It’s Alive

yellownight

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 MAXWEDGE.com) 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.

CY

 

 

 

torqueflightfilterin

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


torqueflightcode

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


RT2

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.

Copyright © 2015 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. 😉

 

commutingphoto

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…

commuterjump

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.

 

marvell

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…

waterwetter2

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.

screen2

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.

wfm

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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Minor 727 Torqueflight Issues

I was doing some work on my other 1970 Challenger R/T, replacing the transmission filter and pan gasket plus fixing a bad connector for the reverse light. These things are normally something that could be done in an afternoon but when you’re working on a car that’s 45 years old and has had some engine and tranny swaps, the job may not be straightforward.

  1. Wire color code may not match replacement part.
  2. Transmission filter size varies between mid 60’s and 70’s

These are the kinds of issues that can occur when the car no longer has the original equipment and when previous owners or mechanics don’t care about maintaining vintage consistency. Problem may occur with the lack of correct matching parts availability, for example, a wiring harness or transmission.

I have not run into these specific problem before so without taking anything for granted, I was able to trial connect the 3 wires leading to the new electrical connector, but I am not willing to replace the filter without someone else confirming the interchangeability of the filter.

So  here are some notes and photos about my work in progress.

tranny1

That’s enough clearance to access the tranny pan and reverse-neutral-safety switch which has a broken connector. The tranny pan leaks, so the gasket and filter will be replaced.

tranny2

I hate it when people work under a car without jack stands. I was run over by a car many years ago, so I am gleefully paranoid about having another, much heavier car fall on me. Here’s a point to place a stand under the lower control arm.

tranny3

Stand number two: under the frame near the tranny crossmember.

tranny11

My reverse lights don’t work, so a place to check is the connector or the safety switch located on the left side of the tranny slightly above the pan. The wires were broken at the connector.

tranny10

Peeling back a few inches of black electrical tape that was very greasy, I exposed the three wires. After taking a cloth to clean off the residue, I checked the wires to see if they were brittle. They felt okay and so I cut back a couple of inches before stripping the ends to connect to the new lead wires extending from the new connector.

tranny13

The color coding on the new connector didn’t match what was on the car, but there was enough correspondence that I could guess the first time the right connection. The new connector comes with a black, purple and brown wire with yellow stripe. The existing wires are brown, black and what looks like black with a white stripe. I temporarily connected the brown wires together, the black wires together and the purple and black striped wire together. THe reverse light works and the engine can turn over in neutral.

tranny9

YES! It’s a great feeling to fix anything with the car. There’s got to be some weird genetic switch that gets triggered when an you get something to work that was broke.

tranny6

The new filter, which is designed for the 1970 B-727 Torqueflight is bigger than the old filter which I suspect is from a 1967 type 727.  The car originally was equipped with a 4 speed and some previous owner converted it to an automatic., apparently an older than 1970 version. The filter mounting holes are the same.

By the way, to remove a transmission pan that is not equipped with a drain plug, you need to loosen the screws and while retaining loosened screws on the “uphill” side, carefully pry apart the pan from the tranny on the downhill side and let the fluid drain into a larger vessel (like a large oil drain pan). I used a broad tip flat tipped  screwdriver to pry the pan enough to break the seal. Make sure you do not chip the sealing surface, avoid bending the pan, or possibly damaging anything internal with you prying instrument. Make sure the retaining screws are adequately loosened to allow the pan to tip at an angle without bending any metal.

Once the pan is off, expect a little more fluid to drain when you remove the filter.

tranny4

The top side (tranny valve body side) of the new filter has one hole.

tranny15

The top of the old filter, has two holes. One is in the same location as the new/larger filter. There is enough differences, that I, who do not have experience or knowledge in this area, am unwilling to ASSUME, that sticking the new filter is going to work. THe last thing I need is to seal this tranny back up with a filter that doesn’t work. Your expert or knowledgeable feedback is welcome.

tranny7

Here’s the dirty pan with the old gasket. Sealant was used on the bottom, but not on the top (facing the transmission). I’ve read several recommendations that no sealer should be used to avoid sealer from getting loose into the tranny fluid.

tranny14

A wide bladed instrument like this old trowel worked well to scrape the old gasket and silicone like sealer of the pan. Avoid gouging the sealing surfaces.

Do you know for sure?

If you know if the larger filter is safely interchangeable with an older type, please comment.

About my keys…

I DID have a hard time looking for my keys which was a drag because I could not check the reverse light function without them, but I finally found them in one of those places that I thought safe and I would not forget…

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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.

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Racing Fuel Blues?

I will float a recent experience out there about hard starting, feel free to comment.

 

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.

Sucks when you’re ready to jump in the Challenger and take it to work and then you can’t start it. By the way, there’s a story behind the “340 six pack” decal when it’s actually a 440. It’s off my old 340 T?A and I kept it for the memory.

A few weeks ago went to the local 76 Station that carries Racing Fuel and decided to put in a mix of Premium and Racing Gas.

After sitting for a few weeks and after some hot weather, not sure if that had anything to do with it, I tried starting the Challenger in the morning and could not start it. I got some starting fluid and nothing.

Sort of suspecting the engine was flooded, after I came back from work in the late afternoon and tried to start the car and, it started immediately.

A week later, still with the same mix of gas, the same thing happens. Exactly the same thing happens, down to the late afternoon immediate starting.

So the second time I drove out to the nearest gas station and put some regular low octane in the tank to neutralize the racing gas. Since then, knock wood, I haven’t had the problem and I’ve driven the Challenger several times this week.

(By the way, even in 90 degree weather in rush hour traffic, the engine runs cool as a cucumber).

I’m not sure if the racing gas, which burns more slowly than regular or premium, was the culprit, but I’m thinking it was.

I’m speculating with the particular setup in my engine, from the carb jets, compression, and type of ignition and timing, it is just not liking racing fuel.

I know that it’s best to run the lowest octane gas your engine can run safely on, without pinging, since lower octane gas actually contains more power and the additives commonly added to higher octane fuel have nothing to do with producing power, rather they are mainly to control preignition problems.

 

What do you think is going on?

 

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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

hwy_entry_13115

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.

Simmering over 440 Overheating Problems – Part 5 -FINAL

The long-awaited final part has finally arrived for the overheating issue.

I ran the Challenger without a thermostat for drives to get the maximum clearing effect to catch crud in the copper screen trap I installed in my upper radiator hose. I had also been draining my coolant after every extended drive to flush and dilute out as much old coolant and the green stuff as possible before I pour in the Water Wetter. 

I’ve read several accounts that Water Wetter mixed with normal anti-freeze/coolant will gum up your cooling system as well as not working or not working well. As I mentioned before, I used to run Water Wetter with distilled water in my old open track car. Spilling that on the track was less of  nuisance than dropping coolant. The best cooling is effected by using pure distilled water, but you need the anti-corrosive and lubricating properties of a product like Water Wetter added.

 

The thermostat gasket managed to last a few removals of the t-stat housing before it died so I replaced the gasket.

The drained coolant, after sitting for a day has what look like a powder sitting at the bottom of the plastic jugs I’ve been storing it in. I’m guessing its the remnants of Bar’s Stop Leak or something. With each draining, the amount is decreasing and is almost negligible now.

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top side (radiator end) of hiflow thermostat. Removing it from system to flush engine block at high RPM.

top side (radiator end) of hiflow thermostat. Removing it from system to flush engine block at high RPM.

Better cooling performance with a thermostat

I’ve heard that cars can run cooler with a thermostat rather than without one. I think it depends on the design of your cooling system and the positions of the inlet and outlets. On a typical engine with the inlet and outlet on the front, there is a certain amount of inefficiency in regards to the coolant that is in the rear of the engine.

What I noticed was that not only did the engine run cooler, based on my temperature gauge reading, but the subsequent draining yielded more fluid that smelled more like coolant and less like plain water. I take this to mean that there is better mixing of fluid coming back from the radiator in through the engine passages than without a thermostat.

The temperature gauge without the thermostat read in the low “normal”range, but after the thermostat was installed the reading in slightly below the “normal range.”

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Effect on water pump churning and installed thermostat

So, it appears, with the thermostat installed and resisting the flow of coolant back to the radiator, the water pump has time to churn the coolant inside the engine passages, allowing more mixing before the thermostat opens at the set temperature.

 

Some extra crud sitting in the upper hose. Clean it.

Some extra crud sitting in the upper hose. Clean it.

Here's the flakey cast iron crud, including some pieces of gasket seal. Also need to brush out crud from upper hose. Copper screen is reusable but check it before reinstalling.

Here’s the flakey cast iron crud, including some pieces of gasket seal. Also need to brush out crud from upper hose. Copper screen is reusable but check it before reinstalling.

rad_crud4

These are a few of the photos I took after before cleaning out the copper filter. I typically get a little less that what you see in this picture as of late.

rad_crud3rad_crud1rad_crud5

At first I was saving the crud from the filter, here is what was in the cooling passages (except for the washer).

At first I was saving the crud from the filter, here is what was in the cooling passages (except for the washer). I stopped collecting it.

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Catching debris before and after thermostat installed

I’ve been running the copper mesh at the top inlet of the radiator, held in place by the upper hose. Before and after the thermostat was installed, a consistent amount of small debris are being caught. They look like small pebble-like cast iron flakes from the water passages in the engine. One piece of copper mesh lasts several cleanings. High RPM runs causes a better flushing action as indicated by the amount of crud being caught.

This process would be a lot more efficient if you could pop the freeze plugs and flush out the engine that way, but if you can’t…. well it takes several rounds to clear out. I ended up adding the Water Wetter finally after I managed to drain out the coolant with just a whiff of coolant smell. The heated water comes out with a brown tint from going through the 200+ degree iron passages.

Here's my running collection of drained coolant. Notice the progression from top to bottom from the traditional 50/50 coolant water mix to virtually pure distilled water.

Here’s my running collection of drained coolant. Notice the progression from top to bottom from the traditional 50/50 coolant water mix to virtually pure distilled water. About 2.5 gallons every drain. You do the math. Yes, I’ve called it quits when it comes to draining. Before I put the thermostat back in I managed to get a non-coolant scent in the drain, but after I put the thermostat back in, I get at least a small scent from the drained coolant. Poinsettias not included.

 

Miscellaneous tips

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 fanbelt1

Lonesome Dove Fan Belt Tightening

How about it you are alone and need to tighten your fan belt. If you have a handy wooden-handled ax  like I have pictured, you can use that for leverage to extend your alternator after you loosen your holding screws.

 

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rad_seal1

rad_seal2

Just in case you were interested in reading the small print on the bottle.

rad_seal3

Pesky coolant drip from the lower radiator hose?

The lower radiator hose had a slow drip, so I sanded the outlet pipe with #80 grit paper and felt for any imperfections in the pipe. Then I used Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket Sealer #3 with the intention that I don’t want to have to think about any more leaking there. I only coated the radiator pipe and let it set for the required time before sliding the new uncoated hose on and clamping it. I did that to eliminate any possible dripping of sealant into the hose.

I used the same Permatex product on the thermostat housing. It’s a little messier than using silicon but I gave it a go and it works. Again, no intention of removing the housing unless I expect to replace the gasket. The thermostat should be sitting inside a recess in the T-stat housing and should be not interfering with the gasket. Clean the surfaces first of old gasket and sealant before applying the new sealant.

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Carb Backfiring

I’m not sure exactly what was causing my 440 to pop out the carbs, but the problem appears to have gone away except on rare occasion.

However, I have a few possible candidates for culprits.

After several high RPM runs (over 5000) I could have blown the combustion chambers cleaner or it could be the number 7 plug wire touch a header tube and had a couple inches of insulation burned away, cause for some arcing. I adjusted the routing of the wire away from the header.

I plan on replacing the plug wires later.

I would imagine any multiple carb set up could use some more tuning. Have to keep that for later. Also toying with the idea of replacing the old MP electronic ignition with a multiple spark discharge type.

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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.

I’d take that Whine anytime

Writer’s Note: This is a continuation of my flashback series about some of my teenage experiences with Challengers in the 1970’s.

 

If only I had the chance again…

 

Scanning the local papers for ads became my new religion.

I was getting pretty good at understanding all the cryptic abbreviations, like people trying to fit all the critical data into something smaller than a Twitter post. Little codes like: “stick” “PS” “PB” “dual” “383-2” “440-4″ ‘RT” “dana” “Rally” ” “AC” “disk” “console” “AT” “hemi” ‘6pk” “F60” “SE” “blk int” “needs paint” “needs body” “runs” “6cyl” “conv” “needs mech” “FAST” “dana60” “rblt eng.” “red” “green” “purple” “orange” “blue” “race” “lo mi” “4 sp” “side pipes” “headers” “Holley” “4 bbl” and so on – all these gave you some idea what was out there.

I’d see an ad for a Challenger and then dream about it every day until my dad and I could go check it out.

One time, there was a 1970 R/T with a 340, Plum Crazy purple with a black interior and white vinyl top, and a FOUR SPEED (again!). We went to check her out at a used car lot in Sunnyvale which was about 20 minutes away.

CCS_hacienda

A photo I found on Google and added special effects. It kind of resembles the first Challenger I ever rode in. My dad drove it on a test drive from a used car lot.

 

I remember this day like it was almost yesterday. The sun was shining, as the awesome purple colored R/T sat menacingly along the sidewalk on the lot of Hacienda Motors, facing El Camino Real like it wanted to tear the road apart.

I was still under-aged and gun shy of powerful 4 speeds, so I let my dad test drive. I thought that was really cool watching dad drive the car. He wasn’t a muscle car nut by my standards, but he enjoyed driving and always seemed to take my interest in Challengers seriously. To a kid growing up, that was a great affirmation that I wasn’t completely insane.

My dad didn’t spend much time with me playing catch or playing games or a lot of things that most people might expect but he did try to meet me where I was with Challengers and that says a lot to me as I look back.

This was the first time I ever rode in a Challenger as my dad had to fiddle with the reverse-lockout pistol grip  four speed shifter. It seemed like this could be a really decent car. Just the “340 Four Barrel” emblem on the scooped hood seemed to make this bad-boy scream ‘I am one ass-kicking muscle car’.

They wanted $2150.

I remember how it started and how great it was to hear the R/T pipes rumble, the symphony of mechanical parts permeating the air. This was no plain car, no way.

As dad got the R/T out onto the local side street, he applied the gas and started shifting gears, revving the engine, and glancing at the tach on the rally dash Everything seemed fine, except for this awful grinding sound that sprang up when we picked up some speed that crescendoed into some coarse mechanical whining that was about as loud as the exhaust.

My heart broke.

We chose not to get the car.

Looking back, the problem may have been a differential simple swap, but we figured we could find something better for the price – something that didn’t have any major problems.

It would sure be nice to have that one. A sweet car with a whine that nowadays couldn’t have been any sweeter.

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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.

Challenger near the haunted house

Back in the 1970’s where the current Google headquarters is in Mountain View, California, was all farm land. There were many flower nurseries, ranches and dairy farms. My father rented part of a quanset hut for storage of his electric cars and roofing materials from a dairy farmer named Mr. Holthouse. We used to make frequent trips from home in Palo Alto to the Holthouse farm which was only about 10-15 minutes away, taking those memorable drives down the old farmland roads.

One of those roads to the farm was Stierlin Road (which is now Shoreline) and the west side of the road was lined with farm properties and on the east side a largely desolate, unkept, open farm land with an old Victorian house sitting in the middle of nowhere (an area close to the  now SGI site). The old white 3 story house we all thought was haunted and it looked menacing as it appeared in a dilapidated state sitting out there all alone along with a few trees.*

It was on that road that my father first let me drive his Datsun mini pickup.  This was a couple years before I got my license, I think when I was only 14. My dad used to let me shift all the time from the passenger side, but this was the first time I ever drove a full sized car. I drove it down that old country road perfectly, shifting gears and then pulling off to let my dad take over. I impressed my dad with how well I drove a stick shift for the first time – I attribute that to countless rehearsals in my mind in anticipation for that moment.

This worked out great for my dad, not long after this, he used to let me drive all over the place for work, before I had my license (don’t tell anyone, okay?).

It was along that old Stierlin Road, just about across the road from the old haunted house, that I noticed a “tree find.”

CCS_green

There was a sublime 1970 Challenger, with a tow hitch, which was neglected under a tree in front of a farmer’s yard. I saw that car every time taking Stierlin to and from our shop.  I thought for sure this neglected car might be something I could afford without help. I mean, who would leave his Challenger, for what seemed like forever, rotting under a tree? Maybe the guy would ask for $500 or something.

One day my dad and I drove our little four speed mini-pickup over there to pay the unknown owner a visit. Upon closer inspection, the car was an R/T, with a 383 Magnum and a four-speed. My heart started thumping again with the prospects of getting this one for cheap. We knocked on the door and the owner, a young man, maybe in his mid twenties, came out and explained that he was interested in selling the car. To get my adrenaline flowing, he started talking about how fast the car was and how “it just wants to go faster all the time.” (it didn’t make any sense but I was willing to believe anything and it sounded good). I still had a paranoia about powerful four speeds, but I figured it would be something I could get over for the right price.

The guy tried to start the 383, but the battery was dead. Without a thought, my dad asked me to move our truck closer so they could hook up jumper cables, which I did without question. But then the most unexpected thing happened as I tried to nudge the truck closer to the Challenger’s battery… I pressed the clutch in and suddenly panic overcame me. The truck started rolling on its own!

My foot neglected the brake pedal. (Oh *%$#!) To this day, I remember the owner’s expression, a look of complete unadulterated shock as he sat at the Challenger’s driver’s seat watching helplessly as I glided the truck right smack into his fender!

Thankfully, I don’t remember my dad yelling or getting really insane (being a paratrooper in the War, it seemed like things had to get a lot worse before he blew his top).

The guy still asked if we wanted to buy his R/T, for $1850. But it was too much. Maybe, I was just too embarrassed to deal. My Dad helped pay 150 dollars for him to get his dent repaired. The guy said he was going to get the car painted anyways, which he did, painting it black before selling the R/T for about $2400.

Too good to be true. Maybe it was the haunted house.

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* The old “haunted house” became a historical site and has since been relocated and renovated. It stands at Shoreline Park, Mountain View, about a mile away from its original location.

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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.