Sorry kinda long story.
I just picked up my dream car a few months ago. 1989 Daytona Shelby. Saw this in person at a local TD
event 5 years ago and fell in love. The car spent almost it's entire life in Cincinnati, but was sold to a guy who lives near Baltimore, MD back in 2010.
Fast forward to December this year, after spending a year and all my money working on the motor in my 1991 dodge spirit, some jerk cuts right in front of me from the center lane for taco bell, and the insurance company totals it. It had a lien on the title so all the money went to the bank, leaving me with a broken, albeit running car that can't be registered, and no money to fix it, luckily, I bank with a local credit union who were understanding and willing to lend some green to get me mobile again.
Seriously, that's totaled? Pshaw.
I start thumbing through TD
classifieds, and come across the Daytona. It's now wearing maaco paint (that had already come off the front valance,) 16in Rota Slipstreams, and aftermarket graphics, but it's definitely the same car I fell in love with in 08. It was boasting a Menegon head, Taft stage 2 cam, 135 compression across the board on .030 pistons, ported intake, exhaust, Forward Motion T3/T4 46 Trim w/ Stg2 wheel .63 AR, Snow performance meth injection, adding up to 332/375 hp/tq on the dyno at 26psi.
Besides having a new cal that didn't quite work (overboost at 5psi, some hesitation), the car was in tip top shape, and I was repeatedly assured it could totally make the trip home as it had driven there. It was fine for normal driving, just not beating on it. It even came with the old cal chip. I had no doubts. Coincidentally, the ad was posted the same day as the accident. I suppose that's fate. I look around for cars closer and fail to secure a loan for anything because my poor credit and the low values of the cars i'm looking at. Just for sh*ts and giggles, I have them run the numbers on the daytona (which apparently Nada values at 7k
) and they were able to get me a loan for the cost of the car and an additonal $1000. Totally enough to cover travel costs, and a very mediocre stay at the La Quinta Inn Glen Burnie, with some to spare should anything go wrong. My mom somehow agreed/insisted to come along for this journey. It was gonna be an adventure, culminating in a super sweet car that was freshly rebuilt bumper to bumper 10k ago. What could go wrong? I was especially glad to not be alone, seeing as though this is how my last road trip went, 100 miles from home.
, on Flickr
4 hours later, finally a tow truck. Please, save us from the cornfields!
, on Flickr
After a short test drive, mostly of me fighting with the TU 6 puck ceramic clutch (
Holy crap it's grippy) I pretty much instantly decided to buy the car. The next morning, we did the title work, I swapped out the 90s infinity radio for a sony i took from my spirit, and at 11am, I was on my way 530 miles home in a car I've dreamed about for years.
3 hours later it all came crashing down. Only 200 miles into the trip, the car flatlines in the mountains. Desperate and stranded who knows where, 340 miles from home, we start calling repair shops, asking straight up, "Hey we're screwed. Can I drop a car in your parking lot for a couple days while we figure out our next move?" A diesel truck repair shop called Don Rodeheaver repair not only let me park the car there, but the next day when I came back with an arsenal of spare parts salvaged from the spirit, they let me try to fix it myself in their shop for free and turned on a heater for me. This kinda backfired, as the car was covered under 1/2 inch of ice that instantly began to rain on top of me as I worked under the car.
Initially I was drawn toward the fuel system. The pump would turn on, and not stop. Pressure was normal, but as soon as it would crank, it would drop. I tried to change the fuel filter first, and if that didn't work try the pump. After a half hour or so of fighting with very rusty fuel lines, laying in a still deepening pool of ice water, I get the new filter on, only to see it still dropping fuel pressure while cranking, but now it's losing pressure when not. I look under to see the metal line spewing gas from a new crack. "F**k this!" was declared, and the shop offered to replace all the rotten lines and put in the spare pump for the cost of labor. I bid farewell to the car and headed home for Cincinnati. They really are probably the nicest people in the world. I was very fortunate to break down near their shop.
A week and a half later we get a call from Don. New lines and a pump later, there was still no start. He said it sounded like there was something internally wrong with the engine, like not all cylinders are firing, so we arranged to have it towed home through official auto transport, exhausting the last of my money. (Can't complain though. $500 for a 340 mile tow. Not bad.) It finally arrives home a month later, mercilessly covered in road salt with the doors stuck open from frozen latches, A sorry sight, but one I was overjoyed to see nonetheless. Now the real fun can begin, on a shoestring budget. TD
This is a perfectly good workspace!
I tested the voltage at the pump, and found 12 volts key on, but zero cranking. Through talking with the PO, i find the guy who rebuilt the car had inexplicably completely rewired the pump directly to the battery, controlled by the ignition switch somehow. I traced pump's positive wire from the battery through the clutch cable boot where a little black wire comes out that's kinda chewed up. Thinking this may be the ground i trace it into the dash only to find this mess to sort.
The black wire was spliced to 2 wires, black and blue, which led to the A/F gauge. The rest of these wires were boost gauge and meth injection. A dead end. I found the positive pump wire went through to a connector under the driver kick panel, and I traced the wire back from the pump to the same connector, but I could never find the control.
I tried in vain to contact the local who built it but he hasn't been active on the forums for a long time. With absolutely no idea where it was controlled, I removed the positive lead and completely redid the wiring to the pump. My setup was much more common sense. I just hooked it to the battery with an inline fuse, with a switch controlling on the ground side, mounted where the climate control sensor would have been.
Sneaky sneaky sneaky
While the back seat was out, this was also a good time to install the rear seatbelts that were omitted when the PO swapped the 1984 checker interior in.
Seriously. Who wouldn't bodge a perfectly good car for seats this awesome?!?
Unfortunately, there's still no start. It's only turning over. I hopelessly stand over the engine and ponder, and the cam gear catches my eye. Just as I saw in the spirit 7 months prior, the gear seems to be riding far to the left of the belt. I pop the valve cover, and
Oh Snap, The Sequel
, on Flickr
"Congratulations! You've managed to break 2 camshafts on 2 cars in 6 months." Given the lack of visible wear, and recent timing work, I chalked it up to belt tension, the same cause of my previous failure that broke within 1mm of the same place (spirit Oh Snap | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I picked up a camshaft from a 1994 plymouth acclaim with 110,000 miles for only $38. I'm sure that took a bite out of the horsepower, but finally my Daytona roared to life. I installed the older cal that came with it. It's a lot better than the other cal, but was seemingly designed only for flat out 1/4 mile pulls, as it has some erratic issues on long drives, and a really weird idle, but it loves boost. I'm eagerly awaiting a new FWD-P stage 5 chip before driving it daily. Until then it's limited to a few cruises a week, and I've lowered the boost to match.
Plans after that are to start gathering AC components for summer (aftermarket AC delete FTL,) tackle the rocker rust before it gets too bad, repair the torn drivers seat, and install some of the odds and ends omitted during the interior swap, fix some broken gauges, maybe add some more. All in all, not a bad starting place. Totally worth it.