1 2 3
Error404 Reader
12/21/20 7:08 p.m.

Time to MegaSquirt it? All those finicky "factory computer" doodads just get in the way of a proper project if you ask me. Unless they work, which case I grumble a lot less about it. Although, if HP Tuners is expensive (not judging) then an MS swap is properly in the very expensive category.

Coder New Reader
12/22/20 5:34 p.m.
Error404 said:

Time to MegaSquirt it? All those finicky "factory computer" doodads just get in the way of a proper project if you ask me. Unless they work, which case I grumble a lot less about it. Although, if HP Tuners is expensive (not judging) then an MS swap is properly in the very expensive category.

It might come down to that, but I want to give the stock wiring a go first.  Speaking of that, I picked up an ignition switch at the junk yard this morning and headed back over to the car to give it another try.  Sadly, no dice.  I got a messge saying it couldn't read the fob and from then on, it would only display this message (sorry about the bad photo):

I ended up with a slightly different part number for the ignition switch as the junk yard didn't have anything that new.  I got a "68299961AB" when the correct part number is "68299961AC​".  The guy I got it from is still looking for the original.  If he hasn't found it by this weekend, I'll order the correct one online.  I'm hoping the different part number means it can't read the newer key fob.  Otherwise, I may have been given the wrong key or am wrong about the switch also being what reads the key and I'm missing some other module.  Fun times.

Since the engine's on hold, I'm going to tackle the headlights tomorrow and try to button up the other small things needed to pass safety inspection.

Coder New Reader
12/24/20 2:15 a.m.

I had a pretty good idea why the headlights worked intermittently:

So I fixed them:

I couldn't fit my heat shrink tube over the copper connector, so I ended up using electrical tape.  I forgot to take a picture.

I had a safety inspection done on it and it failed.  Needs a cat, it's Y pipe sealed better, and a sway bar link reattached (broken)

Coder New Reader
12/24/20 9:35 p.m.

Today was a E36 M3 kind of day.  I had the donor charger towed to my brother's garage from my folks place.  I was driving the dodge down to my brother's to meet the guy.  I got maybe 30 minutes into the hour drive when I noticed the temperature climbing.  Which was odd since it had never move past a quarter on the gauge. 

I decided to keep an eye on it and continue.  It got a little past middle when things started to sound "wrong" and I headed for the shoulder.  Just as I did, she shut down.  Great.

Luckily my brother was on his was to his house so I called him and asked him to take car of the tow guy while I called brother #2 for a ride.

I ended up having tow guy come get the truck.  $316 in to tow two cars in on one day.  My pocket book is not happy. 

But the truck and donor are now both at my brother's garage and I'm off work until the 2nd.  So maybe I can make something happen.


DarkMonohue New Reader
12/24/20 10:43 p.m.

Ugh. Merry Christmas indeed. Fingers crossed you can reach a reasonable fix before you have to go back to work.

Coder New Reader
1/5/21 6:00 p.m.

A lot has happened since my last update.

I bought one entire Harbor Frieght garage section.

I sold my beloved Rambler Rebel.  The car was too original and I like to tinker.  So I was just letting her sit.  It was time to let her go.  Luckily I found a guy that's gonna make her his daily driver!  His family had one just like it growing up, same color and everything.  That was super cool.

Just like I stocked my brother's garage, I so stocked his new house.

Now that the creature comforts were sorted out, I could get back to the project at hand.

I needed the drivetrain out of the charger so I can get rid of the carcass.  My brother gave me a month to do so before he scrapped whatever is left in the car.  So that was first on the list.  The only problem is the tow guy couldn't get the car into the garage, so it was parked outside in the gravel.  I started to put it up on jack stands with intentions of pulling it where she sat.  But both jack stands sank unevenly into the loose gravel and dirt.  I do a lot of stupid things, but crawling under a car with no suspension while it sits on leaning jack stands is not one of them.  I was going to have to get the car in the garage somehow.

Since it was late and I needed to brainstorm how to move a car with no front suspension, I decided to tackle the sagging, ill-fitting doors.  It is at this moment I would like to take time to curse the engineers at Dodge.  To adjust the door hinges, you must remove the dash.  And as I learned a couple hours into that process, you have to remove the windshield to remove the dash.  uh huh.

At this point my brother had come down, so I recruited him to help me pull the windshield out.  I was pretty sure the gasket was on its last legs anyway.

That turned out to be a bad idea.  In the process of trying to remove it, we managed to crack it.  No pictures, sorry.  As we were standing talking about how stupid we were, I started to smell a foul, rubbery burning smell.

Sigh.  I'd had all the setbacks I could handle for one day, so I threw the truck up on wheel dollies, we pushed it to the side of the garage, and called it a night.



Coder New Reader
1/5/21 6:36 p.m.

A new day dawned and with a renewed spirit, I avoided the problem completely.

Instead, my brother and I ran to town to get more provisions for his new place.  On the way back we talked about our options for getting the car in the garage and hatched a plan.

It involved a tow dolly, a scrap hood, and a ratchet strap.  We essentially ratchet strapped front wheels on to the car.  It worked better than I expected.  Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures until the car was in the garage.  It was quite a sight.  I'm sad I didn't take any.

By this point we were both freezing.  I could hardly feel my feet.  So I headed back to town to buy the finest waterproof boots and wool socks Wal-Mart sells.  Along the way I picked up some gloves and a coat that was better at blocking wind.

Morning brought some winter weather and I was glad to have those boots and socks.  He really picked out a nice place.  It's beautiful.

After enjoying my surroundings for a little bit, I hooked up the new shop heater I'd ordered on amazon.  Roasty toasty!  Time to work!

After running to the store to get larger torx bits, I removed the front driveshaft bolts only to find it won't come loose from the transmission. So I removed the 8 loctite-ed bolts from the rear diff, each one taking considerable torque to remove and not getting loose until the bitter end.  But in the end, I prevailed!

I also went to the junkyard and procured the 5 low-frequency antennas that talk to the key for the "Enter N Go" keyless ignition system. I believe these may be the reason the car doesn't recognize the key.  I also signed up for a subscription to AllData's DIY service for the 2018 Dodge Charger.  I think it's going to end up helping a lot.

That's where I currently sit.  I'm itching to get down there.  I want to see if I can get it to recognize the key so I can try to communicate to the ODB-II system and maybe even start the engine.  But all of that will have to wait.  I have till this weekend to get my house ready for the realtor to stop by and it needs my attention.

Next steps:

  • finish removing wiring from car
  • figure out if I have the required harnesses for the LF antennas
  • see if the "car" (read engine computers) will recognize the key with whatever antennas I'm able to install



Coder New Reader
1/5/21 6:41 p.m.

Oh!  One more thing.  While trying to figure out why I couldn't get the driveshaft to come loose from the transmission, I came across this video. 

I learned two valuable things:

  1. Always, ALWAYS, chock your wheels when working on a car, no matter how secure you think it is!
  2. I will likely have to keep the front diff in the system if I'm going to use this AWD transmission, so I'm either going to have to figure out a way to drive the front wheels with it or find another transmission.

But my god, chock your wheels!

chandler UltimaDork
1/5/21 7:46 p.m.

If you were closer I have a windshield in my barn.

Coder New Reader
1/5/21 8:16 p.m.

In reply to chandler :

I forgot to mention that I picked up another windshield when I was at the junkyard getting the antennas. But I definitely appreciate the offer!

Coder New Reader
1/7/21 1:24 p.m.

I'm going to be ordering a bunch through LMC truck.  I've already order the windshield gasket, windshield gasket locking strip, and the rear window gasket.  I'm a little frustrated that their "tracking number" has no other information with it.  I've tried the number at USPS, UPS, and FedEx and all three come up with nothing.  I aslo googled the number and got nothing.  I have an email in to their support with hopes that will bear fruit.  You'd think the shipping service would be in the order information.  Ho hum.

Coder New Reader
1/8/21 2:06 a.m.

Engine swap is a no-go at this point.  The antennas didn't fix the "key fob not detected" so I either have the wrong key, mismatched components, or bad wiring.  Without a proper scan tool, I'm at a standstill.  On top of that, it's looking like the front axle must be in place for the AWD trans to work, which complicates things.  

Maybe someday I'll try out a megasquirt or find another pentastar donor that has complete electronics, but for now I'm going to stick with the 318/a999.

Coder New Reader
1/13/21 1:10 a.m.

Progress will probably be slow for a while.  I'm in the process of selling my home and looking for a new place with a garage.  My brother is letting me temporarily move in with him so I can empty my current home of all my junk and sell it.  I have a lot of packing and moving stuff to storage to do.

I was able to spend some time getting the windshield out the rest of the way.  I also removed the bolts holding the top of the dash.  The new front and rear windshield gaskets arrived from LMC Truck, so I have everything I need when it's ready to go back together.

The current plan is to finish removing the dash, align the doors, put the dash and windshield back in, and then address the exhaust and sway bar link that caused it to fail the safety inspection.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners