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Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/24/17 9:11 a.m.

Yeah, that wastegate solution was a terribly bad idea on the part of Chrysler/Mitsubishi.  The Garrett turbos are the opposite, so they don't fall off as easily.  Its worth a look to find a garrett if you're going to continue with the project.

Note to self: pack safety wire and safety wire pliers for events like this.

For exhaust, the Minivan exhaust setup sold by FWDPerformance.com should work well for the Rampage and is mandrel bent.  Something to think about if its in your budget.  Also there's a company here in Oregon that makes and sells exhaust bends, they routinely have bits and bobs in their clearance section: http://mandrelbends.com well worth the look.

For the power steering, just wrap a string around the pulleys to get the length and then take that to the parts store to get the proper length.  Getting it tensioned is a pain without having more than 2 hands.

BTW, you don't really want one of the manual racks, they have terrible ratios for autocross, you might as well depower a powered rack and adapt an electric steering column to the car to save some weight and complexity.

tb
tb Dork
10/24/17 9:40 a.m.

It was good to meet you and talk a bit, even if we didn't spend a whole lot of time together while awake! It just seemed to work out that we were constantly passing each other while headed in the other direction...

 

I'm glad the car made it and you definitely showed major effort to make things happen all weekend. I didn't really help at all since you had a plan in place and there was nothing I could do that you couldn't do more quickly and thoroughly. My five minutes under the hood was productive but you guys really did have it handled and did an excellent job.

 

Good luck with all your projects!

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/24/17 10:28 a.m.

In reply to Stefan :

I'm really hoping I can make a run to a junkyard (relatively) nearby on Saturday that has an unusual number of 80's/early 90'd FCA vehicles including a few that should be turbos, and I'll be grabbing full head/manifold/turbo setup from at least one if I can as well as any other parts that look like they'll potentially be useful, so hopefully I'll be able to get one of the Garretts at JY pricing and then be able to sell the Mitsu for about the same price for a net zero budget hit. Even if not though, I will be getting that stupid pin in place so I don't loose boost at random.

I can definitely say that the FWDPerformance exhaust won't be in the budget for the car in Challenge form- I'm likely going to have no more than $300 total to make improvements, so a fancy exhaust isn't likely to be a serious consideration for the Challenge at least. For street use though I may look into it, but would prefer to still not spend too much. cheeky

I've already got a piece of string measuring the length I need for the PS belt-  I just ran out of time to go get and install one as it didn't seem like a remotely high priority (though it will be nice to have for street driving). Good to know about the ratios of the manual racks- I actually de-powered the rack on my old FC and it worked pretty well without any assist, I'll have to keep that as an option for the Rampage.

wae
wae Dork
10/24/17 10:29 a.m.

I don't know if it's a bolt-in affair or not, but there was a quick-ratio rack that was on the Shadow.  It's a 14:1 if I remember right and it's a powered rack which is good.  They're available as reman units and can help a ton, but be careful with your axles.  I have no idea how it measures up against the k-member in the rampage, though.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/24/17 10:31 a.m.

In reply to tb :

Thanks, it was good meeting you too! I unfortunately didn't spend as much time out with the larger crowd of competitors and attendees with the work needing to be done on the car, but definitely appreciated the help and input from you and everyone else who stopped by and talked with me. The overwhelmingly positive reaction from everyone on the Rampage was a good part of why I decided I would be bringing it back again.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/24/17 10:34 a.m.

Yeah, the L-body and K-body are different widths, so while it can and has been done, it requires a good bit of cutting and welding to swap crossmembers.

There are 14:1 power racks available for the L-body, but when you search for them, you have to confirm they really are 2.5 turns lock to lock before you take them home.

An amazing build so far and a great first showing for such a short time period.  If I lived closer, I’d have gladly been a part of the Challenge already and certainly lent a hand with this build.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/24/17 12:31 p.m.

BTW, I really need to go through my Turbo-Dodge stuff and get a box together for you.

I know I have some old Garrett turbo cores, some intakes, wiring, possibly some suspension parts, etc.

I have family in town this week, but I'll try to break free and get some work done.  I'll PM you with what I find, etc.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/24/17 2:18 p.m.

In reply to Stefan :

Thanks, I certainly appreciate any help parts-wise! I'm going to be going through everything I've got with a fine-tooth comb to see what I can sell off or not use purchased parts (for example- save $40 or so if I can find a good speed sensor & speedo cable this weekend and not use the new ones I got from RA) and recoup a bit to have more to play with in the budget on actual enhancements. And yes- I'll likely be taking the PS belt off again for the actual competition to save the $6 or so... cheeky

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/25/17 10:08 a.m.

Didn't get any actual work done on the Rampage yesterday (SWMBO stayed home sick, so spent more time inside with her than out in the garage), but did manage to get the rest of the stuff out of the bed and the cab and (somewhat) put away- with the exception of the new race tires, which I'll be hauling down into the basement this evening to store along with the wheels/tires already down there. I also dug through my old parts and found the hood pins- will probably see about trying to put those in this evening.

I'm probably going to need the Rampage to run out and do some errands this evening, so I'll be quickly getting things checked out on it before heading out. Thankfully the only things that really need to be (or should be) done are putting the downward tip on the downpipe in hopes of quieting the exhaust a bit, double-checking the lug nut tightness (yeah, I'm a bit paranoid about this now), and making sure the hood stays down (either with the pins or if I don't have time, bungee cords).  If I've got the time (and I should, I hope) I'll also try and get the wastegate actuator hooked back up- but given I was driving it around with no turbo and (apparently) only firing on 3 cylinders before, I think it will do fine if I don't have the turbo building up any boost.

I've arranged to borrow a co-worker's truck Saturday to run out to the yard with all the old Dodges. I would loooooove to be as fortunate as I was with the old RX-7 when I was looking for parts and be able to buy a whole parts car from the junkyard for really cheap- but that was pushing a decade ago. I'd also have to face SWMBO on that as well since even (or rather, especially) parts cars count against my maximum # of vehicles. Though if I could strip it quickly enough I could probably evade too much trouble...

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/26/17 8:54 a.m.

Got pretty much what I had wanted to accomplished yesterday- getting the Rampage set up to be able to drive it around normally (if not VERY LOUDLY) on the streets.

Got the downward tip put on the downpipe- not sure it helps, but I can't imagine it hurting any and it seems to work well enough- it's rather loud inside the cabin, but it's not terrible outside. For the moment the hood is held down with a ratchet strap- appropriately (IMO) there was a dirt cheap 8' camo one on sale at WalMart that I picked up to replace the bungee cords I initially used. One of my stops yesterday was picking up the hardware necessary to install the hood pins- but honestly I'm not in THAT big of a hurry to install them since I want to be VERY careful and sure that I get locating them right since it requires drilling holed through the hood. Honestly, if I can find a replacement hood latch Saturday there's a good chance I'll grab one- especially if they're really inexpensive at the junkyard.

Driving around (mostly after dark) yesterday I did find that there are a few changes that I want to make to the gauge setup. For one, the aftermarket gauges are WAY too bright- this was something I knew about when I got them, but if I'm going to drive the Rampage regularly over the winter, I need to get those gauges to not be so blinding (I ended up just using the stock dimmer- which they are hooked up to- to completely turn off the dash lights since I didn't really need them). I've ordered a cheap dimmer for LEDs that I hope to use to figure out what value of resistor I need to put into the circuit to drop them down to being more reasonable.

Related, I definitely need to do some moving-around of the gauges. Right now, the instrument cluster has 5 'bays' in it- the large central one which has (unsurprisingly) the speedometer in it and 4 smaller spots with 2 on each side: the ammeter (which I have no idea if it even works) and CEL (yes, there's essentially an entire 2" diameter bay for the CEL- which doesn't exactly work at the moment) on the left and the fuel gauge (which isn't working at the moment, and I don't know why yet) and the tach I installed on the right. Quite frankly, I don't need the ammeter in the middle of the dash- it's not something that is usually critical information to see when driving, and the CEL takes of WAY too much space and can easily be rewired and moved (seriously considering just taking a simple LED like is used for security systems and mounting it someplace- maybe even in the area of the speedo where the needle doesn't go). This will hopefully let me move the boost gauge and the water temp gauge up to the main dash where I can actually see the information on them far more readily. Honestly, it's still really tempting to use the little single-gauge pod that came with the tach to put either it or the boost gauge either on top of the cluster or mount it to the A-pillar so it's far easier to see when driving, the idea of course being that I can use it on the drag strip to help with when to shift. But, at least having it in the regular cluster will mean I don't have to be looking down toward the floor to see what the boost is...

Unsurprisingly the handling is still a bit squirrely (but not what I would call 'dangerous'... honestly, it's still less worrisome than the Jeep at the moment). I need to try and figure out where things are set and put it at least to a normal, neutral stance for driving around. The brakes continue to be softer than I'd like, but I'm hoping to be replacing both the old lines and all of the old fluid before too long, as well as hopefully cutting the questionable variable rear brake valve out of the system and upgrading at least the rear wheel cylinders to larger ones. I'm likely to upgrade the master cylinder to a larger-diameter one as well, and if I can find the calipers and rotors from the right car I'll get some vented rotors and stronger brakes for it too. I may be getting a rear disc brake conversion as well (and hopefully poly bushing'd front control arms as well), but for now a stronger MC and making sure the rear brakes are actually working should help.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/26/17 9:35 a.m.

I wish you luck with the braking and other improvements.  Even small steps can make a huge difference.

I would caution you that the rear end is very, very light on these rigs, even moreso than the hatchbacks they were derived from.  So that makes huge rear brake changes rather difficult to achieve without using bias adjustments that all but turn the rear brakes off.

The rear disc brake solutions are even worse and were only done to satisfy people who were buying the premium models and to shut the press up about it.

One of the race teams won an endurance race with their Shelby Charger with the rear brake line completely pinched off with vise grips. 

So I would suggest ensuring there is a bias adjustment solution in the rear line and to use really cheap pads for the rear (if you go rear disc) just to ensure they might actually work enough to keep it straight under braking without sending you into a spin.  This will need to be adjustable for when you have heavy loads in the bed as well.

The stock clusters for the L-bodies tended to suffer from fatique cracks in the solder and crimp joints on the circuit boards, the fix was to pull the cluster out and solder the pins on the back.  Worth a shot in your case.

Luckily, once you pull the cluster you'll see its just one large panel that could be replaced with a fabbed panel holding whatever set of gauges you want to put in there.  A simple piece of aluminum, cut and bent to fit the mounting points is all that is needed, then lay out the gauges, punch some holes, paint it and badda bing.

wae
wae Dork
10/26/17 9:49 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun :

I don't know about the gauges that you've got, but all the ones I've used had a separate wire that connected to the same circuit that fed power to the dash lights.  If that wire has +12V, it dims the back lighting on the gauge for "night mode".  They don't all get dim enough, but it might be worth checking it out to see if that's an option.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/26/17 10:06 a.m.
wae said:

In reply to Ashyukun :

I don't know about the gauges that you've got, but all the ones I've used had a separate wire that connected to the same circuit that fed power to the dash lights.  If that wire has +12V, it dims the back lighting on the gauge for "night mode".  They don't all get dim enough, but it might be worth checking it out to see if that's an option.

The two aftermarket gauges do have separate wires that feed the lighting vs the actual gauge (in the case of the boost gauge, it only has wires for lighting...), and they're already hooked up to the same circuit that dims that lights for the dash- it's just that at the dimmest I can set it to without turning the cluster lighting off they're still blindingly bright- which was something that was a common complaint in the reviews of them, so I knew it was an issue going in.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/26/17 10:18 a.m.

In reply to Stefan :

I'm most likely to stick with the drum brakes in the rear (either in stock form or with a slightly larger minivan cylinder) simply because I'm not sure of the disc setup fitting inside of the 13" wheels that I'm likely to be running for the autocross (same ones I ran this year), but the discs are an option. The Rampages in stock form have an adjustable setup for when the bed is loaded down, but I'm wholly uncertain of whether mine is working or not (it is letting fluid through at least, as I was able to bleed the rear brakes) and whether I want to keep it even if it is.

Yeah, I will need to go over the cluster more closely- but honestly there's a good chance the I'll be pulling out everything except the speedo (and maybe the fuel level if I find that the stock gauge is working right) so I'll just wire it up completely from scratch. I'm also going to be looking over the cars at the junkyard to see if they have any of the gauges that I want that I could transfer over to my cluster to keep it as stock-looking as possible.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/26/17 10:22 a.m.

The rear discs probably won't fit inside 13" wheels as they had internal drums for the e-brake.

Yes, I'm aware of the height sensitive brake bias valve and if it is working, adjust it for the new static height and leave it alone.

If you go larger wheel cylinders, make sure you're running 220mm rear drums first, just to keep the system in some sort of balance.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/26/17 12:30 p.m.

In reply to Stefan :

I'd love to go to the 220mm rear drums, but unfortunately it seems unlikely I'm going to find some in a junkyard for a decent price since they were only on 2 years' worth of vehicles (84-85 S-bodies) it seems, and while they're available new it would probably be a bigger hit than going to bigger front brakes.

I'll see what happens- first step will be to replace the 35-year-old lines and flush the fluid and see how it behaves and go from there, it's possible that will be enough.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
10/26/17 12:43 p.m.

No, I'm saying put 220mm drums from a passenger car.  The minivan ones are way, way too big for your use.  Only the minivan front calipers are a desired upgrade for some (even then they add about 20lbs of unsprung weight to the front end, with some creative machining you can cut about 15lbs out of the cast iron calipers).

The plus side is that they made millions of them, get the size proper backing plates from the yard, they bolt right up, order new shoes, bearings, drums and seals.  Install.  Done.  I think the hubs are the same, just the drums are different, but I'd have to look to be sure.

When I did mine, I found a set of 220mm 4-lug drums and grabbed them and installed them.  A little work on the e-brake cable ends to shorten the spring and it was good to go.  When I switch to 5-bolts, I simply replaced the rear drums and hubs as a unit.  Everything else was the same.  The front was similar, just changed the rotors and pressed in new hubs and bearings.  Of course I was using GLH front uprights because they are a little more beefy.

For the Challenge, I'd really look at getting the stock stuff setup well with decent pads and pedal feel, just to avoid the extra weight and because the thermal load on the brakes is fairly small for autocross (and even the drags), plus it won't hit the budget as bad.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/26/17 12:57 p.m.

In reply to Stefan :

Ah, OK- sorry, for some reason though that they only put them on the minivans. I'm probably going to grab a set of drums if I find a good 4-lug set at the junkyard simply because it's a haul to get there and I rarely see them nearby. I'd rather have the extra parts and not need them than not grab them and find that I need/really want them later.

If I can get the stock brake setup working well with just new stock parts I probably won't worry too much about upgrading anything for the Challenge since that's money that can be put into things that matter more (brakes matter a whole lot obviously- but even in their less-than-ideal state they worked well enough for this year's runs...).

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/27/17 12:07 p.m.

Drove the Rampage to work this morning (it was supposed to rain and get cold, the combination of which is not fun on either of the two-wheeled options). Overall behaved fine besides (of course) being rather loud with one exception- it freaked me out a bit because I was watching the gauges as I was driving the 10 minutes or so to work and about 3/4 of the way to work the temp was creeping up to over 240 on the temp gauge. Just as I was starting to worry *POOF* it dropped down to just under 200 and stayed there the rest of the time- so as near as I can tell that was when the thermostat opened up, which surprised me as it's a 195-degree thermostat.

minivan_racer
minivan_racer UberDork
10/27/17 2:21 p.m.

That's normal for most of my dodge stuff.  It spikes the first time it warms up then settles at a normal temp.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/30/17 8:06 a.m.

Well, the weekend was very much a mixed bag for me and the Rampage.

First, the bad- when driving it over to pick up the truck I took down the Knoxville, I dind't have the hook secured as solidly as it should have been (the hood latch broke at the Challenge) and a gust of wind caught it and blew it up when I was driving. The good news is that I was able to safely pull over to the side, and thankfully due to the design of the car the hood couldn't blow back far enough to hit and damage the windshield. Unfortunately, the hinges and the hood itself where the hinges attach were bent as a result, so I'm going to have to fix those (at least the hood- I'm kind of hoping to not have to fix the hinges, more on that later...).

The other 'bad' was that the trip down to Knoxville was for the most part a waste of time, and generally sucked bad on the whole. I wish there'd been time on the drive back up to have stopped and just checked what the condition of the vehicles they had were so I'd have known whether it was really worth the time to drive down, because I probably would have decided that it wasn't worth the effort. Making things worse on the whole both for the drive and the time in the yard, it rained solidly pretty much the entire time.

The two Rampages were in pretty bad shape, and I really wasn't up for trying to cut out any of the panels in the pouring rain. One did have a camper top on it- but unfortunately it was in pretty bad shape (back window busted out, bad cracks in the fiberglass where it met the cab). Had the weather not sucked so bad there's a chance I would still have grabbed it and tried to haggle down the price to where it was worth getting and repairing. The only turbo engined car they had was one with the exact same engine as mine- and again, had I had more time and the weather were better I would likely have pulled the head, manifold, and turbo- but I had less time than I wanted and it was pretty miserable in the rain. Had the car had the Garret turbo I'd have made the effort to grab it, but it clearly had the Mitsu. The Charger that was there was REALLY picked over- pretty much the entire front end was gone as well as much of the interior- and I couldn't test the rack to see if it was the faster one because the column was locked and I couldn't turn the wheel.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't come back empty-handed- but the few things I did grab weren't likely worth the hassle and time required to get them. Probably the only really significant thing I grabbed was half of the exhaust off a full-size Ram truck that should give me that material I need to put together a good street exhaust (and quite possibly usable as the actual race exhaust too) for the Rampage. I also grabbed a cruise control servo (will not be in the Challenge budget, but if I can get the cruise working will make the drive down much better), and the spring-loaded hood hinge setup off an Acclaim- I'm -hoping- that I will be able to make them work on the Rampage as I'd LOOOVE to lose the wonky hood prop rod (and it would mean not having to try and bend the hinges back to normal)..

So, priorities for this week

1. Fix the hood/hinges and secure the hood so this doesn't happen again.
2. Pressure test the coolant system- I can't tell whether it's leaking or I'm still just getting it fully 'burped' and filled
3. Put together the exhaust system for it.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
10/31/17 7:48 a.m.

So yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag in working on the Rampage.

Pulled the hood off and pulled the hinges. The good news is that other than the essentially cosmetic damage of the back 'tips' of the hood itself being bent up and needing to be banged back into place, the hood itself does not appear to be damaged at all- it's just the hinges themselves that are pretty bent up. Thankfully the stud that the hinges, well, hinge on that's part of the body/frame also appears to be undamaged (yes, the hinges literally rotate on a stud that goes into the body of the car). Unfortunately it doesn't appear that I'll be able to use the sprung hinges from the Acclaim- I probably could use them, but it would mean clearancing and cutting into the body & frame around the hood when i'm not even 100% certain that the geometry of the hinge will work. I brought the bent hinges with me to work today and plan to stop by the Makerspace after work- they have a big enough vise and hammers that should let me bang the hinges back as close as possible to straight again.

The cooling system check similarly didn't go the best- sure enough, when I pumped it up to around 15psi (what the rad cap is rated for IIRC) it wouldn't hold pressure- it was leaking around one of the host connections at the heater core at the firewall. I tightened up the hose clamp but am still seeing a slight leak at pressure- so I need to pull the hose off and see if I need to replace it (I think that hose is one of the older ones) or if there's something wrong with the heater core pipe itself and I need to replace the heater core.

Finally, the good news was that I'm pretty certain that I can make the exhaust from the pipe and muffler that I grabbed Saturday- and that I should be able to only have to make one and not be switching between a 'street' and 'race' setup. I do need to get some advice on exactly how to set it up (i.e. placement of the muffler in the system) before I start cutting and welding everything together.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
10/31/17 11:43 p.m.

Placement of the muffler in the system doesn't really matter unless it has a packing material in it that can burn. In that case, you'd want it as far back as possible for longevity.  Having said that i've repeatedly run 2.5"dia 24"long glasspacks (advance auto used to have them in stock for $24, maybe still do!) right where the stock cat used to live and i never experienced any objectionable or even noticeable failures. Chambered mufflers usually don't have anything in them to fail but also are so big you have to put them at the very back anyway. 

 

The only thing i've done with my rampage since getting back was WOT 1st through 3rd up the street and then lurch back at 4mph because the fuel filter clogged and then disconnect the battery. cheeky

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
11/1/17 8:58 a.m.

Wasn't able to get that much done yesterday other than taking the bent hinges by the local Makerspace (which I'll likely be seeing a lot more of as I try and fabricate parts for the Rampage to save money) and banging the crap out of the hinges with them clamped in a large vise. The end result though is that they look pretty darn straight and should work pretty well again. When I got home I dug out some old silver Rustoleum spray and hit them with that so they looked a bit better. Am going to hold off on putting the hood back on just yet since I figure it's easier to get to some things (like the accursed wastegate actuator...) with it off for the time being.

Hope to get the exhaust setup measured and maybe even cut and welded this evening- it would be nice to have the thing running and drivable Friday to be able to make a run of stuff to the scrapyard and possibly make a run to a junkyard (if I have time to do some more checking on things on the Jeep- no junkyards nearby have much of anything useful for the Rampage besides possibly wheels...).

 

Ashyukun
Ashyukun UltraDork
11/2/17 10:49 a.m.

Got started on the exhaust yesterday- is slower going than I'd like since I don't have a really good way to cut the tubing so getting straight cuts is a challenge. I think I only need to make like one more cut- I'm probably going to cheat a bit and use flex pipe for part of it... wouldn't be doing it were this going to be on for the Challenge, but since it's the street exhaust I don't care as much about the cost (though I'm not in a hurry to spend more than I need to...).

Would be nice if I could use the Maker Space's band saw and other equipment, but unfortunately their power equipment can't be use for the time being, so I'm left with my more limited tool selection at home.

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