Category Archives: personal

Tracknight in America!

The 1974 Dodge Colt made its debut run at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mi. The event was called Tracknight in America, presented by tirerack.com, koni shocks and hagerty insurance. It’s an SCCA sanctioned event. I ran in the novice group, having never driven on a track before. It was a fun experience. The car was pretty sketchy. The brakes were good for the first two rounds, but the last two rounds, they were on or off, no in between. The new southbend clutch performed excellent. The motor, the beat ass old 2.0L I swapped in the morning of, worked great. The old carburetor was a little rich, but not horrible.

Here’s the wet run.

The Colt is alive! And one lap was fun.

Last week was One Lap Of America. It started at the Tire Rack in South Bend, IN and ended there a week later.

After One Lap last week, I started getting things going on the Colt.

I got the rest of the engine bay wired up, and got the gauges and switch panel wired in. For some reason, the front running lights don’t work, but that’s not a huge deal. I had to switch out the fuel pump because it just randomly stopped working. But tested fine out of the car afterwards.

Goodbye, Hello

The Montero got sold to my coworker John. He’s a younger dude. I think he’ll appreciate it.

Coincidentally, I also sold Van-uh White.

Jamie and I flew out to Arizona to see my brother and pickup my dads car trailer so I can pull the Colt from track to track. Flying out there is easy enough. Once we touched down, the trip really started. We needed to find a vehicle to pull the trailer back to Michigan, possibly with a car on it.

I found a bunch of older Chevy trucks, that I could probably flip when I got back here. But, they just didn’t seem like they’d get new back to Michigan.

Then, we met Leo.

Leo, a very interesting fella, had a very interesting vehicle for sale. A 1990 Ford F-350 custom. This is a 4 speed manual with overdrive, behind a 7.3L international diesel engine, to drive a 5.13 geared dually Dana axle. So the drivetrain is great, with 175k miles, only 75k on the motor, he had all the documentation. But the bed, or, back half, really caught my attention. With the tool boxes off the sides, the cap over the bed, the dual tail gates. It checks boxes I didn’t even know I had.

So I bought it. Moby Dick, the white whale. Leo was super cool, he’s a beekeeper, horticulturalist, engineer, chicken keeper, he lives in a wedge of land isolated in the middle of the city. He was a hunter, a farmer, a worker, a good ‘ol American boy. I couldn’t haggle his price, he was spot on for what I wanted to spend, and to me it was totally worth it.

Before I flew out, I had some stuff shipped to my brothers house for the drive back. Tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, trailer brake, wiring, a fair amount of stuff, not all needed, but just in case. All we really needed was the air mattress, which fits perfectly in the bed, with room all around it, and the sleeping bags. We picked up other stuff at goodwill, like pillows, and some quilts, cast iron skillet and pan. Just some stuff to keep us comfy.

We took the truck up to Tonto land bridge with my brothers mighty max on the trailer as the first test. The white whale didn’t skip a beat.

After some sight seeing, we parted ways with my brother and set off on the rest of our adventure.

After a lot of road, that pretty much looked the same, we hit our first rest spot. We planned to camp at a national forest in New Mexico, but the government shutdown meant, government ran parks, were shut down. So we camped in a casino parking lot. In 15°F weather. That was cold.

Through New Mexico, into Texas, Jamie made the decision that we have to stop at the Cadillac ranch, because she knew I’d love it.

She was right. It was awesome!

We camped in a Walmart parking lot for a few hours, then hit the road again.

Then after trekking through Oklahoma, and into Missouri, we stopped at Han the sushi man’s sushi bar, ate a ton of sushi, the took a hour nap in the parking lot. At this point, I’ve lost track of time.

Once I got my rest, we headed towards my sisters house in Illinois. Up to this point we pretty much stuck to route 66. Once we hit St Louis, we got onto the main highway. This truck loves going 55. Not 70. At 70, you can watch the fuel level go down. So, 55 in a 70 it is.

We made it to my sisters, no problem. Took a few hour nap, then got on the road to Jamie’s parents house in Laporte to see her family before they left town.

We made it, an hour early. 😂

So to recap;

Flew to Arizona on Monday.

Lined up a truck on Tuesday.

Bought the truck on Wednesday.

Left Mesa, AZ Thursday morning.

Got to Cadillac ranch on Friday.

Had sushi on Saturday.

Got back to Michigan on Sunday.

2,025 miles, tons of sun shine, bunches of smiles, lots of fun, it was a great trip!

It’s time to sell the Montero

It’s time to sell the Montero. Shes got 195k miles, runs and drives great, I just have too many cars. I’m looking for $3,500.00.
I’ve put a lot of work and parts into the thing. I don’t want to sell it, but it doesn’t cover what I’m wanting at the moment. The CR-Z gets around in the snow pretty well, and I just bought a 05 Ford E350 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel van for towing duty and threw some General Grabber AT² tires on it, so it scoots around in the snow and ice decently. It doesn’t compare to the Montero for winter driveability, but what does.

Here’s what I’ve done to it.
Rebuilt cylinder heads, fresh valve job
Timing belt w/tensioner and pulleys, water pump, head gaskets, head bolts, revised crank bolt
replaced coolant hoses, connected rear heater, new OEM thermostat
Electric 2 speed fan from a Taurus with 180° and 220° switches
Drilled and slotted rotors, ceramic pads, new General Grabber AT² Tires on stock rims
replaced driver side axle spindle, replaced fuel tank, new front shocks
winch plate, 9k lbs winch, light bar wired to fog light switch, New Marine Interstate Battery, installed hold down bracket
bluetooth stereo, 1500w amp, 1.7f Cap, 2x 15″ Rockford Fosgate DVC subs, remote start, roof rack
7 pin trailer connector, Trailer brake
eliminated cats, installed rear oxygen sensor simulator, 2.5″ exhaust to Hooker Aerochamber muffler, 3″ exhaust over the axle to chrome tip
replaced a hand full of worn or missing interior pieces
Changed the oil every 3k miles with Rotella 10w30. I bought it with 188k on it.
It was supposed to be a winter beater, but I wound up enjoying it for a summer and decided to start upgrading/repairing stuff.

Montero solutions

So the Montero went into 2wd mode only. There’s no option for that on the transfer case. So in Awd, it just wouldn’t go, and made a gear on gear grinding noise. In 4wd, I got the rear wheels powered. So my catastrophizing brain “knows” the transfer case or front differential broke. The grinding is probably the chain in the transfer case, right?

So I bought a parts truck with a good tcase and front diff. It had a front impact, so it wasn’t suitable to put my good parts on it, so it got dismantled and the body got scraped. Plus the frame was rotted through.

Come to find out, the front driver side wheel hub was stripped….

Luckily! The parts truck has two of these! Yay!

In the mean time, I installed a 2 speed electric fan from a Ford Taurus and replaced my leaky coolant hoses. Now the heat works!

Low and high speed temperature sensors installed, with an oem thermostat. I absolutely love having a TIG welder and being able to use it. I also replaced the fuel tank because the high pressure fuel line was full of pin holes, thus my 11mpg.

I have a small hand full of things to finish on it, like the exhaust, but it’s back on the road and ready for adventure!

The new power plant

The Arrows crank got beat out of round, so instead on having the machine work done to get the stock motor back in it, I decided on a motor swap. The plan was to go 4G63T 2.0L DOHC Turbo engine. But, as they say, you can make plans, but not plan the outcome. So I traded Dibari a stroked 4g63 for a stocker, or so I thought. After I got it all unloaded and thrown on the stand, it looked, off. After some inspection, come to find out, it’s a 4G61T. The DOHC Turbo 1.6L from the mirage/colt. How fitting for an Arrow.

So, now having this basically stock 1.6L bottom end, it’s time to check it out.

New bearings ✔

all new gaskets ✔

hks 272 cams ✔

Evo 8 intake manifold ✔

Evo 3 big 16g ✔

2g head and head studs ✔

So far everything is coming together smoothly. From the specs of this combination, it should be ~250HP. Which is right where I want to be.

One difference is the deck height of the block is shorter, so I had to clearance the timing belt tensioner bracket, and slot the top hole for it. Also, the water pump is different than a 4g63. It’s shorter as well.

Everything is lined up, the cams are degreed, they were about 4 degrees off. I got the crank trigger mounted, I just welded a bar on and drilled and tapped some holes in it. I welded a couple beads on to keep it centered.

The crz got some love this weekend too. I took the roof rack off the Montero and cut it down to 42″ then took the mostly destroyed plastic off and used gaffing tape as a traction material/color.

Then added the basket.

I also did some kayaking with my girlfriend Jamie last weekend after wandering around the shore of Lake Michigan.

Fare thee well

The time has come to say goodbye to the 1987 Chrysler Conquest. It had some good runs, but I have too many cars, and it’s just a heap. So it went to the scrapyard.

Now that the conquest is out of the garage, the Arrow can get some love. Time to pull the motor, and get those bearings replaced.

But wait, why don’t I throw the Comanche axles under the Comanche and get it off Jack stands. Great idea! So I did that.

I like how it sits. But it has the og rear axle, 2.something gears, Spring over swapped and the 2wd front axle under it. The only 4wd axle I have is 3.73 gears, so I didn’t want to put that under it. I also threw the 4inch front lift on it.

But wait, there’s more…

The maroon 85.5 conquest is giving up its motor. I pulled that tonight. I forgot how easy this pulling Motors and swapping axle stuff really is.

Whew. That was easy. Now it’s time to focus on what’s important. Dinner!

Shrimps and grits. Delicious.

Jeep days

So the Comanche needs some dissembling before it gets to a good point, so that’s what this weekend was made up of.

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I have to take all the suspension/axles off to put on the scrap zj.

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The front was challenging.

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I had to cut/grind the upper control arm bolt off.

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But it came free.

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The rear was very simple, but I did decide to cut off every brake line. It’ll make sense later. Longer lines and what not. Ford parts and junk.

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Had to cut off the u bolts. With a torch.

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And then I isolated the engine harness from the engine bay body harness. Because a 5.2L swap makes sense.

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Then we went fishing.

Jerp derp

I mean jeep.
Or jeeps.

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It’s getting out of control around here.
The 5.2L got smashed in the ass. So I bought a 5.9L to replace it. That seems like a legitimately sane decision.

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There’s a noise, and oil pressure builds when you rev it up.
Whatever, I’ll just fix it. It also has every normal problem a 1998 should have.
-coolant sensor error on the Vic
-automatic lights jitter
-sunroof doesn’t open
-hatch and glass struts are blown
-front diversion noise/leaks
-electric door locks don’t work
-someone used too much air freshener
This particular one has runny spray painted taillights, a plugged sunroof drain (I believe), a 3″ lift, new tires and rims, a non functional remote entry/maybe alarm. And some other piddly crap.

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It seems to be the same color as the 5.2L, so that’s nice, same color interior too.
Now I wait for the carpet to dry and a battery to charge.