Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vehicle Inspection and Driving Around

This weekend was the Pinewood Derby and Scouting for Food.  I went with my son to Scouting for Food and then came back to get the car inspected before the Pinewood Derby. 

Everything worked fine in my preliminary check so I headed off for the inspection.  I've gone to the same place for years and they check the cars over pretty well.  This time, however, they did not check much at all.

The guy drove the car into the engine bay, checked the wipers, turned on the headlights, and then looked under the hood.  He never checked the horn, tail lights, parking lights turn signals, or much of anything for that matter.  He just looked the car over briefly and then put on a new inspection sticker.

I was a little worried the car could overhead or the headers would turn orange.  I checked half way to the inspection place and everything was fine.  I drove the car from 2,000 - 3,000 RPM about 15-20 times.  Once I reached 3,000 RPM, I let the engine brake the car back down.  I read this is a decent way to break in an engine so I decided to do it a little on the frist drive. 

I managed to put about 20 miles on the Mustang and even drove my son to the Pinewood Derby in it.  The new radiator kept the temperature at 180 without any trouble.  Everything went well so I'm feeling good.

Pardon the missing rocker molding, I've not drilled holes in the fender for the required brackets. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

First Oil Change w/New Motor

After warming up the engine last night and driving around the block, I decided to go ahead and change the oil.  Comp Cams recommends you break in your cam and then replace the oil.  Since the engine was still warm, now was the perfect time as anything the oil has captured should still be suspended in the oil.

The oil was originally a light yellow color.  It does not look as dark as oil normally does after a 3,000 mile oil change.  However, it does have a slightly darker color than originally.  I'm sure some of this is discoloration from the rings and cam surfaces developing a wear pattern.  Additionally, the engine was assembled with Moly grease (dark grey/black) and I used a little over two packages of the Comp Cams 103 assembly lube (red color) on the top end.

The break-in oil was 10w30 and worked fairly well.  I seem to have at least 50 psi of oil pressue no matter what.  As the RPM increases, the oil pressue does but only slightly.  At about 2,000 RPM , the oil pressure is around 62 psi.  As a result, I think 10w30 should work fine and that is what I used to replace the break-in oil.

The oil I placed in the engine is Brad Penn Grade 1 10w30.  This is a high performance, partial synthetic oil which includes increased zinc for flat tappett cam applications.  The oil is a little strange as it is green in color.  I've read many claims that it remains on engine parts longer than most oils for better cold start coverage.  Who knows.

I also installed a Wix oil filter (#51515) rather than the Motorocraft FL1A I used to break-in the cam.  I'll be cutting open the Motorcraft filter before long to see what is in the filter.  I'll likely do the same with the Wix when it is time for the next oil change.  I can then compare how they look internally to see if one appears to be better than the other.

I drove around a little after the oil change and the oi8l pressure remains the same.  With this green oil, I can certainly tell if there are any oil leaks.  I noticed a little leaking from the rear seal which is disturbing but I tried to tell myself it was something with the break-in oil which made it seep out a little more.  Hopefully it stopes but if not, there will be no denying a green spot on the floor.  I don't have anyting else which is green I could blame it on.

The milage at this oil change was 1362.  The odomete rinstalled when I purchased the Mustang was a '68 odometer so I know it is not original.  I doubt the individual who swapped the guage cluster set the omoeter to be correct.  The speedometer was off so the odometer was no doubt wrong also.  I just decided to reset the odometer from the point I purchased the car and have been running with that mileage since.  I thought of resetting it with the new engine but I'll just keep it as I have it now. 

Small Project During the Week - Carb Tuning

I spent a little time on the Mustang each night after work but much less than in previous weeks.  After little success with the idle mixture screws on Monday, I decided to tackle some small projects and return to carburator adjustments later. 

On Tuesday, I fixed the wiring for the electric fan.  I had it wired constant to the adjustable temperature controller for engine break-in.  Today, I wired in a relay and have it running off an ignition wire which is connected to my new fuse block. 

On Wednesday, I swapped out my spark plug wires for the MSD StreetFire ones I used previously.  I did not thik they would work as I needed 45 degree boots.  However, while searching for new ones, I found these can be bent at the boot and effectively become 45 degree boots.  I fixed the one which was melted on the header and the reinstalled them.

On Thursday, I cleaned up the inside of the Mustang a little and wiped off the outside.  I installed the windlace on the inside of the car which was the final interior piece I needed to install.
Last night, I worked on setting the idle mixture but did not have much luck.  The vacuum is at 14 with the idle at 900 RPM.  From what I read, this is about normal for my cam but probably just a little low (15 would be good).  It is likely a little low due to the timing and fuel mixture not being correct.  After setting it at 1.5 turns out and driving around the block a little, I pulled a plug and found the following... looks a little rich.

Since the engine was still warm, I decided to go ahead and change the oil.  I swapped out the Comp Cams 10w30 break-in oil with Brad Penn 10w30 oil.  This oil has all the additives needed for running flat tappett cams which is missing from most off the shelf types of oil.  I purchased it from Summit and installed a new Wix 51515 filter to go along with it.  I'll cut up the old oil filter in the future to see what is in the filter from the break-in process.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Starting the Engine - Day 5

Once home from work today, I thought I'd work on the Mustang a little.

I started up the engine and got it to 180 degrees.  I then set the idle.  The car will idle decently at 900 RPM.  If I attempt to go lower, it does not die but idles roughly and gives me the impression it might after a while. As a result, I just set it at 900 RPM and left it for now.

I then thought I'd check the vacuum and found it is at about 13 inches.  It moves a small amount each direction seemingly in time with the engine rotating.  This is the baseline.

I started working with the timing and found it was at 18 degrees at 900 RPM.  My first thought it that it is way too high.  However, when I turn it down, the the vacuum decreases and the engine does not run as well.  I've heard of some performance cams needing more initial timing but this is not an extreme performance cam.

I then decided I'd work with the idle mixture screws.  I started with the 2 full turns out.  I then tried turning one in and then turning one out.  Neither made much of a difference.  This is what I experienced before which makes me wonder if this is an issue with the carburetor or some adjustment I've just not yet learned.

I decided I'd drive the car around the block to see what happens.  I was curious if it would bog down, die, or hesitate.  I drove it really conservatively and noticed fairly quickly it starts to vibrate alot at about 1,500 RPM.  It did not do this in the garage so I think it is a transmission or driveshaft issue.  I didn't touch the transmission (except to remove and reinstall) so I imagine it has to do with my replacement of the u-joints in the driveshaft. 

I checked all the pictures I have of the driveshaft and found I installed the yoke 180 degrees off.  You would think the yoke would be balanced and the driveshaft would be balanced.  I would not think they would have been balanced together or anything.  I read a few posts which suggested you turn the rear of the driveshaft in the pinion mounts 180 degrees and then check it again.  I'll try this soon.

The researched the vacuum guage movement and found it is either a carburetor adjustment or spark plug gap problem.  I checked the spark plugs after the engine cooled and they were all dark.  However, the gaps were all set properly.  I'm a little concerned about crossfiring between 7 and 8 with my new spark plug wire retainers.  I also switched to some old, smaller plug wires as they have 45 degree boots.  This could be causing a problem as well because they are very old.

The dark color of the spark plugs leads me to believe either the jets are too much or the idle mixture is too much.  I was likely mostly using the idle mixture for fuel when driving as I was trying to keep it under 3,000.  I'll need to work on it some more.  At least the thing is running and I made the first trip out of the garage in over a year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Starting the Engine - Day 4

I installed my new American Eagle radiator (#AE340) today.  The core is only 2-1/8" thick, but the location of the mounting brackets leaves me with only about 1/4" between my fan and the water pump.  I could have replaced the electric fan but it is essentially brand new so this is about the biggest radiator I can fit with those restrictions. 

The new radiator core is slightly more narrow when measured from top to bottom.  As a result, the stock fan shroud does not fit.  Rather than cut the shroud, I decided to just leave it off for now.  It is not original to the car (as it did not originally come with one) but I believe it is an original '69 model shroud.  Since the found is mounted flat against the radiator rather than spaced away, I don't really know that it would help all that much. 

The hose connections all fit perfectly as if it were a stock radiator.  However, the mounting holes on the side breackets were not spaced properly.  The holes were too far apart.  Since the brackets are aluminum, it was easy to drill the holes out slightly so it would fit properly.  I then mounted it using the stock air deflecting shields on the sides. 

I then removed the distributor and primed the oil system.  I started up the engine and the timing was at 34 degrees when at 2,200 RPM.  This was perfect so I just decided to run the engine as long as I could without it getting too hot.  I think I let it get a little too hot before so I was more conservative this time.  Additionally, I had a few fans running to have air moving through the radiator and engine compartment.

I can now watch the temperature hit 180 degrees and then drop briefly when the thermostat opens.  Once it climbs to 180 degrees again, I can see the fan turn on and it again drops below 180 degrees.  At the end of the 10 minutes, I was at 200 degrees and just stopped to let it cool down some.  This is much better than with the old radiator.

After cooling for about 30 minutes, I started the engine up again and repeated the process for another 10 minutes.  Paired with my two runs last Monday (at 8 and 6 minutes), I've 34 minutes of run time on the new cam. Comp Cams sugests 30 minutes for break-in so everything should be fine.

I decided to call it a day as if I kept going, I would not know when to stop and would work until bedtime.  I still need to take care of the following and then I'll get it inspected.
- Set idle RPM
- Set timing at idle
- Set idle mixture screws
- Connect vacuum advance
- Install Stage 8 header clips
- Clean up fan wiring
- Install windlace
- Test drive

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Radiator and Thermostat Test

On Thursday, I removed the thermostat from the Mustang.  It is a Milodon 16401 high flow thermostat which is rated at 180 degrees.  I decided to place it in a pan of water and increase the temperature until it opened.  There thermostat did open at 180 degrees but seemed to open a little fuller at slightly higher temperatures.  However, it works and that was the main point of the test.

On Friday, I reinstalled the thermostat using a Fel-Pro 35067 gasket and Permatex Ultra Black RTV.  I plan to install my new radiator on Sunday so I wanted the thermostat back in a least a day before so the RTV has time to fully cure. 

Today, my new American Eagle AE340 radiator arrived.  The welds on the radiator look good.  It is slightly thicker than I expected due to the location of the mounting brackets.  I believe it will fit fine but there will not me much clearance between the fan and water pump.

The radiator cap which came with the radiator is a 16 lbs cap and does not look very nice.  I'm tempted to reuse my 13 lb cap but I don't know if there is a problem with the cap or not.  Some suggested replacing the cap when it started to overflow during my last test.  I'll need to research what the rating indicates so I can make a good decision. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Expensive Decisions

I decided to work on the cooling system before restarting the Mustang.

I've still using the original 2 core brass/copper radiator.  If you look in the filler neck, you can see some chunks of rust slightly blocking some of the tubes.  I wanted to use the radiator as long as I could and I think that day is today.  Honestly, I doubt it will be able to keep this new engine cool anyway when driving.

I did some measuring last night after work in hopes of finding an aluminum 3 core radiator.  In order to keep my Flex-A-Lite 398 electric fan, I must find one less than 2.5 inches thick.  This did not seem like it would be too difficult but it required some compromises.

I found many of the Mustang vendors sell Champion Cooling System radiators.  I found a company called LedFoot racing which is a vendor for their parts and called for check sizes.  Unfortunately, I found the direct fit 3 core is right at 2.5 inches. This would not work as the fan would touch the water pump.

I spoke with a man named Jeff and he said I should get an American Eagle 2 core.  The core size is 1 inch rather than 3/4" like on the Champion.  This would be a decent compromise and the radiator is 2 1/8" thick which would fit.  I checked around an could find it cheaper than his price of $169.95. 

I felt bad buying it from someone else after he helped me so I called back and talked to him.  He said he had one is stock and would ship it to me that day.  I asked about pricing and he agreed to sell it for $150.  This worked for me as it was close to what the others were selling for on eBay and I gave him my business in return for the help he provided.

I'd rather the tanks look more similar to the stock design.  However, this is only possible with a brass/copper style or very expensive aluminum radiator.  I wanted the cooling advantage of aluminum but did not want to keep hemoraging money so I went with this one.  I'm sure it will work fine.  Better yet, it will be here Saturday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Starting the Engine - Day 3

It was difficult to focus at work today as my mind continued to wander to the Mustang.  I started thinking about other possible causes for the issue and kept sticking on a vacuum leak.  As the day progressed, I started wondering about the lifter preload and if my new oil breather was causing the problem.

I called Comp Cams and they said lifter preload can really be between .5 turns and 1 turn.  As long as the lifters are not making much noise at start-up, you are going to be fine. This was the answer I hoped to hear.

I printed out my carburetor instructions and noticed the PCV valve connection is at the front of the carburetor.  Mine is connected at the back to a port labeled 'brake booster' in the instructions.  I connected it at this location as that is where it was on the old carburetor and the molded OEM style tube connected there near perfectly. 

I started questioning if this would be the cause an searched the internet a little.  Seems the PCV can be an unmetered source of air.  Since the carburetor is only metering some of the air when adding fuel, it causes the engine to run lean.  I wondered if the PCV valve port was metered and the brake booster port was not.  If this was the case, it would explain why the motor is running lean now and all the trouble I had previously tuning the carburetor.

I called Holley and they said it did not matter.  However, at lunch, I purchased a new PCV valve and some tubing and connected the PCV valve to the proper port.  I then blocked off the port at the back of the carburetor. 

I picked up a total of three fans from friends of mine.  Two are on stands and can be pointed at the headers.  The last is a box fan I can point at the radiator.  With everything in place, I primed the system, installed the distributor, and started the car with the help of Kyle and my wife.

I sat in the driver seat and monitored the gauges and varied the RPM.  They checked for leaks and kept an eye on the headers.  We ran the car for about 8 minutes before the temperature went to 210 and I turned it off to cool.  The radiator was starting to steam from the top as well.  I've heard new engines run hot for the first several hours but I don't want to over do it.

We let the engine cool and were super excited to have fixed the header issue.  However, now we have a cooling issue.  We let it cool and ran it again about 30 minutes later for 6 minutes before it reached 210 again and the radiator started to steam.

I took a few pictures of the spark plugs during this process. The first two pictures are without the idle mixture turned up.  The curved tip is very white and ashy.  After turning it up, it turned to move of a dull grey color.  I'm sure my fuel mixture is not perfect but it is better and running a little rich is better than running lean.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Starting the Engine - Day 2

This morning, I removed the distributor and primed the oil system so I could finish setting the lifter preload.  I set all the rockers on the driver side priming the engine with oil between each pair of rockers.  I then primed the engine a final time and reinstalled the distributor.

I turned the engine over to start it and it back fired out the carb.  I had marked the location of the distributor before removing it to reset the preload so it did not make sense at first.  I felt stupid when it occurred to me I was turning the engine over to set the lifter preload which would also change the distributor location.

I removed all the spark plugs so I could turn the engine to TDC on the #1 cylinder using a ratchet.  Once I had it in place, I resintalled the spark plugs and the distributor.  I turn the crank to 10 degress BTDC for this process.  I then line up the rotor with the #1 plug.  Ideally, this would set it to 10 degrees advance at idle.

I was able to quickly start the motor and my wife confirmed the timing was 15 degrees BTDC at 1,000 RPM.  I revved the engine to 2,000 RPM and she stated we were at 30 degrees TDC (perfect).   Only my wife was home so she watched the headers and I monitored the gauges and varied the RPM (2,000 - 2,500).  The oil pressure was great (65) and the temperature never made it over 180.  Unfortunately, after a little over four minutes, my wife said the headers are starting to turn orange again.  I decided to just turn it off rather than risk damaging anything.

I posted more about it on SBFTech.  The consensus was I would need new jets as the lean condition was causing the headers to glow.  Someone then indicated it was not needed as the engine was more running on the idle mixture.  This made sense and I knew these were not set properly.  These are set by turning them until you reach the highest level of vacuum at idle but this never worked before the rebuild so I left them at the factory setting (1.5 turns out). 

I checked them after reading the post and they were actually slightly less than 1.5 turns out.  Most of the articles I read suggested starting at that point or 2 turns out.  I set them 2.5 turns out as suggested in the posts but could not start the engine as it was already very late.  Additionally, I was still considering replacing the jets in the primaries.

I'm glad to have options and some insight into what is going on with the engine.  I wish this road were a little easier but I suppose if it was easy, anyone could do it.  I keep trying to remain calm but it is hard when you have this much money in the engine and every minute it runs at the wrong RPM or with the wrong tune could be damaging parts.

I've taken videos of every attempt to start and break in the motor.  I watched them tonight and realized we have not turned the engine over or let it run below 2,000 RPM as much as I thought.  Time almost seems to stand still and and each second the car is running last an eternity.  Watching the videos made me feel a little better as I was a little worried about the condition of my new cam.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Starting the Engine

I started this morningby installing spark plugs and connected the plug wires.  I checked the cam card to confirm and the new cam uses the original 289 fring order.  Unfortunately, my MSD Street Fire wires have straight boots and the contact the headers.  I decided to wire tie them out of the way to keep them safe.

I wired up the electric fan using a relay.  I cover the ends of all the spades which connect to the relay.  Unfortunately, I ran out of heat shrink but managed to get it temporarily installed.  I'm expecting a few things I'll need to address before I start driving so I'll add this to the list.

The last item I addressed before attempting to start the engine was to add coolant to the radiator.  I used a 50/50 mix of Prestone anti-freeze.  I had to fill it and wait a few times for the system to completely fill. 

I created a start-up checklist and enlisted the help of my wife and frien (Kyle).  I primed the oil system using a drill with a 1/4" socket.  I removed a valve cover and primed the system until oil was running off all of the roller rockers.  I then reinstalled the valve cover and set the dristributor in about 10 BTDC.

To break in a flat tappet cam, you must run the engine at 2,000 - 2,500 RPM.  There is not sufficient flow at idle but I did not want to just start the car and immediately rev up the motor without knowing the timing.  I connected a vacuum gauge and timing light and assigned had a different person monitor each.  This would keep us from wasting as little time as possible.

We nervously turned the engine over but it took 30 seconds (of separate attempts) before fuel reached the see-through fuel filter.  I could hardly stand to continue turning over the engine but I did not have much of an option.  If they were not so loud, I would have purchased an electric fuel pump to avoid this situation.

Once the fuel reached the engine, it tried to start but the timing seemed to be off.  My wife and Kyle watched with a timing light as I turned over the engine.  I'd have watched and had someone else try to start the car but I just felt much more familiar with the appropriate amount of gas to give the car.  This also gave me a front row seat to see all of the gauges.

We worked on this for a while and finally were able to get the timing close enough to start the car.  It was at about 10 degrees BTDC at 1,000 and at 22 degrees BTDC at 2,000.  This was not as much timing as I wanted but I felt it would be adequate for break in.  I turned the idle stop to hold the car at 2,000 RPM.  The oil pressure was steady at about 65 lbs, all the gauges worked, and there were no exaust leaks.

We continued to monitor the engine and quickly noticed the headers started to change color.  I checked the engine temperature and it was at 160 degrees.  I checked the headers again and they were starting to glow orange.  I hesitated for a minute as the engine was not hot but the headers sure were.   I then turned the engine off after only about 4-5 minutes and started searching for the cause.

All the articles I read on the internet indicated this was because of either a lean mixture, vacuum leak, or inadequate timing.  I checked the intake and all other connections for leaks but found nothing.  I took off the carburetor and switched the front jets from 54's to 56's. 

I primed the oil system again, reinstalled the distributor, and had to work again at getting the timing right to start the car.  We were able to get the timing at 28 degrees BTDC and were back to the break in process at 2,000 RPM.  Unfortunately, the headers again started the turn orange so I turned the car off without pushing it.

I started posting on about the issue to find a cause.  A few individuals suggested it was because of the preload on the lifters.  If there is too much preload, the valves will not close completely.  I remembered the lifter instructions stated 1 turn of preload but the cam instructions stated .5-.75 turns of preload.  I decided this might be the cause and started setting the preload to .5 turns.  After doing one side of the motor (passenger side), I decided to call it a night and finish in the morning.

The day was a little disappointing.  I'm still shocked at how the headers turned so bright orange.  I did not expect this to go smoothly but I expected a exhaust leak or something small.  I'm hoping I can find out what is happening and get this fixed.  When dealing with breaking-in a cam (and motor), you don't want these problems keeping you from starting, getting the engine to RPM, and running the motor for long enough to break it in.  Hopefully I'll have better luck tomorrow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Carburetor, Distributor, and Valve Cover Install

I started tonight by installing my new valve covers.  I ordered them along with the push rods when I learned the stock covers would no longer work.  Surprisingly, these do not fit either because of the baffles.

I test installed the valve covers using my Fel-Pro VS13264R gaskets and a little Play Doh inside.  This allowed me to best know exactly where the poly locks touched the baffles.  On each spot, I lacked clearance by about 1/8".  I took a body hammer and tapped on the baffles to find I was able to bend them with little trouble and was able to get them to clear.

Before mounting the valve covers, I poured in the Comp Cams 10w30 Break In oil.  I really should have poured it in the lifter valley before intalling the intake but forgot.  There are large holes at the top of the block which allow oil to drain back into the lifter valley.  I poured the oil into those holes hoping I could get some on the cam.  I also filled the Motorcraft FL1A filter I'm using for break-in. 

I then reinstalled my Holley Street Avenger 570 carburetor and connected the fuel lines.  I then installed the distributor (which has a new MSD85832 gear installed) and the spark plug wires.  I ran out of time before I could actually install the spark plugs. 

I need to install the NGK spark plugs and finish wiring the electric fan and carburetor choke before I can work on breaking in the new engine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Installing the Intake Manifold

I installed the intake manifold tonight after work.  While it is not a difficult job, I really dislike installing intakes.  The feeling has resulted from needing to reinstall this intake twice already in order to get it to seal properly. 

The first time, I installed the intake using the cork end seals and everything went together fine.  However, I walked out the next morning and found the cork gasket had popped out of place new the distributor.  The next time, I used RTV only to find it did not seal perfectly at the rear end seal.  The third time was the charm then and hopefully I learned a thing or two.

The intake is a Wieand Stealth which I installed about two years ago.  I used Fel-Pro 1250 gaskets on the head mating surface.  Before the installing the gaskets, I coated the head site and head with Permatex High Tack Sealant (#80062).  I then put a bead of Permatex Ultra Black RTV (#82180) around the front water ports.  Finally, I coated the front and rear portion block ends with Ultra Black RTV and dropped the intake in place.

The Edelbrock E-Street head instructions state the intake bolts should not be torqued over 18 ft/lbs.  The Weiand instructions for the intake suggest the outside 8 bolts be torqued to 15 ft/lbs with the inner 4 being torqued to 25 ft/lbs.  I decided to just torque them all to 16 ft/lbs.  I went through about 5 passes over the next hour to keep them torqued (and did it an extra time after 24 hours).

The engine is really coming together now.  I decided to call it a night although I had several additional parts I could go ahead and put on now that the intake is installed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Pushrods & Setting Lifter Preload

I plan on taking some time each night this week to work on the Mustang.  The goal is to have all the small things done by the end of the week so I can try to start the car on Saturday.  I'll then have Sunday to fix any issues or get the car inspected.

My Comp Cams Magnum pushrods (#7634) arrived in the mail today.  Pushrods are not normally something to get excited about but these seem very well constructed.  They are a one piece,  5/16" .080" wall, chromemoly pushrod which works with the guide plates installed in my Edlebrock E-street (#5025) heads.  I rolled them all on a flat counter to make sure they were straight, looked through the oiling hole of them all to make sure there was no blockage, and then cleaned them all with the Crown mineral spirits.  Suprisingly, a large amount of dirt and oil came off these new parts.

I removed the intake I temporarily installed to install the lifters, pushrods, and rockers.  The lifters have set in a bowl of 5w30 Pennzoil for six days straight.  I took them out of the bowl and set them in the lifter valley of the motor with the cam surface facing up.  This allowed the oil to run off the surface which touches the cam so I could put on some of the Comp Cams Break-In Lube (#103). 

Once the lube was on all the lifters, I dropped them into the proper locations.  I then filled the top cup of the lifter where the pushrod sits with more of the lube.  Finally, I dropped a pushrod into each of the guide plate locations and slid them down to contact the lifter. 

I watched a few videos and read a few different ways to set the lifter preload.  The instructions varied on the amount of preload needed.  However, the instructions with my lifters stated you need a fulll turn of preload.  The process of setting rocker clearance or preload on lifters seemed so complicated until I started.  It then seemed quite simple as long as you understand the cam events.

I worked through the cylinders in order starting with the first.  I'd rotate the engine and watch the exhaust pushrod rise.  This indicated the piston was coming up in the bore on the exhaust stroke.  I'd then see the intake push rod move up and once the pushrod dropped back to the closed position, I gave the crank another 120 degree turn.  This placed the lifters for that cylinder on the base circle of the cam. 

The video I watched last suggested you loosen the guide plate at this point and turn the rocker studs until they are snug on the plate.  You then move the pushrods back and forth in the openings to ensure the guideplate was centered.  You then torque the guideplates back down to 50 ft/lbs.  The process did not seem like it did much to the alignment of the guideplates.  However, I was glad I did it as several of the studs did not seem very tight. 

I then cleaned each of the roller rockers (Comp Cams High Energy 1.6 ratio) with the Crown mineral spirits, put the Comp Cams lube on the pushrod cup and roller tip, and placed them on the rocker stud.  I tightened the polylock nut until it was no longer possible to move the pushrod up and down.  At first you can see and hear the pushrod moving.  At the end, I looked to see if moving it caused the rocker to move at all.  Once I could not move the rocker with the pushrod, I was ready to start setting the preload.

Before setting the preload, I would check the lifter and make sure the plunger in the middle was still at the top.  I would then turn the polylock one turn with a 5/8" wrench.  I then tightened the set screw with a 3/8" allen wrench.  I started with just a normal allen wrench but eventually move to one installed in a socket wrench.  This gave me the ability to torque the allen head set screw the best.

When I was done, I tried to tighten the poly lock more on each rocker.  This should not be possible if the set screw is torqued properly (no special setting just as tight as you can get it).  I was able to turn the polylock on the #1 cylinder so I redid those. ( I actually then checked them all two days later to make sure they did not loosen for any reason and they did not).

The job was finished up at near 10 o'clock at night.  I took my time and tried to do it as perfectly as possible.  If you are not paying attention, you can forget to torque a rocker stud so I checked all of those again.  You can also forget to turn the trunion the correct way beofre installing the polylock so I checked that as well.  Once I was sure everything was properly installed, I covered the lifter valley with plastic and called it a night. 

Those reading along as I throw all these new parts at my motor likely think I have more money available than I really do.  Turth is, I have a hard time doing things half way.  I don't have much money and have just really overextended myself with this motor build.  I had not even intended on rebuilding it when I pulled it out.  You just nickle and dime your way until you are damn near broke on these cars. 

As I worked on the engine tonight, it seemed somewhat unreal.  I've watched them build motors with these same parts on TV but never thought I'd really be able to pull the trigger and do it myself.  Now that I am, it really does not seem real yet.  I don't know that it will until I turn the key and start it up.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Exhaust System

I decided to go ahead and work on the exhaust system today.  I'm ready to have a day off but want to get this done so I can be in the best position to start the motor next weekend.

The exhaust is a Flowmaster American Thunder H-pipe system (#17282).  It is designed for my model Mustang with rear pipe hangers which mount in the stock toe hook locations and with special rubber insolaters which mount at the rear seat pan.  The system is 2.5" mandrel bent tube and should mate up to most headers. 

The system came with Super 44 mufflers but after hearing them on a few other cars, I decided to sell them and purchased Dynomax  Super Turbo (#17733) mufflers.  These mufflers are fiberglass filled which makes them quite but they still have a low pitch.  The biggest part of this decision was that I want my two kids and wife to enjoy riding in the car with me and I don't know that they would with the original Flowmaster mufflers.

I started by aligning the rear exhaust pipes and the mufflers.  The tail pipes are held in place with rubber isolator mounts which are installed with the bolts which originally held in tow brackets. Therea re additional mounts at the back of the seat pan.  These use older style exhaust clamps which can crush the tubes when tightened so I don't particularly like them but I'll go ahead and use them for now. 

I then mounted the H pipe to the mufflers and installed the headers on the heads.  The passenger side header fits without any issues.  The driver side comes into contact with the equalizer bar which is part of my stock clutch mechanism.  The contact point was very minor so I ended up using a spacer on the block side mount for the equalizer bar and then used an angle grinder to remove some material from the equalizer bar itself.  

Flowmaster provided two 30 degree mandrel bent tubes to connect the H pipe to the headers.  Unfortunately, these were at least 10 inches from connecting the H piepe to the heads.  Unfortunately, just a few pieces of straight pipe would not be enough as the exhaust is nowhere near lining up with the headers. 

I stared at the bottom of the car for a while working with the two pieces Flowmaster provided and trying to decided what I was going to do in order to get it running.  I'd at least need some kind of exhaust in place to go to a muffler shop.  I decided I'd at least need a 45 degree bend to make it work.  Hopefully, I could find one around 10" long to fill the gap.

I went to a neighborhood O'Rielly and they had some 45 degree tubes in 2.5" diameter..  Unfortunately, these were not mandrel bent tubes.  They are crushed a little in the middle where they were bent.  They were only $5 so I picked up a pair so I could at least find out if it would work.  If so, I could then worry about looking for some mandrel bent pieces. 

I was able to use the 45 degree angle pieces to connect the exhaust together.  The tubes hang just a little lower than I would like and don't run as close to the center of the car either.  However, they will allow me to get the car started and then make plans for a better way to construct the exhaust. 

Since I don't know what I'll ultimately do with the exhaust, I used the clamps Flowmaster supplied with the kit to connect all the angled pieces of pipe together.  I tightened everything up but I'm thinking the use of these crappy clamps will likely result in some exhaust leaks.  This is certainly something I know I'm going to need to change up one way or another once I have the engine running.  However, this will at least get me going for now. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Installing Engine Accessories

I'm very happy I was able to install the engine and transmission yesterday.  It is nice to walk out in the garage and not have those two tasks ahead of you. I tackled the installation of some of the engine accessories today.  I did not plan to work on the car too much but ended up spending most of the day in the garage.

I started off with the installation of the starter followed by the alternator and associated brackets.  Next came the water pump pulley, new harmonic balancer, crank pulley, and then the belt.

The radiator collected a little dust over the past few months.  I cleaned it off and noticed the front fins had a little paint scraped off.  I touched it up and then installed the radiator and my overflow tank.  I connected the lower radiator hose to the engine but not the top hose. I'll do that part once I permanently intall the intake (I temporarily put on the intake to lift the motor into the vehicle).

I then mounted up my export brace and then put on the shock tower caps.  I then reconnected the ground to the back of the driver side cylinder head.  I also connected the battery and alternator grounds to the original mounting point on the block. 

Since the carburetor is not in place, I'm limited in what I can do with the fuel lines.  However, I cut some rubber hose to connect the line which emmerges from the driver fender to the fuel pump.  I installed a Fram fuel filter at this point.   This is not much of a custom arrangement but is certainly functional and the filters are inexpensive and available everywhere. 

I'm leaving the lift plate in place just to block off the intake.  While the stock valve covers don't fit, they do cover the heads without the rockers in place.  These are just there to seal the motor until I'm able to install the pushrods, lifters, rockers, and intake.

I've a large amount of additional space in the garage now.  The motor, transmission, radiator, and all the other parts were taking up a fair amount of space.  I spent a little time cleaning up the garage and then called it a day. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Building and Installing the Engine (and Transmission)

I'm only able to get so far on the engine installation as I'm wating for the push rods and valve covers I ordered two days ago.  I'd hoped to use my stock valve covers for now to save money but they don't clear the rockers due to the baffles and I don't want to cut them out. 

I started off the morning installing the heads.  I used some Fel Pro 9333 PT-1 gaskets, stock bolts, and Trick Flow bolt bushings.  I put a little moly lube around the head of each bolt and some LockTite to seal the bolt threads.  I torqued the bolts in stages (30, 50, and 70).  I then finally tightened the top bolts (inside the valve cover) to 80 ft/lbs. 

I temporarily installed the intake (without a gasket) and torqued it down next.  The intake is needed in order to attach the lift plate to the carb flange.  Once the intake was installed, I put on the lift plate, and started assembling the engine lift I rented from RedTail rentals earlier this morning.

Once I had the engine attached to the lift, a friend (Kyle) came by to help guide it into place.  While working to install the engine, I had two neighbors stop by to say hi (classic cars and engines have that effect).  As a result, I was distracted and did not take pictures of the engine on the lift. 

The engine installation went perfectly.  I slowly lowered the motor and it lined up perfectly with the mounts in the Mustang.  There was no paint scratched or other problems which was great. The remaining task for the day was to reinstall the transmission.

I worked slowly but methodically installing the block plate, flywheel, clutch plate, pressure plate, and finally the bellhousing.  I installed the flywheel using ARP bolts (#100-2801) which were torqued to 62 ft/lbs per ARPs instructions. The pressure plate was also installed with ARP bolts (#250-2201) and they were torqued down to 20 ft/lbs per ARPs instructions.  There was not much of an indication of what should be used on the threads of the bolts so I used the High Strength Thread Locker.

It was then time for the transmission.  The transmission fought me each time I would get close to getting it into the proper alignment.  The transmission installation took much, much longer than installing the engine.  The transmission is just bulky, heavy, and must be installed perfectly to align up to the back of the engine.  After about an hour of a half filled with cussing, I managed to get the transmission in place.

After the transmission was installed, I installed the transmission crossmember, shifter, driveshaft, filled the transmission with new gear oil (drained it and cleaned it up some while it was out), reconnected the parking brake lines, and then decided to call it a day.

I'm glad with the progress I've made over the past couple of days.  The engine looks incredible in the engine compartment.  I still find it hard to believe it is all back in the car.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Assembling the New Engine!

With all the checking and measuring out of the way, I was time to start assembling the motor.  I took a few days off work so I could dedicate myself to building the motor and installing it quickly. 

I started off by installing the new crank seal lin the timing cover.  Before I installed the timing cover, I checked the clearance between the fuel eccentric and the cover.  As a father, I had Play Doh available so I used it.  I then measured the compressed thickness and I have 1.50 clearance which is adequate.

I then coated the fuel eccentric (which the machine shop seemed to clean up) with the Comp Cams 103 assembly lube and put on the crank seal shield.  I then put a small bead of Permatex Blue RTV (#80022) on the block, installed the Fel-Pro gasket (TCS 45168), put another small bead of the blue RTV, installed the stock harmonic balancer to center the timing cover, and then bolted it down (13 ft/lbs) with ARP bolts(#154-1504).  I used the Permatex Medium (blue) Threadlock on the bolts to seal them.

I then installed my new standard volume oil pump (Melling M68) and hardened oil pump shaft (Melling IS68).  The instructions in Tom Monroe's book states you should not use anything on the gaskets.  I installed the hardened shaft, temporarily installed the pump, and then rotated the motor on the stand to see if the retainer was positioned such that the shaft would not fall out and it didn't.

I filled the shaft hole on the pump with moly lube, installed the shaft, installed the pump, and then installed the pick-up tube.  I did not use anything on the gaskets and no threadlock (per Tom Monroe).  The oil pump was torqued to 25 ft/lbs and the pick up was torqued to 14 ft/lbs.  The gaskets for these parts came with the new Melling pump.

I then installed my oil pan using a new bolt set and one piece Fel Pro gasket (OS 13260 T).  I used a little of the blue RTV in the corners of the gasket.  The gasket looks much nicer than the cork one but is a little pricy.

I then installed the water pump which is the same one which was previously on the vehicle.  I installed it the same as the timing cover using the blue RTV, remaining pieces in the Fel-Pro gasket kit, and the ARP bolts.  Strangely, one of the bolts was not long enough.  I tried switching around the bolts but regardless, one was always too short.  I called ARP and for $2 a bolt, they sell them individually so I ordered one.  For the time being, I rigged something to hold it together.

Next came the fuel pump which used the last of the Fel-Pro gasket set.  I again used the blue RTV on each side of the gasket.  The fuel pump is the one which was previously on the vehicle.  I imagine it is not going to be sufficient for the engine but it will certainly work for general use.
I'm working on the lower head bolts as they are rather rusty. That is why I stopped short of installing the heads tonight. I did weigh the Edelbrock aluminum heads and they weight 29.4 lbs compared to the 48.8 lbs each stock head weighed. I plan to install them tomorrow and keep moving towards getting the engine in the car.

My son took the following picture of me today with the motor as I was cleaning up and calling it a day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Confirming Cam Degree and Specifications

The last thing I did tonight was check the cam's installation.  The cam is ground with a 4 degree advance for low end power.  As a result, it should be installed straight up and I wanted to confirm the installation.

The process is not difficult but was new to me.  The first step is to confirm TDC on your engine.  I used a piston stop and recorded the degree wheel reading when the piston hit the stop going forward and backward.  Top Dead Center (TDC) is then the midpoint between those two measurements. 

It was at this point, I realized what has been contributing to my problems with the Mustang.  The stock harmonic balancer ring shifted which threw off the TDC marks.  When I thought I had 12 degrees advance, I really only had 4 or 5.  If I had noticed this before, I might have been able to get better vaccum reading or set the idle mixture screws better on the carburetor.

I then confirmed how the cam was degreed using the intake centerline method.  With this method, you rotate the engine until you reach .050" lift on the intake and mark the degree.  You then rotate the engine past peak lift and stop when back down to .050" lift on the back side of the intake lobe.  You then take these two degree measurements, add them together, and then divide by two to determine intake centerline.  My cam should be installed with an intake centerline of 106 degrees and that was the exact figure I reached.

Since I had the degree wheel connected, I decided I'd go ahead and check all the specifications on the cam card to the actual cam grind I received.  It was strangely a fun process to check the numbers and see how they matched against the card.  I found the following:

Intake Lift: 3.02 @ lobe (.483 @ valve) - this is a higher than the card
Intake Duration: 212 @ .050 lift - exact
Exhaust Lift: 3.06 @ lobe (4.896 @ valve) - this is higher then the card
Exhaust Duration: 218 @ .0505 lift - exact

I also checked the exact point at which each valve opens (using .006 as the criteria).  I found the intake opens and closes a degree late.  I found the exhaust opens and closes 3 degrees earlier.  There is not much to do about this but is nice to get a little more familiar with the process of checking a cam.

Measuring Pushrod Length & Clearance

I started working tonight on testing proper pushrod length using a Twisted Flow adjustable push rod, Comp Cams check springs, and my Comp Cams High Energy roller rockers.

To test, I marked the valve tip with a dry erase marker.  I then installed the lifter, head gasket, head, rocker, and adjustable pushrod.  I set the preload at one turn past zero lash per the instructions with the lifters.  I turned the motor over clockwise for two full rotations, removed the roller rocker, and then checked the witness mark left on the valve tip.  The goal is focus the rocker's roller tip on the middle of the valve tip while minimizing the width of the pattern caused by the roller.

I just set the adjustable push rod by estimating and did a preliminary test.  Using the 7.100 push rod, I found the witness mark was a little low on the valve tip.  Additionally, the pattern was a little wide.

I decided to go ahead and try one of my stock push rods (6.800) to see if it by chance would still be long enough.  Unfortunately, the resulting witness mark was too high on the valve tip.  As a result, I need something in the middle of the two.

I set the adjustable push rod to between the two and ran another test.  This time the pattern was right in the middle of the valve and was quite narrow.  This looks about perfect to me.  I posted it on the Forum and a poster named Woody who builds stroker engines commented that it looks perfect.

I searched the Internet while waiting for a response on  I found many suggesting a solid lifter should be used instead of a hydraulic lifter.  The hydraulic lifter would bleed out during the process from the pressure of trying to move the valve components since there is no oil pressure. 

I pulled out one of my old lifters and took it apart.  The lifter fills with oil which holds it firm.  Additionally, there is a spring in the middle.  I filled the area inside the lifter with washers such that it essentially became a solid lifter so I could repeat the push rod tests.

Using the solid lifter, I duplicated the results I found with the hydraulic lifter.  I could tell there was much more movement at the rocker.  When going through the process, I expected the width of the witness pattern to be larger with the increased movement of the rocker.  However, I was wrong and it is exactly the same as the first test with the hydraulic lifter. 

With this final test out of the way, I was positive I had exactly the right push rod length.  After a little checking with a digital dial caliper, I found it was almost exactly 6.950 so I ordered a set of Magnum Comp Cam push rods.  They should be here on Monday.

While I had the solid lifter installed, I put a little Play Doh on the pistons to check piston to valve clearance.  I then put the engine back together without the gasket (for extra clearance if it is close) and then rotated the engine over two full rotations.  I then did the same with the exhaust valve.  The intake valve has .256" clearance and the exhaust valve has .268" clearance.  In short, I've plenty of room in case I ever want to switch to 1.7 ratio rockers or a different cam with more lift.

Confirming Engine Data Sheet Specifications

I'm going to check the specifications on the Engine Assembly Sheet provided with my motor against Tom Monroe's How to Rebuild Small Block Ford Engines book.  I'd just like to confirm everything is to tightened or set to the appropriate specification.

One of the first items on the specification sheet is the crankshaft end play.  The specification sheet indicates  my crank end play measures .005".  Tom Monroe states the measurement should be between .004" and .008".  My block seems to be setup perfect in this regard.

The main bearing clearances on my engine are all between .001" and .0015".  Tom Monroe's book does not indicate the proper clearance.  However, he states a .001" to .003" plastigage be used.  As a result, I believe my measurement is on the small side but otherwise fine.  Rick indicated it was tight but good when I questioned the measurement at the shop.  The same is true of the rod clearances as they are all .001".

The top ring gap for all the rings is either .022" or .023".  The instruction sheet which came with my Keith Black moly rings includes a calculator to reach the best end gap by multiplying .0065 by your bore diameter.  Based on this caculation, the gap should be at .026 so my ring gaps are a little on the small side but not hopefully it will not be an issue.

The second ring is suppoed to be gapped at .004" per inch of the bore.  For my 4.040 inch bore, this means the gap should be at .016".  The instructions state this is the bare minimum.  All of my second rings are at .020" with the exception of two which are at .022".  This should work out just fine.

There is no indicator on the instructions for the proper oil ring gap.  The build sheet I received from the machine shop indicates mine are set to .026 for all of the pistons.  I'm assuming these ae just installed as they come out of the box rather than gapping them.  After all, these do let oil through so the gap is not as critical. 

The spec sheet states the main caps were all tightened to 65 ft/lbs.  Tom Monroe's book indicates the proper torque is between 60 and 70 ft/lbs so this is again just right.  The rod bolts were all tightened to 24 ft/lbs and Tom Monroe states they should be between 19 and 24 ft/lbs so this is also perfect.

Overall, it seems like things were done mostly to spec and everything is real consistent from one piston to the next.  I'd like it to be perfect but I'm content with the results at this point.

Engine Block Painting

I picked up some Duplicolor Engine Primer (DE1612) and another can of Duplicolor Ford Blue (DE1606) for painting the engine block.  I taped everything off and rolled the motor off into the grass by my driveway.  I put three coats of the primer followed by three coats of the Ford Blue.

Aside from painting the block, one of the first things I did was wipe down all the Comp Cams hydraulic lifters with Crown mineral spirits per the instructions. I then placed them in a container filled with Pennzoil 5w30 oil and then sealed the containter. I'll ultimately use 10w30 oil in the engine but I had 5w30 available tonight and the oil used for this is not crucial.  I want them to soak as long as possible so they fill with oil.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Rebuilt Short Block is Ready!

I received a phone call during lunch today from Villa's Motor Works stating my engine was ready.  I took a short lunch and arranged to leave early to pick up the engine.    It was difficult to wait until the end of the day but I somehow managed.

When I arrived, I talked to the owner (Rick) and the worker who assembled my engine (John).  John stated the bottom of the engine "went together like a dream".  John talked to me a while about the engine and had kept all of the original parts (pistons, bearings, rings, freeze plugs, etc) for me.  He also had the boxes and instructions for all the parts I dropped off so I could keep them.

Rick then walked me through the Assembly Data Sheet I received with my motor.  This indicated the torque amounts used on the various components.  Additionally, it provides the main and rod bearing clearances, ring end gaps, and camshaft end play.

Rick talked to me about the use of a break in ZDDP addative for at least the first 500 miles.  He personally does not believe it is required after the first 500 miles. Aside from the standard break-in process for the cam, he did not suggest anything particular for breaking in the engine.  He asked John if he had anything to add and he said, "keep the RPM low for the first 500 miles and don't go over 7,000 RPM after berak-in".  I'd never considered going over about 5,500 RPM so that will not be a problem.

I drove home with the engine in the bed of the truck and then mounted it up on my engine stand. The zero-decked block with my pistons looks simply awesome.  I'm glad I decided to go ahead and get the block zero decked.  All the rod bolts are new.  All the rod and main bolts have the torque compound still on them.

I plan to be as careful and detailed as possible in assembling the engine.  The detail I'll add in the next few days is mostly for me.  It might be overkill but I don't want to question later how I did something. 


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Completed Hood Hinges

I removed the hinges from the engine compartment along with the hood when I pulled the engine.  The following shows the condition when they were removed.  There was plenty of grime, black, red, and some blue paint on them.

I media blasted the hinges the Friday before Christmas.  I then coated them with two light coats of Eastwoods Rust Encapsulator.  Finally, I put a light coat of Eastwoods Cast Blast on the hinges.  I stuck with light coats so the paint would hopefully not be thick enough to scrape off when the hinges are used. 

I purchased some AMK original style mounting bolts and replacement springs from CJ Pony parts.  I installed the springs on the hinges after giving a little time for the Cast Blast paint to dry.  I'd say the hinges look really good.