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1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car

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 Post subject: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:34 am 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:05 am
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Location: Squamish, BC...just 20hrs from 034!
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I haven't been doing much work to the bug lately, not because I don't have upgrade and development plans...but because my garage spot has been taken up by a Dodge Colt! Friends who have me on Facebook or twitter will be familiar with much of this post. Not sure if anyone else will recognize the car, but it was originally a US SCCA build, that was later sold to a guy in Canada before being sold to a close friend of mine. The car has been in storage for a couple of years, and he's asked me if I wouldn't mind getting it stage ready again.

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Rally cars which have lived for years, over multiple owners, tend to have a long list of interesting issues..and this one is no exception. A skim through the logbook shows more DNF's then finishes, and that's a core problem we intend to sort out of the car. My personal assessment is that the car has a great base (or shell), and some well thought out suspension modifications. The mechanicals, drivetrain, electrical and prep have either suffered, or leave much to be desired. But the hit list was relatively simple:

1) Get it running
2) Get it driving
3) Test, create the priority list of needs
4) Fix, Update
5) Clean and "professionalize"
6) Go racing

Somewhere in that list is my number one complaint about the car. The electrical system is just embarrassing. Factory wiring, additional rally wiring, every type of crimp connector you can imagine, sometimes used two or three times in a single length of wire. It usually costs me $600-1500 to build a whole new harness, which isn't in the budget...but we'll come back to that later.

When it was purchased, the motor was in pieces with one of the pistons missing the entire top. The build was a rather eclectic mix of Mitsubishi, VW and custom pieces and it was determined that the most reliable option going forward was a standard Mitsubishi mill. The transmission was also damaged, so a solution would need to be found there as well. A running Dodge D50 Pickup was sourced and parted, giving us the engine and transmission we needed. A third transmission of unknown origin was parted to give us the correct length tail-housing and shifter location, as they're different on D50. Sorry, no photos of the process. We parted and swapped the whole assembly over two days while shooting it as part of a pilot for a TV show.

The car came with a custom intake setup which utilizes two Weber IDF 48 downdraft carbs, which are the same units I use in my VW Beetle. We opted to drop these onto the motor, as they'll breathe a heck of a lot better then the stock D50 setup.

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With the basics sorted, we got it running and quickly discovered it's an absolute hoot out on the road. The suspension isn't bad...with the 2.6L mated to 5:83 gears and a welded rear diff the car is certainly going to give Adam a run for his money at the local rallycrosses! The excitement was short lived, however, as a couple of days into tuning the gearbox lunched itself. I was shifting from 4th to 5th at our current redline (5500rpm) when the transmission locked up and shut the motor down.

Turns out that slight bearing noise in neutral wasn't the throw-out bearing, and was actually the mainshaft bearing. Ouch!

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In order to get at the above bearing, everything gets dismantled and removed from the gearbox except for the rear mainshaft.

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With the box reassembled, the car was back on axle stands and the engine and transmission was reinstalled. Electrics were hooked up, and various systems were being tested. Shortly there after, flames were coming up from the dash...announcing themselves by shattering the windshield due to heat. (bad cell phone pic)

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You know, a phone call that includes the words "sorry to tell you this about your car", combined with "at least the shop didn't burn down" are never good. Fortunately my buddy (who owns the car) took it all in strides. Needless to say the above mentioned electrical system is going to be attended to next.

-Dave

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1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Salzburg Factory Rally Replica Tribute
1975 Volkswagen Beetle - Family Heirloom
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1990 90q20v
1995 Ford F150
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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:34 am 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:05 am
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Location: Squamish, BC...just 20hrs from 034!
Found the source of the fire...
Image

And the damage...
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...and guess I'll be fabbing up a defrost duct.
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-Dave

_________________
1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Salzburg Factory Rally Replica Tribute
1975 Volkswagen Beetle - Family Heirloom
1990 Coupe Quattro
1990 90q20v
1995 Ford F150
----
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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:35 am 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:05 am
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Location: Squamish, BC...just 20hrs from 034!
Well, found the next project after the wiring harness...apparently the trans leaks, and we still have engine oil coming off the skid plate. Engine oil could simply be the stuff we dumped pulling the motor to get the trans out. Fun continues!
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This is the kind of work found all through the rally related wiring...which should explain why I chose to gut all of it!
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I've been accused in the past of storing far too much stuff in my garage & storage unit, but eventually everything seems to find a use. Here an Audi harness I've been carting around for 8+ years donated it's color-keyed wiring to the Colt project. None of this "eight white wires going somewhere" nonsense.
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The back of my instrument cluster was quite burned from the fire (and indeed the source of the fire), and i ended up taking the whole PC board right off the assembly. This means there's no light bulb holders, so another solution was needed for the speedometer and indicator lights. I picked up some LED strip lighting from Walmart for the speedometer lighting, and then trimmed up and soldered the second strip into 3 small LED strips. These are mounted in the turn signal and high-beam areas so I have the "stock" indicators working.
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Oil pressure warning light, and all toggle switches are being moved to the spot where the stock radio was.
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Front-side coming together...
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The back, showing wiring work and the new cable which I'll have to connect into both the stock harness and the new rally harness I'll be building.
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And a final test of the lighting, warning lights and switches before I work on installing it into the car. The small blue light above the switches is an indicator lamp showing whether or not the rad fan is running. It's tripped either by the toggle switch or the in-rad temp switch. I'm always wondering when I look over and see the water temp high "is the rad fan running, or not?"
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Might be hitting a bit of a dead end for a few days, I live in a relatively small town and thus the electrical supplies I normally use on cars aren't easily available. May need to order from the states which will put this on pause for a while. Shop is starting to look a little bit like a wiring hurricane blew through though, so some cleanup time will be appreciated!
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-Dave

_________________
1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Salzburg Factory Rally Replica Tribute
1975 Volkswagen Beetle - Family Heirloom
1990 Coupe Quattro
1990 90q20v
1995 Ford F150
----
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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:36 am 
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super cool

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:37 pm 
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Very cool project, will be watching

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Cool!

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:17 pm 
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like!

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:30 pm 
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kickin' tires'n lightin fires
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Would love to have that in my collection... :)

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Very freakin' cool

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:58 am 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire

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Can't think of a better rwd rally car. I can remember a boyfriend my Mom had a long time ago had a Colt, it was not fast but he took me on some wild backroad drives with it, the kind of thing that makes a little boy laugh for hours. Those cars seem to be made to go sideways. :)

Cool build, should be fun to watch.

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:06 am 
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Lord_Verminaard wrote:
Can't think of a better rwd rally car. I can remember a boyfriend my Mom had a long time ago had a Colt, it was not fast but he took me on some wild backroad drives with it, the kind of thing that makes a little boy laugh for hours. Those cars seem to be made to go sideways. :)

Cool build, should be fun to watch.

Brendan


pretty much agree
this is the only rwd rally car i likes more

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http://www.eurotuner.com/featuredvehicles/eurp_1009_1974_ford_escort_1_3/viewall.html

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DD '86 4kq BLAZE, swapping aba/16vT and O1E http://www.theprojectpad.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=201#p38264
'86 4kq - 3b'd = gone http://www.motorgeek.com/viewtopic.php?t=25432


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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:10 pm 
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kickin' tires'n lightin fires

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I love those things, awesome car. Glad you did not lose it to fire. Nice find on the D50 donor, sounds like cheap fun!

There is a Plymouth Fire Arrow rally car around here, almost bought it years ago for 800 but someone beat me too it. It keeps killing R ends, i was going to put a locked Samurai R End in it.

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:46 am 
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kickin' tires'n lightin fires
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Why do you have to post stuff like that man ????? You're making me want another odd project car. :slap: :wink:


my2000apb wrote:
Lord_Verminaard wrote:
Can't think of a better rwd rally car. I can remember a boyfriend my Mom had a long time ago had

a Colt, it was not fast but he took me on some wild backroad drives with it, the kind of thing that makes a little boy laugh for hours. Those cars seem to be made to go sideways. :)

Cool build, should be fun to watch.

Brendan


pretty much agree
this is the only rwd rally car i likes more

Image
http://www.eurotuner.com/featuredvehicles/eurp_1009_1974_ford_escort_1_3/viewall.html

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:49 am 
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its the only ford i desire

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DD '86 4kq BLAZE, swapping aba/16vT and O1E http://www.theprojectpad.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=201#p38264
'86 4kq - 3b'd = gone http://www.motorgeek.com/viewtopic.php?t=25432


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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:42 pm 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire
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Location: Squamish, BC...just 20hrs from 034!
Well, back after a break to do the final preparations on The Hagerty Spring Thaw Classic Car Adventure (or, the "Spring Thaw" as it's more commonly known). It's a driving event for classic cars aged 1979 and earlier (any make or model), for enthusiasts who aren't scared to drive their classics. This year we hosted 73 cars, 149 people, over 1400+ km of twisty mountain back roads in B.C.

But back to the Colt! I was rushing to get the Colt ready, first so that I could get it out of the garage to ready my '71 VW 1302s for the Spring Thaw, and secondly because we were going to go testing in the car the day after Spring Thaw. The electrical is about 90% finished. Still have to install the rally computer, label the fuses and relays, and fix a couple of issues with the stock circuits. But the car runs and drives and looks a hell of a lot better.

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The large round section looks funny, but allows me to get my hand up in behind to do any quick repairs without pulling the panels off. Each of the panels is removable, however, for reaching other work or extended repairs / modifications. Now about that duct tape...

When we arrived at testing we didn't have the Innovate Wideband gauge or wiring. The friend I'm prepping the car for was bringing it with him. We had some time while he was fulfilling duties with his factory team, so I figured I might as well install it in the car before we went out. I had forgotten the firewall grommet I planned to use, however. So we came up with a rather redneck solution:
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A few more wraps of tape, and it was waterproof and wouldn't result in cut wires from the firewall. We'll change this out for a proper grommet now that the car is home.

On with the testing! We were down at DirtFish rally school in Washington, as the car owner's team was doing some testing prior to Olympus rally this weekend. The weather was mixing between sunny periods and downpours...even hail and a bit of snow at one point. Finally he got a break from filming, due to the torrential rains, and we set out in the Colt. (horrible photos due to not risking a real camera in the rain):

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The car is an absolute blast. Use a bit of left foot braking, and then steer with the throttle. Way too much fun, and laughter heard above the engine for the entire time we were going around the course. Oil pressure is high, we're going to upgrade the radiator to an aluminum unit, and 4th gear syncro didn't survive the transmission meltdown...but it's useable, and seriously grin-inducing. Sounds great too.

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With the DirtFish testing done, we pulled it off the trailer about 60km from home and I street drove it the rest of the way. We wanted to see how the water temps would be, and if any other problems might surface. Besides the fact that my ears were bleeding (with hearing protection!) the car passed with flying colors. You might notice the speedo doesn't work...but that's a minor problem. Windshield gets replaced on Thursday, we've got the new seatbelts ready and new seats are on their way from Recaro.

-Dave

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1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Salzburg Factory Rally Replica Tribute
1975 Volkswagen Beetle - Family Heirloom
1990 Coupe Quattro
1990 90q20v
1995 Ford F150
----
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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Sweet! How come you did use the stock tach?

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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:16 pm 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire
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Location: Squamish, BC...just 20hrs from 034!
Partly because the car came with that Autometer tach in the dash and there are ugly holes...partially because the dash fire destroyed the instrument cluster. I was able to save the speedo (just have to fix the cable).

-Dave

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1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Salzburg Factory Rally Replica Tribute
1975 Volkswagen Beetle - Family Heirloom
1990 Coupe Quattro
1990 90q20v
1995 Ford F150
----
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 Post subject: Re: 1974 Dodge Colt Stage Rally Car
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:16 pm 
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mach 2 with my hair on fire

Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 7:26 am
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Very nice, Dave.

Greg W.

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