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