Wednesday, January 23, 2013

sometimes you have to take a stand

It's great to be back at work on my '68. And with a pivotal bit of work to report too. Progress in terms of replacing the stock six cylinder motor with a much thirstier V8 has been slow to say the least (it's all in the preparation!) but finally I'm back in business. This will probably be the last time I'll mention the six cylinder engine, so I'm going to start off with my favorite picture of the engine compartment as it was when I took ownership of the car. This photo was taken after I detailed out the motor before Ponies and Snakes 2009. To date this remains the car's only show appearance.

Fast forward to May 2010, and I ripped down the six as much as I could, but without any hoisting equipment, I had to work round it for a bit longer.

February 2011 and with the help of my buddies Chuck and Phil the six was pulled out at last.

I donated the six and the 3 speed gearbox to my friend Wayne for use as a drive-train in his 67; I was delighted to get rid of it because I was in the process of moving house at the time.

the last photo before departure...

My first option for a replacement was a 1974 302 which was donated by my buddy Abe after he acquired a 351W. The story of this motor was documented here.

This is how the 302 looked for 99% of the time it was in my custody. The yellow polythene came with a mattress I bought from Ikea on the same day I acquired the motor. Later I passed it onto my friend Larry, who had it over-bored and rebuilt it before installing it in an Eleanor clone. I have no idea what he did with the polythene.

If you're wondering, the reason I let the 302 slide on by was this, my dream motor, my very own 351W. I acquired the 351W from the Koncord Kougar King, so naturally it came out of a Cougar, a 69 model to be precise. Here it is about to be loaded into Wayne's pick-up, one summer day in July 2011.

taking in San Leandro, on the way back to the Green Room
parked up and in line for some TLC...eventually...

Fast forward to November 2012, and I've got the day off work and just one thing on my mind: getting the 351W up on the engine stand. Now an engine stand is an odd thing: While it might be an expensive bit of kit, if you've got one you don't need it is an awful thing to store. I know the latter is true because when I floated my requirements for such an item among my car-friends I was inundated with proffered donations. My friend Larry got lucky because he lives closest to me. And, although the stand didn't come with any hardware, I managed to get what I needed from Home Depot for a few bucks. I started by bolting the stand face plate into the block; my 4.5 inch bolts were probably half an inch too long so I had to figure out some spacers.

So far so good, but the motor was still too heavy for me to lift it onto the stand, so I set about reducing the weight. Started by popping off the valve covers. The inside was very clean: no sludge, no filings, no broken springs etc; all very nice in fact.

Pulled out the stock manifold. I've already got a four barrel aluminum replacement stashed somewhere. The valley also looked in top notch condition with absolutely no sludge.

Off with the heads. This is when I began to really appreciate what a good set of tools can was just *so much* easier.

There was a bit of crud on the top of the cylinders, but the walls were hardly scored at all. Yabba-dadda-do!

OK, so the motor was a lot lighter without the heads, but still far too heavy to lift it onto the stand. The sensible thing to do at this point would be to buy or borrow a cherry picker, or failing that, round up a couple of strong friends...but neither of these options was on my agenda. Oh, no. I like to do stuff the hard way. Started by chocking up the base with some pieces of timber. I just wanted to raise the base enough to slide the engine stand underneath.

I used a combination of the floor jack and a long piece of timber to jack up the platform in my tiny work space. Altogether I needed the equivalent of five 2x4's in height (approx 9.5 inches) to clear the engine stand (as below). I then inserted a bunch more pieces of lumber between the platform and the motor to gain another 6-8 inches of height. Unfortunately I was still about eight inches away from where I needed to be, and the position of the motor was becoming precarious. I literally could not go an inch higher without the motor toppling over....

So it may surprise you to see the next couple of pictures:

Here's the secret: I took the front caster off the engine stand, which, when angled down was at the perfect height. Then after the engine was mounted on the stand I levered in some timber and replaced the caster.

With this result:

Overall the cylinders were very clean, with just some light rust right at the top, probably from sitting for so long.

Drained out the oil...

Tune in to the next installment to find out "what's inside the oil pan" ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

toolbox porn

It goes without saying that a lot of time and money has been invested in this project, so much so that I often refer to the '68 as "the car-shaped black hole in the garage." It may be surprising to learn then - or it may be obvious from this blog - that I have hardly spent any real dough on tools. And, since you asked, the nearest thing to a toolbox in my garage is a wooden beer crate. All my friends in BAMA laugh when they see my tools, and comments like "I can't believe how much you've accomplished with this pile of crap" are at the polite end of the spectrum. So, when I had the opportunity recently to cash in some chips, I splurged on a Craftsman 413 pc Mechanics Tool Set, a deep 6-drawer top chest, and a bunch of other stuff like the 41 pc screwdriver set and some ratcheting wrenches. Stay tuned to see these tools get REAL DIRTY!

It doesn't look much in the shipping box but it weighed a TON!
Nice shinny red tool box....soon to be covered in all the usual stickers
I hope I never have to buy another socket EVER.... make sure I got all the metric stuff too, but not as well organized.
every combination wrench up to inch eighth
Ratcheting wrenches in the common sizes....why-oh-why didn't I get these before now?
`more screwdrivers than you can shake a stick at...
this is the "pile of crap" that got me this far..
at last my shop all set up... nothing can stop me!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

lighting up time

Happy New Year! I really hope that 2013 is the year when my '68 runs again, even if it isn't completely show-ready....ultimately the amount of time I have available will be the deciding factor. I've previously mentioned the huge swathes of down time during 2012, and the proof is in the number of posts: 20 in 2012 compared with exactly 46 in each of the preceding two years!

The other thing about this blog last year is that it was always several months behind. There is always some time lag between  when stuff happened and when it gets written up, but in 2012 this was exception. For example, the last real work I did on the car was painting the inside of the trunk and that was actually accomplished in November 2011...although it didn't make it into this blog until the following July! As it happens, the work described in the post you're about to read (if you plod on, that is...) was actually accomplished last Labor Day weekend, and that was pretty much the last vacation day I had until the Christmas break. up, so to speak. When I took over my garage it came equipped with three 110V outlets and a pair of incandescent light bulbs. It wasn't really good enough for moving boxes, never mind high class auto restoration. Or even the work I do come to think of it.

only a little better than the black hole of Calcutta

Fortunately I already own a bunch of fluorescent lights and all the related conduit, cable and fittings etc....and this is in fact the third garage/workshop in which they have been installed.

Every light installed is one less thing to store
Had to stand/lie on the platform I built over the car to hang these lights
After photo
three more at the "business end"

While this was going on I had to move the car away from the side wall, which isn't easy when there's not much space to go forward or back. The easy solution would be to buy a set of car skates, but I need to do it right there and then, and since the car is still devoid of a motor, I figured I could do it with the floor jack. This is easy at the rear, where I used a piece of 2 x 6 under the third member, but more difficult at the front where I only had the X-member to lift (white arrow).

To help, I made a custom lift block out of a piece of 4x4. On the underside I drilled some holes and worked them into a pair of curved slots with a half inch chisel: the slots go over the lifting pad on the floor jack and stop the block from sliding on the jack. You can figure out exactly where to cut the slots by putting the block on top of the jack and hitting it with a BFH.

Then I cut a slot the same width as the X-member on the opposite side of the block. The slot is deliberately offset so that the X-member (and all the weight) is shifted a little bit behind the jack's front wheels. So, raise the car until the wheels are about an inch of the ground and push sideways about six inches. Then the same at the back. And rinse and repeat etc.Stay tuned for some "real" car stuff coming up :)