Ownership Verified: The horribly-behind-schedule family project car - 1968 Plymouth GTX 426

BerserkerCatSplat

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Holy shit an update.

So the car went back to the body shop for its final application of paint, decals, stripes, trim pieces, and other finishing touches. We were given an estimate for completion of 2-3 weeks.


Six months later, we said "fuck this, give us the car back." By this point, the car had at least received paint but no other work had been done. While we will have to take the car to yet another shop to have the stripes and molding installed, it did allow us to get pretty much everything else together.


Bumpers, grille, and headlights are all in:
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We installed the carpet, interior panels, and newly reupholstered seats.
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You can see the front door panels are missing, we were waiting on a couple of tiny plastic clips to arrive so we could install the door lock cylinders and handles. Once those are in, the panels can be installed and the interior will be effectively complete. Not shown, but the rear end is finished with the quarter panel extensions, tallights, trunk panels, etc.


Remainder of the to-do list as far as I can remember:

- Locks/handles/door panels
- rear marker light bulbs
- replace neutral safety switch
- Side stripes
- Side molding
- Windshield wipers
- Install lower windshield trim
- Replace bad brake master cylinder

Pretty short list, thankfully. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

However, all is not well in Hemi-land. There is a major oil-coolant mix going on, in which the oil is contaminated by coolant even with the engine shut off. If you pour coolant into the rad, it heads straight to the oil pan until the coolant level drops to a certain point. I'm hoping it's just a bad intake gasket rather than a head gasket problem, we're going to pull the intake off in the next couple weeks and see what we find.
 
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CraigB

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What is with body shops anyway? Was it one that specialized in restorations?

Sucks about the coolant oil cocktail. I hope it is just the intake gaskets.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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CraigB;n3544079 said:
What is with body shops anyway? Was it one that specialized in restorations?

Sucks about the coolant oil cocktail. I hope it is just the intake gaskets.
He doesn't specialize in restoration work per se, but he does a good bit of it and he's a longtime friend of my dad's. The problem is that he is fucking atrocious at scheduling and has a habit of giving priority to insurance projects instead of getting other customers' cars finished on time. He already had the paint made up from the initial paintwork so we were kinda stuck with him.
 
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BerserkerCatSplat

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So, after some last-minute thrashing (and a trip to a different local body shop for final paint work and some stripes) the GTX is complete, ~20 years after purchase. We put the finishing touches on it and had some professionals sand and polish the paint before the big show.






















So... yeah! That's pretty much it! The only major thing left is the passenger side head needs a new head gasket, we'll probably get around to dealing with that in the spring. I'd like to get some nice better photos as well and maybe a video or two, but that will have to wait until the snow is gone.
 

TC

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Beautiful car, love the color combo. You guys did a great job!
 

CraigB

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Absolutely beautiful! Love the license plate!
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Thanks guys! It's a real relief to finally have it finished, haha - it's fun to look back in the thread and see where we started. I also get a kick out of the license plate, we had a few elephant-related ideas for it but that was the eventual choice.

As with any resto project, we learned a few things along the way - like the fact that you can directly swap Chrysler power window motors from anything between the early 60s and the late 80s! And that the length of B-body lower windshield trim clips vary by build date. And a hundred other little things you figure out along the way.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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So... yeah! That's pretty much it! The only major thing left is the passenger side head needs a new head gasket, we'll probably get around to dealing with that in the spring. I'd like to get some nice better photos as well and maybe a video or two, but that will have to wait until the snow is gone.
Ahh, how naive I was to think that our luck would have the oil-coolant milkshake problem be a mere head gasket. It was not. Not that it mattered a whole lot, in the end - it turns out that performing a head gasket service on a 426, unlike the other wedge motors, cannot be performed in-frame. You get to pull the whole lump out to do it. Fun! So the drivetrain once again has found itself scattered in various areas around the shop.

The problem, rather than being a bad head gasket, turned out to be a badly cracked cylinder head. The head had been previously repaired in the 1980s when the engine had been assembled last (see thread title RE: schedule) but evidently the repair was either incomplete or poorly performed as the head re-cracked literally the first time the engine got up to temperature. Both heads were removed from the block and sent off to a specialist who re-repaired, milled, and pressure-tested both of them.





In the meantime, the transmission was also sent off for work, it was rebuilt prior to installation but didn't work for shit. Of course this was also done so long ago that taking it back to the rebuilder was no longer an option. Frustrating as hell.
 

JimCorrigan

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Dood! Sorry to hear about this latest misstep. The car’s freaking gorgeous and I am so impressed with all the work you’ve put into it.
 

CraigB

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I guess finding good original castings of some of these parts is getting impossible, eh?
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Dood! Sorry to hear about this latest misstep. The car’s freaking gorgeous and I am so impressed with all the work you’ve put into it.
Yeah it's a bummer but how she goes sometimes. There are a couple of extra things we'll take the time to do while the engine is out, so it's not a total loss. Still sucks to go backwards a bit haha. I'm reeeeally not looking forward to bolting the headers back on, it took a number of hours last time around, damn fiddly bolts!

I guess finding good original castings of some of these parts is getting impossible, eh?
It's getting tough (not to mention expensive), and a set of date-correct castings can be tough to track down. These particular heads have not led an easy life, to be honest - I believe they spent some time attached to an alcohol-fueled dragster.

This car is stunning! These latest bits are just project car life!
Thanks! I'd like to get it finished and move on to other projects, haha!
 

CraigB

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It's getting tough (not to mention expensive), and a set of date-correct castings can be tough to track down. These particular heads have not led an easy life, to be honest - I believe they spent some time attached to an alcohol-fueled dragster.
I could see that. Blower cars are rough on parts. :ROFLMAO:
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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So while we were putting the engine back together, we also took the opportunity to drop the transmission off at our local trans guy for a once-over. When we'd initially run the car, we'd noticed that it absolutely would not move under 3500RPM - which we had blamed on the high-stall torque converter, as the trans was a completely rebuilt unit and should have had no running issues. Since the drivetrain was laying about the shop we figured we may as well have him give it a close look in case something was done improperly during the rebuild. It turned out that the trans valve body was cracked and completely failed pressure testing - it passed a visual inspection, but as soon as hydraulic pressure went up (like, say when trying to drive the car) the crack opened up and bled fluid pressure like crazy. Hence, the car would only move when the RPM was high enough to raise pressure levels enough to overcome the outflow from the crack. Sadly, even the limited driving it had seen (on and off a trailer a few times, basically) was enough for the trans clutches to experience undue wear due to the low apply pressure, so the unit was basically rebuilt again with a replacement valve body.

With that said, I'm happy to report the car is once more back together and the drivetrain finally appears to be in working order and all various fluids are staying in their proper locations and at reasonable temperatures!




After said fluids were reinstalled via various funnels, we finally got to take the car for its inaugural (hoodless, Roadkill-style) trip around the block, which is a pretty big deal considering how long it's been a car-shaped paperweight.




What you can't see from the outside is the big lopey cam and the high-compression pistons. This is one seriously fun car for sure, mountains of torque, it breaks the tires loose at the slightest provocation. Still some kinks to iron out, the big cam doesn't seem to generate enough manifold vacuum to actually run the brake booster so the brakes are more of a... vague suggestion at present. We'll throw a vacuum gauge on it and see if we need to hide an electric vacuum pump somewhere.




Life could be worse!
 
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