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Author Topic: Road Trip to Key West  (Read 1253 times)
taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« on: May 03, 2019, 06:59:09 PM »

In the summer of 2015 I drove Superbird#177569 (Alpine white 440-4 barrel, automatic-my avater) from Jeffersonville, IN to Whittier Alaska, just to drive a Superbird to Alaska. Here is the thread on it. http://www.dodgecharger.com/forum/index.php/topic,112825.0.html

Upon return from that trip I sent it to Mark at Magnum Restorations for a complete nut and bolt restoration. He did a magnificent job, the car was named best Wing Car at Mopar Nats in 2017, and best in show at Mopars at the Battleships last year. I have only put 40-50 miles on it since the restoration, but that has now come to an end as far as being a trailer queen-they were made to be driven.

Today we completed all but one mechanical preparation for a new trip. On June 19 I am once again taking the Alaska Highway Bird #177569 on a trip as far south as I can go-to Key West. No passengers or chase car again and I want everything stock just like for Alaska.

Once again we will have a tail mounted Go-Pro snapping pictures every 5 seconds (over 30,000 in the Alaska trip) and a passenger vent wing mounted go Pro that I hope to be able to run all the time. My note taking will be better and my voice memos will be better too.

Some things I learned on the Alaska trip and have changed:
-I am now running a Glen-Ray triple core, max-cooling radiator with a bottle of added water wetter for extra help;

-The ECM for the Mopar electronic ignition has been relocated to a cool spot hidden in the nose after frying several ECM's on the Alaska trip-they should not be firewall mounted if on a long trip.

-I have upgraded the radio to an AM/FM factory type so that this time I have sound, accompanied by a new speaker.

-The heat on the first 1/3 of the Alaska trip was unbearable, and this one is expected to be worse, so I am going to leave at 5:00 am to get a few hours in cooler temps and just about 90 minutes or so of darkness driving.

-We put in hardened valve seats after the engine rebuild from the Alaska trip, so I can run pump gas but I am still taking a dozen octane booster bottles.

-I have changed the oil today to Brad Penn 20w50 high zinc content but don't expect much in the way of consumption. The engine was rebuilt during the restoration.

-The original trip averaged 13.5 mpg at 60-65 mph. I plan on driving about the same and will be interested to see if the mileage is similar after the rebuild

-On the Alaska trip I had completely rebuilt the suspension before the trip and it was trashed by the gravel roads at the end, so it is all new, as are the brakes.

-The automatic transmission was rebuilt right before the Alaska trip so I merely changed the fluid and filter in it today.

-The wheels and tires were going to be the same ones that went to Alaska because they had lots of tread left, but they are date coded 2012-too old, so today we put 4 new Radial T/As on and even bought a radial T/A spare for safety

-The brakes are new but the emergency brake is not working-we adjusted it today with no results, so Sunday will be looking at where the cable end goes into the foot mechanism to see if that's the issue. If that doesn't fix it I will live without it.

-The electronics were all rebuilt during the resto, so they are all good to go.

-Today we fixed 4-5 minor items, changed oil and filter, checked all fluid levels hot,

-Anyone considering a long trip in one of these old Mopars must consider all components as I have done: engine, trans, rear, brakes, suspension. Additionally, I will have a trunk loaded with a toolbox, most of the supply items from my Alaska trip checklist, and a box full of spare parts and fluids. In the back seat floor behind the driver is a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a hammer. Navigation will be by road atlas. I can post that checklist if anyone wants it.

-The planned route is to leave June 19 going south on I-65 through Kentucky to Nashville, then I-24 east over the mountains to Chattanooga, then I-75 south taking Atlanta head on. Staying in I-75 all the way through Georgia and the west coast of Florida, stopping in Sarasota for the night. The next morning of the 20th, continue on I-75 south to Miami, catching US Hwy A1 south all the way to Key West where numerous pictures are planned of the mile marker zero and the southernmost spot of US monument is with the Bird in front. It appears to be about 1,400 one-way miles from Indiana. Will return the same route but stay in Sarasota for 2 weeks before heading back to Indiana July 5 or 6.

-I would love to meet up with anyone on the route-you can pm me here or call my cell-I will provide it via pm.

So when this trip is done the Alpine White Alaska Highway Bird will have been driven as far north and as far south as possible in the US-just as something to do that hasn't been done before.

Bob J
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held1823
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 07:23:33 PM »

awesome.  can't hardly wait for the virtual ride along, the views will be spectacular
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ernie helderbrand - 409053
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 09:02:30 PM »

Subscribed! I admire your adventures in your Superbird. Let me know if you ever venture to Mt Rushmore or the Rockies or something.. would love to meet up with you on the way.
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 09:24:03 PM »

Subscribed as well! Good luck on the trip!  2thumbs
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RallyeMike
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 11:48:32 PM »

Quote
So when this trip is done the Alpine White Alaska Highway Bird will have been driven as far north and as far south as possible in the US

You'd have to ship the bird to Hawaii to hit the furthest South possible in the US...... maybe the next adventure?
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hemi68charger
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2019, 12:47:56 AM »

Go for it Bob !!!!   cheers
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Troy
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garner7555
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2019, 04:42:56 AM »

That is awesome!
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69 Charger 440 resto-mod
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2019, 06:41:29 AM »

Best of luck Bob, keep cool thumbs Cool
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b5blue
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 08:27:51 AM »

Go Bob go!  2thumbs I'm near Tampa if you need anything. Double check wipers, defrost and weather stripping.
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held1823
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 08:29:58 AM »

Quote
So when this trip is done the Alpine White Alaska Highway Bird will have been driven as far north and as far south as possible in the US

You'd have to ship the bird to Hawaii to hit the furthest South possible in the US...... maybe the next adventure?


he did say DRIVEN as far as possible. using a boat to Hawaii would be cheating
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ernie helderbrand - 409053
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2019, 09:33:59 AM »

Quote
So when this trip is done the Alpine White Alaska Highway Bird will have been driven as far north and as far south as possible in the US

You'd have to ship the bird to Hawaii to hit the furthest South possible in the US...... maybe the next adventure?


he did say DRIVEN as far as possible. using a boat to Hawaii would be cheating

 iagree
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ACUDANUT
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2019, 09:54:34 AM »

Go Bob go!  2thumbs I'm near Tampa if you need anything. Double check wipers, defrost and weather stripping.

 You need a defroster in May in the keys ?
Beware, Key West does not cater to Straight folks, watch your six at all times.
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tan top
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 10:48:34 AM »

 good stuff  coolgleamA cheers popcrn
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DonC1
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 12:03:38 PM »

 2thumbs
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b5blue
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2019, 04:49:34 PM »

Go Bob go!  2thumbs I'm near Tampa if you need anything. Double check wipers, defrost and weather stripping.

 You need a defroster in May in the keys ?
Beware, Key West does not cater to Straight folks, watch your six at all times.
  20+ years in Florida with my 70 Charger I learned humid air fogs windows. Any leaks to inside end up steaming to the point I kept a squeegee and dry towels in the car at all times. Most rain here can last days not hours and you can't keep windows open. Charging system critical when stuck traffic lights with wipers on (Required) possibly defroster to defog windshield idling with old system giving low alternator output.(At idle to 5MPH, I've Denso Alt. now.) You find every water sensitive connection or parts and appreciate every shield when roads turn into temporary streams. The happiest day in my Charger was 1st day with A/C! (Not just cold but DRY air!)   
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odcics2
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2019, 06:21:02 PM »

Ran 120 mph just past Marathon Key, back in the day, passing 5 cars in a row.
 Fun times.
 coolgleamA
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I've never owned anything but a MoPar. Can you say that?
taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2019, 11:43:08 AM »

Thanks for the encouragement. Got to admit that Youtube video by Caroline Jones didn't hurt the motivation either!

90 mile Test drive was just finished this morning:
High speed 95
Average speed 70 +-
Oil pressure at highway 35 PSI, at idle at stoplight after 1 solid hour 25psi
Water temp 190 steady, slowly raised to 200 when sitting in traffic at stoplight
Leaks/consumption/performance issues: none
Gas mileage-not yet refueled
All unknown rattles apparently were eliminated with tightening and lube yesterday.

Other issues
Pulls to left at braking
Emergency brake still not working (project for tomorrow night)
Car would not restart after pulling in shop. Had this issue before and replaced neutral safety switch (automatic), now have it again. Started at firewall relay no problem, so not sure about this one and will think about it a day or so.

Thanks
Bob
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hemi68charger
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2019, 11:59:39 AM »

...
Car would not restart after pulling in shop. Had this issue before and replaced neutral safety switch (automatic), now have it again. Started at firewall relay no problem, so not sure about this one and will think about it a day or so.

Thanks
Bob

Sounds like you are vetting the car well.. Have you replaced the starter relay switch at the firewall... I'm taking it when this issues shows its head, the starter doesn't even click? If not, the no electrical signal to the starter and that's via the reply switch. Points to the relay switch if by-passing it works... Or, I'm missing something..

T
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Troy
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taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2019, 06:34:08 PM »

Thanks Troy

Starting issue only comes up when hot. Tried the old jiggling the shifter and going to neutral and all that with no joy. I do hear a click at the relay but no starter action. I think I have a starter relay in the shop and it is easy to bolt on tomorrow yo see if that is it. Also, although I checked the transmission fluid hot, idling in neutral and it was ok before the test drive I guess it's possible the torque converter sucked in just enough fluid during the drive to lower the fill level below senor connect in the tranny, so I will check that too.

Bob
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b5blue
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2019, 06:28:17 AM »

I had a similar problem and it was the connection of the red battery cable at the lead battery connector. It looked perfect and held when pulled on but if you jam it around while someone turned the key it would suddenly start. 
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taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2019, 07:07:43 PM »

All issues now resolved, emergency break fixed, starting issue fixed. Change in itinerary

Leave Indiana in 2 weeks on June 18. Will be stopping at Hampton Inn in Alexander City AL, pictures in front of museum next morning at dawn, then on to Sarasota on 19th. Then on to Key West on 20th. Back to Sarasota on 21st, staying 2 weeks, back to Indiana on July 6.

Car shows-June 22-Lance's Hooters Car Show on 6/22 in Bradenton FL
Talking to "Southernmost Car Club" in Key West about something on the 20th

Would love to meet up on route-pm me!
Thanks
Bob
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garner7555
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2019, 09:33:54 PM »

All issues now resolved, emergency break fixed, starting issue fixed. Change in itinerary

Leave Indiana in 2 weeks on June 18. Will be stopping at Hampton Inn in Alexander City AL, pictures in front of museum next morning at dawn, then on to Sarasota on 19th. Then on to Key West on 20th. Back to Sarasota on 21st, staying 2 weeks, back to Indiana on July 6.

Car shows-June 22-Lance's Hooters Car Show on 6/22 in Bradenton FL
Talking to "Southernmost Car Club" in Key West about something on the 20th

Would love to meet up on route-pm me!
Thanks
Bob
I live in Alabama, about 1.5 hours from the museum.  I don't know Tim Welborn personally but the local Mopar club is very involved with the museum and I bet he would like to know you are coming by to take pictures.  If he had time he would probably like to be there to meet you and see the car.  This is a really cool trip and I would love to meet up if our schedules allowed it.  If you would like me to send word to Tim Welborn about your plans then I would be happy to do so.     2thumbs
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taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2019, 02:00:14 PM »

That would be great Garner, thanks
Bob
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taxspeaker
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The Alaska Highway Superbird


« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2019, 09:29:19 AM »

Leaving Tuesday 6/17

Here are 2 pictures of camera. This is a re-design after our experiences with the Alaska Go Pro. The front is a clear dome as you can see. Inside is the latest model GoPro with a 4 GB SD card that will take live recording-card holds about 8 hours of recording. Go Pro innternal battery is disabled and power comes from battery pack with 12 hour life. Mount designed and 3d printed by my son Ryan.

Unit is mounted to wing with rubber special vibration/scratch proof tie down with additional felt insulation of wing. Again, after experiences from Alaska trip this is much more vibration/water resistant and much more idiot proof. I just need to change the battery and SD card each night. We also are carrying an extra dome and tie downs.

The rear shot shows the clamshell connection which has a 3rd level back up with the small blue tie downs.

BTW the coffee table illustrated book of the Alaska trip is now in production stage from our own Cody Cole, will be done by late summer.


* Resize front.jpeg (28.97 KB, 433x577 - viewed 92 times.)

* Resized_20190614_104603_5162.jpeg (26.95 KB, 433x577 - viewed 91 times.)
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held1823
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2019, 09:38:13 AM »

you in the market for another son? my mom still offers me up for adoption to this day.

(i am not making that up, lol)
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ernie helderbrand - 409053
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