car restoration from the ground up


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Old 03-20-19, 12:47 PM
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car restoration from the ground up

Just wondering if anyone has anything to share in regard to the subject. Long story short, I have my '69 Road Runner, more-or-less in pieces, and while I'm not without some talents, getting the thing back on the road is going to require a whole lot of skills above mine. Probably not as much as back then, and I'm not a fanatic for anything so not interested in show quality, but it would still be fun to drive once in a while, so I'm setting on the fence between handing it to someone to rebuild or sell what I can and scrap the rest. But where does one start on something like this, as far as finding the right shop? I know the car would be worth something when it's done, although probably not what I would have in it at that point, and am okay with that fact as long as I feel that I've been treated right. Anyway, just wondering if anyone has any experience with such things and how they went about it.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 01:07 PM
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Oh, and another thing. We don't watch much television, but enough to see that there are several shows that do such restorations, basically start to finish. So I can picture that, except that, as I mentioned, I'm not looking for a glitzy show car result, just something nice and driveable. So does it maybe make more sense to look at it as several projects, rather than a project. Say strip out the engine, tranny, and all of that, take just the body to a body shop, take the engine to an engine shop, etc., and I do the clutch, brakes, and things like that as sort of a final stage. But then like say wiring, where does that fit in? I'd want to replace all of it, but suppose I could find a harness someplace and run that after the body is all done and painted? I suppose when you get down to it there's only a few thousand parts on those pre-emission, pre-computer vehicles, but it still looks like a bit of a daunting task.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 01:13 PM
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IMO having a shop restore it is only for rich folks, I'm sure what they charge would be well beyond what I'd be comfortable spending. Have you considered doing what you can and only paying to have some portions of the build done? Restoring a vehicle takes a while but half the fun is doing the work to get it there. You can probably do more of the work than you think - if you have the desire!
 
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Old 03-20-19, 01:27 PM
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Thank you Mark, and yes, that's sort of what I was saying in my second post. I guess that when I look at some rust holes in the rear quarters and the fact that it needs a complete paint job I turn my head away because that's something that I can't do. And maybe can't isn't right because I did actually paint a couple of cars and several doors and fenders, but that was "back in the day", and I wouldn't know where to start. But I suppose that if I got all the peripheral's removed they could deal with such things rather handily. And the tranny probably doesn't need much more than a good cleaning, maybe a rear seal, and an oil change, so nothing bad there. Brakes are brakes, except that I'd want new lines throughout, but even that wouldn't be terribly bad, especially since I have two lifts. Maybe I just need to start with a list of how I need to break it down, then something as simple as finding a body shop that's willing to do it might get me a long way.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 01:34 PM
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Personally I'd hold off on the body shop work, you'd hate to get it right and then mess it up doing some of the other work. Most anyone can clean up an engine bay and paint it but the rest of the body work and paint I'd leave toward the end of the build ...... although a nice shiny paint job would help get a body motivated
 
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Old 03-20-19, 02:48 PM
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Yeah, and I guess it's that part of the equation, which came first, the chicken or the egg, that I keep getting hung up on. Don't want to mess up a new paint job, but there are all of those other little pieces like window and door tracks and hardware, side markers, voltage regulator, wiper motor, etc. that I wouldn't get too excited about knowing they have to come back off for paint. Or, worse yet, get the engine and tranny ready to go, only to find out that they're working on the body and find something monumental there. Guess I need that list, get the chassis stripped down, and at least have one of the body shops give it a thorough going over. These were unibody's too, which, in my opinion, complicates it a bit further because "body" means frame rails and whatnot, and I imagine any of it could be replaced, but at what cost given the labor involved in squaring and welding everything up. Well, who knows, maybe in a year or two it will be ready for a shakedown cruise and I can head to TN to show you how it came out.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 02:51 PM
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I was a mechanic back than and knew a lot about mechanical s. Forgot a lot but with pictures I could help.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 03:39 PM
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Thank you Pugs, and although I'm not at that point yet I'm sure there will be plenty of questions to follow as I start getting into it. Unfortunately it has sat for too many years, some indoors and, regretfully, some outdoors, and who knows why I haven't done anything other than look at it and groan all these years. A year or two ago I was actually ready to part and scrap it, but the more I look at it the more chances I give it to come back. So yeah, we'll probably get it off the ground soon, and although not by trade I did and still do a fair amount of wrenching myself, so feel confident enough to get started, but am certain there will be some things pop up that I'm going to take you up on your offer for.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 04:20 PM
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We don't watch much television, but enough to see that there are several shows that do such restorations, basically start to finish.
I have had all kinds of cars over the past 45 years including owning a body shop for a few years back in the 90's so I have had my fair share of restoration projects.

What is amazing about those shows is when they turn a pile into a beautiful piece of art in 30 min but behind the scene there is literally 1000's of man hours being invested at $75+ per hour.

Today the trend is Preservation vs Restoration which suits me fine, my 62 Econoline wears her few rust holes with pride, the rust on the door frame from 55 years of arms hanging out the windows can never be duplicate!

It's a labor of love and many good intentions end up being sold, having work done as mentions is expensive and many "projects" are sold at great discounts so be sure it's what you really want!

Someday I will get to that 68 bug that has been sitting in the garage for the past 8 years!

Mine is red truck toward the bottom of the thread!

Max tire/wheel sizes
 
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Old 03-20-19, 05:08 PM
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That's a cool truck, Marq! And yes, I know that it takes a lot of time. In fact I had almost forgotten all about this until later this afternoon, but about 17 years ago I found "the guy" who I was going to have do the body work on my 'runner, and he was the one who suggested that he check the body out good before going any farther, for the reasons I mentioned earlier, i.e. frame extensions, etc. I was in his shop and liked what I saw. He fixed what needed fixing, the right way, made it look nice, real nice, but not too nice if that makes sense. At that time he had something like 3 or 4 he was working on, so put me on his list for about 2-3 years down the road, and then got sick and quit doing it before we got there. So I went back into neutral until recently.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 08:27 AM
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Being a unibody, if the body is not in good shape, especially in key structural areas it is a poor restoration candidate. Sure everything can be fabricated and welded and repaired, anything is possible.

Once you determine the body is good, you can do a rolling restoration, often removing and re-lubricating various bits is all that is required, and you can work in bursts and still drive the vehicle as you work on various parts of it.

Just do the brakes, brake lines, master and power brake booster as your first priority. Then the fuel lines. As long as you can stop, and not go on fire, all the rest is the details...
 
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Old 03-23-19, 11:09 AM
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you can do a rolling restoration

That's tough, I have a bad habit of hitting a project then next thing I know the car is in 50 boxes in the basement/attic.

Now days I force myself, one fix at a time, keep it running and drivable!
 
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Old 03-23-19, 12:06 PM
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That's tough, I have a bad habit of hitting a project then next thing I know the car is in 50 boxes in the basement/attic.
This sums up my quandary. I bought this car from the original owner in the early 70's, and it was immaculate. Come the winter of '76, I think it was, it was stopped, standing perfectly still, but on an incline, and ended up sliding about 100 yards, headlong into a telephone pole. Took out the radiator and hood, which wouldn't have been as bad, but when the radiator header buckled it pulled in both front fenders and buckled them. The worst part was that I was relatively young, not struggling like some, but enough, so had dropped collision coverage about two months prior. So it was on me, and the next worst part of it was that I scrapped the fenders, hood, and radiator, thinking I'd replace them. Hood and radiator, no problem, but Mopar's in that timeframe were notorious for rotted out tops of front fenders, and no decent ones were to be found. And, as some of you may recall, Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy around then, and the only hope of getting new ones was to pay up front, around $600 a piece even in those days as I recall, and "we'll get them when we get them but it'll be at least 6 months". So I parked it. Then got the notion of rebuilding the whole thing a year or two later, which was a really bad idea because I was working full time as well as taking a full load at college. So most of the car is literally in boxes, some well preserved, and some, thanks to a couple of moves and whatnot back then, not so well preserved. And Mark, I value your input, and appreciate your suggestion of holding off on the body, but, consistent with what flatcrank said, I have decided to get it to a body shop and at least see what they have to say about the entire structure before going any farther. I have an extra rear axle and transmission for it, so figure that even if the engine can't be salvaged I could have everything else ready in order to drop a crate into it or sell it to someone who wants to do that. Going the other way though, I could end up tying up a bunch of parts in a chassis that is shot.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 07:18 PM
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Body

The good news is most of the key structural areas can be replaced, so even if the body is not perfect the key stress points can probably be repaired by a good body person. Shock towers and a few other suspension affixing areas bear the loads.

1969 Plymouth Road Runner Body Components - Shock Towers

There is nothing exotic about this cars mechanicals. It is some of the trim and bits that might be harder to source. So that might be worth inventorying, to see if any scarcer trim and interior bits are missing, which can make a restoration cost much higher.

Since you are near the original owner, it seems like a car that might be fun to bring back alive.

Not sure where you are located, this is a place that among other things does restorations, and would probably work with you do some of the heavy or tougher work while you take on some manageable projects yourself. Herb's Parts - Mopar Restoration and Performance In any event, they also look like a good parts source.
 
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Old 03-24-19, 02:44 AM
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appreciate your suggestion of holding off on the body, but
I was assuming the body just needed minor repairs and paint. I agree it needs to be relatively straight/sound before your you get in to it too deep.
 
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Old 03-24-19, 04:24 AM
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Car that age should need upper, lower control arm bushings. Lower bushings are a little tricky but work is not hard.
 
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Old 03-24-19, 06:41 AM
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Car that age should need upper, lower control arm bushings. Lower bushings are a little tricky but work is not hard.
Definitely! I haven't given that stuff too much thought yet because I assume that it's all available, so, in my mind anyway, have lumped it in with brakes, fuel lines, etc. I have no intention of updating any of it, in other words would stay with the original drum brakes, suspension configuration, etc., but would tear it all down far enough to replace all of the bearings, seals, bushings, etc. I think that I have everything I need to do any of the mechanical work because I've done all or at least most of it at some point over the years, but the main thing I need right now is the space to start laying things out and inventorying them, so was thinking last night that I might buy another enclosed trailer to work out of.
 
 

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