Sunday, April 7, 2013

Buick Day

There's no question I've got a LOT of great things out of being in BAMA: tons of help with my car, a whole bunch of "car" events and day's out, and some very sore upper arms after the biannual Kart races. But of course the best thing by far is all the fantastic friends I've made while doing "car stuff."

One of the many perks of being in the "LS clan" is that rounding up a a crew for a day's blast on somebody's project is only ever a few quick phone calls away. And, apart from being highly productive, a day spent wrenching on a car is one of the things we all enjoy the most. This time around it was over to my friend Dave's house to tear apart his '66 Buick Skylark convertible. Basically the plan was to pull the drive line and suspension.....and we just about managed it. The plan is for the car to be back running again by "the Summer." We'll see how that goes....

A menu worthy of Top Chef
I'll be coming here again!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A different kind of motor

With my 351W out of my garage, it was finally time to start thinking about reassembly...or at least getting the rest of the car ready for reassembly, which is obviously something quite different. I'm pretty sure it's a requirement of any worthwhile Mustang restoration that you "do the heater box" while the motor is at the machine shop. If not, it should be! My version started with liberating the heater box from its packing crate. I've moved house garage twice since the heater was put to bed, so it was fortunate that I packed it well.

The last time I saw my heater box was in early 2010, so I was actually a little bit shocked to find out how crusty it was. But then again it will be 45 years old in August. Unfortunately, I forgot to break down the unit....which meant all the metal parts missed out on my batch refurb/painting process. Oh well...

Started by removing everything from the heater case. Ford did not design the heater unit to come apart, so the tear down involved drilling out plenty of pop rivets. The blower housing was a bit rusty: especially in the places where it wasn't originally painted (like the whole car!).


There were a few cracks in both halves of the case...but nothing a bit of superglue couldn't take care of.

The first major positive of this mini-project was the chance to once again fire up my favorite dewalt angle grinder and its knotted wire wheel. All the metal parts got a good going over before you could say "rust removal". Well not quite that fast, but you get the idea.

The flapper unit was a challenge too far for the wire wheel though, so I legged it over to Mostly Mustangs in Oakland and swapped a six-pack for twenty minutes fun in their blast cabinet. Lovely.

The cleaned up metal parts were wiped down and painted with primer, and then I laid down several coats of the same black paint I used on everything else.

I painted the exterior brackets and some of the other parts with my favorite Eastwood brake gray. This is an old BAMA trick that is designed to make sure everyone knows you took the entire unit apart...and it's use is most definitely not restricted to the heater box.

Initially I wasn't going to paint the heater box, but it didn't look right next to the cleaned up I hit it with two coats of black fusion-for-plastic paint. I even painted the inside...

All the Mustang supply places sell a kit for replacing the foam and rubber heater parts. There were a couple of extra bits in mine, so it's worth figuring out exactly where you're going to stick each piece before you start gluing up the foam.

Speaking of glue, I used the 3M "Yellow Weatherstrip & Gasket adhesive." (Part #3M8001 if you order from NPD).

You want to apply the adhesive to both surfaces, and it helps if you've got a spreader. I had to improvise with a bit of folded over card board from the packet the glue came in. It wasn't ideal.

Wait five minutes or so, and then slap the two surfaces together. The opportunity for repositioning/lining up is minimal once the two surfaces are in contact.

I used a bunch of different sized pop rivets to get it all back together.

When it came to the heater core I was tempted to put the old one back...but ultimately I decided to replace it. I also bought a pair or reproduction end caps, which were missing from my unit.

All back together....and back into the box. I'm more than three years into the project now and the pile of boxes of parts finally includes more stuff that is finished than still "to-do!"

The driver side ventilation duct was in similar shape to the heater unit (and it was packed in the same box), so I took care of that at the same time.

The seal for the duct does not come with the heater kit, so you need to buy that separately. It goes on the same way though, and I used a few bulldog clips to hold it in place while the adhesive cured.

Onto the heater motor. The part# clearly starts with C5 (65), so it's reasonable to assume that it's original.

It looked in poor enough shape to to be original I accidentally chopped the terminals off when I removed the motor from the car. Oops.

After the wire wheel did it's work and the case had been re-painted, I soldered on two replacement wires and reattached the original terminals.

I also added the (almost) correct colored plastic sleeves which I got front my new heat-shirk tubing kit. The bolts which hold the two halves of the motor case together were zinc plated long ago.

Finally I sourced a replacement plastic plenum chamber from NPD. There wasn't strictly anything wrong with the original cardboard one.....but I decided a while back that I'm not going to put anything back which smells like "old car," so the original cardboard chamber had to go.

The ducting for the defrost vents went the same way....