Alaska...Its Been Awhile - Page 3 - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums
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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 04:02 PM
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I appreciate it- I’m hoping to be back for most of the season. Traveling for work right now, but looking forward to my first summer up there. Saw a lot of beautiful classics down in the valley in the early fall, but didn’t have time to get to the strip. Trying to get the local shop to add some goodness while I’m gone, and hoping to enjoy it this year. Unfortunately, I have no idea what I’m doing, especially with trying to get rims and tires up there for a reasonable price with shipping.

One of the guys from TeamSRT Alaska reaches out at work, but I didn’t have time to follow up immediately. Looking forward to fixing that for an occasional drive if I can get some time.

If ya got a good recommendation for someone to fix a dent on the body line on the left quarter from an idiot who let a door go into it on a windy day, I’m all ears! Thanks again, and looking forward to getting back that way after a minute.
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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 12:26 AM
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Reliable speed shops?

Been trying to work with someone up in the valley- after four months of trying to get an estimate together, get the parts ordered, and get an installation scheduled, haven’t had a whole lot of luck.

Does anyone trust someone up there to do either a piston or short block swap? Any success stories? Would prefer just doing the pistons and rods until I get back to the lower 48, and maybe stroke it on the next refresh/swap the block later.

Next question- anyone have any experience with getting parts shipped? Any vendors have experience sending a short block up there, or have a quote for a shipping price to the general Anchorage area?

I’m looking at feasibility for core charges and such. Obviously, if it’s $800+ both ways, that alters the game plan a bit.

Also curious about rims and transmission shipping if anyone has done it- I have a few more years stationed up there, and will have some time to leave the car in the shop or take it in to auto craft for some of the smaller jobs I need to borrow tools for, such as axles and drive shaft.

Figure it’s still cheaper and more fun than trying to buy a hellcat up there

Also, if anyone has already done a KB install in the area that wants a case of beer and some steak, we might have some room for conversation this summer depending on whether or not this builder gets back to me in the next month... been trying to get a 2.8LC and a meth kit on before I get home from this latest vacation. Also looking for a roll cage that can bolt in and out, so if anyone there has a lead that’s local and/or not $500 shipping...

Obviously, that means new tires, rims, fuel system, tranny and drivetrain upgrades over the next 18 months following, so it should be a good project. Unmodded 17 Scat Pack, so that needs to get corrected, and looking to make some incremental changes while I can. I’m sure it’s going to be painful due to freight costs there, I’m trying to not have the pain in the butt from a machine shop that can’t answer emails.
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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 10:37 PM
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With all the stuff you want to do I suspect the Hellcat will be cheaper, trade in now down there and drive up. A shop that has a good reputation locally is P-3 in Wasilla. He will suggest going the short block route rather then drop in pistons but he will do what you want. Shipping is a killer to Alaska and most vendors will not work with you at all to find a cheaper method (Luke at Steve White's will) and some will not ship to Alaska period. If you can get the rims you want through Amazon and you are a prime member they will ship for free (or did but they have tightened up a lot recently with Alaska shipping). Speed logix had a roll cage package available and likely still does.

You are going to do the drop in's before you but the KB on right?

2012 SRT automatic, PB 12.0490 with MT drag radials and trinity 93 octane tune.
PB [email protected], Magnuson supercharger 5.5psi, forged piston/rods, Hellcat injectors, 10/1 compression, tuned for 90 octane.
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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 11:34 PM
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Hey Clownfeet, just wanted to co-sign on what John said. I didn't know about the shop in Wasilla. I was directed to a few options in Anchorage that didn't pan out at all. I'm short on time here, so I'll wait till I leave to do the maintenance I wanted to take care of and not have to worry about the crippling shipping.

I can definitely confirm you'd be better off getting the 'Cat, from a straight price prospective anyway. However, there's a lot to say about modding yourself as I am sure you know. You also won't feel like you're missing out on "great weather" while she's on a lift as much as you would anywhere else

Finally, I've not done a KB, but did a Vortech and other mods on my '10 SRT, and helped a lot of club members do their mods (mostly sourced from SpeedLogix while in Germany). I'd love to share my limited 'don't do that' list and snap some photos of the mx.

Look forward to seeing you out there either way!

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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-05-2018, 02:25 AM
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Acknowledges all, with thanks

I hear ya both- I’m already stationed up there, just on yet another business trip for work. Since there are literally no hellcats currently in the area for sale, that means ordering one, waiting, and paying destination there or shipping it from the lower 48 and trading mine in locally.

I understand the financial argument, but it’s the tertiary concern. I realize it’s an ultimate loss, but this car was a dream the last deployment, and it’s damn near paid off about a year later. Idea is that it gets some work done over time, turns into a 10-20 year car, and gets work as it needs it. It will become a third vehicle here in the not too distant future, so getting the work done and making changes are more geared toward having a good time at the strip and hopefully some HPDEs when I get back down to the lower 48.

If I wanted to go cheaper than the planned mods over the next 5 years, literally could have bought a Demon for MSRP and won out. But, where’s the fun in that? ��

So, this is one to learn on, do the work that I can while I have almost free access to tools and a lift, and start living the hobby a bit when the wife is out of town. To that end, azimuth check-

Not doing the pistons yet. I only have another two years on station, so it is more likely I’m only going to get to drive it for less than half of that because of work. Between time in the field and whenever I’m out of town, I can afford to work with a builder for access to a CNC machine and a Dyno, and do a lot of the rest of the work with some guys around the shop that are literally 20+ year ASE mechanics and gear heads that are working at the auto craft center as a retirement gig. With email tuning the way it is, that’s really opening things up. If I knew for sure I could do the drop ins myself right now without having to do a hone or screwing it up, I probably would. As is, that will probably go to fund a new driveshaft and rims as it is.
Will be sitting at about 28k miles when I get back. ***** for it is, if I crack the heads off, I might as well do the rods, too... and port the heads... and change the compression ratio... it never ends

Not doing that puts me at an artificial stopping point until I can get some other things in place, like the fuel system. Otherwise, I’m going to be tempted to try putting 12 lbs down at the strip, because I can, even though it’s a terrible idea for so many reasons.

So, blower and water meth on low boost for now, stay above 11.5 ETs at the strip, and work with somebody on a long block build concurrent to watching prices and options for a transmission as the next two years go by. I would love to do drop ins, but that requires trusting a builder up there to do it while I’m deployed. Hence the above post- rapidly losing faith that anyone up there can act professionally and accomplish the mission on time. At this point, I’m confident that I could do a trans swap with some help, and that I will be in a location and position to order one here after a while.

If I get stationed back on the east coast next go-around, Luke is the first person on my list to go meet in the general area. If I end up getting out and going home, OST Dyno is a day trip each direction- wife and I can go take a vacation/road trip, and schedule some work. Either way, it’ll be time for a block refresh, and from either shop I have some serious options that have only gotten better the last couple of years.

I’m waiting to see if Mopar drops a factory 426 offering for street vehicles. They do, price and parts should be coming down anyway. So, I can spend car payments on a hellcat, or I can go slow and end up spending a little more over time to have what I’m really working toward over time- a car that I know how to set up, tear down to the last bolt, and rebuild as needed. An engine that will be bulletproof to 1200 hp, and a second motor I can drive on the street more comfortably. A chassis I can adjust and continuously fix for street, novice strip, and SCCA fun events as desired.

This is a 10-15 year project car now. Resale value be damned. I haven’t gotten much hobby time the last 15 years or so, and I’m trying to change that. I have made the same argument about the Hellcat for damn good reason- Dodge built an awesome platform there, especially for mods. I just would rather get the experience of putting the 20k price difference into customizing my car, and then the 15-20k that would likely get put into a Hellcat... and so it goes

It’s not like I wouldn’t want to mod the shit out of a kitty, too. So, now I can do it to my car slowly, on a budget, with no car payment and no kids yet. And, if I need to stop for budget reasons. I can hold off and keep to basic maintenance.

So, yup, short block is in the plan if shipping and finish it isn’t cost prohibitive, and so is either selling the 392 shortie there to recoup, or holding onto it as a project block for the next build up. If the pistons a forged by then, so much the better. If not, project block. I would really like to be able to learn how to strip and build a block on my own- and the Army will eventually end up paying for it to go back down south either way, so no worries if it’s sits for a bit. So, if it’s becomes nothing but a stack of parts, no worries. Hopefully it turns into a 440 NA later if that happens, but no worries if it doesn’t.

Next upgrade round is going to be mostly self-install anyway- driveshaft, half’s, frame and tower braces, rims and tires. IF a piston starts to go, and I don’t think it will on 6-7 lbs on meth inside of 15k miles with very controlled tuning and occasional strip pulls, then it’s going to be time to work that end, ship it back home/builder back east anyway, and drive a shitty pick-up for a season or two until I PCS.

Side note- I have a giant dog. She no longer fits in the back of the car easily, so I’m looking in other directions so I can pick her up when my wife needs me to pick the puppy up. Of course, also looking at a backseat delete and a puppy bed for the back, too . Not at all practical, but I didn’t buy this thing to be practical- waffles on test driving one all last deployment, and my wife basically told me I was going to buy one after I got home and we test drove a few cars to replace my Murano. To clarify- I wanted one, but wanted to be practical, and she basically told me I needed to do something for myself, and that she fell in love with the damn thing after getting in one. It didn’t hurt my feelings to have the support. Also didn’t hurt I found one at an obnoxiously good deal in the middle of winter back home. Back story is, my wife liked it a lot more than sitting in a corvette, which was her dream car since she was a teenager and We had talked about a “why the hell not, once in a lifetime splurge car.” (Yes, she’s awesome.) She saw but never sat in a ‘73 stingray when she was 17, and fell in love with it. Got her to sit in a 2017 GS, and she hated it, loved the Scat Pack, and scared the hell out of the guy at the dealership when’s we did the test drive. I was laughing my ass off. To be fair, we asked him if he had any heart, knee, back, or other issues before he got in, and he’s had some time with me driving for a warm-up. To be fair though, he was 30+% body fat, middle aged, and sitting in the back seat, so... I’m certain the pit stains weren’t just from us, but I will admit to us both contributing to that problem. We didn’t beat up the car, but it did get a fair road test and some parking lot time. Either way, she loved it, we bought one, and road tripped it from Mass to Colorado. Now it’s mostly sitting and it’s gotten a few winter miles, but not many from her.
I suspect that if I can get her in the seat out in Palmer when’s I get home, I may be having to puppy sit a lot more as she will likely realize that she has figured out what drag racing is, and I doubt I will get to have my car to myself on test and tune nights.

So, this will also have to serve the purpose of her being able to drive it when she wants, and probably more likely that it will be a starter drag car for her as well. She grew up on the north 95 corridor- I couldn’t keep up with her on the highway when she had a SXT rental, and I used to have blue lights on the top of my work car. Trying like hell to get her onto the track, and it may take a summer or two to convince her. Means making it more stable, controllable, and above all predictable. And then I have to get used to the idea that she’ll likely kick my ass at the track in my own car.

It begins, and I’m taking it slow. I’m also mentally writing off the value of the car as a resellable object, and making peace with the financial piece there. Much easier to do for less than half the cost of what a hellcat would have cost me to start with, and probably the only time I would be able to do so. Not rich, but got lucky on a few things over the last ten years. Wife and I will be okay if I retire, and I’ll have the budget to indulge an occasional hobby. I wouldn’t have that leeway if I had started on a hellcat, traded up to one, or had to keep making payments on this the next five years. As it is, I will definitely keep the boost down until the supporting mods are in place, and there’s a bunch to put in myself just for the joy of doing so. Hopefully, if anyone is in the area, we’ll have an opportunity to share the experience if anybody wants to, or at least laugh at my pain in person .

This has been the best damn ownership and driving experience I’ve had. To the point that I bought some shares in FCA, and not because I think it’s going to be a great financial investment. I will keep lurking here with an occasional post to try and find common sense advice and the best way to go about it, but I got the bug, and have the financial position after working the last 20+ years to support doing a little bit at a time. So, pay to play, right? But, life is short, and I’m at the point where I’m willing and able to pay for the experience of having a modern hot rod muscle cruiser that’s unique through some work, busted knuckles, and joy in learning.

That being said, if anyone from MMX is reading this, has a second opinion of being able to ship pistons on the cheap there, and can give me a warm and fuzzy on getting that job done on a lift in a weekend with some basic tools and a torque wrench... I’m all ears

Last edited by Clownfeet462; 03-05-2018 at 02:46 AM.
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