How do you maintain a K-car?

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How do you maintain a K-car?

Postby 89ARIES » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:36 am

Hey folks, I need your help. I can't do this myself. How do you maintain a K-car? List some basics to help people avoid blown headgaskets, wiggly jiggly issues, and other things that come with old age. How to avoid breaking the door off, duh, oil the thing with WD40. Here are categories for you techs to help with:

Totally broke=: Drive it into the ground! lol 8)
Make $100,000 a year=Repaint the whole car with a special paint to avoid any hairline scratches. :lol:

But I am serious folks. We need to give new members heads-up and help them.
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Location: Sylmar, California
Car Information: 1989 Dodge Aries

Re: How do you maintain a K-car?

Postby capev86 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:12 pm

general rules apply to keeping a k car running right....tuneup items, quality fluids (preferably synthetic) flushed at regular intervals, etc.

there were a few design changes over the years that improved durability and performance.

if you have a slider camshaft, a roller camshaft that was phased in in 1988 (most 2.5's and 2.2's got it mid year) will seriously reduce friction. make sure you grab the matching followers from the engine that donated the camshaft with the actual roller bearings on them. and don't try to use a slider cam in a later cylinder heads....they deleted the oil squirter passages some time after the cam change and a slider cam will burn out very quickly without extra lubrication. most aftermarket performance cams old school slider type, so plan hop ups accordingly!

a 2.5 makes more power than a 2.2 for about the same gas mileage. especially nice when coupled with a 5spd. i don't like the 2.2 with an automatic.

there are different eras of electronics. and the turbo engines some differences in the wiring (multi-port injection) as well as more circuitry in the computer:
1986-87 = Logic and Power module (one module under hood, one in front passenger kick panel)
1988-89 = Single Module Engine Controller (combined the L & M into one under hood unit)
1990-91 = Single Board Engine Controller I (both functions on one circuit board)
1992-95 = Single Board Engine Controller II (not compatible with SBECI)

As for head gaskets......use Fel Pro on your classic muscle car, but NOT on a 2.2/2.5. the consensus in the performance community ( and is that they are no better than the factory chrysler gasket. if you do a HG job, reach for the heavy duty unit from Mopar Performance:

P4452005 Carb and Turbo I
P4452006 Turbo II & 2.5 Turbo I

remember that the 2.2/2.5 have siamese cylinders (no room for water jackets around cylinders). most turbo engines and 1991+ tbi engines should have cross drilling to route coolant through the cylinder head and block. definitely a nice feature if you live in a hot climate or the car sits in traffic regularly.

also check out for some interesting reading. mostly about hopping up turbo 2.2/2.5 engines but some the tech can be applied to naturally aspirated engine as well. and there is a page devoted to hopping those up as well.....other tricks i like are opening up the bottom of the oil pump pickup (so you can see more of the screen). that will cut down drag and make it easier for the oil pump to suck up oil over 3000rpm. and port matching the oil pump to the block (pump has an oval hole and the mating hole on the block is a smaller/round = rough edge causes parasitic drag) which is supposed to be good for 5hp as well.

another item that can cause problems is the
Be aware in the base of 2.2/2.5 distributors there is a plastic disc that holds the pickup shutter wheel in place. They tend to loosen with age and will cause your car to misfire and idle poor, always a good idea to check it when doing a tune up...
that is straight from the dodgegarage!

there is a ton more but that should get you all started. i love my k wagon, but LUST after the performance variants and spend a lot of time on forums devoted that stuff.
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Car Information: 1986 Dodge Aries Wagon LE 2.5

Re: How do you maintain a K-car?

Postby liteflyer1 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:51 pm

I Just bought a 1986 Dodge Aries from a neighbor who is in her 90's. The car only has 38,000 miles and has been garage kept and run only periodically for the last 20 years to keep fluids moving and the battery charged. It has always been licenesed and insured so it could go if needed.

My question: Are there parts (like the timing belt) that may be age sensitive that I need to have changed? I would like suggestions for the check up and initial maintenance that I need to take care of now.

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Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 7:58 pm
Car Information: 1986 Dodge Aries

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