Thursday, November 1, 2012

1971 GTX - Drive Train and Final Assembly By Roman Sobilo

Ten months ago we started documenting and disassembling the GTX.  It has been a long journey of disassembling, metal work, ordering/ tracking parts, and component restoration.  However, we have enjoyed every minute of it and we are honored to be entrusted by the owner to perform the restoration.

After five long months of being at the body shop the GTX was brought back to After Hours Restorations the first week of September.  During those five months we have been busy restoring all major components preparing for assembly. 

Of course the engine and transmission was coupled together and set on the K member.  From that point we began to assemble some accessories.  As seen in the pictures not all were installed.  Some were still on order and many were left off for ease of joining the drivetrain to the body.

For example the RV2 A/C compressor was left off which decreased the height the body had to be lifted.  The fan was also left off intentionally to allow more room to move the drivetrain forward and aft. 

The complete rear end assembly was built and also set on a movable stand.  The complete dash assembly, heater / AC box, e brake pedal, brake pedal assemble were also built and set aside awaiting their turn to be installed.

The five months of preparation really paid off.  By the end of the first day we worked on the car it was sitting on four tires. 

First, we put the shell on the hoist and installed all of the brake/fuel lines and gas tank. 
Next we pushed the car off the lift and installed the rear end.  We simply bolted our lift bracket to the rear bumper bracket mounts and lifted the rear of the body high enough to slide the rear end through the wheel well.

Once the rear end was fastened to the body we attached our lift bracket to the front bumper bracket mounts and lifted the body high enough to slide the complete drivetrain under the body.  After visually centering the drivetrain in the engine compartment we simply lowered the body onto the K member. 

After installing the four K member bolts and the transmission cross member we used the same lift bracket to lift the body back in the air placing it on jack stands.  This time the drivetrain stayed with the body!

The front suspension was installed and the GTX was sitting on its own tires once again.  At this point we rolled it back up on the hoist and continued the assembly process tackling the exhaust system.  Accurate Exhaust was chosen to supply the exhaust for the obvious reasons.  Each system is actually tested on a vehicle while it is being produced so you can always expect a perfect fit.


Next we installed the vinyl top and headliner.   I personally like to keep this work in house and avoiding any type of damage to the vehicle.  Mobil trim installers are common but may require some digging around.

Since the driver side quarter was replaced we had to install weld studs to hold the vinyl trim in place.  We chose to not use weld studs and used a slick alternative.  Tom at R/T Specialties supplied us with screw in weld studs.  It is a weld stud with a Philips head tip and sheet metal screw treads on the other end. 

This allowed us to avoid any warping that can be caused from welding the stud on the panel.  It was also easier for the body shop to work on that quarter not having to work around the welded studs.  We simply installed them after the GTX was painted.

Next we began assembling the firewall components.  Before you ever install any of the firewall components I highly recommend checking for water leaks.  When a shell is media blasted or chemically stripped all of the factory body sealer is removed.  Even though it has been replaced it should be check for missed spots or air bubbles. 

Simply tape all of the holes in the firewall and spray water in the outer cowl.  This will simulate washing the car or draining rain water.  One specific area I always double check is the passenger side cowl vent hole.  This is the big hole your heater box mates to.

The big flange is a separate piece that is spot welded to the inner cowl.  The factory placed body sealer between the two parts which caused the caulk to ooze out of both sides when spot welded sealing them together.  If this sealer is removed or deteriorated the flange will allow water to leak into the heater core box.

From this point we will continue assembling the interior.  The dashboard will be installed next.  Keep in mind it is assembled as a complete unit.  This is the way it was installed by the factory and by far the easiest way.

The front windshield is next on the list.  We always blackout the ledge which supports the windshield.  If this ledge is not blacked out body color may be visible around the perimeter of the windshield.

Once again I there is a lot more information to share on this topic.  Unfortunately I only have a limited amount of space for my writings.  If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help you.

As of this writing we are diligently working to have the GTX ready for its debut at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago on November 17, 2012.  If you are attending please stop by and say "hi".

If you are not attending the show and would like to see the GTX completed please visit my website .  I will update the site with completed pictures once we return from Chicago.

I would like to thank all of the readers who have taken the time to read my articles throughout this restoration.  Hopefully they have been informative and helpful.  I would also like to thank Roland for allowing me to be part Chrysler Power for the last seven months.  Mopar forever!

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