Friday, June 12, 2015

All we've got right now is this box of one dozen starving, crazed weasels

Once again, I'm getting at this a bit late. It's been almost two weeks since I did the work I'm writing about because once again, life has gotten in the way. Fortunately life is awesome, so it hasn't been all that bad. For those who have been following along for a while now, last July I went to Alaska. I thought it was amazing, but I wanted to get a little further off the beaten path so I went back again this year. Along the way I found a few awesome cars.


If anyone tells you there is no replacement for displacement, remind them that this is a 275HP engine.
Of course I had to take the valve cover off
V8 power
The last two pictures are not cars or car related, but I had to include them because they capture so much of why Alaska is awesome.
Reed Lakes Trail, Matanuska-Susitna AK
Exit Glacier and Harding Ice Field, Kenai Fjords National Park

Another thing that happened since I last posted is that this blog was featured on This is big, because now I have to keep five readers happy instead of just three. Before you know it, I'll have an HR and Legal department breathing down my neck, letting me know that when I write things about <REDACTED> I'm liable to <REDACTED> and I might end up in prison where <REDACTED>. This is the beginning of the end, friends.

All jokes aside, if I ever offend you dear left-handed, pansexual, pygmy, kite-surfing, pacific islander, mayonnaise loving reader, please write me a strongly worded e-mail. I'll add it to my collection of strongly worded emails which I have bronzed... and dipped in... guacamole...

Because I am not a smart man, I forgot that engines and transmissions generally have a plate between them. I never really knew what they were for, besides forgetting, but while reading a thread on TurboFord I learned that they are for locating your starter. That meant I got to remove the transmission, clutch, and flyweel again and insert the engine plate.

5.0L V8 engine plate

I also took an opportunity to remake the slave cylinder bracket. My original bracket mounted to the transmission case, and had some misalignment issues. Additionally, the slave cylinder would not retract when I released the clutch pedal, and I suspected the misalignment might have something to do with it. My new bracket mounts to the bellhousing and the pushrod has a straighter shot at the clutch fork.

Although this bracket is much better than the previous bracket, I am still having issues with the clutch not retracting. If you are a clutch wizard, dear reader, please let me know which spell I need to use on this slave cylinder, since it's really starting to get on my nerves.

I also started working on the wiring. True fact: Genghis Khan was known to torture his prisoners using a tiered torture system, increasing the pain over time. He would start with whipping and end by forcing prisoners to find the shorts, current drains, and crossed circuits in his 1998 VW Jetta GLI.

Now the tachometer sweeps when I try to lower the right rear window!!
The first item in wiring was to mount a battery in the trunk and run cables up to the front of the car. I chose an AC Delco Absorbed Glass Matt battery because it won't spill and is dishwasher safe. When I ordered the battery on Amazon (you really can order anything on there, including groceries) I got a larger battery than I was expecting. No matter, there is no kill like overkill.

Yep, you can buy this on Amazon too. Seems a little Jim Crow to me though...
A GM part on a Ford (economy car)?  CRUCIFY HIM!!!

The only problem with overkill is that it tends to be expensive. I chose to run 1 gauge cables, positive and negative, to the front of the car. That ended up costing over $150 just for cables and terminals. At least I'll never have to worry about voltage drop...  I also didn't want to have to find a shop that could crimp my cables, and I didn't want to have to solder the terminals on either, which led to me buying a battery cable crimper. Most cable crimpers will run about $200, but some industrious and likely very shady Chinese man has found a way to supply America with crimpers at $35 a pop. But hey, I'm making awesome crimps with this junk, so he did something right.

Battery cable protection cahannel

Right before I left for Alaska I received a big ol' box from Summit Racing. Maybe I'll show off some shiny to you next time but until then, enjoy the black version of me enjoying some Japanese Pizza.


  1. Where did the crimpers come from - Harbor Faught? Also, could you post the p/n of the battery studs? I bought some from Summit and they are fricken' huge!

    1. I got the crimpers off eBay. There are a number of sellers that sell them. I also had to use my grinder to make a die for the 1 gauge cable ends.

      I bought all my battery cable materials at