Day Two


Street Machine - - Driver Reviver -

MON­DAY morn­ing found us at Pic A Part, a mas­sive wreck­ing yard where I sur­veyed a waste­land of old Amer­i­can cars. It wasn’t the au­to­mo­tive grave­yard of your imag­i­na­tion, filled with Mus­tangs and Ca­maros; rather it was a ver­i­ta­ble trib­ute to some of the most boring cars ev­ery made: mini-vans, gro­cery-get­ters, trucks and sedans from the 90s and 00s. Here you pay a dol­lar to en­ter, re­move what­ever part it is you need, and they charge you as you leave.

An LS mo­tor was not hard to find, but an al­ter­na­tor to suit the par­tic­u­lar LS used in a VX Com­modore was. Ap­par­ently it was dif­fer­ent to those used on any va­ri­ety of the mo­tor in the US. Mark came away emp­ty­handed, but Chris had an idea. He had a buddy who worked on LS con­ver­sions for Jeeps nearby, so the team soon found them­selves at Motech, where they met elec­tri­cal wiz Mitch and busi­ness owner Rob­bie. They were as in­trigued by the idea of an Ls-swapped Valiant as we were by the idea of Ls-swapped Jeeps. These ter­rors are ca­pa­ble of spin­ning mas­sive 40-inch tyres on bi­tu­men; god knows what they do on the dirt.

Af­ter a quick search, an al­ter­na­tor from the Cadil­lac LS vari­a­tion proved to be the clos­est match. Fab­ri­ca­tion would be re­quired on the mounts to make it an ex­act fit, but it was pos­si­ble. In the mean­time, Arby en­ter­tained him­self with sev­eral joyrides in the Motech fleet.

The team re­turned to Chris’s garage for fit­ment, but were left heart­bro­ken when it was found there was still no charge go­ing to the bat­tery. A day had been spent sourc­ing the al­ter­na­tor and cus­tomis­ing the fit – all of which ap­peared to have been for nought.

Mitch was re­cruited to take a look and see if he could di­ag­nose the prob­lem. The ap­pro­pri­ate 12 volts was found com­ing from the bat­tery, but mys­te­ri­ously there were no volts from the al­ter­na­tor; even a busted al­ter­na­tor should still com­plete the cir­cuit and de­liver volt­age. Mitch’s sus­pi­cions turned to the ca­bling and even­tu­ally fo­cussed on the bat­tery on/off switch mounted on the rear bumper. There a wiring is­sue was found; once the switch was by­passed, the al­ter­na­tor was charg­ing once more.

An ec­static Arby took POR440 on the joyride it de­served, but was im­me­di­ately re­minded of the orig­i­nal prob­lem he was in Las Ve­gas to fix – the over­heat­ing. The Valiant would not make it more than 10 min­utes with­out boil­ing, and re­mov­ing the air con­di­tion­ing con­denser had not im­proved the air­flow enough to make a dis­cernible dif­fer­ence. But that day in Motech, he had seen a so­lu­tion. The Ls-pow­ered Jeeps there used mas­sive sin­gle fans from late-model Corvettes for their cool­ing, and if there was any­one’s opin­ion to trust on LS cool­ing it was these guys from Las Ve­gas, who deal with mid-40°c tem­per­a­tures and higher for much of the year.

Suc­cess! Arby shows off the Cadil­lac-sourced item the Motech boys came up with Ls-into-jeep gurus Motech search for a suit­able US re­place­ment for POR440’S dud al­ter­na­tor

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