Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Photo courtesy of Chrysler

Dodge just announced plans to build a limited edition, 1,492 to be exact, Dodge Challenger SRT8 sporting a 392 Hemi. The new power plant will bump horsepower up to 470 horse and 470 ft/lbs of torque. What is interesting is that while this is higher than both the base V8 Camaro, with 426 hp, and the Mustang's new 5.0 with 412 hp, it is still less than Ford and Chevy's Premium models, with the Ford boosting 550 hp, and the upcoming Z28, which will be in the 550+ hp range as well.

While Chevy's Z28 appears to be in the works, it has yet to materialize, while Ford has been cleaning house with it's king stallion. Considering the new 392 is only 45 hp more than the current SRT8, I'm sure the straight line performance increases will be minimal. I expect that once the Z28 comes to light, Mopar will have it's own answer in the form of either a bigger hemi, or in the form of a V10. Personally, I never much cared for the sound of the V10, and would prefer either a larger hemi, or perhaps a forced induction variation to join the likes of the force fed Camaro and Mustang. Either way, increased performance from ANY of the Big 3 is welcomed with open arms.

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Monday, October 25, 2010

Camaro goes into hibernation

This passed Thursday I took the Camaro down to my parents to store for the winter. I'd be lying if I said I was confident that the trip would be trouble free. I kept my fingers crossed the whole way with a watchful eye on my gauges as well. I'm happy to say that the trip went smooth as could be. The night before I had decided it would be a good idea to top off the tank, since my odometer read 20 miles, I figured it was probably down a good 4-5 gallons. I was a bit shocked when it took 8.5 gallons to fill the tank. That worked out to a little less than 2.5 mpg! This trip could be more expensive than planned. I kept telling myself that was CITY driving, and more than a few stomps of the pedal mixed in there, so I anticipated a few extra mpg on the highway.

To play it safe, I stopped a little passed the halfway point of the trip, and was happy to see the car getting 6 mpg on the highway. Hardly something to write home about, but a lot more in the ballpark of what I expected this build would be. I have plenty in store for next year, as the list of things to do is plenty long, though I'm guessing it's pretty likely the Camaro progress may take a back seat to our 1st child, and rightfully so.

That said, I do need to shore up a few priority items before kiddo can go cruising with us. First and foremost, I need to quiet the ride down inside the car. This will be accomplished by running tailpipes passed the axle, as opposed to turn downs in front of the axle like I have. Next, some high quality sound deadener and carpet should make the ride much more enjoyable. After that, I need to up my charging system, as I'm pretty sure I have around a 60 amp alternator, of which my 4 electric fans take every bit of when they kick on. Seems my voltmeter was probably reading correctly all along. There are other items on my list, of which I may or may not get to next season, so let's move on to yesterday's cruising.

We had our second (and final) baby shower for our baby on the way. This shower was down in my hometown where I grew up, and the same place I was storing my Camaro. Naturally, after opening all of the baby gifts, Camaro rides were lined up. My brother-in-law had yet to see or ride in the car, so after warming the car up, we hit the country roads. Since I was about to put the car away for the winter, and any breakdowns are much easier to deal with in a country environment, I stretched her legs out more than I had before. After a few launches along with a country cruise, I strategically possitioned the car on the road in front of my parents' house. While holding the brakes, I punched the throttle, then let off the brakes and accomplished a good 100 yd burnout that didn't stop until I said so! This car is such a beast it's simply undescribably.

Later that night, after most had left for home, I took the car out for one last drive...just to see what she could do. Man, does she not only pin you back in the seat, that speedometer climbs like crazy. As I approached my parents, I wanted to try out one more thing. I ratcheted down to low two while going about 55-60 mph, let the car adjust, then punched the throttle. As I expected, she roasted the tires with ease! As I pulled into the drive, the engine started sputtering, stalled, then refused to start. Along my wide open test through three gears I had experienced the same delimna a few mintutes prior. Seems that it's more rich that need be, and under hard acceleration, she floods out. Prior to leaving, I fired the engine back up and it idled/ran fine, so it seems that some more tuning will be needed come next season. Ideally, I'll put a new intake and new Demon carb on which allows for greater tunability.

Though I have a ways to go before the car will be track ready, it really was nice to finally be able to enjoy the car. I also think it will eventually prove to be the motivation my dad needs to get back started on the Challenger I sold him. My game plan for him has changed slightly, mostly powertrain-wise. I'll cut and paste my tentative plan for that car as well as my thoughts/reasons in the near future. Till then, take care,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Final Tune

The last few days I gave the car a final tune, in preparation of the trip down to Adrian for winter storage at the parents. I had talked to my machine shop shortly after the engine was done, as I had misplaced my cam card and wanted to know the valve lash. I was told it was around .028-.030. Soon after, I found the cam card, which called for valve lash of .016 on the intake and .018 on the exhaust, a huge difference! I was sure that the loose lash was what was causing not only my valvetrain noise, but also my idle problems. The car has been occasionally backfiring at idle. I'd tried everything, yet just couldn't seem to tune it out through the carb.

After going through and resetting the lash to the proper spec, I found the valvetrain to be significantly quieter and my idle issues were resolved. I also took the opportunity to go up a couple of jet sizes both front and rear. After reading an article that was in Popular Hotrodding I am convinced that my engine problem would like more fuel. I was right, as the extra fuel seemed to also fix the occasional hesitation mashing the throttle.

I took the car for a spin after that tune the other day. First thing I noticed was the car started much easier. After the car started though, things still seemed to be kinda rough. With my recent hard starts I thought that perhaps I fouled the plugs a bit and maybe they just needed burned off a bit. After getting the engine up to temp I took a blast down the Lodge, and things seemed to be cleared up.

Today I swapped on a new powersteering hose, complete with two clamps on each end, which seems to have stopped my leak. I am concerned about the life span of my powersteering box, as one of the header tubes basically sits on the box, which can't be good for it. I thought about a cooler the other day, but I don't even think that would be sufficient. I'm gonna have to come up with a fix in the future. I also added a few extra grounds to the body, which seems to have fix my slow cranking problem. My fuel and voltmeter still seem to be having major issues, which I believe is due to a poor ground for the gauges. Is what it is, I'll have to fix that some other time.

I plan on driving the car to Adrian next week, and think it should take the trip just fine. The cooling seems sufficient, the carb is damn close, and valvetrain is much tighter now. The thing runs like an animal! Part of me will be sad to park it for the year, and the other part of me will be glad to be able to park my Formula back in the garage again. There are some things I'd like to fix on it before winter rolls around, and measures that should be taken to hault this expanding body rust, as well as salvage the floor pans before their any further deteriorated.

I still hope to get some more pictures uploaded soon, as well as a video or two. Then, come winter, so comes baby! I can't say enough how excited I am to have a little person coming into this world. Boy or girl, I can't wait to have that little buddy, nor can't I wait for the day we can due a father/son or father/daughter car, and have that car ready for when they get their license. While many look at having kids as a time when hot rodders have to give up their toys, stop future projects, etc, I see just the opposite. I see opportunity to raise a child enjoying trips to car shows, cruises, and nights at the track. I also see opportunity for future car projects, out of necessity. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Car Jumpin'

I ran across these videos on youtube the other day. While I made more than a few "jumps" with friends and their cars back in the day, and even a few minor jumps in my car where all four wheels barely left the ground, nothing we did even came close to these videos. These are amazing!

1990 Buick Centrury High Speed Jump (no embedded code for this video)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

1970 Challenger (with mods) versus 2010 Challenger SRT8

I'm gonna have to agree with this guy, I gotta go with the 1970 Challenger. Now that my Camaro is back on the road, my desire, or should I say "gotta have it" attitude towards the new 2010 Camaro is starting to fade. Sure, it's a completely refined car all around with all the latest creature comforts. Yet ya know what? I like it crude and rude.

Today, I had a few minutes to take my ol' girl for a drive. Dad was up helping on the house and I wanted to take him for a short spin up to the gas station and around town. She was stubburn, backfired through the carb, even caught fire under the hood a few times, and was very reluctant to fire up. Even when she did, the tune seems to be off, as she had hesitations and grumbles while on our ride. I gave the manual brakes their first real test today, and was surprised how little pressure it takes to lock up the brakes.

Yeah, she's loud, irritable, and waaaay over powered. The car even still has a power steering leak, and yet through it all, I can keep on smiling with every head she turns. As cool as the new Camaros are, they can't hold a candle to the real deal. I may still get a new Camaro a few years down the road, as a daily driver. While it would be enjoyable I'm sure, the thrill factor would be uncomparable to sliding behind the wheel of the lighter/faster classic Detroit Iron. I'll take mine medium rare, thank you very much.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Just In Time For Storage

Hard to believe fall is already upon us. Even harder to believe that our first born will be here in about 2 months! Though my Camaro has been back on the road for about a month and a half, I really haven't had a chance to enjoy it the way I expected. With baby on the way, house work took presidence once the car was on the road. Though I have enjoyed more than a few 30-45 minute cruises around downtown Detroit, I have yet to hit a cruise night or car show, other than the Woodward Dream Cruise.

That's fine though, as I'm simply happy to have the car back on the road. There is still plenty to do, and only time will tell whether me and new baby will find time and ability to finish up the Car come next summer. Ideally, I'd really love to finish up what needs to be done, and be able to at least make it to the track a few times next season. The biggest thing I need is either a reinforced rear end or a Ford 9 inch. I've gone back and forth as many times as I did over the last decade trying to decide what engine to build. From an economical stand point, as well as efficiency, the Chevy 12 bolt gets the nod. A recent drag racer I met is running low 9's/high 8's on a slightly beefed up 12 bolt, has been for years, and never had a problem. The 9 on the other hand is a nearly industructable design, and also offers the opportunity to quickly swap out high revvin' 4.10's to a better highway gear.

Aside from the rear, some interior finishing touches are needed such as dash, sound deadener, carpet, headliner, etc. A stereo of some sort would be nice as well, as the engine note sounds nice, but it inevitably gives you a headache after a short while.

I'll try and at least get a few more videos, as well as some nice pictures of my completed (CLOSE to completed) project in the near future. I hope to drive the car back down to my parents' house 1.5 hours away over the next week or two. Last week a 45 minute cruise rewarded me them engine temps deadlocked at 190 degrees, and that was with a 195 degree thermost, so I think I have both the carb tuned, and the question answered, "Will this engine still be streetable?"

On that note, I'll leave you with a Big Block Shoot Out I found in Popular Hot Rodding on a very similiar Big Block Chevy. Their final numbers were 657 hp, and my engine pushed the envelope a bit further with bigger cam and better heads.

Big Block Shoot Out