Hawkrod 'RoadKill' Cross Country Trip 2022

moparedtn

Ed on the Ridge
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OK folks: As promised, here are some "statistics" and thoughts on the car.

The Car

It is a 1973 Road Runner. It has a 340 stroked to 416 cubic inches, 9.4:1 compression, aluminum heads, Thermoquad carburetor and headers. Transmission is a 727 with a recent performance rebuild. The car also has a Gear Vendor's Overdrive with .78:1 overdrive. Rear is a 3.55 Sure Grip with 275/60R15 tires. Front tires are 235/60/R15.
Car was cleaned up, painted and partially restored in the 90s (limited funds), then driven for 7 years in rain, snow, etc. when my son had it. The car had thrown a rod out the side of the block, and then sat for 5 years. At that point I decided to use it for a cross country trip.

Things done before the trip
  • I built a new engine for it, then a transmission, then bought a new Gear Vendor O/D and installed that.
  • Worked like mad to address a driveline vibration. Significant shims in the rear addressed 95% of the vibration.
  • A/C was not working, but we found a hole in the condenser. Tried to roughly braze the hole shut, but did no other A/C repair other than charging the A/C.
  • Replaced all brake pads as well as rear wheel cylinders.
  • Replaced all front end wear parts, then had car aligned.
  • Swapped out a too small 600 CFM Edelbrock carb for a 850 CFM Thermoquad essentially 2 days before the trip.
  • Fixed two rust holes into the cabin. Holes were in front wheel wells between the inner and out wheelhouses.
  • Small miscellaneous repairs for things like washer bottle, heater control cable, etc. I made sure all systems worked.
Repairs during the trip

DateIssueParts neededCost to fixComments
5/3/2022​
Hard Startingunknown$ -Not fixed, tried insulating line, no change
5/5/2022​
Frozen RF CaliperNew caliper$ 199.12Also bought belts and fluids
5/9/2022​
Glass fuel filterMetal fuel filter$ 14.83to avoid fuel spill
5/11/2022​
Failed master cylinderNew master cylinder$ 82.65
5/11/2022​
Failed rear tireTwo new tires$ 456.89
5/15/2022​
Jumped out of O/DNone$ -Not fixed, only did occasionally. Wiring?
5/17/2022​
No sparkCoil and/or ECU$ -Existing parts
5/19/2022​
No sparkCoil and/or ECU$ -Existing parts - unsure of issue - wiring?
5/22/2022​
No sparkFailed coil; no resistor in-line$ 69.00
5/22/2022​
No sparkApprox. 50 mile tow$ -Have AAA Premier
5/26/2022​
Front tire wearAlignment$ 125.87
5/27/2022​
Chip in windshieldWindshield chip repair kit$ 18.99To keep any cracks from spreading
5/28/2022​
Exhaust Leak2 nuts, bolts and washers$ 6.00Header collector bolts came loose
6/3/2022​
A/C ChargeR134a Freon$ 36.75California charge of $10 for a can added
Total repair costs:$ 1,010.10

Some of my own thoughts on the car and its performance (in no order)
  • We did NOT baby this car at all. When the speed limit was 80 MPH, we cruised at the mid to upper 80's. The engine and driveline are awesome. The engine was built for cruising, not for 1/4 mile drag strip driving. It has TONS of torque at any RPM, and accelerates very easily at any speed without fuss. Highway cruising was a breeze. On top of all this, it runs just fine on 87 octane gas. I couldn't be happier with the engine and transmission.
  • The .78 overdrive is too little. At around 75 MPH the RPM is about 3000. This car has tons or torque and could easily push the car along at highway speeds with engine RPM in the 1800's. A steeper overdrive (or a different rear) would have been nice and likely would have increased fuel economy a lot.
  • We drove on some seriously nasty roads. The 13 miles to Chaco Canyon in NM are some of the roughest roads you can imagine - serious washboard, plus holes, divots, etc. The car handled it all.
  • You will see above that we had several instances of "no spark". I am convinced there is some wiring gremlin and once I mess around with parts under the hood I "fix" it. The Electronic Ignition is a simple system - there is no reason we should have had all these issues. I think there could be a wire that has some issues - I will need to play with this.
  • The fact that the car was hard starting was a pain in the butt, plus embarrassing as well. I will start a separate thread on this. Now that I am home, I want to spend the time to find and fix this issue.
  • The A/C worked for 1.5 weeks after we left, then quit. When we charged it again, it only held for a day. So something starting leaking more severely than when we left. I decided to leave it alone and fix it when I got home, so most driving on hot days was windows down!
  • Hey: Remember how everyone talks about old tires and the issues using them? My rear tires were 10 years old, and I figured I would wear them out on this trip. But they failed and left me stranded. Want reliable tires? Use fresh tires.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the way the car performed. It handled driving through a blow torch hot desert, as well as starting when the temperature was 28 degrees one morning. It handled any roads we threw at it. It drove in sun and rain, with A/C as well as the defrosters on. It got filthy inside and out. Through it all, it just kept chugging along.

I wouldn't worry about going out for another 10,000 mile ride. I'd replace my front tires, really fix the A/C, fix the hard starting as well as find the ignition gremlin, and then I'd take it anywhere without worry!

The RoadKill Runner performed!!!
I only have one thing to add:
applause.gif
 

HawkRod

Formerly hsorman
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Finally, I want to add one quick note about all the support from FBBO members:
A number of you reached out to me and offered to get together to meet, provide support, whatever. Our need to keep moving as well as our undetermined route made it hard to plan getting together. We did plan one with @1 Wild R/T so we could do an oil change, but that's it. I reached out to @CoronetDarter and @zyzzyx at the very last minute and we were able to briefly meet, but those poor guys had to bend over backwards and drop what they were doing in order to see us. Unfortunately @MarPar was tied up. Sorry for the short notice guys!
Additionally, @conv67bdere gets the award for effort for driving two hours to a NAPA parking lot to help us fix a bad caliper. He brought tools and a floor jack that were very helpful!

To all of you that contacted me via PM, that provided support through the thread, offered suggestions, etc.: THANK YOU! It was very much appreciated. I apologize if we were unable to get together - either due to our route or time restrictions. Believe it or not, we had to almost constantly be on the move to keep this trip to two months.

Thank you to all the wonderful FBBO members who followed along, provided support, suggestions, etc. it was truly appreciated!

Hawk
 

MarPar

If it weighs, it pays.
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We'll finally get to meet up one of these times, Hawk! :thumbsup:

As always, a great thread and trip and thank you for updating it as you went along!
 

dart4forte

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on the subject of road trips several years ago a guy and his driving partner did a road trip throughout Europe. I think they were driving a later B body. I’m trying to remember if they were members on this site.
 

oldbee

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Finally, I want to add one quick note about all the support from FBBO members:
A number of you reached out to me and offered to get together to meet, provide support, whatever. Our need to keep moving as well as our undetermined route made it hard to plan getting together. We did plan one with @1 Wild R/T so we could do an oil change, but that's it. I reached out to @CoronetDarter and @zyzzyx at the very last minute and we were able to briefly meet, but those poor guys had to bend over backwards and drop what they were doing in order to see us. Unfortunately @MarPar was tied up. Sorry for the short notice guys!
Additionally, @conv67bdere gets the award for effort for driving two hours to a NAPA parking lot to help us fix a bad caliper. He brought tools and a floor jack that were very helpful!

To all of you that contacted me via PM, that provided support through the thread, offered suggestions, etc.: THANK YOU! It was very much appreciated. I apologize if we were unable to get together - either due to our route or time restrictions. Believe it or not, we had to almost constantly be on the move to keep this trip to two months.

Thank you to all the wonderful FBBO members who followed along, provided support, suggestions, etc. it was truly appreciated!

Hawk

6FD2CDED-ADAF-48F8-BEE1-2631C8F2FD35.gif
 

CoronetDarter

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It's always good to see you and also your better half this time. One of these years Maria and I will make a trip to Carlisle and stop in.
 
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