It’s Alive


The 383 R/T… It’s Alive

With the kids out on a playdate at their friend’s house and my wife busy on her own in the house,  and good weather, I finally  got around to putting the transmission filter in, putting the pan back on and filling the Torqueflight back up with Dextron 6.

I was anxious to get the car running again, if for anything else, to burn some of the aging gas through the engine and to keep the seals lubricated.

A few details I learned about the Torqueflight are:

The serial number and date code are located on casing on the driver’s side, directly above where the pan seals. The date code has to be calculated from  a starting date of July 29, 1961.  You can use this 10,000 Day Chrysler CALCULATOR  (link goes to to discover your date of manufacture. For example, I think mine is 3267, which equals Wednesday, July 8, 1970.

Although my Challenger was originally equipped with a 4-speed, whoever replaced the transmission used a correct date (at least year) 727.  There’s another 4 digit code after that says 6396, if that’s the date code, that means the transmission is from 1979. The whole number is PK35158451 3267 6396. If anyone out there can tell me something else about this, I’d be happy to know. I know PK is the factory = KOKOMO.

I decided to use the larger filter that I had to replace the smaller filter that was on the valve body. Most references I’ve seen show the large filter and the final opinion came from the guy at the O-Reilly store I spoke to when I bought tranny fluid.

I also did not use any sealant with the pan gasket. There are several references on the internet that warn you not to put any sealant to avoid junk from floating into your transmission fluid. The new black material-rubber gasket lined up well with the pan holes while inserted the screws.

The fluid capacity for a Torqueflight is 9 quarts, but I only used 7  quarts to fill up while checking with the tranny in neutral and the engine running. There must have been some residual fluid in the tranny, probably in the the torque converter. And I was happy to get the engine running again.

Add fluid quart by quart, and once it shows up on your dipstick, be careful to add maybe a 1/4 quart at a time to avoid overfilling. I used a funnel that fits into the dipstick holder and offers a wide mouth to pour fluid.

Dextron II, from what I’ve read is the best choice for your daily driver. Dextron VI seems to have replaced Dextron II, so I used D6. I’ve read Type F can be used for reach application but it could cause additional wear.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve driven the car, I needed to take it out for a spin.

Ever since I bought the car in 2006, I’ve never driven it with any confidence, it’s been laid up at home or hiding in various shops the last few years. But tonight, I finally was able to take the car out and drive it without worrying if something was going to break.

It’s not as powerful as my 440 but the 383 4 barrel feels and sounds every bit the Mopar big block. Even with stock dual exhaust without headers, the acceleration has a great reminiscent feel with good torque pulling through the automatic and I think 3.23 rear gearing.  Nice for a stock engine.

The 383 Hi Performance option (335 HP) has a horsepower peak at 5200 rpm and a whopping 425 Ft lbs of torque at 3400, so out of the showroom you had a high revving engine with the torquey big block which makes a nice all around combination.

Slowing the yellow Challenger down, the drum brakes feel solid and get the job done.

The car needs an alignment to center the steering wheel, but I remember well the feel of the stock steering wheel and the power steering is something that’s appreciated after arm wrestling with my 440 with manual steering!

Now it’s back to another week, albeit Thanksgiving week and I was glad to get in a couple of hours on the yellow Challenger.  It’d be nice to keep this car, but I do  plan on selling it. I’m a little hesitant but I know at some point I need to follow through.






This is the new large filter with screws torque in. I’ve had this filter for a few years, hence the surface rust.


This is the driver’s side, the tranny ID number and date code are on the rail right above the pan.


Challenger R/T Ranch


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The Dodge Kid in his youth about 1976. I think I wore this hat everyday through my Freshman year in high school. Photo by Nick Yee

The Dodge Kid in his youth about 1976.

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