Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On November - 28 - 2010

 

Winterize Your Musclecar

by Ted Hlokoff

 

 

  How do you winterize your Musclecar?  Park it in the garage, or put on the vinyl bra and ice radials?

  For many years I’ve hunted for a ‘real’ Canadian Musclecar that doesn’t need to go in the garage during the winter.  During the eighties I lived in the Fraser Valley and occasionally got to drive my Pro-Streeter on those few days when the sun was shining and the temperature was warm.  Becoming ‘older and wiser’ I decided that that was unacceptable.  With Government insurance two thousand dollars is a lot of money to only drive the car a couple days during 6 months?  Last December I flew to San Francisco and purchased a ’92 Dodge Stealth R/T TT.  This car doesn’t just go fast (Twin Turbo 480hp), it has All Wheel Drive, All Wheel Steering, ABS Braking (monster rotors and 4 piston calipers), big tires (245 x 40 x 18”) and massive amounts of creature comforts.  Now that I’ve upgraded my daily driver to a Dodge Stealth TT, I winterize by installed a front bra and ice radials.

The Stealth is the culmination of the advanced electronics, Double overhead camshaft, quad valve and turbo technologies developed by Chrysler and Mitsubishi.  These technologies were pioneered in the Turbo Dodges (Shelby Daytonas) and the Diamond Star Motors Cars (Eagle Talons).  The Dodge Stealth and the Mistubishi 3000GT were co-designed, and then built in Japan.  The limited production of these cars makes finding a “new condition” Stealth difficult.  Increasing this difficulty is that only half of these cars were the Twin Turbo model and very few were imported to Canada.  Although the Mitsubishi 3000GT was built until 1999, the Dodge Stealth production run only lasted from 1991 until 1995. The last year’s production was only a couple hundred cars.

There are massive differences between the Stealth, Stealth R/T and the Stealth R/T Twin Turbo models.  The two lower models start at 50% of the Twin Turbo’s price and they have many options to pick from.  The Twin Turbo model comes with all options and the buyer needs only to pick colors (Exterior; Pearle White, Emerald Green Pearle and Black Mica.  Interior: leather color; taupe, grey, black and red).  Anti-theft immobilizer and alarm were stock.  All Twin Turbo models came with a computer controlled digital climate system.  Set the temperature and the computer would change everything needed to maintain it.  Upon starting the car the computer would use sensors to determine whether it needed defrost, air-conditioning or heater to adjust the temperature inside the car and where to direct the airflows.

With the massive power produced by the upgraded Twin Turbo 3.0 liter V 6 it’s not too amazing that this car is capable of l1 sec. quarter mile times on street tires.  What is amazing is that it is capable of high 12 sec. times in the rain and snow!  

One of the huge advantages of Turbos with high-tech electronics is the ease of increasing the horsepower.  My Stealth came with an HKS Electronic Boost Controller.  This allows for three preset boost/horsepower settings; low/7psi; high/14psi; and manual/up to 23psi.  Similar to Nitrous Oxide, push a button and select an extra 140hp or more, then reset the boost button for lower, more manageable power.  The Dyno sheet that came with my car showed 288 wheel horsepower (365bhp) at 3,000rpm at 14psi.  The Stealth redline is 7,000rpm.  Turbo-lag is important to many drivers, but it’s difficult to notice any lag in this engine’s power output, even with the upgraded 13G’s.

Attempting to find the ultimate driving machine I was almost ready to buy a new 4X4 pick-up because of the snow and ice on our roads six months of every year.  Now that traffic accident deaths are a significant factor, I realize that my love of cars means that I may die in a car accident instead of old age.  My Stealth is an attempt to die of old age, not a car accident.  The Stealth All Wheel Drive System is much better than a 4WD and the car weighing a measly 3600 pounds means it easily outperforms 5-7,000 lb. SUV’s and pick-up’s in the snow, ice and dry roads.  A suspension design that handles as well as $300,000 Ferrari’s and Porsche’s is all about safety on the road.  The Stealth’s massive brakes out-stop the C4 Corvette with ease.  I decided that Chilcotin Freightways can haul all my freight for me and I’ll expect to live longer driving a Stealth R/T TT, compared to a pick-up or SUV. 

I’ve always had trouble getting to the high side of 20mpg with pick-ups and the 30mpg the Stealth realizes on the highway is a big money saver in this time of High-Taxed fuel costs.  One of the reasons for the amazing mileage is the wide ratio Getrag equipped transmission.  4th, 5th and 6th gear are all overdrive.  The stock 1991-1993 300hp Stealth R/T TT actually has a slightly higher top speed in 5th gear, they came with a 5 speed.  1993 the Stealth TTs came with a 6 spd and 320bhp. 

The Infinity/Mitsubishi 100w. computer controlled Stereo system can be operated from the steering wheel, which is the safest way to adjust the Stereo while driving in a blizzard.  I also found the mute feature helpful while getting a traffic ticket last year.  The Stereo sound was worth upgrading as I had trouble hearing it inside the house, so I added some Pioneer co-axial door speakers and built myself a sub-box that holds a 12” Visonik dual coil 12” woofer.  I purchased a 1500w mono-block Boss R/T1500 amp to apply the power.  A year later I added a Premier 790BT Bluetooth head unit because of new “hand’s free” cell phone laws.  Amazingly it sounds like the person I’m talking to is sitting in the passenger seat.  No distortion at all is amazing.

Another safety feature is the driver’s airbag.  The leather, power, Enthusiasts Seat is unbelievably comfortable and adjusts for all heights and shapes of drivers.  After driving 10 hours I didn’t feel any creases in my butt, which I do feel after driving my pick-up.

The All Wheel Steering is part of this car’s amazing handling.  Being a parallel steering system the rear tires are turned the same direction as the front – after 30mph.  This preloads all the tires on the car at the same time, therefore no lag between loading the front and back tires starting into a corner.  Opposing 4 wheel steering systems like the Denali, are great for parking, but bad for (over 30mph) handling.  The TT’s steering computer monitors G force, steering system pressure and automatically changes from “Tour” mode to “Sport” mode in case of an emergency.  A simplistic system of this type comes in new trucks and SUVs to increase their safety factor.  I expected that the stiff GAB racing shocks and struts would also make a premium towing suspension so I welded some frame supports into the body, cut a slot in the rear bumper cover and installed a trailer hitch.  The Stealth TT did make an excellent tow vehicle although in 130F temps with the a/c turned on there were a few steep hills that caused the temp to go near the top of the operating temp. 

What makes this car different than stock is all the modifications, most done by the previous owner.  My Stealth has 13G Turbos, HKS Intercoolers & HKS Hardpipes, HKS 3rd Injection System, HKS Elec. Boost Controller, Custom Y pipe, HKS Exhaust, Taseko 3” Downpipe, Greddy Gauges, AEM Clutch and upgraded intake filter.  The previous owner also upgraded to the newer, stronger 6 speed driveline.  The suspension upgrades were the removal of the Electronic Controlled Suspension and springs to GAB adjustable struts and Tien progressive rate springs which lower the car 1.8”.  Four inches isn’t much clearance during a snow storm, but I didn’t notice any problem passing 4X4’s in 6” of new snow on the highway and the car certainly looks better with the tires filling the wheel wells of the car.

This is the only car I’ve ever been ‘comfortable’ in at 150mph on a snow covered road.  This is also the only car that hooks up at full throttle in second gear on a snow covered road.  The traction is mind-boggling.  This car’s cornering on compact snow is an experience that has to be believed. 

I didn’t just buy the car because of its superior power, I bought the car because of its superior performance in all categories; power, handling, stopping and comfort during the winter.  This is one car I would recommend to everyone that intends to live past a hundred years old … like me.  Another advantage of the Stealth is that it drives fantastic on Nimpo Lake’s Ice Road during winter.

 

Last summer I was driving through a town with a divided highway.  A black ‘vette pulled up beside me at a red light.  As we left the signal light he ‘gunned’ it and took off, then slowed.  OK, part of my ‘mission in life’ is to teach people the world status of their cars so I waited for him to slow and buried the throttle on the firewall when he got beside me.  I watched the ‘vette getting smaller in my side view mirror.  Suddenly, he started to grow as he started catching up.  I grabbed the next gear as he pulled in front of me!  That was my first introduction to the new Z06 corvette and it felt wrong, not to mention embarrassing. 

As soon as I got home I ordered a set of TD04 16G Turbos.  Next day I ordered a set of SS headers.  I’ve also purchased a FMIC, various polished 3” aluminum Intercooler pipes, 3” MAF, translator, 550 injectors and a new ‘button’ clutch.   Although I haven’t installed my new parts yet, I’d welcome that black ‘vette to try me now!  Ice radials aren’t available for even ordinary ‘vette tire sizes so I could ‘kick some ass’ since summer tires become as hard as steel at winter temps.  Ferraris, Porsches and even Vipers get parked through the winter for this reason and that makes the Stealth R/T TT all wheel drive the Supercar until next spring.  I’ll be enjoying the street supremacy until next spring.

Driving in new fresh snow was interesting so I got the wife to stand in the driveway with my camera and asked her to take a pic when I was coming towards here down the untracked road.  That picture went into 3SI Stealth calendar for 2010.

 

 

 

-The end-

 

Categories: Dodge stories

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