To daily drive, or not....

SpeedThrills

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Stockish 360 with EFI conversion, OD, sound insulation, AC, cruise and music. Upgraded handling, but no spine rattler. Hey, I might build one!
 

crj1968

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Mr. crj1968, I certainly don't want to discourage you from daily driving your older Mopar because I daily drive 4 of them and I enjoy them a lot. But you do need to remember that corollary to Murphy's Law which applies to older daily drivers: "anything that CAN break WILL break". I found that I needed to drive each of my older Mopes for several years and replace lots and lots of parts before the corollary had exhausted itself, and in the meantime I found it necessary to buy good towing insurance. It also helps to have a boss who is sympathetic to your endeavor, and who won't get too upset if you are late to work a few times while you get your car sorted out.

Yep I totally get it. And I've certainly been there before, but it's been a good 15 years since I daily drove an old car. Well I daily drove a Cherokee Xj for quite a while...and not really that old, but certainly not without it's quirks and issues. (injectors, sensors, cooling issues) Also not without it's road noise and bad handling...Still have it.

Daily driving a BMW 335D right now. A sleeper of a car (6cyl twin turbo diesel). In two years I've had it laid up for a few times in my garage. Waste gate actuators, EGR cooler, Water pump, glow plug module. More issues loom no doubt as it is DEF injected.

Been at the same job for 25 years now...my boss doesn't worry about me too much.

I'm honestly not too worried about the reliability of the car. Make sure the wiring is solid and a spare coil, ECU, ballast/ even a distributor in the trunk could go a long way.
 

crj1968

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I do plan on putting in an OD in mine soon, and change the rear end to 3.55 or 3.73.
Is she the most comfortable ride? Not quite, But it's loads better than before, but again I can likely improve her a little more... But man is it fun! She get's a lot of attention as well. (Both good and erm... bad).
Yes AC is a great thing as well. Luckily there are quite a few aftermarket options. As for seats I actually modified and mounted 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse bucket seats into mine. Much better!
View attachment 1715933817
Seats look good.

An OD would be really nice... read a lot about the different conversions people do. They seem really happy with them, after the headache of install. Plus, I'll admit, doing it all on jack stands...I can't say I would look forward to it.
 

318willrun

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We do almost all our traveling in old cars, crossing many states. As for work daily, not generally classics. Could be but we don't. Use them a lot on weekends, sometimes during the week.
 

mbaird

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These are simple machines. If properly done they should be as reliable as any new car . When we start modifying everything things can go wrong but otherwise no reason they cant be daily driven .
 

318willrun

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These are simple machines. If properly done they should be as reliable as any new car . When we start modifying everything things can go wrong but otherwise no reason they cant be daily driven .
To me, long hours of comfort along with piece of mind goes away when we have 240 @ 050 durations, headers, 3.91's, Holley blue fuel pumps and full aftermarket ignitions. Hard to carry a spare for everything aftermarket on the ignition and fuel system. And who wants to listen to hours of 3k rpm's to do 55 mph ? You are correct, these cars were built pretty simple and are simply reliable. Very easy to buy replacement parts or carry a few things with you for less than 30 bucks.
 

crj1968

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To me, long hours of comfort along with piece of mind goes away when we have 240 @ 050 durations, headers, 3.91's, Holley blue fuel pumps and full aftermarket ignitions. Hard to carry a spare for everything aftermarket on the ignition and fuel system. And who wants to listen to hours of 3k rpm's to do 55 mph ? You are correct, these cars were built pretty simple and are simply reliable. Very easy to buy replacement parts or carry a few things with you for less than 30 bucks.

Totally agree- daily driving 1/2 hour each way, not a big deal compared to long drives of droning down the endless freeway.

I watched your video of your dual quad set-up on the 318. That is awesome...seems like your engine makes some pretty good power.
 

318willrun

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Totally agree- daily driving 1/2 hour each way, not a big deal compared to long drives of droning down the endless freeway.

I watched your video of your dual quad set-up on the 318. That is awesome...seems like your engine makes some pretty good power.
droning.... yuk !! :D Our favorite to date as far as traveling is our '77 Dodge shorty van. With the bed, table, chairs, no place on earth is uncomfortable as long as it's not super hot and humid... LOL! 318 2bbl and slower than paint drying, but it's our absolute favorite of any of it's predecessors.
 

Jim Lusk

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Haven't driven an "old" car daily since around 2011. I sold my '79 Power Wagon and got a 2000 Durango. Likely never daily driving an old car again. Fuel mileage and creature comforts are important, but several weeks ago we were at the coast and I would have driven the Barracuda if it were done. Nothing like a convertible at the coast...
 

Bill Crowell

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droning.... yuk !! :D Our favorite to date as far as traveling is our '77 Dodge shorty van. With the bed, table, chairs, no place on earth is uncomfortable as long as it's not super hot and humid... LOL! 318 2bbl and slower than paint drying, but it's our absolute favorite of any of it's predecessors.
I'm absolutely with you on that one, 318! Of my several Mopars, by far my favorite driver for long trips is my '77 B200 camper van that I've owned since new. It has a built 360, oversize front and rear sway bars, outboard oil coolers on the engine and tranny, propane stove, refrigerator, sink, cupboards, bed and an all-leather interior. Moreover, it has the optional 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat on top!

van.jpg
 

crj1968

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I could live in that thing. Sell the house, cash out the 401K and I'm good to go.

Only one thing stopping me....
 

MRGTX

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I would be perfectly happy daily driving a 318 Abody in completely stock form.

The ONLY updates that I believe are necessary would be upgraded LED tail lights (with the proper style emitters), and modern rubber.

That said, I wouldn't do it for several depressing reasons.

First, they're dangerous. No airbags, no modern crash tech, hokey seat belts, no ABS, etc. Do we need those things? No but as soon as someone you care about is riding with you, it matters a lot more.

Second, they're starting to become irreplaceable and to just burn them up in traffic, wreck the metal in the rain and snow, leave them in parking lots to get dinged/dented/stolen...yikes. I would never get a good night of sleep.

Third, and this one is going to be unpopular, they're HORRIBLE for the environment. I see little harm in keeping a car like this for weekend driving, etc. It's a whole different thing when we're talking about 12,000+ miles per year.

Finally, the constant, impending doom that comes along with any kind of an accident would suck the fun out of it. Unless you have a special insurance policy, you'll never be covered enough to fix or replace (if that's even possible) one of these cars. The policies that would provide adequate coverage almost always have a clause that bans you from commuting to work/daily driving chores.
 

DesertRat

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I build all my cars to be my DD. This one is my current daily driver. I have road tripped it and used it as my commuter car. The caveat it that I don't take it to Wal mart, and I am careful where I park it. It takes extra time as everyone wants to talk about it. Built 273 original engine and 904 with GVOD. Modern brakes and suspension and two years of fixing build mistakes make it a nice reliable driver. When I finish the current build it will replace the Barracuda or at least share driving time with it. These cars don't like to be parked, they like to be driven!
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MRGTX

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I've been daily driving my Duster for the past 6 years. Were there issues? Yes. But mostly easy to fix. I've driven long distances as well, did quite a few 500+ mile trips and did one 1200 mile trip in 2017. (planning another 1000+ mile trip in it soon)
Yes there were some squeaks but very mild as I've taken care of most of them. The wind noise is moderate but again I haven't replaced all the seals yet, and the interior is about 75% complete.
I currently have 3.21 rear gears. I can cruise comfortably at 71-72 mph. @ 3000 rpm, The exhaust drone is minimal (crossover pipes and straight-thru mufflers like Magnaflows are key).
Now keep in mind my suspension has been (and still is) slowly converted to aftermarket over the years. Now only the Lower Control Arms and rear suspension are OEM... For now.
I do plan on putting in an OD in mine soon, and change the rear end to 3.55 or 3.73.
Is she the most comfortable ride? Not quite, But it's loads better than before, but again I can likely improve her a little more... But man is it fun! She get's a lot of attention as well. (Both good and erm... bad).
Yes AC is a great thing as well. Luckily there are quite a few aftermarket options. As for seats I actually modified and mounted 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse bucket seats into mine. Much better!
...

Utah, as far as I know, applies plenty of salt to the roads (in the parts of the state that get snow). How have you dealt with that? Under normal usage here in New England, the bodies on these cars were showing obvious signs of rust after 4-5 seasons of winter driving.

As a kid, my family had a '75 Duster 360 (my dad bought new) and later a used '74 Duster /6. Rust aside, they were apparently darned near perfect daily drivers for their era. I rode many miles in the back seat of the '74 and it was perfectly fine...but it's different now. Just looking around at the sea of pickup trucks on the road today, most of which driven well above the speed limit. Most people having absolutely no tolerance for other humans and very short fuses...Nobody stops for stop signs anymore (if they slow down to 5mph, its a miracle), plus half the population casually smoking weed on a daily basis...I wouldn't dream of putting my kid in the back of fifty year old, light weight car every day.
 

Cuprum-74

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Utah, as far as I know, applies plenty of salt to the roads (in the parts of the state that get snow). How have you dealt with that? Under normal usage here in New England, the bodies on these cars were showing obvious signs of rust after 4-5 seasons of winter driving.

As a kid, my family had a '75 Duster 360 (my dad bought new) and later a used '74 Duster /6. Rust aside, they were apparently darned near perfect daily drivers for their era. I rode many miles in the back seat of the '74 and it was perfectly fine...but it's different now. Just looking around at the sea of pickup trucks on the road today, most of which driven well above the speed limit. Most people having absolutely no tolerance for other humans and very short fuses...Nobody stops for stop signs anymore (if they slow down to 5mph, its a miracle), plus half the population casually smoking weed on a daily basis...I wouldn't dream of putting my kid in the back of fifty year old, light weight car every day.

I get what your saying...
My thinking is this; you can be in the safest car ever designed and still be killed by some idiot or drunkard, slamming into you at 100+ mph or hitting you because they were driving down the wrong side of the road. Nothing is ever idiot-proof in my experience.
If it's my time to go, I guess it's time to go. I've faced far worse "situations" in the Middle East and a few times on my Motorcycle. (for example I survived someone's unsecured load on the freeway, ended up colliding with it at about 45 mph after trying to avoid it, walked away with bruises plus headache, helmet and armored jacket did its job)
And there's even less protection on a motorcycle! And my 14 years of riding motorcycle have made me a very alert and attentive driver but since I have young kids, I do plan on hanging up riding mainly because of other people and my wife telling me to choose between the bikes or the duster. (my 10 yr old has ridden on the back of my bike a few times as well).

*Although, the bike's 36 / 45+ mpg is looking really good right now*

My area is extremely rural, so traffic for the most part is a none-issue unless I decide to drive to Salt Lake City, which I have quite a few times with no issues.
And my wife and kids have ridden with me in it plenty of times. But I would say roughly 70-75% of the time it just me and the Duster, my wife occasionally drives it, and I occasionally let my 23 and 25 yr old stepsons drive it (with VERY strict stipulations!)
I can drive 75 mph with no issues. In fact I've done it many many times going from Utah to Colorado, Or driving around in Idaho, Nevada, Montana etc.
My car is a restomod (in progress), so it has much stronger brakes, and a more modernized suspension. So I don't worry too much about handling and braking too much as she does really great in that department. My Duster was nothing too special, it's a 74, it was a (very) base model with a slant 6, 3spd auto, power nothing but I wanted a blank slate so to speak, so I can make it the way I want it and turn it into a DD.
Now if it was a 1970-72 six-pack (440 or 340) Cuda, Or even a 67-69 Barracuda fastback, yeah I will def. limit driving on those.

As for the salt it's actually not that bad here. I picked up my car from Grand Junction CO. which has a slightly wetter climate and uses about the same amount of salt on the roads as Northern Utah. It's not just the salt that causes rust with these cars it's mainly precipitation and humidity. Utah is pretty arid, even in northern Utah, from June to late Sep. / early Oct. we hardly get any rain and average only 10-15% humidity, Southern Utah is even worse with dryness and climate closer to AZ. I've seen quite a few duster in decent shape in ID, CO and AZ. For some reason Utah has few A-bodies but a crap-ton of old Jeeps on the road, I'm talking AMC era ones too. I wonder why? :rolleyes: (yeah, I used be into old jeeps I had 1978 Cherokee Chief with a 401, I wished I never sold it :BangHead:).
I have driven the duster nearly 60,000 miles since I got her running in summer of 2014.

When I picked her up in 2012 this was the only cancer rot on the whole car. (passenger side behind rear wheel)
I did a temp patch on it back then and it has mostly held up. But I plan on welding a new patch and do an extensive rustproofing this year.
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kesteb

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I used to daily drive my '65 Dart. I don't anymore. I realized that if an idiot kid ran into me with his Honda. The insurance company would total the car.
 

kesteb

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I build all my cars to be my DD. This one is my current daily driver. I have road tripped it and used it as my commuter car. The caveat it that I don't take it to Wal mart, and I am careful where I park it. It takes extra time as everyone wants to talk about it. Built 273 original engine and 904 with GVOD. Modern brakes and suspension and two years of fixing build mistakes make it a nice reliable driver. When I finish the current build it will replace the Barracuda or at least share driving time with it. These cars don't like to be parked, they like to be driven!

I saw your car at the farmers market last weekend. I was wondering it if still had the 273 in it. Nice car, one of my favorite body styles.
 

crj1968

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I build all my cars to be my DD. This one is my current daily driver. I have road tripped it and used it as my commuter car. The caveat it that I don't take it to Wal mart, and I am careful where I park it. It takes extra time as everyone wants to talk about it. Built 273 original engine and 904 with GVOD. Modern brakes and suspension and two years of fixing build mistakes make it a nice reliable driver. When I finish the current build it will replace the Barracuda or at least share driving time with it. These cars don't like to be parked, they like to be driven!
View attachment 1715935094

That's a great looking car.
With the GV on the 904, if say you decided to later swap to a 727, is it just a matter of getting the new GV tailshaft piece? (and changing drive shaft length, of course)
 

Ivan Baez

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I drive my 69 barracuda daily during dry season for the past three years, its got a 426 SB stroker and MPFI. Usually most of my driving is highway and secondary roads with little traffic, no issues there, but when I have gone to town there have been some issues from flat tires to electric fan failure and overheating (not badly but enough to see some vapor out of the radiator), alternator replaced twice, rocker arm retainers becoming loose one time, a leak in one of the brake calipers once, fuel pump dying one time, and I thats it. It may sound the restoration was not made right or using good parts, but I can tell you everything was installed new from known brand companies and the parts sometimes fail, an old car is not as reliable as a new one definetly. I guess they were not meant to go for too long without adjustments or repairs. And currently parts, even expensive ones, are not good quality always. The bright side of that is that most repairs can be done by yourself or easily at a shop at least.

In my case the engine has a lot of power and torque being a 426 setup, so I installed 2.7 gears in the differential to make my manual 4 speed transmission have low revs at highway cruising speeds and also to redice tire spin.

Need to add AC definetly, thankfully I live in a very high and dry area (6000 ft above sea level) so most times is cool, but driving in traffic is just terrible without air conditioning.

I think you can make the car a daily driver, but it will not be as reliable a se modern car. You need to have some tools in the trunk and be prepared just in case.

Take care,

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jobrated_man

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I drive both my 1965 Valiant Signet, and my 1959 Dodge D100 truck on a daily basis. Both stock, but of course, I'm retired, so don't go far. Shopping, car shows, restaurants and over to my truck yard to work on the restoration of the 1960 W200. Just keep them in good shape and they'll work forever.

59 D100.jpg
 

cudajoedart

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...that is the question.

I didn't want to hijack the other threads... and I know it's been hashed over, but that's what we do with 50 year old cars..... hash it over again and again.

Anyway those that are daily driving their old cars/trucks...rattles, leaks, cooling issues (both the car and the driver, etc) What has been your experience? Is there a stretch of freeway involved?

I've driven my hot rods to work on occasion. and on the freeway, about a 25 mile stretch, it sucks. (Idling a 440 in traffic, or 3500 RPM / 70mph) But that's a single day going from modern luxury to a 50 year old car....so maybe the change was too dramatic. Being in my 50's, of course I've daily driven total beaters, we all did. I like my comforts now, but I also like the idea of making my 70 Duster (mild 318 / auto) a livable daily driver. A/C is a must...

What changes, if any, were the big difference for you?
What changes are you planning? thx for input !
I have a 1985 Ramcharger that I drive on a daily as long as you maintain it there should not be any issues
 

SpeedThrills

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I drive my 69 barracuda daily during dry season for the past three years, its got a 426 SB stroker and MPFI. Usually most of my driving is highway and secondary roads with little traffic, no issues there, but when I have gone to town there have been some issues from flat tires to electric fan failure and overheating (not badly but enough to see some vapor out of the radiator), alternator replaced twice, rocker arm retainers becoming loose one time, a leak in one of the brake calipers once, fuel pump dying one time, and I thats it. It may sound the restoration was not made right or using good parts, but I can tell you everything was installed new from known brand companies and the parts sometimes fail, an old car is not as reliable as a new one definetly. I guess they were not meant to go for too long without adjustments or repairs. And currently parts, even expensive ones, are not good quality always. The bright side of that is that most repairs can be done by yourself or easily at a shop at least.

In my case the engine has a lot of power and torque being a 426 setup, so I installed 2.7 gears in the differential to make my manual 4 speed transmission have low revs at highway cruising speeds and also to redice tire spin.

Need to add AC definetly, thankfully I live in a very high and dry area (6000 ft above sea level) so most times is cool, but driving in traffic is just terrible without air conditioning.

I think you can make the car a daily driver, but it will not be as reliable a se modern car. You need to have some tools in the trunk and be prepared just in case.

Take care,

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Great attitude, Ivan. And, very nice car.
 

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