Part 8: Finishing Touches
For the second time in little over a year we've successfully torn down and rebuilt our '99 Dodge Durango. While Phase I of the project fitted the mighty Mopar with 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles and a custom multilink suspension, the second leg of the build focused on squeezing in a potent and unique powertrain. Working with the crews at National Speed and Momentum Performance in Wilmington, North Carolina, we've effectively created a mud-slaying package befitting the name Heavy Metal Mudder.
From the Viper V-10 and Atlas transfer case to the Detroit Lockers and 44-inch Boggers, we've left nothing to chance and worked hard to eliminate any weak links. Last month we buttoned up all of the major installation items and were only a few parts away from getting the Mudder moving on its own. We'll bring you the finale next month, but this issue we'll focus on the final touches that made the snake-powered monster ready for the dirt.
Cool Runnings With the engine now running, we began a series of "worst case scenario" tests to try and induce an overheating situation. During a couple low-speed, high-rev tests it didn't take long for our oil and engine temps to reach a little higher that we like. To help cool things down we installed a high-flow pusher fan from Flex-a-lite. The new front mount fan works great with our twin puller fans, and the Durango now stays cool, even with outside temps in the 90s and the A/C on high.
Liquid Insurance Our 8.3L uses a rear sump oil pan from the SRT-10 Ram truck. This pan works well for most wheeling situations, but extreme angles could rob the engine's oil pressure. To add a little extra insurance for off-camber wheeling, we installed a Moroso oil accumulator from Summit Racing. The accumulator is a pressurized canister that holds 3 quarts of additional engine oil. With a flip of a lever our 0-40w Mobil 1reservoir shoots into the oil stream so oil pressure is never lost.
Due to the limited space between the oil pan and the 2 1/2-ton third member, we had to relocate the V-10's oil filter. To complete the filter move and increase oil flow, we modified the filter relocation kit that and machined it to accept larger AN fittings and Aeroquip braided hoses from Summit Racing.
Since our drivetrain is comprised of all high-quality and beefy aftermarket parts, we needed a set of drivelines that could handle the high horsepower, healthy weight, and extreme off-road conditions our Mudder is sure to face. To craft our custom driveshafts we went to the 4x shaft experts at Tom Wood's.
Each Tom Wood's shaft is equipped with a 1410 U-joint at the 2 1/2-ton third member for maximum strength. On the transfer case side our Atlas four-speed uses a 1410 flange mount in the rear and a 1350 CV at the front output.
Because the Durango is fitted with a fully hydraulic steering system from PSC Motorsports, we had to address the pump and orbital for the new engine. The new PSC pump easily bolted in place of the factory 8.3L power steering pump and is tuned to work with our new orbital.