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Discussion Starter #1
I'm slowly building a '68 130 into what I hope will be a reliable and fun daily driver. I've gone back and forth on a number of modifications that seem to make sense, but am looking for input as to what others have found to be the most important.

Various POs added a bunch of stuff, some of which I'll keep (e.g. the vintage Dan Gurney aluminum wheels), some of which I'll dump (the ipd header and too-loud exhaust system, fog lights installed *inside* the grille), and some of which I'm still deciding about (Crane electronic ignition, Momo steering wheel and Weber 32/36 DGV carb conversion).

Here's my list of upgrades so far (not all have been implemented yet):

M41 transmission with overdrive (my favorite improvement so far)
Simons sport exhaust system (coming soon!)
78 amp AC Delco alternator and upgraded charging system
heated rear window
Cibie halogen headlights with relays
Euro-style amber/red/white taillight covers
3-point belts in rear/re-webbed belts in front

I had intended to get a new sound system to replace the junk the PO had installed, but am finding I'm really liking listening to the sounds the car makes as i drive. :)

Does anyone else have suggestions for "must-have" daily driver mods?
 

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Sway bar and more firm shocks. I also put lowering springs in every single car I buy, for a daily I do a mild lower, no more than an inch or two. Just tightens it up.

I would keep the header and just put a milder (quieter) exhaust from the collector back.
 

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Ditto on the heavier front sway bar. Lowering springs can be nice, but they are the last step in improving handling -- good bushings and shocks are much more important. Keep the Crane ignition. Toss the header, and find a dual-outlet stock manifold to use with the Simons exhaust. The manifold from an injected B20 is ideal, or you can cut away the intake portion from a '68-on carb manifold. M41 is a very worthwhile improvement.

The DGV carb is fine on a stock engine if it's jetted correctly.

Cibie E-code headlamps on relays are great, although not strictly legal (I know of only one person who got busted for them).
 

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The first thing is brakes. (I find thay come in handy) Then make sure no big parts are going to fall off and hurt somebody.
Get the electrical system working so you KNOW your brake, signal, tail and headlights will work.
On any old car I find it best to replace the fuel and water pump as well as hoses and belts.

Just my take on driving vintage iron make it safe and some what reliable. Then worry about all the bells and wistles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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If the foot dipper starts acting up consider sourcing an OE OD switch/cover for the steering column and then use a headlight relay from an early 140 to mod the turn signal stalk for both momentary flash and hi/lo beam change.

Does the car have AC?

George Dill
 

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I prefer the "foot dipper" but I guess that's personal preference.

I had installed a GM 3 wire alternator on my 122 wagon a few years back. It worked OK, though it seemed to require fairly tight belt tension to work properly. Last week it began making horrible noises- the bearings had worn out. I decided, rather than buy another crappy Chinese-made alternator to give the generator another shot. There's a local shop near me who rebuilt the generator on my '49 Plymouth and did a fantastic job. I got a Volvo generator done, and reinstalled the original bracketry. Then I went out and bought an electrical voltage regulator- VW used them on the Beetle in the early 70's when they were still 12V but also still generator. The regulator was $30, and made in the USA. It even bolted in the same place as the stock regulator did on my 122! I replaced all the wiring with new, and when i was done I had 14.4V across the battery on fast idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I prefer the "foot dipper" but I guess that's personal preference.

I had installed a GM 3 wire alternator on my 122 wagon a few years back. It worked OK, though it seemed to require fairly tight belt tension to work properly. Last week it began making horrible noises- the bearings had worn out. I decided, rather than buy another crappy Chinese-made alternator to give the generator another shot. There's a local shop near me who rebuilt the generator on my '49 Plymouth and did a fantastic job. I got a Volvo generator done, and reinstalled the original bracketry. Then I went out and bought an electrical voltage regulator- VW used them on the Beetle in the early 70's when they were still 12V but also still generator. The regulator was $30, and made in the USA. It even bolted in the same place as the stock regulator did on my 122! I replaced all the wiring with new, and when i was done I had 14.4V across the battery on fast idle.
I took Ron Kwas' advice and got an actual AC Delco alternator, made and remanufactured in the USA. Cost a little more, but will probably turn out to be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the foot dipper starts acting up consider sourcing an OE OD switch/cover for the steering column and then use a headlight relay from an early 140 to mod the turn signal stalk for both momentary flash and hi/lo beam change.

Does the car have AC?

George Dill
That was my original plan, but couldn't find the appropriate switch/cover when I needed to do the job. Do you know of a source?

No a/c yet. It's been unusually cool in the SF Bay Area this year, so even though I'm traveling regularly to eastern Alameda County (where it's usually in the 90s by now) it hasn't been an issue. Still will probably do it, but am not decided on what approach to take to the evaporator.

A stock-style under dash unit takes up a lot of space, and would probably require either bending the shift lever or converting to the 1800-style short shifter (which would be nice in itself, but not cheap or easy).

One alternative is a unit that mounts in the trunk. George Downs (the Walrus) says that he had an Amazon set up like that once and it really worked well. The downside, of course, is the long run of coolant tube from the compressor to the trunk.

Another approach would be to replace the stock heater with an integrated heater/ac unit like Vintage Air's Gen II. I'm not wedded to the stock heater, so I suspect that this is the way I'll eventually go. Won't look anything like stock, particularly in the engine compartment, but should work great.
 

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Gary Sievert in Georgia has an 1800 set up with an integrated unit and it is SLICK. The amount of bending of the shift lever for an under-dash unit is not great and can be done by hand.
 

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The stock heater is actually very powerful, so if you have serious cold weather, you may like it better than the aftermarket.

Although this may be matter of preference, the stock shift lever is actually very good if you get used to it. I have not driven an 1800 extensively, but you would think that the more direct the mechanism, the less potential slack.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I must agree on this. The heater will pretty much run you out of the car.

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Yeah, there's no problem with the stock heater. As I mentioned, I'm looking at adding a/c and am trying to do as clean an installation as I can. Keeping the stock heater means either going with a bulky under-dash evaporator (which also would require bending the shifter) or a trunk-mounted one, which would require a lot of plumbing. If I had to choose I'd probably go with the trunk mount, but the idea of replacing the (working) stock heater with a compact and efficient heat/cool unit is appealing.
 

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Yeah, there's no problem with the stock heater. As I mentioned, I'm looking at adding a/c and am trying to do as clean an installation as I can. Keeping the stock heater means either going with a bulky under-dash evaporator (which also would require bending the shifter) or a trunk-mounted one, which would require a lot of plumbing. If I had to choose I'd probably go with the trunk mount, but the idea of replacing the (working) stock heater with a compact and efficient heat/cool unit is appealing.
I can feel you on that. Best daily driver mod IMHO:

cup holders.
 

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I can feel you on that. Best daily driver mod IMHO:

cup holders.
Get a big peice of foam to wedge between the front seats( by seat belt clips), then wedge your 'water' bottle between the foam and the seat....poor mans DIY'er!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
On Friday I finally got rid of the header and gnarly exhaust system. Replaced them with:

1) The stock exhaust manifold (the one that came originally on the car, but with the intake part cut off since the car presently is sporting a Weber 32/36). Since my car is a '68, the intake had the secondary butterflies which several people had advised me were a PITA, so I didn't have much hesitation about getting rid of them. Painted it with VHT flat aluminum. Went through all the steps to cure it like it says on the web site. We'll see if it stays on or flakes off. So far (~100 miles later) so good.

2) A Simons Sport exhaust system. This was recommended by Phil Singher, and I have to say it's a huge improvement. Exhaust tone is much more subdued but still a nice, throaty growl. And while I may be imagining it, it actually feels like the car has more power.

Overall very happy with this upgrade. If I had already been running a stock exhaust manifold I might have considered doing the work myself, even though I have neither a garage nor a driveway - I have to do everything with the car parked on the street. But with the added complexity of removing the header and replacing it with the manifold, I decided to ask Mike Dudek (of iRoll Motors) to do the work for me. Mike and his son Matt were a real pleasure to deal with (even if the brutal Friday afternoon traffic on the way home through San Jose was not).
 
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