Monday, December 17, 2018

muffler day

October 2016:  Muffler Day. The 68 was collected bright and early from my downtown garage on and transported the short distance to Ron's Berkeley Muffler by my usual tow truck driver. It's sad to say that over the years I've owned the 68 I've got to know Marc pretty well, and he's had at least three different tow trucks in that time. 

Here's the 68 sitting in the parking lot at the muffler shop. This was the first time it had been outside the garage and not on a tow truck in about seven years (at the time).

While the 68 was away I swept the leaves and crud out of the garage and had a general tidy up.

I didn't get to see the car while it was up on the lift, but the folks at Ron's were good enough to snap a couple of pictures for me.  This one shows the sparkly new Flowmaster 50's. The guys at Ron's fabricated everything from the headers back. Marcus told me he really enjoyed working on the car.

I also had Marcus weld on some straight-cut chrome tips I bought from Summit.

Monday, December 10, 2018

the next next bit

April 2016: things were really getting moving along nicely at this point. Every trip to the garage consisted of opening up a previously restored part or a packet of zinc-plated fasteners; followed by adding them to the car and connecting the electrical wires.

As previously mentioned, most of this work was not recorded, but several oddities did make it into the record.

temperature sender (Autozone, c. 2016).

choke block-off plate (Summit Racing w/ custom fasteners).

Bolted on my carburetor. This is a Holley 650 which a friend from BAMA rebuilt for me.

Engine Compartment (w/ Holley 650).

Engine Compartment (close-up).

This is how my chrome-plated single-wire alternator and supporting bracket setup looks from above. I didn't really need a chrome alternator, but one became available from one of the BAMA guys at the same price as a standard new one. Gutting the setup right took a bit of experimentation. I ended up making some custom spacers out of whatever I could find; these we be replaced at some point, I hope.

Installed and wired in the custom horns. I was planning to re-install the originals, and I did paint them, but they were never going to be up to the job. And anyway, the new ones have red trim.

It was about this time that I started to have serious concerns about the height of the engine and whether I was going to be able to close the hood. A quick inaccurate check with a piece of tape confirmed it - the air cleaner stud was sticking up an least an inch longer than it needed to be. what? Well, apart from custom motor mounts, the best idea I could come up with was a dropped base for the air cleaner - just like the one below in fact. Simple. Except it wouldn't fit past the distributor cap.

I tried a couple of other options, including an off-set base and an off-set/dropped base but neither would fit, mainly thanks to the Holley 650 poking out its corners. The briefly half empty shelves at the back of the garage began to fill up with air cleaner parts. Look closely in the bottom left corner and you can see the factory air cleaner assembly from Jimmy Hoffa's 67 K-code fastback.

From lengthy online research I established that the off-set/dropped base I had on my garage shelf was the only such item available on the entirety of the interwebs. And since it didn't fit, I was stuck with looking at other options:

1. Custom engine mounts - the thought of having to take the engine out again, even if this would work, was not appealing.

2. Hood scoop - I did actually look into this idea, but none of the fiberglass hood scopes on the market are as wide as my gigantic air cleaner. And even if they were, it would be a lot of work and would look stupid.

3. The BFH. After full consideration, I decided to customize the off-set/dropped base by whacking it with the BFH until it fitted over the carburetor. This actually took two attempts with a hiatus of several days while I waited for the replacement to arrive.

By the time this was finally resolved, in the summer of 2016, I had also re-installed the radiator and hooked up all the hoses. The engine compartment wiring was essentially complete.

Monday, December 3, 2018

the next bit

January 2016: with the fenders all restored and back on the car it was time to re-build the front of the car and and finish the wiring in the engine compartment. I started with a Dynacorn front valance - I still have the the original, but it has several dents and some rust and I couldn't be bothered to restore it. The replacement was an excellent fit. I can't say the same for the stone guard - the reproduction part was awful, so it was back to my shed to restore the original.

As usual, the first step was accomplished with a mixture of the trusty wire wheel and some aircraft stripper I had left over from this project.

There were several holes in the stone guard that I didn't really need. I blame whoever installed the 1970's AC. The holes were filled in with the MIG welder and ground down, painted with primer, yada yada...

And it dropped right in! No adjustment required. The picture below was taken a bit later after the front bumper had been bolted on.

I also installed new trim pieces - the originals have irreparable AC-related damage.

I bought a reproduction grille and installed the original trim pieces and my custom GT fog lights with their zinc-plated mounting brackets.

The back bumper was bolted on around the same time. Both bumpers need re-chroming at some point in the future. The rear bumper is also slightly bowed.

At the end of January 2016, Amy and I took an early morning trip to the world famous Turlock Swap Meet, where, among other things, I was finally able to locate the third member I've been looking for all these years. Older readers may recall be interested to know that I have been rolling the car around on a 3.00:1 gear ratio, which just happened to come with the eight inch rear axle I acquired for this project, while searching for something a bit the right price.

The key here, as often, is price. I was reluctant to drop a thousand bucks on a complete third member when I already had one, and I was quoted a similar amount for a local shop to swap out the I sat tight and waited.....and then found almost exactly what I wanted (3.40:1 rather than 3.50:1), at a price I could not quite believe.

The following weekend the housing was painted with Eastwood brake gray and installed with a new gasket and some shinny copper nuts and washers that I got from NPD.


Back to work on the engine...I installed the distributor and most of the under-hood wiring was done by this point.

The valve covers had been wrapped up and stored for over three years when I broke them out in March 2016. The export brace came from a Turlock visit in 2011. Installing the brace was seriously difficult but I made it fit.

Looking good...

Looking even better...

Monday, November 26, 2018

repairing the fenders

December 2015: now this is where things went off at a tangent...again! Most of the bodywork on this project was done back in 2011 when I was custodian of a very large garage in Hayward known as the green room. The body shell and most of the parts that will someday be repainted body color were stripped down, repaired, primed with PPG epoxy and treated with body filler (rinse & repeat etc.). So far so good, but when the time came to move garage the trunk lid, hood and both fenders were still in “pre-restored” condition.

And that’s how they remained, for a number of reasons, but mainly because the garage I moved to was too small to set up a welder and a paint gun. Fast forward to the Christmas/New Year holiday at the end of 2015 and I had to decide whether I was going to put a pair of horrible rusty fenders back on my nice clean car....or do something else?

The something else came down to a straight choice between stopping the rebuild to restore the fenders, or replacing them with reproduction parts and getting back on with the rest of the assembly asap. I must admit to a lot of back and forth on this. While Dynacorn™ reproduction fenders are available for less than $150 each through Tony at RPS in Hayward, I was really concerned that they would not line up properly. But then my original fenders were not in the best of shape either and I knew they would take a lot of precious time to restore. Ultimately I decided on restoration of the originals.

Over the Christmas holidays at the end of 2015 I took the fenders off the car and transported them the three blocks back to the shed I built the summer before last. Here is the "before" photo:

I broke out the wire wheel and ground off all the accessible rust and grot from the inside of the passenger fender.

The only seriously damaged area was in the bottom corner at the rear of the fender. This area was cut out with the screaming wheel of death and replaced with new metal using the MIG welder than had been stuck inside a box for the prior four years.

The repaired area was the filled with Bondo™ and sanded, more than once.

A similar repair was made at the inside.

The bare metal was painted with rust converter which was sprayed in the areas I couldn’t get to with a brush. Lovely jubbly.

The unprotected section of the inner side of the fender was treated with a think layer of rubberized bedliner

All these steps were repeated with the driver side fender over the following few days. My shed was too small to work on more than one at a time. When they were both completed, I broke out the replacement fender ornaments I've had in storage for...well years, obviously. The engine has been upgraded from the 200 cid straight six, to the 351 cid Windsor, and I wanted to mark that with the right "351W" fender badges, even though this engine was not available in the Mustang in 1968. Of the four pegs which secure the new ornament, three are in the same place as the originals so I had to drill one extra hole in the fender....better to do this now than after paint!

The original splash guards were in awful shape so I bought replacement parts from NPD and assembled them in my shed.

I installed the replacement splash guards back at the garage:

One piece goes inside the front of the fender...

...and the other attaches to the car body

I also attached the front fender caps which were refurbished and spray painted with epoxy primer way back when.

Finally the fenders were hung on the car and the headlight buckets installed.  Happy New Year 2016!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

engine parts and cable clutch

Fall 2015: the engine was in, the water and fuel pumps were installed, and the brake system was complete.

Not too shabby

Next up: the radiator. This how it looked in about 2012 when I acquired it from one of my mates in BAMA. I think it was painted either at the last garage or at the Green Room along with most of the other black engine parts.

I have a custom overflow bottle which I painted at the same time along with the side panels which help attach the radiator to the car.

This is how the radiator looked after installation. I had to take it back out later on to do the wiring... 

I may have mentioned earlier that step-by-step photos just don't exist for much of this period, and anyway, most of it was just bolting on shinny new parts that had been sitting in their boxes for a year or more.

bolted on the mini starter

mounted the electronic ignition box at the driver side fender apron 

harmonic balancer with 4-bolt pattern 

one of two inline fuel filters

I had decided to replace the original clutch linkage with a cable. Thankfully for a novice like me, the guys at Modern Driveline have produced a kit which makes it very easy to marry up the cable with the original zinc-plated clutch pedal and my modern Tremec T5 transmission. I also got a replacement speedometer cable at the same time, and I had the gears setup for the 3.40:1 differential.

Installing the kit was easy. The only issue was that I had to remove the master cylinder and disconnect the push rod before I could install the supporting plate. Installing the speedometer cable was a bit more involved. The first one I tried was about a foot too long, so I had to get a replacement, and I had to take the instrument cluster out twice. This was all too tedious to photograph.

This is how the distribution block and proportioning valve looked after the master cylinder was re-installed and the brake system bled....again....

I used a welding rod to figure out the ideal shifter stick position, and then ordered the nearest I could get from Summit.

This is how it looked with my custom handle installed ;)