This Dodge Challenger was parked in the early ’90s and hasn’t been touched since. Can Davin bring it back to its former glory and get it driving down the road again?
#WillItRun #neverstopdriving #hagerty
0:00 – Intro
0:52 – Engine Reveal
3:00 – Spinning it over
4:00 – Checking Oil and Coolant
5:05 – Pulling Plugs and Lubing Cylinder walls
6:05 – Tool tip of the day
6:30 – Installing the Battery
7:55 – Checking the starter
9:00 – Checking for Spark
10:14 – Installing New Plugs
10:40 – Assessing the Carburetors
12:00 – Connecting Fuel
13:32 – Stuck Carb?
14:25 – First Run Attempt
15:40 – Does this Count as Running?
16:50 – Pulling the Center Carb
18:00 – Cleaning the Carb
19:12 – Round 2!
21:25 – Air in the tire
21:57 – Custom Fuel Tank
23:20 – Can We Drive it?
24:40 – No…
25:45 – New Relay and Cleaning Contacts
26:20 – Will It Run again?
28:30 – It’ll Drive Now, Right?
31:13 – Red Bull gives you wings
31:50 – I guess you could call that driving
32:28 – Outro
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Hagerty Video Transcript
– Hey, this is Davin with Hagerty and “Will It Run?”. And, this is a 1970 Dodge Challenger TA 346 pack. Ah, come on. Come on now, don’t be fussy. Okay, so I know the car has been sitting here since 1997 because that’s when this barn was built. Happens to be a friend of mine. And, it wasn’t necessarily on the road even at that point, but they did bring it in here.
Let’s see what we have here. So again, 340, six pack. It’s gonna have three Holley carburetors. Now, these cars were put together to compete in the TransAm Series and SCCA Series stuff. This street version of this were 340 cubic inches or 339. But when they were on the racetrack,
They were destroked to run 302, so they could compete in that level with the Chevys and the Fords. All right, well let’s get the little window over here and the Yamaha out of the way. And I’m grabbing my tools, and, well, go through all of our steps.
All the things we cut, all the things we find. Alright, so we got stock seats, console. Been a mouse in here. 84. So there we go. Hasn’t been on the road since 1984. The last time this car was on the road, the Tigers won the World Series. How’s that?
How’s that for a reference? Well Ben, I think we got a work cut out for us today. To get things started here, gonna kind of go through and double check our fluid levels. Obviously check oil, make sure there’s some oil in it. Now,
We’re not necessarily gonna start this up and run it forever so I know there’s a lot of always a question of, hey you didn’t check the coolant level. I’m gonna tell you what right now, an engine will run for two, three minutes with no coolant in it.
I’m not gonna advise going down the road that way but, you know, it’s not the end of the world if there’s no coolant, for that. Let me specify, for that. But we’ll make sure we have some coolant in there. At least check it. We have belts and stuff on it.
In the past, we’ve had some issues where the, you know, the water pump was seized up. So not much point in having coolant if the water pump is seized up. In this case we’ll find out here in a minute. I’m also gonna put a breaker bar before I get anything going
And make sure I don’t have something froze up as far as the engine won’t turn over. Because if the engine won’t roll over on its, you know, on a mechanical side of things, then well, that’s a no-go. It won’t run if it can’t turn over. Let’s put our breaker bar
On the crank shaft with, this is always a hoot with a fan in the way. You know, I can never just hit it the first time, right? There. Okay, now I’m on there. All right, let’s see what we get. Ooh, that’s a good sign. So I got a water pump spinning.
I got a alternator spinning, power steering pump, and a crank chef. Cool. All right. Step one. (clatter) Aw. – Step one, eh? – We better cut that out. That hurt. Me, it didn’t hurt the car, but it hurt me. Meaning, I don’t want to do that. Okay, step one done.
Throw tools on the ground. Oil, oil, goo. Now look at that. Perfect. Check oil, this side up. Well there we go, there’s a start. We’re doing it right. It’s got all kinds of it. It’s right at full. Okay, just for the sake, make sure we show this.
Yeah, there’s some fluid that’s wet on top. Look at that, see. So there’s some coolant in it, which that’s a good sign because, if there’s no cooling in a radiator you may have a big leak. It’s been sitting and you know it gets cold here, like minus cold.
So you run the risk of freezing a block. With coolant in there, obviously you have antifreeze in it, it’s in the block, it shouldn’t freeze. So we shouldn’t have any issue that way. This point I want to pull, start pulling plug wires and let’s get some oil squirted down the holes. Okay, so all our spark plugs are out and they were all firing. They were definitely all firing rich, which, not to be expected, I suppose. But, good sign is, there’s nothing broke. Doesn’t look like anything smashed into anything. So, all the mechanics of the engine should be fine from this indication.
And like I said, once the spark plugs are out I went through and I added some penetrating oil. Put that down into each one of the cylinders spray a bunch in, it’s okay. And now it’ll sit a little bit while we’re waiting and hooking up the electrical.
It’ll work in and creep into those rings. And then, we’re gonna hit it with a starter and see what happens. You saw how this thing works. I’ll give you the little secret in how to make it. All you do, take a lighter, it’ll have a single hole in the bottom end.
Take a lighter, heat that up, push it against it, seal it off completely. Then take a needle, heat that up red hot, and just push holes through the plastic. And boom, you’ll have one of these. Whoops. So I’m getting ready to spin this over. I’m gonna pull the negative wire here to the coil. That way I’m not gonna be sending spark down and it’ll just be happier that way. All right, let’s get our battery down here in the hole. Now that my terminal’s cleaned up. Now, one thing,
Word of caution, be very careful here because you notice this is a red wire typically positive terminal on your battery is also red, similar to this cap. However, this red wire goes directly to ground. So if I hook this up as positive, I’m gonna be a dead short.
Battery’s gonna be hooked up backwards. Things don’t like it that way. So, this is our ground. I’m gonna have to hook this up last. This is our positive. This is going to the solenoid and then down to the starter. So I can hook this up onto there. That little crack was on them nuts. The shells from pine trees. Okay, now let’s see what we get here. Still good, I’m good. Got a little bit of a draw somewhere, but I see no smoke. That’s a positive sign. I’m gonna have Alan reach on in there and do me the favor
Of hitting the key when I yell go. Or something along that lines. Now all we wanna do Alan is just spin this over a few times and kind of watch things. Oh, that’s that beautiful sound of a, of a Mopar starter. She’s spinning. Yep, do it. – More? – Yep, more. Sounds just like brand new. Okay. And we got, we got compression over here because we’re seeing some of the oil from the cylinders pushing out. So that’s good, that means that piston’s going up and down. And kinda the same thing over on this side. All right. Nice. So I guess,
Let’s hook the coil back up, go for the gusto and see if we have any spark in any one of these. I’m gonna throw some fresh plugs after it though. There’s no sense of putting those back in there. And yeah, I left my wire brush at home for those. Whoops.
Okay, don’t hate me for using NGK plugs over our champions. These were readily available. The champion was not. Now if I wanted to just jump in and put the suspenders on with the belt, I would pull the cap, inspect the cap, do all that stuff. But you know what,
I have a plug in my hand, all the wires are off, and I can very quickly check at least spark on one of them and then go from there. If I gotta dig deeper, I dig deeper. Big deal. Okay. Alan, I’m gonna have you spin that over again. – Sure.
– But I’d better hook up the coil wire because I’ll be cursing myself wondering why I don’t have any spark. That’s right. Hopefully I can get this to thread on. Okay, let’s put one plug in here. And, I would certainly hope this valve cover bolt has a good deal. Go ahead and spin her all around. Yep, keep going. Looks good. We have sparks. So plugs are in, wires are on. And, now I need to address my fuel situation here. I would love nothing more than to take the Holley carburetor bowls off, clean them up and put them all back on. But as you notice, doing that is kind of ugly. Now the other thing
We need to point out and notice is yes this is 100 percent a six pack original car. But it is not running on all six packs, it’s running on two. Only the center carburetors, currently hooked up. And I’m not gonna change that. I’m gonna run it off the front too. Or I’m sorry,
I’m not gonna change that, I’m just gonna run off the center, because there’s no fuel line running here. None up here actually, missing a port to it. And the throttle linkage is only hooked up to the center. So, not a big deal. That way I don’t have to worry about adjusting these either.
It’s just gonna, it will suffer maybe a little bit of air but, we’ll be okay. These are progressive linkage anyway. So what I will do, is make sure that’s tight. Just because that will cause a leak if it’s loose. Okay, so everything’s gonna run off the center. I do not wanna start off
With running fuel up through the gas tank regardless of what’s in there, or what condition that may be in. So I’m gonna come down here, I’m gonna disconnect the cracked fuel line, not on the fuel line there anyway. Yeah, this is a, this is a makeshift at some point here.
In fact, let’s get this completely outta here. It won’t take much to cut that line there because it’s cracked off. We’ll hook our hose up to here, fuel it with an electric fuel pump. And cross our fingers that we don’t have any leaks in the carburetor.
Just again, so I don’t have to pull them off. Not a big deal if I have to but, if we don’t, one less thing. Here we go. Okay. Fuel lines attached. Ready for splashing. – Mhm. – Hasn’t picked up yet. There it is. Okay, I can hear fuel coming into the carburetor bowls. Oh, there she is. So it means my vent’s not closing. Which, for right now, it’ll be fine. Because we’ll run it off the bowl anyway. There’s lots of fuel in there from a bowl standpoint.
We have everything ready. Now we do have a little issue with putting fuel in, the float sticking. So we’re gonna baby this a little bit just to get it to run and fire, and then we’ll take it whatever that next step is gonna be. I am not drinking Red Bull but,
Red Bull can is working perfectly for my gas can because well, I left it at home. So with that, let’s add a little bit of fuel here to it. Okay, and I’ll run the throttle. Ben’s on the ignition. All right, Ben, go ahead. – Here we go. – Okay, one second. Let me shut the choke here. Go ahead. – Here we go. – Yep. Come on, buddy. Good, hold on. That last kick where the starter kicked out. – Yep. – That’s when it, it fired right there. So it finally got a little bit of, got enough fuel to everything to, to try to light off. Let’s let that, let’s let that hang for just a minute.
Let that starter cool off just a hair. Boy, don’t you love the sound of them. Beautiful Mopar Starters, they always got a good whine. You can, you can hear them across the parking lot. All right, go ahead. – Here we go. – Yeehaw. Told ya. Ah yeah, look at that. Little fresh exhaust going out of the back end. Out the door. Awesome. – Try again? – Uh yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s get a little bit longer. We’ll get as much in it as on it. Okay. All right, go ahead. – Here we go. – Yeah. Oh yeah, she’s gonna purr. The choke wants to work. Let’s get, we’re gonna have to pull that center carburetor out. And I guess since all the linkage isn’t hooked up to anything else, that’s a good thing. This thing’s driving outta here. It’s going out that door, I know it.
I can feel it. And that thing sounds so good. Boy, I’m glad that fired like that. At the beginning getting a little worried because it’s like whoa man, why come it’s not firing yet? And then, wham. Just like that. Okay. Now we’ll take this outta here. – Well that was easy. – Yeah.
I guess we’ll set it right there. Now this will come outta here. Okay. So, and actually I guess I could have pulled that right off after I pulled that front carb, I could have just pulled this bowl off but, this way we got it out where we can see it better.
Pull this out, wrap this off, clean it up. Maybe we’ll find a piece of cardboard, or better yet, a towel. Okay so, I’m gonna call it round two startup. I fixed the carburetor leak issue and clean the carburetor so there’s not so much gunk in it. And I still have my electric fuel pump on and you can hear it running actually currently. So we’re running good fuel out of the
Boat tank into the carburetor. And then you’ll see we have another tank just sitting here. We put some, just some general fuel in the tank and going to see if the mechanical pump will pick up fuel and kind of flush the lines out in the bottom of that tank
While we let it idle and and warm up here a little bit. Then based on what we find out there, we’ll add fuel to the tank and make this thing move. All right John, hit the key. Doh. Oh, so close. All right, a little bit more. – Let up a little pressure. – Well, I guess that’s enough to see if the pump was working. That’d be a big no. Put a little air in this right front tire and see if it should move. There we go. That’s pretty slick. This is where you walk in, go in the house, have a drink, come back out. I’m with you, I think that’s perfect. That thing produces some heat. This line’s hot. – Something to put on this (indistinct). – All right.
Okay so, we had to make a little plan B here. I can’t get the mechanical fuel pump to draw anything from the tank at this point. I still have it kind of hooked up here as a breather just in case it decides to wake up. But I do have my electric fuel pump
Routed up here and I’m gonna run my line up underneath the hood so it doesn’t pinch anything. And, yes we’re gonna put the gas tank in the passenger seat floorboard. So we can start this up and move it. I wanna start it and move it. I’m gonna drive it out that door. There.
That’ll hold it enough to move it. Bring our fuel tank in board. Not recommended for any kinda long distance driving folks but, for what we’re doing, perfect. But before we, I hop in and slide across the console because it’s, I’m not that skinny to hop through here.
The window’s not down to boduker in. Let me, make a little bit of spot here. Because driving in a submarine is not all that fun. All right, once I slide in and get comfy. Okay. Gonna be the good way to do this. Heck yeah. All right. Okay, here we go. Oh, come on. (engine quits) Huh. What happened? Huh. Okay so, here we are. You can see it is not the same day, because while we’re in Michigan, we’ve transpired over a weekend and now it’s 30 degrees instead of 82. But, needless to say, we are on the challenger. We had a little hiccup with our wiring
Is what we’re getting at because we went from starting up and running to, no power at all. Like not even the headlights are turned on. So diagnostic-wise, I’ve kind of narrowed things down to well, first place it’s getting power to is right here.
And as you can see, everything’s kind of crusty and whatnot. So I’m going to change out the relay. For one, just to make sure that that’s like not an issue at all. I’ll clean up all the wires, put them all back on. I am gonna replace this fusable link.
It’s kind of a hodgepodge in here already anyway. And make sure we’re getting full power in. That should remedy our problem as far as no power. Then it should start up and run. At least the headlights will come back on. That would be a huge step, and we’ll take it from there. So I went through, put a new relay in it, got the battery hooked back up, cleaned up the ground, cleaned up all the positive wires going through that relay and now we’re making solid connection. My headlights turn on and the dash lights come on.
So, now we’re gonna give it a little sip of Red Bull and wake it up with Ben in the seat, turning the ignition. We’ll get it warmed up and then I’ll climb on in and drive her up. Or Ben will, maybe I’ll run the camera. Oh. Come on honey. – Keep going? – Go ahead. Go ahead. A little high on the idle, but we’re all right. Oil. It’s good oil pressure, so. Yeah. (engine quits) Oh. – No you didn’t. – Messed it all up. Got happy with it. Okay. All right, now let’s pile in. Now we’re fired up. Got a little bit of heat in it,
Should fire right back up. All right, here we go. That’s better. Come on now, don’t be fussy. I mean, we got it running. It’s running. It wasn’t running before. Ah! Ah, come on. It doesn’t want to run with the hood down. All right. Come on baby. Well, let’s give it a shot. I’m gonna try to go at least, at a little bit of an angle towards John there. Oh, it was doing it. It won’t draw enough. All right. Come on, baby. Oh. Red Bull. – Red Bull. – What fuels you? – Just ask Max for step. – Gives you wings. – Gives you wings. Oh, that’s right. Sorry. That’s VP that fuels you. – All right. – I think we got it up. – We’re clear over here. – All right. Heck yeah. Bah, we got it. So using a little of our potential energy, converting it into kinetic energy, we managed it back right down that hill with no problem. But what you saw is that this starts up, it runs, and it moves. So, when we drove it, that was the task. And you know what?
This thing being out in the light now after X amount of years, I think it needs something a little more and deserves a lot more attention. So, who knows? Maybe you’ll see this again. Like, sooner than later. Go get in the shop, go get some work done. And you know what?
If you don’t have a project, quit dogging on people that have a bunch of them. Maybe they need help. Go ask them. See ya.