Now I can’t start talking about cars without going into incredible detail about the type of cars I drive.  In general, I enjoy driving and tinkering with those wonderful 2.2L/2.5L turbocharged front wheel drive Chryslers, which I lovingly call “Mini-Mopars” for short.  I managed to diverge from the P-body a bit, as my current daily driver is a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z C/S.  The “C/S” stands for Carrol Shelby which, for the 1986 Daytonas, meant an additional handling package in addition to the fully-loaded “Turbo Z” package.

I found that I could not get to work and play with the car at the same time (most projects last longer than an evening or weekend).  So, I found myself a project car.  Surprise, surprise…it is a P-body…but a special one.  This would be my 1987 Shelby CSX #694 of 750.  I spent a frustrating year gutting and restoring parts of this car, but there is still work to be done.  I learned a great deal from those trials and tribulations and the car is a blast to drive.

For a while it seemed that I had some kind of fixation on Chrysler’s early (1987-1988) P-body.  My former daily driver was a 1988 Dodge Shadow ES with “a few mods”.  Unfortunately, I had to retire her due to a fatal case paint peel and floorpan rust.  It was a great car and if I ever encounter another, I’ll have a tough time passing it up (as long as it doesn’t have peeling paint).

Few people are aware of the relationship between Carroll Shelby and Chrysler.  For a very detailed history of this relationship, take a look at Dempsey Bowling’s Shelby-Dodge Historical Pages.  To talk to people in the Shelby-Dodge and Chrysler Turbo community, try the Shelby-Dodge Mailing List or the forums at Turbo Mopar Forums.

I have taken much of my knowledge, as well as the knowledge of others, to create the Mini-Mopar Resources website.  It is a never-ending project that covers troubleshooting, repairs, technical, and performance information.  It also contains the infamous and controversial Oil Filter Study that I did.  There are also a few other good sites for this kind of info.  See the links below…

You would be amazed what these little engines can do.  Take a look at the late Paul Smith’s 12-second, 1989 Dodge Caravan.  There is also Gary Donovan’s 12-second 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby and his 10-second 1985 Plymouth Reliant K “Relentless“.  These are but a few.  I have been working on a custom calibration for both of my cars.  It is a learning process, but you can find out more on my Automotive Electronics pages.

So long, old friend…

by on Apr.30, 2016, under Daytona

daytona-so-longToday I let go of everything G-body.  Frankentona was sold to a friend of a club member, along with my stash of spare 2nd and 3rd gen Daytona parts.  It needed to go to someone with the enthusiasm and the time to put into it, instead of it rotting in the driveway.  I think it’s in good hands.

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Life Off of Jack Stands

by on Aug.18, 2014, under CSX

The CSX has been up on jack stands for about 8 years.  Life has a way of rearranging priorities.  However, I was either going to cobble it back together or haul it off on a trailer.  Either way, it had to move.  I aborted all upgrade plans, slapped my only spare working head and turbo on there and drove it.  It still burns oil, so at least I know that the bottom end is truly done.  Poor thing.  Some day, I hope to give it the attention it deserves….

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A Familiar Shadow

by on Aug.10, 2014, under Daytona

After almost 8 years of daily driving service, the Daytona was taken off the street for some badly needed attention.  The motor had been having oil system problems for a while: low pressure and was losing oil into the coolant and other places rather rapidly.  The body is also showing its age.

I’ve since swapped the motor for the original 2.2L Turbo I motor from my old 1988 Shadow.  It still runs as smooth as I remember.  I’m not sure how the Mitsu will behave with that giant, triple-core intercooler.  I had some interesting issues with boost oscillation in the Shadow when I was using a Conquest intercooler.  I am confident that a grainger can be used with a mixed pressure signal from the manifold (which causes oscillation) and turbo outlet (which causes creep) to keep the boost steady.  The cal is a stock 1987 CSX cal right now and the trans is a stock 1990 A523 with the OEM Turbo II clutch that held well in the Shadow.

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by on Jun.29, 2011, under Daytona

Drag Racing at SDAC 21The national convention was back in Chicago again this year. The car show was at the same venue in Fox Lake along with the Chicagoland Mopar Connection’s “Mopars at the Park” show. It was neat seeing such nice FWD Mopars next to the classic iron again. The weather was perfect.

The drags were at Da Grove again as well. I was able to make a few passes. These new tires aren’t as sticky as the old Kumhos were. That along with this hair-trigger ceramic clutch had something to do with my launch problems, I think. The cal has been tuned better since the last time, so my MPH was in the 100s even on the worst pass. But I wasn’t able to beat my previous E/T. Best was 14.343sec @ 102.90mph. Best MPH was 103.66.

Coolant started getting pushed into the overflow at this point, so I called it quits.

React 60′ 1/8 ET 1/8 MPH 1/4 ET 1/4 MPH Comments
0.845 2.565 9.861 75.27 14.897 101.69 First run. Bogged it.
0.320 2.553 9.626 76.36 14.637 102.50 Hot-lapped. Spun.
0.827 2.710 10.065 76.43 15.056 103.17 Spun then bogged it.
0.663 2.685 9.938 78.11 14.876 103.66 Spun like crazy. Hot-lapped.
0.490 2.599 9.720 77.49 14.720 102.13 Tried staging rev-limiter at 4k. Spun like crazy.
0.079 2.572 9.675 78.31 14.616 103.37 4k launch, spun. Hot-lapped.
0.941 2.337 9.352 76.76 14.343 102.90 4k launch, feathered the clutch better. Hot-lapped.

Here is a video of one of the runs taken by Ron M from the SDAC-Chicago club.

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Kevlar is Not Bullet Proof

by on Dec.13, 2010, under Daytona

2010-12-08_19-58-35_467The TU Kevlar clutch that I installed back in ’06 failed. It had been slipping for a few weeks, but it was holding as long as I didn’t go over 5psi of boost or so. Eventually any boost would make it slip, so I broke down and replaced it with this one from SPEC. It is their “Stage 3+” which has a full-faced ceramic-type disc with a supposedly-modified pressure plate. The pedal feel is just like stock, so I am skeptical about that last part. It holds well, but the real test won’t be until the summer tires are back on.

The Kevlar clutch was very chattery, especially while backing up. If I tried backing up a hill, the motor would practically try to fly out of the engine bay. I also experienced a bizarre problem on two occasions where I could not release it. This was in heavy stop-and-go traffic. I suspect the disc warped because it started working again once it cooled-down. I expected better longevity from the Kevlar lining. It should have lasted much longer than the 35k I got out of the ceramic puck clutch in the CSX, but it failed right around the same time. It did have a stock-like feel in terms of engagement. As long as the RPMs were high to avoid the chattering, the engagement was smooth and easy to manage.

The SPEC clutch is “grabby”, just like you would expect from a ceramic type, but not “chattery”. In other words, the pedal has a very narrow band in which you can slip it especially at low RPMs. When you do slip it however, it does not chatter or at least not very much. Backing up is not a problem, other than avoiding a stall. The Kevlar disc had a lot of run out form the sloppy spline and that may have contributed to the problem. The SPEC disc was tighter, but still had some run out.

While the clutch was out, I replaced the 3-4 shift form pads again. I also replaced the fork. I noticed the new pads on the 1-2 fork were also starting to crack, right over the groove carved into the fork while the pads were blown 2 years ago. So I replaced that fork as well with another good set of pads. I also swapped 3rd gear and its syncro with another used one that looked better. It’s nice to have 3rd gear again.

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No more MacGyver chair

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Daytona

Re-rewelded the driver’s seat frame. It was broken into three pieces and was being held in place by an empty cat litter container. I added some steel to it, so I don’t expect it to break again, at least on in that spot. The bottom cushion has a weird feel to it now, probably because it is being properly supported for the first time in years.

The UltraFlo muffler rusted-off. That thing only lasted 3 years…not impressive. Put the Super Turbo back on there…it’s no quieter than the UltraFlo (at least on the inside), but maybe it’s quieter for the neighbors.

The water pump housing has been leaking for years, but now coolant is dropping at an alarming rate. Not sure if it was the leak or something else, but the housing is now resealed. The car suddenly started using more oil than before as well, so something is clearly amiss. Last time I had the turbo intake off, I saw oil in there. There is still a very small amount of oil in the coolant. Now sure if it’s just leftover film or if there is a leak or crack somewhere. I’m guessing that I will find out sooner or later what the issue is/are.

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A/C Again

by on Jul.01, 2009, under Daytona

I haven’t done anything to this car since last July other than drive it. It’s been daily driven for an entire year. 3rd gear is still jacked-up, but got a little better over time until recently. Now I can hardly get it in, but I can say that it is the shift pads again. 4th is starting to give a little trouble too, so I think I will swap the whole 3-4 gear pack for one from an ’89 A555. I wish I could buy new stop rings for less than the cost of an entire transmission. That damn short DSS axle ripped through it’s inner boot again, this time it wore through the inside. Aside from being shoddily assembled, they obviously don’t intend anyone to use these on the street. Pretty lame, given what they cost. This time the spring broke inside the tripod, probably because it can’t sit flat on the shaft end due to those welds.

Last week was really hot, so that motivated me to try to fix the A/C. Had to fix the air compressor first and various other things, but finally got it done. There was a slow leak at the H-valve due to a poorly machined surface on the hoses. Crappy aftermarket parts. The compressor has been holding up so far, so we’ll see if it makes it through the summer. I would be impressed.

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by on Nov.26, 2008, under Automotive, MiniMopar

Brought the MiniMopar domains and subdomains back from the dead.  What a pain.  I originally registered my domains with  They got sold-off somehow to an affiliate program and my domain management migrated to this random-sounding “” site.  They have since gone away and I couldn’t figure out where to manage my domains.  I was getting charged for registration by a completely different company, United Online, which is some conglomerate company for lots of different post-dot-com companies.  They had no idea why they were charging me and claimed no ownership of the domains in question either.  Anyway, I finally found that I could log into yet another completely different site and manage them.  What a pain.

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The Daytona: July 29, 2008

by on Jul.29, 2008, under Daytona

A week or two after the convention, the car suddenly got a bad vibration when making right turns.  It seemed like the left axle tripod was bottoming-out.  I had recentered the engine when I had the old stock axle in there and never put it back, but I wasn’t sure what caused it to suddenly appear one day.  It turned out that the aftermarket trans mount I installed had partially collapsed, which was enough to take out the last bit of slack in the axle.  Anyway, I put the poly trans mount back in (the engine vibrations were no better with the rubber mount anyway), fixed the front mount bracket so I could slip washers in there to space the poly away from the bracket, and recentered the engine.  Everything is fine now and the washers did seem to help a bit with the vibs.

I also cleaned-up the crab rims from the CSX, hit the lips with a scotch-brite abrasive wheel, and polished them a bit before installing them on the Daytona.  The Dunlop SP8000s from JT are worn down to the markers now, so I’m running the Kuhmo 712s from the CSX.  They have flat spots from the freeway spin-out, but they do have plenty of tread.  The Dunlops were awesome tires, but you can’t get them in 225/50 R15 anymore.  I’m saving the last of them for the CSX when it is done.

Lastly, I made shims for the brake pads on all four calipers to try to shut them up.  They still squeak, but are better overall.  I think the notches that are worn into the brackets from the pad plates may be to blame.  Would have to weld them up somehow, but I have bigger fish to fry.

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The Daytona: July 9, 2008

by on Jul.09, 2008, under Daytona

The first time I drove the car after coming home from the convention, the door handle broke on the drivers side.  Joe from the club was nice enough to pick one up from an 85 Daytona in the junkyard and ship it to me.  The rod had to be bent to match the old one, but it swapped over just fine otherwise.  While the door was apart, I installed the ’87 power mirrors.  Man, the ’91 wiring diagrams are horrible.  Not one single interesting circuit on the power mirror page was right and as such my splice job from way back when did not work.  I spent many hours trying to sort that out, but now I finally have working power mirrors!

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Disclaimer: The projects described in these web pages may use dangerous materials, and components.  This material is intended for advanced electronics experimenters only and may cause your vehicle to be suitable for off-road use only.  The author assumes no liability for damages incurred through the use or misuse of the information provided herein.  This information is provided "as is" and without warranties as to performance of or any other warranties whether expressed or implied.  No warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is offered.


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