Bought a somewhat unloved 99 ACR, first time owner

Discussion in 'RT/10 and GTS Discussions' started by Mferg16, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Hey y’all, so I’m a 27 year old kid, and I just picked up my first Viper (and childhood dreamcar) a few months ago after a year or more of shopping. I lurked on these forums forever and they were extremely helpful in selecting a car. Ended up finding a Silver ACR for $43k with 33,000 miles and bought it. Watched all the videos and buyers guides here, and the car checked out. I knew the previous owner didn’t drive the car; he just let it sit. But the body is extremely good, and there is no rust on the frame. So for the money I had to rescue it, doesn’t hurt I wanted a project.

    Anyway, Yeah, it’s had the typical issues like power steering pump, clutch slave and master simultaneously (replaced clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel since I was in there), and replaced rotors and pads. I’ve looked around the forums and preemptively bought all those parts which I replaced. So that’s been great. At this point, my question is, what else can I expect to fail on a 99 that’s literally just sat in NC for a few years? Obviously I’m working through all the old rubber and plastic parts, and I really need to refresh the suspension. But anything else?

    My main concern is the engine. It seems fine, runs well, with an aggressive idle. I love that, really wanted the 708 cam. But, under heavy throttle at higher RPMs (4000+) or definitely smells a bit of burnt oil. Now it does have hi-flow cats so I get a lot more exhaust smell than a normal new car, but I haven’t found much of an answer for that one on the forums. It definitely appears to be going through the PCV system, but I’m just cautiously wondering if there’s anywhere else to look. I.e., do I need to look at replacing manifold gaskets or even valve cover gaskets?

    Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but it is expensive and I do want to properly refresh this car to near factory...with some upgrades lol. Anyway, thanks ahead for any help y’all can give me, and if anyone is in the South Texas/Corpus area, feel free to give me a shout.

    -Mark

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  2. lane_viper

    lane_viper Enthusiast

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    Mine like yours, needed some TLC when I got it. I've got a 96 GTS that had 86k miles.

    If the fluids haven't been changed, I would do all of them. Especially the Coolant. I ended up doing a new radiator and hoses on mine, and I switched Coolant to Dex-cool after doing some research. Also did a 180 degree thermostat. (with Cometic thermostat gasket)

    Did OEM spark plugs and wires.

    The transmission needed work on mine, so it got new fluid and I did a new clutch and universal joints too.

    I also replaced all the front engine gaskets with Cometic gaskets.(water pump, timing cover, intake, oil filter adapter, throttle body, IAC) They have an aluminum core instead of the Mopar paper gaskets, So IMO, they are much better. My big fear was the timing cover gasket, as it has coolant passages that flow through it. If that gasket fails, coolant could mix with oil and give you a really bad day. I changed it mainly for piece of mind.

    After all that work, Mine is good to go for hopfully a long while.

    You should be able to tell if the valve covers are leaking, and they are not difficult to change out.

    Car looks great, and have fun putting yourself in it. :1up:
     
  3. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Thank you! And yeah it’s an absolute blast to drive, especially as things get fixed and you can feel the car get better.

    Fluids have been a work in progress. Changed the clutch hydraulic fluid with that rebuild, planning to bleed brakes in the next week or two, and the cooling system is something I know I should do even though I don’t want to haha. A new radiator, coolant, lines, and thermostat would make me much happier.

    Honestly, haven’t even messed with the plugs or plug wires because it seems to run fine and have good power...makes my 5.7 Challenger seem positively slow. And those were my thoughts on valve covers, there’s zero leakage from them. However there is just a bunch of crud on top of the motor, but underneath the intake manifold. The front engine gasket replacements is a pretty good idea I wouldn’t have thought of honestly.

    Otherwise, the car does seem solid. With the things you’ve said, and the pretty standard stuff I’ve already done, I figure it will be a solid, reliable (for a 1999) car for a good while. The one thing I’m not looking forward to is the suspension work. Need to call Koni and see how much it costs to rebuild the shocks....
     
  4. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    Nice car, be careful, I wish I had my Viper when I was 27, but thats a double edge sword for me I might have killed my self with a Viper.
     
  5. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Thank you! My dad always wanted a 1970 Challenger when he was my age, so I’m beyond grateful to have gotten my dream car now to enjoy as a kid. I’ve raced enough cars and flown enough jets that I’m a totally pedestrian street driver. I’ve barely even floored it in this, but holy shit does it have some power!
     
  6. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    Thats awesome, sounds like you are way ahead of most 27 year old, God was watching over me, my head was not bolted on as tight as yours at 27 so he waited for my brain to catch up to my body before the doors opened for a Viper.
     
  7. DJ'sviper

    DJ'sviper Viper Owner

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    You got that right Steve. I'm 69 and sometimes the bolts need to be tightened again. Ha Ha
     
  8. wkooiman

    wkooiman Enthusiast

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    Congratulations. Make sure you check everything lane_viper said, plus check the wheel bearings. I'm on my second Gen-2. Both had front wheel bearing issues. They are cheap, but the big bolt that holds it together is no longer available, so be careful not screwing it up. You can get the big nuts at your local Dodge dealer.

    My first Gen-2 was an 01 ACR. The shocks leaked, so don't be surprised if you have the same issue. It's fairly common.

    Spring rates on my 01 ACR were way too stiff. If I recall correctly, I put 800lb springs in the back, and it was much nicer - still probably too stiff, but not like the stock rates.

    Do the skip shift eliminator if you haven't already. Very cheap, and eliminates the annoying nanny.

    Exhaust and gears are great upgrades. The stock headers, cats, exhaust is too restrictive (in my opinion). If you remove the side sills (easy to do), you'll see what I mean. I like the 3" Corsa exhaust. It gets quite a bit louder.
     
  9. matt dillon

    matt dillon Viper Owner

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    If you Love this Gen II just wait until you drive a Gen V, you'll Never look back! I Still Love my Gen II, but there's NO Comparison to a Gen V. Nice looking car, Enjoy it & be Safe & like everybody said do all the fluids, belts, tires, etc... I also went with the 3.55 gears & it made a World of difference over the stock 3.08's.
     
  10. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Yeah, thanks guys, I do like to think I have my head screwed on somewhat decent for my age lol.

    Anyway, I’m working through all that stuff that lane said. It’s not my daily so I’m in no rush. Thankfully, I haven’t had any symptoms of a bad wheel bearing yet. And my shocks don’t look like they’ve leaked, but my suspension bushings aren’t in great shape. Plus the car isn’t really confidence inspiring in hard left/right or right/left combos. I’m choosing to believe my shocks are fine and replacing all the rubber parts will fix it. It does have the exhaust work already done, that’s the only aftermarket stuff it has and it sounds great...and doesn’t burn me haha.

    And Matt, not going to lie, I’ve considered getting this one back into proper shape hanging on to it for a little bit, saving up and selling it at a decent profit to buy a Gen V. But I probably won’t, I don’t think I can. A 99 ACR is all I wanted as a kid. Maybe I’ll just buy a Gen V too one day...
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  11. SapphireCognacGTS

    SapphireCognacGTS Enthusiast

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    I've been following you projects on reddit, you are doing a nice job. I am hoping to have some time to tinker on mine later this year. Keep up the good work!
     
  12. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Haha I feel so popular! But thank you! Right now the car keeps needing little things, but I have the time so that’s pretty chill. Doesn’t hurt that they are great cars to tinker on.
     
  13. joemcmillen

    joemcmillen Viper Owner

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    Mark,

    If you drive aggressively, and brake hard, oil can slosh toward the front of the valve cover baffle plates and make its way to the PCV inlet on the air intake. Excessive oil in the intake plenum, is not good. Consider a catch can system. This could be the oil smell. Check the intake box around the PCV filter. If it is very oily, it needs attention. High levels of oil in the intake will reduce the octane rating of the fuel and cause detonation. Not good!

    Also, you have two cabin vents in the rear of the car (guessing you may be smelling exhaust in the main cabin). They are located through the trunk on either side and have a metal cage protecting them. (reach under the rear sides, all the way to the side of the car). They can flap over and lodge themselves open. In this state, they allow exhaust gas to enter the cabin. You can repair them, as the rubber is usually in good condition, but the attachment system is inferior. A few zip ties will correct the problem. You want the flapper vales to work as designed, so keep that in mind.

    Regards,
    Joe
     
  14. joemcmillen

    joemcmillen Viper Owner

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    Mark,

    Look at the front of your valve covers on both sides. There are PCV lines on the front of each of them. If oil sloshes to the front, it will find its way to the intake plenum. Also, you have Hypereutectic pistons and they are prone to ring land failure. Do a compression and leak-down test. Let me know what you find.
     
  15. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    All 99 Vipers have Forged pistons, last year of the forged motors and big 708 cam. Awesome car.
     
  16. joemcmillen

    joemcmillen Viper Owner

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    Yep, my bad on piston issues. Still has all the other problems though.
     
  17. joemcmillen

    joemcmillen Viper Owner

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    2000 was the first year for hypereutectic pistons. You are under the wire. Congrats!
     
  18. Mferg16

    Mferg16 VCA Member - Gulf States

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    Hey Joe,

    Thanks for the reply. I actually don’t really drive the car hard at all because it’s needed TLC first. But I’ll stand on the gas sometimes...who can’t in one of these? But anyway, I did check the box, and there’s hardly any oil. It’s not once had blue smoke out the back, and the smell has really disappeared as I’ve driven it more. Now it just smells normal, no different than my buddy’s C6Z06 really.

    Compression is normal, I made sure it was good before I bought the car. As long as the engine was strong, the rest is easy to deal with. I specifically wanted a 99 for the 708 and forged internals lol.

    And thanks a ton on the cabin vents. I’d heard a thing or two about them, but nothing specific. I’ll give those a look in the next couple of days when I have a second. All in all, thanks a bunch for your help!

    Mark
     

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