Monday, March 30, 2015

All These Buckets of Rain


That's right, party people, I'm back! I understand if you think I've been slacking. I haven't written an update in several weeks. Maybe months. But who's counting (besides Scott)? In reality I have been giving Grace my attention whenever possible.

After agonizing about which radiator and intercooler to use for at least three weeks, I finally settled on an aluminum radiator for a 1964 Mustang and an eBay intercooler that would fit around the Mustang radiator. Let the record show that a radiator from a 1964 Mustang will fit into the front of a 1962 Falcon with only minor trimming of the lower core support. There is a pinch weld that interferes with the lower tank which can either be trimmed off or bent out of the way using the Clarkson method.

The Clarkson Method (may he rest in peace)

I'm relatively certain that the radiator install was the simplest job I've completed on this car to date. It was almost like a normal car repair where you just remove an old part and then bolt in a new one. I've almost forgotten what that is like. Then, with a quick zip from the 3" hole saw through the core support for the inlet and outlet, I installed the intercooler.

Due to the somewhat unique engine install, I wasn't very confident I would be able to find rubber hoses that would suit my application. So rather than messing around with parts counter people, begging to see their hose collection, I decided to make metal coolant pipes with silicone couplers on each end. Once I had paid way more than I expected to for pipes and couplers a gigantic box showed up on my doorstep filled with not 76 watermelons, but a collection of hose clamps, madrel bent stainless steel and aluminum pipes, and silicone couplers. 

Stay with me for a minute while a take a small detour. I feel a need to air a grievance while providing education for the masses. I find that it is a very common thing for car enthusiasts to confuse silcone and silicon. Silicon is used in circuit boards and as an alloying element in metals. It is a hard brittle substance. Silcone is a rubber like compound used for caulking your bathtub, attracting the attention of men, and connecting intercoler pipes together. Learn and understand the difference so that you don't sound like an idiot. End rant.

Back on topic, I cut the pipes using my grinder and a cutoff wheel or a chain style exhaust cutter. Luck was on my side because the pipes went where I wanted with minimal trouble. I then tacked them into place with my MIG welder.


Thanks to my former manager Dan, we have a program at work called Tech Days where one day each month after work, we are allowed to use the shop at work for personal projects. This month I chose to weld up my pipes using the TIG welder at work. You can see from the photos that I'm a far cry from a great welder, but I'm happy with the result. Unfortunately I missed one of the parts when I placed my order so the turbo to intercooler pipe will have to wait.


intercooler to throttle body pipe

Stainless Steel weld, slightly too hot. The weld should be a gold and blue tint
Upper and lower coolant pipes
Cold Air Intake mount point
Intake from fenderwell
 I also decided to provide a solid mountig for the intercooler by welding tabs on each side and attaching weld nuts to the back side of the core support to mount my intercooler.

Tacked in place on the other side
Preheating with MAP gas
Fits just right
Last week I had the chance to go shopping at one of my favorite places, the wrecking yard. I got the chance to introduce my buddy Bret to the joys of wrecking yards. When I was in high school, one of my favorite time killers was to wander the wrecking yard and learning which engines game in which cars and which parts would interchange between them. The more I've learned about building cars and fabricating, the more I've realized that all parts can interchange if you believe in yourself and are handy with an angle grinder.

Parts from a Ford Ranger, Ford Taurus 3.0, Ford Taurus 3.8, and Chevy Suburban, all bound for the same Ford Falcon
Chevy Suburban Coils (LSx coils) mounted on a Ford Ranger valve cover

LSx coils and stamped steel valve cover on the Falcon
Chevy LSx igntion coils are notoriously strong and have a built in ignitor, making them easy to control from a Megasquirt ECU, so I was pretty stoked to find them for $35 at the wrecking yard. I was also excited to find a stamped steel valve cover from a Ford Ranger to mount them on. I've decided to remove the cast aluminum valve cover that I've  had on that engine for about 10 years and use the stamped steel unit. It will be more practical and help achieve the pseudo OEM look I want for my engine. At the wrecking yard I also found a 130 amp alternator from a Taurus and an electric fan reported to be a popular uprade for vintage mustangs.

In an attempt to keep this Falcon easy to service, I've tried to incorporate features to simplify assembly and dis-assembly. The new 130 amp alternator required a wrench on each side of the bolt the holds it in place as well as a wrench to tension the serpentine belt, making the whole process difficult as it requires 3 wrenches and 3 hands. Instead of receiving a controversial 3rd hand transplant, I made a nut for the back side of the alternator that would reduce requred hands and wrenches from 3 each to 2 each.

I feel like I've been seeing real progress in the past few weeks, as well as spending ridiculous amounts of money on odds and ends. And while it may look like I'm getting really close, there is still a ton to be done. This is what my recently made to-do list looks like. Mind you, this is only what is required to get the car on the road, not what it needs to be fully functional.

So yeah, I've got my work cut out for me. I'll just take it a bit a at a time and eventually I'll get there. On that note, I'll leave you with a hot rod I recently built completely in the space of one evening.