Restoration Clinic: Mopar battery cables
Many new questions and responses have come about as a result of my ’69½ display engine at the Carlisle show this past July. First off were inquiries about the correct positive battery cable; the 1969 model year introduced a new positive battery cable, which is part number 2926754 for the 383 and 440 4-bbl B-body cars. I know, however, that the parts book for ’69 and ’70 calls for part number 2926085 for this same application. As we have discussed before in this column, over-the-counter parts and assembly line parts would often differ, so this is another example of an engineering change made for the assembly line part, while leaving the original part number (which debuted during the 1968 model year) in all the parts books.
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The “085” cable introduced in ’68 had the part number printed in white ink along the length of the larger red cable; no paper tag for the part number was used. Also, the connection at the starter incorporated two separate wires with a unique shrouded lug end for the primary (thicker) red wire. For the 1969 model year, the assembly line “754” replacement cable had a new siamesed starter lug connection, and the new part number was printed on a baby blue tag and wrapped around the black tape and wires about three inches or so from the starter connection. (See detail photo.) There was no separate 440-6 positive cable beyond this, and this 2926754 cable was also used throughout the 1970 model year in 383/440/440-6 B-body cars. Meanwhile, 2926085 continued as the over-the-counter number found in the parts book during this time.
Next, let’s verify the fuel pump applications. The ’69½ cars used a Carter 4434S, Chrysler part number 3004107. This was in fact the same 1968/1969 440-4bbl high-performance (B-body) fuel pump used in conjunction with the vapor separator system. This is an extremely hard to find pump today, and originals are very rare. However if you can find one by the original part number, chances are it will be a good dated 4434S pump for the 1969½ application. Also, ALL ’69½ cars used 5/16-inch fuel supply lines.
Next were many inquiries about the engine harness. The engine harness part number for the 383-4bbl and 440-4bbl was 2926391; a modified version of this same “391” harness was used on ALL ’69½ cars. It was modified for two reasons: 1) The coil mounting was relocated for the 440-6 engine; 2) a carb/idle solenoid was added.
The 383/440 coil was mounted at the front of the intake, and the standard 4-bbl harness had a dark blue wire connection for this, about five inches long. However, this wire would not reach the new mounting position for the 440-6 coil, and a quick, cheap fix was engineered. First, the original coil wire was crudely snipped off and that open wire was merely taped around with cloth friction tape to disable and insulate it. Then a unique “piggyback” type terminal lug was used to connect the new, much longer (29-inch) blue coil wire at the ballast resistor and then completed the circuit to the coil connection.
The special solenoid wire, approximately 54 inches long, also utilized the same piggyback lug end at the ignition terminal of the voltage regulator. This allowed the solenoid to be activated or released with the ignition switch. The solenoid wire was spot taped along with the standard wiring routed along the right valve cover. The wire was then routed around the front of the intake to its connection at the solenoid on the opposite (drivers) side. There was a special nylon plastic clip affixed to the inside of the left valve cover which held this wire in place, with both of these added wires spot-taped to the original harness. Various locations of the spot tape and routing of the wires have been seen on original cars. However, the solenoid wire was consistently found to be routed around the front of the intake.
What about the numbers on the front of the valve covers? Personally, I have always thought this was a very redundant type of engineering/assembly process and have wondered about the reasoning for this procedure for some time. Here’s why. The front of the left (driver side) valve cover often had a “5” or “0” which denoted either an automatic or four-speed transmission engine, respectively; these numbers were applied by hand. The front of the right (passenger) cover often had a 3-digit number corresponding to the engineering number assigned for the engine assembly, in this case a 440-6 automatic engine or a 440-6 four speed engine.
As a rule, for assembly-line-built, standard-engine-equipped vehicles, the proper engine assembly number is found on the build sheet. Well, we all now know these were specially-built cars and were first built as standard 383 Road Runners or Super Bees. So Lynch Road noted these engine assemblies on the fender tag as well as the build sheet during that part of production. Now here is the rub. Automatic 383’s were “926” engine assemblies and 383” four-speeds were “925” engine assemblies and these numbers (925 or 926) appear on ALL ’69½ FENDER TAGS. However, these are NOT the engine assembly numbers for the special 440-6bbl automatic or four speed engines! Therefore, the 383-codes of “925” or “926” should not be written on the front of the right valve cover. Those numbers were most likely applied during the engine’s original assembly, not during the vehicle’s actual production – so they would not have been used on any 440-6bbl powerplant since they actually denoted the 383 engine. Admittedly, very few original surviving examples of untouched ’69½ cars exist, but I have seen a few. The engine assembly numbers for a ’69½ 440-6 automatic is “950” and that is the correct number which should appear on the right valve cover. And I am assuming the correct number for a 4-speed is “949,” though I have not seen an original 949 marking as yet.
In an upcoming issue, we will take a more-illustrated, in-depth look at these unique engines, as their popularity has made them prime candidates for restorations, and restoration errors. See you next month.n
Note: Frank Badalson is an acknowledged authority in the Mopar restoration field. You can send him your questions at: Restoration Clinic, Mopar Enthusiast magazine, P.O. Box 482, Sidney, Ohio 45365-0482, or e-mail him at MoEeditor@amosautomotive.com.