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.

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