Keegan's Pacer Project

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Update! - I have created a 'project' area for my '68 VE Sedan. For those that are interested, check it out here!

This page was created to show everyone how VH Pacer #916 has been going in its restoration.

Latest updates:

30 April 2008 » Fitted slotted rotors
19 April 2008 » New sway bar
16 February 2008 » New clutch and pacer @ drags
15 February 2008 » Cooling system upgrade
05 May 2007 » Racing at Collie Raceway
11 April 2007 » Racing at Wanneroo Raceway
15 June 2006 » Rocker problem fixed
05 June 2006 » Fuel tank leak (and restoration)
01 June 2006 » Engine problems
19 January 2006 » Pacemakers fitted to new exhaust (Updated Pics)
13 December 2005 » New extractors have arrived
10 December 2005 » New plates
08 December 2005 » Latest Update

Questions, Comments? Feel free to send me an email!
 
30 April 2008 - Fitted slotted rotors
Fitted some slotted rotors this weekend in preparation for Collie. Hopefully no more more smokin' rims this time. Not much to really show and tell - just a straight swap over.

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19 April 2008 - New sway bar
I fitted a new Whiteline 31mm sway bar to help with the corners at Collie coming up soon. A few pics are below to show the install job.

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16 February 2008 - New clutch and pacer @ drags

I took the pacer down the drags on the weekend and had some fun. I've recently had the clutch out and so now can put the power down. Before it would slip on a hard launch so I opted for a 10" ford setup thats has around 3000 lb. clamping pressure. Not as light on the foot, but not too heavy, and definently worthwhile. Here are a couple of pics from the day of the pacer and some other Mopars.

Some photos below were taken by Phil Lyer @ www.HighOctanePhotos.com.

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15 February 2008 - Cooling system upgrade
Nothing too exciting, just bought a new fan for the beast. I knew that I'd be idling for long periods at the drags a couple of days later and that it was meant to be a 37° day. Sometimes the stock 4 blade fixed fan just isn't up to the job. I picked up this plastic (nylon) fixed fan on Friday morning and fitted that night. Works a treat!

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5 May 2007 - Racing at Collie Raceway

This may the Charger Club of WA held another raceday at the Collie Powerhouse track. It was a great day, with a large turnout of cars of about 30 which made for a wide variety of metal at the track. New and old alike we all had fun - whether it be with twin turbos or with a lot of cubic inches.

Whilst heading down to Collie the rain was a little discouraging but overall the day was not too wet, often with areas drying up between light sprinkles of rain. A dry line appeared on the track after a period of time but that didn't stop a lot of us having traction issues. On the way back to Perth there was a fair bit more rain so really we were quite lucky to have a mostly dry day at the track.

I had a ball with the pacer, and definently put it to the test. Overheating was a bit of an issue once coming into the pits, from just pushing so hard on the track and then when idling or turned off having minimal coolant flow. Another issue were brakes, one cool down lap was not enough to cool the brakes sufficiently. There was one run where the red flag was pulled near the pit lane, so I went in and stopped racing. Once I stopped I saw smoke literally billowing out from both front brakes through the rims. For both reasons I then proceeded to go for a 5 minute drive out on the road to let everything get back to normal. After a couple of minutes the temperature dropped from 3/4 down to 1/4 and the brakes stopped smoking. All in all an absolute fantastic day. I do want to fit slotted rotors now for sure, and maybe more!

I've uploaded some videos from the day for those that are interested (make sure to right-click and choose Save Target As):

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11 April 2007 - Racing at Wanneroo Raceway

Its been another long time between updates, but this time it is not because I'm lazy, but because I haven't been working on the car - just enjoying it!!

Last weekend on the 8th of April (Easter Sunday) the Charger Club of WA (of which I am a member) was invited to attend a track day by the Falcon GT Club of WA at Wanneroo Raceway (Barbagallo - Perth). 6 club members and cars turned up to wave the Mopar flag against 32 other cars of various brands, but mostly Fords being a Falcon GT Club day and all.

The way started off rather doubtful with it raining quite heavily up until about 11am. By the time we lined up to get on to the track it was almost dry, but that didn't stop a few cars coming off the track!! The best time of the day (short track) was a race-built Triumph with a 59.94 second time. Out of the 32 attendee's the pacer came in 17th with a 106.71 second time - not too bad for a car thats 99% street driven!

Check out some pics that I've uploaded below of the day. I've also uploaded a very short video of the pacer at the track - you can check it out here (make sure to right click and press 'save target as' though!)

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15 June 2006 - Rocker problem fixed

I have fixed the problem with the roller rockers. Turns out my hunch was way off, the solid and hydraulic lifters were almost identical in overall height and so it appeared that the rocker geometry was not to blame.

When I was on the side of the road towards Collie fitting my second replacement head stud to the exhaust of #1, I noticed a small mark in the aluminum body of the Yella Terra Street Terra roller rocker. I examined the rest and it looked like the posilock was actually hitting the body of the roller rockers. Most had marks of some sort. The next thing to do was to pull out the plugs, pull off the rocker cover, apply some grease to the spot where it looked like they were hitting and crank the engine. Sure enough, the posilock was actually hitting the body. In this case, the pushrod was pushing up too high or the spring was compressing too much, allowing unusual amount of travel in the roller rocker.

I had a few options I could try - shorter pushrods, lash caps, or to grind away some metal from the aluminum body of the rocker. I opted for the later and used a metal die grinding bit to remove 1-1.5mm of meat from the rocker. I applied grease and cranked the engine, there was no interference. After I had done this to all 12 rockers none of them were hitting and the problem was solved. I still carry a spare rocker stud in my toolbox just in case, but have not had any problems since.

I'm not sure what caused it, the only thing I can think of is that I removed 30 thou from my block when I had the engine rebuilt to compensate for the lack of range of pistons available for the Hemi 265. Basically it appears that all pistons currently available off the shelf (not custom made) for a 265 are standard or low compression pistons, which are not suitable for Pacer or R/T engines that ran slightly higher compression. My original pistons in my original block sat 10 thou proud of the block at TDC, whereas all available replacement pistons sat 20 thou down in the bore. In order to overcome this, 30 thou was removed from the block. Its a shame that parts are not more readily available for our cars but I guess there is not much you can do...

 
5 June 2006 - Fuel tank leak (and restoration)

A few days before heading down to Collie I realised that I had a leak in my fuel tank. I initially thought it was from a dodgy cap, but upon closer inspection it appeared to be coming from the filler neck. There was a tiny crack/weep in the solder around where the neck was soldered to the tank from factory. I took it to a mates brother who works in a radiator shop and got it all sorted.

The leaking petrol had eaten away the tank paint for the week or two that it had leaked unnoticed and so the tank really didn't look too good. It is one of the few things on the car that I haven't removed/fixed/repainted as of yet and so it was time to freshen up its appearance.

I gave the tank a good degrease to get years of grime and dirt off the tank from around the edges (the bulk of the tank was actually ok) and then sandblasted the tank and its' brackets to get them properly prepared for painting. It was a bit of a mission to sandblast the tank as whilst it doesn't appear to be too large, its quite bulky and I had trouble getting it in the blasting cabinet.

Once it was sandblasted thoroughly, I degreased both the tank and the brackets with some high quality automotive degreaser. It took a few goes until the rag I was using did not come out dirty from degreasing it. I decided to do the tank in black and paint the brackets hemi orange to give it some contrast. I use VHT paints (in particular engine enamels) and can honestly thoroughly recommend them for any good restoration. The are very strong and resist solvents and general wear and tear very easily. When they are baked they are even more resistant to solvents, but I won't be baking my tank!

In the pictures below you can see the a bad shot of the repaired filler neck, and other assorted pictures of the process. I won't go into detail, as they are pretty self explanatory. I fitted the tank back to the car when all the paint had cured and when it was all bolted in, I went to put the rubber fuel line between the car and the tank to discover that the actual petrol line that goes into the tank had broken its solder too. Looks like I have to get this bit repaired too! It probably broke in the last week or so of being handled, put in and out of the tank etc. Unfortunate, but at least when I get it fixed up I know it won't come loose again for a long while.

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1 June 2006 - Engine problems

I had plans to race  the car at the Collie Powerhouse track on the first Saturday in May but unfortunately encountered some problems with the engine. I was recently on holiday over east (checking out Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns) and whilst I was away I organised to get some solid lifters fitted to the engine as the hydraulic lifters were driving me crazy - no matter what spec they were adjusted to there would always be one or two that would constantly tick at all RPMs.

Anyway, so I got the solids installed and the car went great. One morning soon after I went for a drive and the car didn't go real well up the street. Something was really wrong, and the exhaust note was similar to that of a lawn mower. After managing to get the car back home I started to diagnose the problem, after trying to start the car a few times I thought it was a timing issue because the carb was backfiring. I double checked everything, and had a gut feeling it was maybe related to the solid lifters - perhaps a broken pushrod. Quite strange for it to occur when it did, as I was not accelerating hard or doing anything that would likely cause what happened.

I investigated... and discovered that I had sheared a 7/16" roller rocker bolt that goes into the head! Boy I wasn't happy, as I was racing the following weekend. I bought some spares from Yella Terra (which came quite late for an 'overnight' airbag) and fitted the spare. I wasn't sure what had caused it, I figured it was just a freak accident or something. I could not identify anything unusual, all the pushrods were straight and everything seemed normal.

I went down to Collie and about 1 hour out, another stud snapped at 110km/hr. I had been doing that speed for most of the time, and then out of the blue it happened. I pulled over, had a look, and sure enough another 7/16" stud had snapped, in fact, the same one as before - #1 exhaust. I fitted my last spare and went home, missing the racing day at Collie. I haven't yet figured out what the problem is caused by but will hopefully get a chance today to inspect the rocker gear and more importantly ( a hunch ), the solid and hydraulic lifters side by side to see if there is any difference in size.

  

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19 January 2006 - Pacemakers fitted to new exhaust (Updated Pics)

The pacemakers from the last update were fitted last weekend and this week I got a full exhaust system fitted to the old girl.

The pacemakers went on relatively painlessly, but that’s because I've gone through the dramas of trying to fit a new intake and/or exhaust to the car before and have dealt with the problems of having differing thick nesses up against the head. Wouldn't it be great if there were some standard and all exhaust and intake head thicknesses were the same? Anyway, my existing genie extractors were 10mm in thickness, and my Cain intake was 13mm. The pacemakers have a thickness of 10mm but there are 5mm lugs welded on to the buggers. Since they are now jet hot coated I didn't really want to knock them off with a cold chisel.

I ended up swapping 5 tabs from bottom to the top, and 5 of the top ones to the bottom, as the exhaust was now thicker than the intake, the opposite to how it was before. The extra top one I had to modify the weld blob to the other side in order for them to work with the new setup. A bit of grinding was required on all the tabs but other than that it was painless.

I opted for a flanged dual 2 1/4" system with an X pipe in the middle. The X pipe was chosen to reduce resonance by equalising the pressure of each side of the pipes (front and rear 3 cylinders). Its got two Magnaflow mufflers before the diff and from there its straight out the back. The pacemakers come out at twin 2" and so 2 1/4" press bent seemed like a good choice. I just noticed from looking at these pictures that there is a small pin hole leak in the X pipe which is a bit of a bugger. I'll have to get that welded up when I go back to get my O2 sensor nut welded on sometime next week.

The power of the car has improved and so has the note! Its actually quieter at idle and at cruise but when the foot goes down the sound gets up there - I love it! When the RPM is held at a particular point the overall the sound is a tad quieter than the existing system... but when I put my foot into it the noise comparison of the new system versus the existing system is like chalk and cheese.

The final picture is the side pipe I got made up for when I race at Collie. I undo a few bolts and can run without mufflers when need be.

Overall, the whole system is a highly recommended modification if you ask me!!

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13 December 2005 - New extractors have arrived
Yesterday my new pacemakers arrived. I purchased them through Jet Hot who then coated them in their high lustre heat coating. They look sweet, I can't wait to get them on the car. Unfortunately that might be a couple of weeks ago though as my daily driver has recently died and so I'm fixing that in my spare time. I will put up some pictures when they're on the car. They were reasonably priced, check out http://www.jet-hot.com.au if you're interested!
 

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10 December 2005 - New plates
I ordered some custom Charger Club Of WA number plates through Sheridan at the club and they arrived recently. Here is a picture of the plate combination that I got. It hard to the blue pentastar in the middle of the plate so I've super imposed another picture of the plate on to another copy of the image to the right. The plates look a treat!
 

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8 December 2005 - Latest Update

Well, its now been a very long time between updates! With the work of re-doing the site and so forth I've been rather slack and haven't done many updates. A lot has happened with the car since the last update, but mostly fiddly stuff and no pictures to go with so I'll start at the most recent thing - new wheels!

I've ordered some new wheels from the USA - they're Ansen Sprints, made by American Racing. I got them in 17", with 7" for the front and 8" for the rear. They are obtainable in Aust but the expense of buying them here is really quite preventative. I got the 17"s because I feel they update the cars style quite a bit, modernising the car in that department, yet still keeping the muscle car look. Quite a few people don't realise that they aren't factory mags until they have a bit more of a look!

Below are some pictures from when I got them and when I managed to get the tyres fitted. I ended up with 225 and 235 tyres in the correct profile to retain an accurate speedo. The 235/45 R17 tyres are extremely common (commondore profile) and so were surprisingly cheap - a fair bit of saving compared to my existing 14" BF Goodrich TA's! The 225/45s ended up costing about $30 more than the 235s just due to production numbers of the tyres.

When I got finally got them after being shipped via sea container I was surprised (read shocked) to find that they didn't fit! The factory weights on the drums fouled on the back of the rim and so it was a no-go. I took the drums to an engineering place to try to get the weights removed and the drums balanced but it was a no-go. It turned out that it was cheaper to get brand new drums from RDA! I was assured that these new drums did not have any weights at all, but when I got them in my hands sure enough they had rather large weights on the outer edge. Not as big as factroy mind you, but big enough to foul one rim. After all the running around trying to fix the problem I ended up knocking the weights off with a cold chisel, welding up the minute holes created from the spot welds. I haven't had any problems yet from the imbalance and its now been about 6 weeks. I love em!

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