Monday, April 27, 2015

She belongs to her mother and the State of Ohio

When I was in college, the turbo Ranger was my daily driver. I use that term loosely because all too often I found myself taking a bike to work for three weeks at a time while trying put a new engine in, or figure out why there was a trail of gasoline behind me when I drove, or why I kept frying fuel pumps, or was waiting for a new ECU to show up after the previous one had shorted out, or was installing yet another transmission. Not that any of those things ever happened... but they all did. And that's not even the short list of problems I had. 

One time while discussing this problem with my buddy Jackson, he said "It's like this, Davis. Your truck is like a body builder all pumped up on 'roids. The joints and bone structures just can't take that kind of stress!" He was absolutely right. The Ranger had 88 HP when new (and probably about 68 HP by the time I got it. At one point during college, I was pushing about 28 PSI through the intake and probably making four times as much power as stock. So just like a 'roid raging AHHHNUHHLD my truck was tearing itself apart at the seams because of it's own strength.

For this build I've realized some areas that were sorely lacking on other builds. A few of the core values for this build are ease of service (Looking at you, 2008 BYU Formula Car ), handling (the Ranger), durability and ease of use (both of the aforementioned vehicles). You may have noticed that many of the parts I've built and selected were selected to meet those targets. The parts in this post are no different. They are in a way, a stronger bone structure for the moody, lactating, bulging little engine under the hood.

In the Ranger, to hold the torque the engine was making I had to use a six puck ceramic clutch disc like the one below, coupled with a Centerforce Stg 2 pressure plate. It held but it approached the practical limitations of that clutch size and made for unpleasant city driving. A few years ago I injured my foot and it would not heal until I stopped using that clutch for a few weeks. I knew for the Falcon I had to find another way.
The stock Ford 2.3 clutch is either 8.875" or 9.25" diameter (depending on the year) while the 5.0 V8 clutch is 10.5". The larger clutch allows a lighter pressure plate, and subsequently lighter pedal feel with the same torque capacity. Canfield Engineering makes an adapter plate which I've discussed in a previous post, and Stinger Performance sells an aluminum 5.0 flywheel, drilled for the 2.3 pattern. With those parts and a 5.0 bellhousing, I could then use a 10.5" Ford Motorsport King Cobra clutch kit. It is supposed to hold in excess of 350 lb-ft with a stock pedal feel.

Spec flywheel, King Cobra clutch
Canfield adapter plate
Cluch and Flywheel looking majestic in the evening sun
Once I had bolted up the flywheel and clutch, I needed to re-install the transmission. It was easy enough to get out, I just loosened some bolts and let the transmission fall on my face. Putting it back in was a bit tougher. Luckily the kid who drives an El Camino and has a name (I assume) showed up. The kid with the name's dad rents some space behind my house (the space where backyard Steve used to live, for the long time readers who remember BYS) so he is constantly going in and out of the back yard. Anyway, I grabbed the kid with the name to help me put the transmission in and bolted it back up.

Now that the flywheel, clutch and clutch fork were in place I could finalize my clutch slave cylinder bracket. I had previously made a bracket which I felt was pushing the slave cylinder too far into the driver's footwell area. This was an issue because I would have to shape the footwell sheet metal around it and it move the accelerator pedal too close to the brake pedal. After a little angle grinder magic, the bracket was the right shape.

It's taken me far too long to finish this post, so let us xhave celebration dance comrade!

Stay tuned, I've been working hard and will be writing about it in the coming week.