|From: marcel chichak <[email protected]>
Subject: [R] Tbird story: we broke
Not much of a story, but it's what we got. Our
new-to-us ex pro rally 78 Dodge Colt failed us.
The car was built by a bodger so Ian and I spent
most of the summer and fall exorcizing demons
trying to get some reliability into it. A total
wiring harness change, complete change of fuel
plumbing, brakes, suspension.... everything was
wrong. One of the first things I changed was the
weedy little alternator in favour of a brand new
90 amp Nippon Denso unit and it was this that
failed. After months of use making enough power
to handle everything on board plus 350 watts out
the front, it barely had enough juice to power
up the coil.
We started very well: the new Alfa instruments,
new navigation style and new car were all working
according to plan until the second transit when
the engine started showing signs of lean surge.
We pulled over on the highway to check things
out. The rubber fuel line appeared kinked so after
cutting a couple cm off we made it another couple
hundred meters down the hill before it coughed
to a halt again. We changed the fuel pump to the
spare mounted right there but not plumbed in (it
will be next time!) and we were on our way again
15 minutes down. Into the next stage we made up
5 minutes before we came upon a checkpoint...
then coughed to a halt a few minutes later. No
power at all. With everything switched off we
push started, checked the alternator output and
confirmed it was dead dead dead. With the night
sections coming up soon we had no choice but to
pull the plug.
In retrospect it would appear the fuel pump was
working fine but not getting enough voltage to
pump properly. We were poking at the wrong end
of the car!
We drove back to the start making it just before
night fall, loaded the car on the trailer and
headed for the overnight stop to meet up with
the rest of the survivors.
We have a long list of things to change on the
car before next rally and it looks like we'll
need to do some serious testing before committing
to another 1200 Km haul.
Also in retrospect getting that bodged car into
proper competition condition was damn near
as much work as getting a standard vintage car
ready. Next year we play with the vintage boys
again. What'll it be? The Cooper S? Volvo 123
GT? Cortina? Landcrab? Choices choices...
- -- Marcel Chichak [email protected]
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