressure.

I started my Charger, adjusted the fuel pressure to 6 lbs., and headed out for a quick test drive.  I had been so used to the awful noise that the Holley Electric pumps made that I did not think the Mallory was working...it was so quiet!  I took my Charger out about a mile from home, turned around and came back...that was after running the car for about 10 minutes in my driveway first.  My Charger seemed to be running fine.  So, I hope that this will be the end of the fuel pump issues for awhile.

It is getting cold and rainy here...it is November 13 after all.  I do hope to get the Charger out for another short run before I have to put it away for the Winter.   :-)