Tech Notes

Written by editor on . Posted in Summer 2010, Tech Notes

By Herb Helbig, Chief Engineer—Viper (Retired)

Q: ?In the Fall 2009 issue of VIPER Magazine, on page 17, there is an article about a 67 mm BBK throttle body for 2003–2006 Viper engines (62 mm being the factory size). Have you had ?any experience with this throttle body? Is the horsepower increase of “10 hp on average” plausible?

A: I have had no experience with the BBK product. As mentioned earlier, we never had time to rigorously test aftermarket parts. I discussed this product with my SRT® engine expert and he was skeptical about the horsepower increase.


Q: I have an extremely well-maintained 2000 GTS Steel Gray with silver stripes. Recently I decided to feature it in the World of Wheels Show, so I had it spruced up even more. I took the vehicle to a body shop to have my lower front bumper touched up and the rest of the car polished and buffed. The next morning I went to pick it up and the engine was knocking like hell. The shop owner had no idea what had happened—so he says! I took the car into a local Dodge dealer where they pulled the pan and found a broken piston, bent rod and maybe two more bad cylinders. Needless to say, everyone is in agreement that someone drove or over-revved the hell out of my engine. I contacted several companies and everyone agrees with this conclusion. I took the matter to my insurance company to battle for me, as I pay enough for the damn insurance. I informed them that the car is always well-maintained, never in the rain and I don’t race it—that type of damage can only be caused by abuse. Perhaps some kid at the body shop ruined the engine; as I don’t believe the owner who I gave the keys to would perform a buffing and polishing job himself. Do you feel this type of engine damage is most likely caused from abuse and/or negligence, and not a maintenance issue? Would an engine oil analysis shed light on how the engine was running long before the body shop arrival (as long as the engine oil was in the crankcase for a required mileage for the analysis test)? Please offer your insights on this subject. Thank you very much!

A: Certainly a grim situation to say the least. The damage you describe is typical of abuse. Since you mention that the car is well-maintained, I’ll assume the oil level was at the full mark, lending further evidence supporting abuse. The oil is probably contaminated with metallic debris, but if it were analyzed it might show that it was in basically good shape with its additive package intact—further evidence supporting your theory.


Q: I have a question regarding my 2008 Viper odometer. I recently took the vehicle to my Pennsylvania Inspection Station and repair garage—the odometer read 857 miles on delivery—when I picked up my Viper the odometer read 339,957 miles. The only other service they provided, other than vehicle inspection, was to add two key fobs. Any thoughts on what happened here?

A: It’s difficult to say what might have happened without knowing exactly what the inspection station did during their checks. If they connected some kind of diagnostic equipment to the car it might have triggered some kind of reaction that led to the odometer problem. I would say it’s a long shot but with electronics, you never know.


Q: I own a 1994 Viper and I am having trouble with it overheating. We have replaced the coolant and water in the radiator, and bled the system from the heater tap; however, the vehicle still throws water/coolant out of the expansion tank. Do you have any ideas as to what this problem may be? Any information would be great.

A: The first thing I’d try is refilling the system. You need to fill the system through the heater core but the engine has to be fully warmed up so the thermostat is open. Don’t forget to relieve the system pressure before you pull any hoses. If you still have trouble, the radiator may need to be pulled and professionally flushed.


Q: Why is rainwater an issue for Vipers and other collector cars? Even the new Hurst edition Viper that was featured in VIPER Magazine’s fall 2009 issue notes that the car left the show in a hurry, “… as a thunderstorm forced its early exit …” Is it perhaps impurities in the rain? Not necessarily acid rain, but something otherwise damaging? In other words, what’s worse about a rain shower compared to a car wash in the driveway with tap water from a garden hose? I don’t drink either one these days but I’m having trouble understanding why a rainy day would be any worse than a gentle car wash?

A: There is no problem with your Viper’s paint/finish and the rain—rainwater poses no problem. When cleaning the exterior, use good quality car soap along with your tap water (softened if possible) and you should be fine. Regarding the Hurst Viper story, I was there at Carlisle when that car along with many others left before the storm. The weather report had severe thunderstorm warnings up with the threat of hail probable. That’s what got everyone moving, the sky looked awful. Shortly thereafter it poured.

Your technical questions are always welcome. Please remember to indicate the body style, model year and mileage for your Viper.

Tech Notes Editor
VIPER Magazine
PO Box 24425
Shawnee Mission, KS  66283
E-mail: ed@vipermagazine.com
Fax: (248) 499-1950
 

Charity – Drive a Student to School in a Dodge Viper

Written by editor on . Posted in Letters, Summer 2010

My wife works at the Leroy L. Wood Elementary School in Fairhaven, Mass. They were having a spaghetti dinner to help raise funds for their field trip this past spring. The school also asks people to donate things or services that they could use to raffle off to raise funds. My wife mentioned to me that it would be a cool idea to have a raffle for driving a student to school in a Dodge Viper. I would like to say that the ride in the Viper raised the most money, but I was competing with the gym teacher donating his own childhood scooter, and that was a tough act to beat. Well, we’ll just call it a tie.

Kristen Plante was the student who won. She is a 6-year-old first-grader and was so excited that she was getting a ride in a Viper. One of the first things she said to her mom was, “What am I going to wear?” Man, they start young! When I picked her up at her house, I showed her how to do the fangs greeting. We arrived at school with all sorts of fanfare; kids were lined up along the fence for over 100 yards. I enjoyed myself as much as she did. I told her I would write a letter to VIPER Magazine to see if they would print this story and maybe send her a copy for a souvenir. This would be another way to put a smile on a child’s face.

Richard Desrosiers

Fairhaven, Mass.


It’s always nice to hear about a youngster’s day being made. We’ll be sure to send souvenir copies. Thank you for sharing this story with the Viper Nation!—Ed

Viper at the Pass

I’m from Switzerland and already a member of VCA Switzerland. Here’s my Viper on the pass of St. Gotthard in Switzerland. The photograph was taken in late May.

Best regards,

Ruedi Gisler

Unteraegeri, Switzerland


That’s a cool shot of your Viper! Thanks for the correspondence and for your interest in VIPER Magazine.—Ed.

How Bad Have You Got It?

We just wanted to shoot you photos of our Dodge family—thought the readers might enjoy it. We own three graphite color Dodge vehicles. A 2005 Dodge Ram, 2005 Dodge Magnum SRT8® and a 2005 Dodge Stratus. The Ram and Stratus are our daily drivers; the Magnum is only used if we get company or go on a trip.

Now for the real toys:
?Emerald Green w/tan interior 1994 RT/10
?– Plate reads SNAKBIT1 for Gen 1,
?Sapphire Blue w/silver stripes 2001 GTS
?– Plate reads SNAKBIT2 for Gen 2,
?White 2004 Mamba SRT10® – Plate reads SNAKBIT3 for Gen. 3.

You heard the NASCAR slogan “How bad have you got it?” Well, I even have the Viper Emblem on my golf cart.



Don Smith

Concord, N.C.


Yes, you’ve got it bad. But that’s a good thing! All the best!—Ed.

We want to hear from you!

We value your input. Please feel free to send any questions, comments, or constructive criticisms to:

VIPER Magazine

P.O. Box 2117

Farmington Hills, MI 48333-2117

E-mail: ed@vipermagazine.com

Of VIPERS and VOI

Written by editor on . Posted in Ignition, Summer 2010

Dear Viper Nation:

As I began to write this, we were nearly through building out the 2010 Vipers. It was such a treat to see the holding area at Conner Avenue Assembly Plant. It looked like a giant package of M&M’s® exploded in our factory! Very inspiring stuff.

We celebrated the end of the current-generation Snake with a “Last Viper Off The Line” event on July 1. D’Ann Rauh received her custom Viper at Conner, followed by a reception at The Walter P. Chrysler Museum, which is showcasing “Born to Race – Dodge Viper Racing Heritage,” featuring an amazing collection of the most significant Vipers to hit the streets and the track since the Viper debuted in 1989 as a concept car. A special shout out to David Williams from Maryland, whose very first new vehicle purchase in his entire life is No. 2 of the Vooodoo Editions. Welcome to the Viper Nation—and you have great taste!

I hope each of you is doing whatever you can to make it to VOI.11, Sept. 30–Oct. 3, 2010. Salt Lake City is stunning; The Grand America and Little America Hotels and Miller Motorsports Park are amazing venues. There’s also World Challenge and Dodge Viper Cup series racing on Sunday! Chris Marshall, the other National Officers and several of the Salt Lake City area Viper owners have been working their tails off to bring you VOI at the lowest price it has ever been—without any compromises!

Although VOI.11 is truly an event for the people by the people, Dodge is 100 percent behind it. My family and I plan to be there, as well as a number of SRT® and Dodge staff. Dodge is sponsoring one of the dinners, the tech sessions and a very exclusive new product sneak peek … only for VOI attendees!

In the meantime, I am sweating the next “Ode to Viper!” and how and when we can get back to the Nürburgring!

Ralph Gilles

President and CEO, Dodge Car Brand

Chrysler Group LLC

Life-Changing Issues

Written by editor on . Posted in Parting Shots, Spring 2010

By Darren Jacobs

It’s funny, sometimes, the way inspiration can strike. Earl Kessler had hit rock bottom in 1996. In rehab for alcohol abuse, he was looking for something, anything, to kill time, to distract him from the urge to take a drink. A magazine in the rehab facility, probably left behind by a visitor as an afterthought, caught Kessler’s eye—the Summer 1996 issue of VIPER Magazine, featuring the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe on the cover. In that moment, Kessler’s life was changed for the better forever.

Kessler marveled at the cover. It became a motivational tool he employed to survive his stay in rehab. “I had never seen a Viper Coupe before,” recalls Kessler. “I read that magazine every chance I could during my stay. On my last day I made a deal with myself that if I could stay sober for ten years, I would buy myself a Viper Coupe.

“The Viper absolutely helped me pull through. It gave me lots of hope and something for which to look forward. I looked forward to buying a Viper, and I would never have found out about it if it hadn’t been for the magazine.”

Kessler is very fortunate to have many friends and family that encouraged him on the road to recovery, “My family and friends were there for me when I needed them,” Kessler emphasized. “I would not be where I am today without their support.”

The early years of sobriety weren’t easy on Kessler. “The first two years were the hardest, since I had to completely change my lifestyle,” he says. “I just stayed focused, even when the Viper Coupe was retired in 2002.”

Four years later, in 2006, Kessler celebrated his 10th year of sobriety. Lo and behold, what should appear on the cover of the Winter 2006 issue of VIPER Magazine, but a homage to the 1996 cover which inspired Kessler, featuring the exact same layout but this time highlighting the new 2006 Viper SRT10® Coupe. Coincidence? We think not—after all, twelve-step programs do emphasize the need to submit to a Higher Power!

“I couldn’t believe it,” recounts Kessler. “It was like it was meant to be. There was ?no way I couldn’t buy a Viper now.” He wasted little time, purchasing his Viper in 2006. He stills owns the 2006 SRT10 twin turbo coupe. “I just keep making it meaner,” says Kessler. “I had RSI double then triple the horsepower; now it’s at 1500 hp. It’s sweet.”

The 46-year-old contractor remains sober today. “I feel very grateful that I was able to make it,” says a thankful Kessler. “I’m a hard-working person. I stay busy and have fun with my car and family on the weekends. I’ll come home really tired and sore from working all day, and all I have to do is peek in that garage and I’m feeling better.”

As with all VCA members, Kessler receives a free subscription to VIPER Magazine with his Club membership. He also pays for a second subscription out of his own pocket, and leaves each issue at different businesses he visits, hoping to pass on his muse to others.

“When I go to my AA meetings, or I’m at the county offices pulling permits, all the different areas I visit, I leave a VIPER Magazine behind,” says Kessler. “It definitely changed my life when I read that magazine, so I like to share it if I can. Who knows what’s going on in people’s lives? Maybe it will have the same effect it had on me.”

My Viper Experience

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

By Don Firth

My wife, Eunice and I both own Vipers. We actively participate in South Florida Viper Club activities and drive on the tracks at Sebring, Homestead and Palm Beach, Fla.

Here are photos of Eunice and myself at the Biltmore during a Viper Tennessee rally, our two Vipers and two members of our office staff posing with our newest Viper.
I purchased my silver Viper in 2005. I went to an auto showroom to buy a Ferrari and drove away in a Viper—never regretting the switch in plans. A few months later I added a supercharger from Doug Levin Motorsports, which boosted the power to almost 800 hp. I participated in annual track events at Sebring with Skip Thomas and Danny Archer as well as HookedOnDriving, FARA, ERME and Chin.

In 2008, Eunice drove my Viper at Sebring and Homestead tracks. As she started as a novice, we were in two classes and were able to slip-seat my Viper for these events. Then in 2009, she advanced to the same class that I was driving. The only solution was to get a second Viper.

Eunice had glimpsed the Snakeskin Green Viper one evening, a year earlier, and decided that was the car for her. I went online in May 2009 to find that there were only two such cars available in the USA. One was 1,500 miles away; the second was 20 miles away. She bought it sight unseen from University Dodge in Fort Lauderdale. This was the only Snakeskin Green produced with the black stripes, spoiler and splitter. After only 7 months, she already has 10,000 miles on the clock.

We enjoy the Viper experience, which includes day-to-day driving, track events and even drag racing. However, the best experience is the new friends we have made during the Viper Club events.

My Three Vipers

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

By Dr. Rich Andria

I bought my first Viper, a red 2008 SRT10® coupe, in August 2007 and it was delivered May 1, 2008, in Connecticut. Because I was retiring in December 2008, I shipped it to my new home in Naples, Fla.

As you are aware, Vipers “grow on you” and, with two more spaces in my Viper garage to fill, I bought my second Viper in September 2009, a yellow 2002 GTS. This Viper has some interesting upgrades: a Cat-Back™ exhaust, SRT® wheels, built in radar detector system with sensors in the grille (and at the rear) and a killer sound system including a subwoofer, equalizers, a huge power capacitor and three amplifiers putting out 1,700 watts of power!

So much excitement owning these two killer cars made me upgrade my VCA membership to Venom. However, I still had an empty garage slot to fill, so when I saw a red 2002 Viper GTS Final Edition online (#162) with only 196 miles on the clock, well, what is a Viper lover supposed to do? I purchased this Viper also; and now my three Viper slots are filled. The GTS Final Edition, shown with my wife Terry, has ceramic brakes with slotted drilled discs, roaring Cat-Back exhaust system and straight tubes installed.

Exceeded Our Expectations

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

Here’s the 1-of-1—2009 Viper SRT10® ACR VOI.10 VCA Raffle Car—with Virginia and me in front of our Viper garage mahal we built in Pahrump, Nev. Thanks to everyone at The Viper Club of America, Chrysler, CAAP, Prefix and Woodhouse Dodge who worked hard to make the 1-of-1 a truly special Viper—a beautiful vehicle that exceeded our expectations!


—Michael von Quilich

New Viper Owners

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

Debbie Ruckert purchased this 2006 Dodge Viper for her husband Dave’s birthday. Several Viper owners and John Gastman at Roanoke Motor Co. Inc. assisted her in the buying process—she was extremely grateful for the help. “Thanks to the many Viper owners and John for all the time everyone took in helping us—including sharing your experiences and knowledge about Vipers,” explained Ruckert. “We’re both looking forward to upcoming Viper outings.”

Unique Works of Art

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

As with many regions, the VCA Northern California Region awards members who have contributed to the club during the past year. This year, President Maurice Q. Liang commissioned Daneen Bronson to custom paint award plaques. The snakeskin pattern is slightly different on each award, making them unique works of art.

Viper, Police Turn Heads at Huntington Beach

Written by editor on . Posted in Spring 2010, Viper Lifestyles

By Darrell Igelmund

When my wife Linda and I joined other Washington State Viper Club members driving to Detroit for VOI.10, we never realized that major trips would become an annual affair. Last summer it was the coast highway, all the way from Seattle to LA. We took our time and had an absolute blast. Perfect weather, winding roads and daily vistas of the Pacific Ocean we will never forget.

The photo shows the Viper posing at the destination—the famous Huntington Beach (Calif.) International Surfing Museum (“Home of surfing!”). We blocked the sidewalk with the Viper to get the best angle when two policemen came around the corner. After a few minutes of discussion we found that they liked Vipers also … and were more than happy to add to the fun.
For the next few days we bathed in car heaven. Only a few blocks from the Pacific Coast Highway, we saw about every style and price of car you would ever hope to see—Aston Martins, Jaguars, a Hummer with 60” TVs framed in the back windows, and hot rods of all types. And you know what? The Viper was the biggest head-turner of them all!