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Rufledt
Rufledt UberDork
9/1/17 11:16 p.m.

Today I got a text from a friend, and now I'm on a lemons team. Car in question, a 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati. Yes, the double priced Lebanon with Maserati badges. Engine is a 2.2 turbo. Anything to watch out for in an endurance racing setting? What usually goes wrong on these? Car is in pretty good shape visually, but it's lemons priced so it's not going to be great. I am unaware which transmission, but car has a boost gauge jammed into the dash where a vent used to be, so we got that going for us.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Dork
9/1/17 11:21 p.m.

That engine was the single worst auto related thing to ever happen to me. Including a wreck where I lost an eye.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/1/17 11:53 p.m.
What usually goes wrong on these?

Headgaskets fail due to detonation due to overheating or leaning out or some combination of the two. That car will have an auto trans. I would install a trans cooler and a BIG oil cooler (probably have to buy a sandwich adapter). I would also run the thickest oil you can find (consider 20w-50 or THICKER) as most of these engines are pretty loose in old age. An accusump and/or DIY-baffled pan is a good idea. I think your engine will have balance shafts. If it does, ditching them gives you a little oil pressure and a handful of hp at higher rpm as well as increasing the oil capacity of the pan (which will need to be baffled!). If you don't have balance shafts (i.e. your oil pan isn't flat all the way across the bottom) you can get a flat pan from a 2.5 which all had balance shafts and it will hold more oil.. but REALLY need baffles. If you manage to slosh all your oil up to the crankshaft it will aerate it and you'll have crap pressure and eat bearings within seconds at WOT. In fact, you may want to hook your oil pressure warning light circuit up to an NC (normally closed) relay on your coil positive wire so that you automatically kill spark if you lose oil pressure.

That car had a factory intercooler next to a narrowed radiator which means intercooled car had less radiator than non-intercooled car. If you do the big oil cooler you'll be increasing your total cooling as long as you don't slap the oil cooler onto the front of the radiator. Make sure that radiator is in good nick because you will NOT be able to find another one on any kind of short notice. If you decide to mount a full-width radiator (which is more readily available) and remount or upgrade the intercooler, even better.

As far as power mods, i probably wouldn't do any! At least not until i know the engine will survive an enduro on stock boost. The only thing i would do is upgrade the exhaust. You'll lose weight, get lower spool rpm, and gain a few peak hp without affecting reliability.

You should be able to lose a ton of weight out of that car. Lose enough weight that 180hp doesn't suck so bad and you'll be way more reliable than if you tried to add power until 3300 lbs didn't suck so bad.

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
9/2/17 8:07 a.m.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/2/17 11:33 a.m.

Finally, someone is bringing a TC to Lemons! Prepare to bask in the glory and admiration of all of your fellow racers, while fixing your car in the paddock! Seriously though, I do know a guy who ran a 2.2 Daytona for years in the northeast and eventually figured it out. Search for Futility Motorsports, the guy who runs the team is Chris Egan. If you. An find them, send me a PM and I'll get you in touch with him. He will be happy to share what he knows.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
9/2/17 11:53 a.m.

Why the Turbo Dodge hate? I had two of them, one running 2.5 seconds faster than stock in the quarter. I put LOTS of miles on them and I can't remember an issue that wasn't because of what I did.
Solid performer, cheap to buy, run, and modify.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/2/17 12:28 p.m.

In reply to DrBoost:

They have an abysimal record in low buck endurance racing. Seriously, one of the worst.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/2/17 12:57 p.m.

My team ran a Turbo-Dodge at the first few ChunpCar events. It was an 87 Shelby CSX that was legitimately bought off Craigslist after the owner got frustrated with it and drove over it with his off-road truck.

We had no real engine-related reliability issues. It helped that we freshened the engine before the first event. We did spit a rocker arm off. Twice. Whic was due to an overzealous driver who over-revved the engine. Twice.

We did have transmission issues, again likely due to the overzealous driver and also the age of the components. We put a slightly used sintered iron disc setup in it that cracked in half and caused us to DNF with 30 minutes to go at the very first ChumpCar event :/. That was frustrating to say the least. We also suffered from a lot of inside wheelspin, which doesn't help the longevity of the transaxle. If I were to do it again, I'd weld the diff (it's not ideal, but it's cheap racing, so limited slips aren't really in the budget). Which makes the car much more of a point/shoot and requires more rear seat bar/roll stiffness to get it to rotate.

The engine was prepared with a port matched water pump and oil pump housings/block ports. We added a coolant bypass from the top of the water pump housing to the end of the cylinder head to help provide even cooling. We used a cross-drilled block and head with a Mopar Performance head gasket and headbolts.

Turbo was a stock Garrett, just freshened up with a new center section and balanced. At those boost levels and with the larger intercooler, I might have gone with the smaller Mitsubishi since it spools so much quicker, combined with a welded diff it would have made corner exit much more fun at the expense of ultimate top speed.

On the bottom end, it was stock with a crank-scraper and a baffled oil pan (fabricated ourselves from scrap).

We added an external oil cooler and a large intercooler (from a Volvo maybe?) and kept the boost level around stock with a mechanical boost controller (Grainger valve). We also vented the hood to help improve cooling.

Engine mounts and bushings were from PolyBushings.com (he was a local supporter so we put his decals on the car and we got free shipping/delivery).

Exhaust was 2.5" with a turbo style muffler, exiting out the driver's side in front of the rear wheel. Worked well and was cheap/lightweight. We didn't have any noise issues and it wasn't annoying in the car with the window open, but it had that characteristic "old power boat" noise that they are famous for.

The vacuum lines were simplified using a vacuum distribution block and fresh silicone vacuum lines and press lock fittings where possible. Electrical was stock, but excess wires were removed to simplify things and questionable wiring or connectors were replaced as they are easily damaged due to age and heat.

For handling we adapted take off Subaru STi front struts and springs by using the Subaru top hats and cutting and welding the strut towers to fit them. The result was a lowered front end with plenty of travel and much, much stiffer. The rear had a sway bar fabricated from flat steel stock to plate the center bar and held in place with exhaust clamps to allow for adjustment or removal depending on weather conditions (it was Halloween in portland, Oregon, so rain was forecast).

Brakes were 11" Daytona R/T units front and rear with braided lines and Stop-Tech pads.

We ran as high as 4th in our first race, and it was consistently quick and didn't have any handling issues other than the inside wheel spin, so it was a momentum car that had warp speed once the wheels were straightened.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/2/17 12:59 p.m.

In reply to Sonic: Likely because people run too much boost and don't prep them properly.

You have to make sure they are in good shape, don't rev them very high and manage the heat.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/2/17 1:42 p.m.

The team I referenced, who had many failures, were keeping the boost significantly lower than stock, and shifting at 4500 rpm or less, with lots of cooling. Non turbo ones haven't fared much better. I know these are great for drag racing and whatnot, but they have failed so early and often in endurance racing that it is not just user error.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/2/17 4:16 p.m.

In reply to Sonic:

So I have to ask what the failures were and under what conditions?

Did they pay attention to oiling? Crank scraper? Baffled the oil pan? Port matched the block to the oil pump outlet to ensure there's decent oil volume without excessive foaming, etc.?

Did they ensure the rods, pistons and piston pins weren't worn out?

Did they ensure the headgasket surfaces were properly flat, with the proper surface finish and used the proper gasket?

Did they add the cooling bypass hose? This is a fix that helps ensure cylinder number 4 doesn't overheat. The TIII motors had a diverter flap sandwhiched between the block and the water pump housing to accomplish the same thing.

Just saying, it isn't just about slapping another engine in the car and go run it. That's what a lot of teams do and they get very good at changing them.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/2/17 4:20 p.m.

In reply to Rufledt:

So question:

Is this a SOHC motor?

If so, it should be an automatic. I'd add a huge transmission cooler and a manual valve body after adjusting the clutch bands. Its based on the A-727 torqueflite, so while the gearing isn't exactly ideal, its pretty strong and fairly easy to repair.

If this is a DOHC motor, I'd not race that as it is a very, very rare drivetrain and you'd be better served selling it to a collector and taking that money and buying a race car you're more familiar with.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ HalfDork
9/2/17 4:39 p.m.

I realize you might not have meant it to be, but that was pretty berkeleying funny

icaneat50eggs wrote: That engine was the single worst auto related thing to ever happen to me. Including a wreck where I lost an eye.
dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/2/17 6:46 p.m.

In reply to Stefan:

All of those things sound like stuff that isn't "low buck racing" friendly. As sonic said, these engine do badly in that environment. Yes they can be upgraded to do better at racing but they're no longer low buck. As opposed to say a Volvo b230f which can just be thrown in and beat upon mercilessly.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/2/17 6:58 p.m.
All of those things sound like stuff that isn't "low buck racing" friendly.

You mean like the GRM $200X Challenge cars over the years that looked like they had $20-50k worth of skilled labor in them?

If you're not paying full retail for anything you can go through one of these engines addressing small known issues and make it significantly more reliable for VERY little money.

I honestly think building a 'good' baffled pan is probably the hardest DIY task involved but that's not even specific to this engine as MANY transverse fwd oil pans are highly susceptible to oil sloshing under hard cornering.

Another thing i would add is to make sure there is an oil restrictor between the block and head. They can be fabricated pretty easily.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/2/17 7:28 p.m.

The rules allow replacing seals, bearings and gaskets without hits to the budget, so we spent time cleaning and ensuring everything was covered as best as we could.

We still had failures, as did other teams. There was an 83 944 run by a good friend of mine, they pulled it out of a field, went through the front of the motor, changed the filter and installed the safety stuff and ran it. They lost a fuel pump 18 hours in and we ran similar times.

It's racing, your labor is free, use it how you see fit. I just know these motors well enough that if you haven't paid attention to the details and made sure they are going to be well cared for, you'll have trouble. It's similar to small block Chevy's, they had a bad rap in that racing, mostly because people were just knocking the funk off of them and running them.

Rufledt
Rufledt UberDork
9/3/17 7:02 p.m.

Thanks for the info! It's an auto, currently has a boost controller. Seems like it doesn't like cranked up boost, but overall it runs quite well. Shockingly good for a few hundred bucks. Looks kinda bad, seats are torn a bit and the fender ran afoul of someone's foot at some point, but hey, lemons cars are all about inner beauty, right?

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
9/4/17 10:23 a.m.
Rufledt wrote: Thanks for the info! It's an auto, currently has a boost controller. Seems like it doesn't like cranked up boost, but overall it runs quite well. Shockingly good for a few hundred bucks. Looks kinda bad, seats are torn a bit and the fender ran afoul of someone's foot at some point, but hey, lemons cars are all about *inner* beauty, right?

Who cares what the seat looks like, it's not going to be used anyway. A fender dent is easily removed. However, like Sonic said, we have friends who spent a ton of time trying to sort one of those things. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I know when I look around a LeMons garage there is a very clear lack of Chrylser 2.2s there. There's a reason for that.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/4/17 7:18 p.m.

Turbo mopars are 1980s turbo cars which means they will break pistons from problems that would make n/a engines 'run a little bad'. Aside from detonation and all the carnage that ensues, they are somewhat normal for 30 year old cars as far as all the little issues that plague them. I'm working on a 1988 C4 Vette that's worse than any turbo dodge i've owned. Almost everything under the hood is screwed up. 30 years worth of opportunity for poor workmanship is daunting no matter what the car is. I'd rather have something that broke in 1997 and was never 'fixed'. At least that's 20 less years of opportunity for things to be half-assed that i have to figure out now.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
9/5/17 5:46 a.m.
Sonic wrote: In reply to DrBoost: They have an abysimal record in low buck endurance racing. Seriously, one of the worst.

It's almost as if running hard for hours at a time is completely different from a 14 second dyno pull in a straight line.

I thought the TC had a weird TC-specific DOHC head. Or am I thinking of something else?

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
9/5/17 6:28 a.m.

In reply to Knurled:

That was only 501 cars with the 5-speed manual, the rest were Turbo IIs and V6s.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/5/17 7:03 a.m.

Drop in a 318/904 and a stick axle out of something else and enjoy the ride.

akylekoz
akylekoz Reader
9/5/17 7:44 a.m.
dculberson wrote: In reply to Stefan: All of those things sound like stuff that isn't "low buck racing" friendly. As sonic said, these engine do badly in that environment. Yes they can be upgraded to do better at racing but they're no longer low buck. As opposed to say a Volvo b230f which can just be thrown in and beat upon mercilessly.

My thoughts exactly, with a ford 2.3 we have run it without oil, run it hot. Ran a neglected stock engine for a few races with no problems. So a 2.2 chrysler with a lot of prep may work to maybe not grenade. Not what I call reliable.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/5/17 10:25 a.m.
Vigo said:
All of those things sound like stuff that isn't "low buck racing" friendly.

You mean like the GRM $200X Challenge cars over the years that looked like they had $20-50k worth of skilled labor in them?

Except these cars need to run for 16 hours, not 5 minutes. I want the TC to do well, but hope Rufelt goes into it with his eyes open! It'll be a big hit, people will love it, but you're not going to win on laps.

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
9/5/17 10:34 a.m.

I wonder how the earlier carbed shelby cars would fare instead of the turbo ones.

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