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Got A '69 Valiant (4dr.) Signet!

Discussion in 'A Body: Duster, Valiant, Dart, etc' started by Volunteer, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Greetings and hope everyone's 2014 is starting off well. About time I logged-in to update. No excuses other than being thoroughly occupied and dog-tired at end of each day. Most of the Tech topics I respond to are either redundant or otherwise taken care of adequately by the highly-experienced membership - (you know who you are). :thumbsup: , So, as I sit here, half-way thru our winter season, the Valiant is safely covered and sleeping until early March (give or take) and the Power Wagon is insured (from mid-Dec.'13 to mid-April '14. I got six months of good, reliable and fun usage out of Signet - with absolutely NO mechanical woes or issues. I cannot believe how much fun it is to drive. Oh sure, I considered 'up-grading' to P.S. and larger (front-disc) brakes, plus the 4.5" bolt pattern, but, at the end of each day I would ask myself - "why bother?" Of course if anyone brought me a 'donor-car' I would buy him or her a coffee or beer. I still have the OEM (13-inch) wheels and likely will for at least the next few months. I planned to get some argent rallyes after possibly selling the Power Wagon and sort of 'tested the waters' on Kijiji thru July and August. In spite of many expressions of interest, I had no serious offers. I was asking 35 and would have taken 30 - but not 28. (hundred $). One smart guy offered 2 grand - without asking extra questions OR even looking at (let alone driving) the truck. I updated my ad stating that I would stop advertising in Sept.'13 and (maybe) try again about April, '14 and so far I am right on schedule. As of August, 2013, I have been working on two JH23H2- code Challengers. The first one is a total rotisserie (4 yrs.ago) resto and is valued at $45,000. It is a sun-roof car and a multiple show winner. But, there are always the 'little things' that only 40 years of E-body experience can handle. The second car is a factory EW1, but changed to FY1 a few years ago, and is now undergoing a transformation to FM3 (long story). I am totally responsible for completely stripping everything - right down to a rolling chassis. It is a factory Auto. but apparently someone converted to 4-spd. and, likely when change to yellow was done. so was a change back to Auto. But, in this case it was the A-518. (over-drive). There are two tiny switches on console - one for O.D. and one for (converter) lock-up. The rear end has a -742 housing with 3.91 ratio, so it performs really well. The (360) engine has Edelbrock heads and intake and Holley 750 vac., with stock exhaust manifolds and excellent exhaust system. Lots of problems with this car, in spite of it being nice-looking enough for car shows. I quickly endeared myself to the owner and she now lets nobody else touch anything mechanical on it. When I repair something, I repair it for life and most of the needed 'repairs' involved correcting previous bad work. (some really bad). This second Challenger also has nice 15 by 8" Magnums and T/A's all around. NO factory rear sway-bar and a few other missing trim pieces and call-outs. I am slowly accumulating many items. Even the (rallye) cluster is in need of TLC. - starting with replacement decals for all the instruments. All the exterior trim needs polishing and there are no wheel-openind moldings.- maybe later. I have to locate a pair of the fender-mounted turn signals (new ones are $100. a pair). So, it goes on and on - everything from 'rehabilitating' the door-window mechanisms to installing Sure-Grip, detailing the cluster(as mentioned), to dismantling and restoring the heater assembly to getting all the underhood wiring cleaned-up and simplified, to replacing timing gears and water pump, removing oil pan, cleaning and painting these parts and more. In other words, I have months of work to do in a matter of weeks - from about mid-Feb. to mid-March. The car will have the '71 non-R/T side stripes, the fender louvers (but no strobes) and the black-out patch on hood. There is a black 'ducktail' on trunk that will go back on. We thought about a factory-style 'go-wing' but (repro) cost of $600. not considered cost-effective. Front 'chin-spoilers' are considered and they are relatively cheap to buy. I won't talk any more about this - especially in this thread, but I just wanted to illustrate that some of us don't have to look very hard to find something (we like) to do. My second car ever was an E-body and I've had many since. I always liked the A-bodies - primarily Dusters and Demons but even those are quite rare as of the past few years. Values have sky-rocketed for sure but there are still deals to be had. B-bodies were equally sharp-looking and could perform like anything else,however I generally prefer 'lighter' vehicles. I won't take up any more time right now but hope to post replies as necessary in various threads. I am just not able to find the consistency to 'log-in' unlike so many of the other long-time members. As usual, if anyone wishes to message me, for whatever question or comment, please feel free to do so. Oh, and I also do not text, use a 'wireless' phone or partake of ANY of the 'social-media' sites. :thumbsdown: Thanks for reading and I will update as stuff happens.
     
  2. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    Long time no see there, Volunteer! :clap:
     
  3. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I must make the effort - in spite of only 24 hours in each day. :closedeyes: . Not much new happening lately. Winter is still hanging on - not a snow issue, just cooler temps. Valiant is parked with light, dry covering (outdoors) while garage is still taken over by XKE. I am still awaiting (the Jag's) cyl. head as they told us later, after ordering valves and springs from CA, that the exhaust seats need replacing after-all. That's okay as I still have to piece together cooling system and tranny lines to auxiliary cooler, plus fans, shrouds and extra third fan. It's not comfortable working in only slightly above freezing temps. But, there is much that can be done in warmer basement. I am re-building both (cooling) fan motors using parts from a Mopar starter and Mopar alternator. Of course it is easier to spend $500. (exchange) on a pair of 'rebuilt' motors but what would be the fun part in doing that?
    The ('72) Challenger is still in paint shop - likely another three weeks. I still have all the removed stuff to detail. We got over $1000. in replacement and repo items - so far, but no more major expenses. I have to polish all the removed trim as well. That will take some extra time but save about $300. (from having our area professional do it). He already got $200. for 'restoring' two pieces. I may have mentioned this in January update but didn't re-read it prior to posting this update. (my bad).
    Anyway, I have truck to detail and maybe find a home for - come April. It is running so well and we took it on a 60 mile ice-fishing trip only yesterday. The Signet needs nothing except better tires and wheels as I cannot continue to drive (exclusively) on the winter-tread tires. I would like to score a 'sure-grip' unit for the tiny rear. I mentioned this in other A-body thread. I haven't really searched for anything - yet. Kind of wondering if anyone reading this has a S.G. unit in their own 7.25" ./ 9-bolt rear vehicle. If so, where did you get it, what did it cost and how do you like it? I'll update again as anything happens. :)
     
  4. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    About time I updated - but nothing really Earth-shattering to report. I have been here a few times to snoop - mostly on the Motorsports, but it has been awhile indeed. Life continues. I DID find a new (hopefully good) home for the '77 Power-Wagon. It will be about 90 miles away - far enough that I won't have to see it often (like selling to next-door neighbour) - sort of a 'no-no'. No, the truck was not perfect, as I explained thoroughly in Kijiji ad, as anyone purchasing something that old, for under 3-grand, will undoubtedly have to invest in some type of improvement. I wish the new owner well. He knew what he was seeking and my truck was the best available. Now, as far as the other cars I was working on during previous post, the Jag is doing just fine, thank-you. It cost nearly a King's ransom to re-build the cyl.head and always the smaller related items to gather - and not from one source. Last thing I did was to obtain (Accuspark) electronic upgrade for the feeble, stock points. This conversion came right from the UK and shipping was free! All-in-all it cost me $70.(CDN) where-as the Pertronix version would have been $120. (to my door). I did 'hem and haw' about best choice - after posting on Jag-Lovers dot org. Next, the '72 Challenger is happy in its' new coat of Panther Pink. It cost mega-$ when all was said and done and still more 'improvements' to consider. We went with the (correct) side strobes - in Black and the (questionable) patch on the hood. My choice would have left the entire hood as body colour and (maybe) the scoop inserts in black. I'm sure many of you E-body enthusiasts/fans can concur. But, the other 'accessories' such as front and rear spoilers, hood-pins and flip-open gas cap all look great together. This is a factory JH23H2B- car which, according to the GTS 'white-book', is one of only 918 built. A buddy of mine has another (non-rallye) '72. He was offered (seriously) $45, - grand last Sept. and turned it down. There is still fun to be had and life is too short.
    Finally, as I get to the point of this Update, the Signet is doing just fine. I insured it yesterday - until December 8 (but won't drive it in bad weather). It had been a year for the oil as when the engine was done, I used 5w-30 as 'break-in' and then 10-30 three months later. Now I have 10-40 plus some friction-proofing. So far - so good. You think it would be easy to find (decent-used) small-bolt rallyes but not the case in this area. I'd hate to go the Specialty Wheels route as the price for one (14 by 6") is only $101. but that is in US funds and then add on shipping - another $120. + and then the accessories (center-pieces and trim rings). I'd also need to convert left-hand threads since I already have a full set of chrome (right-hand) lugs. I did find a set of bare wheels in spring of '13 but, unknown to seller, there were cracks in all four. Not good. So, for the interim, I will continue with the OEM (13-inch) steel wheels and skinny winter tires. Gives a nice, smooth ride though. Next road-trip will be in only 3 days to car show 125 miles away. We will accompany one of the '72 Challengers and I expect the other one to be there. Both of them could have chosen the annual Mopar Madness in Vancouver on that day but both have their own reasons for choosing the smaller venue. Weather looks to be hot - forecast 102-F. - but better than rain. Now, back to Signet, I'm considering installing air-shocks in rear but, again, hard to find and kind of pricey. Manual (9-inch) brakes and steering will stay 'as-is' because they all work well and I don't want extra weight added. As I may have stated more than one time in a past posting, this car will never be worth more than about $3500. (from a low of $200. in August, 2004). There are several 'pros' and few 'cons' as to anyone having such a vehicle and I'm sure many of you have opinions. However, aside from the 'fun-factor' and pretty decent performance-mileage combo, I really appreciate the extra room, since the Truck only seated 3 and the RX a cozy but dismal 2. Now, let's not compare apples to oranges. That's about it for now. I appreciate all the views this thread-topic has garnered and I hope to keep it up - despite some 'speed-bumps' and 'pot-holes' in my life's highway. :cheers:

    p.s. Is this print smaller? or is it my stigmatism? :scared:
     
  5. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    Volunteer: the print is smaller in your last post.
     
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  6. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Had an interesting experience a couple weeks ago. Was in a parking lot and backed out part way after vehicle drove (right-left) behind me. I stopped my movement after I noticed brake lights on (the other vehicle), as it was only 3 lengths to me left. Then, I noticed back-up lights on and, when it began to go rearwards - towards me, I honked horn a couple times. It did not stop and I then 'leaned' on the horn. It is loud. I was still in 'R' range with right foot on brake. There was no time to make quick decision to take my (right) hand off the horn ring and move it to shift lever and put tranny back into a forward range and then move right foot off brake and onto accelerator. I really expected driver to hear my horn and STOP , but, all of a sudden - - bang! I really thought (she) had caved-in my quarter panel. The impact actually moved the rear part of the car over a full six inches, stalled the engine and caused one radio knob to fly off. I then noticed the other vehicle pull forward a couple feet so I started my car and moved it back (six feet) into parking space. We both got out and I looked at my car and there was a bit of 'blue' paint rubbed off - like a piece about 1.5 by .5" and some (silver) paint scuffed off the corner of my bumper. Her, (2014 Mercedes SUV) had pieces broken off the bumper skin and a surprising amount of (my) blue paint. She was most concerned with going thru our insurance but I would have not bothered. Her deductible is likely well below the estimated cost of repair. I also had a witness offer his contact info since he was approaching in opposite direction (facing Mercedes) when it began to back up. I am still dealing with the insurance since I had to file a claim - since she initiated it. I don't expect anything bad to come out of this - in a perfect world I would even get my replacement rear bumper!
     
  7. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    It's about time I updated. Was looking at early 2005 post and I mentioned having a Honda ignition AND Motorcraft battery. Well, nearly 10 years later (jeez I feel old) car still has the same Honda ignition (module) BUT a Delco battery. Had a good summer, some shorter trips. Didn't get across the ROCK to Alberta at end of August, as we'd planned for nearly a full year. Signet is running good. Some 'hesitation' with carb at low speed but I suspect 'squirter' is out a bit. Didn't have a problem with the insurance, as they determined that the Mercedes was totally at fault. But, I did not get a bumper out of it. The estimator and assessor both took lots of photos and complimented me on quality and condition of the ($1500. total investment) vehicle. I still have the 13-inch wheels as nothing worthwhile came to my attention as per an upgrade to 14-inch rallyes. But, having said this, today we had our first (measureable) snow - a whole 1-inch. My insurance expires Dec.8, so not sure as of now (if and) when I will renew it. It is parked inside my cozy garage when not in use. One thing I did notice when driving last week, during several days of 12-20 degrees F. weather, was that the heater does not blow anything above 'luke-warm'. I wasn't sure of the thermostat and with gauge not showing as high as when driven in above freezing weather, I pulled it and it was indeed a 195 - F., which was new when engine rebuilt year and a half ago. I experimented with cardboard and blocked 2/3rds. of (orig. 19-inch) rad. The gauge reading went up to 'normal' and the interior air was only slightly warmer. I (carefully as usual) felt the bottom and top big hoses and there was noticeable difference. The air flow thru the core is good AND the air door is sealing as it should. Also, If I feel the two heater hoses at the firewall, with fully warmed engine, the inlet (to core) is quite HOT and the return hose is noticeably cooler. I can only suspect that the internal flow is somewhat restricted due to age and deposits and therefore the heat is still 'exchanged' but, with reduced flow, there is not enough water to offer the heat. Ideas? Anyone experience this? I'd never had problems with any of my previous vehicles - be they Challengers, Furies or the Power Wagon. My '81 Colt used to blow so hot you couldn't put your hand in front of floor duct longer than 5 seconds without feeling pain. Nothing else to report about the Signet since there are absolutely no other issues. Oh, I did forget that I checked all four brakes in mid-October and the left-rear axle seal was leaking oil. I replaced it and decided to install the fresh shoes (on both wheels, of course) that I had sitting here for two years. Such a comfortable and fun car to drive. I've stopped (actively) searching for replacement wheels - at least until next year. The stuff that did garner contact all turned out to be little better than junk - or two or three wheels, no accessories, from over a thousand miles away. I may well just end up with 14-inch steel wheels but it would be nice to have them at least 6 inches wide. But, the 13-inchers are only 4.5" so I guess 5.5" should satisfy me.
    Thanks to all who read this and I'll try better to keep up to date. Enjoy the one more month until Holidays and, as always, a very safe and happy Thanksgiving break.
     
  8. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

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    Well, if you're going to park it, then don't worry about the heat! LOL Seriously, I'd flush the heater core and see what happens. Just remove both heater hoses and have at it. No need to do the block and engine.
     
  9. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Uh huh. Advice well taken. At this point in time I am leaning towards re-insuring (I usually do 3-5 months at a time anyway) and will only drive if not much below zero - F. anyway, and of course dry roads. I need not have some 'rookie' driver slide into ME and we are not allergic to riding the Transit once in awhile (or walking). I forgot to mention that, until two years ago, there was a block heater installed but I kept it out (grubby) when rebuilding spring of '13. I just expect some warmer air - no matter these older vehicles are like being in an uninsulated home, with single-pane windows! Yes, I should have taken entire unit out - like in AUGUST! , but still do-able (in garage). If I can I may as well flush it but any 'white' build-up likely won't dissolve and I am also leaving it open for possible leaking (into interior). Darned if I do and darned if I don't. Thanks again. I may post a thread in Tech. section if warranted.
     
  10. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

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    You could always disconnect the heater hoses, put some short a short piece on one side and plug the other side and pour some CLR (calcium, lime and rust remover) in the heater core and let it soak for a while and then flush it. I have used CLR in radiators and heater cores over the years with good results. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Just make sure you have clear water and give it a very good flush before connecting the the heater hoses to the engine again. The short piece of hose I mention is just to be able to put a funnel in it and get the CLR into the heater core.
     
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  11. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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  12. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    I mistakenly 'quoted' Chuzz and then posted before I had any chance to reply. Then, when delayed over 10 minutes, I could NOT edit the post. So, I attempted to DELETE it - obviously with no success. Thanks. I'll update later.
     
  13. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    One old trick is to take the heater hoses loose away from the core (no control valve in the circuit) and using a garden hose, slowly increase the flow until there is a slight back pressure. take your finger and put it over the outlet to build some pressure and release. it momentarily expands the core and breaks the deposits loose. Do not exceed the CAP PSI rating. switch sides and reverse the flow. I have seen enough break loose to almost get full flow of a hose going through.
     
  14. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

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    No offense intended, 68RT, but on a car that old, that sounds like you're playing Russian Roulette to me.
     
  15. saltydog

    saltydog Well-Known Member

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    You may have to replace the heater core, I have done mine twice already, they are about $30. The job is very easy, unless you have AC. My car does not, so there is not much to take out.
     
  16. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Okay, guys, about time I UPDATED. I haven't even logged-in since early December. I trust most of you had a fine Holiday season and 2015 is going well - - so far? Well, here is how I ended up handling the Signet's heating issues. As our outside temps finally rose to 'freezing' values during the X-mas season, I was also able to free-up some time to get my hands dirty. With car in secure garage and inside temp at a much more comfortable 35 - 40 F., I figured I may as well pull the entire unit out. I drained thru the rad bottom a day before and then removed one of two hoses at the firewall. I slipped a separate hose over the exposed fitting and, with the removed hose plugged, I could then blow gently but steadily into the core. I could sense it was not as easy to do as I'd expected but did get all the liquid out and into the engine block. Also the day before, I removed the glove-box liner (for easier access to cables and wires. Fifteen minutes later, I had the entire unit removed from the car. It really looked to me like it had never been out - since new. There were no 'tell-tale' signs of replaced foam or caulking and no extra positions where the exterior 'clips' would be re and re'd. Anyway, I brought it into warm basement and stripped it entirely. All the air-doors were adjusted and functioning. Some foam was off the floor vent door but that would only allow air leakage into the interior. The exterior of the core unit was clean and no signs of leaking. I set it up to blow thru again and noted how it felt. Then I proceeded to fill and rinse it out. I immediately noticed how much MUD came out - each time I rinsed, drained and blew. I used some TSP and other mild stuff to soften it up and continued to rinse. Then I rigged it up to allow continuous flow of warm/hot water to clear out all the 'goo'. Within about 15 minutes it was all done. I definitely noticed the better flow characteristics.
    the next day I detailed all the other components and fabricated foam pieces where necessary - including thicker piece for the cowl - inlet. The time to re-install the assembly was almost a full hour - compared to the 15 minute removal.
    Fast-forward now to the filled and sealed system and car started up. With just above freezing temp., it only took 5 minutes of running to feel the warmer air - already hotter than the previous fully warmed engine. The temp gauge had barely moved and the temp was increasing. When I was next able to drive the car, it was a totally different experience. With no cardboard, and outside air temp at 20 F., the gauge was almost up to normal after 10 minutes of average driving. The air coming out onto the floor area was hot enough that I could barely keep my hand in front of it for 10 seconds (without being too hot) - a BIG difference. I was only able to drive until Jan.2 - until part two of winter set in. Car has not been driven since but the snow is slowly melting , and I am a patient person (sometimes).
    Anyway, I want to thank Chuzz and the rest for taking an interest in such a miniscule issue. I'll update when something else happens. thanks again.
     
  17. saltydog

    saltydog Well-Known Member

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    Nice! Glad it was a simple fix, always nice to have a good working heater.
     
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  18. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Well, already past mid-Feb. and all the streets and roads - even up to 4300 ft. level are bare and dry. Such is 'the norm' in southern BC. Once Groundhog Day comes and goes, so does the snow and cold - at least 4 out of 5 consec. years. Lots of classics and specialty autos. coming out of hibernation. My condolences to those of you on the eastern half of the continent. This morning, in fact, it was colder in Atlanta (GA) than it was in Whitehorse (Yukon). Not sure about Anchorage AK but could be mild there too. Soon enough it will be (intolerably) hot across the whole U.S. and that will elicit a whole new series of complaints and issues. I have been able to drive pretty much since early Feb. - not actually the 2nd., as there was couple inches of wet snow the day prior to G.H.Day. It did melt away enough within a week. Yes, I do have winter tires on the Signet, as those 13-inchers were on the car when I got it way back in November, 2004. I've only put a few thou. miles since then and they haven't worn. However, I have been (casually) seeking alternatives. The (OEM) small-bolt rallyes, especially as a set of 4, are difficult to find in decent shape and at a fairly close proximity. I am (yet again) seeking out conversion hardware parts to fit the 4.5" (circle) wheels. Either way it costs $, but I do have full set of original Magnums from '73 Challenger, so would only need tires. I also have access to full set of (14 by 6") argent rallyes. Not only the front parts, I would need the rear end changed. I suspect it entails a little more than simply swapping left and right-side axle shafts. I'd love to score a good, tight Sure-Grip at same time but these are undoubtedly rare. An 8.25" upgrade would (unnecessarily) add extra weight - and cost.
    As far as the front brake 'upgrade', anything would be an improvement over having to use both feet on pedal. No, it doesn't require that much 'effort', it's just easier on the one leg by not having to push so hard. And, I'm also aware that I would need most items from a '73 - '76 (A-body) donor-car.
    So far the heater assembly has been working well, but with outside temps between 40 and 50-F., I am throttling it back after engine warms. If the core was to develop a leak after-all, at least I have all summer to replace it.
    One more thing I did in early Jan. that I forgot to mention, was to remove and detail the signal light switch in the column. I had noticed that the lights would operate inconsistently when T.S. lever was over-applied or even jiggled. One front and/or one back light would go out while other two or three blinked fine. I hadn't even removed the steering wheel in the 10 years I've had the car but it was about time. Very easy job, and, since the plastic parts were intact, there was no need to disturb any wires. It seemed to be the original assembly, much heavier-duty than cheap, fragile replacements. It is same style as my ('77) Power Wagon used - and I had to replace one of those about every two years - - but that's another story. The electrical contacts, as I suspected, were 'dirty' and dry - considering the 45 years of use! So, a little 'dressing' up of the contacts and packing a good amount of white lithium grease in and around the plastic (applicating and cancelling) parts, it all went back together easily and the lever is now 'tight' and ALL the bulbs work like they should . I am happy. :)
     
  19. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    Volunteer: all 1973-76 A bodies with disc brakes used the 5 x 4.5" bolt pattern, even those fitted with the 7 1/4" rear end so, you'd be in luck in doing your upgrade. If my 1966 Dart SW was any indication with its OEM 9" drums, your parking brake cables should fit the 10" drums on said 1973+ rear end assuming the cables on it aren't exactly the same length as on your 1969.
     
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  20. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Still seeking either conversion parts or wheels. Took a trip to Kelowna and back two days ago - about 225 miles return. We left at 3:30 and headed back at 9:30. It was dark by 7:30 and dry roads. Thing that I noticed more than anything, especially at night, is that with all the road markings worn off during winter, it is very difficult to see the lane you are hoping to drive on. If not for the white strip still mostly on edge of lane - separating the paved shoulder, it would be seriously 'white-knuckle' time. Half of the distance was on four-lane and with plenty of other vehicles coming and going, not a lot of time spent with high beams.
    So, with speed limit averaging 55, I'm driving at 60 - 65 and always someone coming up behind and passing. I'd forgotten how much 'fun' night driving can be. The old Signet ran flawlessly - using less than 9 gallons of gas for average of 25 - (CDN). At times it felt like the car was driving me - not the other way around. :)
     

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