Friday, October 24, 2014

Super Happy Fun Time! Geyser of Death!!!!

The '89 Daytona Shelby in the parking lot of my wife's school.  I love this car.  So much fun to drive, so much aggravation (sometimes).  Every day you learn something new about it like how to set, arm and disarm the factory alarm (see previous entry).   

Every day, something new is learned like take for instance the fact that little did I know that right after I shut the Daytona off the Underwear Gnomes from "South Park" magically appeared under my hood and took their little gnome knives and cut one of my fuel lines.

"Phase One: Cut fuel line."

"Phase Three:  Profit!"

Uh ... What about Phase Two?


Phase Two ...

Phase Two: Fireball!

Not only do these little guys steal underwear but
they also cut fuel lines when you're not looking.

Yes, unbeknownst to me (that's a big word not often used), a high pressure fuel line had just cracked under the hood and as soon as I restarted the engine high pressure fuel would just spray all over the underside of the hood and all over the engine.  I learned this.  The hard way.  This was the lesson the Daytona taught me at 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon at my wife's school.  

Life is funny strange like that.  Yes, it is, which is what keeps life interesting.

My '86 Pontiac Trans Am and my '89 Daytona Shelby have two different mechanical personalities.   

The '86 TA is like "Well, I've run perfectly for a whole year now. I wonder what 28 year old part I can break that will strand Christopher on the side of the road?"

The '89 Daytona is like "Well, I've run perfectly for a week now.  I wonder what 25 year old part I can break that will strand Christopher on the side of the road?"


Like, for realsies.

So ... I'm off on Fridays.  I drive the Daytona to my wife's school to pick up my two daughters after school.  I park the Daytona, take the T-tops off, roll the windows down and wait on my daughters to come out so I can take them home early.  After about thirty minutes, my daughters come out, I pack their school gear away in the hatchback and we're off to get an after school snack.  I get my girls in the Daytona, I get their school packs and band instruments stowed.

I start the Daytona.

I smell gas.

I really smell gas, fresh gas.

My oldest daughter comments on this.

I drive out of my parking spot and two parking spots away where my wife is loading her things into her car.  The gas smell is still there only not as strong.  I'm thinking what it could be ... my daughter comments on the gas smell and my wife says she smells it as well.  Then my wife looks back to where my Daytona was parked and says that there's a dark spot where I parked the car.  I drive two parking spots back over, park beside the spot, get out and look at it.

Greasy, dark.

I run two fingers through it, greasy, dark.

I smell it.


I go to my knee and look under the Daytona.

Something is pouring out from under the right front passenger side of the engine bay, puddling below the Daytona.


I reach in, pull the hood latch and pop the hood and this is what I get to see ...

So, yeah.  Glad this fuel leak happened in the parking lot and not at 70mph on the highway after some spirited driving.  Spraying raw fuel on a hot engine, hot exhaust or a red hot turbocharger is not a good thing ... it's more like a recipe for a fireball.

That plastic braided line is one of two high pressure fuel lines.  You don't see the other plastic braided line because I've removed the cracked line.  That's fresh fuel spray all over the strut tower, valve cover, intake manifold, fire wall, dash cover, etc. etc.

Cough, please.  The fuel line that ruptured is in a pretty tight place.  Not hard, just ... tight.  You have to worm your way into it with both hands and use just your fingers to try to wriggle the rubber fuel line off of the hard line.  Get out your big box of 64 Crayola Crayons and color this "Tedious Chore".

Yours truly hard at work on one of his toys.  My oldest daughter has gotten my iPhone 5c and is just snapping away with the pictures.  It could have been worse.  A lot worse.  This is an easy fix.  I probably could have done it with my Gerber multi-tool on the side of the road but I didn't want the aggravation so I ran home and got my small ratchet set and a small pry bar ... and a roll of shop towels and a bottle of Fast Orange hand cleaner.

Fresh blown fuel and old engine grease makes for a wretched mess on your hands.

Cleaning up afterwards, best I can with some Fast Orange and shop towels.  

The next few pictures can only be described as ... "Sigh."




Back running and only half the vocabulary of a drunken sailor on shore leave used while replacing the fuel line.  Just another entry in the 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby diary.  I love this car.

She hates me but I love her.

It's almost like a marriage, with kids.  Yeah, if they made a sitcom about me and my turbo Dodge it would have to be written by the same people who did "Married.  With Kids" and it would follow along the same lines only I'd be "Al Bundy" and the Dodge would definitely be "Peg Bundy."

Shelby valve cover

It has arrived.  It will be installed, soon.

As it sits now.

With the Shelby VC set against the firewall for show.

The Shelby VC.  The oil cap is a bit loose so I'll just use mine.
I'm going to clean up the VC soon.  It could use a little TLC.

What's a little bit sad is that these valve covers only came on Shelby America modified cars or cars that were purchased through MOPAR dealerships then taken to Shelby America to be extensively modified and then returned to the customer under warranty through the dealership.  Having one of these valve covers means that one of the Shelby America cars, sadly, is no more.  You have to junk one of those legendary cars to get its valve cover.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

1989 Dodge Dealer Product Manual

I scored this on Ebay for $13 bux ... rare 1989 Dodge full line product manual with extensive chapters on every model offered showing all colors, options, etc.  I have a complete set of these types of dealer manuals for the third gen Pontiac Firebird (1982 to 1992) and I didn't even think about these existing for the Daytona.  When one for 1989 popped up I knew I had to buy it because face it, this is a 25 year old dealer manual that was probably considered disposable at the end of the model year way back then.  Finding one today is rare so it's going to be nice to have to display with my 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby.

Next up ... the complete shop manual set for this car.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A strange compliment and ... stranded again.

I took a short lunch at Floyd's Grill in Hattiesburg (over on 4th street, I recommend it) and when I was leaving a sandy haired kid in a PT Cruiser pulled in right behind the Daytona, blocking me from backing out.  I was just opening the door to the Daytona to get in when the kid rolled down the passenger side window of the PT Cruiser and shouted "Hey, man!  You're driving something you don't see every day!"  Then the kid rolled up the window of the PT Cruiser and drove off.

Strange but ... okay.


After lunch the Daytona stranded me at the Walgreen's Pharmacy on Highway 98 west near Turtle Creek Mall and ... I can't blame anyone but myself.  It's not the Daytona's fault, no, it's my own fault for not understanding just what I had and what she could / would do.

Let me explain.

The reason that she stranded me is the factory installed optional alarm system.

I tripped it, by accident, and I didn't even know that I'd armed it or tripped it so, yeah, stranded.

When I bought the Daytona, John told me about the alarm system that he had the factory install before delivery was taken at the dealership and he gave me the remote to arm / disarm the system.  When I got the Daytona home I never used the alarm system ... that and she was always in the shop for the better part of the summer getting the gremlins worked out ... I just put the alarm remote in a tray in a drawer of my endtable by my bed at home and forgot about it.  Well, I mean I knew where it was if I ever needed it but I figured I'd never need it.


So, there's a tiny sensor / control unit on the dash ... just to the right of the jerryrigged horn button (because the steering wheel horn buttons don't work anymore) and to the left of the factory stereo.  Yeah, that little piece above the glass break sensor is the arming switch.  It has two lights; green for valet (alarm deactivated) and red for alarm (activated).  There's a tiny, tiny, very touch sensitive micro switch next to the green LED light ... you'd almost think it was just a ridge in the design.  

It's not.  

It's a micro switch that arms or disarms the Daytona's factory installed alarm system.  Touching that switch, breathing on it lightly, moving your hand near it within 2 feet or looking at it wrong switches the alarm from valet to active.  Activating the alarm will make the Daytona bark loudly and strand you with a quickness.

This is good and bad.

Good if someone is trying to steal your rare '89 Dodge Daytona Shelby.

Bad if you accidentally trip the alarm yourself.

Somehow, I switched the alarm on and didn't know it.  

I got out of the Daytona at the pharmacy, walked in, got two Altoids tins to build urban survival kits for my bug out bag and when I walked out I stuck my key in the door, turned the lock, opened the door and all hell broke loose.  At first I couldn't believe it was my Daytona that was making all the noise but it was.  The alarm has a separate horn that is really different in pitch than the factory horn which is why I probably spent ten seconds standing there next to my Daytona wondering which car in the parking lot had an alarm that was going off (it's a really busy / loud intersection so it wasn't immediately apparent that it was the Daytona's alarm that had been tripped, especially since the alarm horn sounded completely different than the Daytona's horn that I was used to).

I stood there after ten seconds shaking my head and just softly saying ... "No."




Okay, denial phase was over so let's see ... turn the key in the door lock?


Lock the Daytona with the power locks.  Shut the door.  Use the ignition key to open the door?


Stick the key in the ignition?


Alarm has locked out the ignition.  Completely.

I'm not going anywhere and the Daytona is barking like mad.

I laugh because it's just part of the adventure.  Another aspect of the Daytona's personality that I've discovered, by accident, and at a totally inopportune time.

I sit in the Daytona and the alarm shuts off.  Thank goodness for small favors.  I open the glove compartment, pull out all of the documentation that John gave me and find the optional alarm information.  I start to read it, for the first time since I've owned the Daytona (going on 4 months now) and it tells me how the alarm works, how to activate it, what it does ...  Okay, green is good, red is bad.  I look at the indicator on the dash: red.  I play with the activation button, switching it from valet to armed and back.  Okay, that works.  I stick the key in and try to crank the Daytona.

She doesn't like that.

She disables her ignition and starts barking.  Again.

So I sit there, in a barking Daytona, in the parking lot of a local Walgreen's pharmacy, and I re-read the instructions on how to use the factory installed alarm system.  I now know how to activate it, switch modes ... but how do you deactivate it?

You use the key fob.

The key fob.

Which is in a small plastic tray, in the middle drawer of my bedside end table at my house.

35 miles away, due west.

I put my head back in the seat cushion and laugh to myself.

Okay, I've never used the factory alarm system before but now I not only know how it works but I also know that it does work.  Extremely well.  Verily it doth.  I jest you not.

I call one of my coworkers and explain the situation.  Twenty minutes later he's there in his car to take me to my house.  So far, my 30 minute lunch is turning into a 3 hour lunch.  My coworker drives me home, it takes me 3 minutes to go into my house, get my remote, and get back in his car.  We drive 35 miles back to Hattiesburg.  I'm still laughing because I'm thinking that maybe it's not the alarm but something in the electronics has shorted (the Daytona's alarm never went off before) and that thought does not give me any kind of happiness.  I begin to hope that it's just something simple like the alarm got tripped and the remote will fix all of the problems.

We get back to the Walgreen's and I hope that the batteries in the remote are still good.  I point the remote at the Daytona and press the button.  The remote has two buttons on it marked "1" and "2".  Amazing, the thinking that went into the design of this remote for the alarm system.  I press "1" and hear the power door locks engage.  I try the door.


Okay, wrong button.

I press the button marked "2" and hear the door locks disengage.

Fingers crossed (figuratively speaking) I open the driver's side door, sit in the driver's seat, put the key in the ignition, turn the key in the ignition and ... varrrroooom!


It was something simple after all.

I look down at the alarm indicator panel, touch the selector and set the alarm back to valet mode.

I will never leave the house without the Daytona's alarm remote ever again, especially now that I know how to work it.

So, another aspect of the Daytona learned the hard way but, despite the 75 mile extra round trip I had to make today to get the remote key fob, it was something simple so ... Hooray!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MOPAR 2.2 / 2.5 FWD Book

Wow!  I finally scored one off Ebay, new in shrink wrap.  I look forward to receiving this just for the historical pictures and the background on these cars.  Lucky me.  If I hadn't bought it I promise you someone else would have and it wouldn't have been there this time tomorrow.

"This auction is for the Mopar Performance 2.2 / 2.5 FWD Performance book produced by Chrysler 's Direct Connection Performance Division. If you own a 2.2 FWD Shelby Dodge car this book is a must have. Packed full of turbo, 8 valve, 16 valve info besides the carb'd and tbi engines. This book also takes you thru the history of the 2.2 - 2.5 motors from the early 80's up to the early 90's including showing you the original performance racing parts from Carroll Shelby and Direct Connection.

Here's how Mopar describes the book: This newly updated and revised speed secrets and performance modifications book from Mopar Performance Parts is for anyone interested in modifying their Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge 2.2L or 2.5L FWD vehicle. Both turbo and non-turbo-charged versions are covered in great detail. This comprehensive book also includes performance strategies and technical information on automatic transmissions and torque converters, manual transmissions and clutches, axle shafts, front and rear suspension components, steering and handling, brakes, bodies, chassis and roll cages, shock/struts, springs, wheels and tires. Indispensable for serious 2.2L and 2.5L FWD racers and performance enthusiasts. Covers all types of racing. (389 pages) P5007162 2.2/2.5 FWD-4th Edition

This book is now out of print so don't miss your chance to pick up a brand new copy that is still sealed."

"Shelby? Is that the same Shelby guy who did the Mustangs?"

Got a notice that the Shelby valve cover has shipped.  I may have it as early as tomorrow.

I took my Daytona to Rain Forest oil change and car wash today.  It's quick and relatively inexpensive.  I filled the Daytona with high mileage Castrol GTX and added in 4 cylinder Engine Restore.

Anyway, I took the Daytona to Rain Forest and got the oil changed.  I was the only car there at the time and the five guys there all did a slow walk around the Daytona.  I had my window down sitting in the car and I could hear some of their conversation among their selves.

"Is that a real Shelby?"

"I didn't know they had Dodge Shelbys."

"Did Shelby make that?"

"When did Shelby do any Dodges?"

"What is that?  Daytona?  Who makes that?"

Finally two of the guys walked around to the driver's side and asked me:

"Shelby?  Is that the same Shelby guy who did the Mustangs?"

I told them that Carroll Shelby had worked with Dodge through the 1980's and early 1990's and they admitted that they never knew that.  To them, they had never seen a Daytona before let alone a Shelby based Daytona.  When I thought about it, I guess they were talking about the newer Shelby based Mustangs and not the older GT350 type offerings that originally made Shelby a name to be remembered.  That surprised me but I guess as these cars get rarer and rarer they start to slip from the collective memory of youth.


I took the Daytona through the car wash and that was the first time in weeks that the road grime has come off of the car.  I haven't washed it since I got it back from the shop because every single damn time that I get it back from the shop and wash it / detail it, then it isn't a week or two before it goes back in the shop and gets all dirty again.  I kept thinking that maybe washing it as soon as I got it back somehow jinxed it so this time when I got it back all I did was vacuum it out and drive it.


Since the Daytona will be restored in the next year or two and since the decals / paint are pretty much disposable at this point I didn't mind taking it through an automated washer system, especially since the wash was included with the oil change and it saved me about half an hour this coming Saturday morning.

Would I normally take my cars through some automated wash system?

The '86 TA, now that it's restored?


The Daytona Shelby when it gets fresh paint and decals?


Until the Daytona Shelby gets restored?


I got a few drops of water on my leg from the driver's side window / T-top gasket seal but I guess that's okay since it was high pressure delivered.  I've driven the Daytona in some serious rain the past two weeks and it hasn't leaked once so I'm happy with the seals.  I just wish I could find some replacement liners for the T-tops, the soft, rubber wire reinforced parts that are riveted to the front and back of the T-top area in the roof.  Mine are coming apart.  The rubber gasket is fine, almost factory brand new.  The trim pieces are deteriorating rapidly.

Maybe I can get my body shop to cobble me up a set from scratch.  They don't look that complicated of a design and maybe I don't need the factory OEM parts if I can just get "something" close to original that serves the same purpose.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shelby valve cover

Oh, hell yeah!

This was an impulse buy but since these things are rarer than an intelligent liberal I had to go ahead and get it mainly because I didn't know when another was going to appear for sale (the last one I saw on Ebay was years ago).  I prefer this valve cover to the stock "Chrysler Turbo" valve cover.  I've been wanting one of these for about a decade now and I've seen them installed on other 2.2 powered Shelby Daytonas so the end result is going to look pretty smurfy.

Here's a pic of what my engine bay looks like now ...

And what it will look like when I get the Shelby valve cover installed (this Daytona is painted factory Daytona Blue so don't freak out, I'm not going to paint the engine bay blue).  I am, however, going to keep putting some serious labor of love energy into the engine compartment until it looks factory fresh.

How much?

$137 and some change, plus shipping and fondling.

I should have the new Shelby valve cover on in the next few weeks and since it looks better than the faded stocker I won't have to redo that part of the engine bay.  

Next underhood projects?
  • Clean up wiring, run new ribbed conduit.
  • Install remote toggle switch for electric fan.
  • Rig up driving lights to come on with high beams / parking lights.
She's still getting incredible gas mileage and she's still running like a top (with the small oil leak up front) so ... I'm happy.  It rained today so I had to throw the T-tops back on for the drive home and after ten minutes on the road I had to turn the fan selector on the AC down to the second setting because it was getting way too cold in the Daytona.

At least the AC blows super cold now ... and in Mississippi we use our AC even in the winter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A week on the road and ... no problems.

She's still dirty, inside and out.  I thought that washing and detailing it would just jinx the Daytona and after all that work I'd be taking her right back to the shop.  It felt that way for a while, it really did.  I'd get her out of the shop, dirty and dusty, I'd clean her up, something would go wrong, and she'd be back at the shop again all to repeat the ugly cycle.

Anyway, just a quick update ...  I'll clean her up this weekend.

Fuel economy!

Last Monday I filled the Daytona Shelby up full, so she had 16 gallons in her tank.  I then drove her from Columbia to Hattiesburg and back, Monday through Thursday.  Most of the time I did it with the windows down and the T-tops off, cruise set at 55mph.  On Thursday, storms threatened and I had to pull over about a mile outside of the Marion county line to throw the T-tops on.  I ran the AC all the way into Hattiesburg and then again from Hattiesburg back home to Columbia that afternoon.  Each trip to work and back was 75 miles so the first week I ran up 300 miles in four days, used the AC the last day, then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I drove the Daytona Shelby around Columbia in stop and go traffic.  On Monday (yesterday), I started the day with ... 5/8ths of a tank of gas still left showing on the fuel gage.  The needle was 1/8th of a tick mark above half full.

I don't trust the fuel gage completely, I'm still learning the nuances of this Daytona and her personality and she does have a personality.  She lied to me about how much gas she still had right after I first got her, telling me that I had an eighth of a tank of gas left and flaming out on me when I only had less than a mile to go to refuel her.

Once bitten, twice shy.

I figured that 5/8ths of a tank of gas was good enough to go to Hattiesburg and get back home, again, at least one more time so I took the chance.  At the end of the day, I was down to 3/8ths of a tank of gas and she was still going strong.

Tuesday morning I pulled into my favorite non-ethanol fuel station with just over a quarter of a tank of gas showing in the Daytona.  Since the tripometer and odometer no longer work (gears and repair coming soon!), I decided to do some fuzzy mathematics.  Knowing that the Daytona held 16 gallons and that I'd filled it up last Monday, I figured that if the fuel gage was close to accurate that with a little over a quarter of a tank of gas I should have about four gallons left, more or less.

I filled the Daytona Shelby up with 93 premium non-ethanol.

It took 10.8 gallons to fill her up and when the pump clicks off you don't try to put more in, not unless you want to see high octane gush out the filler neck.  When she says she's not thirsty anymore, this girl isn't thirsty anymore.

So ... say that I used 11 gallons of gas in 8 days commuting back and forth to work and running around doing errands over the weekend.  Take 5 days of commuting, at 75 miles a day (375 miles) plus say about 10 miles worth of running around over the weekend and that's 385 miles covered on 10.8 gallons of gas.  Doing basic math that gives me ...  35.6 miles per gallon and I might can bring that up a bit with some basic tricks.  

As far as gas mileage goes, that's twice what my '99 Lincoln Towncar was getting before I sold it so I'm happy with the fuel economy that the Daytona is giving back to me since now I'm using half the fuel each month to commute back and forth to work.   For comparison, my '86 TA gets a little over 24mpg at 55mph driving the same style and my '04 Honda CBR600RR gets about 42 miles per gallon.

35.6 miles per gallon.

Not bad for a fuel injected, turbocharged, intercooled four banger Dodge muscle car that can run up to 135 plus miles an hour on the top end.

Yeah, if I can keep the Daytona out of the shop now, if all the gremlins have been cast out, then I think I got a pretty good daily driver and I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

So far so good ...

So ... I filled the Daytona up Monday morning, 93 premium non-ethanol, and I've driven her to work every single day, to Hattiesburg and back, about 75 miles round trip.  That makes about 300 miles, give or take and I've still got over a half a tank (call it 1/8 above a half of a tank) of gas left.  Of course I've been driving it with a pillow foot and keeping it at 55mph on the highway (I'm in no hurry these days) so she's been sipping gas pretty miserly.

I'm just guessing at the gas mileage / fuel economy since the odometer / tripometer aren't working (I've got to order two gears to get that repaired, the gears fit in the cluster) and I really don't trust the fuel gauge but I did get some pretty effing incredible gas mileage running it back from Corpus Christi so ... maybe.

Anyway, she's got a 16 gallon tank and if I've used about 8 gallons to go to Hattiesburg for four days, with the windows down and the T-tops off, then I'm getting about twice as much gas mileage as my '99 Lincoln Towncar was getting which should put me somewhere in the mid-30's with the Daytona.  Yeah, I can stand that kind of gas mileage.  I'm saving on average about $25 or more a week in gas so the Daytona is basically paying for itself right now in gas savings.

It did rain today, off and on, sometimes pretty heavy.  My passenger side window wiper is acting like it's wanting to come off.  I thought it might just be loose so I popped the wiper blade and tried to put it back on but the clip isn't grabbing it to the nipple all that well.  I guess I'll be buying another wiper blade tomorrow ... this one is barely two months old.  Maybe I can fix it, I gave it about 45 seconds of my time today all told.


The T-tops haven't leaked yet but the right side wiper blade is going to give me a problem if I don't fix it ASAP.  I had to throw the tops back on this morning when it started to rain on me just outside the Marion county line and they've been on and locked all day long.  This afternoon I ran the Daytona back home with the AC turned on, coldest setting and the fan speed about half.  That was enough to keep me from turning blue.  The AC works ... my only gripe is that it takes about ten minutes to cool that interior down (so much glass in these cars) ... after that, it's Antarctica on wheels.

If tomorrow is a nice day, I'm going to try to get the Daytona washed, vacuumed and detailed again.  Ditto for the '86 TA since it took to the road last week while the Daytona was (back) in the shop.

Here's an interesting chart I made up just for my own kicks and grins.  This shows the last four months that I've owned the Daytona and the ups and downs of owning it.  The days marked in blue represent the time I found the Daytona online and the buildup to purchasing it.  The orange days are me going to Corpus Christi to pick up the Daytona and drive it back to Mississippi.  After that, the red days represent the days spent by the Daytona at my mechanic's shop and the green days represent the days I've actually gotten to drive the Daytona.  I went ahead and marked two extra days at the end of September to represent the first two days of October which brings us current with this blog entry.


All told since I bought her I've owned her for 104 days, I've driven her for 31 days (not all in a row), and she's been in the shop getting worked on / fixed / repaired for 73 days so not a good record so far.  In fact, so far, she's been in the shop for about two days for every day that I've been able to drive her.  I'm hoping that all of this is just catching up on some deferred maintenance and that the days to come will be better.