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New Member - another in SE PA

Welcome from Missouri!! A great story of a ride through life, well done!!
G, day from Australia:welcome:
Thank you Sir. I hope to visit your country someday.
...wow...A+ for your effort, and thanks.
Welcome from Missouri!! A great story of a ride through life, well done!!
Thank you. Missouri is where everything almost fell apart for me as I was driving from Fayetteville, AR to Northern Lower Michigan to start a job that would finally allow me to earn enough to pay my bills and begin recovering from debt accumulated in school.

By this time of my Charger ownership, it would be easier to write what was functional on the Charger, than what wasn't. As I started this 1,100 mile journey on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 1999 here are the major deferred maintenance items on the Charger...
heater blower motor
universal joint connecting steering shaft to steering box...wheel could be turned 120º degrees either direction before effecting a directional change
power steering high pressure hose broken...no power steering
brakes worked at about 20% effectiveness, after pumping a few times
AM radio​

I'd been driving the car like this for a couple years at this point, as I was hanging by a thread financially throughout school and my first job after graduation. I'd gotten this new job offer on Thanksgiving, and I only had enough money to pay a deposit on an apartment and the first month's rent, plus about $100, from which I had to buy fuel for the trip, and food for the next couple weeks. The drive ahead was both exciting and terrifying, with a questionable probability of success. I had to do it though...it was going to triple my income.

I rolled out of Fayetteville around 7 a.m. Sunday morning, with the Charger stuffed to the ceiling with everything I owned...the night before I'd thrown into the apartment complex trash dumpster everything that wouldn't fit, that I couldn't give away on short notice. I knew at 65 m.p.h. the car would only return about 12 m.p.g. on the highway, but if I dialed it back to 50 or so, I could get 16-17 m.p.g. That was the difference between eating ramen noodles for two weeks after arrival, or going hungry. The nonfunctional speedometer and odometer were an issue though, and the car doesn't have a tachometer. To regulate my speed, I timed mile markers with a stopwatch as I drove.

All was going well until just past St. Louis, when a horrible squealing sound started coming from the engine compartment. I pulled over, got out, and identified it was the power steering pump bearings complaining about lack of lubrication.

"No big deal" I thought. "I'll just turn around and go back to that gas station I passed a mile back, buy a quart of transmission fluid, and pour some into the pump."

I executed this plan, using about half the quart of fluid. Then I continued down the road normally...for about five minutes. The squealing returned, and I pulled over again.

While staring at the engine, I became clear just how bleak my immediate future was. The pump had pumped all the fluid out, the bearings were hot. Hot metal expands...pump seizes. Belt keeps turning, because it's running off the crankshaft. Belt burns through, and now the water pump stops turning, because on a 1973 Dodge Charger with a 318, that's the only belt that turns the water pump.

I'm in quite a pickle now, because it usually took a day to get a high pressure PS hose...those generic one size fits 100 different models hoses...which is why it was broken to begin with, as the extra hose would put stress on the metal fitting that threads into the pump. Plus the hose was $20, which was pretty much my ramen noodle budget for two weeks.

In moments like this, I was thankful I grew up poor. You are forced to come up with creative solutions to problems, when you can't just whip out a credit card to take care of them. I opened the driver's door, and started tossing stuff out alongside the road...looking for my bag of kitchen utensils. In time I found it, and retrieved a steak knife.

The broken high pressure hose was still present...connected securely at one end to the steering box. I used the steak knife to saw through the hose near the steering box end, flipped it around, crossed my fingers, and slid the newly-cut rubber end over the broken metal stub from the other end of the hose...that was still securely threaded into the pump. It fit perfectly, so I poured the remainder of the transmission fluid into the pump, looped the other end of the high pressure hose back into the top of the pump, and continued (not uneventfully) on my journey to Northern Lower Michigan - without further protest from the power steering pump, as it was happy it was being lubricated by itself.

I drove the car like that for another year before taking it off the road.

Welcome aboard from Ohio.
Thanks...lived 18 years in NKY...still have a property on the north side of Cincinnati.
Hi from West Chester, just a bit up the road sounds like!
Nice to meet you. It seems we find ourselves in West Chester somewhat regularly.
Hi all. I'm the second owner of a 1973 Dodge Charger SE I drug out of a Bartlesville, OK pasture in 1994 after paying $350 for it. I got the car running and drove it for about six years as I struggled to put myself through school and progress through the early days of my career. It took every penny I could find to get through school back then, so as things would break on the Charger, they'd get deferred. Finally in late 2000 I felt like I was in a position where I wasn't "judgement proof" anymore, so I decided to take the Charger off the road before I had an accident. ;)

Anyhow I've hauled this car through two big moves, and stored it in various locations over the years. Now I finally have a place to work on it, and time and money. Hopefully I can build and maintain the motivation necessary...and find a source for parts. The stories I can tell of the challenges this car presented and helped me overcome are many, and while it would be a lot easier to just write a check for a fully restored classic car (which I might do someday), I feel I should get her back on the road, in better condition than before.

Nothing special about the car, in itself. 318/2bbl/auto/1973SE. It's the memories, stories, and a physical reminder of the dark days I had to push through to get where I am now.

View attachment 1386435
Pulled out of the garage for a wash in 2010...rolling, not driving:
View attachment 1386436
Last week:
View attachment 1386442

Anyhow, thanks in advance for allowing me to join the forum.
Looks great! I admire all the hard work. Are you in Oklahoma? I might have a few Mo-parts laying around near Tulsa.
Looks great! I admire all the hard work. Are you in Oklahoma? I might have a few Mo-parts laying around near Tulsa.
Thanks...looks great up to about ten feet. ;)

I lived in Tulsa for a couple years while going to school in the late 90's. Recently moved to Pennsylvania.
Welcome from Alabama, great story on the DIY fixes. It will be a great project to make new again.