In the last update, we got Raven, the 1983 Imperial that is doubling as my penance for something I did in a past life, up and running after the 367ci small-block Mopar ate a camshaft keyway. Happily, I’m happy to report that fuel delivery is no longer an issue and that the engine snaps to life with a quick hit of the key…considering it’s the first engine that I’ve built, I call that a win. But as I mentioned on the last update, I still have plenty of work to do if I’m going to make Austin Griggs’ “Mopar vs. Brand X Showdown” event in October, and next up on the docket were two items I was not looking forward to handling: the throttle cable situation and the kickdown setup for the TorqueFlite automatic.
Back when the prior engine was being built for the Dodge Mirada I owned at the time, the individual I had trusted to build the engine for me while I was away was too eager to inform me that the kickdown setup on the car was an absolute pain in the ass and that he had to weld and re-weld the system to make it work. It’s not surprising…Chrysler’s system of rods and bellcranks works perfectly fine if everything is perfectly stock. Change one thing in the system, like the carburetor, and you now run the risk of the kickdown setup being out of whack. And that’s not a good thing, since the kickdown lever on the A904 needs to be in motion and in sync with the throttle linkage at all times. Since I was running a four-barrel Carter on a platform that never used such a setup. Unless you can find one of the 76 1980 Dodge Miradas that came factory with a four-barrel (or a similarly-equipped four-door Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré), you are out of luck.The throttle assembly was an even bigger issue. My particular car is one of the few 1981-83 Imperials that I’ve seen that was never converted back to carburetion via the factory’s parts. I still had a full EFI system, but with a fuel tank that was completely rotted through and a TBI “pie plate” system that may have caught fire a couple of times during some early work. Not only was my kickdown situation complete hot garbage, but my throttle cable had to be rigged just to function well enough to operate. Not good on any account.
So when I saw the Lokar Performance Products booth at the Tri-Five Nationals a few days ago, I stopped in and asked a couple of questions. In short order, a box appeared at my house and inside was the answer to both problems. They sent part numbers DP-1000U36 to fix the throttle cable situation and KD-2904U for the kickdown. Both kits come with the necessary brackets, hardware, Allen keys and foolproof instructions on how to install them. Follow along with the photos as I show you how Lokar made both of these tasks a simple fix.
Compared to the garbage that was barely functioning, the Lokar kit looks ten times better and will function properly. With a friend helping you, both of these jobs combined would probably set you back maybe an hour each. Maybe. Compare that with hunting swap meets for the right kickdown and tell us if you don’t see the cost savings. Now the throttle setup isn’t janky and the transmission’s life won’t be unnecessarily short. And as an added bonus, the quality of the design at the carburetor really classes up the joint. Another issue fixed on the road to the Imperial’s return to the streets! With luck, we just might make the race yet…if we can get miles on the car, which means we need to get the noise level down to “legal”, and soon.