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


  1. +10 for the Red/Green reference!

  2. X2 - But, he needs more duct tape to hold that Honda to his van, lol! TurboRay

  3. I'm loving your blog, and you are keeping up such a great pace, keep at it!

    1. Thanks Sean! I've got that fever because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

  4. Great blog Jesse. Just finished reading the whole thing. I to am building a Grace, er Shelly. A 63 falcon sedan 2.3 turbo t5. we should bench race some time. Im in So Cal as well and would love to see your car. Mike

    1. Hey Mike! Sounds good, it would be great to meet you and see your project. Once I get Grace on the road, we should meet up!