Friday, October 9, 2015

now we're talkin'

Finally back to work in my new garage, and it feels great! In the last three garages, I've installed fluorescent lighting, but this time I wanted something more portable. I ended up with this LED tripod light from Northern Tool. The tripod is on the flimsy side, but it's fine for what I need and I get more than enough photons wherever I want them. I can see myself using this light (or one like it) for a lot of future projects.

Perfect working conditions :)

Right now I'm concentrating on getting the 68 running again as soon as possible - I want to take it to some BAMA events before the car goes for paint - so I've skipped over a few things that I'll have to come back to later.  One of those was the driveshaft, which I acquired used from my good friends at CP Designs. Normally I would have taken the time to paint it gray to match the rear differential housing, but I don't have anywhere I can use as a paint booth right now. Plus it's not exactly the most difficult part to remove later. The optimum length of the driveshaft with the T5/8 inch rear end is 52 ½ inches from the tail housing seal to the center of the u-joint at the pinion of the differential. I had to buy appropriate U-bolts because the originals were designed for the six cylinder rear end.

Around the time I installed my SSBC brake setup and new brake lines, I also installed the wider bore ⅜ fuel line I'll need for the V8. The only problem with this, apart from some of my amateurish bends, was that I directed the fuel line to the original location - or in other words, to where the fuel ump used to be when the car had a six cylinder engine. Oops! Rookie error! I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to figure this out if one of my friends hadn't noticed.

Six cylinder location at steering box

I had to take the fender off to get at the incorrect fuel line, and while I was thinking about how to make a replacement piece, and whether my custom drilled mounting holes in the frame rail would still be usable, I found myself drifting off in a completely different direction.....

Looks nice, but still incorrect

The steering box: back when the 68 was actually running, the steering was as sloppy as a soup sandwich. On a hot day. I'd always planned on figuring out a rebuilt or replacement box closer to the end of the project, but for the purpose of moving the car around I had re-installed the original part. And so, as I was staring down at the misdirected fuel line, I realized the time had come to deal with the steering box - apart from anything else, it was in danger of becoming seriously inaccessible as the engine compartment filled up.

The options for a steering boil down to:
  1. Rebuilding the existing box
  2. Buying a rebuilt box from NPD and using the original as a core to obtain a discount
  3. Buying a after market steering box
  4. Upgrading to power steering
  5. Going for a full-on upgrade to electric power steering as some other folks in BAMA have done.
I pretty quickly came to the conclusion that a rebuild is best left to a specialist, and I'm not planning any power assists to start with, so it really comes down to either #2 or #3. After shopping around the various mustang parts houses I managed to find a Flaming River aftermarket box for less that $500 from Mustangs Unlimited, including free shipping. This is about $50 more than it would cost to buy a rebuilt box from NPD and pay to ship them the core. The flaming river steering box is on the left in the picture below. I decided not to paint it gray like I did the original.

Here is is in situ

After the steering box was installed, I moved on the the instrument cluster which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I had to loose the heater control panel and add the dash pad before the cluster could be eased into place. I'm really happy with the (very slightly) customized look.

Next I popped in the chrome-plated export brace that I picked up on a visit to Turlock in 2011 and have been storing in various attic spaces for the last four years. I say "popped in" but in truth it was quite a fight. For a start, installation necessitated removal of the shocks and for another it did not line up exactly right - although it was a lot nearer now the engine is back in place. I basically forced it into position by getting some of the bolts started and pulling the chassis into alignment as the bolts were cranked down. Another job done!


  1. I have to admit I'm somewhat jealous that you're getting your Mustang back together. That has to be quite satisfying to see all your hard work coming together. Keep on keeping on!

  2. I'm jealous of that pretty garage. Mine never seems to look like that.