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.