When a 1968 Plymouth Satellite 4-door enters your life...

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cudak888

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EDIT: New updates always at the latest!

For better or worse, this purchase required the sale of Disaster Zone (Eleanor/614 HSO), but I think it was worth it.

Welcome the newest member of the fleet - a '68 Plymouth Satellite 318 unmarked police cruiser clone. Nothing fancy and not the best clone (still a 4-wheel drum brake car w/no power assist; ideally it should be a Belvedere), but it "feels" it.

You may have seen it before in the Copcarnet photo galleries - ironically enough, I saw (and drooled) over it 6 months prior to ever seeing it in person, which happened quite by accident (I went to see some Mopar parts for my Valiant).

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There's a laundry list of things to do on this one - door seals, driver's door alignment and striker adjustment, tailpipe (anyone have a single B-body tailpipe kicking about?), idles like crap, absolutely NOTHING is tightened down right, dash pad and panel were eaten by the Tasmanian Devil, etc.

But who cares? The rear window lights and Federal Interceptor still work, along with the PA system :D . I'm happy.

Now to find a BETTER '71 Mustang to turn into Eleanor, grab the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and shoot a sequel trailer to Gone in 60 Seconds.

-Kurt

 
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OLE PONY

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Cool find! Keep us posted on your progress and keep the pics coming.

 
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Cool! The old cop cars are really neat.

Our family's oil field service company (casing crews) used those same radios. I remember talking on them and having the dispatchers patch me through to call my mom on the 'land line'.

Ray

 

cudak888

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Cool! The old cop cars are really neat.

Our family's oil field service company (casing crews) used those same radios. I remember talking on them and having the dispatchers patch me through to call my mom on the 'land line'.

Ray
The GE radio is for looks at this point and isn't connected (the antenna at the top is installed with Velcro so that the roof didn't have to be drilled - also helps with car covers), but the Federal Interceptor is connected up to a siren under the hood, right behind the battery.

More photos to come, provided the weather isn't a soupy mess tomorrow.

-Kurt

 

cudak888

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I didn't want to over-Mopar the forum with my posts, but Ray and Austin Vert PM'ed me and were worried about my absence from the forum. You don't have to worry - I tried ForBBodiesOnly, and moseyed right back here. Looks like you fellows will have to hear weekly updates from the MaMopar division of my stables :)

Well, if it isn't work or digging up game consoles at Goodwill to pay for the cars or parts (found a very lucrative source for cheap PS2s and even newer consoles), it's been finding out all the odd quirks about this Satellite. Everything is abused on this thing in one way or another, thus, it's a case of hunting down obscure little parts and bushings.

However, yesterday was a particularly unfriendly day with this car (and will prove to be interesting as time goes on). I don't trust any mechanical work done on this car at this point (marine water pump, stuck passenger's side exhaust manifold heat flapper, loose bolts, loose radiator, etc., so I decided to do a compression test:

Left bank: 90/79/45/70psi

Right bank: 50/100/90/22psi

Seeing that it should be in the 100psi range, that isn't good. I'm going to repeat the test with Marvel Mystery Oil and then tap the valves - though if they're stuck, I expect bent pushrods too, as the engine has been run when I looked at it, and when I got it up on the tow truck.

That, and the exhaust is completely rotted - what's left of it. Car came with two new mufflers with 2" inlets and exhausts. Try to find a prebent 2" exhaust for this car (to save costs). Forget it. Exhausts starting at $700 and change for single, if you're lucky.

Though I have no business getting myself into things this deep, a Magnum conversion is looking very nice right now. There's a Dodge Ram Van down the next block with a bum transmission...but I bet he wouldn't let me pull the engine there and wheel it home.

-Kurt

 
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Austin Vert

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Good to hear from you Kurt,

Gee, i hope your engine trouble doesn't mean major problems and big money to be spent. Fingers crossed there.

Greg.:)

 
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Thanks for the update Kurt! Just know you are welcome here.

We remember your dedicated research concerning the DAF and Gone in 60 cars, so if you learn of anything new in either of those camps - keep us posted!

Ray

 

cudak888

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Gee, i hope your engine trouble doesn't mean major problems and big money to be spent. Fingers crossed there.
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(Am I the only one who thinks that "Plymouth Police Pursuit" sticker on top of a bone-stock 318 is positively stupid?)

I performed the compression test again (with MMO) on two of the cylinders with problems. Mind you, this engine cranks as if it doesn't have any compression.

Cylinder #2 (50psi at last test) was easy to get to. I poured some Marvel Mystery Oil down into it, retested compression, and it didn't improve. Still 50psi. So possible sticking or burnt valve for cylinder #2. Looking good, as that's a head job more than anything else.

Then I moved to cylinder #5, which was at 45psi. Retested it dry and it gave me 47psi. Pulled the valve cover and found this - and a curious amount of rust on the intake rocker of cylinder #3. Strangely enough, this is next to the bolt that contains the oil gallery for these rockers:

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But it didn't seem to stop anything. I pulled the rockers, cleaned off the caked-up rust and oil, checked each pushrod (all fine, and the hydraulic lifters all expand and contract freely), and then proceeded to tap the valves for cylinder #5. After the tapping, I reinstalled the rocker shaft and rockers, took a reading, and compression bumped up to 53psi. Adding MMO to the cylinder brought it up to 61psi.

So that's a good thing - and a bad thing. These readings suggest the poor compression is probably a valve issue, but cylinder #5 indicates that the problem also involves worn rings. Thus, one way or another, this little 318 is headed skyward (or downward, given the K-frame) out of this Satellite.

So major problems, yes.

Big money, maybe not. There is a Magnum 5.2 (Mopar factory MPFI 318) in a neglected (worn out transmission) Dodge Ram Van in the neighborhood. There is also a 318 in a '70 Barracuda (former slant) down the street, but the owner of that car belongs behind bars (long story).

Chances are finding an engine to dump in here will likely cost me less than the lousy exhaust, which is trash.

We remember your dedicated research concerning the DAF and Gone in 60 cars, so if you learn of anything new in either of those camps - keep us posted!
My last task there was finishing the Bond Mustang site. Unfortunately, my (real) job for the last four months has involved been the design and development of a very difficult Wordpress website.

Until I've finished the latter site, I don't want to see Wordpress or any other website after work. It will get done though.

-Kurt

 
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cudak888

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This question goes out to any of the forum members here with Mopar smallblock experience:

Average compression is 100-80psi in all other chambers.

The readings below reflect two dry tests, followed by the results of a wet (MMO) test, on the problem cylinders, respectively:

Left bank:

Cylinder #5: 45, 40psi dry, 47psi wet

Right bank:

Cylinder #2: 50, 30psi dry, 60psi wet

Cylinder #8 22, 24psi dry, unknown wet (only had time to do #2 and #5 that day).

I also tried the trick of pulling the rocker assembly and tapping the valves on cylinder #5, as it was convenient. No change - still 47psi.

There isn't any evidence of coolant in the oil, or vise-versa - in short, fluids look the way they should. The engine WILL run and hold idle - roughly - in this configuration and blow bluish grey smoke, indicative of burning oil.

Given the readings, I would assume that at least cylinder #2 may have a ring issue due to the increase during the wet test.

I believe this motor has overheated before. The heat riser pivot (for us Windsor/Cleveland fellows: Mopar had a weighted flapper in one of the exhaust manifolds to heat the intake manifold/fuel bowl, in the same way the Cleveland has its center heat riser port) is rusted in the shut position, which would have an effect right there, and it has a marine water pump shoved on it - as if to suggest a fool's idea to alleviate a pre-existing cooling problem.

However - before I go nuts pulling this motor out of the car for what may seem to be obvious bottom end issues (and possible top end/valve seating), I want to ask your opinion of the following theory:

I found this thread today, quite by chance:http://www.forabodiesonly.com/mopar/showthread.php?p=1970846397

This head gasket warp/failure was noted in the thread as a classic example of pre-detonation damage one would expect to find on an older Mopar engine - not out of the question that overheating may have caused pre-detonation.

From what I can see, this type of a failure may suck oil from the main oil gallery during the intake stroke, but would not result in coolant leakage into the cylinder or any more common symptoms usually associated with a bad head gasket.

However, I was more interested in the more interesting notion that the distortion of the head gasket into the gallery would obviously result in a significant drop in compression.

This said, do you think it is a feasible theory? If it's plausible enough, I'm willing to pull the manifold to inspect the gallery - but I don't want to disable the car for too long picking at straws hoping for the best (which is a 1000-1 shot anyway), for I could use the time to prep another motor and perform a swap.

Anyone think the warped head gasket may be a possibility?

-Kurt

 

cudak888

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Nice looking car Kurt. Post some more pics of it.
Next thing you'll probably see photos of is me doing an engine swap on it, the way things are going.

-Kurt

 

cudak888

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I'm still hunting around for a Magnum 5.2 or 5.9, but in the meantime, I've been wrestling with a sagging driver's door:

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For those interested in the backstory, you can read it here: http://www.forbbodiesonly.com/moparforum/showthread.php?93883-1968-Satellite-(4-door)-Upper-door-hinge-adjustment-access-latch-issues&p=910272242&viewfull=1#post910272242

After replacing the lower door hinge - to no avail - I took a look at the upper hinge, which - sure enough - had worked its way back ever so slightly on the A-pillar.

I realized that the best way to adjust the upper hinge (as-is, in the car, without fender removal) was to open the door as far as possible, support the open edge with a jack (thus allowing the weight of the door to be supported or eased off), and loosen the upper hinge as much as I could without losing any thread engagement. With the door wide open, I could use it's weight in my favor to pull the hinge away from the A-pillar, thus allowing me to slide it forward without the weight of the door working against me. I positioned it, tightened one of the three bolts, and did a test fit:

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Not only did I get the door away from the B-pillar, it's even higher than it should be in these first shots of the repositioned door - but there's no question that the upper hinge had slid backwards from years of use, and was the source of the problem all along (the worn out lower bushings couldn't have helped, of course).

I did re-adjust the hinge after taking these photos - and got the door sitting EXACTLY where it should be by easing the upper hinge backwards just a hair. The body lines match up surprisingly well (even with that Bondo zit on the bottom rear corner of the driver's door):

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In the meantime, I also ascertained that the driver's door latch mechanism is past it. It'll click once, but getting it to click twice is impossible without shoving the door - and I've already checked, adjusted, and verified that the latch position cannot be adjusted anywhere to match - the latch is simply failing to click the second time due to something either worn or binding in the latch mechanism.

-Kurt

 

cudak888

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cudak888

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I received a reply to my inquiry about the neighborhood van today. Remember, this is a van with a bum 46RH transmission, A-pillar rot that will give you tetanus by just looking at it, and tires that resemble black golf balls from the amount of dryrot on them.

Long story short, these excerpts form the crux of his text to me:

"Thank you for your interest...I am ready to part with my van...not easy as it has a long and rich history in our family...if you are interested...send me an offer..."

Heck, a response like that would sour me on an old car, much less a late-model conversion van with little value at all. I might as well have gone straight to Craigslist to get a response like that.

NEXT.

-Kurt

 
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I received a reply to my inquiry about the neighborhood van today. Remember, this is a van with a bum 46RH transmission, A-pillar rot that will give you tetanus by just looking at it, and tires that resemble black golf balls from the amount of dryrot on them.

Long story short, these excerpts form the crux of his text to me:

"Thank you for your interest...I am ready to part with my van...not easy as it has a long and rich history in our family...if you are interested...send me an offer..."

Heck, a response like that would sour me on an old car, much less a late-model conversion van with little value at all. I might as well have gone straight to Craigslist to get a response like that.

NEXT.

-Kurt
Kurt - don't sweat the small stuff - send him an offer. One time deal and tell him you are firm in your offer. And/Or give him a time limit on your offer being valid. Then you can buy it or move on. Good luck!

Ray

 

cudak888

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Kurt - don't sweat the small stuff - send him an offer. One time deal and tell him you are firm in your offer. And/Or give him a time limit on your offer being valid. Then you can buy it or move on. Good luck!

Ray
Ray, you convinced me to respond. Just sent him the following text:

Good evening (name).
As I mentioned I'm looking for an engine donor for my Satellite; preferably a Magnum 5.9. Though your van has the smaller 5.2, the fact that it is nearby makes it convenient. Not sure if my skills are up to the task of rebuilding the malfunctioning 46RH transmission; though the engine wiring harness should prove helpful.

$500 is as far as I will consider for a 5.2 donor vehicle - subject to a compression and leak down test on all cylinders, an OBD-1 ECU test, plus a visual inspection of the intake plenum to check for leaks.

Let me know if you are interested or would prefer to hold onto the van; your decision will determine the next step I take with my project. Thanks again.
Fair enough, in my opinion. The technobabble may convince him that he's not talking to an idiot, or he'll just walk away. No foul with a message like this, I'd say.

-Kurt


HAH! He's cool with $500. We'll see where this goes.

-Kurt

 
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cudak888

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Started on the tail end of the exhaust today. Haven't heard from Ram Van guy.

Ugly MIG welds courtesy yours truly. Doesn't help when your nozzle tip can't get in the "V" that well (and you're running 0.25 wire for bodywork). Underneath the pile of welds is good penetration on both the hanger and the glasspack, so I'm not too particularly concerned:

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Almost finished. Decided to loosely clamp the glasspacks and tailpipes in rather than weld - JUST in case. Not much clearance in areas, but movement is minimal. Should be even less give in the system when it's connected to the new front pipes, but not banking on anything given that the front pipes may throw off the existing fitment of the rear pipes:

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First time this '68 has ever had two mufflers hanging under it:

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Only one turndown (until tomorrow) but it looks reasonable. Not enough room to shove it any further onto the glasspack. I can live with both tips sticking out.

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I even cobbled up a 2" to 2-1/2" step-up adapter so that the old pipe could breath through the new right tailpipe for when I move the car around. Didn't help much - the old pipe is in such bad shape that it still sounds like bloody hell through the leak in the adapter. Not to mention that it now blows copious blue smoke out the bottom AND the back end.

-Kurt

 
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