I'm working on an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic America, where gasoline is
available (for a hefty price) but where regular engine tune-ups aren't exactly the first thing on everyone's mind. One of my characters drives a 1967 Dodge Charger
muscle car with a 426 Street Hemi
engine. The car was extremely well maintained from 1967 to about 2000, but from 2000 to 2008 it's been maintained negligently or not at all. Its current owner, who acquired the car in about 2003 and has spent the last five years drifting across the country, can't remember when he last had the oil changed.
As you'd expect, this eventually results in engine failure. However, I've been unable to determine what parts would have failed and need to be repaired or replaced. (Although I assume there would be a lot
of problems.) Fortunately we have access to a garage and a good mechanic who can cannibalize replacement parts from abandoned cars, but I need to know specifically what parts would need to be replaced or repaired, as well as approximately how long the labor itself would take (not accounting for the time needed to find or create the parts).
The mechanic is young, skilled, and largely self-taught. He can identify a Charger but has never worked on one before. I imagine he'll need to do some trial and error to figure out exactly what's wrong; what sort of tests would he run and how would he figure out what the problems are? He doesn't have access to incredibly high-tech tools; basically, he's got whatever a run-down rural garage would have circa 1999. What sort of problems would he need to deal with other than the engine failure in order to get the car running smoothly again?
I've googled "engine failure" and "engine maintenance", as well as the Dodge Charger
itself and the 426 Hemi
. I'm afraid I don't know enough about cars to get more specific than that. (I've also considered wandering into the nearest garage and bothering the mechanics, but I'd like to get your help before I get that drastic.)