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Rick's Cuda Garage Restoration 1964-1974 Plymouth - Barracuda

What is your take on the RMS AlterKation Front end

Richard

What is your opinion of going with Aftermarket Front and Rear ends with welded bracing as opposed to a full fledged frame/chassis setup? AND
When is “Mopar Action” returning?

Richard-

Mopar Action is alive and well!

What do you have against the excellent stock setup? Tough to beat it!

I have written extensively re: aftermarket K-members and suspension, here’s a re-cap, touching only on the main points (there are more negatives, esp. the LCA design)…


I have studied these extensively, and had them analyzed by respected engineers. Not one of them come close to meeting anything like factory durability standards. Heim joints, brakes without environmental seals, hubs with no hubcentricity provisions, etc., are major impediments to real street use. Now, let me make this clear: If I were running a drag car, I’d probably install one of these myself. They save a ton of weight, allow easy chassis tuning, provide tons of header clearance, etc. For said drag car, they are absolutely golden.

But for a street driver — by that, I mean a car that sees lots of miles, curb cuts, potholes, etc, — not just an occasional cruise to Mickey Dees — I have extreme reservations. Referring specifically, now, to the AlterKation setup, here are my concerns:

> There is now only one single crossmember tying the front longitudinals together, in place of the factory K-braced design. If anything, as some really expensive engineering / testing time I witnessed recently shows, these cars need MORE rigidity up front, not less. This change also HUGELY reduces crashworthiness.

> There’s no locating device for the K, it can move around (vs. stock tapered locating screws).

> All suspension loads are now carried by those same longitudinals, not the stock T-bar X-member. This is a radical redesign of the car’s front end; I believe that a through-the-firewall roll-cage bar tying into what is now the spring tower would improve this situation significantly.

> Hemi joints! While boots are made for these, there’s no way to lubricate them, street life is typically no more than a few thousand miles. Luckily, they do not typically fail catastrophically.

> No steering pot coupling. With that gone, I fail to see how compensation is made for chassis flex / bumps. I suspect the breakaway plastic pins in the column do just that – break. Somebody needs to explain this to me please.

> The scariest part of the O’Reilly (Al.K.) setup, to me, is the cantilevered outer tie-rod end. Just picture the stresses on this part (the stud or long bolt) should the car slide into, say, a curb or nasty pothole while the steering has some significant input.

> I’m sure all the welds are top quality and well suited to the task. Still, did you ever see a welded suspension component in any stock Mopar? There’s a reason for that.

Of the bolt-in suspension conversion setups for Mopars, clearly the O’Reilly and the (now dead) XV Motorsports are the best. That still does not make either one of them even close to factory durability. XV did, however, much to their credit, a megadollar engineering analysis (Done by Multimatic in Toronto). Still, even XV didn’t do the long-term testing that would be required to sell something like this to an OEM. From an engineering point of view, it’s usually easy to prove a problem, but much more difficult to prove that there’s NO problem. Look back at the Boeing 737 rudder problem and you’ll see what I am referring to.

Here’s what I’m up against, and why I feel compelled to warn my readers about these products: Clearly they are designed for use by knowledgeable, technically-savvy, hands-on “fabricator type” guys. This type of customer can see the shortcomings clearly and will realize what the system is intended for. But as these kits become more widespread, more and more neophyte “duffers” will have them installed at the local gas station, etc., and drive off in blissful ignorance. That’s what I’m trying to prevent. In that same vein, O’Reilly’s instruction book has a clearly worded, bold-headed disclaimer in several spots, warning “off road use only”…and “typically subjected to uses that far exceeds it’s mechanical limits…” and “…not held responsible or liable…” and “…you assume all risks…”.

I hope I have made my point of view clear. This isn’t a personal attack on anybody’s mother, their engineering or fabricating skills, their sphincter or lower intestines, etc. It’s simply an explanation for my rationale for stating that I don’t think these should be sold or used for extended street (or road race) use.

Rick

9 months ago

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

In 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix produced 112K cars, Approx how many do you believe are running & are registered in the USA today ? Do you believe the 69 Grand Prix in the collector hobby is on the rise, flat or declining currently ? Where are the best resources for hard to find parts for 69-70 GPs ?

Market is Flat on your Body Style, Franks Pontiac Parts ,AZ

10 months ago
Rick's Cuda Garage Restoration 1970-1974 Plymouth - Barracuda

Repro Body Shells for RestoMod

Richard (Rick)

With the dwindling supply of rebuildable Barracuda/Cuda bodies, can a “popular” aftermarket company’s repro body of a 70 Challenger be retrofitted with fenders, Door Skins, Quarter Panels to be made to look like a 70-74 Barracuda/Cuda

My name is also,
Richard (Rick)

Richard-

It would be a helluva job. The two cars shared NOT ONE exterior body panel, and even the wheelbase was different (by 3"). Furthermore, by the time you have it delivered, the Dynacorn shell is almost $20K.

To my mind, finding a decent slant six or 318 ’72-74 Cuda makes more sense.

Rick

10 months ago

Follow-up on Coronet wheels

Rick,

Thanks for your reply. Just for my understand and clarification. I assume that bolt circle is the same thing as bolt spacing; is that correct? Do I need to worry about wheel offset and back spacing. I’m not sure I really understand them, but I keep running into that as I look at wheels.

Randy

Randy-

See drawings.

Using back spacing is not recommended, offset avoids lots of problems. You need near zero offset as I said.

Rick

about 1 year ago

Wheels for my 1966 Coronet and my 1961 Ford F100 Unibody

I own a 1966 Dodge Coronet and a 1961 Ford F100 Unibody that I want to start fixing up. I want to be able to look around for a good deal on some used wheels if possible and I was wondering if you could tell me the bolt pattern, back spacing, and offset I need to have for each.

Randy-

I’m the Mopar guy — only!

The Coronet uses 5 lug, 4.5" bolt circle, 2.81" center-bore wheels.It has rather small rear wheelhouses, but you can usually go 8" wide as long as the offset remains close to zero.

Rick

about 1 year ago
Rookies Speed Shop Restoration 1969-1969 Plymouth - Barracuda

Colors

I had colors that was on my 1969 Barracuda Coupe/hatchback.I think the exterior was Ivy Green but I know the interior was like a cross between a Gold and a Cream,can you help?

David-

Base interiors were green, red, blue, or black, so I’m guessing you had the upgrade. See pix for details.

Rick

about 1 year ago
The Ol' D Spot Restoration 1962-1976 Dodge - Dart

Tires for 71 Dart Swinger

I have a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger with an original Firestone Deluxe Champion spare tire still on the rim… paper sticker still attached! (E-78-14 tubeless bias ply with 1" white wall stripe)

I am looking for replacement tires that would be in keeping with the make/model/look of my car. Can you make any recommendations?
I am trying to keep my car as original as possible.

Thanks for the help!

Cary-

You’ll want reproduction tires such as those from Coker. No modern tire would even come close.

Be aware, though, that modern radials do drive a whole lot better than bias-plys!

Rick

about 1 year ago
Four Daughters Restoration 1967-1969 Plymouth - Barracuda

69 Barracuda

just bought a numbers matching 69 cuda convertible with a 340 automatic on the column no console. trying to identify if it is a formula S. do you know how I would find a build sheet to determine the proper options? I am considering adding factory a/c but didn’t know if it would hurt the value or correctness for the vehicle or how to find a factory system.
Appreciate any help you could provide.

Scott-

Broadcast sheets are where you find them: Under a seat, under carpet, taped to the top of the glove box, etc. Not there? You’re dead.

Data plate (fender tag) shows many options also. You’re looking for code A53.

A/C installation (OEM parts from a car being parted out) requires a firewall swap. Yes, if the car is not already resto-modded, any change reduces value. Source for this swap is used only.

Rick

over 1 year ago
Lyle W Restoration 1965-1967 Dodge - Coronet

Reference numbers

What does the numbers on the radiator support 1008088 & trunk lip 1008000 mean on a 1966 Dodge Coronet 500?

Lyle-

That’s the Sales Order number, sometimes referred to as the SO or VON.

Obviously one of your contains a typo!

There are several ways to “tie” to SO number to the VIN:

> The broadcast sheet
> The date plate (L fender apron)
> The IBM card (from Chrysler Historical for $35)

Rick

over 1 year ago
Smitty's C Restoration 1962-1971 Plymouth

727 Tranny

383 engine with 4B/Carb with 323 gearing in the rear would you keep the 727 or would you select after market auto tranny with over-drive for high-way cruising.

Larry-

The only bolt-in aftermarket OD automatic has a very low first gear, which means the car will kind of “fall on its face” on the 1-2 shift, but the OD is sweet, as is the lockup converter. (shiftsst.com )

3.23:1 cogs aren’t at all bad for cruising, 2.94 is even better.

It comes down to this: You pays your money and you takes your choice!

Rick

over 1 year ago
Smitty's C Restoration 1970-1974 Dodge - Challenger

71 Challenger Convertible

Restoring a 71 Challenger Convertible with factory A/C. Production numbers suggest 126 car were manufactured with 383 4B/Carb.

Larry-

Yes, the K-H (pin type) brakes were quite good. Modern aluminum staggered-bore calipers (EG: Brembo) are better, but the K-H’s still hold up well when you consider that they were inexpensive mass-produced items.

I’d not touch an aftermarket K-member setup if you paid me, unless the car is to be drag-only.

Rick

over 1 year ago
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