Tuesday, July 7, 2015

time to saddle up and ship out


Good grief, it's been nearly six months! Again! And it's been six months without lifting a wrench in anger. Here's the story: A few days after we dropped in the engine, it was time to move house again, and part of that was packing up the garage. This was a task that took quite a while. As well as crating up all the tools and parts I had to take down all the shelves and empty out the benches and drawers ready for transport.


My high school buddy Martin was in town the day we moved the car to its new home. The tires could have done with some air, but otherwise it was straight forward thanks to Mark at Junebugs.

Moving all this was much tougher....

With a new house to organize, not much happened in the garage for quite a while after the move. I eventually got the work space organized in June 2015.

Scene of much work I hope...
A week later it was finally time to work on the car again. Started by installing the radiator.


Installed and torqued down the aluminum intake manifold....


....and popped on the water pump.


To be continued.....

Sunday, February 8, 2015

mounting the motor

If you remember, I put the 351W back together over the summer (with a lot of help from my buddy Chuck!), but we stopped short of adding the intake manifold and valve covers.


By November these parts were still not installed, but we were ready to install the engine in the car regardless. The main driving force for this was that once again it was time to move garage (and house) and I wanted the powertrain back in before the transfer. A few weeks before the install I acquired a pair of 351W motor mounts from my buddies at Mostly Mustangs and tested the fit with the zinc plated mounting bolts that came with the six cylinder setup.


The lower mounts were attached finger-tight to the cross-member, and the upper brackets were bolted to the engine block according to the detailed instructions from Rich at Mostly Mustangs. Incidentally, on Rich's advice I also enlarged the holes in the upper brackets by about 1/16th of an inch in order to make attaching the engine a little bit easier - this really helped.


The folks at Mostly Mustangs also sorted me out with an appropriate block plate which will replace the six cylinder version. I cleaned up the plate using the previously well-rehearsed wire wheel method.


A couple of weeks went by before the BIG day, and then we got off to a slow start when we had to chase around half of Oakland looking for a cam plug. We also had to take a detour to Chuck's shop to pick up some clutch bolts and an alignment tool (I think the original bolts disappeared with the I6). After that it was straight into the assembly, and I (mostly) forgot to take progress photos. The now-shinny block plate and my high performance flywheel were cake to install and so was the clutch. Incidentally, the clutch was donated by my BAMA buddy James, the same person that was responsible for this project getting off the ground*.


Next we broke out the Tremec T5 that I bought from Chuck about three years ago. I don't think either of us every imagined it would take this long to install it.


Attaching the transmission was actually a real pain, even with a clutch alignment tool. We tried to do it with the engine on the hoist, but in the end we had to lower the block down onto a pallet and slide the transmission and bell housing on that way. We had a minor crisis at this point when we lost one of the bell housing bolts. Fortunately, after my team of four searched every inch of the garage several times, the bolt was discovered in my back pocket. Phew!

Plenty of room in there!

Thanks to Chuck, John and Amy for helping with the install and to Amy for taking photos and somehow attaching the transmission cross-member.


(*It's actually a bit harsh to blame this project on James).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

putting the brakes on

I finally got back to some mechanical work at the beginning of October. Longer term followers of this blog might recall that I had a few problems with my front brake system. I tossed away the six cylinder drum components and replaced them with an old Granada set up that I acquired through the BAMA mafia. Later I found that the the hub size on the replacement Granada rotors was too big for my wheels. This led to me transferring the car from the Green Room to my garage in Emeryville with a pair of Ranger wheels on the front. That was in April 2012, and that's exactly where those wheels stayed for the next two and a half years.

Ranger wheels: not very sexy.

I always planned to take the replacement Granada rotors and have the hubs turned down so they fit the wheels. But I struggled to find a machine shop that could do this for me. Later I talked to Mike Maier about the inadequacies of the Granada swap. A couple of months after that I was in Reno for Hot August Nights when I found myself being dragged into the "Big Boys Toys" exhibition hall, and slowly sucked towards the Stainless Steel Brake Co stand. A few minutes after that one of the Summit Racing guys was passing my credit card though an exceedingly hot swiping machine. It must have been hot, because the credit card was melting when I got it back!! A week or so after that some very heavy SSBC boxes showed up at the house. Around this time I also ordered the roller spring perches from Opentracker Racing that we've all heard so much about.

Roller perch (left) and static stock option (right)

After tearing off the Granada spindles (and all the related parts which I spent time restoring...sigh...) it was straight forward to install the SSBC spindles, dust shields and rotors. It's probably fair to say that the SSBC system is overkill for this car, but I just decided not to make any ecconomies with the brakes.


Getting the caliper brackets and calipers assembled and installed correctly was a bit more traumatic, but I eventually got there. Then I wiggled the car away from the garage wall and did the same to the driver side.

Wheels fit now..!

The SSBC brake system comes with a new master cylinder (MC), flexible lines, and all the hardware. It also includes some short sections of hard brake lines, because the setup requires several modifications to the stock lines. Plus you have to install a proportioning valve (PV) that wasn't needed with the original all-drum system.

One of the reasons for working on the brake system now (and the fuel system next) is that I wanted to get all the lines installed before I put the engine and transmission back in. So I ordered up a set of stock brake lines from NPD and set about attaching them to the chassis. The rear brake lines went in just so, and I made finger-tight connections to the wheel cylinders. Nice. The central line at the transmission tunnel and firewall and the connections at the front discs were also pretty easy. I was able to utilize most of my shinny zinc plated hardware with the SSBC brackets.


I bolted up the MC and connected the brake pedals and the piston. You are supposed to bench bleed the MC before installing it in the car, but I didn't because I only bothered to read the instructions afterwards. At this stage I was a little bit more concerned about where to mount the PV and how to get the lines anywhere near to the MC, never mind connect flawlessly.


Of course there was no distribution block included with the SSBC kit, so I had to dig out the original and refurbish it. That's one more time that keeping EVERYTHING from the tear down has saved me.

That's better

I guess it also goes without saying that the brake lines that come in the SSBC kit have completely different connectors to the ones that come from NPD. And they're not quite the right shape, and anyway I've never had to make custom brake lines before, so why not now? Well the answer to that questions is probably "because it's a tedious PITA!" First I had to invest in a pipe bender, and then a flaring tool, and then in some extra brake lines from the local parts store, and then some more spare brakes lines...and...well when it was all done it looked like this:


Now to me it wasn't too bad for a first time, but I know for a fact that some of the flanges are not right, and that a lot of the bends look amateurish. For now though, it's a start.

To be continued...