Update: October 1, 1996While this update has been a while coming, it hasn't been because we haven't been working!
A couple weeks ago, I finally got the power steering pump off. That was a project in itself, but I eventually found all the bolts and worked it loose. I simply cut the hoses to it, knowing that they'd never be used again. I then connected the two cut lines with a piece of copper tubing so as to not allow any fluid left in the system leak out.
I next tackled the doors. We had a feeling that the passenger side window had been shattered at one point and replaced. Sure enough, after removing the door panel, I found the bottom of the door chock full of glass. I could also clearly see why these cars rust out at the bottom of the doors. There really isn't anywhere for the water to go, so it just sits in there. If you have a Duster/Turismo/Charger, I'd recommend pulling the door panels and soaking the inside with some used oil. That should help prevent rusting. Anyway, the door panels themselves come off fairly easy - much easier than my musclecar era Dusters. I figured that the speakers in the door weren't going to be belting out much music (especially considering the fact that there was no radio in the car), so I removed them. I cleaned up the panels and put them back on.
Later that day, we got the smog motor pump off. The motor was frozen up anyway, and did not have a belt on it, so we were just ditching weight. Despite what we were told, none of the bolts went into an oil gallery on the block, so the removal went without a hitch.
Next we removed the charcoal cannister, and routed the fuel line straight to the carb. (BTW, dad had replaced the three-prong fuel filter the other week with a regular old-style filter) We also examined the myriad of lines that ran to and from the carb. Some of them didn't lead to anything and were simply open. There are three lines on the front, which are from left to right: intake vacuum, vapor cannister, and an emmisions line. We plugged the two lines on the right, and reconnected the intake vacuum line to the computer, located right at the front of the air intake duct. Well, we fixed something. The car actually idles half decent now!
With these minor changes, the car did nothing: 20.45's and 20.50's, depending on whether the car was hot or cold. (hot n' fast) At least we didn't mess anything up! I did hit fairly consistent .550 lights with it, though. When it leaves quicker, I should be able to nail some good ones.
Now for the Serious Stuff (kind of)We finally got together with Billy Nees this Sunday. You could just tell he was ready to play. "If I can't get dis thing in the 19's today, I'll retire" I was warming up the race car, so I didn't get to catch everything he did, but here's the meat of it: The cam gear cover was ditched, and after carefully removing the gears, he turned it one tooth, advancing the cam. He unplugged the sensor on the front of the motor that feeds the computer, rendering it dumb as a rock. I believe he also plugged the vacuum line on the carb, and he ditched all those emissions lines we were scared to touch. Lastly, he bumped the timing up to 40+ degrees total. After fiddling for less than 25 minutes, I watched his first run from the back of the lanes:
.499 light. 18.79 @ well over 70 mph! I went totally ballistic! (people were staring at me, wondering what could be so exciting about that...) Billy returned to the lanes, "I don't think I'll be quitting anytime soon, pup."
We found that with the timing back around 35 degrees, the car ran best, with 38 probably optimum with the stock cam. Best time came at that point: 35 degrees, 41psi front tires, 50psi in the rear tires: 18.45 @ 75 mph That's better mph than my slant six Duster ever ran, and this thing's still in 2nd gear!
I received the new Hooker header (thanks to Jim Bageant), and I've ordered the 6x20" Mickey Thompson slicks, which will get me more gear. I've also got the 1.22 transfer gearset and the 3.05 final drive ordered, which will give me a 3.73 gear ratio. With a manual valve body also on the way, I think we're well on our way!
Special thanks to:
Jim's Used Cars, Montandon, PA