Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blue wrench is the best wrench

Weekends like this make me wonder if I should quit my job and start a hotrod shop. I love my job as an engineer, but besides a Two Jack's Chicken Bacon and Tomato pizza, few things are as satisfying as tearing into some vintage iron to make upgrades. 
Friday after work I went out back and talked to Backyard Steve. He's my go to guy when I need some sort of specialty equipment. If he doesn't have it, (and he does have it) he knows someone who does. I knew I'd need an Oxy-Acetylene torch so I told him I'd pay him for the gas I used if he'd let me borrow it. Steve's Oxy-Acetylene bottles are huge, so I felt like a third world donkey pushing that cart over to my carport.
Don't worry man, I got this.
With all my tools in place I got to work.

The engine bay before I started


It looks like a spider, but its not.

Friday night social life when my girlfriend is away.
As I was working, I tried something new. I had my laptop sitting on the roof of my car and had a Google+ hangout while working. I talked to my sister on a hangout, and then later joined a hangout that a group of car friends from across the country were having. I was able to show them the process of removing my old front suspension. Before I started to cut the springs with a torch Dan (one of the guys on the hangout) made me send him my address so that he knew where to send the ambulance when the springs shot out and hit me in the head... Fortunately that didn't actually happen.

On Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed, excited because I knew I would get to use the best wrench, the blue wrench. Blue wrenches make work go so much faster. In order to install my aftermarket suspension system, the shock towers on each side of the engine bay needed to come out. Not only does this new suspension give the Ford Falcon much better ride and handling, it makes the engine bay massive. A Big Block V8 or even a Modular V8 (think 4.6 or DOHC 5.4, even the new Coyote 5.0) would theoretically fit without much issue. Because I'm installing a 4 banger, I'll have plenty of room for smuggling.. errr, room to work. Yup. Room to work.

Empty engine bay, ready for cutting.


One shock tower cut out.
Two shock towers cut out.


From the other side.

I took the opportunity to measure the width from fender to fender.
With the shock towers out, I could now start installing new components. With this kit, there are frame rail reinforcements. The frame rails are made of sheet steel about .060" thick, the reinforcement plates are closer to .125 thick. It should add some much needed strength and stiffness to the frame.The 1964 Mustang, which is based on the Falcon platform, has a reputation for being as rigid as a bowl of of Top Ramen though the Mustang is known to be tastier.

This is the inner frame boxing plate.



And done.
Although I can weld, I don't make any claims about being an expert. In fact, calling myself a competent welder may be a stretch. As such, I enlisted my redneck roommate Vaughn. We were using his 110V welder and that can present a challenge when trying to achieve weld penetration. I was able to tack the pieces in place, but I wasn't able to maintain enough heat in the weld so I turned the welding gun over to more experienced hands.

This weekend took a big bite out of the front suspension job, but I am seriously considering renting a 220V welder/generator combo. It's doable with a 110 and some preheating, but it takes far too long to lay a bead. Up next are the driver side frame boxing plates and the crossmember and those might take an entire day without a bit more welding power.

If all goes well, I'm going to have to get serious very soon about deciding which wheels to get.

1 comment:

  1. About wheels.... Just remember that you don't live in Genola anymore. Try not to get anything that is too enticing, cause they could walk away pretty easy. Ohay, there are some real nice wire spokes in Dad's storage container out back. I bet you could get 'em cheeeap.