The Chrysler A-904-LA automatic transmission is light enough for me to carry without the torque converter. I can just barely hold it with the torque converter installed. We are both looking pretty old, but I have 25 years on the transmission! I see that Muffin is exploring the engine compartment. She went to sleep on the top of the garage door yesterday while I was working. She got squeezed between the door and the door frame when I closed it, but wasn't injured. The door seemed to close mushily and I looked up and saw two back legs sticking down between the door and the frame. Fortunately, I still had my hand on the handle and quickly lifted the door and she escaped.
This is the empty engine compartment awaiting installation of the rebuilt engine. The radiator has been removed and I think we could not have made it if the radiator and fan shroud had been in place. We removed the battery shelf to get more room. I also had to take the fan blade off.
We rotated the front of the engine toward the battery side and used cardboard to help the oil filter slide along the inside right fender and more cardboard to protect the A/C condensor from the water pump pulley. Then it was 'slow and easy' with lots of pushing and pulling to guide the exhaust manifold around the steering column. I think it was easier putting all that stuff on before installing, though.
One last view of the lower part of the firewall. The brake master cylinder mounts to the firewall at the four bolts above the steering column. To the left, attached by three bolts, is the throttle cable support. The 'horseshoe'-shaped bracket further left is for the throttle rod used with the Slant-6 engine. My 1960 Valiant had that same thorttle but, of course, the original Valiants didn't have the throttle cable option since they didn't have a V-8 option. The small line running across below these is the brake line for the right front wheel. To the left of the transmission hump (the passenger side) is the condensate drain for the factory A/C system. The passenger side torsion bar is in the lower left of the photo.
This is another view of the installed engine. The fan blade had been installed. The throttle cable anchor is connected to the intake manifold. The wiring harness is in the clips on the passenger side valve cover. I had trouble finding that 'horizontal' A/C filter/dryer unit. Even then I had to add fittings to adapt to my lines.
One last view of the lower part of this part of the right front fender. I'll probably never see that view again. The 'Vehicle Certicard' holder is there on the fender. It says "Do Not Remove - For Dealer Use Only." I don't think it was ever used by a dealer.
This decal on the radiator support panel in front of the battery that positive should be connected to positive and negative to negative for booster starting. It says disconnect battery cables before charging.
This decal is on the radiator support panel near the corner of the radiator. The left corner of the top tank of the radiator is visible. It is the original raidator with the orginal paint job. The decal has two panels - one says "Important" and the other "WARNING." Under "Important" it says "Protected to -20º F. with Mopar antifreeze (ethylene glycol type) - The hand written date is "3-2-66." Below that it says Checked by Dealer with a blank that hasn't been filled in.
Under "WARNING" it says: Always make sure coolant has proper amount of rust inhibitor. See owner manual for cooling systems recomendations.
2/4/04 Status - On a trip to Arkansas last week I stopped at an old auto junk yard near Carthage, Texas, and found the choke lever and vacuum pull-off link for my carburetor. I also pulled the alternator tensioning bracket from a 1970s Dodge which I felt could be modified for my Barracuda. I just almost missed out on these parts; they had started crushing them. A 1966 Chrysler and a late70s Cordoba had already been crushed. I always hate to see that, but what can you do?
The local Auto Zone has turned out to be a great source for parts for my old car. And the prices are right. The old-style Chrysler alternators are now $30, down $10 from 15 years ago. The core charge is only $10. The alternator I got was almost exactly like the original except that this one has a two-belt pulley. They also had a vacuum choke pull-off that was an exact fit. The link I found at the junk yard matched right up. I bought a rebuilt master cylinder because they didnít have a rebuild kit and I didnít really relish rebuilding the old one anyway. It cost $34 with a $25 core charge. It even had a fitting for a brake light hydraulic pressure switch like my old 1960 Valiant had. Brake light switches are now mechanical and are connected to the brake pedal arm.
Next work - Install starter, carburetor, alternator, and battery. Iíll connect a line to a gas can to verify that the engine runs before I re-install the gas tank.
During that time Iíll bleed the master cylinder and install it and see whether I have to redo all the wheel cylinders.
2/27/04 Status - The Barracuda is now drivable (except brakes). I got liability insurance on it today. The insurance agent still had my original insurance application on file. It was dated March 11, 1966. I drove around the block to the gas station and filled the tank with 92 octane gasoline. The trip indicator now indicates 4 miles since the overhaul. A few days ago I drove down to the corner and then around the block to do a U-turn through the city hall parking lot. Yesterday I took Ann for a ride to the end of the block then around the corner to do a U-turn in the school parking lot.
It was hard to get the starter into place. There just is no way to do it without taking a tie-rod loose. The top bolt is very hard to reach. It was nice to work with clean parts though. The bolts holding the exhaust pipe branches to the exhaust manifolds were also hard to reach.
The alternator was easy to install with the adjustment bracket I got from a later model 318 engine. I had to cut off part of the bracket to make it work. I found a previously used V-belt that was a perfect fit for the alternator. The old mechanical voltage regulator still seems to be working.
The old replacement carburetor works OK. The engine starts quickly and runs smoothly. I replaced the spring in the choke housing with one I got in the junk yard. I adjusted nearly all the tension out so that the choke will open quickly. The only other adjustment so far has been about half a turn for each idle screw. I havenít tried to adjust the idle jets. I havenít checked the ignition timing or dwell. I did the original timing by setting the engine to 5 degrees BTDC and then rotating the distributor housing until the points just opened. I think the lobes on the distributor cam are wore down.
Gas Tank - I ran the car some before I installed the old tank by running a hose into a gas container. Once I was sure the engine ran well, I installed the tank. The gas gauge works and there is no evidence of rust getting up to the fuel filter at the carburetor. There donít seem to be any leaks around the intake line plate or at the filler tube with the tank full of gas.
Water Leak - One major disappointment was the discovery that there is a crack in the water jacket of the left head at the front outside corner. At least it is in a spot that is easy to get to. During several tries Iíve applied a few layers of epoxy and the leak seems to be reduced to one spot. However, that could be the same amount of leakage just forced to come out at one place. Iíll drain the water again and work on that spot. Itís kind of like putting a filling in a tooth. I grind away the old epoxy in the suspect area, verify that no water is seeping out, clean with solvent and then fill with epoxy.
A leak developed in the radiator top tank seam. After draining the water, I loosened the radiator, raised it about 2 inches without disconnecting the hoses or transmission fluid lines, and then applied some acid flux, heated it with a propane torch, and applied some resin core solder. Itís holding so far.
There was a little leak from the water pump shaft seal, but it may have gone away. The pump sat there dry for 20 years so it really is something that it holds at all. Corrosion forms when the seal isnít moving and sometimes the surface will wear smooth and seal as the seals rotate again. Of course, everyone says I should have replaced the water pump while I was getting the engine done.
Brakes - The master cylinder is installed and is holding fluid. Air has bled out. Iím guessing that the little pistons in the wheel brake cylinders are frozen (corroded) to the cylinders. I bought new cylinders for the back wheels, but havenít installed them. Apparently the pistons in the left front wheel broke free of the corrosion because the brakes in that wheel are working. I have to drive VERY carefully with a brake only on one wheel, but it beats trying to drive with only the emergency brake! Thatís how I drove it the first mile and a half.
PAGE ONE - This page gives some details about the Barracuda and its history. There are photos of all sides of the car,photos of the short block in the car and the empty engine compartment, and shots of the greasy engine as it was pulled out. There is a photo of wreck damage to the left front fender. There are photos of the heads that have been in storage for 20 years after they were rebuilt. There is a photo comparing the original carburetor that was destroyed in storage and a NOS carburetor that someone gave me. There are photos of the automatic transmission and the gas tank. Links to other web articles are located on Page One
PAGE TWO - Page two has more detailed photos of the exterior and interior of the car. The pinstripes are shown and the dash and instrument panel. Front bucket seats and folding back seat and trunk panel. Photos of grille sections and taillight.
PAGE THREE - This pages has photos of the engine rebuilding work in progress at Cookie's Auto Machine Shop. It shows the bare short block, piston installation, and Cookie at work.
PAGE FOUR - Page four has 14 images showing the completed engine after it was painted and then after the exhaust manifolds, pulleys, fan, brackets, distributor, coil, and such had been re-installed. It seemed to be easier to install all those things before putting the engine in the car. My only concern is fitting the left manifold around the steering column while dropping the engine in.
PAGE FIVE - Page five has photos and comments of the engine re-installation. I demonstrate that I can carry the transmission (without the torque converter). There are a couple of photos of the clean engine compartment before the engine was installed and then a couple more of the engine after it was installed. I photographed the antifreeze warning and battery charge warning decals on the radiator support panel.
PAGE SIX - Page six has a photo of the Barracuda parked out in the driveway on the first day of spring 2004 and closeups of the carburetor as it is installed and the engine compartment with the engine in running configuration. It has been driven about 15 miles since the overhaul. There is a photo of the bottom of the car and of the left rear axle and brake parts with the wheel and brake drum removed.
BRAKES - Photos of complete rebuild of front drum brakes including removal of backing plate and regreasing bearings. Photos of back brakes and bearing plus back brake hose.
Alternator Wiring - Photos showing every connection from battery to alternator power output terminal and wiring through the voltage regulator to the field connection on the alternator. The wire I.D. numbers for the shop are given along with wire gauge and wire insulation color.
Instrument Panel Removal and Disassembly - This page shows photos of the instrument panel partially removed from the dash and the various connections that are made there. It also has detailed photos of the instruments and the printed circuit boards on the back and details of the speedometer mechanism.
A-Body Gas Cap Replacement - Photos of combining an old replacement cap and a new Stant 11811 cap to make a usable replacement for the original.
Barracuda History - This site provides an excellent brief history and description of the early Barracudas.
ULTRAJOSH - This site is an excellent resource for everyone who is working with the early Mopars. In addition to photos and details of his work on a '66 Barracuda there are links to sources of hard to find parts and instructions for all sorts of electrical work as well as mechanical. Check out this site. It may have just what you need to solve a Mopar problem! I found a source for an electronic voltage regulator that is built into a mechanical regulator case which accepts the original wiring connections!