Looking to redo my 73 Charger

1971 - 1974 Mopars

  1. Markzilla88

    Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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    Ive got a 73 Charger I’ve had since I was 19, it was my first car, been in the family from the show room floor. Nothing fancy, 318 with bench seats and non ralleye gauges, not flashy but it’s cool. I was thinking about selling it as I haven’t done anything with it in years and it needs some love. After a wash and some time letting it run I’ve kind of fallen back in love with it and am leaning towards keeping it. I’m looking for some guidance and suggestions for the order I should do things. The fuse block is melted in spots and wiring has seen better days. Safe to say it needs to be rewired. The engine has blown it’s freeze plugs all over including the ones near the back of the motor. It probably should be rebuilt anyways as it has never been (no clue what it costs to get a mild 318 built). Finally there is rust popping through the paint that needs to be addressed (especially the rear quarters!) I’m wondering what order I should do these repairs in, as I financially can’t do them all at once. Thanks!
     
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    • zsn0w

      zsn0w Well-Known Member

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      Wiring first, because if it catches itself on fire, you can't do the other things. Engine last because you can actually drive it while doing the other stuff (except the wiring! be careful if it's already burning up!). All the freeze plugs were rotting on my 318 when I got my car, and I was able to replace most of them without removing it, although it was a pain. I'd try to replace the ones you can get to so it at least holds a decent amount of coolant then you can just top it off when it needs it. That's what I've been doing until I get my 408 put together for it. Just keep an eye on the temp gauge. Good luck! If you need any advice/help on the wiring, let me know. My 74 roadrunner is very similar and I've redone a lot of the electrical stuff at this point and spent a ton of time going over schematics and learning how the electrical systems work in these later b bodies. @Nacho-RT74 also knows more than probably anyone about our electrical systems.
       
    • Dennis H

      Dennis H FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Nice. Welcome. Pictures.
       
    • Markzilla88

      Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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      5B5B47FD-7EF0-44A0-BB1F-AF0D876CAC58.jpeg 277FCE50-A422-410C-8DE6-CF39F4E735CB.jpeg B9210B40-8243-4FD6-AB0C-A924FE27AD34.jpeg 9B9A88B6-D353-4AB0-B341-9CAD5428FC51.jpeg B79C52F3-0E01-499A-98B0-3FBE4644FD61.jpeg
       
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      • Markzilla88

        Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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        Last picture is of the K frame that will need to be replaced or fixed. Definitely has seen better days.

        I’ll certainly take you up on the offer for guidance/knowledge about the wiring. I’d like to find a complete wiring kit for the whole car, that way I can go bit by bit and lay it in there next to the original wiring side by side
         
      • Dennis H

        Dennis H FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        I like the truck too. WTH do they use on the roads in Maryland?
         
      • Montclaire

        Montclaire Well-Known Member

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        There is only one place making quarter skins - Tabco. They aren’t bad as far as skins go. Are the freeze plugs rotted or did the block freeze? Running 318s are not hard to find for less than a rebuild. I’d start with the wiring and then get it running for the simple fact that body shops seem happier when the cars don’t have to be pushed.
         
        Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
      • Markzilla88

        Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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        I think it’s that brine solution they de-ice with now that killed the body. One of the state highway guys said to get that stuff off ASAP or it’ll eat your car away. Guess who learned that a few years to late lol... the freeze plugs have rotted. I’ve got eyes on a few of them and once I cleaned the schmutz out from around them the holes showed themselves.

        Thanks though about the truck. 79 dodge warlock 360 4 speed 4wd. Think I’m gonna have to sell it to finance the Chargers rebuild journey
         
      • Montclaire

        Montclaire Well-Known Member

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        Might want to toss in a 340 cam if the motor is coming out for a refresh.
         
      • Markzilla88

        Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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        For the cam I’ve got the comp cams xe268h ready for it. Doing some research though I wish I would have bought the 275h instead, has a better sound to it.
         
      • dodge1972

        dodge1972 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        Just consider, your charger has some real rust issues. Cost verse outcome. Unless you plan to spend 15K and 5 years on the restoration. May consider finding one in better condition.
         
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        • Steve009

          Steve009 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Agree that wiring is most important but I would get a quote on that body work before anything. Body work is the most variable on price and depending what your budget is, it may make you reconsider diving into this. Pull up the carpets because if the quarters are that bad there may be more hidden.
           
        • Montclaire

          Montclaire Well-Known Member

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          Not every car has to be a show car.
           
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          • YY1

            YY1 Well-Known Member

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            that's not just the K frame that's rusted through-

            it's the "fish plates" that reinforce the threaded inserts the bolts go in.

            not the easiest repair unless you're a good fabricator and welder
             
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            • Markzilla88

              Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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              Yeah I’ll be honest, I wasn’t planning on spending 15,000 on body work no. At the end of the day it’s a plain Jane 73 charger, nothing special at all, just means a lot to me. Time really isn’t an issue. At the end of all this, she doesn’t have to be a trailer queen or anything like that, but I would like to knock the rust out and get some paint back on her. This will be my first stab at body work. There’s plenty of small bits of rust here and there all over it so I’ve looked at ways to remedy that. I’ve pulled all the carpet up and headliner down, and found a small hole in the floor board on the drivers side. Easy fix there. As for the other smaller spots I was thinking glass and puddy. The back quarters will probably just have to be replaced to make it easier. I imagine that’ll be expensive. As for the K frame, I’ve fabricated some frame work before on the truck pictured next to it, so I was hoping that if I can’t find a replacement, to just fabricate something to support it and make it work. I think I’ll take the advice though to get a quote on the body work, and then go from there. The killer for me is I’m sure trying to sell the Charger in the condition it’s in, it won’t fetch much at all. So I’d hate to see it go for next to nothing and always wonder what could have been.
               
            • '68 Charger

              '68 Charger Well-Known Member

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              Hello, I have a pair of dry, rust free SW front frame rails if you're needing to replace yours. I also have the torsion bar X member also rust free. And a firewall (A/C) with windshield channel attached. I can give you a good deal on them if you're interested. I can bring them to the NATS if you're going there. Or Greyhound shipping.
               
            • Montclaire

              Montclaire Well-Known Member

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              There isn’t a lot of aftermarket support for these cars but on the plus side, they made a lot of them and most parts aren’t hard to find or expensive when you do. Especially chassis parts that were shared Dodge/Plymouth. Some parts also carried over to 75-79 b’s. 73/74s are simmering right now - as the second gen values continue to climb it’s only a matter of time until the third gens start to go up. The only thing holding them back is the lack of an aftermarket. They are nice riding cars and worth the effort to get them right.
               
            • YY1

              YY1 Well-Known Member

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              Not to burst the OP's bubble, but he could probably buy a driver in better condition and use this car as a parts car.

              I've seen fairly nice and solid 400-4 barrel cars go for under 6K.
               
            • Markzilla88

              Markzilla88 Well-Known Member

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              I’ve been looking locally for a donor car to fix mine as well but have come up dry. Honestly, for ignorance sake on my part and plain curiosity, where would one look to find a fairly nice driving 73 BB car? I like the idea of getting one and using mine as a donor, I just haven’t found anything reasonably priced that doesn’t also have hidden problems.
               
            • Montclaire

              Montclaire Well-Known Member

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              I don’t know what it is about these cars but they all rot. I’ve seen desert cars listed that needed quarters and fender patches. Granted, they probably aren’t as bad as yours, but they still need work. Add in the purchase price and shipping and I honestly don’t know if you gain anything.

              Best place to find another Charger is probably craigslist. Search Tempest used to let you search nationwide, now you have to do it the hard way. Look at the west coast and the heartland.
               
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