Monday, October 17, 2016

I wanted to do hoodpin stuff with my friends

Over the past month and a half not a ton has happened on the Falcon, but I'll share what little I have done. Over that same time period, I did have a pretty great trip to Europe with the wife. It was a long trip that ate up lots of money which means the Falcon project may move a little slower, but was totally worth it. I'll only share one photo from the trip, lest this thing become a travel blog.

View from Neue Regensburger Hut, Stubaital Austria

So anyway, we made it back from Europe, but as always, time is short and life is busy. I've only had time to complete a couple small tasks since August. I decide it was finally time to get a real hood retention system. Ever since I cut the core support to fit my big fat intercooler, I've been using a ratcheting tie down strap to hold the hood down as you can see in the photo below.

I have been hesitant to actually go ahead with this project because I didn't really like the idea of drilling into the hood ton install hood pins and was hoping I would think of another method to retain the hood. Well, I didn't think of another method other than Quik-Latch which, while appealing, was a little too "billet-style" for this car. I'm still not totally sold on my hood pins, but the deed is done, and hood pins are pretty old-school anyway. I'm sure they'll grow on me. On the bright side, they only cost about fifteen bucks, and are far more functional than the old ratchet strap.

Pins mounted, ready to mark drill spots on the hood
First hole drilled, second hole marked

Up close
The other small task I completed was to eliminate the last of the old girl's really terrifying features. I found that when making a right hand turn, the motor would shift slightly and the motor mount would catch on a set screw in a steering joint. This meant that mid turn, the steering angle would suddenly lock, and that would make me say "oh bother"... or something to that effect. I was able to clearance the mount in a few minutes thanks to my third favorite tool, the die grinder with a carbide burr.

It seems the more I see those two tailpipes sticking out the back of the Falcon, the happier I am with my exhaust job. Almost makes the 30 hours I spent on it worth it!

Two small items: at the beginning of this post, I said that work on the Falcon might be a little slow for a while. This is true, however, Jen and I will be moving to another house, the house where Grace currently resides. When that happens, it will be a lot easier to work. That's the first item. The second item is the video shown below. Bonus points if you can decipher it's relevance.

Bye now!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Man who run behind car get exhausted

Two months ago I had a little photo shoot with my car. My wife had recently gotten a nice Canon DSLR and she was nice enough to let me use it and even join me as I dragged her all around town at golden hour shooting photos of my rustbucket. This was my favorite of the evening which was good enough to get an honorable mention in my company's photo contest. Ironically it was the only automotive photo to place, and as many of you know I work for an automaker.

So for the fourth time, I spent a Saturday working on my exhaust system. I'm starting to understand that taking your car to an exhaust shop is not a terrible idea. Not only does the guy at an exhaust shop have a lift to get under the car, removing the need to perform the worm every time he needs to get under the car, but he probably has a chop saw, tubing bender, and oh yeah, skills.

kinda like this, but not really at all
I'm not saying I don't love my angle grinder, but I'm open to the idea that there may be better tools to complete some jobs. As you can see in the image below, my muffler has what was dubbed by my buddy Vaughn to be a "gangsta lean". In the photo above, I actually photoshopped it to be straight. My goals for the day were to straighten the muffler, add exhaust tips that extend past the rear bumper, move the location of a v-band joint, and remove the glasspack that was in the system.

muffler with a gangsta lean
previous configuration with glasspack in mid-pipe
Originally I had included the glasspack in the midpipe in hopes that it would reduce drone while cruising. For those not privileged to have experienced exhaust drone, it's like sticking an oversized clothes pin on your head while you drive. After a while it gets annoying and you start wondering where did this gigantic clothes pin come from? Who even makes this stuff? Was it from that one catalog, Oriental Trading, that used to show up every few months when you were a kid? And then you realize that everything in that catalog had to be purchased by the gross and now there are probably 143 other people out there driving around with oversized clothes pins on their heads... Where was I going with this? I don't know, but in any case, the glasspack did not prevent drone, so I felt it was unnecessary and replaced it with a straight pipe. I have also been researching 1/4 wave resonators as a solution for drone, but that's a topic for a future post. Removing the glasspack didn't really increase the overall noise level but I felt that it allowed a little more turbo noise out the exhaust, which I am totally OK with.

glasspack removed
The next item on my list, moving the v-band joint, was necessary because the joint was too close to a suspension link. There was only about 1/2" clearance, and that meant the v-band clamp would hit the suspension link when there was any movement in the exhaust. V-bands are not particularly cheap and I didn't want to buy a new set of them, with the help of my DeWalt grinder, I reclaimed them and moved the location of the joint.

joint cut off the pipe, new location is halfway between 1' and 2
joint cut off the exhaust pipe
reclaimed v-band flanges
v-band joint tacked into new location
I don't have any pictures of the process of re-fitting the muffler to sit straight, just the finished product which is shown below.
finished tail pipe with muffler
finished tail- and mid-pipe
exhaust tip side view
exhaust tip top view
As you may be able to tell, I drew a little upon the look of vintage European tailpipes (a la E28) for this setup. I feel it will be one of the subtle visual cues to those who pay attention that everything is not as it seems with this rusty little car.

As I was driving home on the freeway after finishing this project I spotted a brand new Lamborghini Huracan ahead of me. I didn't pay it much attention, I hate to admit this but I was glancing at my laptop which was in the passenger seat as it performed a ECU auto-tune. When I looked up, the Huracan was next to me smiling and giving me a thumbs up. I had to laugh a little but it felt nice to have a fellow car nut driving something worth at least ten times more than mine give some recognition. In honor of Mr. Huracan, I'll leave you with something else that happened in a Lamborghini just a few miles down the street from me.

PS: If you care to see more of my car photography like the lead pic, follow me on instagram @gearandlightning

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I gotta say, I'm a huge fan

While I was in Utah visiting my family a couple weeks ago I came across something that made me a little sad. This old Falcon, the original 62 that I wanted to restore, had been crushed by a tree. This was the car that inspired my love of patina. 

a moment of silence for a rusty old economy car

One issue I've been battling, as you may know from my previous posts, like Beach Boys of old I've been pickin' up some vibrations. Unfortunately mine have not been as good as Brian Wilson's. On thing I had not done yet was to adjust the pinon angle. If the angles on both ends of the driveshaft as shown below are not equal and opposite, you can end up with some nasty vibrations

Source: hotrod hotline

After measuring, I found the front angle (transmission) to be about 5 degrees down and the rear angle (axle pinion) to be about 2.5 degrees up. That meant I needed to adjust the pinion about 2.5 degrees up. Thankfully that is an easy job with my 4-link rear suspension. All 4 links are adjustable, so it was a matter of removing 2 bolts with the rear end supported, and adjusting the link length until the pinion angle was correct.

After the adjustment, I can definitely say the amount of vibration at high speeds has reduced. I still have some sort of engine related natural frequency around 4000 RPM, but the vibration situation has improved significantly. While visting in Utah I drove my dad's 1996 Ranger with the 2.3L engine. It also had a peak in engine vibration around 4000 RPM  so I guess that's just the nature of the beast.

I finally got started on my electric cooling fan project. It must have been two years ago that I bought a large Ford Taurus (3.8L) cooing fan from the wrecking yard. This fan is the stuff that legends are made of. They say it moves 25,000 CFM and can blow away small children and ferrets, and that the Assyrians worshiped it as the wind god, bringing sacrifices of incense to it's altar.  

When I went to install it, it was way too big for my radiator core. You need at least a 17"x17 area to install this fan. So back to the junkyard I went.

At the wrecking yard, I went nuts tearing into everything, just to see what was there. The Ford Taurus really is a treasure trove of good stuff for hot-rodders. The fan I decided to use comes from a 3.0L Taurus and is only about 14" in diameter. I also found that the taurus has a pretty long length of what looks to be 4ga wire in the harness that passes above the cooling fans. It is 6-7 feet long, so it could be pretty useful if you can get it for cheap. There is also a 175 amp fuse in the power distribution box that could be useful.

While I was tearing things apart, I got  curious about the relay amperage capacity of the Taurus relays. I don't know the actual rating, but noticed that there were two types and one was heavier than the other. I popped the tops off both relays and the one that was marked with "Made in Spain" (on the right in the upper picture) had a heavier construction and the copper current paths seemed much more substantial. Again, I'm not sure if it was a 30A or 40A relay or more, but if I had to guess, I'd say that the "Made in Spain" relay would carry at least 50% more current.

left: lower current relay       right: higher current relay marked with "Made in Spain"
top: lower current relay       bottom: higher current relay marked with "Made in Spain"
The Megasquirt 2 ECU has a few spare outputs which allow you to control a relay or other medium current device. This means that if you had this ECU on your Civc you could set it to shout the words

over a loudspeaker and switch on your green underglow lighting every time throttle position is greater than 80% and RPM is greater than 3800 RPM. Yeah. That would be rad. I'll just be using this function to turn on a cooling fan when coolant temperature is 200 degrees, and turn it back off when it's below 190. Kinda boring, I know. 

With the control side worked out, I turned to the physical mounting of the fan. I found an aluminum fan shroud through Speedway Motors for a 1964 Mustang. this turned out to be far from a perfect fit, but anymore I just count on having to extensively modify any and every part I install. Mounting the fan to the shroud was actually not too hard. While at the wrecking yard, I made sure to grab all the mounting hardware for the fan. Without it, this would have been a really crappy job.

upper mount, back side
lower mount, back side
lower mount, front side
back side view
Mounting the shroud to the radiator turned out to be a little trickier than mounting the fan to the shroud. I had to give a deep tissue massage to some tabs on the sides of the radiator core with a hammer. I think I successfully bent them out of the way without destroying them, and If not, I'll know soon. I then had to trim some "wings" off the shroud, and then weld stand-offs to the trimmed wings which would hold the assembly in place. I realize all these words probably make zero sense, so I've included pictures for your viewing pleasure.

trimming the wings off the fan shroud

stand-off welded detail
Bolted in place
fan wiring harness

A few weeks ago, I found an ad on craigslist for a Fairlane in very good condition and sent it to my old roommate Vaughn (my wife doesn't appreciate a good craigslist find like Vaughn does, she's afraid I'll drag home another mistress). I've sent countless ads to him but apparently this one sent him into a tailspin and two weeks later, he came home with yet another truck. I think he's up to five now. So without further ado, meet Vaughn's 1963 International Harvester Pickup. 

It's a rolling chassis, so now Vaughn is trying to decide which low dollar V8 turbo he should install. Right now it's a tight race between the Chevy 5.3, Ford 4.6 SOHC and SBF 5.0. What do you think, dear reader? What is the best low dollar route to 450-500 horsepower? Needless to say, Grace is excited to have a cousin.

With that, I'll wrap it up and leave you with some pictures I snapped on my Sunday afternoon walk.