I'm currently updating this page, bear with me. The other 8 pages are still there. There are a few photos missing, since most of them were over a year old. They will be replaced with current ones soon.
This is my 1991 Dodge Dynasty. This car comes from the factory adequaely powered, well equipped, and very user friendly. However, just about every car has room for improvement... or just tweaking for personal preference. I am posting all of this to help people. obviously, it could all be done on another car like this, but the main idea can be used on any overland transport module.
(updated exterior pictures coming soon)
There are three powerplant options, and two transmission options (that I know of) for this car: for engines; there is a 2.5 litre I-4 SOHC, a 3.0 litre V-6, and a 3.3 litre V-6 (New Yorker and Imperial had the 3.8 litre V-6 as an option). For transmissions; there is a 3-speed hydraulic transaxle (A413?), and a 4-speed electronic transaxle (A604/41TE). Thankfully, this car has the 3.3 litre V-6 paired with the 41TE, it makes for a smooth, efficient ride... but I want more.
What I'm looking for is a comfortable, reliable, and economical vehicle to drive. Absolutely stock, it's tolerable... but a little work and it's become comperable to modern cars. Aside from the paint, it's aged quite well.
I use this car for work, and my own personal use, so it has to meet a wide range of demands. I need something with outstanding endurance, brakes that will constistently stop this car faster than anything I feel like tailgating, enough power to quickly launch this brick on the freeway when FULLY loaded, susspension that can handle Florida's shitty ass roads and extreme overloading, an interior comfortable enough for me to be in the car 40-60 hours a week, and fuel economy that won't burn a hole in my wallet (and down to the earth's core).
The first thing I worked on were endurance mods:
I needed everything to stay in working order under any conditions I decide to abuse the car with. The most important thing I could think of is keeping the engine cool... enter the Modine radiator... and a accessory belt that won't fly off in the rain: Goodyear makes a belt that does quite well, I've had it on there for three years, and it's never come off, and it shows no signs of wear. I think it's called a "Gatorback". Another good idea is drilling 1/8" holes in a zig-zag pattern on the smooth idler pulleys, they seem to be where belt throwing problems originate.
200,000 miles and counting...
I made a bug screen with some fiberglass window screen, mason's line, and some snaps (usually for marine applications). I can remove it when it's not bug season (seems like every month it rains is bug season).
After fifteen years the factory exhaust wasn't doing too well. It did what it was supposed to, but it also did a little more... I hate rattles, so it had to go... time to upgrade.
Obviously, I'm in to ultra low maintenance (like none), so stainless steel was a must (titanium is expensive as hell, plus I can't find anybody that will weld it). I replaced everything from the madifold flange all the way back, using 2.5" T-304 extruded stainless pipe (don't want any seams busting).
For the cat, I just used a plain old Hi-flow found at any rice shop. It was really small... it's perfect. To replace the resonator, I used a 4" round 16" long Magnaflow "strait-thru". It doesn't muffle much on it's own, but it does more than a resonator will (and not block flow). The intermediate pipe between the resonator (well, where it used to be) is a tricky piece, it has to snake around the rear susspension... which is designed to barely fit a 1.75" pipe through (and it would always rattle if somebody sat in the back seat)... 90 minutes, and sixteen precision bends later, the 2.5" pipe runs through there without a rattle in two years. To tie up the end, I sprang for a Borla. It cuts the noise down to almost non-existent, I can't even hear it on the freeway.
Opening up the exhaust is always a compromise, I lost about 2mpg in the city, but I gained about 3mpg on the freeway. Since 80% of my driving is on the freeway, it works out very well.
Oh yeah, there aint a single one of those shitty ass clamps on this exhaust, I hate those things. Every joint is welded all the way around the pipe.
I have a hood ornament that shows up once in a while :P
I frequently carry a full passenger load, plus 500 pounds in the trunk. To keep this car's fat ass off the pavement, serious susspension modifications had to be made. To keep the car level with the road, air bags were the only option. I wired up a compressor, so I can adjust ride height anywhere.
Now the ride height problem is solved, but with extra weight, comes extra susspension travel and body roll. KYB Gas-A-Just shocks are the stiffest damn shocks on the planet, and they seem to last forever. They keep bounce to a minimum under any load conditions, and the ride is still smooth when the car is empty.
I'll install variable-rate coil springs and a rear sway bar someday. More susspension stuff on page 6.
More items for work include a CB radio (speaker output wired into the stereo) with weather radio and external PA loudspeaker, 16 pattern 4-way strobe lights (they seem to interfere with any radio transmission and bluetooth devices), multiple 12volt sockets for phone chargers and things, 120volt inverter, red map lights for the navigator (well, they're really for me, I don't want to be bugged by a light while driving in the dark), a spotlight for working at night, many other things that will get mentioned later.
This car comes with a good array of instruments for most people, but I want it all. I added a vacuum gauge, tachometer (leave a message in the guestbook if you're stumped, the 3.3/3.8 Mopar engines are a little tricky), trans temp, air/fuel (useless piece of shit), Autometer D-PIC... more to come. I'll be adding an engine oil temp, and a wideband A/F gauge later.
I also changed the factory instrument lighting to red... red is best at night, green and blue are the absolute worst. Don't believe me? Ask any ship captain or airline pilot, all their gauges are red for a good reason.
I like to listen to the stereo while I work, and the car will be off for at least two hours daily with the electronics active (parking/strobe lights, radio with subwoofer, interior lights from door being open, electric fan in the summer, etc. Electrical upgrades are imperative.
I installed an Optima yellow-top for the constant long cycles, it lasts a REALLY long time. I had the stereo, a soldering gun, and a floor lamp from my living room going for 9 hours while working on a buddy's car once. The car fired right up after all that power was used.
Another important thing is the right connections... let me put it plainly... LEAD SUCKS ASS! Autozone sells marine clamps made out of brass for $4.50 a set. They have a stud and wing nut for way better connections that any clamp-on terminal, and they haven't shown even a hint of corrosion in the last year.
For a better running engine, lose the OEM ignition wires. The wires are more important than the plugs themselves. I chose MSD's "super conductor" wire set, because of the easy availability, good durability, I have a couple spares (set comes with eight plug wires, plus a coil wire), and I assemble them myself, so they can be the exact length I want. However, radio interference from the direct ignition sustem interferes with AM radio.
I used platinum 4 plugs, but I kinda want something else... maybe E3? I want something thet doesn't have the ground in front of the electrode.
People drive like total dickheads in Florida, and the factory horn wasn't nearly loud enough. I installed air horns in their place. They're louder, but still not loud enough (a grenade may be loud enough) I don't like the sound either. I'm gonna try some "freeway blaster" horns soon, they are at least twice as loud as the factory horns, and still much louder than the air horns... maybe I'll install four instead of two :P
Another endurance mod would be oil filtration. I'd like to be able to drive anywhere in the country... and back, without having to change the oil.
The "Trasko oil refinery system" gives conventional motor oil a service life of 10,000 miles, I assume full synthetic will get that too. It does.
This is what the oil looks like after 7,500 miles, I think it's pretty good. These filters only let particles less than .01 microns through, and all are carbon. All metal, water and acids are removed on the first pass. Remember, carbon in the oil is okay, it may turn it a medium-brown color, but it will not reduce the effectiveness at all. Carbon is actually a very good lubricant. The oil isn't actually "dirty" until it feels sticky. This thing was $75.00 and the refills are $10.00. You can get this at traskousa.com.
I upgraded the brakes on all four wheels, more detail on page 5. The rotors are from a '90 Daytona ES, Shelby, or IROC R/T, The rear calipers and backing plates are from the same car. The front calipers and brackets are from a 2nd gen. Grand Caravan with the oversized brakes. The Daytona calipers and the Caravan rotors are incompatible with the Dynasty, this is the best combination I know of. This setup will stop this rolling cinderblock from 60mph in under 120 feet.
For air filtration, I eventually settled on the Accel "power filter". It's a re-useable filter with comparable flow to the K&N, but it catches everything other cotton filters let through.
For the crankcase breather, I couldn't find a foam filter (I'll just make one eventually), so I made a little bong thing filled with oil. All the air than enters the crankcase passes through the oil in the jar, which cleans it much better than that crappy gauze thing.
Chrysler PCV systems pass a constant, steady flow of air through the crankcase no matter what the manifold vacuum is. Whenever the engine is running, a steady amount of air is bubbling through this jar.
I spent a lot of time in this car, so it needs clean, crisp, quality sound. It has to be really loud too. The head unit is a JVC KD-S52 single disc player with MP3/WMA capability, Sirius satellite radio, and an auxilliary input jack in the front.
In the dash, I have Pioneer 3.5" 2-ways; in the front doors, I have Pioneer 6" 2-ways; in the rear deck, I have Sony 6x9 3-ways (NOT the Xplod model). In the trunk, I have two Audiobahn 12" piston subs in a sealed box. I need a bigger anp, 750 watts don't come close to their full potential... but it's still really loud. I'd like to get them running clean at 8-ohms... better sound at higher impedance, right?
Velvet pillowtop seats from a New Yorker, with power seat brackets. They were easy to install, and easy to wire up. I didn't include the memory seat function, It added about 20 wires. Installation process on page 3.
Many other little things like: auto dimming mirror; EVIC (page 4); illuminated vanity mirrors in the sun visors; gear ratio indicator (in preparation for autostick); oil catch tank; Disabled automatic AC in defrost mode (yes, in every Chrysler product the air conditioner automatically activates when in defrost mode. I'll eventually post how to do this, but if you want to know how sooner, just ask.); illuminated door switches; lots of switches and stickers...
I wired up a switch to the radiator fan relay to add manual control. Since the ECU controls the negative side of the relay coil, it took some thinking to wire up the switch so it would still light up, but I did it. I was thinking there might be some electrical backwash when the fan turns on by itself, possibly causing a short, or cancelling itself out (like the marker lights on GM cars do when the turn signal is on), but there were no problems. I also rewired the switch so that the light inside turns on when I turn the switch on and when the fan turns on automatically.
Whoever built this car forgot something... CUPHOLDERS!!! Most of these cars came with them in the seats, but the original seats didn't have them. A very rare few even had two of them under the ash tray (I have yet to see one in person).
Before I installed the seats with the cupholder armrests, I made a center console with two of them. It also has a tray for my remote and coin holders in the top. I got the cupholder out of a Toyota, and the top tray out of a Ford.
This vehicle is equipped with a very effective security system, but won't go into detail... let's just say it involves a very loud bang.
I plan to install a power sunroof from a similar car. I know some of the LE models came with them, but not many, I've only seen two. I assume that because some Dynastys had sunroofs, some New Yorkers and Imperials have them too. Aside from the hole that will have to be cut in the roof, it should "bolt right up". I haven't seen one taken apart yet, but the bracket between the door pillars is probably where it attatches. It can get power from the over-head console, I already have a 30amp accesory circuit up there. All I have to do is wait until I find one. it may be awhile, They're pretty uncommon.
I found some nice wheels for the car yesterday, I've actually been looking for these specific wheels for three years. They came off of a Chrysler Sebring JXI. They are 16" wheels, and they have nice big spaces so I can check the brakes without taking off the wheels. Kinda funny that the tires cost five times what I payed for the wheels... oh well. They seem to match the car nicely. I put Yokohama AS430 215/55/16 91V tires on them, the tires that came on them were total garbage.
All those Civic guys who try to race me with their JDM ground wires and cheezy cone filters, I carry a gas can in the trunk just for you. Feel free to do this after I beat you.
Just kidding, I respect anybody who gives an honest effort. Whenever I beat some guy in a Civic, I do my best not to rub it in. I race for fun, nothing more. I don't do this to ruin someone's day or make them feel like crap, getting beaten by a Dynasty is adequate punishment. On the other hand, if they insult my car enough, I'll show them who their daddy really is.
The h.p. and 0-60 time was measured with the "Autometer D-PIC performance meter". It's basically just a G-force meter with a calculator and a timer. When properly calibrated, it is very acurate. The 0-60 time is calculated by comparing G-forces against time... easy. The horsepower is basically the same, except vehicle weight is added into the equation. I got the exact vehicle weight when I went to the dump. It was 3,342 pounds, including: me, subs and enclosure, and 1/4 tank of gas. I had 1/2 tank, so I added 32 pounds. This instrument measures "dynamic wheel horsepower".
Page 1: You are here
Page 2: Engine rebuild/upgrades
Page 3: Power seat installation
Page 4: EVIC installation and features
Page 5: Brake upgrades
Page 6: Susspension
Page 7: Hydraulic roller lifters
Page 8: Oil cooler installation (engine/trans)
Page 9: Electronics (in progress)