Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Well the lampshade's on fire when the lights go out

I was never a farmer but I grew up in a farming community and my dad always used to say that you have to make hay while the sun shines. Well my girlfreind was out of town for a wedding this past weekend so I guess that meant that the sun was shining... I mean, umm, if you are reading this Jen I got the hungries for your love (and I'm waitin' in your welfare line) 

But seriously I had a lot of time to devote to injuring myself make a lot of progress on Grace. Friday night I worked about 8 hours, shutting down just before 2am and Saturday night I finished up just after 1 am, so I got about 3 full workdays in during the space of a day and a half. I lived on microwave chimichangas and string cheese, so life was good. I also got a ton accomplished.

Last week I sang you the mournful song of a non functional clutch. I called the manufacturer of the slave cylinder and spoke with an engineer who I imagined to be about 52, medium build, named Barb or maybe Jan. She said that any misalignment of the push rod would cause the piston to bind within the cylinder, so my very slight misalignment was causing me issues. I decided that I had made enough new brackets for that slave cylinder and it was time to try a new method, so I ordered a pull-type slave cylinder from Howe racing. I then set to work on what I hoped would be my last bracket.

The pull rod would need to pass through the hole on the side of the bellhousing
New tab mocked up and tacked in place

The slave cyl bracket is now attached to the motor mount
Finished product

The bracket was surprisingly easy to complete, so I drove the half mile to Home Depot because that's the american way only to find that they did not carry any fine thread hardware. A sad truth I've come to find is that the large hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes are seriously lacking in their hardware selection, and mom and pop hardware stores are much more likely to have odd or uncommon hardware. And if the little guys don't have it, McMaster-Carr is your next stop. If McMaster doesn't have it, it doesn't actually exist, you just wish it did. In this case, the little guy didn't have what I was looking for, but they had something close enough for me to weld a few pieces together and get what I wanted.

Coupler nut by Millermatic
T5 hydraulic conversion complete
The third time really was the charm, and this slave cylinder setup works quite well. My only concern is that the clutch pedal feel is really light, much lighter than I'd prefer. I share this blog on the Pro-Touring Projects Forum and just about two weeks ago a rep from Centerforce Clutch commented on my previously mentioned clutch woes. We discussed the heavy pedal feel I used to deal with. They were very complimentary and actually tried to help me troubleshoot the slave cylinder binding problems. I found it a little humorous that I went to great lengths to avoid the same heavy feel I'd had before, and now it's too light, and I'm trying to figure out how to add a little more weight/feel to the pedal. I may switch from the 3/4" bore master cylinder to a 13/16" bore master.

A few posts ago I modified the fuel tank sump but neglected to test for leaks. I was tempted for a time to be lazy and not check it, but I'm glad I didn't. That would have bit me in the butt faster than Michael Vick's dog would bite Lady Gaga in her meat dress (I'll never understand why someone would waste that much delicious cow). I also took the chance to coat the tank in primer and chassis paint.

If I had a dollar for every minute I spent looking for a tool or part I just barely had in my hand, I could probably buy ever lockpick/toothbrush/flashlight combo ever sold at Harbor Freight since 1994. A classic case of this automotive Alzheimers happened on Saturday. I was making brackets to mount a battery box in the trunk. I made two brackets and then got to the point where I was to weld them to the crossbars that would tie them together. I got the tack welds on the first bracket and suddenly the second bracket was gone. I probably spent twenty minutes muttering and cursing while lifting toolboxes and checking in the trunk in hopes of finding that $@#$ bracket because so help me I'm not going to remake this stupid @!%! thing, DON'T MAKE ME REMAKE YOU YOU HEAP OF STEAMING MONKEY DUNG FINE I'LL DO IT, WHATEVER.... BUT I'M WARNING YOU!

Brackets in progress

So of course it took me only ten minutes to remake the bracket and as soon as I finished remaking it, just like magic it appears from under the battery box I had picked up three times already. In an attempt to teach a surly bit of shaped angle iron, I hurled it against the fence. I'm not sure if it internalized the lesson I was trying to teach, but it made me feel better.

And don't come back!
Trunk pre battery box
Trunk post battery box
Welded in place and grounded to the ground
Even though the intake was essentially finished the devil is in the details. Seriously though, you ever actually read the terms and conditions on basically anything? Pretty much the canon of the occult right there, complete with songbooks and curses. What I'm getting at is that while the intake was built, it was lacking some very important touches like vacuum ports and a throttle cable bracket. Luckily neither of those is too complex, so I made short work of it.

We now have air on tap

Building brake lines isn't all that physically difficult, but it can be mentally taxing. There are a number of bends and curves necessary to clear all the other components so you have to dig deep into the lobe of your brain that processes spatial functions. It's a puzzle you have to solve creatively but lacks the geriatric feeling you get from jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, and installing dentures in the morning. I had most of the lines finished a long time ago, but then made some changes under the car that required me to remake a couple lines. Yet I kept putting it off because every time I thought about it that same dread that most car guys feel about wiring would come over me and I'd pretend I hadn't thought about brake lines. Well on Saturday about 9:30PM I finally put on my big boy pants and build the lines I needed. All told, it ended up being a good way to unwind from a long day of working on the other systems of the car and came out looking really clean.

Double flaring tool

Brake light switch installed in the brake line, running next to the fuel lines

Over the past week I've done a ton of wiring as well, but you'll have to wait until the next installment. You've all had enough of this blog for the day, so in the words of a personal hero of mine, keep your stick on the ice.

And remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I hear that train a-comin', it's rollin' round the bend

Gearheads (or petrolheads for those who speak the Queen's english) and non-gearheads see and hear the world differently. I can't sing like a wookie and the only instrument I play is the radio, but my ears are tuned to identify the configuration of an engine, and the sound of a  VW W8 will put me in a catatonic state. 

Skip ahead to 0:30

This weekend while I was working on the Falcon, my girlfriend came over to was work on a chair she's been restoring and reupholstering. When she asked me what I was doing I showed her that I was wrapping my exhaust manifold with heat resistant wrap. A few minutes later she asked me something about the manifold but couldn't remember what it was called, so it became the alien thingy

I came to realize that heat wrap is much like prom dress. It's shiny, tight, a pain in the arse to put on, and can resist over 2000 degrees of radiant heat. I swear half of my saturday was consumed by putting this heat wrap and makeup on this alien thingy, and that didn't even count the pedicure or hair.

Since I'm using ignition coils from Chevy LSx, I picked up a set of Camaro spark plug wires. I figured they would be a little too long so I also got a pack of spark plug terminals off eBay for a few bucks. I removed the boot and trimmed a bit off the wire and then crimped the terminals on. With the help of a little WD-40 I was able to work the spark plug boots back on.

I also performed a little troubleshooting on my clutch problem. I took some video of the problem to better illustrate it. The piston extends, but does not retract until it's already protruding from the housing.

In order to see if the binding issue was due to the slave cylinder, I used the c-clamp (which used to be my vise) to depress the fork. It depressed and retracted without any issue. When I removed the push rod from the slave and fork and depressed the clutch pedal, there was still a huge amount of resistance. I removed the slave cylinder at this point to inspect. After disassembly the piston would slide freely. 

I think when the rod puts pressure on the piston in the slave cylinder there is some side loading which causes the piston to bind. I spoke with the manufacturer and was told that no side loading is allowed on the piston. as you can see, I have a very small amount of misalignment in the pushrod. Rather than continue to fight with this slave cylinder, I'll try a "pull style" slave cylinder.

That's all for now but stay tuned for the wacky world of wires.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Take your economy car and your suitcase, take your psycho little dogs

A friend posted this today and tagged me. If you've ever had a project car or even worked on a car, you understand. I mean at what point can I be done with this? And then move directly on to the next one...
In reality,  things have been moving along pretty well. Some days you spend the whole day working and at the end you feel like you spent the day arranging a barrel of M&Ms into alphabetical order, but lately it's felt more like arranging the magnetic words on your friend's fridge into dirty sentences which you then giggle about. The other day while building battery cables for the starter I realized that they would pass through the same approximate area as the downpipe. That was all the reason I needed to build a downpipe. Who doesn't like building downpipes? Nobody, probably.

Clearing the firewall took the tightest radius mandrel bend I could find
And another bend
Sorta done
The Ford 2300 (AKA Lima, AKA 2.3, AKA Pinto motor, AKA SVO motor) is generally a tough as nails engine but it has an Achilles heel. The distributor and oil pump are driven off a timing belt driven auxiliary shaft. The gears on the distributor (or dummy shaft in my case since I'm converting to a distributorless system) and aux shaft will wear thin and fail on occasion. Usually it happens when someone swaps a distributor or aux shaft but does not do both as a matched set. I once found myself coasting to the shoulder of the freeway with a dead motor thinking "I'll bet the aux shaft just stripped out..."  Imagine my triumphant feeling of vindication a few minutes later when I confirmed my suspicions, and was still on the side of the freeway with a dead vehicle! Because I'm hoping to have a reliable car I can drive every day on Los Angeles gauntlets freeways as well occasional road trips, I thought it wise to replace the stock pieces with heavy duty parts from Esslinger Racing.

Removing stock gear from dummy drive shaft which drives the
oil pump in the distributorless 2300
Pressing on Esslinger's bronze gear
The esslinger kit also requires that you drill the shaft out for a 3/16 roll pin,
as the stock pin fails on occasion
Left: Esslinger billet aux shaft
Right: Gear installed on dummy drive
Aux shaft hole. the gasket needed to be replaced, unfortunately this required that I buy an entire timing cover set. If I had one request of Esslinger, it would be that they include this gasket in the kit.
All sealed up!
Dummy drive installed in distributor hole.
Every good gearhead knows that no engine build is a real engine build without a hot cam. Only accountants and kids who eat their own boogers run stock cams! Since I am neither, I haven't run a stock cam in this engine since sometime around the beginning of 2005. I do have a dirty secret and that is that my cam is just a re-ground stock cam. What does that mean?  Some internet dude explained so: 

Thanks, internet dude! Regrinding a cam is a cheap way to get a bit more valve lift and airflow, but It has it's limits. And those limits are pretty low. You can pick up a few horsepower with this Delta Cams regrind, but a completely new cam offers a lot more. 

A few years back a guy named Bo entered the Ford 2300 world and a lot of guys were seeing pretty good gains over the Ford Motorsport cams. Things at Bo's company, Bo-port went south about two years ago when he disappeared with a whole lot of money that had been paid up front for porting services and products. People tend to not like that, and surprisingly when Bo resurfaced neither of his kneecaps were broken. Word spreads pretty quick about things like that in niche markets in the internet age. He's promised to make good on all his previous customers, but it remains to be seen if that will actually happen.  And once again, I'm off on a tangent. What I meant to say is that I picked up a slightly used Bo-port stage 1.5 cam a year ago and I'm finally getting around to installing it.

Even after removing the radiator, the cam hit the core support on the way out
Easiest solution? Unbolt motor mounts and jack it up. At this point the cam slid right out.
Boport Stage 1.5 cam
Since I had already installed a new aux shaft and cam shaft, I thought this would be an ideal time to install an adjustable cam gear which would allow me to degree my cam as well fine tune my powerband characteristics down the road. And just for good measure, I took the opportunity to replace the timing belt and tensioner.

Fidanza adjustable cam gear
Turbos don't live long without oil, and engines don't last long if the oil sent to the turbo doesn't make it back into the oil pan, and in the spirit of not destroying my engine or turbo, I decided to make oil feed and drain lines for the turbo. I sacrificed yet another bit of my bank account to the hungry gods at Summit Racing and ordered a few more Fragola 8000 series push lock hoses and fittings, and crossed my fingers hoping I wouldn't have to build yet another set of tools. I caught a break this time, and the -4 and -10 hoses did not require any custom tools to assemble.

Heat resistant sleeving for the drain line which will live next to a header.
Assembled drain line

Oil feed line

A while back I ran across this on Facebook. If I remember correctly it's a Maserati Replica with an Argentinian falcon 3.6L I6, and I love it.