1968 Charger w/ 6.1L, 6 speed, and RMS AlterKtion/4 link

70B5Cuda

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This last summer (2017), I was finally able to lock up a deal on a 1968 Dodge Charger that I've been chasing for about 2.5 years. It's not a rare Charger, but it was quite solid and I just fell in love with it. This is the first picture of it that I saw:

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The guy I bought it from kept the Charger on some property about 200 miles away. After about a year of talking about it I was able to schedule an in person inspection on a weekend. About a year later he had to move his cars back to Kansas so it was much easier to go see.

The previous owner didn't want to sell it outright. He was more interested in trading cars so after another 6 months I came across a car that he really wanted so we were able to work a trade. I was super happy to finally get the deal done. My intent is to keep this car simple (yeah right) and have a rough and tumble car I can enjoy but we will see if that can be accomplished since I struggle with a disorder known as "scope creep".

The early plans are for a 6.1, an A518 automatic transmission, and possible a Dana 60....since I have a Dana sitting in the corner of the shop.
 

70B5Cuda

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The underside is really what drew me to this car. The rear frame rails and torsion bar cross member are rock solid.

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70B5Cuda

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Even the rear window corners were pretty decent. I'm sure the lower channel under the rear window will need work, but I've seen much worse.]

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Even the quarter panels are solid, considering they're 50 years old and the car has been outside for at least the past 25 years.

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70B5Cuda

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The paint on this car is a real patchwork job. It was originally red, and then was painted blue. Then someone sprayed yellow on multiple surfaces but not the whole car. The engine bay is black. The front fenders were originally metallic bronze so they've obviously been replaced. At first all the colors bothered me. It has grown on me a lot, but not enough to keep it that way. I started stripping the top coats to get it down to the original red paint at least. I'm not sure where I'm going with the color yet, but I don't want to spend a ton on body work and paint. I'll figure that out later but I'm leaning towards driving it in faded red or possibly doing a quick/cheap LL1 paint job with a painted white top. Nothing expensive...just functional.

The engine bay:
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70B5Cuda

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The floor pans were much better then I expected too. The driver's side was as solid as can be. The passenger's side had lots of little holes. A previous owner had cut a hole in the hump for a 4 speed (hung manual pedals too). That wouldn't have been bad to do but the biggest issue was that the Charger had been moved around many times with a forklift. it was forked from the side and the ends of the forks pushed the floor pans up. You can sort of see what I'm talking about from these pictures:

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70B5Cuda

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With the passenger side having lots of little holes and with the forklift damage, I just decided to replace all the cabin floor pans. I plan to use the one piece AMD forward pan and the two smaller rear AMD pans. A couple Saturdays ago I got the wild hair to dig in so I got the chisel out and fired up the compressor. This picture shows how solid the driver's side pans were. I didn't find one perforation on that side.

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Once the big pieces were cut out, I've been slowly but surely grinding down all the spot welds.

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70B5Cuda

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I also got on craigslist and bought this A518 transmission from a 1991 Dodge ram. I looked for a 1990-1991 A518, because they did not have lockout and the 727 converters can be used with the A518. The forward half of the case is identical to a 727, which was the 3 speed automatic. However, the A518 has a .69 overdrive ratio. I paid all of $100 for the core A518.

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I went after it with solvent and a couple wire brushes. it's not quite done in this picture, but you get the idea...

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70B5Cuda

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I ordered up a rebuild kit from Transtar for $215 and took the transmission over to a buddy, who is really good with the 727. He pulled it all apart and the transmission was remarkably clean. The fluid was bright red, free of any debris, and smelled good. In fact, none of the parts had been cleaned or even wiped down when these 2 pictures were taken. The clutches were not discolored at all. I also called A&A Transmission and I ordered a manual valve body.

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Sixpactogo

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Great start to a great purchase! I have done a similar project with my 68 Charger using the 6.1. I like your ideas and it should be a fairly easy and straight forward project. My only question is why the Dana? IMO, the 8.75 will hold up very well with your set-up with a lot less un-sprung weight. I would peddle the Dana and go with a new sure grip and maybe some 3.55 gears or even use the 3.23 that is more than likely in the rear you have.
 

70B5Cuda

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Great start to a great purchase! I have done a similar project with my 68 Charger using the 6.1. I like your ideas and it should be a fairly easy and straight forward project. My only question is why the Dana? IMO, the 8.75 will hold up very well with your set-up with a lot less un-sprung weight. I would peddle the Dana and go with a new sure grip and maybe some 3.55 gears or even use the 3.23 that is more than likely in the rear you have.

I hear ya-It's just that a couple years ago I came across a great deal on a built Dana 60 (with moser axles) that was set up for 68-70 b bodies. Its complete from drum to drum and its ready to drop in. I have a couple 742 sure grip center sections that are ready to go also (3.23 and 3.55) so I could go either way. Both rear ends are great. The dana is overkill but I just really like the Dana 60
 

RT K_line

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Looks like a cool build starting there, keep the pics coming. The trans looks good also, I didn't know A&A had a manual VB for the overdrive.
 

showard

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Great car! I love the 68 chargers. I'm looking forward to watching this build.
 

70B5Cuda

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Transmission update:
A port had to be tapped, threaded, for a plug that came with the A&A manual valve body kit. You can see the plug in the middle of this picture

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Clutch packs stacked and loaded...

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I upgraded to the billet servo design.

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All done! I picked the transmission up today

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70B5Cuda

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I wire wheeled the top surface on the cabin frame rail channels.

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Then I tackled the trunk floor

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It's kind of fun to see the progress...and the scrap metal pile.

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Next task will be to strip all the factory undercoating
 

70B5Cuda

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Next up was the nasty task of removing all the factory undercoating. Last time I used a propane torch and a 2.0" wide paint scraper but I figured that there had to be a better way. I saw one guy online talking about using a needle scaler so I bought a cheap needle scaler off eBay to give it a shot. It worked like a champ. It took me about 5 hours to strip all the undercoating that was left. I didn't even have to drop burning hot rubber down my sleeve or get it on my face. You will still want to wear a respirator because the dirt and rubber really flies and hangs in the air. Here's the box mine came in:

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Where the paint was thin, the needle scaler just took it off completely and left a pretty nice surface:

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70B5Cuda

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The needle scaler left very small pieces of rubber so I then used a braided wire cup wheel to clean up the surface of the frame rails and rear floor pan. First some "before" pics:

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And after.....
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70B5Cuda

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I dropped the car off at a local blasting company to just have the frame rails and inside rockers blasted. Then I can epoxy the inside of the rails and have the floor pans installed.

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Aluminum oxide was the media I selected

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