Sunday, November 30, 2008

Instrument Cluster Repair

After the marathon day yesterday, I decided to take it easy today.

While watching car shows on TV, I took apart the instrument cluster. The main goal was to remove a non-functional, aftermarket oil pressure gauge mounted in the instrument bezel. The gauge is a mechanical gauge which was working but the connection at the motor was bad and leaked oil all over the engine compartment. Once I took it apart, removing the aftermarket oil gauge took no time.

I do not know the number of original miles on the Mustang. When A/C was added to the vehicle, all of the dash bezels including the instrument cluster were replaced with those from a '68 Mustang. The title history I obtained is of no assistance as they do not track miles on vehicles this old. So I set the miles to 515.8 which is the number of miles I put on the Mustang since purchase (67,519.6 current miles - 67,003.8 miles at purchase).

Since I took everything apart to remove these items, I decided to do a little extra work on the piece. I painted the back plate for the instrument cluster. The inside was painted a high gloss white (like original) to make the lights for effective. I also replaced light bulbs which had burnt out. Finally, I fixed up the wiring on the back as the previous owner modified some of the wiring.

Finally, I cleaned all the gauges and repainted the needles with some gloss red model paint. The finished product was great but I put it back behind the original, old bezel. It does not look like much work has been put into the piece but it should work very well now and the white face oil pressure gauge is gone.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Engine Prep & Paint

I'm very pleased with the progress I made today on the Mustang.

I started small by stripping the back portion of the passenger frame rail. I then cleaned the engine block in preparation for paint. I moved next to cleaning the engine block expecting to paint it tomorrow or during this coming week. However, I was making such progress I did not want to stop. I taped off the engine, primered the engine (2 coats), and then painted the engine with at least 3 entire coats (2 cans). Once the engine was done, I moved on to the valve covers and painted them.

The paint I used for the engine is Krylon Engine Paint (Ford Dark Blue - 1923). I really like the appearance of this paint but must order it from National Parts Depot (NPD). I used it previously on the oil pan and the valve covers when I replaced those gaskets earlier in the project.

After rebuilding the carb, I wanted to paint the intake manifold but was out of the Kyrlon paint. I purchased some Dupli-Color Engine Enamel (Ford Dark Blue - DE1606) instead at O'Reillys. While the color was close it had too much gloss. I prefer the Kyrlon as it is a low gloss paint.

A picture of the painted engine is included below. Ignore the condition of the cardboard below the engine as I was too tired to clean up.

Edit (11/30/08): After looking at the painted engine, I checked some of the pictures I took the night I purchased the Mustang. Here is just one which captures the condition of the engine bay.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stripping of Lower Shock Tower

My one recent deviation from my plan was to strip the lower shock towers. I originally planned to leave these alone and then clean then up in the future when the motor is out. The reason for this is the motor mount connects to this section and the exhaust runs very close here so it is a tight area to work in. I changed my mind because this area became an eyesore after I cleaned the rest of the engine bay.

I've taken a picture of each side. The rear portion of the shock tower is the hardest to clean. I was not able to reach all the way to the bottom but it is not very visible. I'll be able to clean this area further in the future when the motor is out of the car.

You will notice at least one spot where I sanded off the primer at the top of the shock tower. I did this in preparation for welding as there are a few holes in the engine compartment which need to be repaired. Additionally, the areas I primed previously have collected a little dirt which I will need to clean off before painting but that is a few weeks off.

Project Timeline Revisited

It is very obvious at this point that I will not be able to meet my deadline of having the vehicle reassembled by January 8th. The project has not expanded since I created the deadline but each phase is taking longer than I expected. Part of the reason it due my attempts to perfect project.

I've found taking a small piece (like the alternator brackets) and restoring them to new in a day the most gratifying. Those type projects are small and there is an immediate reward for the work involved. The removal of the front sheetmetal and stripping of the paint seems a never ending project. As a result, stripping a particular part is not very rewarding as the remainder of the engine bay is waiting before the project is actually done.

I'm ready to have the engine and engine bay painted. My larger concern at this point is it will become to cold to paint either of these items. Once painted, I believe the rest will be more enjoyable as it involves installing the individual parts I've worked to restore over the past few months.

Alternator Bracket Restoration

I spent the day with family today for Thanksgiving.

While at my parents house, I took advantage of my Dad's sand blasting cabinet and cleaned up my alternator brackets. These are the original brackets with part numbers clearly stamped into each piece. They look very good for being 41 years old.

The triangle shaped piece has the part number C6OE-10156-A lightly stamped along the lower side. The thin bracket has the Lee in a small triangle and the part number C5AE-10145-A stamped along its side.

Both were primered and painted with Krylon 1613 semi-flat black paint.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Restoration - A View From the Outside

Once I finish the front suspension, brakes, and steering, the car will no doubt be better. It will handle better and be much more road worthy. However, once the sheet metal is back on, no one will understand why this project took so long or they will not even be able to identify the work done.

The first several projects for my Mustang involve areas not really visible to the masses. After this project, the next will be floorpan replacement followed by the rear suspension/undercarriage. This approach is best as I would rather have a car which is reliable with a well prepared foundation than a piece of junk painted to look nice. Besides, if I started with the paint, I would likely damage it while completing one of the other projects.

Never-the-less, when I am done, I would like someone to see my work and say "Wow, that looks great'. Unfortunately, I'll more than likely hear "What did you just finish doing to it again?".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Master Cylinder Purchase

I used my winnings from yesterday's eBay auction to purchase a master cylinder. The master cylinder is a Raybestos Professional Grade Plus piece (MC36440). This a master cylinder from a 1974 Maverick with a manual disc/drum setup. The use of a Maverick master cylinder is very popular among those with manual disc/drum systems.

The reason I selected this master cylinder is the bore diameter is 15/16" bore versus the stock 1" bore. When you decrease bore size, you increase pedal movement and decrease required foot pressure. The increased use of leverage generates greater brake pressure at the pad given the same amount of pressure at the brake pedal. Since Ford used the same mounting configuration, the master cylinder will mount into the original location with no modifications.

The following website posting has additional detail on bore sizes:

Edit 11/28/08: The master cylinder arrived today. I've included a picture of it below.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Selling Old Parts on eBay

I've saved many of the suspension parts I've taken off the Mustang and they are cluttering my garage. I had always planned to take them to a scrap metal recycler. However, I called the local scrap yard and found they pay $1.50 per 100 lbs of steel. After learning this news, I decided to seel the parts on eBay.

I listed my old hub caps, strut rods, coil springs, idler arm, master cylinder, and a few unneeded brake parts. The auctions completed tonight and all of the items sold except the hubcaps for a total of $61.43. Although it is not a large amount of money it is better than nothing and will offset the final few purchases I need to get the car back on the road.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Purchase of Rims & Tires

I won the eBay auction fot the set of 1969 Style Steel rim and tire set. The final price was $500 which is not too bad considering the tires are new and cost $300.

I drove to Magnolia this morning to pick up the tires. It was a nice drive as it is getting cold and not too many people were on the road. I made it to Magnolia in about an hour. The sellers name was Jarrod Griffin who is an Aggie (Class of 1995).

The seller was really nice and we spoke for a while after I loaded up the wheels. He has a 1969 Mustang couple which he is restoring. His is considerably farther along than mine but his attention to detail is not as great. He has a great paint job and nice new rims (Magnum 500) but the engine compartment and interior lack detailing. Overall it is a good car and not everyone is as OCD as me).

The tires are Road Hugger 225-70R14's which are better than the RoadMaster 215-70R14 tires I currently have. Despite how close their specifications are, the new tires are about 3/4" to 1" taller and 1/2" wider. The new ones also have raised white letters on the sidewall which makes the larger sidewalls not seem out of place.

The first picture below was the rim/tire I was using followed by the new rim/tire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rims & Tire Package Options

I've known from the beginning the upgrade to disc brakes would require I use a different rim and tire combination. The stock steel wheel used on '67 Mustangs with drum brakes just does not have any room for a disc and caliper of any reasonable size. I've just hesistated on buying any as I don't want to spend a large amount of money on rims at this point in the project.

I've been looking at the items available on eBay for a few months now. The options are basically include aftermarket rims, original sytle rims, and take-offs from a new Mustang.

Many are buying the rims and tires taken off of new Mustangs for classic Mustangs. These are 16" or 17" rims with new tires. The packages sell for between $550 and $650. These are not ultimately what I would like but they would allow me to drive the Mustang. Selecting one of these would mean the following:
- New tires and rims in a popular size for a good price
- The offset is wrong requiring the use of spacers up to 1.5" wide
- Low resale value when I decide to sell the rims
- The tires are larger in circumference than stock which impacts speedometer function and appearance.

I've looked for aftermarket rims of the correct offset but they cost around $150 - $175 each. After purchasing tires, this would put me way out of my price range. I've not seen any used packages of these tires on eBay or in my area.

I've also looked at the original style rims on eBay and decided to bid on a set of these this week. They are original GT Styled Steel rims from a 1969 Mustang. These were original used along with the disc brake system I purchased. They are popular so they would have resale value if I later change my mind. They come with new tires and trim rings. Finally, these rims bolt on perfectly without the use of spacers and keep the classic appearance.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Engine Block Prep Work

This weekend I worked on cleaning the engine block a little further. I've used a wire wheel on the exposed areas of the block. This has worked very well and those areas are now primed.

I'm not able to removed the headers to clean the lower sides of the block. The headers are actually welded directly to the exhaust. I would no doubt have a difficult time removing the bolts but even if I did I don't think I could get them out of the way much due to them being welded to the exhaust pipes.

To clean the lower sides of the block, I've sprayed the block with brake cleaner and used a solvent proof brush. This has worked pretty well but it is difficult to get the block really clean. I don't have a picture to post but will post a picture when the block is entirely in primer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Firewall Sanding & Rust Encapsulation

I spent a large amount of time working on the firewall again today. The area around the master cylinder was pitted with rust. A little over a week ago I treated this area with rust converter and then put on a coat of All-Metal filler. Since then, I have worked to sand down the area. I did not put on a very thick coat but the filler is very difficult to sand down as it is almost as hard as metal.

I worked on the area for much of the afternoon and have most of it smooth. There are four screws which protude from the passenger area into the engine bay. These sections were difficult as there was pitting and it was difficult to use an filler and still be able to sand it smooth. While this area may not be perfect it is less visible and much better than it was previously.

I just finished putting a coat of Rust Encapsulator on the shock towers and firewall. This completes my task of Rust Encapsulating all the areas I've stripped and plan to repaint. I've posted a picture of the engine bay. There is dust and dirt on some of the previously painted areas. Once I have the welding done to fill in the small holes around the engine bay, I've sand everything put another coat of Rust Encapsulator and then paint everything black. Unfortunatley, there is still a long road ahead.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Engine Paint Preparation 1

I spent a little time this weekend cleaning up the engine. There are a couple of coats of black and light blue paint on the motor plus a layer of grime. I'm working to strip off most of this just for a quick coat of paint. This will be redone in the next few years when the time comes to pull the motor. However, since everything is out it does not take much time to paint it a little so it looks better until then.

I used a wire wheel to clean up the ends of the heads, the thermostat housing, the water pump, and timing cover (the red in the picture is the last of some primer I had on hand). I then removed the valve covers and cleaned them up a little. The spark plug wires were really dirty (from all the metal stripping) so I took them off and cleaned them. The final job was repainting the ignition coil as it looked bad but worked fine. All these parts found their way into my part warehouse (formerly known as our walk-in closet).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stripping the Frame Rails

This weekend, I stripped the frame rails of the Mustang. The job was very dirty and unrewarding as the work is not noticed unless you are under the vehicle. However, if you are going to do a job you should do the whole thing and do it right.

There were two parts which made the job really difficult. Stripping the mounting points for the lower control arms was not easy as they are very oddly shaped. The front strut bar mounting point was also difficult to strip because of the shape and because these are only primered from the factory so there is more rust.

I'll wait on posting pictures until I'm able to rust encapsulate the frame. It is currently stripped, cleaned, etched, and has rust encapsulator on it. The rust encapsulator needs to dry overnight to completely seal.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Restoration Plan (Part 3)

My wife and I recently found she will need surgery in mid-November. The surgery will leave her immobile until the end of the year. Since we have two young children, much of my time through the end of the year will be spent just managing our daily life. As a result, I'm not sure I can keep my goal of completing this project by January. I don't really mind as I don't believe the weather will permit much driving in January but I'm ready to be done with this phase of the restoration.

I hope to dedicate some time to the project over the next couple of weeks to get past a few parts of the project which require large amounts of dedicated time. After the surgery, I will be limited to projects which I can stop working on at a moments notice. This obviously would not include stripping the subframe or painting the engine compartment. I hope to take care of a few of these projects before the surgery.