Corvette Consternation Part 2 Electrical

So I bring the Vette home and the steering feels pretty good and although my 70 Mustang has power steering (I had been driving that all week..yeah..I know..”poor baby!!!”) there really is no comparison between the two.  I get home and park it for the night.

Next morning I’m up early going to wash both cars, so jump behind the wheel of the Vette to pull it forward a bit and…..nothing!!!   No power, nor lights, no key in the ignition buzzer, nothing.  Hey, there wasn’t even a clicking noise when turning the key.   I’m think great..what could I have left on that would kill the battery that badly.  Answer was nothing.

Now if you’ve some of my earlier entires, you’ll recall that electricity and I mix like, um……Amps and water!!!!   As long as it stays in the wire and gets from switch to device and nowhere else, I’m good.  Have that perfect universe interrupted and I’m not hanging with that.  I hate electrical work.  I hate thinking about, hearing about it and living through it.  And this isn’t limited to car, but that’s my topic here.

So I get out and raise the hood, but for I get to far I see a huge spot of fluid laying under the car.  Right about now I’m starting to get that…”all old cars should be crushed” thought running through my head and then..”I’m gonna find the guy that did that work, right now, on a Sunday and drag his happy but out of church (if such a demon would be allowed in one) and rub his noise in my…yeah…you guessed it….power steering fluid!!!    (Breath…breath..that was two weeks ago….come one now..simmer dow…………..HEY IT STILL FEELS LIKE YESTERDAY!!!!   Ok….ok…better now, it’s over and it turned out….OH>>>WHOA….don’t tell them now they won’t read the next two posts and your rating will drop below 2 reads a day!!!…Yes…Yes must get a grip!!!!)

So I started up the Mustang (they sit side by side together in the driveway nose to butt – have to back the Vette in or it won’t clear the end of the driveway) and maneuvered it over to the Vette so I can jump it with jumper cables.  I have a fairly new jump box but it never really seemed to work, and then I lost the power adapter ( stupid electricity) and it just sits in my garage.  I hook the cars together with jumper cables and allow the Mustang to run on high idle.  Get in the Vette and …nothing… not even single dash light.  The charging when on for some time before I could get the Vette to turnover and she started up, but she wasn’t happy.  I took the cables off and then for some unexplained reason I turn the vette off.

Crap!!!  So I turned the key, but I already knew how that would because there was still no key in the ignition buzzer..nope….and no click of the starter solinoid…and that would be a triple “Crap”!!!!  It took just as long to get her started again only this time I wasn’t going to turn it off.  I drove it over to the guys that put in the rack and pinion steering (of course it’s Sunday and I call and let some one know I was leaving it and to put it inside.  At this point I wasn’t happy, the power steering leak on a new system and now an electrical issue!!!!

Next day was a Monday and I called up  my friend Tim and said, “Hey..uncool to find fluid leaking and my electrical system is  f ‘ ed (short for fried….yeah right).

In the end it was just a hose that didn’t get tightened, oh and my alternator was in fact f ‘ed (short for fried).  The alternator came that afternoon and the car was ready the next day.  And that is that…end of ……………..yeah…nope…..I wish!!!!!

If you can guess what’s next, I’ll send you a DVD. is the new rack and pinion all clean and nice looking!!!

New Rack and Pinion This was taken today 8/31/2010

Thanks for reading and yes Steve have to wait  for tomorrow for the rest.

Corvette Consternation Part 1 Steering

Every one that reads this blog knows that older cars, no matter how careful you, or how much you baby your car you are going to have problems.  That’s the nature of any relationship.  Things break, undiscovered issues, or even your own missteps can issues.  You just can’t through in the towel “Honey, I’m going to have to find another mate, you just can’t run as far as you use too.” or “Sorry but that broken leg changes everthing…ur outta hereeee.”  (Lawyer up…my wife is fine, no injuries, still running worries…just wanted to be clear!!!!)

Well, over the past few weeks my Corvette has been a serving up a bunch of consternation.

If you remember a few posts back I had replaced one power steering hose and need help with the power steering reservoir.  That got done.  Shortly after that, a leak developed from the front end and over the course of two days it got a little worse.  So I pulled it in to the garage and crawled under neight..and that’s no small effort. 

The power steer of course provided hydraulic power to make the turning of the front wheels easier. (There you got the basics of the how it works.)  This entire process insists that the fluid, in this case power steering fluid stays in place.  Well my beauty failed conform to the standards. 

Rack Pinion

If you look at the image above you’ll see the plastic boots (A) that cover and protect the shaft.  Those are supposed to be dry.  When I touched the boot on the left side of the Vette fluid poured out, clearly it was no longer dry.   What was also very very clear at that exact moment was the pain in my wallet. 

Basically, the you have two options when something that is supposed to be dry is wet on a car, replace it or rebuild it.  I chose both.  Lucky for me the complete unit for my 84 Vette is still available through on-line Corvette parts houses.  EEERRRRKKKK..While I’m writing this I have the Speed channel up on up in the corner of my monitor, they are testing an Aston Martin DBS against a  Bentley w/ W12 engine…soft girl cars…of course that girl’s got some skills, putting eyeliner on at 150 miles per hour!!….end of EERRRKKK – I’ll let you know how that turns out.

A quick trip down the street to Tim Sisk proved my investigative results.   I’m the Average guy with Average skills, there was not something I wanted to attempt. Additionally, it requires a front end alignment.  So I order one, and because I hate having the car in the shop I had it expressed shipped, or at least that’s what I asked.  It didn’t shipped and took a total of four days.  What…you say…”oooohhh poor baby, took 4 days to get it here!”    Hey, that’s a life time for some car guys!!!!

Now ordering the rack and pinion requires a core charge (that’s where you have to return the old part or pay the core fee – they rebuild the old part and resell it) but as I stated I wanted to do both so I paid the core fee and kept the part.  This allows me to either learn to rebuild the part or sent it out to have it rebuild and store it way.  Plus I have the original part, although there isn’t much benefit in collector value for having the orignal rack and pinion (numbers matching) 84 Vette, well least not for another 20 years!!!!

The part was replaced and the car realigned, in total it was out of service for a solid 7 days. Picked the car up and drove it home and that was that…and if you believe that, I have some swamp land out here in AZ to sell ya!!!    Stay tune for what happened next

Oh…the Aston Martin and Bentley match up.  Here the details:

Braking 0-100 to 0 (time speeding getting up to 100 and then distance measured for stopping-shortest distance wind) ….15 second from 0 to 100 for both cars, breaking the Aston won at 40 feet shorter stopping distance.

60-130 test on roll – Bentley win 13.2 second, nearly a second faster than the Aston

The rolling mile  – top speed 165 mph for Bentley, 1 second faster than the Aston – 159 mph

Road course – 55.6 seconds for the Bentley      53.8 seconds for the Aston

Like I said – girls 84 Vette has a top speed of nearly 200 miles an hour.  My personal best, 174 mile per hour in the Vette – yeah that’s just last year.  Dyno proven.

Thanks for reading.

MOPAR’s 318 Part III

You may only have ever heard the name Imperial with the name Chrysler in front of it, but there was a brief period when it was its own company…sort of.  In 1955 Chrysler spun off the Imperial as its own separate marquis in an attempt to compete directly with the Cadillac and Lincoln luxury marquees offered by General Motors and Ford.  It was to be a luxury branding.

Beautiful ’55 Imperial (not a Chrysler…well not one on paper)

Imperial continued as its “own” company until 1975. Even though it was always sold in Chryslers dealerships, it was, on paper, a separate its own company. From 1976 to 1978 no Imperials were made, at least by name the Chrysler New Yorker Brougham was the name plate used at the time.

However, in 1981-1982 Chrysler was looking for a luxury model to add to its line up and decided it would try it again. The new luxury car would be named the “Imperial”.  This was in fact a K car but let’s not dwell on that.  What was really important was the latest Aerospace technology that was being used under the hood for the first time in a car.

1983 K Car Chrysler Imperial EFI


The Imperial was the first car fully fitted with a continuous-flow injection system.  Oh and the workhorse engine they choose to make this historical leap…yup the one, the only 5.2L, V8….318, thereby, making this a historic event in the auto industry and for the 318.  This new fuel delivery system was monitored by a combustion computer and adjusted the fuel/air mixture to the driving conditions.  The idea was to improve gas mileage.  The 318 was able to produce 140 hp and 240 ft lbs asphalt gripe and go from 0 to 50 mph under 10 seconds.

EFI Set Up from a 1982 318

Unfortunately the design was flawed.  There were issues with the fuel, octane content and vacuum connections (not unlike issue with GM’s Crossfire engine used in the 82 GM models and including my 1984 Corvette).  It was so unfriendly that customers began trading the Imperials in 1981. It reached a tipping point and Chrysler recalled the 318s and most were fitted with a two barrel carb instead.  It is difficult to tell but according to some sources the 318 Imperial may have been fitted with 2v or 4v carb, producing 130 and 165 horsepower, respectively, in 1982 and 1983.

Either way the 318 had been the center piece for a leap forward in design…ok…ok…there was a leap and then a fall and then a backwards somersault.  Nonetheless it was historical.

Thanks for reading.  Next up with the how Dodge used the 318


Dodge Super Bee

The Super Bee was only available with the V8 318 engine (270 horsepower (hp) and the buyer could choose from either a four-speed or

Auto Factoids for 8/22/2010

Very like week this week. 

OH….the Corvetttes at Carlisle is a huge event going on over in Carlisle PA.  I might make it there one of these years. 

For all you caddy lovers on 8/27/1902 the Cadillac company was born.  Yup it was its own company. 

This sure isnt' what one thinks of when they think of a Cadillac


Oh and this was the olds from around that era: 

1897 Olds.


London, England had an auto (and plane) historical event this week.  Charles Rolls was born on 8/27/1877 (Rolls Royce). Beside creating the an iconic car, they did plane engines and more. 

1903 Rolls Royce


Thanks for reading. 


Auto Factoids for 8/8/2010

8/8/55 – test of first solar car.  William Cobb  created a prototype, but it was only a 15 inch model. Basically, an electric current was produced that in turn powered a tiny motor. The motor turned the vehicle’s driveshaft, which was connected to its rear axle by a pulley. I couldn’t find a pic of this one.  However, Alan Freeman developed the solar-powered car  in 1979 that you could actually put a human in.  Here’s the pic.  (It’s really just a bike…I think.)

Alan's Solar Car.


8/11/66  Chevy introduced the Camaro.  There is some discussion on whether there is such an animal as a 1966 Camaro, they  were, build in 1966 but sold in 1967.   Here a  pic.

8/15/56 Packard no longer producing cars in Detroit.  Previously the Packard company bought Studebaker and tried to keep the Packard name a live in 1957 by reworking a Studebaker and give it the Packard name.



1957 Packard...looks alot like Studebaker

8/21/1897  Oldsmobile becomes a company. Of course the company is no longer in business another icon gone.

1897 Olds

Thank’s for reading.


Wrenchin’ Tip Engine Swap 8/15/2010 Label It!

Now the Mustang is a fairly simple machine, even the electrical system is easy to work through. Pls note, I hate electrical problems and I equally dislike having to chance them down and I don’t care how simple it is.  My 84 Corvette is nothing short of a nightmare. 

Keeping this stuff straight is hard to do.  Now tearing out an engine doesn’t necessarily mean you are starting out with all new wiring, but it could.  A tip I use is to label everyone single wire with (normally) white duct tape. 

Like so: (not white duct tape!!) 

This actually reads: Starter Relay. (Yeah...spelling you haven't noticed!!!)


This is eXtremely handy.  For example there are no less than 18 different wires just on the driver’s door for the Corvette.  I’ve taken the door apart so many times for repair, that I started leaving them labeled. 

Of course you can use this for hoses, lines and parts. 

Thanks for reading. 


MOPAR’s 318 Part II

Before I start this next segment on the 318, I have to admit that organizing and presenting this work of art (oh..yeah..I’m laughing too!!!!) could have gone in a lot of directions.   The two that stuck out the most for me was by year (chronologically) or by brand.  Neither was a solid idea and at some point in the ’70s the only thing separating brands within most U.S. car manufacturers wasn’t much more than vinyl vs cloth seat covering.  So I decided to go with brands, Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth, knowing that there we would be some crossover information and it might look a bit disjointed.  There’s some good stuff, and a couple of things you might know about the 318.

Chrysler began using the 318 in 1967 and carried that power plant until the late 1990s.

From 1967 to 1971 the 318 carried a 230 hp rating w/ the standard 2 barrel carb, managed 340 ft lb of torque and sported 9.2:1 compression ratio.  (that is actually a lower compression ratio than the original Ford 250 straight six I took out of my Mustang).  In 1967 the 318 engine was used in the Belvedere, Satellite, Fury, Coronet, Polara and Charger and in 1968 they added as the base option in the Dart GTS and Barracuda.

1967 Polara 4 door.


From 1972 to 1979 the 318 was bounced around in the horsepower arena between 150 to 140.  That’s nearly 100 hps lost from the late 1960’s.  At lower end of the new scale were the California models with the extra smog control.   It was still a mainstay, being the base engine choice for the Duster,  Cordoba, Monaco, New Port and unexpectedly the Road Runner,  just to name a few. It was never sported anything bigger than a 2 barrel carb and the compression dropped to 8.5.

It didn’t get any prettier in the 80s either, although there a bit of a bump in the high-end of the hp range to 175 hp but the company more than made up for that dropping the lowest number 120.  Interestingly, they made the California models with 155 hp and a 4 barrel carb.  The compression stayed about the same, but  in ’83 – ’90 they made a HD version of the engine that had between 165 to 175 hp, depending on the year and sported a 4 barrel carb.  This configuration managed to lay down 240 – 250 ft lb of torque, not too bad in one of the lighter cars, like the Dart, but barely power enough for the big old St. Regis. The 318 was also added to some of the most memorable cars….come doesn’t remember “ rau….oh..oh…” (Volare )and the LeBaron, and Aspen.  Even some larger cars like the St. Regis, New Yorker, Gran Fury (I can’t see any car begin called grand with only 120 hp, but that’s just me.) and the Imperial.

1976 Volare


Oh and speaking of the Imperial something interesting happened in 1982 and 1983.  That little something was EFI.  More on that in the next segment.

Thanks for reading.


’89 318 efi intake to ’79 carbed 318 – Mopar Forums

Hello, my brother and I are thinking of taking on a project and would like to know if the throttle body injection components from the 1989 318 in his truck will work on a 1979 318 engine. The reasoning behind this is due to our …

Wrenchin’ Tip Engine Swap 8/8/2010

At some point I’ve promised myself I would cover the restoration stories that center around my 1970 Mustang.  There is a lot to tell, trust me!! I’ve learned a lot!!!  

Engine - Before (250)


Engine After - (302)


But for this Wrenchin’ Tip, I’d thought I’d share a few hints that I did pick up.  Just to be fair I didn’t  do a lot of the engine swap work myself (Average Guy w/ average tool and average skills) but I learned a lot of general helpful hints and some Mustang specific helpful hints!!!  

So here are a couple of tips:  

 1.  Planning and scheduling a restoration is important.  If you are doing an engine swap or pulling it out for an overhaul make this the first step in your restoration.  Yes, I’ve seen the TV shows where they put the engine after the car is back from the body shop.  But hey this is the real world, and in this world, money is tight and body work is expensive enough not to what to afford to re-do it.  In this world, my average guy world, wrenches slip, grease stains and sometimes swinging 400 lb engine at the end of a chain can be…well…a bit dicey.  

2. Before preparing the engine for removal, you know, disconnecting all the electrical, fuel, A/C,  vacuum system, etc., take the hood off and store it someplace safe.  You’ll have a ton of room and you won’t bounce  that shiny, newly painted engine against it.  

3.   Test fit the headers before you install the engine, especially if you aren’t putting stock headers back on.  You need to check the clearances around them and ensure you can get to key components , such as starters, after the engine is completely installed.  Nothing is more insane that having to pull an engine or headers just to replace your starter. Here is a pic of my Mustang’s engine with all the attachments.  

Clearance checking pre-fit!!!


More engine swap tips coming up.  

Thanks for reading.  


Auto Factoid 8/8/2010

This isn’t my normal “on this date back in…” factoid.  This one is current.


At the VW Automóveis Ltda. plant in Portugal today the hundred-thousandth third-generation Scirocco rolled off the production line. Since its launch in 1974, this compact sports coupe has been the most successful Volkswagen two-door with more than 800,000 sold to date. Another notable Giugiaro coupe is the breathtaking beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint.

These cars were a hot item in the use for a short while.

2010 Scirocco

 Thanks for reading


Auto Factoids for the weeks of 7/25/2010 and 8/1/2010

7/26/1945 Kaiser-Frazer Corp organized – it also include what was left of Graham-Paige car manufacturer. Frazer Nash was a British car making company.  In 1953 it became just Kaiser Motors. 

1946 Kaiser Nast Sedan


1953 Kaiser Darrin Convertible


7/29/1916 Nash Motor Company as founded by Charles Nash when he purchased a company called Jeffery Company which made a car called the Rambler.  I bet you can guess what came eventually  American Motors and their Rambler. 1909 Buick purchased Cadillac on the 29th day.  

8/3/1900 The Firestone rubber company was founded by Harvey Firestone.  It was based in Akron, Ohio and had only 12 employees. Six years later Mr. Henry Ford contracted with Firestone to supply tires for the Model T. 

8/7/1937 the Cord company stopped production car, but of course when one to build planes etc. 

 Thanks for reading