1970 Duster project(s)

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  • Dad’s 1970 Duster purchased new late ‘69. Estimated about a million miles on this daily driven A-body. Original /6, 904, Power steering, manual brake bench seat, green on green. Car was rear ended twice buckled both quarters, rear rails and center hump in the floor pan between the seats. My original plan was to repair it, but I bought another car that I'm going to build up from scratch, and just move things over to it as I go. I'll send the green Duster out to pasture until I can afford to buy the required sheet metal to repair it properly. Until then I'm just having fun with it. It's a running and driving (and insured) car. I swapped in a 5.9 Magnum, dual exhaust, 904 and manual steering and bucket seats.

    The replacement body is also a '70 /6 car, but with a floor shift, manual steering and bucket seats and a clean title! This one came with no drivetrain, but a V8 K-frame and some signs of a drag-racing past. Ultimate plans for this car is to go with a 408 stroker, MSD fuel injection, and a 727 with transbrake. Jury is still out on the transmission choice.
  • Vehicle:
    1970 Plymouth Duster
    360 Magnum, Holley 750, headers
    Street Radials
    1/8Mile ET:
    1/8Mile MPH:
    1/4 Mile ET:
    1/4 Mile MPH:
    Track Name:
    Tucson Dragway
273 Duster, Demonic, Tom Over and 3 others like this.

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  1. Lumpyidle
    (part 3)
    Orange Duster:
    Currently getting stripped and prepped for bodywork. (by hand or by blasting, haven't figured out the budget for that yet)
    It will be going back to factory Hemi Orange with a black vinyl top unless I can fix the roof well enough to paint it(preferred).
    Rust in the floors
    Rust in the quarters
    Rust holes in the roof (vinyl top car)
    Rust in the trunk
    Rust on the trunk drip channels
    Rust on the left apron
    Rust in the top of the fenders (weird place to rust, where it's reinforced on the underside)
    Rust in the left apron on the engine side behind the shock mount (another strange place to rust)
    Dents on every panel
    Prior sloppy welded repair to drivers door striker
  2. Lumpyidle
    (part 2)

    Autometer Oil, Temp, and Volt gauges in 2 5/8 size. The bracket is from Equus, same thing as the Autometer, but less than half the price. The tach is a cheep autoparts store unit.
    Rear end is an 8 3/4 489 case with 2.7 something:1 gear ratio and a Suregrip. Plan on upgrading to somewhere between 3.55 - 4.10 gears. - I still need to do the math on that one. Tire size, RPM range, etc...
    Cheep chrome alternator brackets (OE style was 4 times as much to purchase), will probably strip the chrome and paint them later.
    Alternator from the /6 engine, same alternator, just uses the other bolt hole.
    Stock magnum starter - Much smaller than the original
    Aftermarket weighted harmonic balancer - came with 3 weights to choose from (Made by Badger(not the piston people) who was making them for Pro-Products)
    Air cleaner was a chrome 14" open element unit that I had on my '65 Mustang years ago, got a little rusty, so I blasted it and painted it to match the motor.
    Valve covers are stock Magnum, with a MrGasket breather on one side, and the stock oil cap and PCV valve(currently not connected) on the other side.
    Summit gold irritated stock style CAR oil pan (Magnums only came in trucks, wrong oil pan), basic, no baffles or anything. The pickup tube is from an old 318 core I had laying around. Reused the magnum oil pump.
    Front seats are out of a Mustang. 1997-2001-ish? Temporary solution. No rear seat. I have the original buckets and back seat I'll use for the Orange car.
    Seat belts are out of the 2000 Durango that I pulled the motor from. The shoulder belt rides high on my collar bone against my neck, not very comfortable. I need to figure out a better 3 point solution. Any suggestions? I have it mounted in the stock belt mounting locations on the rocker and roof rail. The buckle is mounted to the seat itself.
  3. Lumpyidle
    Here is the current state of the build as of today. (part 1)

    Green Duster:
    Rear tires are 245/60R15, Rims are 15x8. - Tires clear perfectly with no rubbing. Looking for some matching rims for the front but in 15x6.
    Magnum swap from a 2000 Durango 5.9. - LA style front accessories on the motor (less fuel pump). Stock magnum internals and heads(for now).
    Cheep summit headers (flowtech). - PITA to install, but work, gaskets are junk, buy good ones if you use these headers.
    Summit 2 1/2" dual exhaust kit - cheep and bolted right in, easy install.
    ProComp chinesium dual plane "air gap style" intake, (Brass water hose connector from Edelbrock)
    Holley 750 with vacuum secondaries and a 1" spacer
    Holley in-line electric fuel pump. - A little noisy, but I have NO insulation or interior for a sound barrier whatsoever.
    Trans-dapt /6 to 360 motor mount kit, also their "Lokar" knock-off throttle and transmission cable setup. - Much cheaper, we'll see how long they last.
    MSD 6AL-2 box - 2 stage rev limiter for future launch control use
    MSD billet distributor - acquired in a trade, easy to change advance curve etc.. and MSD street wires and Blaster-2 coil.
    904 Automatic transmission from Craigslist for $100 complete with stock torque converter. - Replaced filter and crossed fingers....it works!
    Floor shift column, and a B&M Pro-stick gated floor shifter. - Love it!
    Manual steering gearbox - came from orange car, needs rebuilding, it's super sloppy and adjustment screw on top is already bottomed out, scary!
    Radiator is the stock /6 unit, the fan with fan clutch, and the shroud all from the /6 motor dad had in the car. - I just flipped over the /6 fan shroud and it fit! The lower hose I bought a Gates hose adapter to resize the end of the V8 lower hose at the radiator. The upper is a universal flex hose. Runs around 160.
    Water neck I think is billet aluminum, I only chose it because I wanted something with a thick flange because I hate leaks.
  4. Garrett Ellison
    Wow! this reminds me of a running 71 /six auto column and air conditioned grandma car I bought in 1992 for $1500 and sold in 1995 with some left front wreck damage for a whopping $900. Still kicking myself, would have been a great big block project... it still wound up in good hands and got reborn as a sassy grass 340 duster with black tape.
      Lumpyidle likes this.
  5. Lumpyidle
    Haven't posted in a while. I got the 5.9 Magnum installed, went to Zip-Tie drags in Tucson in Jan. Ran a 16.79 @ 78mph in the 1/4 mile on the first run but did not go all out on the first run due to super loose steering box and worn out front end. It gets a little scary driving it over 45mph as it's all over the place. It was rainy and windy weekend so I only got to run once before they changed it to 1/8 mile which didn't bother me because again, the top speed is a little unwieldy. The 1/8th ran a 10.13 @70.6mph. I have been fighting a bog off idle with both holley's I have tried, and highway gears doesn't make for the best track times. I found some gunk in the carbs and traced it back to the tank. So out it came tonight, going to take it to the shop tomorrow to see if they can clean it out, or if it would be better to simply buy a new one off of Summit for $150 bucks. I'll post pics once I have my phone pics downloaded. Oh, on my initial road test to the alignment shop after getting the motor in, I was about 15 miles from the house (live outside of town) and smoke started pouring out of the steering column. Apparently the Dorman turn signal switch ain't so great. I lost turn signals and brake lights. I since bypassed the turn signal switch so I can have brake lights. I suppose I should fix that soon.
  6. stixx
    Sounds like "The Immortal Duster"
  7. Lumpyidle
    This Saturday I dropped the motor and tranny in the car, reassembled the steering column, (FYI, the dorman turn signal service part works great, for how long remains to be seen, it’s just plastic), rebuilt the coupler, and removed and reinstalled the steering column a couple times trying to get everything to work correctly. Sunday I fought with the $150 Summit headers, label in the box said “Flowtech”. After removing the steering box and column again, denting my new Wix oil filter removing it, and raising and rocking the motor, removing the draglink, they are installed! What a pain that was. The drag link actually goes through the headers! I took photos and will document later on how those headers got into the Duster. Tonight (Monday) I installed a B&M pro-shifter. It’s a “Gated” shifter, not to be confused with a ratchet shifter. Fairly easy install, just make sure to follow the directions exactly and it’ll hook right up. It came with a bracket and leaver that goes on the transmission, so I did that before I even put the transmission in the car, glad I did, it’s tight under there! Tomorrow is probably throttle and kick down cables, distributor and carburetor. Trying to get all the under car stuff done. I’m tired of creeping under the car, 47 Year’s of grease and road gunk, I wind up with a thick coat of black sludge up past my elbows after working under there. The drive shaft is in too, which is partially why I went with a 904 like what came out. Exhaust and fuel pump is all that’s left on the bottom side. That’s going to be this weekend’s project. Until next time...
  8. tkowalchuk
    Looks good, keep working on it!
    1. Lumpyidle
      Thanks! I have been!
      Lumpyidle, Dec 12, 2017
  9. Lumpyidle
    I was having so much fun I skipped church Sunday and pulled the old motor out. Well now it's Tuesday, so I pulled the 904 out from under the car tonight, that was the only thing I had planned on getting this evening, but I enjoy being in the shop so much I just couldn't stop working on the car! It's been several years since I've had a place to work. I'm converting the green car AKA the "Junker" to a floor shift and manual steering (for header clearance mainly). The orange car is a factory floor shift 3 speed manual. I stayed up late enough to get the manual steering box out of the orange car to get it ready to swap it with the power box in the Junker. I don't know any history on the orange car so I also disassembled the floor shift column that came with it to clean it up, inspect and reassemble before installing it in the Junker. The turn signal cam is busted, going to try the Dorman service piece from the auto parts store. The bearing was also ceased, but some solvent and some PB blaster freed it right up. I'll be shopping for a new bearing when I officially rebuild the column. I'm not going to bother restoring it now because I'm going to have to pull it all apart again anyway when I start on body and paint next year. This coming Saturday I plan on cleaning 47 years of grease and grime from the engine bay before I drop in the V8. A solution of dish soap, powdered laundry detergent and hot water and a couple red scotch bright pads and give it a good scrubbing. After the bath, in goes the manual steering box, column, and then motor and transmission etc..
  10. Lumpyidle
    Started tearing into the car today. Removed the single exhaust and driveshaft so far. Checked on the rear end, I knew dad had put in an 8 3/4 rear end year’s ago so he could get the limited slip dif. Other than that I didn’t know much about it until now. Good news is that it’s a “489” case. Bad news is that it’s 2.76 gears. Dad was going for fuel mileage, not performance. He wanted posi so he wouldn’t get stuck on dirt trails when he went gold panning. I assumed that I had the larger bolt pattern wheels, but apparently not. Now I have to rethink my wheel choice as the set I wanted are not available with 4” pattern.