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1972 Roadrunner GTX 4-speed


Active Member
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6:49 PM
Sep 18, 2017
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Birmingham, AL
Been following (and posting a little) on this site for quite some time and never really introduced my project, so here goes
1972 RR GTX, numbers matching U code, 4-speed, Dana 60. My uncle became second owner in 1975, beat the hell out of it, and seized the motor with 49,000 miles on it in the winter of 1977 due to lack of oil. He removed the drivetrain, brakes, and gas tank with the hopes of rebuilding the motor shortly thereafter. As you can guess, life got in the way, and he passed 5 years ago, which is when I took possession. The car was mostly indoors, but spend some time in the elements - not to mention that it was driven in the winters of upstate New York on salty roads. There were also some critters and nests inside it, which helped reinforce the decision to strip it to the bone. So that brings me here:

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This is how I received the car. The interior was almost pristine - it felt like you could just drive away if there was a shifter (and motor) sticking out. The dome light, key buzzer, wipers, etc. all worked. Initially I was going to poor man blast the bottom, rebuild the engine, suspension, brakes, fuel, and try to get it running. But I was strongly advised to strip it all the way down (and replace the electrical harnesses), and I am very glad I did. There were nests behind the dash, which caused rust in the cowl, chewed the heater box fan, and chewed a bunch of wires. After months and years of going to shows and gathering information online, I decided to do it right. Or at least more right than plan number 1.

So I spent a bunch of last summer completely stripping out the interior, brake/fuel lines, and remaining engine compartment items.

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I started working on the suspension. With the help of that B-body book, this forum, and lots of other people, I think I am on the right track. I got the main parts powder coated, and replaced all of the UCA and LCA bushings and ball joints. I did this in parallel with my research in trying to find a good sequence of events to get it cleaned up, metal work, and body/paint. My thinking is that I want to do as much myself as possible, and obviously save on costs as much as possible. I won't be dropping it off at any of the $100/hour resto shops around town, in other words. I have also decided that there are several things I am absolutely going to outsource, because I don't trust myself to learn on the fly with this car - blasting the frame, metalwork, body, paint, and ultimately the engine rebuild. Everything else I am going to try and tackle - electrical harnesses, fuel system, brakes, suspension, interior, seat rebuilds, and maybe rebuild the dash.

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Here are probably the worst parts in terms of rust - all 4 quarters, drivers side floorboard, a hole in the firewall, and that large chunk in the cowl caused by a huge next sitting there for who knows how long.

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Not much rust at all and that's a very rare car.....don't stop until it's done!
I forgot to mention, but I am new to all of this, looking to make it into a decent looking weekend driver, and am trying to contain costs. And part of my reason for posting is to solicit feedback or for anyone to call me out for a horribly stupid plan. I am military, so I have thick skin. Here is my current plan, please feel free to shoot it with holes or tell me its stupid:

1. My powder coat guy has one of those portable dustless wet sandblasting systems and has been traveling around blasting cars for many of the local shops, since it seems more shops are getting rid of their in house whole-car blasting systems. He thinks he can blast this thing for $400-$600, because the new system is that powerful and fast. I know there are pros and cons of sand, but it seems it changes every year. He says the water in the sand has a rust inhibitor. The price definitely seems right, and he has a great reputation.

2. About 5 miles up the road from him is a resto shop that can prime/seal the car, since the powder coat guy doesn't even own a paint sprayer. So I was going to get the car shipped to the resto shop, and have the sandblaster guy meet there to blast the car. From there, rolll it inside and have the resto guy immediately prime it with an epoxy primer.

3. I have a metal guy who works out of his garage for $30 bucks an hour. He used to work for the above ^^^ resto shop. The resto shop owner, powdercoat guy, and multiple other Mopar owners in the area all have used him and vouch for his work. I think he is a diamond in the rough, and will ultimately save me thousands on metalwork. After priming at the resto shop, we haul the car to him for metal work.

4. After that, I plan to get it to a body/paint shop, since the metal guy doens't do any body/paint. I have a few recommendations in the area, but I haven't finalized this part yet. The above resto shop does good work, but they do expensive, show-quality work. I know there are issues with using multiple people for different parts of the project, but I am willing to balance those risks with the reputation of the above people involved and the cost savings to be had.

Any thoughts on this sequence of events?
You have a very sound plan. Welding is not that hard if you are willing to invest in a welding machine and take a class at the local school. Love the car by the way......:thumbsup:
I wish you the best of luck with the body man,try to find someone who is completely dedicated to your car so he is not fooling around with other projects, the body work is the part that gonna get you more gray hairs ask me how I / we know :BangHead:beautiful car btw.:thumbsup:
At least you have a plan, one step at a time. That car will look great when finished. Keep posing as things move along.
OK, I think I have a paint guy who is going to take the car after metal work and give it a "good" paint job, on the scale of acceptable/good/show-quality paint jobs. A few local guys have used him, and I think he does nice looking weekend driver paint jobs for $6K-$7K, but he wouldn't give me a price over the phone, which I understand.

I'm very close to getting the glass out of this thing and that leaves only the doors and trunk lid still attached, then it should be ready for blasting. So, I have a few questions for the community about my above plan:

1. Should I remove the doors and clean up the hinges, etc? I had a body guy (not using him - he got some bad recommendations) tell me something about having to mark the body components before removing them and how he would have to go back and put things back on if I removed everything. Seems to me that we would remove everything for blasting, then the body/paint guy would put all panels, doors, trunk and hood back on and work gaps, adjustments, and all that fancy body line stuff that I have no clue about. Am I missing something? What did he mean by "marking" body lines and gaps before removal and blasting???

2. Do the doors get totally blasted inside and out? What about the drivers side door sticker with the VIN? Should I remove everything in terms of the lock, handle innards, striker, etc? Everything?

3. Do the plastic body plugs under the floorboard get removed too, or is there some reason to keep them in?

4. So right now the rear end, leaf springs, rear wheels, and rear brake drums are the only things still on the rear - I removed the sway bar, shocks, fuel tank, brackets, etc from there. Is it OK to have him blasting away with the rear end still attached? Do we need to cover or protect the axle ends where the brake drum is attached? Should the entire rear end and springs be removed before blasting? Problem is that this thing has to roll from the blasting guy to the priming guy to the metal work guy, which is why I left the rear end on.

I kind of just want him to blast and prime the rear and and springs anyway to save me the time, but just want to make sure they are going to do it right and that it's OK to blast it with the rear drums and wheels still attached.

5. The paint guy asked if I want it primed with etching primer or epoxy, so I said epoxy, because that's what I thought was the best practice. I found it odd that the expert was asking me what type of primer to use, as I assumed he would recommend the right one to me. After reading 20 articles on primers, I am still not sure I have a grasp on which one is better. Another body guy who does collision work (not going to use him either) told me to be sure and hit it first with basic metal etcher, then epoxy primer, otherwise the primer might not stick to the metal. He was an older guy with tons of experience and was pretty adamant. Any advice on this? My paint guy says he will do whatever I ask.

Also, if we go with epoxy primer, is there a specific brand or type to use? He said there is $200/gal stuff and $300/gal stuff and that we should probably use the better stuff. Any brands to use or stay away from?

6. I asked the primer guy if he was going to put it up on his rotisserie after sandblasting, but he said he planned on just putting it on a lift, because it takes about 8 hours of labor ($60/hour) to get a car on and off a rotisserie. He figured it was not worth it just to get it primed and sealed and that I should probably just do the rotisserie thing for final paint. I never used a rotisserie, but does it really take 8 hours to rig it up?

7. So apparently nobody around town has an outdoor lift for blasting, and the blasting guy says he just lifts cars up with his forklift when he does them. Is this standard practice? I assume the car will be in balance, despite there being basically no weight on the front and the weight of the Dana and rear body on the back of the car?
Oh, one more thing is still on the car - the wipers and linkage thing behind the firewall/cowl. I read the service manual, searched youtube, and stuck my head up to the cowl hole and can't figure out how to remove them. Doesn't seem to be any bolts, screws or anything holding the wipers on. Do they just pop off with the right tool?
You mark the hinge locations for doors, trunk, hood, etc because the hinges are adjustable & you can put the door (or whatever) back on & have it line up right away instead of messing with it for hours to re-align it. In a perfect world, you would prime it with metal etching epoxy primer & then cover it with standard epoxy (or urethane) primer. "Normally" you would do all the metal work, then prime, but I like your idea better...just expect to do some touch-up priming after the metal work is done.
That makes sense for the hinges, but in looking at my door hinges, I don't see where they can be adjusted. I took off one bolt from the top and bottom so as not to move it, and they appear to be round holes, not ovals that I would associate with being adjustable. So what am I marking before removal, and how do you retain the markings if you sandblast and clean up the hinges? Do you record the measurements or just take pictures?

I think I figured out the wiper thing - those were a pain to get off. Now I am trying to get the drip molding above the doors off. Any secrets to that?

I will call the paint guy today and see what we can do with etching primer vs standard epoxy primer. I definitely want to have it primed as soon as it is blasted given the humidity here and the fact that my metal guy works partly outside.

Is it OK to get the Dana 60 and leaf springs blasted and primed while still attached to the car? I assume we can mask off the drum/axles?
I talked to the paint guy, he plans on using something called direct-to-metal (DTM) as the primer. He said it is sort of acid etcher and epoxy sealer all in one. Its a bit harder to sand later, but he said its one coat and done as opposed to doing the etch then urethane epoxy coat after that.
Haven't updated this thread in over a year and a half, so here goes. We just completed a fairly major add on to our house, and I am putting the finishing touches on a 36'x22' detached shop/garage I built, so this project has sat since late 2019.

The plans from above changed a bit, and I went straight to the metal work guy. He seems to have done a kick *** job at getting rid of all of the rust - new trunk extensions, quarter patches, fixed the bottom of both doors, frame rust, fender patches, wiper motor rust spot on firewall, and rusted out part on the cowl. Interestingly, we noticed that the right fender was blue on the inside, along with a dent to the frame behind it, and bondo/rust popping up on the passenger door. The only thing we could figure is that before my uncle bought it in 1975, someone wrecked the front right of the car. Seems they put in an aftermarket fender, didn't reshape the frame behind it, and did a 1970s bondo and paint job on the door. He wound up getting a whole new used fender for me, because he said the old one was so messed up and smashed in that it was not even the correct length.

Lastly, they sandblasted all of the removable parts and the bottom of the car and then primed the bottom. It seems to have made great progress, so I believe paint and body are next.

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Here's the front of the old fender that he traded for a more straight Satellite fender. he said it was almost an inch too short. Not sure how it went on before.

EDIT: I think this is actually the passenger side door where the rust bubbles were coming up. I can't find the pics of the fender that he sent me, but I remember it being all crumbled up toward the front and covered with like 1/2 inch of bondo.


Here are those frame/firewall areas right behind each fender (not sure what we call these spots). The passenger side one was messed up pretty bad, and the driver side was rusted out a little. Not sure if these are right now, or if they are going to give me trouble getting the fenders back on.




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I have a paint and body guy coming out next week to look at the car and give me some prices. He was saying that some people paint the trunk and engine bay black. I told him it was my understanding that they were frame color. I want this thing to look as close to how it looked when it left the factory, so I am trying to figure out what to tell him I want. Also not sure about the undercoating: from what I have gathered, we think the dealer or previous owner tried to spray paint the bottom of the car, along with the Dana and the bottom firewall at the transmission hump, in some sort of metallic or silver paint. That's not factory paint, right? What should I tell him I want in the engine bay and underneath to make it as close to factory as possible? Black truck liner type stuff on the underside and inner fenders? This guy sounds like he knows what he is doing, but he doesn't sound like a Mopar guy. He said he just did a 72 Mustang, but hadn't done many mopars.
Nice car! A word of advice, you have to put the drain slot back under the windshield wiper motor. Three drains total, left and right side cowl and the one in the middle. If not it will fill with water and create another problem. I just completed the same repair on mine.