Last month, we began our series on disassembly for restoration by stripping down the body and interior until we were left with the bare unit body-but with the entire drivetrain left in place. Why would anyone want to tear down a perfectly good Mopar? Probably only a crazed perfectionist would, but if your Mopar is less than perfectly good, some level of disassembly will be required to put things right.
If, as in the case of our trashed-out 'Cuda, you're starting with a total disaster, extensive disassembly will be a necessary part of the rehabilitation. The rebuilding plan on our 'Cuda begins with chemically stripping the entire body, giving us a base of clean, bare metal (what's left of it) to begin piecing our new-old Mopar around. Chemical stripping of the body means that the shell has to be stripped naked, so our 'Cuda will be picked to the bone. Even if your own project will never require this level of tear-down, many of the principles of organized disassembly described last month will still apply.
In last month's body portion of our tear-down, our main guideline for the disassembly was to dismantle the car in major sub-assemblies, keeping the relevant components as intact as possible, to await their turn at restoration. This month, in stripping out the mechanicals, this approach is even more relevant. Since we're looking at an extensive period of body work to rebuild what remains of this E-Body, the mechanical stuff will have to wait in the dugout for quite some time before we get to it. Keeping much of the mechanicals intact will give us that much less stuff to keep organized and take up less space to store. Less organizing and space are definite advantages, but the kicker is that dropping out the mechanicals relatively intact saves mucho time.
Usually never noticed, much...
Usually never noticed, much less serviced-until the tank has to come out-are the vapor-liquid separator lines coming off the side of the tank. An access cover beside the frame rail has the hoses out of sight. We knew our hoses would be replaced so we just cut them loose.
Our approach is a simple one-two punch: first dropping out the rear suspension and axle as a unit; and then moving forward and knocking out the engine, trans, K-member, steering, and most of the suspension in a single hit. Other than the fuel system and mopping up a few odd brake lines and other small items, the bulk of the go-hardware comes out in major chunks. To keep things mobile after we're done, we fired up the Lincoln arc welder and fashioned a trick moveable body dolly. The photos detail all of the fun stuff.
The fuel tank was the first item to come down in our mechanical disassembly, to clear the way for removing the rear suspension. There's really nothing tricky about stripping out the fuel system. It's all just common sense. Begin with making sure the tank is empty, both to make it easy to handle, and to avoid the dreaded Mopar flamb. An electric fuel pump (safely mounted, grounded, wired, and plumbed) and an appropriate gasoline storage container gets the nod over the lethal siphon-and-milk-jug technique. Work in a well ventilated area, away from any possible sources of ignition, even if you don't figure on spilling a drop of fuel. While you might expect to only disconnect the fuel hose and gauge sender wire, look for additional lines to the tank before wrenching the mounts. Most Mopars of this era had multi-line, emissions-related, vapor-liquid separator and recovery systems. Our 'Cuda had no less than five hose connections to the tank.
From the fuel tank, the vapor...
From the fuel tank, the vapor hoses run to the separator mounted in the trunk, or on some B-Bodies, to a small tank at the wheelhouse. The unit was unscrewed from the trunk floor and removed.
The tank itself comes out...
The tank itself comes out next. Besides the vapor-separator lines, the fuel line, sender, and ground strap are disconnected. The filler neck is unscrewed, hosed down with WD-40 at the grommet where it enters the tank, and twisted to work it out. Dropping the tank is just a matter of two nuts at the mounting straps.
The mounting straps release...
The mounting straps release at the rear by angling them to the side to unhook.