Friday, May 22, 2009

Quick update

I've been quiet as of late, but have been feverishly working on it most every night. Since I'm at the laborious process of prepping the trunk and interior for recaulking, undercoating or painting, there's not a lot of exciting new to update. I've been in the process of removing all the old seam sealer and caulk and will recaulk or reseal seams. Most of the time is spent going over every inch of the metal (whether it be interior or trunk) that I can access with a wire cup or sanding disc on a drill. The trunk is nearly ready for priming.

I removed the gas tank today which proved to be a near catastrophic feat. The nice thing is the gas tank merely sits right inside the trunk so it's an easy removal/install. The bad thing is the fuel line is rotting. Here's how the scenario was supposed to go (keeping in mind the tank is mostly full of gas): pull the fuel line of the sender unit and drain into bucket. Put the line back on the nipple when I needed to stop the flow to empty my bucket into a gas container. Repeat.

Here's how it actually went: pull fuel line off sender unit, line is rotted and literally disintegrates in my pliers. Fuel starts going into my bucket except now I have no way to stop the fuel flow, and I can only hope I have enough containers to store all the fuel. I alternate with a bucket and my oil drain pan underneath while emptying the other. I could not remove the fuel line fast enough between bucket fills to try to replace it with some new line I had laying around. Eventually I wisened up and pinched the end of some new fuel line shut with a vice grips, and would slip this over the sending unit nipple if I ran out of gas storage. I ended up draining about 9 gallons out before the fuel got to below the level of the sending unit outlet. I was then able to tilt it and finish the removal and keep it stored in that position. There's still another gallon or two inside.

In other sad news, while I originally thought the floor pans were good, after some sanding and brushing today, I can see little holes of daylight through the driver's floorpan, which means I'm adding another part to the list and another task to the welding queue.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Interior gutting

I've managed to [nearly] completely gut the entire interior. It is stripped down to bare metal and the dash is in process of coming out. On the way is a new steering wheel and other shiny parts that go on it, new handles for doors and windows, new shifter handle parts, and a dash pad, which could prove interesting to install, if it's anything like the removal. Now that the entire interior and trunk is bare metal, I've began the laborious task of degreasing, cleaning, and sanding to prep for paint/undercoating. Bill Hirsch's Miracle Paint (permanent rust inhibitor) will go on the floor boards and inside quarter panels on the trunk and any other parts more prone to rusting that could use some reinforcement and protection. The trunk itself will get a layer of primer, and then everything will get a layer of Bill Hirsch Chassis Black chassis paint.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This project just got a little more expensive

Updates from the last two days...this thing proves to get more interesting everyday and it's a blast. Yesterday I gutted the interior. The task I had before me was to dig the now deteriorated stuffing out from the rear bench seat, as mice had eaten away at it for 7 years. You can see what I was working with here in the pic, which includes my murder weapon for the inevitable mouse. The smell of urine and poo was overwhelming. All the seats came out and after a closer look, I will have to take them in to an upholstery shop as they will all need restuffed. It's the only way to get the mouse smell out. Turns out there was a whole family of mice living inside the back seat, five of which perished under the wrath of my screw driver, and two of which kamikazed out. I followed in pursuit but to no avail. The interior will be an easy and relatively fast project. It's in great shape already. After I rip the carpet out [which is new], I'll begin sanding down the floor and laying a nice black protective undercoating on it. This too should help cover up the mouse smell.

Jump to today. I took to the engine. The goal here was to remove the heads so I could take them into the machine shop to get hot tanked and magna fluxed to check for cracks. I will port and polish them, but a) the heads should be clean, and b) no sense in doing that until knowing first that the heads aren't cracked. Now remember this is a seized motor, so I knew things would get interesting, but little did I know what all I had in store.

First step. Drain the oil. Except instead of oil, I got bright green antifreeze, and lots of it. It nearly filled up my oil drain pan. Only after this ran out, did the oil itself start burping out. Next, I had noticed a valve on cylinder 7 that was stuck halfway up, as in it was not making contact with the rocker arm. Early on when I first noticed this, I figured this to be the source of the seize, but not only would I discover how right I was, but how bad the problem actually was.

The valve stem was snapped just inside the head at the end of the valve guide, and the valve itself was impaled/welded into the top of the badly deformed piston. The piston is sitting cock-eyed in the cylinder. Not only will this make it a beast to remove, but I'm not looking at bigger issues. There is no doubt my cylinder walls are screwed. The best option is to probably bore them out .040 over and reap the advantages of the performance upgrade. But now this means I'm also looking at a new set of pistons and valves (I was planning on replacing the valves anyways). Thus, this engine truly is a rebuild, as the only original parts left when finished will be the actual [bored out] block itself and heads. Cam, lifters, pushrods, rocker arms, valves, and springs will all be new and or performance upgrades. There's no telling what the crankshaft looks like at this point either. It could have some spun bearings for all we know and will probably need ground down on the journals. It looks like I'll probably have a $3,000 motor here, but it'll be worth its weight in gold when finished.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A casual update

I've never read that restoring a car was fast, easy, or cheap, and this Mustang proves to be no exception to the rule. Yesterday I managed to get the transmission off, but alas could not get the torque converter nuts between the flywheel and engine block unbolted. To make matters worse, my box end wrench was rounding the nuts and they were torqued on tight. To make matters even worse than that, I could not turn the crankshaft because the only 15/16" socket I had was a 12 point, and that was going to round out the nut, especially on a seized engine. So I went on a journey to get a 15/16" 6 point nut.

This operation takes place in North West Ames, but the auto parts stores or Lowe's are (in)conveniently located in South East Ames. After checking two auto parts stores, Lowe's, and K Mart's crappy selection of Craftsman tools, not a soul had the socket size I needed in 6 point. This meant my night stopped here; I had to call up Tim and tell him to send his with Jodi to work.

Fastforward to today. With the new socket, I still was not able to turn the crank, but I may have found part of the problem. The lash on the rockers and push rods is horribly out of place. Then I noticed one of the valves on cylinder 7 was stuck halfway down and there was a good half inch or more between the top of the valve and its mating surface on the rocker arm. I think we may have found one of our problems.

Using some vice grips I was able to remove the last two trouble nuts torquing the torque converter to the flywheel. Feeling relieved to get that off finally, I unbolted the flywheel and was pretty stoked to lift the engine and finally get it bolted to the engine stand...only now I had a new problem. I'm borrowing the stand from a co-worker. But the bolts that came with it (to screw into the back of the block) were about an inch too long. Which meant this was not happening until I made another visit to Lowe's, and that was not happening tonight. So the engine had to 'hang out' (har har), and I pushed the car out and washed it.

The more I see this thing and the closer the look I get, I notice more and more things wrong with it each time. Tonight I realized it has been in a front end collision due to some damage in the front passenger right, as a brace on the frame near the sway bar is twisted and dented. Some of the metal next to where the battery sits is also slightly crumpled like it was hammered out after being dented. Then I noticed a small (but healthy enough) dent almost over the rear tire on the driver's side, and can see that the rear bumper has a subtle warp/dent to it as well. I'm sure it will get worse and uglier before it gets better, but that's all part of the glamour of a car resto.

Stay tuned for engine bay prep for painting and interior gutting. For now, I will post some pretty pics of it sitting next to Jay's 1966 Lincoln.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Momentous day....engine pulling!

I took my final exam today of the last lecture of my master's education, and it was a crappy test. When I returned to work, I was greeting with more failed experiments that took a considerable amount of prep work. So I did what any logical person would do after a disappointing day...I pulled the engine and transmission out of the car.

If you recall from last time, the engine is currently sitting loose in the car. This evening I disconnected the shifter and removed the tranny support from the bottom of the car, bolted the cradle to the intake manifold, and started hoisting. All was going well and the engine was about halfway up out of the car when I realized I had made a game-stopping oversight. I was beneath the garage door, and there was not going to be enough room to get the hoist as high as it would need to be. I set the engine back down, unhooked the hoist, took the car off the jackstands, pushed it so the hood was sticking out of the garage, put it back up on jackstands, hooked the hoist back up, and started lifting. That sounds like a lot of work, but in all reality it was ten minute's worth (repositioning the car, that is). Jay came out and carefully and slowly (but surely) we hoisted the engine and transmission out and set it down for the night. The transmission is resting on a high tech tranny cart I fashioned out of some scrap 2x4's and casters we had laying around at the Prosound warehouse.

Should have checked for overhead clearance....

Car pushed out of the garage, now we're getting somewhere...