Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NO SMOG FOR YOU!

Disclaimer: This post has a lot of words. I promise I won't do that again.

So about nine months ago, I moved to the Los Angeles area. This brought some good things and some bad things. One of the bad things was that my dear old truck became illegal.

My truck and I have been together since summer of 2003. Kinda crazy to think that it's been ten years...   In 2004, I turbocharged my 2.3 liter 4 cylinder engine. Over the coming years, I modified or reworked nearly every system on that truck. I learned a lot (usually the hard way) and spent a lot of money. I'm not sure I have enough fingers to count the number of times I've had the engine out. This was my only vehicle besides my bike through all of college. I rode my bike a lot.

In all it's resplendent Glory, the 1988 Ford Ranger.
After I finished college, I got a job as an automotive engineer and moved to California from Utah. Well here in California, the smog nazis don't take kindly to vehicle modifications. If the demigods of C.A.R.B. do not grace your engine modifications with a holy sticker, you will be struck down and cast into the third level of hell, or Barstow depending on which is hotter on that day.

Not wanting to be banished to the far reaches of San Bernadino County, I decided I needed to do something about this truck. I had rebuilt the engine not more than a month before moving to California so I didn't want to just get rid of it. In retrospect, rebuilding the engine was probably a bad idea, but that's a long story for another time.
5th time's the charm?
So there I was, with a nearly brand new engine that is contraband. One can always dodge the law with things like this, but it becomes tiresome and was not something I felt like doing. My truck was also getting quite ratty, with scratched and flaking paint, rust, a tweaked frame, more rattles than babies 'r' us, that one funky noise when I get off the brakes, that other funky noise when I start to accelerate, the hard pull to the left under braking, I think you get the picture...  I got to thinking that maybe I should do a heart transplant from the ranger to another chassis. Enter Ford Falcon.

My grandpa was a Ford salesman, so there were always a lot of old Fords around. There was a mid 60s Fairlane, my dad's '60 F100, and so on. I always had a soft spot for the 62 Falcon sitting in the weeds though. I thought it would be tons of fun to stick a 2.3 Turbo and 5 speed in an old unassuming Falcon and blow some doors off. Well here was my chance.

Gramps's 1962 Ford Falcon taught me to love patina
Initially I had planned to go back to Utah and haul the old 62 Falcon back for a project car, but then I realized just how cheaply I could get a clean California car. The old Falcon in Utah was missing its windows and had some rusted through spots. A bit of craigslist searching turned up a 1962 Falcon sedan, almost the same as the one in Utah, but with full glass and nothing more than light surface rust. I found it while on a Cold Test in Canada and was all sorts of nervous that it would be sold before I got back. Luck was with me, and when I got back I drove up to the High Desert with $600 and came back with a title.

The following Saturday, Vaughn was kind enough to borrow a trailer and go with me up to haul the car back as it had no engine or transmission. Because we were going out to the desert anyway and we are MURRICAN!!, we brought along a dog. And two dirtbikes. And some guns.

Can ya smell that? It's LIBERTY!


This brings us almost to the present day. I decided that this would need some suspension updating to handle the power output of the 2.3 Turbo. I started by buying an 8.8" limited slip 31 spline axle from a 97 Explorer. The Explorer axle has a reputation for being indestructible in the off road world, and Mustang guys looking to upgrade to 31 spline axles from the stock 28 spline axles will pirate Explorer stuff. The one small issue with the Explorer axle is that is is quite wide at 59.5", and also has an offset pinion. The driver side axle is 3" wider to clear the fuel tank in the Explorer. I went to a salvage yard and pulled a passenger side axle and after cutting off the spring pads and shock mounts, took the axle housing to Sutton Enterprises in La Habra to have the tube shortened by 3".

HERE'S VAUGHN, WORKIN' LIKE GOD INTENDED!

A week and a half ago, I took a trip up to Ontario, California to visit Total Cost Involved. They are a suspension shop that specializes in Pro-Touring suspensions for Muscle Cars and Hot Rods.  I sat down with one of their salesmen and configured a suspension package for the Falcon. At the end of our visit, I closed my eyes and wrote large check. I was told it would be ready in 7-10 business days. Well, I got a phone call this morning and now I'm taking Friday off...

4 comments:

  1. Even though this blog is about cars, I like it. This post was fun to read and I love the pictures. Looking forward to more updates :)

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  2. So glad I found this blog! I have a '60 Falcon wagon that I plan to upgrade with a TCI front end, and a 2.3 turbo from an '83 Mustang. Can't wait to read more!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! Sounds like a cool project!

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    2. Awesome! Sounds like a cool project!

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