Archive for 2002

The Daytona: December 23, 2002

by on Dec.23, 2002, under Daytona

Fixed a few odds and ends on the days I had off from work.  The big thing was the driver’s side door.  It has a new latch, new pins and bushings, and I repaired the door jam wiring.  The window still gets cocked funny on the way up, which causes it to hang up.  The rubber is in really bad shape, so I’m sure that is not helping.  It’s nice to have a fully-working door, though.  Removing the lower door pin is a real PITA.  After trying several approaches, I had to Dremel part of the bottom tip off so that I could get a C-clamp in there and press it out.  There is no way to punch it out with those damn Turbo Z ground effects in the way.  I supported the door with rope strung over the garage ceiling rafters, looped through two holes in the door frame.

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The Daytona: December 16, 2002

by on Dec.16, 2002, under Daytona

Got the fuel tank to stop leaking, finally.  The lock ring was definitely not tightened all the way, but I decided to drop the tank anyway and fix it right.  The gasket was still in good condition, but I flared the sealing surface out a bit to make it squeeze the gasket harder, just in case.  Also fixed the alignment tabs so the sender was oriented properly.  I still need to do something about the connectors, as the gauge never shows full and I never get more than 10 gallons in when empty.  There is also a grounding problem back there, I think, which may have something to do with it.

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The Daytona: December 10, 2002

by on Dec.10, 2002, under Daytona

Fixing various odds and ends: fuel gauge sender, rear view mirror, hatch struts, more wiring, etc.  Still leaking gas from the sender gasket, but it’s probably because the lock ring isn’t fully tightened.  Once the tank is near empty again, I’ll drop it and try to snug it up.  I also decided to do a compression test after I noticed that it sounded like it was missing consistently at idle.  Results were 127-130-127-135.  That’s a little higher than I would expect, particularly for a high mileage motor that consumes oil, but I feel better about the bottom end in this thing.  I have a feeling that this turbo may be on the way out…the oil is going somewhere besides on the ground.  The plugs also looked good, though they were quite eroded.  I replaced them with a set of Autolite 64s I had, which should hopefully quell the occasional pinging I hear at part throttle/high boost.  The vacuum lines were a mess, so I addressed those.  We’ll see how it is, but the MAP sensor line was very loose, possibly causing lean-out (who knows).  I put the WCV (Grainger valve) from my Shadow in it, so we’ll see how that effects lag.  This motor idles funny and seems to hesitate when accelerating from a full stop, so I’m not sure what is going on.  Once I get all the fittings I need for my adjustable FPR, I’ll be able to put the 804 injectors in and monkey with the fuel to get the mixture right.  There is definitely something screwy with the mixture on this thing, but it may be due to electronics.  It runs rich when it doesn’t need to and lean in boost on certain occasions.  I’d like to convert it to ’87 electronics in order to unify it with my CSX.  Need to find an ’87 T1 LM for that….

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The Daytona: December 6, 2002

by on Dec.06, 2002, under Daytona

I managed to fix the driver’s side door and the passenger side window (regulator tape cut too short).  The door wouldn’t open because the striker bolt hammered out the steel on the latch housing, causing it to mushroom and bind up the latch itself.  I soaked the whole thing in gasoline to clean the grime, used a Dremel to remove the mushroomed metal, and oiled the latch with motor oil.  The door opens fine now, but still doesn’t exactly “pop” open the way it should.  The worn hinges may have something to do with that.  The doors need weather stripping as well.  The driver’s side window tends to bind sometimes on the way up.  Looks like it’s not being guided properly.

I cleaned the armrest when I put the door back together and it no longer matched the rest of the dirty interior.  So, I took some time to clean the dashboard, center console, steering wheel, etc.  Looks much better now.  I also fixed the power mirror wiring and properly attached the center console to the dashboard.  There are a lot of broken pieces in there, so hopefully I’ll get them from Bill’s Lazer.

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The Daytona: December 5, 2002

by on Dec.05, 2002, under Daytona

Drove it to work today.  I stopped for gas on the way and was greeted with more gas leaking from the tank.  Now it appears to be coming from the fuel sender unit (which isn’t working), so I get to drop the tank again.  I’ll let it run/leak down before I mess with it though.  I fixed the radio-related wiring, so I at least have some tunage now.  I also put the stock intake setup back on so I don’t have to listen to the throttle body noises.  I tried adjusting the door handles (they are hard to open), but they seem to be adjusted as far as they will go.  Guess I’ll have to take the door apart.  I’m trying to find replacement striker bolts, with no luck yet.

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The Daytona: December 4, 2002

by on Dec.04, 2002, under Daytona

I got the fuel pump installed tonight.  I was expecting a battle to get the fuel tank strap nuts loose (I even bought an 8mm x 1.25 die to clean up the threads), but they came off with ease.  The pump has been replaced before; in fact it was even a Walbro unit (stock), which made the conversion to the high capacity unit a bit easier.  The inside of the tank is rather rusty (but is solid), and I found an extra pump intake sock floating around in there.  Also, the inner tray that is used to siphon fuel out of a nearly empty tank had popped off of its mount (probably at the hands of the previous installer).  It took a lot of fiddling, but I was able to pop it back on.  I have a feeling there was nothing really wrong with the old pump, but the tank is in good shape now.  Also, the fuel filler neck grommet was leaking partially because it was ripped up by whoever took it out last.

This car is weird.  Besides the front end issues and all that, the under body is strangely free of rust except for the places it rusted completely through.  Two of these places are the front-outside corners of the floorpan.  This is typical because the front wheels sling rocks and stuff at them.  The other rusted out area is the spare tire well in the trunk, but there is obvious evidence that someone backed the car into something: there are scratch marks elsewhere back there and the rear trailing arm was bent up real bad (I swapped it with the Shadow).  It really does seem like it came from down south.  Unfortunately, the CarFax report only goes back to 1991, so I don’t know where the car was originally bought.  The underbody was coated at some point with that rubberized stuff, but it doesn’t look factory.  Either the rear shocks are original or they were put on after the underbody coating was applied, because they are covered in the stuff!  In any case, it may have helped protect the underbody.

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The Daytona: December 3, 2002

by on Dec.03, 2002, under Daytona

Well after some additional stripping of my Shadow ES, I’ve begun to take a close look at the issues with this car.  The front end is really screwed up.  I can see the buckled metal in the frame around the area of the front-right K-frame mount and the mount itself seems to be displaced.  It’s pushing the front-right corner of the K-frame down by about an inch, giving it a weird twist.  I can also see that the right wheel is offset to the rear by about 1/2 inch, compared to the left wheel.  Assuming the K-frame wasn’t bent when it was installed in this crooked setup, I should be able to fix it by cutting the displaced mount off the car frame, fixturing the K-frame in the correct position and orientation, and welding it back on.  I may also have to weld a plate over the area of the frame that is buckled to give it some additional strength.  I will then recenter the engine, which should hopefully cure the front end shake problem.

I already have a lot of new parts for the car ready to go.  I plan to replace the fuel pump and the fuel filler neck grommet (source of my leak) this evening, which should make the car more-or-less drivable.  The pump is the Walbro/Holley 190 L/hr unit from FWD Performance, which flows 47% more fuel over the stock unit.  The grommet was provided to me by the previous owner…he just never had a chance to install it.  Still need to transfer the title, as my useless local DMV “doesn’t do that”.  Next I’ll try to tackle the front-end issues, if I can get a hold of a MIG welder.

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The CSX: December 2, 2002

by on Dec.02, 2002, under CSX

Well, the car is back together.  It’s not perfect, but it’s close.  I didn’t notice it before, but the right rear quarter is pushed in about 1/4″.  Also, somehow the subchassis is tweaked such that the taillight is mounting a bit high and the bumper a bit low on the right side.  It sort of spread things out.  It looks fine until you get up close.  Once these cars get bent, it’s really hard to get them back where they should be again.  Everything else lined up well, though the liftgate is not popping open as it should.  I suspect the latch is not operating as smoothly as it used to.  Still need to paint that trim below the taillights, but it will just have to stay red until the spring.

Putting the bumper back together was a bit of a pain.  All those stupid plastic studs broke off the bumper fascia when I got hit, so I ended up making bolts with very flat heads to mount them.  The heads are covered by the CSX fascia, so that’s no biggie.  I also threaded the CSX fascia studs so I could mount it to the bumper fascia with regular nuts.  A lot of the original push nuts were gone anyway, so this setup worked well and allowed me to adjust the tension for minimal warpage.

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The Daytona: November 23, 2002

by on Nov.23, 2002, under Daytona

Made it!  The car is home.  There really weren’t any problems making it back (that shake it has at low speed is still scary), though having to stop for gas 3 times was annoying.  The fuel tank leaks if it’s above 3/4 full and the fuel pump is at risk of dying if the tank is less than 1/4 full.  That leaves about 7 gallons of fuel to work with.  Add to that the crumby mileage you get when you combine a 3-speed automatic transmission with a short drive ratio and a set of small 205/50R15 tires, and you find yourself stopping for gas quite often.  The Dawes Devices A/F ratio meter also started working and I noticed the engine would stay rich for long periods of time while I was cruising (not in boost).  That probably didn’t help either.

As I got closer to home, I started playing with the car a little more.  I’ve owned a 2.2L Turbo I with an automatic before, but this one makes surprising power.  Granted, the boost is bled to about 10psi, but that’s only 3psi over stock.  I have some crazy plans to start playing with this early T1 setup, so we’ll see how much power I can make before I blow up the trans. 🙂

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How I Got My Daytona C/S

by on Nov.23, 2002, under Daytona

After I decided to retire my faithful old Dodge Shadow ES, I started looking for a replacement daily driver.  A little tired of P-bodies, I considered getting a Daytona.  Lot’s of people drive Daytonas, so I wanted something a little different.  I’m sort of partial to the hard lines of the earlier body styles, so I thought a pre-1987 Daytona would be an interesting choice.  However, I kept my options open, as a solid body with good paint was my highest priority.  While browsing the archives of various mailing lists, I came across this car for sale in Ohio for $800.  The car had fairly recent paint and supposedly had a reasonably solid underbody (just needed a little floorpan work in the usual areas, I was told).

After talking to the seller for a while, I decided this would be a good buy.  It had quite a few little problems, but it had good paint and it was a 1986 C/S, which is relatively rare.  So I rented a car, drove down to Cincinnati and drove it back home.  The car made it without incident, though it was a little scary at times.

Background Information

I guess I like owning cars with interesting histories.  This one was found in a police impound by the previous owner.  His intent was to use it as a parts car for his early T-top Daytona.  As it turned out, the body on this Daytona was in much better shape than his other one (new paint, etc), so he decided to keep this one and sell the other.

While driving on a very bad road in Michigan, the previous owner hit a deep pothole that (as it turned out) bent the right-side control arm, the K-frame, and part of the underbody frame.  The car started throwing left axles and developed a strange front-end shake at speeds below 35 MPH.  His mechanic then discovered that the control arm was bent, so he had the entire K-frame replaced with a 1992 unit from a Shadow.  The 1991 and up K-frames are superior to previous versions, as they have improved geometry and cast iron control arms for better stability.  While this did stop the axle throwing problem, it did nothing for the front end shake.  His mechanic then tried replacing the left motor/trans mount, as the original was apparently bent up.  Unfortunately, it didn’t help and so he ended up selling it to me.

Prior to that, the car has had one other accident (according to CarFax).  It apparently hit a curb back in January of 1991, which explains the strange welds all over the lower front cross member.  There is also a piece of angle iron that is sort of sloppily welded to part of it.  The CarFax report also showed that titles were issued for the car a total of six times in Ohio, all between 1997 and 1999.  The mileage changed very little in that time.  This may have had something to do with the car being impounded, as it may have changed hands as it was shipped around.

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