Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/8/21 9:32 p.m.

New radiator showed up today! 



If you couldn't tell, it's the shiny one on the right. wink It's from Champion Cooling Systems, as I mentioned in a previous post. This one is meant to fit a 1971-74 Dodge Charger or Plymouth Satellite with a LA small block, so the in/out are in the correct spots. The core size and overall dimensions were really close, but this one is a 3 core, so it's quite a bit thicker. It did not come with fittings for the trans cooler lines, so I picked up a couple 1/8 NPT fittings with a 3/8 nipple to use my existing steel into rubber lines. The biggest differences are how the shroud mounts and the mounting tabs for the core support. The top holes were perfect, but the bottom ones were off quite a bit. 





I dropped it in and hand tightened the top bolts a little, and it was clear that either I'd have to drill into the core support or I could see how it did with the top bolts tightened down. After tightening those top bolts, it was clear that this radiator wasn't moving, so I called it good. Unfortunately, the shroud wasn't going to fit well, so I left it off. 



After all of that, it looks AMAZING under here now. I still can't believe this thing even runs at all! 



And here's the pile of carnage. The timing set and the 5 bent rods will go into the Hall of Shame in my garage for sure. 

I also drove it for the first time since the timing mishap tonight. What a difference a tight timing chain and straight push rods make! The truck runs like a completely different vehicle than I'm used to. There's still an issue with a lean spike with initial tip-in, but everything else is perfect. Timing is finally correct, there's no detonation or weirdness at all, and it's smooth as butter. On top of all of that, the new radiator keeps the engine about 10 degrees cooler than it did with the old one. The thermostat in the truck is a 192 degree thermostat, and it hangs out right at 192. It never crossed 200 degrees idling or on my drive. That's impressive right there. 

Now I can FINALLY move onto other stuff. I have a whole laundry list of stuff that needs fixing, and it will be nice to not have to worry about this mess anymore! 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/10/21 6:36 p.m.





Spent a little time cleaning up under the hood today, mainly focusing on the driver's side inner fender. I recently pressure washed the engine bay, but there was still quite a bit of grease that I couldn't get off. Found a bottle of bug and tar remover in the garage and tried that, and man, what a difference. Cut right through it! I can't stop staring at this engine bay now. I simply cannot believe this is the same grease pit that I dragged home 2+ years ago. 

In other news, I drove it some more today, and there's two issues I need to address immediately:

-When installing the water pump, there were 4 bolts that pass through water jackets. I used a liberal coating of anti seize on them, but one of them (the power steering slider bolt) is weeping ever so slightly. I'll pull that one out and use proper thread sealer instead. 

-The alternator keeps loosening up, which is causing problems. I tried cranking down the bolt that tightens it, but the alternator case itself seemed like it was stripping. Great! Might be able to get away with a few washers and some thread locker until I can find a better solution. 

Another issue is that I noticed that the harmonic balancer is wobbling a bit. Not sure if it needs to be re-torqued, but it's something else I need to keep an eye on. 

Other than that, I still need to do some tuning, but it's running pretty great other than a tip-in issue. It drives really well and has so much more power than it ever did. 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/10/21 7:40 p.m.

Looks great!  Glad it all worked out better than expected

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/12/21 7:54 a.m.

In reply to Sonic :

Thanks man! Still can't believe it runs at all, let alone runs as well as it does!

Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/12/21 9:43 a.m.

Glad to see this working out.  Hopefully, you can enjoy using it for it's intended purpose, and fix it up to your own personal taste.  In my experience, those MOPAR engines can take a licking, and still keep on ticking.  Good luck.

Norma66-Brent
Norma66-Brent Reader
9/12/21 11:46 a.m.

Glad to see you got her driving again. Always scary the first time you fire it up after major surgery like that. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/14/21 8:27 a.m.

Drove the truck a bit over the weekend running some errands, and it drives great, save for the tip-in issue. When I give it gas from a stop or when I let off the gas while coasting, it goes lean, stumbles, and then evens out. It actually stalled out on me because of this while I was out driving! After looking at tuning logs, I couldn't find anything wrong with the tune I'm running, so I then checked out the throttle linkage.



Again, I'm running a Lokar throttle cable and kickdown cable. I noticed that the throttle cable itself is bent, and when I give it throttle, the part connected to the carb bends down and then straightens out. I'm thinking that the kink has something to do with that tip-in issue. Hopefully I can straighten that out.

I've been less than impressed with this Lokar setup overall, especially for how expensive it is.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/15/21 12:48 p.m.

Quick update:

Adjusted the throttle cable again, and while slightly better feel-wise, it's still having tip-in issues. I'm thinking it may be part of the tune after all. I'll have to go back to the drawing board and start fresh with a new tune.

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/16/21 3:04 p.m.

Last night, my wife signed me up to do some "truck stuff": had to pick up a grill about 25 miles from home. Figured it would be a good test of the truck, so we hopped in and took that. As I drove it, I think the ECU learned a bit and things smoothed out, especially while cruising. Two issues I need to iron out are tip-in (yup, still an issue) and deceleration. Other than that, it was rock solid and drove great. It feels like it has at least double the power than it used to with the old 2bbl and the leaky exhaust. It's unreal!

Aside from tuning, I think the next thing to work on is wiring. I need to rewire some stuff and still bypass that ammeter. I also want to possibly convert the sealed beams to H4 housings, which will likely draw more power.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
9/17/21 10:54 a.m.

For headlights, look into TruckLites. They're LED, so they don't draw a ton of power. I also think they look pretty badass. Much less gaudy than most other LED housings out there. The light output is amazing. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/17/21 12:17 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

Not sure how I feel about adding LED's to the truck. Most that I have seen look awful on an old rigs like this, and worse, most of them offer less light output than a sealed beam halogen. They do draw less power, but I also don't want to blind oncoming drivers with bad beam patterns. Figured a H4 would be a good option, although it is old tech at this point. 

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/21 12:34 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

GE Nighthawks seem to just work and aren't "flashy" they work well for semi-trucks and the like.

Keith did some testing with them a while back and the beam pattern looked pretty decent.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/17/21 1:03 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

In reply to JeremyJ :

Not sure how I feel about adding LED's to the truck. Most that I have seen look awful on an old rigs like this, and worse, most of them offer less light output than a sealed beam halogen. They do draw less power, but I also don't want to blind oncoming drivers with bad beam patterns. Figured a H4 would be a good option, although it is old tech at this point. 

The H4's would be a nice upgrade and still look right. Also a 79 Power Wagon is never going to be driving faster than H4's would project.  I'm with you about seeing an old car/truck and then seeing is has 14 mini projector LED housings and thinking it doesn't go.  I don't care how good the light output is, it looks awful. My $.02.  

 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
9/17/21 1:21 p.m.
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) said:

The H4's would be a nice upgrade and still look right. Also a 79 Power Wagon is never going to be driving faster than H4's would project.  I'm with you about seeing an old car/truck and then seeing is has 14 mini projector LED housings and thinking it doesn't go.  I don't care how good the light output is, it looks awful. My $.02. 

And mine.  Nothing spoils the appearance of an old vehicle like "modern" goofball lighting  and/or enormous aftermarket wheels and tires that somehow have no sidewall at all.  Good H4 lamps (which means Cibie and only Cibie, for my money) with good (not novelty) bulbs, on a relay harness, produce all the usable light a truck like this can justify, while not upsetting oncoming traffic or the looks of the old buzzard.

Expectations have changed.  People don't expect a warm brown glow from headlights anymore.  I run high-wattage bulbs in my J20 and have never been flashed.  Probably helps that they are plain halogen bulbs without any silly color tint to them.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/17/21 1:44 p.m.

Let's weigh the pros and cons of LED:

Pros:

-Draw less power than sealed beam or H4's
-Better light output

Cons:
-They look out of place on an older vehicle
-Expensive

Now, let's do the same on a H4 conversion:

Pros:
-Better light output than sealed beam halogens
-Better variety of replacement bulbs
-Costs about the same as replacing lights with better sealed beam bulbs

Cons:
-Will draw more amperage, leading to the necessity to upgrade wiring
-Light output better than sealed beams but not as good as LED's

It's a tough decision. I am leaning toward the H4's because they will look "normal" and will be better than the sealed beams while costing the same as replacing those with a better sealed beam bulb. Even the Nighthawk LED's will look goofy on my truck. They are also $75/bulb, and I can spend $300 on a lot of other things that would serve the truck better right now. I know I have to deal with some wiring, but I already have to do that anyway. My current alternator is already struggling to keep up with the EFI, and I still need to rewire the ammeter circuit. I was planning on upgrading all of that soon anyway.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
9/17/21 1:55 p.m.

H4s are the way to go if you aren't going to make it a Brodozer.  



I would check the harmonic balancer marks against true TDC, especially if you have a wobble.      The rubber in them is known to degrade over time, causing the outer ring to slip.   This could also be part your tip-in issue.   My first '78 440 D200 would make the exhaust manifolds turn cherry red when towing if I set the timing by the marks on the balancer.  

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
9/17/21 1:58 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:


-[H4] Costs about the same as replacing lights with better sealed beam bulbs...

I'm not sure what H4 housings you are seeing that are comparable in price to any sealed beam lamp, but Cibies definitely cost more up front. The light distribution and the vertical separation between low and high beam are both so much better than anything else I've seen in H4 that, to me, there is no other choice.

There are certainly cheap H4 housings. And there are certainly more popular names. Both of those are real obstacles in trying to spread the gospel, but I try.  I'm a big fan.  I don't sell the stuff.  I just use it.

It sounds like you already need to address alternator output and vehicle wiring, so those could be considered moot points in the debate.

LED headlights are certainly more viable if you are trying to generate YouTube views or scrape a few nickels off somebody's Amazon purchase, though.

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/17/21 2:02 p.m.

12si alternator from an early 90s byivk 3800 fwd car is dang near a bolt in 120amp alternator. 

Just in case youre willing to become a heretic like me.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
9/17/21 2:04 p.m.

Oh, and you should upgrade your headlight wiring regardless.

This is for a '93, but same general concept.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/17/21 3:48 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

The harmonic balancer slipping has crossed my mind. I think mine's ok based on my inspection while I had it off the truck, but I may replace it soon anyway. Mine's got the giant, long crank bolt and extra pulley on it, so I had a bit of trouble getting it tight. It's not going anywhere, but I do need to re-check the torque soon. I'm getting accurate timing readings now (mark on the balancer matches what the ECU sees), and I'm 99% sure that the tip-in is due to the tune at this point.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/17/21 3:53 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

12si alternator from an early 90s byivk 3800 fwd car is dang near a bolt in 120amp alternator. 

Just in case youre willing to become a heretic like me.

I am 100% down to swap a GM alternator in there, especially with an internal regulator. I have a SI-series on my Trans Am and it's dead simple. That one is only 63 amps, so I'd like to get one of the later, higher amperage ones.

I thought the 3800's came with CS-series stuff from about 1988-on?

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/17/21 4:42 p.m.

Youre right. Its a cs130. I get this stuff jumbled up sometimes. 

Application is right, series was wrong

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/21 5:01 p.m.

I mean they aren't your typical "brodozer" style lights:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/ge-nighthawk-headlights/77318/page1/

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
9/17/21 5:28 p.m.

They look just like the TruckLites that I suggested earlier. Not ugly IMO. They aren't cheap, though. And given the four light setup on the truck, it will be pretty costly to install these. 

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
9/17/21 6:02 p.m.
JeremyJ said:

 it will be pretty costly to install these. 

Especially since he would have to buy a different grill.

Our Preferred Partners
owhxAXXoGtpOIO8Yarp9OvJDeywZEZsjy5L54UkXHDfvP0vIxdx5xRe97ZE8bQvn