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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #1
I had started by posting some items in the K-car and LeBaron areas, but after some thought figured maybe the whole project belongs here rather than all over.

T2K-CAR is the Virginia tag that was on my 1985 LeBaron Mark Cross convertible. It started life as a 2.6L Mitsubishi powered car, then after 3 of the 4 combustion chambers cracked ended up being converted to a Turbo II with a modified A413 as 5 speeds in the 83-86 K body convertibles are a royal PITA due to the body reinforcements.

The original was totaled by a Mercedes-Benz ML320 in Feb 2009. I had purchased a 1986 LeBaron convertible for parts, so it would have to become the new T2K-CAR. As I planned some things, one of the issues with the K-cars is the instrument panel, the opening is shorter top to bottom than the later cars and wider side to side. Options are an analog speedometer, temperature and fuel gauge with idiot lights or with the LeBarons and Dodge 400/600 a digital unit with bar graph gauges and a 0-99 mph speedometer, with a warning module, Traveler or bar graph tachometer. It is an impressive looking but as I learned not super accurate piece. Chrysler changed the dash and instrument panel design with the G body (Laser/Daytona) introduction in 1984, instrument area is taller and narrower, in 1987 with the new LeBaron 2dr coupe and convertible (J-body) replacing both the K-body convertible and Laser, the dash in the new LeBaron became shared with the Daytona.

Since almost everything Chrysler was building outside of the L-body shares a lot in structure and physical dimensions, I decided a dashboard upgrade was in order. I had a 1989 LeBaron coupe with a totally shot steering rack and an unknown condition 2.5L turbo engine and A413 (can't tell much other than it ran and didn't knock without being able to drive it) so the 89 dash went into the 86, some stuff had to be modified, but the Laser column I had fit perfectly to the dash, the center took some fitting to mate with the center reinforcement, but with the trim panels on fits well.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #2
First thing I ran into, the car has been sitting, first in my backyard, then at a friend's Tow storage lot. He delivered it to me after noticing that a large storm had blown something into the right side, breaking the quarter glass and bending the top frame.

After getting the pretty well destroyed top off the car and starting an inventory, I found the carpet was rotten, and I had a bunch of holes in the floor.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #3
The 86 was a basic 2.2L with analog dash, but power windows and seats. The engine had quite obviously failed, mostly due to the vent hose to the air cleaner being crimped shut to keep oil from getting in the air cleaner!

I did stick a borescope in the cylinders after finding that the engine would barely even turn with the starter. #1 cylinder had furrows in the wall, so other than boring it the engine is scrap. Transaxle oil was burned also.

The front mount was broken at all but the lower bolt to the transaxle and there was a piece of metal strapping like you would hang pipe from running from the top of the radiator support to the cylinder head. As a result of this the lower front crossmember is dented forward and cracked where the front mount was trying to shove the crossmember forward (originally there was a bungee cord trying to hold it).
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #4
Since I found that I had a broken rear sway bar tube and had a 1989 LeBaron coupe parts car, I decided I would go strip it for the suspension and 2.5L turbo powertrain (less camshaft). I went to my friend's junkyard with truck and cargo trailer so I, with the help of one of his crew, could strip what was usable off the car. After refreshing my memory of the 89 I decided that all of the suspension and brakes were going to be used. (89 had 4 wheel disc brakes). We removed the front suspension and drivetrain as a package and loaded them in the trailer. After that, the complete rear with the brake cables cut just ahead of the connector, salvaged the master cylinder and proportioning valve along with all the rear hoses.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #5
Meanwhile on the front of the car, I had been there earlier and gotten the front harness and decided since I was going to be using the 1989 dash, it would be easier to use the 89 front harness and just eliminate the air bag and headlight motor portions. I had already planned on using a socketed 1990 SBEC with turbo II program in it as I wanted (A) to do away with the LM/PM 1987 Daytona system I was running and (B) get sequential injection. I also wanted to use a later PDC to do away with the relays bolted on the fender/shock tower and fusible links.

First issue, 1989 J-body has an "inverted" harness connection to the 1986 K-body. Two solutions, (A) cut the dash penetration area and change it to meet the 1986 design or (B) drill a large enough hole centered on the existing rectangular hole and use the 1989 connections. After determining that the 1989 harness socket mount on a brace fit into the 1986 body perfectly, option (B) became the better solution. I found that the 1989 harness had the wiring for the charge temperature sensor already in it and only needed the additional two injector wires.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #6
I had done a temporary install of the 1989 dash to work on the wiring and test various components (lights, power locks, power windows, wiper, etc.) and had a nice pair of the 2 button Travelers and a simple system monitor (door ajar, trunk ajar, low fuel, low washer fluid) and the car had the warning chime module for seat belt, key in ignition, lights on along with the illuminated entry parts from the 1985 car. I had partially built a front harness from parts from the 85 and the rodent chewed 86 harness.

You can see why I decided to use the 1989 harness instead!
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #7
As I progressed changing the front harness from SMEC to SBEC, I discovered that (A) I had a bad SBEC and (B) the early Traveler will not work with an SBEC. The older Traveler uses a speed input from the speed sensor (white with orange wire) and a fuel flow signal from either the logic module or SMEC (light blue with black) and a fuel level signal (dark blue). The speed and fuel level are there, but the SBEC does not use the fuel flow, it communicates via the twisted pair data bus. Great, the twisted pair needs a 5 volt signal to carry it's data. Off to Pick-n-Pull in Virginia Beach Memorial Day weekend when everything is 1/2 off. Got extremely lucky, only K derived car in the place was a 1995 LeBaron convertible, from the look of it there because of a blown 3.0L V6 (oil all over underneath). After having already found that neither of my rear axles had good sway bars, this was great! Got the rear axle, less the drum brakes (we left them in the floor), a Traveler and the BCM to do the communication.

Then back to the axles, found that Chrysler had used a number of different bushings on the pivot arms (non available any more) so I called Johnny Spiva at Poly Bushings. He confirmed that the diameter was the same, just different lengths, so I ordered a set of the correct bushings for the 86-89 suspension. I found that the bolt diameter changed between 86 and 89, so I had to use the 1989 pivots.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #8
I had the dash in and out several times to work on the dash harness. The last time was to add all the needed circuits for the BCM features. Two of the interesting ones were wipers and lights. The older cars have the wiper switch as part of the column, actually mounted as part of the pivot for the turn signal switch. They use a small box for the delay feature. After a comparison of the functions I was able to determine that the inner circuitry of the switches were pretty similar. I had an old L-body switch to experiment with and got most of the functions to work except either it wouldn't park, or wouldn't do a complete sweep in the delay mode. I found that (A) the switch ground on the older switch needed to be changed to tie to the low speed wire and (B) both the green wires from the switch needed to go to the DG/WT wire on the BCM pin # 12 and the green wire from the motor park switch to the DG wire on the BCM pin # 10.

The headlight system on the later cars (starting in 1990 on G and J bodies) uses relays and grounds to turn things on. After a couple of tries, I got them working with no false "you left your lights on" warning. The dash light dimming works, but is not really correct as it is apparently a fair sized resistance to ground, and the older pull knob switch works opposite from the later ones. Since I am using the 89 dash, and the 86 body does not have hidden headlights, I mounted a relay module for 5 Bosch type relays in that area. I have park lights, head lights, name brand speaker, and door lock/unlock in it.

Door locks were another issue, the older system is a direct operated system, where the door switches do everything, left door has 5 active terminals. power, two grounds and lock and unlock, right door, the left door lock/unlock go where the left side grounds are and the lock and unlock go to the lock motors on both doors. The 1995 system uses only power and lock/unlock at each door and the lock motors are controlled through relays. This allows a remote keyless entry and anti-theft alarm to be used as options. It also allows an automatic lock feature at a certain speed.

I had the 1989 message center for various warnings, door ajar, low fuel, low washer fluid, trunk ajar. I found I had a crossfeed issue on the door ajar circuits even though the 89 message center uses individual door icons. I added two diodes, one in each wire to the message center, solved! I then addressed the low fuel, older cars use a switch in the sender to activate a delay circuit so you don't get a flashing warning light, and it powers the light when activated. The BCM grounds the light. I had to modify the message center by removing the ground trace and jumping the 12V supply to the opposite side of the light. All of those now work correctly.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #9
Haven't done a lot for a bit, made a run to Pick-n-Pull in Virginia Beach Sunday (half price weekend) and scored a few things, some Ford stuff for my truck and a number of pieces for the konvertible. A transmission cooler from a Durango with the 4.7L Mercedes design V8, it was a stand alone unit, no connections to anything except the transmission, it is about the same size as the one the 2.6L in the 85 had that I used after installing the T2 setup in it. The other was a PDC from a 1996 Stratus 2.4L which is longer and narrower than the one Brian Rowland found me. His worked, but was giving me a nightmare figuring out locations for Battery, SBEC and PDC in front of the shock tower on a K-car. This one, of course had the battery location in the left front fender and the cables came up to a red + and black - on the inner fender.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #11
Got most of the "new" PDC sorted, got it mounted and put the SBEC where it should be. Started connecting the "new" PDC in place of the other one. Interesting item, on the Stratus, it was mounted longitudinally on the brackets the TCM and PCM mount to. There was one harness vertically underneath that went down into the front part of the engine harness. The back of it had a larger harness that branched with the front leg of it going to the front of the two PCM plugs. Inside it there are a number of wires that simply pass through from one end to the other.

If I can do it, I may retain that feature as it is right where the front harness sits.
 

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Great job so far, will definitely follow. My friend from DSRLeasing recently is trying to get one reborn as well, gotta ask him it is going for him :p
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #13
Did some more on setting up the Stratus PDC in the konvertible, one of the reasons I like it better than the Dynasty one, all the relays are standard Bosch or Omron, no special 4 terminal with alignment pin Chrysler probably NLA relays. The SBEC fits nicely and the battery also.

Now, I have to drop the column and disconnect the harness inside so I can push it back through and re tape and sleeve everything.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #14
Didn't get to do anything today, had to run up the road and get a new dryer belt and pick up a bunch of stuff at an on-line auction site thrift store. Did find something yesterday though, I started stripping the 1986 column to transfer the maroon sections to the Laser column that is in the car (G and J body columns had a asymmetric mounting) and found that even though the car did not have cornering lights, the column had a cornering light turn signal switch. Since I did leave all that wiring in the front harness, if I can find a set I will install them.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #15
Finally got a chance after 3 busy days to get back to my wiring work. Got everything checked to make sure it worked then pulled the column out for disassembly and color change. Got the front harness sections to the PDC and SBEC taped up and fitted. I ran the power wires for my pusher fans I am going to use, blue is low speed to be controlled by the SBEC, green is high speed to be controlled by the A/C high pressure switch I am installing.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #16
Continued on with some of the wiring, then went up to Eastern Speed Shop and picked up a can of 15063 Burgundy SEM paint so I could redo the steering column to match the existing interior color.

Rebuilt the column using the turn signal switch from the 86 column since it has the cornering light contacts and wires. I did not attempt to do the cruise control switch to burgundy as I would have to disassemble it to do that. After everything was back together, I put the 86 steering wheel on it in place of the Laser Eurosport one. Under the wheel on the 86 was a large triangular weight on a rubber support, I guess to dampen the 4 cyl. automatic idle vibration.

After reinstalling the column, I started making the mounts for the dual pusher fans (modified 1999 Ford Contour unit).

After that I put a lug on the alternator feed wire with the green fusible link so it will attach to the new PDC.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #17
Got most of the front harness around the PDC finished up and mounted a terminal strip for the fan set power and ground. Ford shows a 60 amp fuse for these fans on high, I'm hoping they won't draw quite that much, particularly since they will already be running on low when the A/C pressure switch closes for high speed. I used a terminal strip with screws due to the potential current draw and used 10-12 ga ring terminals. I still have to add the ground wire which will go from the terminal strip to the battery ground point on the inner fender.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #18
Minor update, first, I have apparently managed to blow two SBECs (maybe 3) with a mistake in my rewiring. The reason I say maybe 3, I have a couple of TBI SBECs I was using to confirm if I had a bad Turbo SBEC and the last time I tried it I got the same reaction as the turbo ones. If anyone has a way to bench test and maybe repair these it would be great.

I did try my high speed on the modified Contour fans, it ran fine on the Stratus PDC's 40 amp fan fuse, so maybe Ford was overly conservative on fusing them (60 amp fuse). They definitely shove some air through the condensor, but I will need to seal the edges to make sure all the air passes through the condensor and radiator/intercooler rather than around the edges. They definitely push some air! Low won't work until I (a) have a good SBEC and (b) the engine in and running, high will be controlled by a fan switch from a 1993 Grand Caravan with a factory R134a system.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #19
Did some more fitting of things, I figured I better check on the air filter fit to the SBEC end. I was hoping to use the 1989 outer half as it is (a) in better shape than the other one and (b) has the nice large oval inlet. Oval inlet lines up nicely with the inner part of the Stratus PDC, round inlet does clear though, so that is the one I will be using. I will have to be sure the hose is flexible as it sits lower than the SBEC outlet.
 

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Old School Hot Rodder
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Discussion Starter #20
Been prepping the car to go and have the floor replaced, basically stripping everything that might be in the way off it. Found a very rusty 10 mm socket in the bottom of the left front fender. I did get the good steering column rebuilt and painted so it will match the rest on the interior. I also had found that the 1989 rear axle mounts had the parking brake rear cables rubbing the end of the housings due to the different angle of the cable routing between the K and J bodies. I drilled out the holes in the 1986 mounts and changed them, at the same time, since I had a questionable hole in the rear of the right mount I Helicoiled all 3 on that side. I realized I had already posted the steering column pictures so removed them.
 

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