Mr. Dodge, Part 3 (2014)
This article is part of a series:
transfer from switzerland to bavaria and
– ricola wants to sicely
the transfer from switzerland to my shop in bavaria went smooth…at least most of it. Around buxheim a popping noice anounced problems. the doghouse above the engine did not seal well so brownish water sprayed in the cockpit up to the windshield…inside😯. Lucky me there was a resting area i could arrive with the remaining speed but….unlucky me – the place was packed 😳
I sailed with engine off along from trucks and parked cars…no place…at the end there was a tiny gap. With water clouds coming out of the hood the van marked position like an Indianer to everybody. white clouds do not mean fire so nobody exept me was nervous.
A polish guy with an italian football shirt urged me to sit with him – eat some bread and pickels. As long the dodge was steaming clouds of water…no need for any action. Later I opened the hood and found a small waterhose broken…like a 90degrees bent finger between waterpump and engine. Called the adac I asked for support and a piece of 90 degree rubber hose to fix my problem. One hour later the guy came and had only some generic diameter hoses and nothing with an 90 degree angle. We worked out a compromise in 90 degrees and the guy sponsored 3 liters of the missing 6 or 8 liters of water.
Go for the next exit – there is a petrol station an fill up your rig !
Ok…with 1500rpm and low on water i cruised the Van to the petrol station and one hour later later coffee break at my friends place. The selfmade hose blew again. Second repair and i gave an offical pray to the van itself when leaving my friends place for the last 50 kilometers;
If you make it home – I promise you new rubber hoses…new brakes…new fluids.. new interieur….new electric cables (none of the instrument cluster units were working) new…whatever you want ! Mister dodge took the deal and we made it home.
Rockauto.com is the platform to get all the parts for your van….good advice. Shipping costs from overseas is more than the parts price but you get all parts. All because that specific legend 318 v8 engine block was build in dodge darts, chargers, Ram Vans, all the chrysler mopar portfolio from 1965 to late Eighties. Small block v8,s were 318 or 360.
Sure, in that long period carburators were replaced with injection, ignition from breakerpoints to contactless…aircon was available from late seventies…but the engine architecture was all the same. And they build millions of that engine. These engines were build to last…low power – not much compression and in the seventies you could help yourself with these cars. Our parents and grandparents did. Mom went to the kitchen make dinner and dad changed the engine oil in the driveway. No big deal.
So to get parts was that easy…but what do you replace and what stays ? where to start and where to finish ? With a classic car you do a proper brake job first…everything new. The rotors looked fine….the calipers not. the drums looked ok…the brake cylinders not. brake shoes still 60% of flesh? ….can stay for another 50k kilometers (a mistake i found out just 10 days ago)
All cables for ignition, distributor finger/cap, new coil ?
That coil is under permanent vibration because mounted on the engine….should be changed every five years. There is a constant discussion with yourself…what comes new…what can stay and why ?
My optimistic plan was that this 40 year old van will drive for 3000km – italy roundtrip- no issues. The curtains my girl promised never materialized so I bought golden reflecting screen foil. keeps heat outside and you cant see inside but – from inside out. My porsche community loved it. These guys want me to go on a roadtrip and come home on a truckbed helper service with that old piece of junk. Why ? because drama is so much more fun than success stories, just watch our news…👻
So – the interieur got new carpet in bamboo design…new side blends in paul smith stripes design because it was a leftover sale…new chairs – the old ones were little plastik seats and… you dont want to sit on broken plastik in italy without aircon. From my basement I took a racing seat with shoulder support and for the passenger a recarostyle sportsseat. The porsche community came back with uproar. You cant do that on a classic van…it looks disgusting. Hey….its my a*s sitting for hours in a rattling seventies van…at least i want to sit like a human with decent support for my old back and more important… backside 🤘
Not enough time to build a bed construction and fix the instrument cluster. We fill up petrol after every 400km latest so we could calculate from there what Mister Dodge needs. Two army beds…a few plastik boxes with stuff…two old bicycles fixed to the wall inside. ignition.and .fire..Later on Ricola slept on one of the army beds and I took the floor what was more comfortable. Not cosy…nothing for lovebirds but we were on a mission. Will the dodge keep us on the road or not ?
On the three weeks roadtrip we had some stops because of strange noices at the rear end (the limited slip rattles a bit when hot) and in calabrien one of the windscreen wipers went flying off. The plastic bushings fourty years old could not do anything else than vaporize.
Thats it ? No drama ? yes a little one…the engine went off on the famous brenner autobahn just 40km before austria. I misscalulated the size of petrol tank (my guess was 22 gallons) with the reality of 16 gallons. Even with the cherrycan reserve of 5 liters the engine came not into life. A roadservice took us off the autobahn and we gave more petrol to the tank. No responce from the engine. Under the car i installed a glas petrol filter to see what dirt comes from petrol tank. No dirt…but also no petrol in the filter ?
Petrol in tank, petrol filter dry means petrol pump does not suck ? Why does the mechanical petrol pump not pull petrol ? Because its dry…it moves only little air back and fourth but no petrol. So…you need more sucking power.
For that – you remove the airfilter and block the opening from carburetor with the palm of your hand. start the engine….now you create an vacuum that shoots your petrol from the tank to the pump…pump flooded – carb feeded….engine starts.
Its that simple with old cars. spark and petrol. nothing else. coming home from our first excursion we got drunk like hell with stupid dancing videos made later at night. We were just happy that our first adventure came out smoothly….coming home on own four wheels. Lucky us.
It was magic night we gave the old van the respectful name; Mister Dodge. That was in 2015
To be continued …
wish list for the second roadtrip to lake trasimeno (2016)
third roadtrip to elba (2017)
fourth roadtrip – to croatia (2018)
29 additional images. Click to enlarge.