Archive for fix it

Road Runner Passes Inspection!

 After repair of the leaky thermostat housing yesterday, today was spent topping off fluids, airing up tires, cleaning windows, and checking lights, turn signals, wipers, and horn (beep beep works!). A little idle adjustment and the Bird was on the road to Valvoline Service Center for the annual state vehicle inspection. It passed with no issues!  The real shock was that for some reason the inspection cost went down from the usual $39 to only $7!  This price reduction corresponds to Texas’ first year of combining the registration and inspection stickers of the past into one consolidated unit. It opens up front window real estate and saves the state millions in admin costs. Win win!

To celebrate the victory, we drove up to Roanoke, dining capital of TX, for some T&A (Tacos & Avocados…a restaurant that is). Mucho fun!

Road Runner Thermostat R&R Round Two

In a past post a couple of years ago, the details of the Road Runner thermostat housing R&R was discussed. Upon returning from a leisure cruise around town last fall, a small pinhole leak around the weld bead on the thermostat housing appeared. Finally getting around to repairing it in preparation of the annual state vehicle safety inspection and registration process due this weekend, a Mancini thermostat housing was purchased with the hopes that it was sourced from a different and perhaps higher quality Chinese factory than the last one from Moroso. The 160F thermostat was re-used since it was new last time and a fresh mix of Prestone 50/50 was mix used. Only time will tell if this new part will last but along with some engine touch up paint, the darn thing sure looks good! 


Dodge RAM Fuel Pump

Note to self: Proactively replace the fuel pump around 175,000 miles on a Dodge RAM to avoid a 100F R&R after losing power on the Foothill Freeway in rush hour traffic. This is what Bob, owner of RHEnterprises in Burbank CA told me recently as he hefted out a FULL fuel tank from under his RAM when the darn pump went out at 192,000 miles in Glendale on the way home from work!!  Luckily, the planned trip to trailor a car out to the Riverside Show N Go over the weekend got scrapped just days before the pump went south or the repair would have be exacted on the shoulder of the 91 Freeway!


Updating to a Modern Overdrive Part 2

What would be the point of upgrading your lethargic stock 904 to a modern 518 overdrive unit if a beef up and rebuild were not conducted? NO POINT! So, in Part 2 the 518 gets worked over. 

  1. Tear down and cleanup. Inspect parts and make parts list.
  2. Get new components for any bad parts, new bearings, hipo billet servos ( 518 has a couple plastic), hipo bands & clutches, shift kit, and vacuum controls to solenoid for overdrive & new converter lock up.
  3. Add deep sump pan and button it all up.
  4. Show off completed unit by curling it 100 times!!! It’s ready to install…


Updating to Modern Overdrive Part 1

RHEnterprises in Burbank CA recently embarked on upgrading the tranny in their ’70 Plymouth Scamp from a stock 904 to a modern 518 with overdrive (4speed) skipping the traditional upgrade route using a beefed 727 (3speed). The little Scamp is in the process of dumping its 45 year old 318 2bbl power plant for an earth pounding stroked late model 360 (post on the engine build coming soon). In Part 1, new trans mounts are mocked up, fabricated, and installed. 

  1. Set the tranny shell position. Used engine mount point as datum to back of engine for X & Z position. Center the trans in tunnel and figure the mods & crossmember.
  2. Cut out the factory reinforcement hoop out of the tunnel to clear tranny.
  3. Fabricated new 1/4 inch bar stock reinforcement hoop to clear tranny then weld.
  4. Designed and fabricated new tranny crossmember. 518 sits lower and mount is 3 inches shifted.
  5. Finished tranny mount. Hard rubber isolator 60 shore, $7 out of McMaster Carr.  Slots & isolator design allow for 2 axis final adjustment once engine trans combo is installed.


RH Enterprises Project Updates

Burbank – Thought I would try a unique way to tell the story of RHE’s latest projects:

1) 1968 Dodge Charger Front-End Rebuild –> Correct Steering / Tire Alignment Geometry Due to Worn Bushings and Ball Joints

2) 5.9L Engine Core Tear Down for a 1970 Plymouth Scamp –> Replaces Current Stock 318 cu in Engine with Mild Build-up of Modern Truck Engine Core (approx. 360 cu in)

3) 8 3/4″ Rear End Rebuild for a 1973 Dodge Charger –> Replaces Stock 8 1/4″ and Provides Better Rear Tire Clearance with Shorter Overall Length of Replacement Housing

Here is the conversation that took place via iPhone over a couple of weekend days…

68 Charger Front End RebuildCan you see the k member yet? Is it damaged?

Not damaged pass side, just wiped out lower control arm bushing. Haven’t got drivers side out yet. Know in a bit on that one…..

K. I would be interest to know if you find a problem. Hopefully not! Hopefully just old bushings are the issues

Drivers arm out. It was just the lower control arm bushings. No k member damage. No weld breakage. Still have the A arms, upper ball joints & drag link to disassemble.

Wow. That’s great. It’s hard to believe the bushings being worn could cause the wheels to be so far out of alignment…they must have been bad!

Pretty sloppy. Half the bushing was basically gone both sides…

Yeah. Makes sense.

68 Charger Front End Rebuild



I won, ball joint lost. Now own a 1 59/64’s Ball Joint socket……that and a 2 foot pipe on my breaker bar busted it loose!    Hot today

Bob bitchin’ does it again! Glad to see it apart…



68 Charger Front End Rebuild



Socket also makes the perfect tool to seat the grease boot….


Pesky pitman arm is my next battle. Nut came off. Arm will not…. Will try to rig some kinda puller… Nothing’s easy.

Too many years since front end was last disassembled. Heck we were probably teenagers! Go eat lunch before your processor shuts down!




68 Charger Front End Rebuild





Race Shop Status. Suspension Done.






5.9L Teardown





Taylor tore down the 5.9L. I dropped it off at the machine shop last week.




1973 Charger Rear End Rebuild




Started working on Alex’s 8.75
rear from the polara.








Got it tore down. Will have new axle bearings, carrier, & pinion bearings pressed this week.

New wheel studs too on axles.






1973 Charger Rear End Rebuild


This weekend will set up the 3:91’s & Auburn posi, new brake lines, brakes & drums.

The polara is rear is 1 inch narrower than the existing 8.25 rear in the charger.

Should tuck tires better, tires should still clear the leafs. Might have to grind off the spring perches & weld on new ones for proper location.

Couple weekends work.

Very nice! Have you driven your charger yet with the tightened suspension?

Nope, no time….I just work on them, I don’t actually drive the customers cars….lol

Haha. That’s funny.


Road Runner Rises!

Leaking Thermostat Housing
Cruised to Jack-in-the-Box for Lunch

Keller, TX – Inspired by the Mustang start up last week, I got up early before the peak of the daily Texas heat and readied the Road Runner for state inspection…it passed!  I drove a few laps around town, had Jason drive it for his first time when he got off work, jumped on it and achieved a nice “chirp” between 1st and 2nd like the good old days, and brought it home to cool down.  Popping the hood revealed the thermostat housing was leaking again – for those of you who follow this blog you know I had this issue when firing up the Runner from a long hiatus a couple of years ago.  I bought a brand new chrome housing and thermostat at that time and wouldn’t you know it leaks again.  More to come on this issue as I tear it down next weekend for repair…

Dodge Dakota Stalling

Have a 2000 Dodge Dakota Sport with the 3.9L V-6 and a manual trans. Problem: the truck stalls (engine dies) every time I come to a stop. It will start right back up like nothing is wrong and runs great all the rest of the time, but at the next stop, it will stall again. In addition, the speedometer stopped working below 40 MPH recently and, for the longest time the “ABS” and the “Brakes” warning lights have been on. Oh, and the “Check Engine” light comes on after a few minutes of driving.

Well I did a little research and found that a lot of Dakota owners were having similar symptons. I finally found someone who said he had the answer. The “ABS Speed Sensor” or it’s connecting wires were bad. The Speed Sensor is located on the top of the rear axle above the ring gear housing…

The wiring harness looked fine so I bought a new Speed Sensor for around $30. The first thing I did was disconnect the battery, then I removed the 1/2″ nut holding the brakeline bracket to the Sensor’s hold down bolt. Once the brakelines are moved up and out of the way, I could access the 9/16″ bolt holding the sensor. Once the bolt is removed, the metal shield comes off and the sensor slides right out. The connector can then be unplugged from the sensor.

I checked to be sure the mounting hole on the new sensor lined up with the bolt hole in the housing , replaced the metal shield and inserted the hold down bolt and tightened her up. I also made sure that the brakeline bracket got re-attached and threaded the nut down until tight.

Well, after re-connecting the battery, I fired it up and went on a drive. All previuos issues were gone. The truck didn’t die at stops, the speedo worked perfectly, and all warning lights were off. Amazing what 1 little sensor can do!

Final Radiator Flush

The starter installation project was stalled last week as I pooped out late Saturday night waiting for the radiator to cool down for final flush. Well, this weekend my energy was back and I was able to complete the task. Going against my long standing belief to avoid additives of any kind to any vehicle system, I took the advice of the local O’Reilly counterman and added Gunk’s Liquid Kool to my fresh refill of Peak Long Life 50/50 Prediluted Antifreeze. He said he used it in his vintage ‘Vette among other project cars and since I need every Fahrenheit of temp reduction that can be found I bought into his sales pitch. I tested this new blend of Gunk and Peak with an extended driveway idle session where the Autometer bounced between 195F and 205F for 30 minutes. While not thrilled with these results they are far better than I was experiencing the last time I drove the car when the Runner stayed on the brink of boil over at 240F during my cruise in the local Lions Club parade. Satisfied for now, I recorded a short video in hopes of letting all of you hear the weee-weee-weee of my new Denso starter in action (as opposed to the waaa-waaa-waaa of the old starter)…enjoy!

Truck Oil Change

For grins and in between mowing the lawn early Saturday morning and working on the Road Runner, Brian and I changed the oil in my red GMC Sierra 5.3L crew cab low rider truck. OE specs call for 5W30 but I ran across this synthetic Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy 0W30 oil at Walmart. Buying the syn’s in bulk 5 quart container instead of 5 one quart bottles saves a bunch of cash and made it worth trying. We married this new oil with a Fram filter. I’ll let you know if I notice any fuel savings…

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