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Thread: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

  1. #1
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    progress on the blue Spirit R/T - IT RUNS!!

    well for the first time since i bought my Spirit R/T over two months ago, i finally did something to it! up until now the only things i have done is remove those riced out graphic stickers that were on it and put it on a trailer to haul it down to my new place.

    the turbo was completely trashed; i've never felt so much shaft play. it was just flopping around inside. after i removed it i found oil all over inside. there is no way this thing can be rebuilt since it looks like the compressor wheel had obviously come into contact with the housing. i also removed a few other things in preparation for removing the cylinder head. the bottom of the intercooler is filled with oil, along with oil all over the throttle body and intercooler hoses. even the downpipe has oil all over in it. i pulled the cam covers off and it appears to be extremely clean inside. from what i can tell so far all of the cam lobes look perfectly smooth. only one lifter was missing that plastic retainer piece, other than that minor detail the valvetrain looked absolutely great. i haven't cleaned the valley area yet, but i looked very closely with a bright flashlight and i cannot see any signs of cracks. it still has the original steel core plugs, but so far it looks fine. the spark plugs looked really bad - looked like they had milkshake oil on the threads but fwiw i found them to be VERY loose....like just barely more than handtight so maybe that had something to do with it? the previous owner told me he thought the head gasket was blown because it was smoking so bad but i think it was obviously the turbo. the coolant in the radiator is bright green and does not appear to be contaminated, and the motor oil is clean and full as well. i do plan on having the head pressure checked, valve job with new guides, resurfaced (?) along with new FWDP lifters and titanium retainers and cometic HG. i'm probably just going to locate a stock turbo for now although i would love to get a .63 stg-II 50-trim later. i just need to get this thing running first and fix all of the issues leftover from the previous owner.

    i also removed the front bumper and cover. the previous owner said he hit a pole while drunk. thankfully no damage at all besides the bumper cover and the bumper itself needs to be replaced. i have already located a replacement ES bumper cover in a local salvage yard.

    it was dark out, snowing and 21*F, all inside of a tiny garage that has no electricity. i made due with my maglight i also don't have a jack so it was kind of ----- cramming myself under the car to unbolt the downpipe hah. feels good finally making some progress though! anyway, here are some progress pics:

    yeah, the previous owner decided to paint the cam covers orange. yuk.


    oil in the downpipe:












    the lower lip appears to be good, so i guess i'll keep that:




    -----------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS
    Last edited by TurboSedan; 04-10-2008 at 08:09 PM.

  2. #2
    boostaholic Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Well thats good news to hear about the valvetrain. i would rather spend that money on the goodies you listed off for the head anyway. Its really heartbreaking that the little baby stock turbo is dead,time for the 50 trim
    Good luck with her

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    i think my brother is coming down this Monday and hopefully we can remove the cylinder head then (no way am i lifting that thing off by myself). i know this engine has been rebuilt twice; hopefully whoever did the rebuild didn't do anything too stupid like stick TII pistons in there. kinda wish i had a borescope but i'd rather clean the hell out of everything and use a Cometic anyway.

    hopefully with new headgasket and turbo/lines, some cleaning and other misc. fixes i can get this thing running and driving. Jeremy has a good stock TIII turbo that we might use temporarily. then i'll at least know whether or not i have to completely tear into it and fix something like a spun rod bearing.

    even if it did come to that i guess i'd still wouldn't regret buying it. $800 for a completely rust free, very clean interior, clean title, 115,xxx mile Spirit R/T aint bad ecpsecially when i didn't even have to go anywhere to get it but of course, unlike a SOHC it is going to be $$$$ to fix/modify. i don't think my supercharged Regal is going to get any more mods anytime soon.

    --------------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Awesome! If the weather is good on Monday I may just stop in Douglas on my way down and grab that bumper cover for ya. I'd like to test fit that NPR intercooler on your R/T while the front end is off too.
    87 Shelby Lancer #127
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    the nice things about tIII motors is to swap the turbo, you dont have to pull the friggin head.

    good find on that car! my stocker turbo died... and i went with a stageII 50 trim with just the 48 housing. i got the 63, I just havent followed through or decided on sticking with internal or an external wastegate.

    +++++59045984 for the 50 trim!!!!!

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    how is the spoolup with that .48 housing? i'm thinking maybe i should do that. living at 7200ft elevation = lots of lag. just going down to 4500ft makes a big difference. the last thing i want is to have the car be a dog below 3500 RPM. i used to own a '91 Cutlass with a 3.1L Turbo V6 that used a small T25. no lag at all, just step on the go pedal and take off! i think i got used to it i'd probably only be going to the dragstrip once or twice a year at most, so maybe a .63 stg-II turbine would be too much for what i want. i just want it to be a fun street driven car. hell if Pat has gone 12.44 at 110 on a stock turbo'd Spirit R/T maybe the stock turbo is the way to go.

    it'll be quite awhile before i buy an upgraded turbo though, so i have lots of time to decide.

    -----------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    i pulled the intake off tonight. under intake port #2 i found a round thing stuck on the head with black RTV, about 3/4" diameter. it says "gaurantee void if removed" so it appears this head has possibly been repaired before? it kind of looks like the back of a 12ga shotgun shell:



    do TIII engines have two knock sensors? as you can see in the pic i have one in the block and another in the head. the one in the head wasn't being used. i didn't find a another conector for the other one.

    dam Fram filters, maybe that's why the turbo went! i should have the head off tomarrow.


    -----------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    boostaholic Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Certain machine shops put them on heads and blocks that they rebuild. Alot of big head rebuilders do that as well. It looks like it was bead-blasted once and has some aftermarket cam plug in the back of it. I wouldnt be worried about pulling it off as I doubt you will get it warrantied anywhere
    Look at the front of the head between where the cams go in and see if it has the letters DUNN cast into it.

    As for the two knock sensors,ha,ha,no,someone put that in there. That bolt hole is not used on a TIII.

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    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor 2.216VTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Coolant is green and the smoke was from the turbo. No cracks or seepage in the valley, Why are you pulling the head?

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    i just looked and i do not see 'DUNN" anywhere. someone scribed in the numbers "3874" but that's it (between cam gears...looks like it was done with one of those vibrating pen things for marking tools). i also looked for STAR imprint like my brother's TIII head had but didn't see that anywhere either. the cam plugs do look new.

    i didn't think the TIII had two knock sensors, but then my Buick does so thought i would make sure. i'll just remove it.

    thanks

    ---------------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Quote Originally Posted by 2.216VTurbo View Post
    Coolant is green and the smoke was from the turbo. No cracks or seepage in the valley, Why are you pulling the head?
    mostly want to make sure everything is alright. i'm going by what the owner told me and that the spark plug threads looked pretty bad. i'm still not really sure why the spark plug threads had milkshake-like oil on them, even if they were loose. the plug tips didn't (just really blackened/oil fouled).

    maybe i shouldn't bother? so far it does not appear to be blown, and i see no signs of an external leak. kinda wanted to run a cometic but i suppose that could wait until next spring/summer when i have more money for the other stuff i have planned.

    -----------------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor 2.216VTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Well, If I had plenty of $$ to throw at it, I'd pull the head, port/polish, three angle valve job-you know all the goodies. But if I were on a tight budget, head is not cracked or oozing coolant, seems like you have diagnosed the smoking problem. Cant see why you would pull it at this point. Find a decent stock turbo, cut out the Cat (if it has one) and run it for a while while you stock up on the parts and $$ to upgrade when the head does need to come off.

    AJ (no More Alan) 84 Rampage RT TIII/568 Quaife 87 GLHS dealer optioned Red 16V Masi/568/Quaife
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    i know i really should do that, but i guess my curiousity is the real thing. kinda need something to do and have fun wrenching anyway and head gasket/bolts don't cost much. i really want to see how the pistons & combustion chambers look. i never have heard this thing run and i know the previous owner was probably hard on it. the engine was rebuilt about a year ago (my brother and i know the owner of the place that did the work to the car) BUT another shop out of town actually did the rebuild. the shop in town here just did the R&R. fwiw i am pretty sure the engine was rebuilt once before that. when i seen this car for sale back in 2005, the For Sale sign in the window claimed the engine had just been rebuilt.

    this is probably a stupid question, but can a TIII be rebuilt with TII pistons? i'm almost scared that is what i'm going to find, because alot of shops/mechanics have no idea what a TIII is and might think all 2.2 Turbo engines are the same. if it has been rebuilt twice now, there is a chance it may have needed an overbore at some point...

    ---------------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

  14. #14
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    TII pistons will not work in a TIII engine. Compression would likely be too low.
    “If the people of the nation understood our banking and monetary system, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” -Henry Ford

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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    well the car now has a good front bumper again. Jeremy and i got it for $35 including the black grill. we installed it today but it still needs to be adjusted a little. the lower lip piece is a little tweaked so i might end up using the old one. the fog light brackets were a little different between the two bumpers so i still need to swap those out.







    Jeremy looked at the lifter that i thought was missing the plastic retainer, and it is actually a new FWDP lifter. besides some cleaning, i can't really do much to it until a new turbo line kit gets here. i've decided to leave the head on.

    ---------------------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

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    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    And now I can finally fix my own bumper cover! That turned out to be easier than I thought to replace. We still need to align the black bumper a little better but that should be easy. You can see in the pics that the bumper hangs a little too low creating a gap between the bumper and grill.

    I'm amazed at how good the engine itself looks though...you got lucky! Blue R/T should be running in January sometime.
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    Nice finding on the bumper.

    Sounds like a good plan to leave her sealed up until your ready to upgrade
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    As said, that disc/tag is what machine shops use to identify there heads for warranty. If that tag isn't there, it means the engine was overheated so no warranty as the glue melts at a certain temp. That would also explain why the head is so clean inside.

    I agee with Alan, if money is tight, just put a new turbo on and put it back together, the engine looks like its in great shape.

    I have so much work to do to mine, will have to wait until next year.
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    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    one of the freeze plugs on the front of the block has a round tag as well. it doesn't say "gaurantee void if removed" on it but it's obviously the same thing.

    can't wait to drive this thing. my Regal is so boring, i miss having a manual transmission.

    --------------------------
    Joshua Mitchell
    '91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    '98 Buick Regal GS

  20. #20

    Re: some progress on the blue Spirit R/T

    The tag your talking about are called heat tabs. If the engine is overheated the small center will melt out at about 280'. They are usually put on freeze plugs and with a metal based glue. The one on your head looks like it was put on with silicone which acts as an insulator.

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