WELCOME
January 30th 2008
          O2 sensors are on order. I've been busy at work over the last couple weeks so my Durango has been a bit more neglected than usual. Fuel consumption is averaging out around 19-19.5L/100km over the last two fill-ups, which have been only 50-60L at a time. PS fluid and coolant haven't required a top up and the levels are holding steady. I will now be taking the Durango to Destin, FL this April instead of the Pontiac G6. Some small annoying problems have surfaced and after a four hour drive to Kingston, ON and another four hours back, the seats aren't the greatest for long distance travelling. Still, the additional space the Durango will provide will be an added bonus. After I calculated the fuel between both vehicles taking the same route to Destin FL, the Durango will only require an additional couple hundred dollars...if that. I figure it'll be more worth while to take my beast - due to the better seats, larger mirrors and more space. Since I drive it more than the G6 anyway, I'm used to the driving dynamics as well. Once the weather clears up I'm hoping to get a few mechanical things fixed up and get'r squared away for the trip. It'll be approximately 4500km give or take a couple hundred clicks, as I'll be returning along the East Coast and crossing in Buffalo. Going down, I'll cross in Detroit and grab a hotel south of Nashville for the night and drive the remaining distance the next day. Total time down is approx 19 hours without stopping and 24hours return along the east coast. As I drove commercially, I can easily drive 11-13 hours straight...except this time I'll have to stop for fuel as I don't have the pleasure of sitting atop 300 gallons of diesel!
January 10th 2008
          Haven't got around to Canadian Tire yet. But will pop in tomorrow to get a price on the O2 sensors. The engine light has been intermittantly flashing on & off over the last few days. I reset the code with my Superchips programmer tonight as I'm heading up to Owen Sound tomorrow and driving at night with the engine light on is just annoying! The wife and I are planning a trip to Destin, Fl for her friends wedding. I was originally going to take the Durango but will take the Pontiac G6 GT. This will save me a few hundred dollars in fuel and I won't have to rush and get my u-joints replaced as well as pinpoint a very very slow power steering fluid leak as well as a very small coolant leak. The coolant reservoir never totally empties, the level never drops down below the stick that you can pull out. I'll put a few ounces in the reservoir and a month later the fluid I added won't be visible on the stick, putting it below the 'add' mark. I figure I have a leak around the steering rack and a possibly water pump problem. I'll have to wait til spring when I can do a proper engine clean up and diagnosis.
January 4th 2008
          Engine light came on yet again for the forward O2 sensor. I'm pricing around for both a forward and back O2 sensor. Online prices are around $119 for both, plus applicable taxes with free shipping. I'll see what Canadian Tire wants for them tomorrow. The ones online are Denso brand. With any luck, two new sensors should increase fuel economy by a small margin as well.
December 27th 2008
          Warmer weather has brought an increase in mileage. Both fills included some idling, but mostly it was 30% city and 70% highway driving at 50-60mph. Combined mileage was around 18L/100km. Not bad considering the amount of idling involved. There was some snow with weather hovering around -10C for two days, but nothing major. Engine code PO138 has came up again, for the third time now. I will pick up a forward O2 sensor this week and will then get an emissions test done. I have until June 29th to get the E-test done as that's when my registration is due, but I figure there's no harm in getting it done early as the E-test is good for twelve months. The 195F thermostat that I had installed last week works flawlessy. It's nice having not to run the fan on high speed to keep the cabin just above freezing!
December 22nd 2008
          The holidays are upon us all and I've been stung with another dealer charge. Due to the poor inclement weather I took the D into the dealer to have them install a new 195F stat, in place of my 180F which only heated the cab to just above freezing...on a good day. It was my own mistake as I should have changed it out before winter set in and I could've saved at least $126.10 on labour costs. It did save me a bit of a mess as the t-stat is flat on top of the block, so I would've had to replace coolant anyway. If I used a generic 195F stat from Canadian Tire it would have saved me an additional $9! Anyway, with the new stat in place the heat is much better and never exceeds the half way mark on the gauge. Mileage has worsened with the cooler weather and precipitation on the ground to just over 21.3L/100km, which is on par with last year.
December 13th 2008
          This winter is colder than the last two so far to date. I'm starting to debate if I should change my 180F stat out for a 195F unit. Interior heat is OK after ten minutes of driving, but I have to keep the fan on at higher speeds to keep the temperature at a reasonable level. My overhead computer is also understanting my mileage again. I drove 295km and filled up with 60.551L which equals out to 20.52L/100km by hand calcuation, whereas the overhead stated an average of 21.8L/100km. Perhaps the 180F stat does help with better fuel mileage in conjunction with my other mods. Still, just with the K&N intake at everyday driving speeds (1500-2000rpm), it doesn't really make a difference with air volume. At higher speeds it's noticeable of course. As there is no AWD tuning shop locally, I would guess that at 1900rpm steady state cruising (60mph/98km/h) the engine is a lot more efficient than stock with my current mods. I still have yet to install the MSD 6A ignition which should help startability on short trips - especially in the cold weather.
December 1st 2008
          After stopping in at two emission test centres, both of which were having system problems so I was unable to get an emission test done. I have until the end of June when my registration is due. An e-test is good for twelve months from the date of issue, so if any emission components go bad over the next six months I'm in no rush to get them fixed. I forgot to mention the website for the auto parts place in Canada that not only carries OE parts, but some select performance parts as well. It is: http://www.autopartsway.ca/ With the US dollar dominating the Canadian dollar plus duty and excise tax it's no longer cheaper to purchase parts from US suppliers. Another good thing is that for orders over $75, shipping is included unless you decide to purchase something heavy like a battery. I'm also looking for a new truck lock actuator. For anyone that has ever had problems with the rear hatch latching after you close it this is the problem: There is a steel bar that is moved by the lock motor in order to unlock the hatch. This bar pivots in the center with a rivet (also steel). These two pieces are extremely rusty and no matter how much penetrant lube I spray on the metal they start sticking after a few days. I originally thought that the hasp in the hatch was loose and not catching the clip on top of the bumper. At least now I know what the problem is, it's just a matter of finding the parts without paying dealer prices...which may be my only way out.
November 30th 2008
          Mileage is holding steady between 16-17L/100km. On short trips I've noticed that the engine is hesitant to get up to idle speed. It occurs very little, but it makes me think that I should have installed my MSD6 ignition system before the winter...as now it's too cold out to bear the installation. I found a Canadian performance parts website. You can also get OE parts there as well providing they're in stock. They carry a few items that are overpriced and/or hard to find locally such as certain cat-back exhaust systems. I'm almost certain my current muffler has some very small holes as the noise has been slowly increasing over the last couple months. Due to the weather I haven't been able to get under and inspect it, but it was hole-free in August during the last inspection. My front bumper is starting to rust-through. I should've waxed it twice, but I didn't have enough daylight left - then the sleet arrived.
November 17th 2008
          After a trip to Toronto (ACC) and my usual morning city commute to work for a week I averaged 17.83L/100km. Not too bad considering I ran into heavy traffic due to poor weather conditions. I also pumped in an extra 2L of fuel after I would have normally stopped. But, at 91.6c/L for 91 octane it was hard not to squeeze more in there. If I took the extra 2L I pumped in, into consideration, the more realistic number is 17.38L/100km. Idling in the mornings to scrape off the ice/snow mix has sunk fuel economy to around 22L/100km during my morning commute through town. I leave early enough that I'll only hit a few lights rather than going out of my way a bit and taking the highway, which is not only on a slight incline from driving through town, it won't save me any time. I have yet to see the code P0138 appear for a third time. Canadian Tire has O2 sensors on sale this week for 20% off, so I'll pick one up and have it installed. I'll probably do an emissions test as well with the denser air so I won't have to worry about it come spring time. For the test, I'm going to leave all the mods on, and leave the Superchips installed on the 91 Performance setting.
November 3rd 2008
          Winter has arrived. Some light snow a couple days ago and I've been a bit lazy and allowed the truck to idle for longer periods than I should have. I drove 263km on 62.5L of fuel which netted me a terrible 22.08L/100km. Fuel was down to under $1.L so I did overfill the tank this round by over 2L, so actual mileage would've been closer to 20L/100km, still not the greatest. My next transmission service, due in Feb 2009, will include installing Amsoil ATF. The only downside is that I won't flush the transmission as Dodge transmissions with bands are notorious for failing after a transmission flush (with higher mileage by the way). This means I'll only exhange 4L of the 12L capacity. I am debating to do a flush, but everyone has been telling me not to.
October 27th 2008
          Fuel economy update: After driving 499.8km (rounded up to 500), my overhead overstated my mileage by nearly 1L at 18.97L compared to my actual (hand calculated as always) mileage of 18.04L/100km. Most miles were driven around town with a few short highway trips for those who are wondering. This is starting to be consistant with the last few tanks. My thought stays the same in thinking that a proper tune will allow the computer to learn the mods I've added to the vehicle. I'm not so sure it will in fact work, so I'm not going to go blow $1K on a proper custom tune at this time. I've had code PO138 pop up a couple times now over the last month. The code means that I have irregular voltage going to the O2 sensor. I'll have the wires to the sensors checked along with new sensors installed when the next service is due. This should further increase mileage as I have reason to believe the O2 sensors are OE. As I haven't had the time to install my MSD6 ignition this fall it'll be tops on my to-do list come spring time. I've also kept a closeful eye on my tire pressure, which for the most part have remained constant between 33-34psi. Once a tire drops to 32 or below I will add air just to keep everything on an even keel.
October 22nd 2008
          I've found some new added performance today after changing out the transfer case fluid with Amsoil ATF. I purchased two quarts of the fluid several months ago so I could save on shipping as I had to order other products, and the service was finally due to change out the fluid. I also had the engine oil and filter changed with Amsoil 5W30 Xl motor oil. It's rated at 7,500miles or 12,000kms. As 50% of my kms are put on around town I opt to change the oil around 6-8,000kms depending on how much I've been hauling/towing etc. The oil was black at 7500kms this time, so I had it changed out before the cold weather settles in. I'll change it every 6-7K in winter for optimal performance. This means only 2-3 oil changes per year as opposed to my 4-6 oil changes a year. Net savings is about $100/year over non-synthetic products. During that 7500kms I topped up the crankcase with 0.5/qt around 5200kms. At 7500 it could've used a 0.33/qt for another top up but with it being oil change time, I didn't worry. Once I put another order together I'm going to switch the transmission fluid over to Amsoil ATF as well. I will not do a transmission flush as higher mileage transmissions on Dodge products are known for failing shortly after having the service performed. It'll take a few transmission changes before the fluid is nearly all Amsoil ATF. I expect to see another mileage increase once I do the transmission change now that the transfer case fluid has been upgraded to Amsoil. Stay tuned.
October 19th 2008
          I've completed another mileage leg with good news. I drove 529km and put in 80.077L which nets a mileage rating of 15.137L/100km with 90% highway driving at 55-60mph and minimal idling. Overhead computer stated a bit worse so I would imagine that the computer doesn't fully compensate for the mods I've added to the vehicle that increase performance (and mileage!). Since I installed the mods all on the same day I cannot say which was is (or which one's are) responsible for the increased mileage. Once this exhaust system of mine rots out in a year or two and I upgrade the exhaust with a cat back system, I plan to get a B&M computer flash to get the most bang for my buck with the mods I've added.
October 11th 2008
          Mileage has improved over what was stated on the overhead to what I hand calculated. It wasn't as good as the last tank but it was just over 1L/100km better when I hand caluclated the mileage. 460km for 81.527L of fuel works out to 17.723L/100km. The overhead was in the 18L/100km range. I'm due for another fill-up in a few days and will post the results. Power steering fluid top up is still minimal. It ticks me off that I have to purcahse a quart of fluid for the sake of requiring a couple ounces every few months to top up the reservoir. Bilsteins are holding up well. I took the D down a few light trails and there was enough suspension squeaking and moaning to make sure the shocks got a good workout. I've searched online for ways to replace OE parts with lighter components, but have been unable to find any that are cost effective. Not to mention the fact that there aren't many aluminum parts available.
September 19th 2008
          After a tire rotation my tires have only lost 1/32" of tread (started out with 13/32). I imagine these tires will last well over 100K which makes them an excellent deal at a mere $0.00973/km! Another note in regards to fuel economy and modifications done to the 'D'. After another tank of mixed city/highway driving my overhead computer calculates my fuel use at 12.5mpg (US), or roughly 18.8L/100km. After filling up (68.348L for 408km) my average is 16.75L/100km. My last tank was similar with nearly a 2mpg difference. I keep fueling until the nozzle shuts off for the third time. Needless to say I'm quite impressed for a 360 cubic inch V8 with full time 4WD. I would imagine the computer cannot compensate for the mods done to the vehicle. I've also noted over the last month that when travelling with over drive off, it used to engage as low as 55km/h (1150rpm), now it won't engine until a touch below 60km/h @ 1300rpm. Not that I'm complaining any, as it helps driving performance but why I also get better mileage than the overhead is another story that I plan to keep an eye on. One last thing that I want to point out is comparing my mileage to smaller engined vehicles that weight less: The Dodge Nitro from the reviews I've read by editors haven't gotten any better than 15.2L/100km, which isn't too good for a 3.7L V6 and a single speed AWD system. The V6 2wd Ram with the 3.7L averages close to the same mileage as it is a heavier truck but geared a bit longer allowing lower highway rpm. I find this intriguing because if I were to find a way to lighten my Durango even by a few hundred pounds, how much better performance will be, as well as mileage. Stay tuned.
September 4th 2008
          It's been over a week now with the Bilstein's installed. Ride quality is much improved. The squeaking and groaning of the old OE shocks is gone. Only if I turn over large pot holes do the Bilstein's let out a little chirp. The u-joints are in dire need of replacement now. The shock loading when changing gears from park is bad enough that I know it's going to happen, but I can't brace myself enough for the impact now! It's getting more annoying when I stop, then accelerate again as it gives off a subtle 'clunk' sound. I'll get the rear two u-joints changed out next month and the front two replaced before winter sets in. Last, I have to point out that the BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A tires that I purchased over a year and a half ago are holding up great and the tread is still like new. Over that time period I've rolled 30,000kms on the tires. Another rotation is due now.
August 25th 2008
          After an attempt to install the shocks myself, I found out that my hydraulic jack, or the spare tire jack, cannot lift the D to the required height to install the shocks. I have no way to compress the shocks so I took it into the dealer for the install. I've been putting off installing some Amsoil ATF in the transfer case, so that will be done this afternoon as well. From centre pin to centre pin, the rear Bilstein's measure just a touch over 25". The stock shocks on the D with the D resting on the ground, measure 21" pin to pin. I could only get a 24" reach out of both jacks. Just over an inch short!! Dealer ended up doing the install unfortunately. Pics have been uploaded of the Bilsteins installed.
August 18th 2008
          Bilstein's have arrived! With any luck I'll be able to install these within' a week, unless I get an early day off from work then I can take a couple hours and install them in the evening. They're larger than I had thought, but as I've never held new shocks before I suppose it's OK. The boots are thick rubber and should last a long time. I can't wait to get the old shocks off!
August 17th 2008
          Bilsteins should arrive by UPS tomorrow! I had some relatives loaded into the D today and noticed even more axle hop when driving around the pitted mall parking lot at low speeds. It's almost as if the shock loading, err, rebound if you will, is nearly non-existent. I've pulled out my Hayned manual and plan to do the shock exchange myself as soon as I get a day with no rain!
August 13th 2008
          I ordered Bilstein shocks and they should arrive in 3-5 business days. Total out the door including Customs and taxes is estimated to be $312 or roughly $78/shock. I have two quarts of Amsoil ATF that I'll get installed in the transfer case at the same time the shocks are installed. The last week I've really noticed the ride deteriorating. Even driving over manhole covers and small potholes the rear axle wants to do the steering for me! Needless to say I should be quite impressed with the Bilstein's once they're installed.
August 11th 2008
          Rust. It's starting to appear all over the front bumper. I'm thinking of taking it off and spray bombing it with dupli-colour once I have a couple days off. There's about 14 small rust spots that have formed now and it's aggrivating me. I've also been going through some power steering fluid ever so slowly. I have to add an ounce or two every 1500kms. It's not frequent, but still has be a bit concerned. I had a couple P.S. lines replaced over a year ago and for the life of me I cannot see any noticeable leaks. I drove through an automated car wash today to get rid of the grime but it still needs a good soap & brushing before I can wax the beast. I patched up a few paint chips around the doors and covered up some rust spots around the rocker panels. My radiators are getting full of bugs/road debris so I'm probably going to purchase some grille guards instead of trying to install a makeshift screen that I'll probably screw up! New shocks are also in the works. I will probably purchase a set of Bilsteins off E-Bay for around $275 to my door.
July 24th 2008
          Testing is complete. I put on 50 miles of spirited driving after rush hour this evening and I didn't hear any engine knock! Just a shame I have to feed the 360ci V8, 91 octane fuel. I tuned the Superchips to 91 Octane Performance setting and it just WORKS! I'm quite impressed by the ferociousness of my new found V8 power. Once this tank is burned off I'll do accurate mileage tests and am hoping for a slight gain due to the increased oomph.
July 23rd 2008
          I'm in trouble. The purpose of me purchasing the Superchips 3715 programmer was so I could save $500 a year or so in fuel running the 87 octane program. I'm in the final phasing of testing and installed the 91 performance setting. Months ago, I orignally installed the 91 towing performance setting which gave off an idle sound that didn't quite sit well with me. The 87 octane setting works, but I can't step on the go-pedal without some serious pinging happening in the higher rpm range. Normal driving it works fine but even when I encounter hills and put the pedal only to maintain speed it pings/knocks. My test drive proved wonderful on the 91 octane setting. I pretty much drained my tank of 87 octane and threw in 50L of 91 octane and programmed the PCM to the 91 performance setting. When coasting there is a noticeable difference in NVH. The engine seems to run smoother (as my R/T was originally designed to run 91 octane). As its pouring rain outside today I can't properly test for pinging. I'll do a proper test over the next few days.
July 20th 2008
          My exhaust system turned out to be OK. I tightened down the header bolts and pactched up a small hole on the pipe before the muffler. Sound hasn't changed much but has improved the at-speed resonance. After my usual 55mph highway commute to visit the out-laws and with the AC on for the majority of the 410km trip (both ways), I averaged 16.4mpg, which is still above the EPA estimated rating. I will also note that I was carrying quite a bit of heavy cargo; baby, stroller, 3 large duffel bags and some odds and ends which probably weighed close to 500lbs. All in all, the D did great in the 37C weather. I'm still meaning to clean up and wax the exterior and get some updated photos!
July 15th 2008
          I believe my stock exhaust is finally on its way out. Over the last several months it has gotten louder. I realized it more so the other day when I left the D running and was loading groceries into the back. I'm in no rush to replace the stock system as it works great. I've been eyeing the Magnaflow cat-back which seems decently priced, and a good performer for the long haul. This weekend I'm going to try the 91 performance tune on my Superchips as I've only tried the 91 towing performance and the 87 octane. I'll report shortly.
July 2nd 2008
          It's that time again, filed up with gas. I went with 89 octane to test the performance (or, um, knock resistance) with my Superchips tuned for 87 octane. From a standing stop when I put the go pedal to the floor, I don't notice pinging, but it still seems to be prominent in the 2500-3400rpm range when I'm rolling along a city street and decide to romp on the go pedal. One thing that I have considered is that I squeezed in a touch over 80L, meaning 15L of fuel in the tank is 87 octane giving me a 88.2 or so octane rating. I'll try a second tank when the time comes and see how it performes and will do a mileage test. Last tank with 75% city driving I netted 12.8mpg, which is a touch better than normal (12.2-12.4 avg over last two years). I'm taking the same route to work and back by the way and the same single trip to two stores every two weeks like clockwork to get accurate readings. As I do not control the weather that's only the real deciding factor to consider here. I will also point out that it's been over two months since I've installed the pads and rotors and just now I realized that I forgot to put anti-squeal on the brakes. They're still as silent as can be but I may add some anti-squeal before the winter hits. The rotors still look like they've just been machined - as clean as can be!
June 20th 2008
          I've decided to start freshening up the D. I'm starting outside and working my way in. One thing I'd like to do but isn't economically feasible at the moment is to repait the front bumper on both sides as there is some rust starting to drip down onto the lower part of the right fender! For now, I've spent a few bucks and bought a can of rust paint that's actually designed for the underbody of the vehicle. I went through the whole can and managed to put a thick coat (enough so it wouldn't drip) around the rear axle, springs, and trailer hitch to give it a 'like new' look. I've posted photos and it's quite comparible to the rusted axle of yore! One thing I might do next spring is take a grinder to the trailer hitch and smooth out the bubbles that make it look beat-up, then repaint it with a gloss black paint as I did today. As soon as I see the Rhino ramps on sale I'll get a set and paint the front section. I'm hoping to remove the bumper so I don't have to use a hand to hold up the cardboard; as I want to get the bumper repainted anyway. Photos will follow later today! Once I can manage a full detail I'll take photos.
June 16th 2008
          My K&N intake over the TB is rubbing on one corner against the hood. I've tried to readjust the filter assembly but it still rubs. The rubber gasket that came new with my 52mm TB may be causing the problem as it did seem thicker than the original. I'm going to play around with a couple things to see what I can do to fix this as I don't want a hole melted into my intake! I had a fuel theft a couple days ago and I have since purchased a locking gas cap. I'm debating how it'll hold up in the winter months, but for now with gas at $6.08/gallon I calculated it out to be a good investment. I would imagine the price of these babies will go up with demand as fuel prices will continue to rise. Europe is paying approx $2.25 Canadian/L!
June 5nd 2008
          The new pads and rotors work great! After a month since I installed them and they hardly even look rusty, which is good considering the amount of rain we've received over the last few weeks. I did another highway jaunt and am glad to report that my overall trip mileage has improved from 18.3mpg to 18.9/19.0mpg US (hand calculated/overhead). That's steady state crusing with a few stops along the highway for construcion with a cruise speed of 55mph (88km/h). My front bumper has started to rust in a few areas, no doubt due to stone chips and bugs that I've been reluctant to clean off. A paint touchup and a full three phase wax job is in order. Best part was that I ordered Mothers® products through my Amsoil dealership and it was 8% cheaper than buying at Canadian Tire including shipping so I couldn't go wrong! Save $8 on fuel to go get the stuff and have it delivered for cheaper. Anyway, Once I got it all spiffied up I'll definitely take some photos which are long overdue. I'm also really pushing to get the Rancho RS9000 adjustable shocks....
April 29nd 2008
          I managed to install new rotors and pads today as the weather held out. Took me just over an hour to install! The pevious pads and rotors weren't very old, about one and a half years, and I threw them out!. Ah well, at least I saved myself $160 in labour at the dealer; and that annoying wheel squeak is GONE! I'm impressed with the quality that the Monroe pads offer. I did the install at another house that had a level driveway as mine is full of holes and isn't level. I left the camera back at my place of course. Pedal feel has also improved ever so slightly. The old pads weren't even worn 1/5".
April 22nd 2008
          Mileage verdict is in. I've been achieving 1-2mpg better driving on regional roads. Most hills require less throttle than before due to the added modifactions to boost performance. Besides U-joints and a cat back system to install yet I have had an ongoing squeak sound from the left front wheel. Dealer diagnosed it at no charge and told me it needed pads and a new rotor as the one pad was wearing unevenly causing the side with more pad to rub against the hub. Cost - $425.00. Needless to say I decided to go to Canadian Tire and picked up two steel wiper blades, two Monroe rotors, and a set of Monroe pads for $186. A lot better than the dealers quote! I figure it'll take me a good three hours to install. I'm betting the pads and rotors are of better quality than the OEM items. With any luck I'll get better brake feel with this setup as the Monroe pads are very thick, and made of a ceramic material.
April 5th 2008
          I filled up with 3/4 tank of 87 octane. At heavy throttle, especially around town accelerating from stops (as there is no wind noise), ping is very bad above 3500rpm. It sounds as if I had a handful of rocks in a tin can that was on high speed in a paint shaker! Needless to say I'm going to keep the throttle light and see how that goes. I don't hear any pinging at lower rpms - which is GREAT! This is the year of the pot hole, so I imagine I'll have to push ahead installing new shocks, just have to decide which ones to go with.
April 3rd 2008
          PING! Is the enemy of earlier LA and Magnum engines. I now have a full concentration of 87 octane fuel in the tank. Anything with more than half throttle with the rpms above 3200rpm creates heavy ping. Superchips is set on the 87 setting still by the way. I'm going to do some more tinkering and hopefully get my MSD6 unit installed this weekend - weather providing. Around town in normal driving with shifts between 2000-2500 rpm there are no signs of engine pinging! I'm going to get a few tanks of fuel to check mileage and will post an update on the performance. Also, the left front wheel bearing came in and I had it installed yesterday for nearly $700. Genuine Mopar parts - ick. However, I have great service at this dealer and will gladly pay the extra 10% over an unknown service shop. Much better piece of mind. The squealing I was hearing is gone. Now the U joints will set me back approximately $900 for all four (two front, two rear). I'll get them replaced within a months time along with some new shocks. I'm still torn between Bilstein and Rancho. I'm leaning more toward the Rancho shocks, just because I can get them at Canadian Tire and get huge rewards on my MasterCard. I'll book an apointment for the install when my next tire rotation is due.
March 29th 2008
          I weined the truck off 91 octane and installed the Hypertech 87 octane program. Before I did the install, I filled up with 4L of 89 octane then 17L of 87 octane still under the stock program (made to burn 91 octane). The drive back from the gas station left a none too settling pulsing sensation at idle. The D idles smooth with the 87 octane program installed. I'm going to take it out for a test run later tonight so see how it performs. If the engine doesn't miss or ping at all in the rpm range I'll keep the program installed and save myself $500 or so a year on fuel costs.
March 27th 2008
          Time for another wheel bearing. I replaced the front passenger bearing last November. Time has come for me to replace the front drivers side! $600 approx with taxes at the dealer. They're one of the most trustworthy places here to get it done. Besides, I looked for part options locally and online, and with shipping costs the bearing still runs over $450. For an hours labour for them to install it is worth the hassle. Besides, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get the D in for the install so the dealer will hold the part for me once it comes in. They've been great for service.
March 24th 2008
          Fuel economy is about the same. I've only driven 300km since the install of the K&N FIPK. Time will tell yet if mileage will improve any once I get a good highway run in. I found out that the spark plug heat shields aren't meant to be removed, so I had the dealer install my new plugs and wires as the weather here is still well below freezing. I kept my MOPAR wires and Champion spark plugs. They have a good 20,000kms left of life in them or about 40%. Most of the electrodes are in great shape for the mileage I had them installed for. Along with the NGK plugs, I had my Taylor wires installed as well. Throttle response is much smoother. I still have the MSD 6A ignition to install. I'm also going to play with the Superchips and try the 87 octane setting once I require fuel. If it works it will net me a savings of over $500 a year!
March 14th 2008
          The Durango is back in my possession with the fender fixed (replaced), and I managed to install the K&N FIPK this afternoon. Idle is a bit louder, especailly after start up. It'll take a couple hundred miles to really notice any mileage difference, if there is one. I opened up the throttle on the highway after the install and there is a very small increase in power. It's mostly noticeable when passing. If I drive around town in traffic in second gear (not greater than 55km/h), performance is exceptional. All I have left is to install my MSD system with the Taylor wires. It was my intention to install the Taylor wires today as well, but the shields around the plugs caught me at a bit of a surprise. I tried to remove one with a pair of plyers and all I did was make part of the round protector flat. I'll try another attempt tomorrow to fiddle around if the good weather holds off. With last weeks two foot snowfall my mileage has dropped to the mid 12's, or around 18L/100km. Not to bad considering the amount of time I had the tires spinning through the white stuff. Plows didn't go down the side streets until 24hours after the start of the snow fall. Which made it great to play in!
February 23rd 2008
          My Durango will not be completed until Monday. So I am stuck with this little runabout until Tuesday, so I can get the weekly rate of $209.98 already discounted from getting referred from the dealer that's working on my truck. I soooo can't wait to get it back!
February 19th 2008
          I dropped off the Durango at the collision centre in Cambridge for the fender work. Should be ready to go Thursday. In the meantime, I've rented a Nissan Versa SL 1.8L hatchback. Full review will follow in a couple days. Click on Nissan Versa Test drive at left for photos and write-up! Can't wait to get the Durango back....
February 18th 2008
          It was a milder day so I managed to partly install my K&N FIPK. My original plans were foiled; to drop off the Durango and pick up a rental so I could get the dent fixed! Anyway, it started snowing really bad but I managed to relocate my cruise control solenoid and reinstalled the stock air box for the week. I need a nice day!!!
February 17th 2008
          Mileage is improving slightly with the milder temeratures. I averaged 15mpg on my last tank of fuel with only 50% highway driving (55mph). Not too bad. It's still not mild enough for me to install my MSD 6A unit, K&N FIPK and Taylor wires! I can't wait! LED tail lights will follow. Note: the bulbs will be LED, the taillights will remain stock!
February 12th 2008 part two
          The Durango had its first ever accident. A ninety year old man decided to do a 360 in the middle of an intersection as cars were driving though. It could've been a lot worse if he didn't stop where he did blocking both lanes. The D got dented on the front left fender leaving just under $1500 in damages. He paid cash for it and it'll be getting fixed up this week at Galt Chrysler in Cambridge, ON. They're even going to buff the bumper at no charge as it was just scratched. I also require a replacement side corner lamp; the headlight itself wasn't damanged. Yes, there are photos posted in my photos section of the damage. Once the repair is done I'll post new photos!
February 12th 2008 part one
          I took the Superchips programmer off the truck. I'm certain it had to do with the cold weather but the engine was running rough, but it wasn't missing or pinging at idle. It sounded like I had a 12" subwoofer set on low volume! Once the weather warms up I'll try another tune. Its hard to sit in a -21C truck long enough to tune it correctly. I attempted to install the Taylor wires yesterday afternoon but found out that the stock boots are 1/3 longer requiring me to remove the heat shields around the plugs which extend 3" from the block. I found out that they are removeable with a pair of pliers at least. I'll do another install attempt, again, when it warms up a bit. Took me nearly ten minutes to unhook and replace just one wire. I reinstalled the stock wire for now.
February 10th 2008 part two
          For the first few miles I averaged about 10mpg until the engine warmed up! On the drive back from across town (10miles or so), I returned a good +1mpg according to the overhead computer. Averaged 17mpg instead of 16 at the same speed before I had installed the Superchips product. I'm positive the mileage will improve after I get the FIPK and MSD6A installed with the Taylor wires. As my commute increased to 25miles one way, I only drive it a couple times per week. The added performance on the highway will be awesome. Just have to wait for milder weather!
February 10th 2008
          It's too cold outside to install all the performance mods. I was however able to install the superchips MaxMicro tuner. I set it on the 91 Octane setting. Just for those that aren't familiar with the 2000 Durango R/T: It came from the factory with a 'performance PCM' that added 5hp and 5tq to the engine. The kicker was that the engine required premium fuel to operate. I'm going to take it for a test drive this afternoon once the roads clear a bit to see if performance has improved or not. I did not adjust any other settings such as tire height or speed limiter. Why? Simple - safety. My tires are only rated for 190km/h or roughly 118mph. The stock speed limiter is set at 115mph so there is no need to change either since my stock size tires are still on the truck and I can only go as fast as the tires will allow. The old Goodyear Wrangler HP tires that were on the truck previously were rated to 210km/h. If I decide to upgrade to 20" wheels I"ll get 230km/h tires to complement them. Then I'll have an excuse to raise the speed limiter. I also have this thing with running the engine over 2200rpm on a constant basis. At 180km/h it's running over 3500rpm and thats a no-no in my books with the big bore V8. After I get all the other parts installed (once the weather is better than -15!) I'm going to take the truck to Toronto, ON and get it properly tuned - only providing the Superchips doesn't work out for me.
February 9th 2008
          My parts from Performance Center have finally arrived! Only two and a half months later. Now, if the weather holds up I'll be able to get them installed this weekend!
February 4th 2008
          It's been over a week since I installed the 52mm TB and in two weeks I have a longish highway drive ahead of me, so I'll be able to get accurate mileage testing done! Also, I've heard from Performance Center, and my K&N intake has been shipped, so I should have that on hand to install for the weekend! Other parts to follow of course. Next step is to price around for new U-joints (four total). I'm getting tired of the bang/clunk when I put the truck into gear. Let alone that's all I need is a joint to break while I'm driving along somewhere! Dealer wants $900 with tax in. I'm definitely going to be phoning around.
January 30th 2008
          I've had some time to thoroughly break in my new TB. I believe the larger size has affected my engine braking ability, albeit, not by much! But it's still noticeable. I have yet to properly record any new MPG figures, but they will be in within' the next couple weeks so stay tuned for that. I have noticed by viewing the overhead display that I get more mpg when I coast and use a bit more fuel when I accelerate during regular driving. Performance Center finally got my order sorted out, turns out a couple grille guards that I ordered back in Oct of 07 have been discontinued! They still haven't credited my account accordingly nor mailed the performance mods that are in stock. Their customer service rep stated that I should receive the products within' the first week of Feb/08. We'll see....
January 25th 2008
          52mm throttle body from The Fastman is now installed! What a difference in performance this baby brings! Until I put the TB's side by side I couldn't believe how restrictive the stock TB is. Too see the difference check out my photos at left...its crazy. The part that gets me the most is the piece that's bolted in the middle to hold the air hat on - it blocks 10% of the surface area on the stock TB from letting air in! Definately more pick up right off the go with the Fastman unit, especially from 2000rpm and up! On a quick launch I've managed to confuse the limited slip and get single wheelspin momentarily for a couple seconds. The D is much more responsive...now if only my other mods will arrive!
January 24th 2008
          52mm throttle body from The Fastman has arrived! Took two weeks by US postal service and providing the weather is good I'll install it tomorrow! Check out my photos to view the new TB. It also included a new gasket and smooth top bolts forless air drag!
January 14th 2008
          After 6000kms on my Amsoil oil I finally have to add a bit to bring it back up to just below the full line. Half a quart! Not bad considering I did some higher speed driving (70mph). After working 15 hours straight, it seems best to turn my 30 minute commute into 15-20 minutes! I've ordered a Fastman TB a few days ago. I should be receiving it the same time my other performance mods, late this week or next week at some point. Priced out new U-joints (4 total), dealer wants $900/w tax to replace. Lowest place wants just under $600/w tax. A few of the cheaper shops seemed just that - cheap. I might bite the bullet and negotiate a price with the dealer to around $800 and I'll be content with that, since I know they'll do it right.
January 1st 2008
          Snow is finally here and The D runs through 2-3' high banks without incident. I live in a cresent so the plow leaves my area for last. So far this year no one has asked me if I plan to go out somwhere, so I can clear the way for them enabling them to follow in my tracks. I'm still waiting to receive my truck parts/upgrades from the Performance Center. They said 6-8 weeks for an international order around xmas time, so they have until Jan 14th! I've also passed 6,000kms with AMsoil motor oil and its still a light-medium brown colour. Regular oils are black at 4500kms in my Durango. The Amsoil oil is good until 25,000kms with a filter change at 12,500kms, but at 10K I'll do a full service again just to be safe.
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