Sunday, May 4, 2014

I've wasted time, I've wasted breath, I think I've thought myself to death

Half of the expense (and fun) of doing a car project like mine is the tool buying process. Since I've started, I've invested a few thousand into my tool collection. I've come to the realization that tools are to gearheads as shoes are to many women. Most of the time you don't NEED that tool, but man, think of how nice it would be to have it and how many things you could do with it! But nobody has unlimited money, so we have to be judicious about how we buy our tools. A woman wouldn't go out and buy a pair of Christian Loboutin heels and wear them with her pajama pants because she blew all her money on the heels. By the same token, I'm not going to buy a wrench set from Snap-On and then have to use a rock for a hammer. So sometimes that means buying tools from the cheapest possible source, Harbor Freight tools. Those of you who have shopped there (and no true gearhead hasn't) know it well. It's a veritable temple of low cost  and mostly useless contraptions smelling of anti-corrosive shipping grease.

I've been needing an engine crane for some time now. When I was in college, I always borrowed my coworker Rob's engine crane. I'm pretty sure I used it more often than Rob did. Thanks Rob! In fact I used it so much I lost the handle to the hydraulic ram...  Sorry Rob. So Saturday morning, Vaughn and I headed to Hazard Fraught Harbor Freight to get an engine crane of my very own. We went in, and while I was waiting for them to bring my boxes up to the front Vaughn swore at me for bringing him into the store where he was powerless against buying useless crap at a discount price.

So the beginning of my morning felt more like Ikea than Gas Monkey Garage. But once I got the crane together, things started to move along.

The Ford 2.3 turbo uses a 9" clutch and flywheel, which is perfectly adequate in stock form and even above stock power levels with aftermarket clutch kits. But at a certain point, those aftermarket clutches have such high diaphragm pressure that depressing the clutch feels like trying to stand up with Oprah (at the crest of her body weight cosine wave) standing on your shoulders. I currently have a clutch setup in the Ranger capable of holding 400+ lb-ft, but it's so stiff that a few years ago I had an injured foot that wouldn't heal until I stopped using that clutch. In an attempt to make Grace a little more driveable than the Ranger, I'm going with a 10.5" flywheel and clutch from the 5.0 mustang. This requires that I use a 5.0 bellhousing and an adapter. Getting a bellhousing for a good price required going to a part of Inglewood where skinny white nerds like me get their lunch money taken, but the guy I bought it from was really nice. One thing I've learned about buying and selling car parts on craigslist is that if you don't spend at least 10 minutes talking about your project with the other party, you've broken the code.

Canfield Industries adapter plate for 2.3 to 5.0 transmission

With the proper bellhousing between the engine and transmission, I lifted the assembly into place and centered the engine in the engine bay. Getting it to fit required a bit more cutting on the floor and firewall, but once I was satisfied with it's placement I broke out the scissors and cardboard to make templates of the steel pieces that would make the motor mounts.

Using the tried and true angle grinder method to make the mounts
First piece tacked in
Cardboard templates are essential to a hack job hotrodder like me

Passenger's side mount finished
Start of driver's side mount
Around 6:30 PM I was making really good progress and didn't wan to stop, but I'd planned to meet up at 7:00 with my good friend Tim who has just moved to L.A. for an internship. Fate was on Tim's side saturday night because just as I got the main piece of the driver's side mount tacked in, disaster struck.

I ran out of wire. I took it as a sign that I was to quit. While I was talking with Tim about the good old days. We became friends in college and shared a garage that he was renting from some girls around the corner. I dubbed it Tim's Temple of Testosterone. We reminisced about those days and I remembered just how much I missed having a garage buddy. We would hang out there to work on cars and sometimes just to talk about cars or even just life in general. Friends who were only mildly into cars (or not into them at all) would come by just to hang out. I got looking at some old pictures and it made me pretty nostalgic tonight. Chances are you don't know these people, but if you are a gearhead you know these people.

Tim doing a Tim thing in a Tim way. Tim was the organized one, always had a place for everything. I was the tornado who would get things done, but destroy the place in the process. I also spent 60% of my time looking for that tool I just had in my hand!
The Super Beetle and the Ranger. And a double gulp left by Schreiber.
Schreiber doing the Schreiber thing in a Schreiber way.
Mostly just burning myself.
I'll just point out the obvious. Yes. At one point in life I had hair. Also, yes, women were allowed in the Temple of Testosterone. They were welcome even. To my knowledge it happened four times.
Impressing approximately no-one.