Piston Slap: Burn Noticed!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Holden writes:

i’m looking into purchasing a 72 charger, its almost completely fixed up and I’ve been thinking about what things to have put in the car to make it more like a modern car and what i want to know is, is it possible to put a an after market remote starter/ locker? unlocker in the car?


Sajeev answers:

If the Charger in question has power locks, any competent stereo shop can install a remote start-door opener alarm system. If power locks aren’t factory installed, get a street rod kit and make it work. While wiring a remote start in a manual transmission vehicle isn’t the brightest idea, it is doable.

So this was an easy answer so an easy question. Except not. When considering the tough follow up comments your letter forces me to consider:

1. Looking to buy an “almost completely fixed up” vehicle from 1972 is a vague enough statement that it might as well be a Pandora’s box of problems just waiting to be opened.

2. Classic cars are awesome, but anything and everything will go wrong. When you start modifying one, especially the electrics, your chances for a rolling clusterfuck just multiplies.

3. I hope you have a significant budget set aside for any and all fixes not addressed by the previous owner.

4. Start sourcing spare parts for every future restoration/repair/modification project on this car. I have several saved searches on eBay that I monitor during my lunch breaks at work. Nothing reminds you of the stupidity of owning a classic car (never-driven museum pieces aside) than looking for the parts to make a project happen. Welcome to my world.

5. If you aren’t very handy with cars, make sure you have friends that can save your bacon when you burn it.

So consider this your burn notice, so to speak.**

**Please don’t sue me, Burn Notice TV show people!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • CelticPete CelticPete on May 16, 2013

    Resto mods are really cool. But if you are a person on a very modest budget classic cars aren't really where its at. You don't need Leno money but they are not the bargain choice they appear to be. I agree with the other poster who recommends suspension/engine/brakes/safety upgrades first. That's where I would spend the money.. However once you start doing that you realize why a Dodge Challenger is quite awesome. The looks of the old car - the torque of the old cars and the safety, convience and relability of a new car.. And no the Toyota fans who grouch about the reliablity of a modern Dodge have no idea how much work a classic car is.

  • Moparman426W Moparman426W on May 17, 2013

    Chrysler installed electronic ignition systems on a few 71 Imperials, and by 72 all Mopars came from the factory with electronic ignition. However, since this guy seems more interested in installing a remote starter system on a classic car I doubt that he will own it very long. Having to actually put the key into the lock cylinder to unlock the door is one of the many charms of owning an old car.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.