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To use a line from Scottish poet Robert Burns, "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley" (paraphrased into English as "The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry") can describe how events transpired this month with the 2006 police Charger. While the progression of the rebuild had progressed nicely over the previous installments of this series, this month met with delays and setbacks. If you have been following the series, you know that this retired 2006 police Dodge Charger had been a local Pennsylvania township car that I purchased in November 2014. The poorly running Charger was mechanically repaired and the drivability problems were resolved (December 2014, Hemi Put Out to Pasture). What followed was the complete repair of the body damage and rust found on the Charger's chassis (February 2015, Hemi Put Out to Pasture Part II) and the application of the new basecoat/clear coat Chrysler Brilliant paint (April 2015, Hemi Put Out to Pasture Part III). With the completion of the exterior of the Charger, the focus moved to the interior where a factory carpet replaced the rubber carpet. The installation of the original front seats stuffed with new foam and wrapped in new custom leather covers, accompanied an original rear seat from another police car, that had been removed on the first day usage of in favor of a plastic seat. The installation of an OEM center console and all the new plastic trim rounded out most of the interior (May 2015, Hemi Put Out to Pasture Part IV).
It was with great hope that the Charger would be completed this month. But backordered parts, components lost or damaged in transit, and poor weather conditions pushed the completion date back at least one month. The backordered part was the instrument cluster. As stated, in part one of this series, the backlight illumination of the cluster was inoperative when the headlamp switch is moved to the park lights or headlight selection. The only correct repair for this problem is the installation of a new cluster. I completed all the paperwork required by the dealer to get a new cluster but the cluster was not available at the time of this article. It is my hope that one will become available shortly. The Charger can still be driven but the cluster gauges are not visible during nighttime driving.
For the only time that I can remember, a component I purchased was lost in transit and nobody knew where it was or if it would ever arrive. Several months ago, I ordered an "unused" used ashtray assembly to complete the center console of the Charger and according to the tracking number supplied by the shipper it was "in transit". After a few weeks, I contacted the seller to see if he knew anything about the ashtray's location. With the passing of another month, the seller refunded my money and the part was still lost but "in transit". In the meantime, I was able to secure another ashtray for the Charger. The ashtray power port was connected to the Charger's electrical harness and the ashtray was installed. The ashtray fit correctly and the power port operated properly. (Editor's note: the day this article was due the ashtray that was originally ordered showed up after two months of "in transit" status).