We saw several areas that would need to be addressed on our Chrysler, including leaking valve cover and exhaust manifold gaskets, fouled spark plugs, and mismatched plug wires. The belts and hoses were intact, but obviously old, so we ordered all new ones from Rock Auto, as well as a new water pump and 180-degree thermostat. Unsure of the condition of the transmission, we checked the fluid and found it to be clean, which is a good sign. While online at rockauto.com, we ordered all the parts we'd need to change the engine oil and service the transmission, and then ordered new rear brake shoes and hardware for the rear drum brakes. Up front, we were lucky and got a full set of factory disc brakes from a '72 Monaco, which we'll show you how to install in a future article. Evaluating the rest of our Chrysler, we noted that several light bulbs were inoperable, and the wiper blades were shot, so we ordered replacements while online.
Knowing our parts would start arriving in a couple of days, we put the Newport on the lift and began servicing the car by removing the fuel tank pickup and cleaning it. Other than discovering a couple of broken exhaust manifold studs and valve cover bolts, we didn't have any real issues performing the work on our Chrysler, and even discovered that our Chrysler's engine had evidently been rebuilt at some point. Though unsure of when or by whom, this did encouraged us to think the 383 would run well once we were finished with our work. Luckily, we didn't see any major problems with our car, and the service work went quickly. After completing the work, we marked the position of the distributor, then removed it and primed the engine's oil system, achieving some 50 psi of oil pressure before attempting to start the car.
With our preliminary servicing and tuning of the Newport accomplished, we primed the carb with fresh fuel and turned the engine over with the transmission in neutral so that the transmission pump would pick up fluid. The big-block fired up immediately, sounding crisp and puffing just a minor amount of smoke when it first started. With good oil pressure, we let the engine come up to temperature while checking for leaks. Follow along and see what it took to wake this Chrysler up from its long nap, and check out future issues as we perform maintenance and upgrades to get this cool convertible back on the road.