Thursday, March 26, 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 Goodguys Spring Lone Star Nationals Outcome

It was definitely the best decision to not drive the Mustang to Goodguys.  The weather was horrible.

My wife and I left the Holiday Inn Express for Texas Motor Speedway in the rain.  We waited in the car at the speedway for a while watching the weather on our cell phones and questioning if it would clear up.  The weather looked like it would clear in about 30 minutes so we waited.  Sure enough, it cleared and we started walking to the gate wondering how many cars were parked inside.  We paid admission and walked in to find most of the lots incredibly empty.

We looked around inside at some of the vendor booths.  Cars then slowly started to show up and we were able to look around,  It was quite a bit colder than we expected to we ended up buying a couple of Goodguys hoodies.  We stayed until around 2 or 3 o'clock and saw plenty of cars so it turned out much better than I expected when we arrived to an empty lot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Change in Plans

It has rained each weekend for the last several weeks.  I've not been able to drive the Mustang as I wanted in advance of the trip due to all the rain.  However, today, it stopped raining and I decided to take the car out for a 100 mile drive to ensure it was up to the task of driving up to Ft. Worth for Goodguys. 

The Mustang was very hard to start.  It seemed as if it was just not getting enough gas.  I checked the clear fuel filter just before the fuel pump and found it contained much less gas that normal.  There was so little, it really did not fill enough to even reach the line running out to the carburetor.  With a full fuel tank, I knew the fuel pump was the most likely culprit.  After all, it is now the only original engine part remaining since my rebuild. 

After cranking for a while, I was able to get the car to start.  It did not run well and the A/F gauge showed it running much leaner than normal.  I turned it off and started to consider my two options.  I could use a replacement style pump from a local auto part store in hopes of having it on the road for Goodguys or order a performance version from Summit and potentially pass on driving the Mustang to Goodguys.

In the end, I decided to order the better fuel pump from Summit.  I made the decision after checking the weather and noticing the chance of rain during the Goodguys show was 80-90% on both days.  I decided to go with an Edelbrock 1725 fuel pump rated at 110gph which produces a steady 6psi without a regulator.  The pump arrived the day before I planned to leave but it was already pouring rain so I decided to wait to install it until I returned from Goodguys.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Birthday Presents - Arm Rests & Speedometer Cable

One of my birthday presents this year was a $50 gift card to CJ Pony Parts.  I used it almost immediately to order a new set of arm rests and a new speedometer cable.  I then installed them this week.

The arm rest were just a small change I've wanted to make for a while.  The original arm rests are cracked and are an eye sore.  The new ones were made by Dashes Direct.  They are slightly larger than the original and the appearance of the texture is not as close to the original as I would like.  However, they work well and are certainly an improvement.

The speedometer cable was needed as the last one was melted by the exhaust.  I'd just happen to notice it a few days ago.  When I took it out, I also noticed the o-ring which keeps the portion which connects to the transmission from leaking was rock hard and starting to leak.  When I installed this one, I ran it a different way so it is far enough from the exhaust that I don't expect to have any problems.

Goodguys Preparation - Repairing an Oil Leak

The oil pan has leaked in the Mustang since I rebuilt the engine several years ago.  At first, I thought the engine was leaking from the rear seal as that is where the majority of the oil accumulated.  Over time, I noticed it was actually leaking about 2/3rds of the way back on the passenger side of the oil pan.

This weekend I decided to take the oil pan off to repair the leak.  I used a Fel Pro one piece pan gasket without RTV during the rebuild and hoped to reuse it.  Unfortunately, it ripped when I removed the oil pan from the Mustang. 

I examined the oil pan and found the mounting flange was not flat.  The unevenness around the bolt holes can be barely seen in the following picture.

I spent last Sunday straightening the mounting flange all the way around.  Once it was a flat as possible, I stripped the entire pan and repainted it with a fresh coat of Duplicolor Engine Enamel primer and Ford Blue paint (DE1606).

I purchased another FelPro OS13260T gasket at O'Reilly and then installed the oil pan this weekend.  It was time for an oil change so I put on a new Fram oil filter and some 10w30 Brad Penn oil.  It has rained for days so I've not driven it yet but I'm hopeful this eliminates the oil leak.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Strut Rods & Alignment

In 2009 after rebuilding the front suspension, I took my car in for an alignment at Pilger's tire.  The undercarriage looked immaculate and I told the shop to be especially careful as everything was new.  Everything seemed great until I crawled under the car when I made it home.  I then noticed the round aluminum sleeves on my strut rods were adjusted using a set of vice grips.  The vice grips were clamped on tight digging into the aluminum and then ripped up the surface as the turned them.  To say I was upset was an understatement.

In the years since, I planned to replace the sleeves with a better design so they could be adjusted without being damaged.  Since I've not had an alignment since performing the Shelby drop, I decided now was a good time.  I purchased AllStar 5/8" suspension hex tube (#AAF-ALL56609) from Summit which is 9" long.  The original sleeve was 10" but I decided to go with 9" as there was only about 3/16" of adjustment possible at either end of the old sleeve.  However, as I assembled them, I realized the 9" only allowed for 1/2" of thread engagement (assuming the same overall length from the last alignment).

I decided to order a 10" piece of the hex as I would rather be a little limited in the flexibility than not have enough thread engagement and worry about it not holding up to hard use.  I ordered the 10" length (# #AAF-ALL56610) and they arrived last night.  I found they were about 1/8" shorter than the original sleeve and I was able to remove a 1/8" washer which gave me some extra adjustment room.  I finished installing them about 8 o'clock last night.  

This morning I went to Rodriguez Alignment to have an alignment performed.  The shop adjusted the car, drove it, adjusted, drove it, and finished it up in about 30 minutes.  I did not get a printed sheet of the alignment specs.  However, I was told I have exactly -.25 camber on each side and 1/8" toe in.  I gave them a sheet of specs asking for 2.5 to 3.5 caster.  I asked and he said it was adjusted to that range with a little more on the right to account for the angle of the roads.  

I think the owner of the location was the one who drove my car.  He offered me a breakfast taco while I waited and told me the suspension on the car looked great.  He then charged me $50 instead of the $70 they have as the listed price.  I was much happier with my experience there over Pilgers and will go there from now on.

The ride home did not feel much different but I'm glad to know the alignment is done properly.  I would not want to wonder if it could corner better with an alignment or damage my new tires.  Even better, I checked under the car when I got home and there was absolutely no damage.  

I now only have two tasks left of the maintenance items I had in mind before Goodguys:
- Fix Oil Leak
- Fix Coolant Leak

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Rear Leaf Springs & More

I purchased a set of Grab-A-Trak leaf springs which arrived this past Friday.  I went with their 4.5 mid eye springs.  These add an extra half leaf at the front to control spring wrap up on acceleration.  The mid eye version should lower the car about an inch from stock height.

Along with the leaf springs, I ordered a set of window rollers for the driver side rear quarter window.  I took everything apart and installed the rollers in about 30 minutes.  I cleaned up the tracks while I was in there to ensure the window worked well.  The picture below shows a blue roller installed and the white one which split in two. 

The bottom leaf of each leaf stack was a little rusty.  I sanded them down on Saturday morning and put a coat of Rustoleum satin black on the bottom facing surface of the leafs.  I let them dry overnight and then started the install on Sunday morning.

I soaked all the bolts in PB Blaster overnight so everything came apart very easily.  The job was very straightforward.  I had my 10 year old daughter help me and we were done in about two hours.  

After putting the Mustang on the ground, I was a little surprised at the ride height.  The leafs are designed to drop the rear 1-1.25" below stock.  Since my stock springs were sagging badly, I expected a half inch drop.  Stupidly, I did not measure right before swapping out the springs but I think the rear end dropped .75 to 1".

The passenger rear side of the Mustang was always higher than the driver side.  I expected it was because of the leaf springs.  Replacing them this weekend confirmed that.  I measured when I was done and it is 25" from the garage floor to the highest point of the fender opening.  

It was raining today so I've not gone for a drive.  I'm ready to try them out and feel the improvement.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Fuel Gauge Adjustment

Adjusting your sending unit so the fuel gauge shows right is not the most exciting task.  I'd much rather be putting on some new speed part, interior item, or just about anything else.  At the end of the day, the fuel gauge works better but otherwise, its hard to tell you did much and you stink of gas.

My fuel gauge was showing I had a little under a quarter a tank of gas then the tank was empty.  I was surprised to find that out driving down the road one day.  I've mentally adjusted but the fact it does not work right bothers me.  I decided to fix it so I know how much gas I have going to Goodguys in a few weeks.

In doing this task before, I knew I'd be draining the tank and testing it a few times to get it right.  To make it easier, I purchased an Edelmann draincock with a hose attachment (#308400) for this task. After draining the tank the first time, I put this in place of the drain plug which simplified draining the tank between tests without spilling as much on the garage floor.

After draining the fuel and installing the draincock, I pulled out the sending unit.  I laid it out on a piece of cardboard and marked the location of the float as a baseline.  This was to track the various adjustments to track progress and return to a previous setup if needed.  

I first checked and adjusted the sending unit so empty was 70 ohms and full was about 10 ohms.  After this was done, I started slightly bending the float arm to get the gauge to read exactly as I wanted.  It took five attempts to get the sending unit adjusted to the point I wanted.  My goal was to have about 2 gallons left when the gauge showed empty.  

The following pictures are more for my own person reference later.....

The gauge looks as follows when the tank is completely empty but with the ignition on...

With two gallons of gas...

Finally, with three gallons.  Ends up, at empty, I probably have just over two gallons...

I wondered if driving around with 3 gallons of fuel was possible without any problems (sputtering).  I drove around for a while up inclines and around numerous corners for over 10 miles.  I drove until I was at empty on the gauge.  Everything worked just right such that I can go to E without any concerns and trust the gauge.  I then filled up with gas and confirmed the gauge went to full.  

One more problem solved.  I'd like to get the following things done in the next month:

Change Oil (Fix Leak)
Front End Alignment
Adjust Parking Brake
Fix Coolant Leak

Goodguys Preparation - Morning Drive

This morning I went for a 60 mile drive on a small highway which heads out of town.  It is through the country and has some hills and twists to the road.  The drive was primarily on the highway to see if I would have any trouble or find anything which needs to be addressed before the Goodguys trip.

The drive was great with no trouble at all.  It was nice to get it on the highway and just enjoy driving it.  I drive it around town and enjoy that too but just end up beating on it more than I probably should.

I kept it around 72 mph the entire drive which placed me at around 2,200 RPM in 5th gear.  The temperature was a nice 65 outside and the engine never went above 180 degrees.  The oil pressure started off around 65 lbs. cold and dropped to 52 lbs and stayed there once it warmed up.  The engine seemed a little rich at first in the high 12:1 range but by the end of the trip it was in the low 14:1 range.

It was a little windy but otherwise it was perfect driving weather.  I'm not sure if the need to correct direction slightly every now and then was due to the wind or because I need an alignment.  I've ordered some hex tube to replace the tubing on my strut rods which was damaged during the last trip to the alignment shop.  I intend to find a better shop and get an alignment after installing the new hex tube.  It's bad but I've not had an alignment since performing the Arning drop.

My plan was to test out the Dynamat but the quarter window kept sliding down the track due to window roller which broke yesterday.  The loud drone from the exhaust seems quieter with the Dynamat.  However, the wind noise made it hard to tell how much it improved.  I also wanted to tell if I could hear the radio clearly at highway speed but with only two rear speakers, the wind noise from the quarter window killed testing that out.

Regardless, it was a nice drive on a Sunday morning.  I'll need to do it more often.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Installing Dynamat

Beginning Friday night, I started working on placing Dynamat in the back of the Mustang.

I installed Dynamat Xtreme from the bottom of the cowl, down the firewall, but stopped immediately before the shifter.  This was done after installing the new floor.  I'd intended to add more to the floor and trunk panel but put it off and moved on to something else.  The exhaust is quite loud so before driving to Goodguys, I decided to install more Dynamat.

I purchased two packages of Dynamat Xtreme (#10435) which is 24 square feet.  I ended up using about 20 square feet and saved just a little.  I covered the entire rear floorboard, the transmission tunnel behind the front seat, and all the panel which separates the truck from the front cabin area.

A part of the project was to make two panels which bolted through existing holes to seal off two larger holes where sound passed from the trunk into the interior.  I cut them out of some of the metal I purchased for the shifter trim ring.  I covered one side in Dynamat and let a bead of RTV dry overnight on the back side as a sort of gasket.  You can see these installed at the upper corners of the panel which divides the passenger compartment from the trunk.

They changed the style of Dynamat Xtreme since I did the front of the car.  The silver colored type is the old style.  The new style has a black coating on it.  I tried to get two packages of the silver type so it would all look the same and thought I was successful until it came in the mail.

I finished the job up this evening and started reinstalling the interior.  As I rolled up the driver rear quarter window, it broke.  After inspecting it, I found one of the rollers which glides on a track moving the window up and drown broke so I'll need to order a new one.  For now, I put it together so I could drive it around and not have stuff laying all over the garage.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Goodguys Preparation - Small Maintenance Items

This weekend the weather ended up being rather nice despite a 60% chance of rain all weekend.  I spent some time a little earlier this week and this weekend taking care of a few loose ends.  I'm hopeful I can take care of a few of these lose ends and be in a position to drive it to the Goodguys show here in a little under two months.

The welding process after shortening the driveshaft was likely not good for the grease in the u-joints.  This weekend, I greased them until grease came out all the fittings.

There was a very small leak from the rear differential fill plug.  I tightened the fill plug and then cleaned off the differential while I was under the car.

I adjusted the driver side fender.  It is a replacement panel which wasn't fitting well and would occassionally make a pop noise when opening the door.  I was able to get that corrected.

The driver quarter window was out of adjustment and kept me from shutting the driver door with the window rolled up.  I was able to get the adjusted so the door can shut with the window up.

I installed a new piece of weatherstripping on the cowl.  This is to try to keep the engine smell out of the interior so my wife is willing to ride with me more often.  Might not work but worth $9.

Finally, I worked on the A/F ratio.  Changed the pump nozzle from a 37 to a 35.  I then adjusted the idle screws from 1.5 turns out to 1.75 turns out.  The A/F still jumps high shortly after flooring it but it is better.

I ordered a few things from Summit so I can take care of the following:
Change Oil (Fix Leak)
Front End Alignment (Need Adjusting Sleeves)
Coolant Leak
Adjust Sending Unit
Quiet Down Interior

Monday, January 26, 2015

Shifter Boot and Seal Installation

This project seems minor but took longer than I expected.

I wanted to create something which would seal where the shifter enters the floorpan.  My first plan was to use the lower shifter boot from a fox body Mustang.

I ordered the boot and made a small metal trim ring which mounted into the stock shift boot location.  It looked perfect.  However, when I drove around, I noticed the transmission did not want to go into second gear well.  After a taking every apart, I found the boot curves downward around the shift lever and it was getting caught between the shift lever and shift stops.

I looked at it for quite a while trying to find a way to fix it.  The boot always wanted to slide down the shift lever and I needed it pushed low to get the second shift lever bolt in anyway.  In the end, I pulled the rubber boot off and came up with something different.

The second idea was to use a piece of flat rubber I picked up at Lowes.  It is actually for some type plumbing purpose but is 1/8" thick and looked up to the task.  It worked well as I could bolt it under the trim ring I already made and then I bolted it under the ring which goes around the top of the shifter.  While it does not look as good, it works and I can adjust the shifter if needed without removing it.

The next step was to come up with a shift boot to use.  I honestly could not find much that I liked and would fit around the almost 4" wide shifter.  The best fit and appearance I could find was with a Lokar 70BFMB shift boot so I ordered one and a few days later it was on the doorstep.

I took a piece of 3/8" oak and cut a panel which bolts around the shifter using the same mounting points as the seal I made.  I made the wood the exact same size as the trim ring for the shifter boot.  I recessed the locations for the original screws so they would be flush with the top of the wood.  Finally, I painted it black and waited a day for it to dry before installing it.

I removed just enough of the carpet underlayment so none would be between the trim ring and the new wood panel.  With the wood bolted in and the carpet in place, the carpet laid nice and smooth across the tunnel.  This was the look I wanted so it looked clean and stock-like.

I then installed the boot by screwing the trim ring into the piece of oak that I installed.  It ended up working out well.  Many would ask why I did not just screw it into the floor.  The answer to that is that if you worked as hard as I did installing a complete new floor, you would not want any screw holes in it either.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goodguys Trip Preparation

The Goodguys Spring car show is the weekend of March 21st in Ft. Worth.  I go to the show every year but I've never driven there in the Mustang.  With the new transmission installed, I'd like to work towards driving to the show this year.  To do it, I need to take care of the following items:

Install Shifter Boot
Grease U-Joints
Change Oil (Fix Leak)
Adjust A/F Ratio
Front End Alignment
Adjust Parking Brake
Fix Driver Fender Alignment
Fix Coolant Leak
Adjust Fuel Sending Unit

These are mostly a few small items which I've just dealt with over time.  They should be fairly easy to fix.  I'll just take them one at a time and see how much I can get done.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Testing the Transmission

I drove the Mustang around a total of about 25 miles today.  I drove it at highway speeds and took some back roads where I was able to go through all the gears a few times.  I did not really test it hard but took it to 5,000 RPM a few times to make sure there were no issues.

The car sounds different now and it makes me think something is wrong when I think everything is fine.  The shifter is like butter which is strange as it almost felt like I was pushing it into gear before.  Now, it gently slides into position and is so smooth I almost don't think it is in gear. 

When I drive around, I have to remind myself of the additional gears I have at times.  I'm used to driving the car with the engine at 2,500 RPM.  When I'm driving at 75mph, the engine is only a little above 2,000 RPM.  After the first drive, my first thought was I need some bigger rear gears.

I need to work on a way to close off the shifter openning around my shifter.  I also need to come up with a shift boot as the stock one will not work and bolt into place.  I'm not sure if I'll use some form of aftermarket shift boot or if I'll build a console with a couple of cup holders. 

I'll work on the console some this coming weekend.

(I'm a little delayed with this post.  After driving the Mustang, I came in and knocked my laptop off the table by my chair while it was on.  A new hard drive and a few hours of pain now back have it functional.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

T5 Transmission Installation - Part 6

There were very few things left to take care of today in order to test the transmission.  

I installed the painted driveshaft which was the easiest part of the process.  I then wired up the reverse lights using the stock wiring and some new connectors to match the T5 switch.  The last task to handle was to fill the transmission with fluid which as normal was a pain in the ass.

Going back a few days, someone on a forum suggested I fill the transmission before installing it.  I knew I could not fill it much or it would all just run out the tail housing.  I put about a quart in it and over the last several days installing the transmission I've watched most of it slowly drip out of the tail housing.  This happens despite using a tailshaft plug which is suppose to minimize it.

In the past, I've rigged up something in order to get fluid in the transmission after it is installed.  This time, I purchased a pump to fill the transmission.  The pump has two hoses with one going in the transmission and the other being placed in the bottle of fluid.  In theory, this was going to work out great.

As I started pumping, I was surprised at how quickly it pumped fluid.  I was more watching the transmission then the pump.  When I did look down at the pump, I found it was leaking from the bottom hose.  Now I had a big puddle in front of me where I crouched down at the side of the car.  I figured I'd just keep pumping and clean it up in a moment.

Then, the hose came out of the transmission and all the fluid in the line started pouring all over the floor under the transmission.  To get the hose, I'd end up laying in all the fluid which came out of the bottom of the pump.  I rolled around on the floor and finally got the hose back in the transmission without getting too much of the spilled fluid on me.

Back to pumping....  You would think the problems were over but you would be wrong.  I saw it start to run out the fill hole and thought I must be full and pulled out the hose.  I suppose the size of the hose and pressure it was putting out delayed fluid coming out the fill hole.  When I pulled the hose out, an incredible amount of fluid started coming out.  I let it just run out a little defeated and the put in the fill plug.  At least the job was done.

Not everything goes the way you want but I can at least say it is done.  I rebuilt the transmission and installed it all myself.  Now to test it to see if it works.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Disappointment with Local "Expert" Help

I rarely seek outside help with the Mustang as I normally find myself disappointed with outside help.  Today was another example of that situation.

Two years ago, I took the Mustang to have someone build some exhaust down pipes bent to connect my headers to my exhaust.  Clarence's Discount Muffler did the work for me and I was a little disappointed with the outcome.  My disappointment then was primarily with the tight crimp bends in the pipe which no doubt cuts down on the benefit of purchasing a 2.5" mandrel bent exhaust.

Today, however, I took everything off for the first time.  The welds are not anything better than I could do myself.  In fact, there is one spot around the driver side collector where there are two areas which were not welded.  As a result, the holes have been spewing hot exhaust straight at the driver floorboard.

To make matters worse, I looked down the collector on the passenger side and it is at least 20% closed due to the way it was fitted.  This no doubt impacts the exhaust performance even worst than the crappy bends in the pipe.  I doubt it could impact the O2 sensor readings but I don't know.  I don't know how anyone can do a job like this and at the end of the day felt they did a good job.

I ended up using a die grinder and several of the grinding stones I have to take off as much as possible without compromising the welds.  It should flow much better now but is not ideal.  In the picture below, you can see parts of the metal I cut off in the pipe and little pieces all around the outside of the pipe.  I shook the pipe out well and blew it out with the air compressor before installing.

 At this point, in my area, I'm not happy with Clarence Discount Muffler or Pilger Tire.  On the other hand, BVD Driveshafts did a good job with my driveshaft so I'll recommend them in the future. 

T5 Transmission Installation - Part 5

The first step today was to install the shifter.  It occurred to me yesterday the brass colored ring to the top of the shifter can be removed.  This originally kept me from installing the shifter from under the vehicle.  With this ring off, I put some RTV along the bottom of the shifter base and then bolted it to the transmission.

I then raised the transmission to ride height to install the cross member.  The work I did yesterday bending the mounting ears paid off.  The cross member went into place with no issues.  I bolted it into place and then lowered the transmission onto it and bolted up the transmission bushing.  (The picture below was taken at the end of the day after installing the exhaust so this picture also shows the clearance I have with the cross member).

With the transmission in place, I installed the brass colored ring on the shifter from the inside of the vehicle.  I'm glad I took the time to file away at the side of the shifter base yesterday.  Despite the work to realign the transmission to the driver side, it seemed to gravitate to about the same spot.  The filing gave me at least 1/8" of clearance which will be plenty as the transmission should not rock side to side much.

I then installed the lower shift rod on the equalizer bar.  This morning I read a little about the proper was to adjust it.  My approach has always been to just lightly put pressure against the throw out bearing lever.  A few individuals state more preload is needed to avoid grinding placing the transmission in reverse.  I'm not sure why that would be so I just adjusted it as I normally do and will keep in mind it might need some additional adjustments.

 I adjusted it to where there the throw out bearing would be touching but there would be no preload.  I read a little on this and many state this is needed for the transmission to shift into reverse without grinding.  I'll start with this and decide if it needs to be adjusted further.  If it is not necessary, I'd rather loosen it up some so that the throw out bearing does not wear excessively by always spinning.

I then reconnected the parking brake lines and worked on the exhaust.  The exhaust went in a little easier than I expected.  I purchased new collector gaskets and installed them using the Prematex copper RTV.  Finally, I reinstalled my O2 sensor.

The last of task of the day was to pick up the drive shaft.  BVD appears to have done an excellent job decreasing the length from 51" to 50".  They welded the end of the driveshaft back on by hand but it is so perfect you would think a machine did the work. 

They balanced the driveshaft as well.  They removed both the rectangle weights put on by the factory and just installed one set of weights side by side at the front.  I'm not sure why but they removed the weight from the rear end side and did not put another one on.  I'm hopeful technology provides a better balance and even this small change will make it a little smoother but it is probably just wishful thinking.

I sanded the drive shaft down with 220 grit sand paper.  It is really humid (misting rain) and cold today.  I decided to go ahead and top coat it with another coat of Eastwood's Chassis Black.  I'm not sure how the paint will turn out but I want to finish up the project by the end of the weekend and the weather is not suppose to change.

At this point, I'm waiting on the 17 tooth speedometer gear which should arrive in the mail today.  Additionally, I need to wire up the reverse lights.  Once I do these two things and put in the driveshaft I could realistically go for a drive. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

T5 Transmission Installation - Part 4

Since today is New Years, I'm not working on the transmission installation much.  However, I did take care of a few small items.

First, I worked on the shifter some to ensure there would not be any clearance issues.  The aluminum body of the shifter is at least 1/4" thick.  I decided to take an 1/8" off a section of the side which is most likely to come into contact with the shifter hole.  While I centered up the transmission already, it is still a little closer to passenger side than the driver side and I view it as cheap insurance.

I then turned my attention to the Modern Driveline cross member.  It took a fair amount of test fitting and bending the ears to get it to fit properly.  It is made out of some fairly thick metal which is hard to bend.  I tried not to scratch off the powder coat much and was successful except for one area where it chipped off.  At least the part that chipped off is on the top and can't be seen when installed.

The last thing for the day was that I picked a can of Duplicolor TR250 from NAPA.  I used it to fix a few chips on the undercarriage from removing and then installing the new transmission.  The undercoating matched the original coat and looks good. 

I'm going to try to tackle most of the remaining tasks tomorrow.