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Discussion Starter · #101 ·
UPDATE:

Had to work this morning. Afterwards, was 5 minutes from home and Fed Ex sent me a notification...

Suspension bushings have arrived! WOO!

Time to get to work:

20210425_142010.jpg

I didn't expect this many boxes. The plan for now is to get all of the front end suspension components done, then once I have the transmission back in, I will make sure the car drives okay, then get to working on the back end.

20210425_154325.jpg

Got the sway bar off and cleaned it up, started by hand, wire brush and sandpaper. Realized it was in worse shape than I expected so moved on quickly to the wire wheel on my Milwaukee grinder, THEN back to sandpaper to smooth off some areas. After that, hung it from a tree in the back yard and hit it with some rustoleum satin finish.

20210425_195946.jpg

Here she is installed with the bushings in place. One thing is certain, they want a CHITload of grease on the bushings, anywhere they touch metal, and that grease is like honey, sticky and hard to get off. When I first got started I realized I had no idea whether the bar was right side up or not. But once you hold it up into place, you realize there is really only one direction the sway bar can go. I painted the brackets also. I didn't realize this was a fuzzy picture till I uploaded it, sorry about that.

Next up, lower control arms. I decided to do a little research before I removed them, contrary to my usual "LEROYYYYYYY JENKINS" behavior, going in and potentially dxcking something up. Removed my traction bars first. I decided to only take one control arm off at a time, in case something didn't look right, to compare. My 3/8 lithium dewalt impact driver wasn't quite up to the task for removing the big bolts on the control arms, but once I got them loose I used it to quickly get the job done.

Burning the rubber off the big stock pin from the vertical bushing was actually kind of fun. I think I got a headache from breathing in that smoke though. I finished off the last little bit with my razor blade knife and then hit it with the wire wheel to finish it up, then more flat black paint. That horizontal bushing was a bit more of a headache. It didn't help matters that I got my propane torch too hot and it brazed itself shut. Then I dicked up and made the hole too big, so now it REALLY blows out fire, but entirely uncontrolled. Then to add insult to injury, I went to Walmart tonite specifically to get a cheapy torch just like this one, and I kept finding more stuff I needed to buy, groceries and what not, and I completely forgot the main reason I went to walmart and didn't even buy the torch... @#$*@(

I used the wire wheel along the edges of the lower control arms, but because I never really drive my car in the winter, there wasn't much rust, so I was able to do most of the work by hand, then I hit the control arm with more of the flat black paint:

20210425_195900.jpg

This is how she looks with the Prothane inserts:

20210425_200426.jpg

Damnnnnnnnn sexy! I will install this in the car tonight, I will probably actually follow the correct torque numbers for this, in order to avoid making it too tight.

Tomorrow I get to repeat this on the passenger side. I'll try to call Clutchmasters tomorrow also to find out if I should send the clutch back to them and get some options. I'd say the clutch will likely be the next roadblock to getting this back together completely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #102 ·
20210426_004943.jpg
WOW was this hard to get squeezed in there, the rear vertical bushing was a freaking bastard, I had to actually bend the lower bracket down in order to get it to fit. It looks good now, with the bolt torqued up, but cripes that was the worst part of the bushings replacement thus far.

I can't believe how stiff this thing is, my lower control arm is sitting near level, but comparison to the other side with the stock bushings hanging down like it does. I'm guessing this is normal? I hope?
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
So did the passenger side today... good GOD, the rear vertical bushing does NOT want to fit in there very well, again, squeezed in EXTREMELY tight, not really all that happy with that, it shouldn't be so tight that I have to bend things to get it in there.

Talked to Clutchmasters today, not very promising, they want 299 dollars to take the clutch back and rebuild it, I generally go with a rule of 50%, "if an item costs at least 50% of whatever it is new to get it refurbished, just get it new".

They also offered me a better price for a new clutch at 430 dollars, but it isn't that much of a savings.

I was hoping they'd be a little more understanding.
 

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So did the passenger side today... good GOD, the rear vertical bushing does NOT want to fit in there very well, again, squeezed in EXTREMELY tight, not really all that happy with that, it shouldn't be so tight that I have to bend things to get it in there.

Talked to Clutchmasters today, not very promising, they want 299 dollars to take the clutch back and rebuild it, I generally go with a rule of 50%, "if an item costs at least 50% of whatever it is new to get it refurbished, just get it new".

They also offered me a better price for a new clutch at 430 dollars, but it isn't that much of a savings.

I was hoping they'd be a little more understanding.
I think a new clutch is the right thing to do.
And a new TOB, slave/master, etc.
Why risk your brand new transmission.
Build it for the long haul and then drive it and enjoy it.
Good luck, it's been interesting to read all your travails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
Pulled the oil pan, cleaned it. Because I didn't want to take it down to the farm, I cleaned it in a gallon of gasoline in a five gallon bucket :D I think i was high as a kite last night, I still smell gasoline...

I did give some thought to taking it down to the farm anyway and lightly sandblasting it to make it like new again, and I decided against it. The pan looks really good as is.

I waited overnight to put the pan back on in order to let as much oil out as possible, to keep the surfaces clean when I put everything back together. Used ultrablack silicone on the spot break between the block and oil pump, as recommended. I also put a really light bit of ultrablack around the pump holes and on the other end to help hold the gasket in place.

I did have to run out and get an inch pounds torque wrench, for the pan and oil cooler bolts. 44 inch pounds for the oil cooler, that still seems really low but oh well. Factory oil cooler gasket still looked good, again though added an even thinner layer of silicone than I did with certain areas of the pan gasket. Hoping there will be NO oil leaks on the engine itself for awhile.

I still have the factory struts... they seem to be good, but there is a little rust. Trying to decide if I want to take them off and clean them then hit them with some paint, or fork over the money for some new ones.

Right now, headed out to put my flex plate back on.
 

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So did the passenger side today... good GOD, the rear vertical bushing does NOT want to fit in there very well, again, squeezed in EXTREMELY tight, not really all that happy with that, it shouldn't be so tight that I have to bend things to get it in there.

Talked to Clutchmasters today, not very promising, they want 299 dollars to take the clutch back and rebuild it, I generally go with a rule of 50%, "if an item costs at least 50% of whatever it is new to get it refurbished, just get it new".

They also offered me a better price for a new clutch at 430 dollars, but it isn't that much of a savings.

I was hoping they'd be a little more understanding.
They arent usually that tight. they are tight, but not let's bed it tight. I find it easiest to start with the rear and cam the front in.. then use a rubber mallet and a rat tailed prybar to get the rearhole aligned. A little squirt of silicone spray grease helps too but no doubt they are a bitch.

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Pulled the oil pan, cleaned it. Because I didn't want to take it down to the farm, I cleaned it in a gallon of gasoline in a five gallon bucket :D I think i was high as a kite last night, I still smell gasoline...

I did give some thought to taking it down to the farm anyway and lightly sandblasting it to make it like new again, and I decided against it. The pan looks really good as is.

I waited overnight to put the pan back on in order to let as much oil out as possible, to keep the surfaces clean when I put everything back together. Used ultrablack silicone on the spot break between the block and oil pump, as recommended. I also put a really light bit of ultrablack around the pump holes and on the other end to help hold the gasket in place.

I did have to run out and get an inch pounds torque wrench, for the pan and oil cooler bolts. 44 inch pounds for the oil cooler, that still seems really low but oh well. Factory oil cooler gasket still looked good, again though added an even thinner layer of silicone than I did with certain areas of the pan gasket. Hoping there will be NO oil leaks on the engine itself for awhile.

I still have the factory struts... they seem to be good, but there is a little rust. Trying to decide if I want to take them off and clean them then hit them with some paint, or fork over the money for some new ones.

Right now, headed out to put my flex plate back on.
dont forget to clean the holes out on the crank. it might be redundancy, or just plain aircraft servicing habits but i run a tap down there to make sure the threads dont have any build up. then blow them out.

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
dont forget to clean the holes out on the crank. it might be redundancy, or just plain aircraft servicing habits but i run a tap down there to make sure the threads dont have any build up. then blow them out.

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Yah, I blew out both the pan bolt holes on the block before putting the pan in place, then even though the crank was clean as new, I got the hose around and cleaned them out just in case.

Now I'm looking at struts and trying to decide:
A) Keep factory struts, even though they are starting to develop rust, just clean them up and paint them as needed. They seem to still be good, even after 17 years.

B) Buy OEM struts, roughly 450 bucks, just to get ahead of the factory struts going bad. I don't autocross, and I've never had a time where I found myself thinking "Man I wish the cornering was better", most of my racing has been on the quarter mile.

C) Grab a set of megan coilovers, but mostly because they look cool lol, problem is that they are double the price of the factory struts.

I'm seriously starting to think I'll have about half of the cost of this car new tied up in it by the time I'm done with all of this haha.
 

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Yah, I blew out both the pan bolt holes on the block before putting the pan in place, then even though the crank was clean as new, I got the hose around and cleaned them out just in case.

Now I'm looking at struts and trying to decide:
A) Keep factory struts, even though they are starting to develop rust, just clean them up and paint them as needed. They seem to still be good, even after 17 years.

B) Buy OEM struts, roughly 450 bucks, just to get ahead of the factory struts going bad. I don't autocross, and I've never had a time where I found myself thinking "Man I wish the cornering was better", most of my racing has been on the quarter mile.

C) Grab a set of megan coilovers, but mostly because they look cool lol, problem is that they are double the price of the factory struts.

I'm seriously starting to think I'll have about half of the cost of this car new tied up in it by the time I'm done with all of this haha.
i like BC the 04 has them very nice the 03 has KW, also great...

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I have the ST CO and been very happy with them so far, with wheels aligned with braided fishing line. Great so far at least for daily driving.

Wow we really are dead here :( SADNESS!
No no no. I'm following along slowly, just as clueless as ever with the techy stuff (I have not touch the skittle's trans yet to share anything back). Great stuff you, and all, are sharing!

Sorry to hear about issues. But by the sound of it, you're coming along well, actually. I did my own CM s4 install years back with just ropes, 2x4, floorjack and some paperclip, in the middle of the Caribbean, and all turned out well...along with S3R install. Not sure how they would have lasted tho.

But this, "LEROYYYYYYY JENKINS", I know! Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
20210502_104336.jpg

I went with the street inserts, I am not all that aggressive and I don't do autocross or road racing, so I don't want my sunshades falling down and my hands rattling on the steering wheel :D This is trying to shove them in, with water and soap on, just to test, before grinding off the nubs inside of the trans mount housing.

20210502_104359.jpg

I put the stone grinding head in my Dremel, but it was not going so well. I ended up putting in a cutting wheel and then just hitting it back and forth with the edge of the wheel, and afterwards used a sanding wheel just to get it a little smoother. "No one is ever going to see this, why?" Because I know it is there, that's why haha.

20210502_105546.jpg

Masked everything off then hit it with the rustoleum semi flat (wtf is semi flat?)

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This is a photo from the top, I got some small runs in the paint, but not too worried about it.

UPS updated about 4 hours ago, the window for delivery tomorrow is 12pm to 4pm. If the clutch arrives early enough I'll probably have it installed and be able to get the car out tomorrow night. My biggest concern though is getting my half axles back in and the wheel hub assembly back into the struts. Those lower control arms are stiffer than a 14 year old kid looking at an adult magazine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Clutch arrived today at 3pm

I watched UPS drive around every direction in our town EXCEPT towards me, I'm talking north, south, left, right, east, west... (on the interactive map). I took half a day off of work so I could sign for the damn package...

Guy arrives

"Oh you didn't have to sign for this, says here this is just a drop delivery if no one is home" WTF??? UPS blows. Guy was really nice but man, UPS can't seem to get there shat straight.

So, again, clutch arrived at 3pm...

...drove the car out tonight. Clutch appears to be good, no slipping, need to probably bleed both clutch and brakes at this point though.

Probably added about 3 hours to the process because of doing STUPID STUFF!

I worked my ass off to get the transmission mount in, because those inserts are so tight, and forgot that I needed to put the three lower bolts in first. Oh after that just gently using the jack and a long screwdriver, the mount went in like nothing. 20 MINUTES!

Put the brace in from the lower motor mount to the top of the fender well... then as I was putting in the passenger splash guard, realized I installed the brace over the top of the brake hose. @#*(@#$???

So pulled the brace back off, got the brake hose out from behind the brace, put the brace back on. Then realized I forgot to put a washer on the brace, so had to take it off a 3rd time. I think that was about 30 minutes of dumb right there.

But later on, oh I really outdid myself. For some ungodly reason, I tried to put my traction bars on with the car up in the air (tires off the ground). I swear I'm just tired today or something. I was cussing away at the lack of clearance, that the bars didn't reach the H Brace front bracket like they are supposed to, tried loosening them, could only get one of them loose, then thought I'd try a jack under the link end...

As I saw the jack pushing the link end forward, it all clicked, I remember that I needed to have the car on ramps, or over a pit, in order to keep the tires on the ground while installing the traction bars. After that it was a breeze. I wasted 2 HOURS messing with them, and even now one side is not quite right and I'll probably need to adjust them.

I ordered a new set of factory OEM struts from modern today, but then driving around tonite, I really don't think I need them. I'll probably just install them just to be safe, 16 years is a long time, she's still on the original set.

Gotta drive it easy for 500 miles, till the clutch is broke in. There's an odd rattle inside the car, I can't figure it out yet. I drove about 10 miles then brought her back and parked her back in the garage. Two years and 6 months is too long to go without driving this car.

Oh, one other oddball thing, the radio was really wonky and the volume wouldn't work for shit, hopefully that will weed itself out? I don't know if the battery being kind of weak, or not being in the car for awhile might have done it? I have a spare radio somewhere that I bought for 25 bucks off some kid on ebay, may have to drag it out.

Good god I'm rambling! Probably being tired and excited at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #118 ·
20210504_155751.jpg Been a long time since this happened. Well, I guess a couple weeks ago, let me rephrase.

Been a long time since this happened without a giant pool of motor oil under the car :D

I've got a few things still to work on, but one thing that has me concerned is a 3rd gear clatter under load (gas). It doesn't appear to be like the pop-out type thing, as I can feel the gear slide way in, the car has new mopar forks, hardened 3-4 clip, and a modified extender for 3rd gear.

I haven't adjusted the linkage yet, I need to do that and also adjust the emergency brake (too much slack). And that odd rattle seems to be coming from under the middle console. Basically three reasons to remove my middle console and get to work haha.
 

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View attachment 147216 Been a long time since this happened. Well, I guess a couple weeks ago, let me rephrase.

Been a long time since this happened without a giant pool of motor oil under the car :D

I've got a few things still to work on, but one thing that has me concerned is a 3rd gear clatter under load (gas). It doesn't appear to be like the pop-out type thing, as I can feel the gear slide way in, the car has new mopar forks, hardened 3-4 clip, and a modified extender for 3rd gear.

I haven't adjusted the linkage yet, I need to do that and also adjust the emergency brake (too much slack). And that odd rattle seems to be coming from under the middle console. Basically three reasons to remove my middle console and get to work haha.
any loose change in there? lol.

the joys of getting shit done.

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Discussion Starter · #120 ·
So... got the center console out tonite, did the crossover adjustment, didn't look like it moved anything at all in the shift cables.

Moved on to the emergency brake, the handle was coming up pretty high so I did the adjustment to bring it back down (more on THAT later).

Then took the car out for a drive on the cobblestone main street here, to find the rattle.

Here it is!

20210505_190553s.jpg

That little gear right there... apparently it's a known issue:

How To Fix Emergency Brake Rattle

I had to scrounge to find a wire coat hanger, there was actually one in my military clothing, probably from Iraq when I had my desert uniforms pressed the last time before I came home.

I followed the instructions but I could not get the wire to fit.

So I did a little thinking, experimenting, and I came up with what I think is an even better solution:

20210505_202559.jpg

I ran two zip ties side by side then made sure they were behind the coil spring on the E-brake handle so that they can't slide forward.

Went out on the cobblestone street, nada, nothin! I'll update that other thread and keep people updated as to the longetivity of my solution.

Parked the car again and I did a little cleaning around because I had seen a stray wire hanging down under the glove box.

I had completely forgotten about 2006, in San Diego, I'd installed a Sirius radio in my car, one of those modules that goes with your car's radio, transmitting to a frequency of your choice.

It worked on trips outside of California, but it was useless IN California because of the sheer volume of radio stations. No matter which frequency I tried to transmit on, there was either already a radio station there, or some sort of oddball interference, who knows, maybe Camp Pendleton's activities screwed with it too.

I gave up on it and I think I still have the module somewhere stored away (I'm terrible about holding onto stuff I should probably get rid of).

Well, I ended up pulling the little block antennae off the car, followed that wire around and under the dash, then found the rest of the wiring I forgot was there:

20210505_204551.jpg

YIKES< what a mess haha. Got that all out of the car.

So, remember when I said "more on that later" about adjusting the E-brake?

Yah, I completely forgot, if you adjust the handle, good luck getting your center console back in. That was a wrestling match, and I thought for a moment that I ripped my e-brake bracket off the floor lol. Thankfully that didn't happen and I did finally get the damn thing back into place.

Now I'm headed down to walmart to buy a cheapy floormat for the driver's side to protect the factory mats.
 
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