Father-Son 1974 Duster Project

Discussion in 'Members Restorations' started by DusterDaddy, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. DusterDaddy

    DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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    My 14 year old son just bought an unmolested 73 duster with a slant six. It is our goal to restore the car, but swap the slant six for a 318 using the Schumaker (sp) motor mount kit.
    When I was a kid I had a 69 Barracuda that had a 318 with a 904 trans and drum brakes all around from the factory. I put a cam, intake, headers and 4bbl on the 318 and I drove the daylights out of that car for years without busting the rear, trans or tearing up the brakes.
    This Duster has drums all around and other than the typical rusty lower quaters and floors it is all there right down to the window cranks and radio knobs.
    I have read so much conflicting information here about swaping motors and what transmissions will work or not.
    Please remember the goal here is to build a car that the boy can enjoy taking down to cruise night, not to the drag strip.
    Any guidance from you all will be welcome help.
    Thanks!
     
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    • gerahead

      gerahead Glutton for Punishment

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      demondreamer,
      Congrats on your father/son project. Many years ago I had the pleasure of having a father/daughter project. I really enjoyed that time. Good luck. L8r

      Jim
       
    • dheff

      dheff Lack of Experience

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      Sounds like a great project for you both. I just started a 74 Duster restoration. I got the car from my Dad. It sat int he garage for 20 years without being started. It runs now! I wish my Sons were old enough to work with me. I let them do very small things, but it is rewarding to them. Enjoy your project!
       
    • DusterDaddy

      DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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      Well here it is January and the 73 duster is gone. We replaced it with a 74 Duster 318*904*8-1/4 car that we got for a song and it has a Title. This Duster isn’t as unmolested as the 73, but the fact that it is a factory V-8 car with front discs made it a no brainer for us to restore.
      The car is missing the hood and has a cracked windshield, but the rest of the glass and the body is there, and the bumpers are clean with very little pitting( gotta take those big black bumper extensions off, they look really odd to me) In the engine bay is the stock 318 sitting there with the intake an valve covers removed. The 904, drive shaft and rear are all intact. The car is sitting on rallies on the front and cop car wheels on the back.
      Inside the cluster is gone, and somewhere along the way these funky non folding bucket seats got bolted in front. I guess they came out of a 4 door. The back seat is nice and a lot of the interior trim panels are decent and can be restored stained and refinished . The floors are good except for the very front of the passenger front.
      I also found an 84 360 out of a pickup with a dump body, TQ and all. It’s a nice runner but it’s real dirty. I was contemplating cleaning it up and running it the way it is with a new carb, but that’s a long way off, and the more I think about it, it would be stupid not to at least pull the heads off, take a look at the cylinder walls and pistons, and install a mild cam. What should I do to the heads while they are off besides plug the smog pump ports?
      Is it better to do the pan and pickup before the top of the motor gets done or after? And we were wondering, how many horsepower did the 360 Ma put in the 74 a-bodies make from the factory?
      We want to run the car with a very stock look under the hood, so we are looking for some 360 a-body manifolds. I have been told the manifolds from the 318 in the car are way too small for the 360. Also going to try to run the stock iron intake on the motor, but we are going to hide a nice new small Holley or Eddy carb under that stock snorkel air cleaner housing.
      Well that’s it for now going to keep on pulling stuff off the car and de-greasing the 360 a few hours per weekend and in a few years we’ll hope to have a nice ride down to the cruise night car shows……

      View attachment Duster.jpg

      View attachment 360 when pulled2.jpg

      View attachment engin bay as purchased.jpg

      View attachment interior as purchased.jpg

      View attachment 360stand.jpg
       
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      • ragtopfury

        ragtopfury Well-Known Member

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        Nice project... looks a lot more solid than the 65 B'cuda we let our 15 yr old son buy....LOL Good luck with it,a nd as it was mentioned to me when I joined with my son's project, take a lot of pics not only of the car, but of each other working on it.....

        btw - would it have been a benefit to keep the 73 for a parts car while building the 74?
         
      • Divenut

        Divenut Well-Known Member

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        Congrats on the new find. It's great to see another "youngin" getting into old muscle cars. I picked up my 72 Duster back in August as a project for me and my 2 daughters (10 yr old twins) to build, and we have had a blast spinning wrenches together. For me it's as much about building great memories as well as a cool car. Look forward to following your build.

        Pat
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        We thought about it, but the 73 was pretty together and the guys who bought it wanted to put it together with the slant six....we had to let her live......and besides, we just sold our house and the new place is going to be great because it has a big barn with concrete floors but we dont close on it till March....No place to put it.
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Pat

        I hear you, all five of my kids are great. My big guy was never really into getting his hands dirty.......until now, it's great to see.
        My wife was impressed to see him manhandle that half inch drive ratchet when we were bolting that greasy 360 to the stand! I Love it!:cheers:
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Finally sold our house and the Duster is a storage unit for now. Can anyone recommend a restoration shop in Central New Jersey that's in it for the love of of the cars and not just about the money? Our new place has a 4 bay detached garage that will be home to the Duster when we finally get the new house up on the property.
        I'd like to see if anyone knows an independent person who takes in restoration work...If so give me a shout
         
      • theothergarth

        theothergarth Well-Known Member

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        You seem to be on a similar trek that I am nearing the end of...the father/son project. It has been a great experience along the way even though there have been a few head butting instances. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has taken us longer than we originally expected, but we are still having fun with it. If you're interested, here is the link of most of our story/progress....

        http://www.forabodiesonly.com/mopar/showthread.php?t=157172
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Well after getting into our new place ( not the one with the big barn.....long story, we are working on the project.
        Pulled the existing 318 and found the 904 housing was mangled where the starter mounts. Told by a professional mopar mechanic this is not repairable!

        Also discovered that there is a socket on my k frame that holds a suspension arm that has broken loose, the same mechanic has advised me it's safe to weld/repair and he suggests i find a replacement k frame.

        And to top it all, the 360 I bought from a Preacher in Vermont who touted the motor as a " great driver " had rust in 2 of the cylinders and the same mechanic who advised me on the other damage said it couldn't be honed, and I'm not sending to a machine shop.....

        So I'm in the market for a running 318 and a 904 at bargain basement prices. And I need advice on the K Frame repair
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Slow but sure! Finally got the front clip off the car and pulled out the front seats and carpet.
        The bad news is the front floor pans are gone, but the good news is the rear pans are solid with no rust through. We are going to pull the dash frame out before floor repairs begin.
        Thanks to Oldmanmopar for for selling me a sweet hood and a few grilles and box full of headlight trims!
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        This car sat outside with no hood for a few years. Other than that, where did all the water that caused the rusty floors come from?
         
      • theothergarth

        theothergarth Well-Known Member

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        a couple of the usual culprits would be windshield wiper seals and/or clogged drain holes in the cowl where the under dash vents are
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        It was long day yesterday.
        I drove all across Jersey and 2/3 of the way across Pennsylvania and back to pick our new motor!
        Had to drive right past Carlisle and unfortunately didn't have time to stop.
        But the trip was worth it. We bought the motor from a fellow member whos name is Cole.
        It's a mild build/freshen 318. got it for a great price
         

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      • tqfastfish

        tqfastfish "let the big fish eat"

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        I live in VT

        and my name is cole! haha

        but im not a preacher haha
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Finally feels like we are gaining some traction on this project! We were away on vacation for a few weeks and we still don't have the car at our new home yet, ( still too many unpacked boxes in the garage) but we did manage to remove the fenders, bumper and doors from the car! Right now we can only guarantee ourselves that we can can work on the car Wednesday evenings down at the self storage where we keep "Misty" (my wife felt we should name the car...)

        My 2 oldest boys now 16 and 14 as well as my little girl 10 cant wait for Wednesdays to come and to go work on the car! This project is already a success due to the excitement of the kids! Last night the kids were all smiles and High Fives when we pushed Misty back into the storage unit.
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        This little girl wont be told by her brothers or anyone else that working on the car isn't for girls!:heart:
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        I can't figure out why the previous owner pop riveted aluminum roll flashing over the rusty quarter bottom and trunk extension....

        Initially while looking at the car and talking to him, I asked about this fantastic example of butchery...He just shrugged his shoulders and said " I'll take $200 for the car. It has a valid New Jersey title, and I'll even deliver it."

        Not a bad deal:happy4:
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Beside the floors, the very bottom of the quarters and the trunk extensions are the worst of rust. The main trunk floor is nice and the rest of the car is very solid.

        I could use a few tips on breaking the spot welds on the bottom of the quarter and where the trunk extension is welded to trunk.

        It's been 30 years since I welded, and that was a stick welder. I'm picking up a fluxcore welder over the weekend and I will familiarize myself and practice. I've read in the forums to stitch weld so as to not warp the panel:newb:
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        I learn a lot from asking questions and reading previous threads. Thanks to this site, a novice like myself and my kids were able to take the windshield out with mangling the chrome trim or braking the glass.
        We also got the entire dash assembly out because we asked questions and got great help from others here. We got it out and didn't damage anything, not even vent hoses.
        We only work on the car Wednesday nights and next week we are going to begin fitting and cutting for the new floor pans.........One side at a time.
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        Are there any tricks to getting the two Heat/AC assemblies out of the car?
        As you can see from the above post, we have removed the dash assembly from the car.
        Any help is appreciated.
         
      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        As I mentioned before, the car is not at our house due to just having moved in and lot's of our stuff is in the garages in boxes still. The car is at a local self storage place, and management is very cool about allowing work on the car. They even hooked us up with a strong 20 amp outlet. We can run a grinder and the Harbor Freight fluxcore welder with no issues.

        Right now due to other family obligations we only work on the car Wednesday nights.

        It was after dark when we wrapped up this week and I didn't get a good look at the floor firewall seam. I got the passenger front area all cut out with a 4" thin cutoff wheel in a grinder and chiseled the spot welds apart. No damage to fuel lines, emergency brake cable or anything else.

        I'm planning to start fitting the new pan from the corner where the firewall meets the inner fender and fitting the firewall seam and along the door jamb first. I was going to cut the new pan 1" over where it will meet the tunnel and vertical rise that begins just under the front edge of the seat. I then was going to tack the pan in and re-cut through the pan and the existing tunnel/floor structure to create a butt seam. Then tack and stitch weld it in.

        Do I spot weld it to the frame members before or after the perimeter?

        Am I aimed in the right direction?
         

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      • DusterDaddy

        DusterDaddy sledgehammer mechanic FABO Gold Member

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        We have made good progress working on the Duster!:cheers:
        Most Wednesdays 4 of my 5 kids come along and participate in dismantling the car.
        I can't thank this site and it's members enough for helping me figure what to do next.
        I even asked the admins to change my username form Demondreamer to DusterDaddy which they did. Thanks!
        When I first registered my oldest son was intent on a Demon, but as the universe would have it along with a greater supply of Dusters, our Duster made it's way to us, so now I'm DusterDaddy:cheers:
        In August we removed the windshield, removed the dash structure, cut out and and welded in new front floor pans!
        Also located a chunk of cowl I need to repair rust through and found an awesome A833 trans, factory shift hump and pedelbox in the bargain.
        Last Wednesday I was able to pull the rear bumper, and got great suggestions on how to mount it back on the car and eliminate the rubber spacer by draining the rear impact shocks and through bolting them in the compressed position.
        The motor and drivetrain are out of the car and I need to think about rebuilding the front suspension. I can't afford to buy a kit and do it all at once and frankly, removing the whole suspension all at once freaks me out.
        The car is a disc brake, 318 car and the suspension is intact. I am buying a set of lower control arms with factory swaybar tabs on them from the member who is selling me the transmission and radiator.
        So, how can I work on that suspension and purchase 1 part at a time and make progress?
        Any suggestions would be welcome.
        I'll post a couple pics this weekend.
         
      • bear

        bear Well-Known Member

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        How'd the floors come out "DusterDaddy" ? I know that welder you bought and I know it takes a little getting used to . As far as buying that front end parts , what I would suggest is make a list of all the front end parts and pick up one or two things at a time . Start with one side . Say pick up the upper and lower ball joints or the inner and outer tie rods and when you have everything your going to need then start tearing into the front end . That way to , if your like me then you'd have time to paint everything up before you install them .