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Restoring a 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury

A 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Ride

Note: this page is in chronological order. The latest updates are posted at the bottom.

November 17, 2020

Butch writes: I am dismantling my 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury for restoration. The Plymouth will go back together with a date correct 426 Max Wedge, 3:90 rear gears and A727 TorqueFlite floor shift. I've never taken on a set of tasks this complex with a car, the reason being I'm determined to do everything I can myself.

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury magazine cover

Before Restoration
1964 Plymouth Sport Fury Before Restoration
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I intend to post about what I'm doing, what works for me, what didn't work, products and techniques used, etc. My intent is to document my first-time experience dismantling and restoring my 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury. As I don’t have a lot of experience, so thought some of you would be interested in my wins and fails along the way. Things I post will NOT be in order of progression. For my part, I'm going to take an hour every Saturday to describe some of the work I've done. I hope it's useful to you and of course, any comments that are constructive, are welcome.

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury magazine advertisement

Update: November 19, 2020

* I have a loft in my shop where I've collected and stored parts for this project for the last several years. I have all the parts logged in an Excel spreadsheet. The parts are all in stenciled plastic bins.
* I have a photo file of all the parts in the loft listed in the excel spreadsheet, for easy reference
* I've started using Google Photos and taking copious amounts of pictures so a year from now I'm not totally scratching my head. I may print these photos off if needed.
* I use a one-off piece of software to track the overall project. It" called "AutoResto". I don't know if it's available anywhere. {Editor's Note: The web address for it is offline when checked 12-2012.] It's easy to mess up using this software, overwriting a card file on a vendor or other easy-to-make errors.
* I'm using tags with wires to attach to parts I take off. Nuts, bolts, etc. are attached in plastic bags using zip ties.
I've attached screenshots of the record keeping I'm doing.
data records for 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury
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Update: November 24, 2020

The Plymouth is almost totally dismantled. I'm being loaned a rotisserie, so I can tip the Mopar up on it's side and start removing the undercoating.

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury rear end rubber bumpers

Anyway, here is one of a hundred little jobs I'm working on. The rear axle bumpers. First, the heads of the bolts were rounded off, so had to use some "gri-tite" sockets to get a hold of them. Then, well, two of the four 1/4" bolts securing them to the frame broke off. This was after I'd used my tried and true method of removal; turn the bolt out slightly, put on penetrating oil, tighten up again. Rinse and repeat until the bolt comes free. Didn't work. I'm glad they were soft bolts. My next effort was to drill completely through the bolts, then, using a straw, spraying penetrating oil up into the frame where it could seep down. Then I drilled the holes out larger and tried two different easy outs, no love. What remained of the bolts refused to budge. Tried heat...no luck. Finally, I drilled the bolts our enough to get a 1/4 tap working back and forth and cut out the threads. Next, I tried to order new rubber bumpers. I found a new complete set of bumpers for $70.00....no thanks. Rock Auto showed the rubber bumpers for a few bucks, but...out of stock. Went to the vendor page, they're out also. So, I restored what I have and will use them over. All in all, this took about 6 hours, but happened over a number of days. I had to tumble the metal parts clean, got new bolts, cleaned up the rubber bumpers.

Your thoughts are valuable to me, so appreciate anything care to add.

Examples of the The 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse members input:

* On November 17, 2020 'Mark E.' wrote: Keep lots of notes and separate files for each piece for section. You will refer back to them and it will be much easier to find. Use a paper or a computer or your phone whatever is easier for you. Ask a lot of questions to this group, it will save you lots of time and money and mistakes with sources. - Mark
* On November 18, 2020 Mike wrote: I keep 3 ring binders for each car. Save all instructions, receipts, notes, sketches, etc.. I even have 2 each for my Belvedere project: one for the previous listed reasons and a separate binder for all costs-the scary binder! I refer to these a lot. I'm still proceeding on this project since 2009. Currently waiting for paint. - Mike

Metal Cleaning Small Parts

Update: February 6, 2021

I tried several approaches to cleaning small parts and am still doing some. There are parts that I'll paint or coat, but there are parts that need the body color, so am preparing them for the paint/body guy. That's what this is mostly about, fender bolts, hood hinge bolts, trunk extension slides, etc. They have to be prepped so they are ready when he is.

The BEST thing I've tried: Eastwood products1 and a tumbler. The pictures are in sensible order to show the process. The green diamond cutting agent coupled with their Metal Wash product is super. They say in their videos that the metal wash and water is the way to go and I can attest. I tried it dry and it was a failure. After several days in the tumbler, parts were still not as clean as with the metal wash after 24 hours.   (1I don't have any association with Eastwood except they get too much of my money. . . .)

After the parts come out of the tumbler (picture #5), they look great, but they develop a coating on them as they dry to prevent rust. (pictures #6 & #7). The coating does work. I left some parts out for several weeks and they didn't rust. You can't paint or topcoat over it. Following Eastwood's recommendations, I first rinsed the parts thoroughly, air dried them, then dipped them in Eastwood's "PrePainting Prep" (picture #8). I've had the dipped parts (picture #10) laying out for a week with no rust apparent, but don't know how long that will last.

Metal Cleaning Small Parts on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

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I hope this is useful to someone. If I can do this, anyone can. / Butch

Undercoating Removal

Update: February 13, 2021

As I said in the previous post, none of this restoration process will be in order. This week, it was all about undercoating removal. This is one area where I have the tools and time, so can save some money versus paying a restoration shop for the labor. The shop who will be doing the body and paint loaned me a rotisserie, which made this more feasible than laying or standing under the car.

I tried two methods of removing undercoating:

1) Propane torch and scraper: I tried this in picture #1. Had to do it outside and in Northwest Washington on Puget Sound, this was not a good option. Too cold and wet to do it outside, not enough ventilation inside.

2) Air chisel: This was recommended to me by a fellow Mopar enthusiast up in Thunder Bay, Canada, Kevin Merkley, after he saw a post on fakebook of me using my propane torch. The how to is important! Turn your air pressure down, way down. I set mine at 8-lb psi. Use the broadest blade chisel on hand. Go as parallel to the body as you can. The air chisel should be "chunk-chunk-chunking" along. It vibrates the undercoating loose more than chisels it off. I used this exclusively.

Undercoating Removal on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration
  • Picture #1 shows using propane torch and scraper, as noted above
  • Picture #2 shows pretty much all the underbody before I started with the air chisel.
  • Picture #3 is the work in progress
  • Picture #4 shows a before and after
  • Picture # 5 is. . .uh. . . me
  • And Picture #6 is everything done enough that the media blaster can go after it with plastic.

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Other methods of removing undercoating, none of which I have tried:

Small parts prep and paint-final

Update: February 20, 2021

This will be the "final" of my process for cleaning/painting/preserving small parts. Final meaning: this is all for now.

I have several pressurized cans of black paint, but want to learn some about HVLP spray painting, so I bought an inexpensive Harbor Freight touch up HVLP spray gun. Glad I did! Learning a lot and the process is so much more controllable than what comes out than a pressurized spray can.

Here's where the education kicked in.
I was so proud of my initial paint job, pictures #6 and #7, that I sent the pictures to a good friend who's done a lot of body/paint work. His response: " Be careful putting too much paint on nuts and bolts so you don't strip the threads when assembling parts". Hmmmm.... I put one of the bolts into a die and YIKES, the bolt balled up within a few turns. So...I stripped ALL the nuts and bolts, repainted them, photos #9 and #10. Much better, but still, I'll be cautious when assembling.

Finally, I have a number of bolts that don't need to be painted but do need to be protected from rust. My solution was to do steps #1 through #3 (above) then sprayed them with CorrosionX. I've used it before on "pew" parts and like it. It will be months before I join the transmission and starter to the motor, so don't want any rust issues, pictures #10 and #11.

Small parts prep and paint-final on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

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Panel Stripping

Update: February 27, 2021

This week's summary isn't what I intended. I was media blasting hood hinges and door hinges when my Snap-On 23.5 cfm, 5 hp compressor QUIT. I'll save that for a future post.

So...my body and paint guy called. We'd already had the body, doors, and fenders media cleaned with plastic ($1,400.00), so we discussed the hood and trunk. The media guy is about a month out and I really don't want to put any more money into that. Instead, I'm using chemical paint remover and a scraper to get the panels clean enough for the body shop.

Fortunately for me, I have a very old can of Zip-Strip®, which still has some decent chemistry, the kind that eats gloves, skin, paint, whatever. An equally old can of Klean-Strip® was totally ineffective.

Had I not had a commercial product that works, I may have made one of the YouTube lye paint remover ideas, but that wasn't really appealing. It does look like commercial "aircraft remover" might work, but I'm good to go with what I have.

Another benefit of using chemicals on the hood and trunk, no risk of warping the panels as there is with media blasting.

panel stripping on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

panel stripping on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

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Chemical Panel Stripping

Update: March 14, 2021

This week's journal entry is about chemical panel stripping. This is a continuation of my last entry, so am reposting a few of the pictures from last time, for context. I did wear a 3M organic vapor filter, chemicalgloves, and had good ventilation. I have probably 15-20 hours on the filters, need to find out how frequently they need to be changed. Who knows,maybe I'll have occasion to do something like this again. Overall, it was "interesting." I chose to chemically strip these panels because the media stripper guy was about a month out on scheduling. I didn't see any value in paying the body shop for "grunt labor" I could do myself, so went after it! I cleaned the structural elements with an Eastwood CONTOUR SCT® Surface Conditioning Tool, but didn't want to take a chance on warping the panels so used chemical strippers. I first tried a can of old "KleenStrip", which did absolutely NOTHING. Then I found an almost full gallon of at-least-10-year-old ZipStrip®. This stuff worked; worked so well it melted a few pair of chemically resistant gloves. Toward the end of the project, I ran out of ZipStrip®. Then I discovered you can't buy stripper that has methylene chloride in it anymore, which I assume my old can of ZipStrip® had as an ingredient. So there began an educational journey on two fronts:

After looking at several YouTube videos, it looked like "Aviation PaintStripper" is a product that still works as advertised. I found two "aviation paint strippers" locally, at O'Reilly's Auto Parts and at Auto Zone. I bought some of each and tried them out. They both worked almost as well as the old ZipStrip®. Took a little longer, but both went through to metal or at least through most of the primer on first application.

I found the Rust-Oleum and KleanStrip products have different properties.The Rust-Oleum spread nicely and stayed wetter longer than the KleanStrip product, but was runnier than the KleanStrip. The KleanStrip product stuck to vertical surfaces better, but dried out sometimes before it lifted the paint.

The other thing I learned was that not all chemical gloves are equal. I had several pair of chemical resistant gloves that bubbled up and made my hands burn. 30 mile round trip to the safety supply store...new "better" gloves. They began falling apart after 30 minutes. Another 30 minute round trip drive and got some gloves that held up.

I will say that the body man was very, very happy with the finished product. I took him the hood and trunk so they could start fitting the doors, hood, and fenders. You'll notice the barrels in the middle of the car in the last picture, which were put there to take out the slight sag common to unibody construction when suspended. I have two of these cars and if they are on my two-post lift, the doors don't open or close properly.

panel stripping on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

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Paint Booth

Update: March 28, 2021

I've not done much on the car since the last update. This week the compressor motor failed and the media blast gun failed and had to be replaced. Media cabinet upgrades, Honeydo list . . .you all get it! Still, progress was made, just not by me. The car has started it's journey through priming and paint!

panel stripping on 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

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Update: April, 24 2021

[Editor's note: The Plymouth's restoration is on hold for a while (a month or two perhaps) due to health necessities. Check back!]


Update August 20, 2022

After considerable layoff, I'm back at putting my 1964 Sport Fury back together. Got some good days, so could get the car outside the shop and painted the trunk, with help from my most able assistant.

painting inside trunk for 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury restoration

Comments and suggestions, if they are helpful, are always welcome.

Contact Butch: 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury, contact

Page History: Posted December 15, 2020;
Updated February 7, 2021; February 14, 2021; February 20, 2021; February 27, 2021; March 14, 2021; March 28, 2021; August 20, 2022

Be Careful! Danger! You risk severe injury or death doing mechanical repairs on your 1962 to 1965 Mopar. Don't take rash chances and don't shy away from careful use of jack stands, spring compressors, eye protection and other safety devices. Get a qualified professional technician to do the work if you are at all unclear about the repair procedures, or if you do not have adequate tools or safety equipment.

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