Serendipitous Rendevous – How I met the 2008 Prototype

Blog Note: I was looking at old drafts I hadn’t published and found this one needing a bunch of old photos lost in archive. I found them…

 

Since you all haven’t noticed the link on the side that takes you to the 2008 Challenger prototype article, I decide to blog about my experience and stick the link to VALID CONCEPT in the article (se below at the end of the text).

prototype

It was April of 2006 I got connected via Trans Am Challenger Owners Registry with an auto writer named Richard Truesdell who had a spot with the 2008 Dodge Challenger prototype. He wanted to gather a group of the original Challenger owners in the San Francisco area to meet him and the prototype at Laguna Seca Raceway for the two-day photo shoot in May 2006. He was particularly interested to hookup with vintage T/A owners to key on the Trans Am connection with Laguna Seca. Two of us T/A owners would respond, Reno Debon and myself.

At the time, I was attending Chinese Medicine School getting ready for finals and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to indulge in my hobby was put to some test. I was offered to stay with the rolling publicity shoot for two days but opted only to stay aboard only for the 1st day shoot at the Laguna Seca in effort to go back home to Menlo Park, CA and then to Santa Cruz, CA to catch my late afternoon acupuncture classes.

The afternoon before, I drove my garage queen T/A the 90 miles drive down to Monterey, with my friend Rock Woo driving my Ford Explorer with repair tools just in case. It was the longest drive I would take with the T/A in restored condition and it ran very well.

We needed to be ready to begin in the early morning the next day so I sprang for a nice room at Carmel Valley Ranch to catch some zz’s beforehand. Actually, the night we arrived, Rich Truesdell hosted all the Challenger owners to a dinner at one of the seafood restaurants on Cannery Row where we had some spirited talks about the motor world.

The next day started early with photo shoots beginning in the parking areas of  Carmel Valley Ranch trying a variety of ideas.

Eventually we made the winding drive to Laguna Seca to find areas to shoot. Rich was hoping we could get on the track, but for some unfortunate reason, we were not allowed not take our Mopars, even the prototype under the finish line straight away under the large banner there. I’m sure they were afraid of a bunch of donut patches showing up as if by magic on their pretty racetrack (one that I had driven on with my Mustang for my first open track with the NorCal Shelby Club).

Instead we found a couple of parking areas, one in the infield. We tried multiple configurations of staging our Challengers, included is the group shot with all participants including the secret agent Chrysler guys who were traveling  with the new experimental production vehicle. I can’t remember exactly, I think the prototype cost $4 Million?

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After a very busy morning of shooting, I had to leave, rededicating myself to the study of Chinese Medicine of where I had a perfect attendance record (believe me, it was torture that I  made myself to leave).  I  sacrificed going on a group cruise to Cannery Row and later to take my T/A with the two other vintage Challengers (a Hemi and and the other T/A) asked to continue on later to beautiful Big Sur for “on the road” shots the you can see in the linked article “Valid Concept.”

Now it’s 2016, I no longer have my Red T/A, and now all that is left are the memories, a few photos, this little article and my Acupuncture License. I can spend a life time needling myself out of this self-induced musclecar-deficient depression.

You can check out several photos below.

CKY

 

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CLICK ON THE VALID CONCEPT IMAGE below TO GO TO RICH TRUESDALE’s ARTICLE FEATURING OUR THE CARS IN THIS BLOGPOST

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PHOTO BLITZ with Captions

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Early morning at the resort, helping a fellow Challenger owner jump start his semi with my unscathed vintage battery.

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Photographer Truesdale loved this shot, two dudes screwing with their classic muscle cars. Me with my previously unscathed show battery terminals. Buzz Graves with his orange Hemi-Powered machine

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Dig it! The Prototype teams up with some real T/A Challengers.

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Rear end shot in one of the parking lots of Carmel Valley Ranch.

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The Chrysler guys were joking about how we had to pack our cherished cars together, remembering the many times they’ve had to cram cars together at the factory. My friend Rock is in the background. Yes, we had to hide in our cars while the shots were made.

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What do you do with a bunch of vintage Challengers? Make a sales ad.

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Secret Agent from the Chrysler Plant

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The Three Amigos, Reno Debon, Challen Yee, and Buzz Graves with the HEMI Shaker.

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Get back to your cars, Let’s try it this way

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No, let’s try it this way… no that way…

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So this is how you get some of those weird shots. Don’t forget your athletic cup.

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Let’s fuel up and head to the race track. Nice way to attract attention.

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Reno Debon’s T/A

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We’re on the roll

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Overlooking Laguna Seca

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Laguna Seca parking area

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My old pride and joy. The unintended garage queen.

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The Reno Debon T/A and Company

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Have you seen this style name plate?

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On an infield area at Laguna Seca, the photo group starts small with the prototype and the two vintage T/A’s in attendance.

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Move them doggies around

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Yeah, Baby. That’s some real Mopar

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Drivers! To your Cars!

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Let’s try it this way!

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Action Shot! Challenger T/A door opening, write it up.

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Post it. A rare picture.

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Another Rare picture, a vintage blue on blue 1970 HEMI car owned by Jeff Lederman.

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We got to highlight each of our cars, I went first because they knew I had to leave early.

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Nice pic, but yes, that ladder is very close to my car.

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Yes, very close.

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It was fun while it lasted. Once in a life time photo shoot. Hope you enjoyed my little walk back in time.

 

 

 

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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.

Copyright © 2016 ChallenYee.com TheDodgeKid.com BestBuckBuck.com  TeamBetterLiving.com All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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Driving Impressions 440 Six Pack 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

CLICK ON PHOTO TO GO TO VIDEO OF MOMENTS IN THE DAILY COMMUTE USING A 440 SIX PACK 1970 DODGE CHALLENGER. Make sure you have a good ear bud or a decent sound on your computer and listen you the MoPar V-8 Big block music. There’s no radio playing since I discovered You-Tube automatically screens music playing for some kind of licensing infringements… so I turn the radio off while I’m shooting videos and do what I can to stay within the limits of the law…  sort of like the Duke Brothers on the way to to entering the Gumball Rally. 😉

 

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I am still short a non-classic-muscle car daily driver, but driving the Challenger almost every day for the last few weeks has worked some bugs out of the car and out of my driving technique.

It actually takes some practice to drive this machine well, so having been forced to drive it daily has helped. There’s a saying that “cars like this like to be driven.” Well, it’s true, cars in general like to be driven. Old fuel, stagnant liquids, and dried up seals never did any good for any car and the Challenger is no exception.

Aside from  the fact it’s drinking fuel like an elephant drinks water (no one has told it that gas is no longer 50 cents per gallon) and the clutch pedal return spring squeaks a bit, it’s very much a blast.

The more I drive it, the more rubber gets left on the roads around here. However, the main thing is, compared to 40 years ago when I was a teenager, is I’m a lot more aware of how not to put other people at risk and, moreover, despite the increasing number of burnouts, I really do have a mindset of not to thrash the car… it is my daily driver (for now) nevertheless!

 

 

Left my lights on and killed my battery yesterday and had to call for a jump…

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In case you’re wondering, “yes” it is a real R/T but  “no” it is not a V-code Challenger. I figure, I might be just a little too crazy to drive a real V-Code to work in traffic jams every day, but… I think if I actually had one and it wasn’t a garage queen… I think I would. Like Junior Brown sings, it is a “Freedom Machine.”

For those of you who are not versed in Mopar-linguistics, a “V-code” is a manufacturer’s code based on the VIN (Vehicle) number. “V” denotes an originally equipped 440 six pack Challenger or Cuda and those still with the originally “matching” serial number engine and transmission in great condition are fetching $75-100K. Maybe more in conjunction with other very rare option combinations. Not bad for an old muscle car.

And, I got a new ignition in the mail! (more to come).

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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.

Copyright © 2015 ChallenYee.com TheDodgeKid.com BestBuckBuck.com  TeamBetterLiving.com All Rights Reserved.

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Summer Driving Impressions

In the middle of this hot summer, my normal daily driver, a 1994 Camry, decided to have a transmission slippage problem. The final straw was when the old Toyota would not move, but at least we were only a block away from home. Amazingly, seemingly out of nowhere, two neighbors came out and helped me push the Camry back home while my wife steered the car.

While I am investigating solutions, including  getting a new car and/or getting the old tranny replaced, I’ve had to drive the white 440 manual transmission Challenger to work. The 45 year old muscle car becomes my daily driver.

 

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Here is the Challenger as it sits in the covered parking lot at work. Better to keep it out of the sun during working hours., especially through the recent heat wave where temps reached near 100. Manual steering makes it a chore to get in and out of 90 degree spaces. A couple of muscle car enthusiasts spotted my car at work and now I have new friends at work.

90 to 100 degrees in the Bay Area, and how does it feel to drive a 440 Six Pack Challenger in traffic and boiling summer heat? How has the cooling system handled keeping the engine from puking coolant in traffic jams? How has it been driving a manual transmission with a CenterForce clutch? How has the Richmond 5 speed been shifting?How much gas am I sucking up? What kind of modifications would  I like to make to the car after using it to commute for several weeks?

Keep on reading for answers to these questions and more…

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Adding a bottle of WaterWetter to my distilled water-filled cooling system. It’s good to mix it up with some distilled water in a jug before adding it to your radiator. You should drive the car immediately to normal operating temperature to ensure thorough mixing in your system.

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I haven’t checked this home made coolant screen at my upper hose connection to the radiator for months. It was still there and this is the little crud that was captured by it. I replaced it with a new copper mesh screen.

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In the underground parking lot of a Whole Foods Market, doing some grocery getting with with th skids and  the 440 six pack Challenger. Right before I was pacing a blue Cobra roadster going down El Camino Real. THe traffic was too heavy for me to catch up with him but it would have been a pretty sight for onlookers to see a Cobra and a Challenger lined up at a stoplight on a Sunday afternoon in Silicon Valley. Nothing like stalking a Cobra to keep your mind focused on driving.

 

vida

Here’s we’re parked in downtown Menlo Park in front of one of my favorite restaurants, Vida Bistro, where my wife and I got engaged in 2000. But today, I just parked her to take the kids to the local Stone Cold Creamery for some ice cream. Good thing the reverse lights work on this car! And getting out of these spots is easier for steering the manual box.

 

 

How does it feel to drive a 440 Six Pack Challenger in traffic and boiling summer heat?

It is hot, especially wearing work attire. Although it’s nice to have the A/C from my other car, opening the windows makes the heat tolerable. Wear sunscreen to keep from getting burned!

I’ve got a little exhaust fume problem. Opening one window tends to suck in some exhaust into the interior, but opening both sides tends to keep keep the smell in check more. The fumes and for general performance I want to add a multiple spark ignition to the 440.

 

How has the cooling system handled keeping the engine from puking coolant in traffic jams?

The cooling system has worked admirably, quite admirably, despite sitting in traffic jams, stuck mostly in first and second gear creeping  along in near 100 degree heat. The temperature gauge tended to rise into the middle range on the temp gauge, which from my experiments with the laser thermometer means the temperature is closer to 220 degrees rather than 180-190. The engine never regurgitated any coolant.

When I changed the mesh filter in my upper hose, I noticed I was slightly low on coolant, but still covered the radiator core. When I topped the system off, I added a bottle of Water Wetter and mixed it first with some distilled water before adding it to the radiator and overflow jug. Putting it in right before driving helps ensure thorough  mixing. Adding it seemed to do a better job controlling the temps.

 

How has it been driving a manual transmission with a CenterForce clutch?

Survivable. The pedal pressure is reasonable for a performance clutch. What takes muscle is shifting the transmission when it gets moody. Sometimes coming out of 5th gear to down shift it feels like the shift pattern gets  a little confused. This problem would never occur with the 4 speeds I’ve had in the past.

 

How has the Richmond 5 speed been shifting?

With the 5 speed Long shifter on the Richmond, the 1st 2nd gate is spring loaded, where the natural alignment (unsprung) is the 3rd-4th gate. 5th requires pushing against a spring and reverse (under 5th) requires downward pressure which virtually eliminates the chance of accidentally going into reverse and thereby scattering your transmission across the highway. So when you’re coming out of 5th, sometimes the resistance going to the 1st-2nd gate is not enough to keep from missing a clear shot into 3rd or 4th. Does that make sense? The result is, you have to be more aware than you would normally like to make a well executed downshift. Usually the down  shift  goes hard into gear also requiring a momentary conjuring of The Incredible Hulk’s arm.

Getting into gear most of the time is like what you’d expect, a nice low effort throw and snap into gear, but sometimes it doesn’t go into 3rd with the  Midas Touch, it takes Rocky Balboa to ram it, but it goes.

My old Ford Toploader with a clean shifter and I’m sure a good 833 Mopar tranny shifts a lot easier than this monster. 3rd gear takes the most muscle as sometimes I just have to just have let that gorilla know who is boss. Actually, I think it would be nice to have a 6 speed TREMEC and be able to keep the RPM’s low on the highway and get better mileage. Right now, with the 2.94 rear axle gears, 65 mph (about) in 5th gear puts the engine at about 2300-2500 RPM, which is not bad, but the engine has so much torque, and in reality, typical cruising speed is 70-80 mph near 3000 RPM.

I’ve considered changing tranny oil from the Mobil 1 that’s in there now, to Pennzoil Synchromesh Fluid, which is similar to what’s used in Corvette transmissions. I’ve read is can help make shifting easier, but for now, I’ll opt for the added protection of the more conservative and heavier Mobil synthetic (which is what I used in my Mustang’s top loader).

Road and Drag Racing Tip: When performance driving, with the way my car is running with the Richmond, I plan to stay out of 5th gear. If I treat it like a four speed, shifting is a lot more predictable. 5th gear( which is a direct 1:1)  with the 2.94’s I’m running in back is just meant to be “cruise” mode.  If I’m in road course mode, pretend it’s just a four speed. Moreover, 3,000 RPM launches work out with minimal tire spin if I don’t mercilessly hammer the throttle right off the line .

 

How much gas am I sucking up?

I fill up once a week (4-5 days of driving) going to work. 30 miles to work and back, I’m estimating about 10-12.5 miles per premium gallon in commuter traffic. If I start stomping on it, that can change quickly. My old 71 Challenger with a 383 (2 barrel cam) got about 15.5 on the highway with 3.23 gears on regular gas.

It’s nice after I fill up because the fuel gauge stays on “F” for about a day, before it starts it rapid descent toward “E” (the 16 gallon tank). Quite frankly, it makes my want to opt for the 4 cylinder option (instead of the V-6) on my next daily driver, just to reduce the trips to the gas station, just to restore the Yin-Yang balance to life. That’s not to say it isn’t fun driving the big Mopar, it IS fun and it get’s attention from car enthusiasts in a way that a Honda Accord  would never get.

 

What kind of modifications would  I like to make to the car after using it to commute for several weeks?

So much time is spent under 3000 RPM when commuting, it is worth getting a multiple spark discharge ignition. I like the Pertronix Billet distributors. Despite retiring the Prestolite Dual Point, which was old and ran like hell, I used a Pertronix in my 1970 Challenger T/A and it worked like a charm, and that only had the basic Pertronix Ignitor. The one I’d get for the 440 uses a Ignitor III with has a hotter, multispark, and rev limiter unit inside. More power, better gas mileage – what’s not to like? That’s what’s great about modifying a driver and not having to adhere to the requirements of a show car.

I’d like to get my seats reupholstered because ever since I’ve had it, the driver’s seat right side is sagging, probably from the hard driving as a drag car. Plus I hate the “drug dealer” tuck and roll upholstery.  I like the stock looking Legendary stuff I have in storage. I’m getting used to that also, but I’m sure it’s not good for my back’s alignment.

It would be nice to finally get the exhaust smell removed from the interior. I have already reduced much fumes by, in the past, changing the trunk seal and the grommet that seals the gas filler tube to the gas tank. But it still can smell. I’m hoping the Pertronix ignition will help.

The manual steering is okay, and although it takes strength to turn that thing in a parking lot, what I would really consider fixing is removing the about 10 degrees of play in the steering. The excess play makes driving down a straight highway more of a conscious effort than it should be. It’s pretty tolerable in most circumstances. Driving the car on a regular basis helps a lot in getting used to how much muscle it takes to handle it. If you’re used to driving power steering most of the time, it can be a pain, but once you eliminate the memory of wimpy arm power steering, you accept the fact that having another inch on your biceps is a welcome addition to your physique.

Whether that’s just an adjustment or requires replacing the steering box, I have yet to figure out. It would be nice to have a faster steering ratio, ala, my old GT-350 clone (which had about a 2.75 turn lock to lock) or my old T/A which with a fast pitman arm had about a 3.5 turn lock to lock is something that is nice. I like the manual box because of the road feel, but steering can be a pain in the arm, literally. And between the Richmond tranny and the manual steering, driving this Challenger can be a real work out. Stay in shape if you want to drive a non-power assisted muscle car.

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Reminiscing about the Mustang: I remember I actually liked using the 70 series (Michelin) tires in my Mustang on the street instead of the 50 series Comp T/A tires I used on the track since turning the 70 was a LOT easier with the manual steering box and fast arm. Handling with 70 series had much to be desired (pretty much mush), but nothing you couldn’t handle through slide control. The Mustang was lighter and had  a 289 which helped.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Copyright © 2015 ChallenYee.com TheDodgeKid.com BestBuckBuck.com  TeamBetterLiving.com All Rights Reserved.

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Bilstein Shock Installation and Road Report

TBT – I dug out an old email I sent to Firm Feel Suspensions up in Vancouver, Canada after I installed a set of new Bilstein shocks on my 70 440 Challenger back around New Years of 2013.

I figure you might get a kick out of it.

In the back parking lot of Palo Alto High School, the boys' gym in the background. Same building as in 1980 and many years before, but we didn't have the cool looking Viking Ship paint job back in then.

In the back parking lot of Palo Alto High School, the boys’ gym in the background. Same building as in 1980 and many years before, but we didn’t have the cool looking Viking Ship paint job back in then.

 

—-Original Message—–
From: challen yee [mailto:challenge@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 8:55 PM
To: Dick Ross
Subject: Re: Bilstein Shocks RCD 70 challenger

Hi Dick,

I finally installed my Bilsteins on my car this weekend and have my initial report.
First, the installation was straightforward. I haven’t replaced shocks on a Challenger since I was in high school in about 1978, but fortunately, my memory came back and remembered the little techniques to make the job go smoothly. The main one was using a 10 inch cresent wrench to open up the lower control arm mount just enough to gain enough clearance to tap that lower front shock mount home.
The trick on the rear shocks is that the upper bolt needs to be hand installed from the bottom of the car, sitting facing the brakes with the head in the wheel well. Tightening happens with the 3/4 box holding the self locking nut through the trunk to hold while tightening the bolt from the bottom.

The rears, fortunately have clearance in the upper mount that no problems occurred when slipping the upper mount in.

All this was done in my driveway while my wife was out on errands.  (LOL)

First, it’s nice to hold in my hands some quality shocks and say good bye to the old monroe-matic garbage. I noticed the Monroes had some pressure in them but nothing compared to the effort required to collapse the Bilsteins.

Initial driving impressions. Getting quality shocks makes my Challenger more composed and mature.

The ride quality improvement is definitely noticeable, especially on the highway at speed. I can go 80 to 90 easily without the shuddering from all the imperfections in the road. Down here in the Bay Area we’ve got a lot of highway reconstruction going on so the pavement is a mess. Before with the old shocks, you’d need some spinal traction to stop your back from feeling every crack in the highway.

THe Bilsteins smooth things out, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a surprise, because the reputation of the Bilsteins preceded my ordering them, but definitely, they meet my expectations in terms of ride. Very nice.

The second test was stopping. Low speed and highway speed hard braking.
This is an area there is also very noticeable and welcomed improvement.

The big difference is the apparent departure of what my 9 year old son calls “Cartoon Stops.” That’s when I’m hard braking and the rear end is unweighting the back tires so they start screeching, unable to grab the road. It’s the epitome of a stereotypical big block muscle car trying to stop.

Well, that has changed after adding the Bilsteins. The car has a more mature attitude, more composure when stopping, as the shocks help keep the big e-body’s weight balanced the right amount to keep the tires planted on the road. Even the tires are some old BF Goodrich T/A’s,I’m getting some solid performance now out of them (eventually I want to get some better tires after I burn these out).

I used to auto cross a mainly-track-driven 1966 GT-350, so it’s nice to get some of this awesome handling in my street driven 1970 Challenger 440 R/T. THanks to Firm Feel, I’ve got a Mopar that is more fun and more drivable.

I haven’t taken enough turns to get solid impressions on how the car handles but I’ll send a note after I get some data together.

Thanks,
Challen

—END EMAIL

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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.

Copyright © 2015 ChallenYee.com TheDodgeKid.com BestBuckBuck.com All Rights Reserved.

Driving impressions on a Highway On-Ramp

Classic Mopar Driving Impressions – 440 Six Pack

CLICK ON PHOTO GO TO VIDEO (longer than my 15 second Instagram version) or click this link http://youtu.be/0aOvgD-J7cs

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Taking the Challenger out for a spin after running a couple of errands.
Highway on-ramps tend to be a logical place to get an acceleration video clip. I especially like taking to curves with the updated suspension. I would like an opportunity to push the suspension and the tires much harder than on this leisurely cruise onto the highway. The BFGoodrich 235x60x15’s are predictable and hold pretty well for all practical purposes on the street.

Jay Leno mentioned he uses Goodyear’s on his stock 15 inch rally on his 426 Hemi Challenger. I might try so of those next time if I can find them.

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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.

Copyright © 2014 ChallenYee.com. TheDodgeKid.com  All Rights Reserved.

Highway Entry with Kids in Car

Out for a Sunday drive with the kids and testing a new video mount that I have attached to my dome lamp ring.

Click on image below to access a SHORT 15-second You-Tube video

 

Click for video

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ACCESS A SHORT 15-second YOU-TUBE VIDEO

 

 

video link you-tube:     http://youtu.be/-dnyiuaI9Ow
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An update about the cooling system

The car runs cool as a cucumber now after the radiator was hot tanked an reversed-flushed.

I’m still running the old coolant out of the engine as I have drained the coolant several times and have almost reaching the point where I’m running pure distilled water. I’ll write the last “Simmering of 440 Overheating Issues” later, but you may be interested to know the engine runs cooler with a thermostat. The reason is (based on my observations of the drained fluid) the thermostat allows the fluid to churn more effectively throughout the cooling passages in the engine. In other words, without the thermostat, coolant coming from the radiator tends to go directly back out the upper hose rather than being forced rearward into the engine to exchange more thoroughly with heated fluid. I’ll share my observation why I think this later.

Here is my collection of drained coolant from my 440. Notice the progression from left to right. I empty about 2.5 gallons per draining. I'm almost at a pure enough state I'm willing to add the Water Wetter. I have some observations about before and after installing the thermostat which I will share in a later article.

Here is my collection of drained coolant from my 440. Notice the progression from left to right. I empty about 2.5 gallons per draining. I’m almost at a pure enough state I’m willing to add the Water Wetter. I have some observations about before and after installing the thermostat which I will share in a later article.

 

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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.

Copyright © 2014 ChallenYee.com. TheDodgeKid.com  All Rights Reserved.

Simmering over 440 Overheating Issues – Part 4

Dealing with the potential roots of my overheating problem Saturday morning I started the relatively simple process of installing my tuned-up radiator but simple as it was, I had plenty of opportunities to slow down and make sure my installation was not going to create more problems. The first thing is to make sure the proper washers are installed to prevent damaging the radiator mounts on the rad and the 22 inch yoke which had been custom drilled for a 26 inch radiator. Once I had the radiator securely in place, my thoughts went to the lower radiator hose.

The old and new hose. New one does not have inside coils.

The old and new hose. New one does not have inside coils- which caused me to start thinking.

TO SPRING OR NOT TO SPRING? I bought a new hose and it doesn’t come with the spring like the old one. I’ve read many points of view on the lower hose spring and some people swear by it and others understand it was a necessary add in to prevent the hose from collapsing during the factory installation of the coolant which was done with a vacuum device to speed up the assembly process. Let me explain why I DID NOT install the old spring, which by the way had become three section, presumably because it had rotted. What I was confronted with was the amount of corrosion build up on the intake to the water pump.

The corrosion residue on the water pump end of the lower hose. The growth is matched on the water pump side. The coils are from the hose, in three pieces.

The corrosion residue on the water pump end of the lower hose. The growth is matched on the water pump side. The coils are from the hose, in three pieces.

Here's the same old hose on the rad end. Clean because I suspect there are no  electrochemical reactions occurring on this end.

Here’s the same old hose on the rad end. Clean because I suspect there are no electrochemical reactions occurring on this end.

YES, OPPOSITES ATTRACT – THEY ATTRACT CRUD For you plumbers out there, or sexual relationship experts, you know if you put two joints together that are dissimilar electrically, you will end up with a corrosive and ultimately a leaking joint. While my lower hose to water pump connection wasn’t leaking before, I believe the hose coil forced up against the water pump caused some electro-chemical reaction that creates this nasty crud (see the photos). The corrosion build up can be easily cleaned off with a wire brush. When you do this DO  NOT BREATHE THIS CRAP as it comes off like dust (I suggest wet it down first to reduce the dust) and wear gloves to protect your hands. It doesn’t take too much imagination that the corrosion from this joint, this little corrosion farm, like atherosclerosis, could have contributed to the crud in my radiator and my entire cooling system. This is basically a reason for your cooling system to have a stroke. So if you are going to use a coil inside your hose, it needs to be electrically neutral and able to handle the hot coolant environment.

Here's the nasty crud build up on the water pump inlet. before I wire brushed it.

Here’s the nasty crud build up on the water pump inlet. before I wire brushed it.

Here's how the coil and the water pump make contact and produce a prodigious amount of crud. Didn't think about this until I started the installation process.

Here’s how the coil and the water pump make contact and produce a prodigious amount of crud. Didn’t think about this until I started the installation process. The new hose, by the way, installed perfectly and was easy to slip on.

COPPER SCREEN – CRUD CATCHER OTF (on the fly) Instructions   The next job was to figure out how to install the copper screen on the upper rad connection. Basically poke the material so it is concave into the input and then use a scissors to trim enough material to fold over the edge of the input pipe so that the hose can hold it in place – but not too much that it interferes with where the clamp cinches down.

Here's how I roughly fit some copper screen into and around the lip of the upper rad inflow pipe. Then trim to size with a scissors.

Here’s how I roughly fit some copper screen into and around the lip of the upper rad inflow pipe. Then trim to size with a scissors.

Here is the copper screen fitted to the upper connection.

Here is the copper screen fitted to the upper connection.

Sliding the hose on and over the copper screen.

Sliding the hose on and over the copper screen.

And with the upper connection fully inserted into the upper hose. Copper screen should not interfere with the area involved with clamping to avoid leaks.

And with the upper connection fully inserted into the upper hose, I am ready to move clamp into position. Copper screen should not interfere with the area involved with clamping to avoid leaks. Ready to catch iron flakes and other debris that can clog the cooling system.

Here's a view of the upper tubes before I added distilled water into the hole.

Here’s a view of the upper tubes before I added distilled water into the filler hole. Compare that to my older photo (PART 2).

TEST DRIVE Preparing Next comes adding distilled water to fill up the radiator, then starting the engine. Adding more water as the level goes down getting sucked by the pump.. I ran the engine without the cap and waited until the thermostat opened up, and the old green coolant began running through the rad.   LET’S ROLL I took the car straight out to the highway and began some high RPM runs. Based on the temperature gauge, the engine was running noticeably cooler with the temperatures rising at a slower pace than before. I have a 5 speed (5th is 1:1) with 2.94 rear gearing so 4th and 3rd gear high speed runs got pretty exciting. The Mopar has a whole different life above 5000 RPM like it can go a lot faster. I still get this weird carb pop, but oddly enough it usually only happens once when I take the car out when I accelerated harder under load, or in a higher gear (depending on car’s the speed)- that’s another problem I need to work on later. Taking the Challenger back home, there were no weird burning smells. I idled the car on the driveway and took some temperature checks with my FLUKE laser thermometer.

After a couple of high RPM stretches on the highway, this is the maximum reading on my rally temp gauge. THe last shop visit including fixing this gauge which wasn't working. For the moment, my life centers around what this gauge does.

After a couple of high RPM stretches on the highway, this is the maximum reading on my rally temp gauge during the test drive and at idle in the driveway on my return. The last shop visit including fixing this gauge which wasn’t working- before fixing (replacing) the gauge, it barely reached the lower normal mark. For the moment, my life centers around what this gauge does.

This is the corresponding laser temp readout from around the thermostat housing with the temp gauge seen in previous photo. (about 218 F) after several high RPM blasts on the highway.

This is the corresponding laser temp readout from around the thermostat housing to the rally temp gauge seen in previous photo. (about 218 F) after several high RPM blasts on the highway.

Corresponding Upper tank temp - about 212F

Corresponding Upper tank temp – about 212F

Corresponding lower tank temp, about 165 F (almost 50 degree difference). But the undeterminable factor is flow potential which is what is improved by the hot tanking and back flushing.

Corresponding lower tank temp, about 165 F (almost 50 degree difference). But the key factor is flow potential which is what is improved by the hot-tanking and back flushing.

THEN the final test….. I turned off the engine.  AND I did not the massive full bottle regurgitation to the overflow unit.  Before, with the problem, the whole thing would fill up because of the overheating, but no longer! What I plan to do now, is drain out the coolant and then after it cools, pull the thermostat, fill up with distilled water again, run the car again then check the copper screen after the next cool down and draining. * * If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE SHARE COMMENT

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.

Copyright © 2014 ChallenYee.com. TheDodgeKid.com  All Rights Reserved.

Six Pack Accelerator Pump Nozzle Change

It is not recommended to change the accelerator pump nozzle on a choked carb without removing it from the car, but if you are very very careful, you can see what I did.

Please read entire article before considering attempting this operation.

 

Problem: How can you safely change an accelerator pump nozzle with a choke plate in the way… answer, you have to be extremely careful. It can be done but the no one is going to recommend you do it without taking the carb off the car. This is how I did it (see next photos). Gently feel the torque on the screw before removing for your "feel" reference.

Problem: How can you safely change an accelerator pump nozzle with a choke plate in the way… answer, you have to be extremely careful. It can be done but no one is going to officially recommend you do it without taking the carb off the car. This is how I did it (see next photos). Gently feel the torque on the screw before removing for your “feel” reference. In this photo, I’ve already loosened the retaining screw and am ready to pull the assembly out with a needle nose pliers.

 

In order to stabilize the choke plate, use a device like this screwdriver, to hold the choke open the max amount. It frees up your hands and allows you to concentrate completely on the removal and replacement of the nozzle.

In order to stabilize the choke plate, use a device like this screwdriver, to hold the choke open the max amount. It frees up your hands and allows you to concentrate completely on the removal and replacement of the nozzle.

 

I loosened the retaining screw and used a needle nose pliers to very carefully pull the assembly out. I was worried about two things: 1. dropping the nozzle; 2) losing the flat gasket you see still laying in the proper position on the carb. I decided not to move that as I considered it too risky. The carb is almost new, so I presumed the gasket is still in okay shape to seal.

I loosened the retaining screw and used a needle nose pliers to very carefully pull the assembly (nozzle and screw) out. I was worried about two things: 1. dropping the nozzle; 2) losing the flat gasket you see still laying in the proper position on the carb. I decided not to move that as I considered it too risky. The carb is almost new, so I presumed the gasket is still in okay shape to seal.

 

Here's a shot at the two nozzles. Left is a #31 and the right is a #35, two sizes larger. Bottom view.

Here’s a shot at the two nozzles. Left is a #31 and the right is a #35, two sizes larger. Bottom view.

 

Here's a top view. and the new top washer/seal that I chose to replace since the is little or no risk in replacing that one. I've read somewhere on the Net that you don;t need to go larger than a #35 on the street. I've also heard from Julius Steuer that he usually goes two sizes up. Which would be a #35.

Here’s a top view. and the new top washer/seal that I chose to replace since the is little or no risk in replacing that one. I’ve read somewhere on the Net that you don’t need to go larger than a #35 on the street. I’ve also heard from Julius Steuer that he usually goes two sizes up. Which would be a #35.

 

noz_6

 

I'm taking this picture with my free hand so it's not in focus. This action you need to be rid of all distractions, you do not want to drop tis sucker into your carb throat. You need to guide this into the open hole like your life (in the near term) depends on it!

I’m taking this picture with my free hand so it’s not in focus. This action you need to be rid of all distractions, you do not want to drop this sucker into your carb throat. You need to guide this into the open hole like your life (in the near term) depends on it!

 

Ahhh… made it. Carefulyl and gently tightened the screw to slightly tighter than I felt before and pulled the screwdriver out to see the choke plate in its non-op position.

Ahhh… made it. You do need to carefully maneuver the assembly into place as it didn’t just go straight in. You have to work around the curved part of the carb vent due to the limited space….  Carefully and gently tightened the screw to slightly tighter than I felt before and pulled the screwdriver out to see the choke plate in its non-op position.

 

Done. The test drive that day revealed NO popping out the carb. I thought I had fixed the problem. But as I push the engine harder, like I did the following weekend. It still backfires through the carb under harder acceleration. When this thing stops popping, it is going to accelerate like mad money.  Notice the 340 decal - this air cleaner assembly was from my Challenger T/A when I first bought it. It was the wrong assembly for a small block, but correct for a big block. I sold the T/A a few years ago, it was completely restored with the correct small block T/A air cleaner. I may keep this decal on just as a remembrance of the old car and to mess with people's minds.

Done. The test drive that day revealed NO popping out the carb. I thought I had fixed the problem. But as I push the engine harder, like I did the following weekend. It still backfires through the carb under harder acceleration. When this thing stops popping, it is going to accelerate like mad money. Notice the 340 decal – this air cleaner assembly was from my Challenger T/A when I first bought it. It was the wrong assembly for a small block, but correct for a big block. I sold the T/A a few years ago, it was completely restored with the correct small block T/A air cleaner. I may keep this decal on just as a remembrance of the old car and to mess with people’s minds.

 

 

 

BONUS VIDEO

Vid_noz

 

 

 

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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.

 

Copyright © 2014 ChallenYee.com. TheDodgeKid.com  All Rights Reserved.

When the rubber meets the Road

Observations on the suspension, tires and handling

With the updated suspension, the Challenger drives straight while staying pretty level and even around turns.

I’m running the standard arc Firm Feel Industries (FFI) HD leaf springs, 1.00 FFI torsion bars and Bilstein shocks. FFI 1.25 front sway bar with lower control arm braces, FFI factory style 0.75 rear sway bar, factory manual steering, and Mopar Performance frame connectors. If I had to characterize the new suspension in just a few words, I would say it feels like the car “acts as one unit” and not the front end feeling like it’s in one city and the rear end is in another.

The straight line road feel is good and reasonably comfortable. The suspension feels tight and a lot quieter with the new leaf springs. After having taken the car out for a few drives, the one thing that I found uncomfortable was the sort of bumpiness feeling of the tires when driving pulling some G’s around a constant radius turn.

 

tire

One thing about my BF Goodrich Tires are they are NEW. Which is terrible for best traction. So I want to put some wear on them before I fully judge them. Yet this weird feeling with the tires jogged my memory from a past experience.

I remember from open-tracking my old 1965 Mustang was the tire pressure can have this effect.

When I first started open-tracking, I was under the wrong notion that having a higher PSI is better for racing or track driving, and some fear of tires coming off rims. On my Mustang (a red GT350 clone with white stripes) I ran 225/50×15 BF Goodrich Comp T/A’s and ran 40 psi in front an 38 PSI in the back. The result was the car felt a little bit like a sidestepping hobbyhorse going around turns. Instead of a nice smooth controlled slide/drifting around turns, the car seemed to be be stupidly bouncing sideways. It felt terrible. It felt like being in Bozo the Clown’s car at Sears Point Raceway.

 

A Ford Interlude

MoPar fans, please excuse the Ford photos ;), but that is what I had to do in the 1980’s, when my brother and I picked a Mustang for a platform, a car that had lots of available parts at the time to do what I wanted at reasonable cost.  I still had my first Challenger up until about the mid 80’s, but sold it when it was idle in storage – I was serving in the Navy overseas at the time. My brother drove the Mustang while I was away.  Also I want to give thanks to the influence of a good friend, Scott Douglas, who was one of my original car fanatic buddies in junior high school. He grew up becoming an expert on Mustangs and Shelbys and was always willing to lend a helping hand when I was home on leave.

Photo at left is my first open track at Laguna Seca, using 235x60x15 Goodyear Eagles on steel magnum 500’s, and photo right is with the 225x50x15 BFG Comp T/A’s on Torq-Thrust D wheels plus side exit exhaust.

lagunasecaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I lowered the tire pressure to 35#(F)-32#(R) everything completely smoothed out and I had complete confidence in the ability to feel the car drift very smoothly around turns. Absolute control.

 

Okay, okay… and back to the Challenger!

Anyway, back to my Challenger. I checked the pressure on all 4 tires cold, and they were all at 36 PSI. I immediately lowered all of them to 33#. I’ll see what happens the next time I’m out. The max recommended pressure in 35#.

[one day later]
Okay, took the car out for a spin with my son and we mildly terrorized the local highway and cloverleafs and what did I discover? Ahh… I got that loving feeling back between me and the road. I can tell the bumpy drifting is gone and the BF Goodrich, while not sticking as long as a lower profile tire with racier tread, was acting consistently and predictably. I was able to control the drifting with the accelerator pretty easily without feeling like Bozo the Clown.

The E-body was staying very level around constant radius turns and the tires feel like they’re drifting with just a little oversteer. The manual steering is giving me some decent feedback and feel. Definitely would like to take on turns where I can stab the front end into a tight corner and see how it handles going through and out of the turn. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the handling of this big E-body that’s packing a 440.

I’m watching my 10 year old son riding shotgun. He is more interested in Minecraft, watching TV and listening to the local rock station, so he’s not too much of a motorhead yet, but I can catch him out of the corner of my eye when I’m getting on to the highway and bringing the RPM’s high enough to engage the outboard carbs, the exhaust is roaring while our bodies are getting pressed back on the seats. It gives me some sort of weird fatherly pleasure as he’s bracing himself in the presence of horsepower.

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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.

 

Copyright © 2014 ChallenYee.com. TheDodgeKid.com  All Rights Reserved.