It has been quite some time since updating this project log. Currently the HEMIWagon is undergoing some invasive surgery that is repairing some critical issues!
First of all, the fuel tank was leaking somewhere, and I finally dragged it kicking and screaming down to a gas station with the seat out and watched around it as gas came in. Turns out, the top of the sending unit was leaking right above the pump. Not the best thing to have, but not the hardest thing to fix. I ended up running the gas tank down dangerously low, and ordered a diaper box.
After opening this seemingly problematic Ebay purchase, it contained a 2014+ SRT fuel setup for the 6.4L cars, a welcome upgrade. Stock LX fuel pumps for the early 5.7L cars is 175lph, this SRT one does 200lph. Not a drastic upgrade, but should support future power easily.
While tearing the car apart to get to the fuel pump, I found a pretty serious problem. Since the car sleeps outside, and we got a lot of rain earlier this summer, there was a bit of a leak. No pics of the standing water, but there was about 1.5" of water under the spare tire. Bad news. Cleaned that all out and tore the rear hatch apart. Really not fun, but luckily it came apart with minimal fighting.
After removing all the plastic and laying down fresh trim adhesive for the CHMSL (it’s attached to a small wing), the leak seems to be gone. After a couple days it looked like the adhesive was failing miserably, but it’s not leaking. Will re-assess in the future, likely with a little silicon in the small openings at the top of the hatch.
Since some of the more major issues are now at bay, we get to the two mods that are now slowly coming together that are really going to set this car apart from other ones. A couple years ago I landed a deal on Challenger RT front seats that I swapped in, but it was time to complete the functionality of the seats. Since the Challengers are coupes, they lack lighting up at the roof for the rear passengers, which means there’s a light on the back of the seat that looks like this:
I spliced out wiring from the rear upper map lights by the coat hangers and oh-shit handles to go to the rear map lights. Unfortunately, the stock LEDs from the Challengers are very yellow compared to the cool white of the other LED lights in the Magnum, so in the future I will be swapping out the LEDs to match. The lights come on when the doors are opened, as well as when you turn on the upper map lights to provide extra light. I am almost definitely the only person to do this and make it look as OEM as possible.
And now, for the best part of this project yet, The Bigass MFing Brake Kit©.
Sweet Baby Jesus. After doing a lot of research, only a handful of other people have attempted this swap. Typically on SRT cars only, and never with 18" steel wheels.
Oh Hell Yeah Brother.
No, it’s not perfect. A spacer or wheel adapter is necessary to clear the caliper, but the barrel of the wheel clears the caliper just fine. The LX Platform shares a lot of similarities with the W211 chassis, so why not? These are 8 piston calipers made by Brembo for the S55 AMG, as well as the first generation E63 AMG. The S55 would have come with 18" wheels, so they should fit just fine, and yes they do. Similar clearance to the stock 2 piston front floating calipers and to put the icing on the cake, these things weigh less.
There is still a lot of work left. I need to get different brake lines. The RT lines will not work with these, the banjo bolt is not the answer. And worse yet, I bought a full set of front and rears, and I can’t use the rears. I already purchased the correct rear calipers off of a first gen Cherokee SRT8, so next I will need the overpriced rear spindles with parking brakes. I sourced them, but will not purchase them yet. I also cannot use the RT front rotors. Despite being 13.5 inches, they do not clear the pads in the AMG calipers, so I will need to source a 14 inch rotor for the front to test with. The police package rotors may do the trick, and I have a favor called in to possibly get a used one to check for clearance with. Will get updates soon regarding that. The rears wont be nearly as difficult, as it will be the off the shelf SRT setup.
Calipers will get repainted once I get the full fitment worked out, and the color is already chosen.
I was in talks with Baer for nearly 2 years (about as long as I’ve been with my current job), and nearly even got a set of the 6P calipers for the front, but it would have required special brackets, special rotors and special lines. Since I’m trying to keep this as OEM as possible (for the 2005 Diamler-Benz era), so if I can get off the shelf parts that do the job, I will go out of my way for it because it will make things easier to handle in the event of parts failure.
So for now, that is the latest installment of the HEMIWagon Project Log! More to come as the brake upgrade comes together, and this is one of the last parts of the car to upgrade before the motor swap can happen. Since the motor swap is not going to be an overnight process, I’ll keep up on the goings on of the HEMIWagon, such as the airbag recall that needs to be done (after the brakes) and future travels between now and the motor swap!