Sunday, June 8, 2014

She'll tear a hole in you, one you can't repair

Grace and I had a really big weekend. Last Sunday I was talking to my friend Ben when he told me to make sure I kept my Saturday open. This presented me with a major dilemma. Ben works at a collision repair shop and we've been trying to find a time when he's free, I'm free, and the chassis bench is free at his work for about 3 months. I had also been invited to attend the Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show that same morning. It was a difficult decision, but since I suspected that the chassis was tweaked and I desperately needed to get that resolved to progress in the build, I chose to take Grace to the chiropractor. Sorry Steve McQueen, you are pretty cool but Grace comes first.

Steve McQueen doing cool guy stuff.
Because my roommate Vaughn is a good guy, and he's getting really anxious for a Ford Falcon burnout to take place in front of the house, he borrowed a trailer from a friend of his and helped me haul Grace over to Ben's shop. When we first arrived Grace was feeling a little self-conscious with so many attractive European girls around. I could tell, so I leaned down and whispered to her "you are better looking than any car in this shop. Plus, we beat them in two world wars and could beat them in a third if we needed." She settled down and we rolled her up to the two-post lift.

I think the real reason Vaughn helps me haul things is because he has a trailer backing fetish.
She's pretty, but Grace could break her nose in a fistfight.
It's like a fancy medical spa for cars with muscoskeletal disorders.

We lifted her up in the air, and I stood under her. It made me yearn for the day when I will have a shop of my own with a lift so I don't have to slide around on my back to work on a car. Ben brought over the Car-O-Liner which is a fancy computerized measuring system that will tell you how much your chassis is out of alignment and where. It's kinda like those systems the chiropractor uses to tell you where the bad energy is stored in your spine, except that this system is based off math instead of a random number generator.

The system had a program for MK1 Fiestas, but not for a 62 Falcon.
Ben, checking Grace's spine.

After a few measurements Ben announced that Grace did not, in fact, have scoliosis as I had suspected. The unibody was within the normal +/- 3mm tolerance, and would not need any adjustments. I was surprised to say the least and didn't believe it, but Ben swore upon his beard and the Car-O-liner that it was straight. Pleasantly surprised, we took Grace back home. By this point it was only 10:30 AM, so I packed up my tools and headed to the wrecking yard to find some parts I needed.

Ever since my early teens, I've been fascinated by wrecking yards. The smell of stale gas and antifreeze have a strange allure to me. I used to spend afternoons just wandering wrecking yards, popping hoods like a kid looking under rocks to find an easter egg. I was always thrilled to find a new model that I hadn't seen before or an engine option that I didn't know about.

This trip turned out to be a huge success. As I wandered down the last row of american trucks and cars, I spotted a little white Ranger that judging by the spray paint and skateboarding stickers, had been owned last by a seventeen year old male. I couldn't have been happier when I opened the hood because not only did it have a 2.3 liter motor, it had a good power steering pump and bracket, as well as a new Sanden SD508 AC compressor running R-134A refrigerant. This is not something you find often on a 1985 Ranger and it was exactly what I needed.

Only a gearhead can look at this and get legitimately excited. The entire
accessory setup I need, complete and in one place.
A 3rd generation Falcon friend in the wrecking yard parking lot.
Shopping carts, while extremely useful, make you feel a little like a hobo.
This trip's catch.
In addition to the accessories, I picked up an aluminum driveshaft from an Explorer. As an added bonus, it was just sitting under the car, unbolted. I bolted the accessories onto the engine and everything fit perfectly, though I will need to get a new crankshaft pulley.

Complete accessory setup installed.
The afternoon was still young so I took my subframe connectors from their storage place in the corner of my garage bedroom for installation. Fords from the 60's (and 70s. and 80s. and 90's. and half of the 2000's...) are notorious for having the structural rigidity of linguine. Ford was one of the first to use unibody construction and one of the last to get it right, so installing subframe connectors to improve chassis rigidity is a common performance modification for the disciples of Henry Ford. 

I purchased a set of Global West P/N 916 connectors listed for 60-70 Falcons. Consider this my official review. 2 stars out of 5. These connectors are made of metal (presumably steel), and powdercoated. They look like they could fit a vehicle which is relatively similar to a 1962 Ford Falcon, much like a pair of size 28 jeans might fit a person who looks remotely like Chris Farley. So no, they are not a good fit, unless you consider cutting the mounting flanges on both ends, cutting and bending the floorpan, and beating the subframe with a hammer for clearance to be a good fit. To be fair, they may fit the 64-65 Falcon much better, but if that's the case list them for 64-65 Falcons only. 

Front subframe connector flange is too long, creating gap between the connector and frame.
Rear subframe connector flange is too wide, creating gap between the connector and frame.
Passenger side connector welded in place.
Both connectors welded into place.

By the end of the day I was exhausted and my trip to the wrecking yard had given me a world class farmer's tan, but I couldn't have hoped for a more productive Saturday.


P.S. The blog hit 10,000 views this past week. I know that's not a lot in internet years, but it's kinda exciting to me.


  1. Damn.

    Well done, sir...well done.

  2. You good at this 'ere "righting" thing.

    Also, I love the idea of a Falcon with modern A/C.


    1. Thanks guys! I want to be able to cruise this thing 1000 miles if I get the urge, any time of year. Crossing the Mojave desert in July without AC is a bad time, so I added AC as a priority on my list.