Small Car Mods - What Worked, What Didn't?

General Mopar Tech Discussions

  1. hsorman

    hsorman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    We have lots of threads that discuss major engine and transmission modifications. We also have threads to talk about bodywork, etc. Those are great, but not what this thread is about!

    This thread is to share small custom touches you have added to your car. These are small changes we have made to increase the enjoyment, functionality, looks, etc. of our cars. Some turn out great (what worked) and some turn out to be not as good as we hoped (what didn't work).

    Post them up!

    I'll start with a couple to get us going:
    What Worked:
    For people to ride more safely in the back seat, I added 3 point seat belts. These used factory shoulder belt holes in my 1970 Road Runner package tray. They work great and in my opinion, look like they might have come from the factory:
    IMG_4222.JPG IMG_4229.JPG IMG_4227.JPG

    IMG_5098.JPG

    What Didn't Work (so well):
    We have tons of devices nowadays that need charging or power. Things like phones, Garmin navigation, etc. So I figured I would add an extra power port inside my glove box so I could charge a phone and have it be out of the way. A cord can also easily pass through the bottom side of the door even when closed to power a Garmin navigation unit.

    This works great in some cases, but in many cases the plug that fits into to power port is too big so I can't close the glove compartment door! I should have placed this at the very back of the glove compartment, but in my case I had other stuff jammed back there that made this modification not possible.
    20200523_105908.jpg 20200523_105920.jpg 20200523_110116.jpg
     
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    • bearman

      bearman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Great thread I can't wait to get to that point. Thanks
       
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      • Ruby67

        Ruby67 Member

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        Great thread idea.
        Like the shoulder belts.
        Here's a small mod that worked on my 67 Coronet. I added a power trunk lock, but where to put the button? I found an OEM switch and it just fits behind my glove box door without interfering with the hinge mechanism. It's within easy reach of drivers seat and it can be locked behind the glovebox door.

        20200523_131357.jpg
         
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        • hsorman

          hsorman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Perfect little mod and great idea! Thanks for sharing!
           
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          • Ruby67

            Ruby67 Member

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            When I installed a Charger grill assy into my 67 Coronet, everything was pretty much a bolt on except where to put the "headlamp not locked" warning lamp located in the Charger gauge cluster?
            What I found that worked was to take a brake warning lamp housing and modify the Charger plastic lense to fit inside it.
            I liked it enough to do the same again when I added the rear defroster.
            The switch for the defroster used a "rear window" bezel from a station wagon.

            20200523_131640_HDR.jpg 20200523_161341.jpg
             
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            • Ghostrider 67

              Ghostrider 67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Geezzz...where to begin! The list of such mods to the Express is so long, hard to pick just two.

              Opening up the fake quarter side scoops worked out great and will look good. Trying to erase the katty corner hood lines out to the front fenders did not go so well. Hooking up the console center pull E brake handle worked out easily. Moving the shift lever back 14" was a bear and took forever. Working out the rods for the door latches that were now at the top front of the door instead of the middle center was a challenge. Shaving the front fender mounted turn signal indicators was a good idea and easy to do. Widening the opening in the center of the front bumper for setting up as an air flow duct to the radiator was easy. Putting the trunk lid on gas lifts was easy. Mounting dual fuel tank filler pop ups on top of each quarter was easy and will be convenient at the pump.....
               
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              • Kern Dog

                Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                Holy crap...I'm going to need some pictures of that stuff!
                 
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                • Ghostrider 67

                  Ghostrider 67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                  • Ghostrider 67

                    Ghostrider 67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Your welcome and there's also the photo garage...
                     
                  • Ghostrider 67

                    Ghostrider 67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    This also worked out after several false starts. Setting up the trunk latch release lever. Because I reimagined the entire rear face of the Coronet, the trunk latch was left sitting 8" too low and so was placed on a carefully angled plate that bolts to the original place. This brought the latch up to the right height/position to engage the trunk catch bar. After thinking about it for awhile I tried several times with different ideas to create a latch release that wouldn't get in the way of the 66 T Bird light panel that runs to the inside rear of the plate with very little room to spare or interfering with the close out panel that runs across the front of the plate. So it had to be out of the way within the 'sandwiched area' between plate & latch body, about 1/4" to 3/8" space.
                    It also had to be maintenance free and pretty much indestructible because I'm not taking this apart once it's all installed and done.
                    So I finally chose the right item to sacrifice for the lever axle. It's an adapter for the insert driver that has an Allen end and a 1/4" drive end. I found a tiny closed-open end wrench sitting in a drawer that just happened to fit the Allen end nice and snug. So that's the lever worked out. Then I needed to create a 'flat tip' on the 1/4" drive end that would fit snugly in the latch release slot on the back/inside side of the latch mechanism. So, vise grips and a grinder and wah-lah, done. Now it had to be the right length to leave the wrench not jammed up against the plate and scrapping as it swings. Done. Now I needed a pivot point for the other free end of the 'axle'. Drilled a hole in the correct spot of the plate and once the latch and the plate are married up with the axle end poked into that hole, it needed the right number and thicknesses of washers at each bolt to space it out right, so everything worked. I'll be cutting the open end wrench off and drilling a small hole in the stump for a return spring and for the cable pull to attach to. Added a bolt with an aluminum roller for the cable to ride around when pulled, and called it done except for final clean up and paint. Included a picture of the " MAd Scientist" workbench...lol.

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                    Last edited: May 24, 2020 at 8:04 AM
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                    • Ghostrider 67

                      Ghostrider 67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                      As you can see, I keep a 13oz Esswing framing hammer lying around just in case brute strength is called for...

                      The latch in position.....

                      0425201522a.jpg 0425201522b.jpg 0425201522c.jpg
                       
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                      • hsorman

                        hsorman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                        Another one that worked

                        I added a sector support kit. What the heck is that, you ask? Well, it is essentially a bearing that supports the bottom of the steering shaft, below the Pittman arm. With the forces generated when more aggressively driving through a turn, there is normally a lot of flex in this steering shaft. A sector support kit stops this flex.

                        This is a sector support kit:
                        IMG_2531.JPG

                        It bolts to the K-member. Here is a picture mocked up on my steering box (without the Pittman arm installed):
                        IMG_2539.JPG

                        This is a small detail that goes sight unseen, but helps very time I take a corner!

                        Hawk
                         
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                        • bearman

                          bearman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                          Hawk, not going to interfere with the headers.
                           
                        • hsorman

                          hsorman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                          Nope - not at all. It's been on there for 5 years and drove across country. It's a proven combination in my car! :thumbsup:
                           
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                          • beanhead

                            beanhead Well-Known Member

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                            Well I know lots of folks have done it, but I don't think it can be mentioned too much..the 'ol headlight relay trick. I haven't done it to my current car (yet) but I did it to the Dart I had back in '03-'04-ish. No 'FBBO' or internet 'as we now know it' back then, I made my own at the time with good heavy-duty components. It makes such a difference in these old cars, nice bright lights throughout with no 'flickering' at idle.
                            @Crackedback is awesome for bringing this modification to the masses and also deserves a shout out!
                             
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                            • qkcuda

                              qkcuda Well-Known Member

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                              Converted my cuda to modern retractable belts. Now I just have to figure out if there is any way to do that mod in a 66 Charger.

                              int 47 (2).JPG
                               
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                              • Kern Dog

                                Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                Sure there is. XV racing sells a kit with single retractors and a drop down section to help belt fitment over the shoulder.
                                The picture below was with a set of 3 point belts from Snayk Oyl and while they worked fine, they needed a drop down segment from the overhead mount to properly fit across the shoulder.

                                SRT 1A.JPG

                                Are you saying that the 1966 model had no type of overhead mount? If so, one can be easily retofitted if the headliner is out. A simple section of 12 gauge sheet metal welded to the door header would work, one with a nut welded to the back side.
                                 
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                                • qkcuda

                                  qkcuda Well-Known Member

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                                  Yes the overhead mount is the issue. Interior is clean and complete, so not sure I want to mess with the one piece headliner.
                                   
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                                  • hsorman

                                    hsorman FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                    OK, so speaking of front seat belts: On the rear I showed you what I did. For the rear, since I have a coupe and not a hardtop, I have space under the rear windows since they are fixed and only pop out. So I mounted the retractor inside the door panel and passed the belt out at the seam at the top of the rear "door card" (not sure what the heck to call it back there!).

                                    I took a seat belt plastic piece from a 73 seat belt retractor:
                                    IMG_4320.JPG

                                    Then I modified the metal under the rear window:
                                    IMG_4315.JPG

                                    Then I stuck the retractor for the 3 point belts through the modified plastic piece so it exited right at the top of the door card:
                                    IMG_4317.JPG

                                    The end result looks like this. Not perfect, and perhaps I could do a bit more metal work, but still hides the big retractor. This is the best picture I could find, but on the left side of the picture you can see the front belt exiting the door card right through the molding (by the way, my Road Runner was purchased with this fake wood applique on the molding. In a nod of respect to it's heritage, I reproduced it. I know it is not original...).
                                    IMG_5098.JPG

                                    Hawk
                                     
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                                    • Kern Dog

                                      Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                                      Good idea. I intended to do the same with my Charger but the window mechanism is in the way.
                                       
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