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Friday, April 25, 2008


New Dart progress pictures: Cold side intercooler plumbing

More progress with the turbo EFI slant six. I've been making a little bit of progress in bits and pieces. Last week Jerry gave me a bit of a hand filling in some of the holes I'd drilled for the older intercooler brackets as we're rethinking the intercooler location a bit. I'll need to grind down the filler metal, but I probably would have done a lot worse. I definitely don't like leaving excess holes in the bodywork.

This week I routed and mocked up the cold side of the intercooler piping. You can see the welded elbow I mentioned earlier atop the intake manifold. The pipes and couplings are a weird mix of Spectre, CX Racing, and RacePartsSolutions plumbing components. I'd originally thought about routing the pipe under the alternator, but this route has a lot fewer twists and turns. There's a total of four 90 degree bends in this one, including the bend welded to the intercooler exit itself. Not ideal, but in most engine compartments you really have to work to get fewer bends than this. And I'd have needed two extra bends - either 45 or 90 degrees - to make the pipe go under the alternator and come out in a good spot for mounting the intercooler.

I may need to trim the alternator bracket to keep it from spearing my charge pipe. This may take an extra-short length of belt to make this work but it looks like I've got a decent amount of room to bring the alternator close to the engine while having enough room to pull the alternator back to tighten the belt. Maybe I'll secure the pipe that runs past the engine to the fenderwell too, although I'll need to see the engine running to make the final decision.

It'll be interesting to see how this charge pipe holds up under serious boost. It'll do better than what I had in there before - anything has to be better than my temporarily rigged piping made of pool hose - but the Spectre bits have completely smooth ends, and I had to cut the rolled lip off the CX Racing elbow on one end using a chop saw to get it to the right length. And the Spectre couplers are rubber while the RacePartsSolutions hump coupler and the CX racing couplers (blue) are silicone. So I may need to have the Spectre sections welded together and maybe put some tie bars into the plumbing or use some other tricks to make it hold together.

Both the CX Racing and the Spectre piping are polished aluminum, but as you can see in this picture, not all polished aluminum is created equal. The camera flash makes the difference even more glaring, if you'll pardon the pun. However, I've been thinking that once I get around to rebuilding the engine, I may have all the charge pipe powdercoated red and paint or powdercoat the engine to match. The couplers would be all black that time around. Kind of a rebellion against the excessive use of chrome on show cars.

Next step will be to make the brackets for the intercooler. Again.


Monday, April 14, 2008


Another minor Dart update

I'm trying to keep momentum going with a little progress on the Dart each week or each day. Today I removed the headlights and front turn signals. This may seem like a strange thing to do with an intercooler and turbo installation. But this lets me move the wiring harness out of the way to clear the room for welding on the radiator core support. I also ordered some new bits of silicone hose for the charge pipe.

I also found that the turn signal bulbs (1) didn't match their colors and (2) were rusted to their sockets. Definitely time for new bulbs. Once I got them out, I found out that I didn't have to do this to remove the harness - there's a connector behind the front bumper that lets you pull back the main harness. But it was, like I said, time for new bulbs.


Saturday, April 12, 2008


Dart progress update

Been working on getting the intercooler mounted. I've rough-cut new holes for putting the intercooler with the hoses on the top instead of the bottom. The cold side charge pipe will come under the alternator. Sorry, no pictures yet, but I will have pictures when it's together.


Sunday, April 06, 2008


How to make your own fuel catalyst (and why it would give you nothing but trouble)

I've previously criticized the Tornado Fuel Saver, Vortec Cyclone, and similar gadgets as well as ridiculing their knock-offs on eBay. Up until now, I've left the Fitch Fuel Catalyst, another device that I was pretty certain was a rip-off, alone. It wasn't because I thought it might work, mostly because I didn't have that much information on chemistry and the effects of catalysts on gasoline. Well, thanks to some searching that SlantSixDan did on the slantsix.org forum, that's changed. And, of course, Tony's Guide to Fuel Saving has some very good analysis of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst already.

So, first, I'm going to mention the fuel catalyst that popped up on the slantsix.org forum: Copper has a very strong catalytic effect on gasoline, so replacing a length of your fuel line with copper tubing would put a catalyst in the fuel system.

The trouble is, what would a catalyst in your fuel supply do? A catalyst causes a reaction that would already happen to go forward at a faster rate or with a lower activation energy. Catalysts do not put energy into the fuel, or cause reactions that absorb energy to happen. Fitch claims that their catalyst is a metal alloy catalyst that reverses the reaction of oxygen with the fuel. Um, no. Copper and other alloys actually cause fuel to react with oxygen to form gum and varnish. In other words, a fuel catalyst would cause the very reaction that Fitch is claiming it prevents!

But if you wanted a fuel catalyst anyway, you could accomplish the same thing with five dollars' worth of copper hardline from your local hardware store that Fitch would charge you well over a hundred for.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Dart progress: New intake elbow

So I went to Suwanee Welding today and picked up the intake elbow. They charged $50 for an hour's worth of work, and the quality of work was pretty good. So the end result came to pretty much what you'd pay for an Edelbrock cast intake elbow, but it's just right for my engine even if I didn't save money. The cast elbow I had the flanges welded to cost nearly $50 itself.

After work, I went and started mocking up the intercooler piping. I think I now have a pretty good idea how I'll route it. Things were easier when I removed the horns. I'll put them back in, though - I like having the original horns on my Dart and they still sound great. Just have to find a new location for them.

Pictures will be up soon.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008


A little bit of progress on the Dart...

I dropped the intake elbow off at Suwanee Welding to be welded together for the new charge pipe routing. I'll have pictures when I pick it up.


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