October 2006: After last month's intake install, the Pantera started having a real pinging problem. I double checked the timing, vacuum lines and everything else. Just couldn't see anything wrong with it. I pulled the plugs and found that the #1 spark plug was coated in oil. I also noticed that the intake gaskets were leaking a little bit of water out of the water passages in the heads. I decided that the intake gasket was probably leaking oil into the #1 cylinder. My understanding is that it doesn't take much oil in the combustion chamber to cause detonation. I also discovered that 351 Cleveland heads do not have water passages on the intake side, so the heads on my Pantera aren't Cleveland heads. The numbers on the heads reveal that they are actually 1970 302 Boss heads. Cool!
I bit the bullet and pulled the intake and valve covers, and reinstalled everything. I also added oil baffles to the valve covers because the rubber baffles built into the grommets were junk. I took the advice of my on-line Pantera buddies when installing the intake this time, using a couple new tricks. Seems to have worked perfectly. No water leaks and the install went smooth with the use of things like alignment studs and quick drying cement. The pinging was reduced, but still noticeable. Friday I picked up a couple cans of Mopar Combustion Chamber cleaner. This stuff has a great reputation of being able to clean out detonation causing carbon deposits. I used two cans and now all of the pinging is gone unless I ease onto the gas in too tall of a gear. This week I'm going to pick up another two cans and see if I can get rid of the pinging entirely.
Ram Air! I mixed PIMotorsports' Pantera side air ducts and Vararam's Street Ram Air Intake system to build my very own Pantera Ram Air intake. Works like a charm. I am shocked at what a difference it makes, even under low speeds. Feels like there is a ton more torque. Got sideways in first gear while test driving tonight, something that hasn't happened before. At low speeds there can't be much, if any. ram air effect. I can only guess that the more important difference is fresh/cool air? It's probably ten degrees cooler tonight than it has been for a while. Fall is in the air. No matter the reason, the Pantera was a blast to drive this evening. I couldn't be happier with the end result.