Tuesday, September 16, 2014

and now for something completely different...

I said that my last post had taken three years to accomplish, and since then....nothing! It's true. My shinny red 351W is sitting in exactly the same place it was the day the freeze plugs were installed. And here's why: I've been otherwise occupied with constructing my new workshop. It's at the back of the yard, so its not likely I'll ever be using it to work on the '68...but you never know.

A few months ahead of time we had a 12'x17' pad of crushed granite installed at the end of the yard. We laid down the foundation skids - five 16' lengths of 4"x4" pressure treated lumber - on top of the pad. Getting everything level took a bit of back and forth...


The floor joists were laid on top of the skids. We used 2"x6" doug fir for the floor joists and installed 3/4" plywood sheets on top to make the floor. This made a very sturdy platform for the shed. And that was it for the first weekend.


The front and rear walls were framed from 2"x 4" doug fir with OSB sheeting at the exterior. We built the walls on top the floor. I used a double top plate to ensure the structure is as robust as possible.


I would have liked to raise the walls exactly as they were built, but we could only manage to lift them in sections.


A lot of time was spent making sure everything was absolutely square, square, square.


The framing for the side walls was added after the front and rear walls were erected.


Installed the door and attached OSB sheeting around the opening.


Several weekends in and it was time to make the rafters. I used some pipe clamps to hold the 12' sections of 2"x4" doug fir together so that they could all be cut at the same time. I cut the notches with a mixture of the circular saw and my router, and cleaned up with a very sharp chisel.


Installed the rafters...


Added more OSB sheeting for the base of the roof...


Framed out and sheeted the triangular sections at the top of both side walls and hung the door.


Starting to look like a shed....after about four solid weekends of work!


This is where it starts to get interesting. I'll be honest, I've built tons of stuff out of lumber before...but I'd never rolled on a roof. Well I have now. I used standard yard-wide rolls of roofing material and a huge bucket of tar. The three-knot brush they sell at home depot is crap I'm sad to say, but I made the best of it.


A few weeks (or was it months?) after the roof was installed, I trimmed the perimeter and installed the flashings. All exposed nailheads at the flashings were sealed with silicon. It wont win any prizes for neatness, but hopefully it will at least be water tight. If it ever rains in California again!


After the roof was on, we spent a while blocking out the underside of the roof and the interior walls. These are the un-sexy parts of the project that you have to do make the structure secure.


Installed the very latest in building wrap. I really like the idea of this material. To be frank, it's overkill for a regular a garden shed....but for my new workshop it's a case of no expense spared!


There was a hiatus of several weeks after the wrap was installed. Everyone has to have a vacation, right? And there was the annual trip to Reno for Hot August Nights. When work resumed, it was time to install the exterior sheeting. We used treated plywood at the sides and rear - these walls will hardly be seen after all.


The front wall got some good quality ship-lap siding. I would have liked to put this on all four sides, but the price was prohibitive.


Installed the trim around what will eventually be transom windows at all four sides and primed the exterior. Just need to figure out the final color scheme and install the windows....more to come.

Monday, July 7, 2014

351W together again

The post that took three years to write! That's how long it's been since I purchased the 1969 Ford 351 Windsor that I decided to use for this project. After all it's been through, putting the motor back together was cake - at least it was with my BAMA buddy Chuck guiding the way. He also brought the spring compressor, the big book of torque specs and much-o experience. I think it took us about three hours to assemble the engine. For a lot of this time I was too busy enjoying myself to take photos, but a few key moments were captured.

Martinez, California, July 2011
It all starts with some lube
put in the crank and torqued down the main caps
pistons went in next
starting to look like an engine...
cam, timing chain, t/c cover and oil pan installed
Heads torqued down, rockers installed, valves adjusted
Chuck "persuading" the balancer to go on!
You don't see this on engines that were painted after assembly! 
Emeryville, California, July 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

waiting for the heads

OMG It's been FOUR months! There have been a number of "down" periods on this project - and many more periods of intensive work - but that last few months have been somewhere in-between: short bursts of work punctuated by longer periods of...nothing. Oh well...

At the end of my last post I found myself unexpectedly in need of a valve job and without a machine shop. There are ways to find these things I guess (like the interwebs), but, as mentioned countless times already in this blog, I like to start by asking the guys in BAMA when I need something. What was unusual about this time around was that instead of finding a machine shop, I found a specialist head builder that was already in the club! In fact, the owner of Heads by Steve in San Ramon has decades of experience building heads, many have which have been run in NASCAR teams.

So I cut a deal with Steve to do the valve job, install 7/16 inch screw-in studs, and port match the heads to the gaskets and the intake manifold. When the heads came back a few weeks later they were just....well....immaculate.


And the ports were just so smooth, I could see the increase in power!


While the heads were away, I was marooned at home, surround by lots of boxes filled with shinny new engine parts. This spurred me on to crank through some of the half- and three-quarter-finished mini projects I'd previously abandoned. The first one was the tail lights and trunk wiring harness, which I couldn't face after the painful process I endured below the dash. The tail light buckets were refurbed, and painted brake gray (outside) and brilliant white (inside) back in the Green Room days.


The concave tail lights were the feature that first attracted me to the 67/68 cars in the first place. I acquired a bunch of extra OEM trim pieces from my buddies up the Street at Mostly Mustangs and picked out the best six pieces. I replaced the rubber pads, although attempting the glue the new pads to the trim pieces with weatherstrip adhesive was an abject failure. The studs and nuts were zinc plated way back when...


The tail light connectors were, of course, not included in the Pathetic Painless wiring harness, so I adapted the originals. I did the same with the back up lights. And the fuel tank sender connector....and most of the stuff in the engine compartment too no doubt. The Pitiful Painless harness was actually too short to reach both tail lights, so I did a bunch of chopping and joining of wires that I would rather not have had to do. In the middle I ran out of the wire connectors supplied in the P...p...p...FUCKING AWFUL Painless kit, and had to run to Home Depot. Grrrr!!


I also completed installing the Dynamat in the passenger compartment and taped the joints. Long-overdue!


Next time: Engine Rebuild. I mean it this time!!