Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Driveshaft restoration

In the last two months, I have learned it is ludicrously easy to bring a driveshaft back to life, make it look brand new, and so nice you don't even want to install it.  I initiated this pursuit as it's my goal for the underside of the car to look almost as nice as the...topside.

I wish I had a 'before' picture, but the driveshaft was crusty, crusty black.  I started by taking my scraper and scraped all the junk off it.  After this I took to it with brake cleaner which took everything off right down to the rusty metal.

On my rolling shop table, I made a convenient driveshaft workstation by resting it on jackstands.

After it had been cleaned with brake cleaner, I started sanding the rust off with a DA which quickly brought the metal back to looking brand new.

These are the original factory-applied stripes (white, green, red), used for color coding the driveshaft .  As the car moves down the line it is accompanied by a build sheet.  The line worker would grab the driveshaft dictated by the color code on the build sheet.  Or so goes the lore that I have read.  I took measurements for each of the strips so I could repaint them.  Closer to the end of the shaft were two gray lines.

The driveshaft is completely sanded, looking brand new.  Next I treated it with several coats of zinc phosphate to protect against corrosion and condition the metal.

...then remeasured out the stripes and taped them off.

All the stripes are taped off.

I repainted the stripes with regular old enamel model paint...basically because it was the only thing I had where I'd have all the colors, and figured it would have *some* durability.  Two gray stripes at the end, then the three middle stripes.  After the stripes were painted I clear coated the whole thing with several coats of cheapie rattle can Duplicolor Clear.

And the finished the product up close.  I wasn't striving for perfection on the stripes since the originals were very sloppy.  I also wasn't striving for exact color matching.  As the final leg of the driveshaft restoration, I took it to my transmission rebuilder where he put a new yolk and u-joint on it, so I could have a fresh new yolk to slide into the freshly rebuilt transmission.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Transmission rebuild and reinstallation

Once it got too cold in September to do much more body work (too cold to spray epoxy) I shifted gears to the engine.  My goal and projects for the winter are to get the engine fired up for the first time ever...and actually have a running car.

I had no idea as to the condition of the C4 that came mated to the blown 289 that came with the car, but I had it rebuilt figuring it was probably pretty tired.  I took it to a local old school transmission rebuilder who has been rebuilding transmissions before the C4 ever existed--L&S Transmission in Delton, MI.  Needless to say, Lane has rebuilt a lot of C4's.  The transmission ended up being shot inside as Lane found some broken gears so my gamble to rebuild was a wise one.  He added a shift kit and new torque converter from Precision of New Hampton (fellow Iowa boys) with a stall of 400-500 over stock.

Since I had put the engine and transmission back in the car to move the car from Iowa to Michigan, my wonderful wife, Rosemary, helped me with the removal.  Though she tries to avoid anything Mustang she did admit it was kind of fun pulling the engine out and it didn't take us more than 30 minutes.  Which is probably why it was fun for her.

This is the transmission as I got it back from the rebuilder.

New torque converter from Precision of New Hampton (Iowa).

The transmission was cleaned with paint prep wax and grease remover (even though it was cleaned at the rebuilder's) and primed with engine primer.

Then repainted with Rebuilder's Aluminum finish to give it a fresh new aluminum look.

Before putting it back in I took advantage of its absence and cleaned and prepped the undercarriage.  This is the original Ford Red Oxide on the undercarriage in NEAR PERFECT condition!  To preserve this rare bit of history, I only spot primed areas where I sanded through or had bare metal with Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator (Red), which ended up being a very close match for Ford Red Oxide.

Next spacer plate is attached to the back of the engine via mounting pegs and then the flexplate is bolted to the crank.  DO NOT FORGET TO INSTALL THE SPACER PLATE FIRST or you will be sorry!  I sanded my spacer plate down well with DA to remove rust then treated it with zinc phosphate to give it a nice new looking finish and some rust protection.  Even though they appear to be symmetrical, the holes on the flexplate only line up to the crank in a single orientation, so there is only one correct way to install the flexplate.  Install the retainer ring next and rotate until the holes line up.  Place high temp oil-resistant thread sealant on the bolts and tighten down to spec using alternating tightening sequence.  A buddy will need to keep the crank from moving by placing a socket and breaker bar over the front crank bolt.

Install the torque converter.  Gently push it into place and slowly rotate while still pushing.  It will seat about 4 times.  For the final seat it will seat in completely.  Rotate several more times to make sure it is completely on, otherwise you can damage the pump if you try to install it and it's not completely seated.  Place a straight edge across the bellhousing and measure the distance from the edge of this to the snout in the middle of the TC.  It should be 1/8 of an inch. 

Orient the drain plugs so they are straight up and down, then place a 7/16" deep well socket over the bottom drain plug as an alignment aid when mating to the engine.  Orient the flexplate on the engine block so the holes for the drain plugs are straight up and down.  With the engine block hanging from the hoist by a leveler, level the engine so it is exactly at the same pitch of the transmission then push it together.  The socket should come right through the hole in the flexplate to know the alignment is correct.  The pegs in the engine block should fully seat in their respective bosses in the transmission bellhousing.  DO NOT PULL TRANSMISSION AND ENGINE TOGETHER BY TIGHTENING BELLHOUSING BOLTS.  They should come together smoothly.  Bolt bellhousing to the block.  The studs on the converter should also be sticking through the holes of the flexplate.  Rotate the crank with a breaker bar to rotate studs to the bottom so they can be accessed to install nuts.  Tighten all nuts down to torque.

The engine and transmission mated together.

Reinstallation (with starter bolted on)

Undercarriage.  I have a body plug kit and installed new plugs.

With transmission crossmember reinstalled and torqued to spec.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seam sealer

It's been about 4 months since my last post.  However my absence on here is by far no indication of actual progress on the car as I've had the transmission rebuilt, reinstalled with motor, undercarriage cleaned and touched up, drive shaft restored, and slowly getting the motor externals hooked up.  I all  but was forced to give up on body work in September as I was running out of warm enough days.  I don't like to block if I can't shoot epoxy soon after.  It is annoying and aggravating when a sand-through spot to metal flash rusts if I don't epoxy soon enough.  And truth be told I'm utterly sick of bodywork.

First off, here's how that quarter skin ended up after the Slick Sand application.  The picture I don't have included is after it was blocked.  To my surprise it was incredibly straight and there were very few low spots.

And this was the current status of the car with a panel mock up.  I took the fenders and hood back off so I can do other work.

Seam Sealer

First thing's first, and before you do any seam sealer work, read this.  I employed these techniques for this round of seam sealing, though I did not on previous rounds and am left wishing I did.  Going back to some of the very earliest postings in this blog, I described sealing seams with 3M Fast n Firm (they really need a better name for that), and 3M Brushable seam sealer.  I'm here today to tell you they are garbage now, and that sealer is now cracking.  

The way to go is with a quality non-hardening (it hardens but not to the point it's like brittle concrete) 2k seam sealer for lasting seams.  There are a number of reputable brands making good 2k material such as SEM, 3M,  PlioGrip, and others which escape me.   After doing my research I ended up with Valvoline's PlioGrip as it is OE material for cars made today.  The downsides is the expense.  The cartridges are expensive in themselves, but you also have to buy a specific applicator gun for the brand of sealer you are buying.  And the guns are not cheap...mine was around $60-70 if I remember right.  PlioGrip makes 3M's gun, only the PlioGrip gun is cheaper than the identical 3M gun.  So if you buy the less expensive PlioGrip gun you can not only use PlioGrip seam sealers in it but the entire line of 3M 2k sealers as well.  All in all, walking out of the store with my gun, 2 cartridges of seam sealer, and a bag of extra tips, I was looking at $120.

I went with the #6 non-sag sealer to do everything, including gutters.  It sets up relatively have around 3-6 minutes to work it before it starts to set up.  The glorious thing about it is it has no VOC's and is virtually odor-free.  I did not need to wear a respirator to apply this, but the 3M sealers I was adding several years ago about knock you out if you didn't have a respirator.

I have the factory body and seam sealer assembly manual so I could see where all the seam sealer went, how it was to be applied, and what type of sealer was  being used.  The easiest way to summarize is basically ANY seam created by one panel of metal joined to another panel is sealed on the entire car.  This includes where the tail light panel comes together with the quarter on the outside rear as well as the insides in the trunk.  Don't forget under the drip rails of the windows either.  I add sealer and then smooth with my finger.  

I'm using the double-masking method Brian describes in his article I linked above.  Here is the door when sealing the seam of the skin and door shell.

Sealing passenger side door jamb.  The thin channel in between the tape is where the seam being sealed is located.

It takes some time and tape in preparation, but masking off both sides of the seam ultimately makes the process of adding and smoothing the sealer go faster because you don't have to be neat about it.  And once the tape is removed it leaves a very clean edge.  I removed the tape just as it was starting to set up, otherwise there was a tendency for the edge of the sealer to pull up a bit.