1968 Chrysler Valiant VE Sedan

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Latest updates:

05 January 2009 » Problems with the beast
26 July 2008 » Fitted kickdown cable
29 June 2008 » Fitted head & Extractors
27 June 2008 » Head skimmed
21 June 2008 » Few problems
22 March 2008 » Rust repairs - Part 5
23 February 2008 » Finally fitted wheels
17 February 2008 » Fitting Koni shocks and lowering 2"
12 February 2008 » Whitewall tyres fitted
04 January 2008 » Restoring wheels
19 December 2007 » New wheels
15 December 2007 » Exhaust leak
01 September 2007 » Rust repairs - Part 4
19 August 2007 » Rust repairs - Part 3
05 August 2007 » Rust repairs - Part 2
29 July 2007 » Rust repairs - Part 1

Questions, Comments? Feel free to send me an email!
5 January 2009 - Problems with the beast

Everything has been pretty good with the car for some time but I had some problems recently. Just cruising along with the normal accessories on - radio, radar detector, air con etc and then BANG a huge noise from the engine bay. The engine stalled and all power was cut to the entire car whilst I'm going 60km/h up a highway near my house. I pulled over with my indicator on, but no use anyway - same as brake lights - all dead. The photos are of the kind RAC man picking it up on a tilt tray. I knew the RAC man wouldn't be able to fix it on the spot so I got him to take it back to my place so that I could sort it out.

It turns out the main fuse from the battery blew; and why? because of a direct short inside the alterator. Something must have slipped internally (still haven't 100% checked out the alternator), causing the +12v connection to touch the earth of the alternator. I have rigged up a spare for the moment, but now other electrical stuff has gone wrong, probably due to the temporary arcing of the electrical system. For example the horn now doesn't work, one of the central locking actuators has completely seized and the alarm system is really acting up. Not going to much fun to fix, but I'm going overseas for a while so will have to sort it out at a later date.


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26 July 2008 - Fitted kickdown cable
I purchased Lokar kickdown cable to suit a 904. The original rod method was a matter of pushing from the carby and pushing the kickdown lever on the box however with the new cable arrangement its got to a pull-pull arrangement. I hooked up the box end of the cable that pulls the kickdown lever on the box backwards and hooked up a system near the carby. I had to extend the original carby linkages so that it created a 'pull' system rather than a push system in order to pull the new cable. Some pics below.

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29 June 2008 - Fitted head & Extractors

After applying a bit of paint and fitting it to the head its almost there - time for the extractors. Unfortunately I had a few problems with fitting the Wildcat Extractors that I had bought. First up I had trouble getting them over the manifold studs, I had to use a fair bit of force and grab the #3 pipe to hold it away from the studs whilst I slid it on to the head. The studs were new and were not bent so I can only assume when they made it they didn't quite get it right - I'm not sure.

Secondly, I couldn't get the washer or nut onto the front of the #5 pipe. The pipe leaves the head at too much of an angle (heading towards the front - away from the starter) so that it only left approx 3mm gap between the stud and the pipe. After trying for a bit I removed approx 3-4mm from the stud which helped, but I still couldn't get the nut on. In the end I had to massage the extractor pipe a bit (knocked it in a small amount) so that I could fit em.

Next thing was where I am at now. All looked good so I've been re-assemblying eveything, and getting to the point of hooking up the accelerator cable and the auto kickdown rod. I can't get the kickdown rod into its U shaped saddle and onto the pivot ball because it hits the extractor pipes down towards where the pipes end. I won't be able to massage the extractors for this - it fouls pretty badly. I'll have to remove the kickdown rod and get a kickdown cable to replace it. Stay tuned...




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27 June 2008 - Head skimmed

As you can see by the pics, the head has had some work done. I got it skimmed to ensure that it is entirely flat before putting it back on the block. The pictures show the resassembly process, the final being the ready for a lick of paint.

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21 June 2008 - Few problems

Remember back in December when I had that exhaust leak from the hotbox? Well it's back. No matter what, I just can't get the exhaust and intake manifold to mate together correctly whilst mating with the head - something must be warped.  I guess thats why the FSM says to not unbolt the intake and exhaust manifolds - due to flex warping issues and having troubles getting the two to seal up again.

The next problem is that the car occasionally develops a missfire that I can't isolate. The first time I had the problem I doubt checked the lash and found that the lash on #1 was incorrect - there wasn't enough gap. I thought that the lash problem may be because the seats in the head are wearing out from the LPG as after I adjusted the lash and the misfire disappeared. A couple of weeks later the engine was misfiring again and after triple checking the lash on all cylinders it was perfect. A compression test revealed that #1 was a bit lower than the rest, and a leakdown test had inconclusive results.

One thing that was interesting was that I found a bit of milky sludge in the rocker cover - it looks like it did I when I did the head gasket in May 2007 - and its above #6 cylinder just like last year. Not looking good.

I pulled the head off to find that the valves and seats were in good condition and that there didn't appear to be head gasket leak. Upon further investigation it looks like #6 cylinder has been getting some oil in it from nearby which may have been causing the miss. Also when doing some more tests I measured the straightness of the head and found that the #6 end had about a 4 thou gap when it should not have had. Time to get the head skimmed...

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22 March 2008 - Rust repairs - Part 5

Time to finish up the plenum job. When the job was stopped September it was a patch of metal on the plenum left in primer. I had to drive the car to work again as the car I was borrowing was no longer available. Anyway, I just sanded it down a bit, applied a thin layer of filler to smooth out the weld marks and thats really it.

The first pic is how the plenum was back in September, the rest are the recent ones.

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23 February 2008 - Finally fitted wheels

Its amazing how sometimes the simplest things can take what seems to be forever. Short version, the rims have been restored, the car has now been lowered, the Koni's have been fitted, the tyres have been bought, and now they are finally on the car. Its a matter of opinion I guess, but I reckon they look great and I've been receiving compliments left right and centre already!

I've got some centre caps here that fit but they have some crap logo imprinted on them. I've organised for some Mopar stickers to be made at the right size so that I can cover up the dodgy logo and then fit them to the car. I'll put up a pic or two when that happens.


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17 February 2008 - Fitting Koni shocks and lowering 2"

Ever since I got the leaf springs reset back in September 2006 the car has been sitting about 1-2" higher than I would have liked. To get the car go look the part with the new wheels I've decided to lower her a bit all around. I've also had a full set of Koni shocks that I've been meaning to fit to the car for months and so it was time to do it all.

I fitted the blocks and the Koni's in one hit, but got stuck when I realised the longer U bolts were the wrong size for the val. Bit of a pain when the car is in that many pieces (diff loose etc) and finding out you've been supplied the wrong parts. I had to retrieve the pacer from where it is being stored so I could drive to work the next day and get the right size blocks. All said and done though, the car looks better lowered (with the current wheels) and it is a lot better on the road with the Koni's. I have left them on their softest (standard) setting which is so much more comfortable than the Monroe shocks that I was running before. Not quite sure yet if they are worth double the standard shock cost, but they are certainly looking promising.

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12 February 2008 - Whitewall tyres fitted
Finally got my shit together and got some nice whitewalls fitted to the restored rims. It took me a little while but managed to get some sorted out. They are Kumho 185 75 R14 which would go well on the car. I can't wait to see the difference between the too-fat 215's and a standard 185. The whitewall is blue due to some sort of protective coating that shops them from fading whilst on the shelf. I'll have to scrub it off when I put them on the car etc.

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4 January 2008 - Restoring wheels

The wheels I've located have seen better days, but are coming up well when some TLC is put into them. Thanks to Simo from the MM forums for his advice, he has given me some ideas on how best to tackle the job. There was surface rust on the chrome lip on the rims that I thought would be impossible to remove but after a sandblast with glass bead and some polishing they have come up reasonably. Far from perfect, but good enough for a 30 foot car or maybe even better.

Picture detail from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Original rim with surface rust etc
  • Rim with some paint removed and polished to see how it'll come up. The chrome underneath ain't too bad!
  • A close up of the chrome with the rust blasted off
  • Outer rim polished & centres re-painted in matt black
  • The alloy spokes come up pretty well with a lot of effort
  • Getting stuck into the alloy spokes with a polishing bit in a drill

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19 December 2007 - New wheels

Since I bought the car the tyres on it had annoyed me a bit. The previous owner put on 215 tyres that are too large for the 4.5" rims and so there is a huge bulge as the tyre sits. It may not even be legal, so its time to fix it. I've decided on white walls and so I found some 5.5" rims that would do the job.

Now though I've been offered some Tasman style mags which are 6" so may go better. I'd have to lower the car though to make it look good, but that shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully having the correct tyre width will also make the steering a bit lighter. Anyway, here are some pics; they are in desperate need of a clean up but should come up well when I'm finished.

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15 December 2007 - Exhaust leak

All has been going well for quite a while now. I've just been cruising around with the air con on and enjoying the car... well until recently. I've developed an exhaust leak from when I did the head gasket back in May. The face between the intake manifold and the exhaust manifold (hotbox) has developed a leak. I fixed the leak this weekend, but unfortunately created a couple of other problems.

When I did the head gasket in May I told myself that if I were to ever remove the intake or exhaust manifold again I would replace the manifold studs as they were pretty bad. Some were partially stripped from an idiot putting a 5/16" UNC nut on to a 5/16" UNF bolt etc. So when fixing this leak I decided to replace the manifold studs that I bought back in May/June.

Replacing the studs all went well (except for 1 broken stud!) but after firing it up it turns out more studs were in the water jacket than I originally thought. When removing the studs only one gushed out with radiator coolant and so this was the only stud I used stud/thread sealer on. Unfortunately it looks like at least 3 or 4 of the rest of them are leaking. So the manifolds will have to come off again and the studs will need sealer put on them. Stay tuned for the next update...

Update: 29 December 2007 - I pulled everything apart again, pulled out the manifold studs and put them back in with sealer. No leaks this time!

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1 September 2007 - Rust repairs - Part 4
Not a rust repair as such but related I guess as I thought I had a leak around the windscreen. I was wrong, it looks like its coming from the top of the A pillar just in front of the channel from the roof. Before that gets addressed I've got to reinstall the windscreen though. Unfortunately when removing the existing silastic and crud from the windscreen channel I've scraped off some paint leaving bare metal there. I didn't think it'd be much of an issue but a mate who is going to install the screen with my help reckoned its definently a no go. So I prepped the windscreen channel, painted it in primer, got some Alpine White mixed up by the guys at Automotive Paint Tools & Equipment (thanks to Andrew Clark for the paint formula), and painted the channel in white. I'll have to feather the edge with some fine 2000 grit or something but hopefully when its done it won't be too obvious.

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19 August 2007 - Rust repairs - Part 3

Next up was to slap some POR15 on to the plenum to ensure it'll never rust again and then weld it back to the car. After grinding down the welds there are some minor imperfections that will need to be smoothed out with a thin skim of filler. Waiting for the POR15 gives time for other things, and so I rust killed the drivers floorpan and sorted it out with a fresh lick of paint. Looks like the car has had water problems before, probably from the same spot, that have been neglected for a while. Although the floorplan rust looks pretty bad thankfully its only superficial surface rust.

I figured if I've already got the windscreen glass out I may as well get the dash recovered while I'm here cause its easier to do.. and the dash has a couple of cracks in it, and so after a bit of reading I jumped straight in. I was surprised to find that the job wasn't that hard, which is different from what I've heard. Definently had to remove the glovebox but the air cond unit didn't have to move, neither did the radio or the factory speaker. Had to unplug and disconnect the dash, although that wasn't a major exercise as I've had it out before. The reason for delay between updates is cause my dash took 3 weeks to get recovered when I figured it would only take a day or two, maybe a week at worst.

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5 August 2007 - Rust repairs - Part 2

Another weekend gone, but making steady progress. First up was to clean out the plenum with some POR15 prep products and then coat it all with two coats of POR15. This round I'm being a bit more stingy with the POR15 cause last time I put on too much and it make a hell of a mess on the ground when it dripped off the parts. I poured out a minimal amount of POR15 into a separate container but it still ended up being too much. This stuff really goes far if you let it! Anyway, two coats of the POR15 3 hours apart and its all sorted. Nice clean surface that is very hard. I will clean the rear of the plenum with and paint it with POR15 too, so that when its all finished, the plenum will be very water tight and very hard to penetrate.

Whilst waiting for the POR15 to dry, next step is it pop out the windscreen. The seal looked a bit crap and I had a small leak down the drivers side kickpanel. Followed the factory service manual on this one; created my "fiber stick" out of a bit of skirting board (roughly 0.75" diameter) with a taped head on it. Pretty straight forward, although it was my first windscreen removal experience so had my sunnies on just in case. Broke the seal on the outside, and gently pushed the inside corner of the screen with my hands until it started to move. Repeated steps on other side and voila, the screen came loose. Had more time for the POR15 to dry and so started cleaning the channel... yawn... not a whole lot of fun there.

Next job, repair the existing plenum. Same sort of deal as Part 1, but this time doing the repair so that it looks good. It was tempting to leave the hole there to allow for the water to just drain out - haha - but some thought did go into whether or not to create the ability for the plenum to drain and/or be cleaned. The design really is shit - the lowest part of the plenum is not actually at the drain hole, but rather, around 100mm up stream where the rust occurred! A bit of decision making required to figure out the best way to fix the existing plenum whilst retaining the original look. We decided it would be too hard to re-create the existing plenum edge, and so the rusty part on the vertical face and part of the horizontal face was replaced. Don't mind the "ET" style antennas... just making it easy to hold when getting the spot welds lined up.

Next step.. fully weld the plenum together, clean it, POR15 it, and weld back to car. Next weekend ey...

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29 July 2007 - Rust repairs - Part 1

Gotta hate that feeling of dread when you jump in the car to find wet carpet.

I jumped in the car a weekend a little while ago to figure out why the intermittent wipers weren't working correctly occasionally. I got on to my back with my head under the dash and realised it was a bit musty under there! Turns out the rubber backed mats that I use have been hiding a wet carpet for probably a week or so. Upon further investigation it looks like the old girl has some plenum rust - which turned out had been very poorly repaired by the previous owner - allowing water to drip down the firewall on to the floor.

Only one way to go about it - jump straight in and replace the rusty metal with new metal and do what you can to stop it from happening again. Some pics of this weekends efforts... still a lot to go but getting there!! Special thanks go to my old man for his welding skills (not forgetting the free use of shed, tools, labour, food, the list goes on) :-)

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