Sunday, March 31, 2013


I find there are two key events to a car restoration: the day the car gets painted, and the day the new engine comes alive for the very first time.  Everything else is secondary to these two.

Well today, for the very first time, I heard and witnessed what this thing is like when its runs, after waiting and working on it for sooooooooo long.

Cliff's notes version: Built engine, tried to start, would not, tried different carb, started, proceed to videos at end.  To read the entire saga, continue with the following text.

The full run down of engine bling is 5.0 full roller block with GT40 heads (bronze valve guides), Scorpion aluminum full roller rockers, Sealed Power hypereutectic pistons, Edelbrock 3722 hydraulic roller cam (.498 int/exh, 220 duration), Weiand Stealth intake, Holley 600 cfm carb, ceramic tri-y headers, Pertronix Flamethrower II dizzy and coil feeding Taylor Spiropro 8 mm silicon wires.  I'm using Autolite 764 plugs gapped at 0.045".  This is all cooled by a Champion 3-row aluminum radiator.

Last weekend is when I was actually planning on doing the fire up, but I could get no voltage to the starter solenoid when the key was in 'start.'  I chased down every wire, checking continuity or voltage and everything checked out.  I had voltage at the neutral safety switch.  Kept following the signal flow and was going to check voltage at a 4-pin block connector under neath the dash; this is the last stop before dumping the wire into the headlight wiring harness.  It was at this point I noticed the red wire with blue stripe (the wire of interest) was taped up.  Getting excited I now found the problem, I removed the tape and found a bunch of crap spliced in there.  Two wires came out of it and ran up beneath the dash. 

"What the heck is this crap?" I wonder.  "What kind of idiot was this previous owner?"

But the two wires went to a switch--a switch hidden under the dash--that is.  Then I felt like I was just hit by a freight train. 

"It's an anti-theft kill switch!"  I pulled on the switch to see if it would pull down and sure enough it did.  Then, sure as the sky is blue, I had clicking at the starter solenoid.  One new battery later I was trying to get it to fire, but it just wouldn't.  All the starting fluid in the world bought me 30 seconds of doggy run time at best.

My carburetor was dripping gas like it was it's job.  I pulled it back apart and found my floats were way out of adjustment so I put them back to where they should be and tried some more, in vain.  By this time everything was a lost cause, my engine was well flooded, spark plugs drenched.  I took all of them out and let them dry.

Meanwhile a friend of mine sent me up his rebuilt Autolite 4100 to try since it was a tried and true carb that was pretty much plug and play.  We were really suspecting my carb had some serious issues by this point.  But I rebuilt it, so why wouldn't it have issues?!

With this new carb I finally got it to fire tonight, one week after trying for the first time and troubleshooting all week.  The first fire I had to keep it running with the throttle; it needed timed in badly.  After fetching my wife and teaching her how to run the throttle, I threw the timing light on it and put it to around 10* BTDC. (~2:40 in the second video).  Now it seems to run like a champ.  Only one leak (amazing) and it was the top radiator hose; I just didn't have the clamp tight enough.  I can live with that.  Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Power to the dash

It's actually been over a week now, but I had finally finished installing my new Champion 3 row aluminum radiator (long story, more on this for its own entry), and got the last of the radiator hoses clamped down.  The entire motor was completely hooked up and wired up, ready to be primed, filled with coolant, and fired up.

Because I was not at a point to start this, the better part of my curiosity got me to at least hook up the battery and turn the key to 'on' just to see what would happen.  To my delight (but mostly surprise) the dash lights came to life, the windshield wiper motor posts were rotating back and forth, and the blower fan came on when I hit the switch (I've wondered for four years now what it would be like the first time that fan ever blew and blew the rest of the crap out that I couldn't get out.  It was extremely anti-climactic, and I had done a very thorough job cleaning out the ductwork).  I hooked up the headlights and they also worked.  My hazards worked (at least on the dash), and I had 12 volts to the electric choke on the carb.  I actually lost my breath for a few seconds when I first saw those dash lights, and the wiper posts going.  This was the first time in my ever owning this car that I witnessed power to anything, more or less something operating under its own power.  It was a sign of progress.

All the action is captured in this video...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Installing trunk lid and quarter extension mouldings

I've been slacking on this very bad, because while the last entry shows the starter and alternator getting repainted, the truth of the matter is the entire engine is installed, hooked up and wired and ready to start.  I've been busy concentrating on that this winter so I can do the first fire up while it's too cold to do much body work.  But I'll talk about that later.

Speaking of body work...

Since this summer is when I will be painting it, it is always a good idea to do a test install of any bolt-on mouldings before you actually have your paint on the car.  I did the test fit of the mouldings that go around the tail light panel.  Mine were reproductions as I didn't have the originals.  They are stainless steel, pretty thin and flimsy so you need to be careful, but near perfect fit and over all good quality.  Since I'll be using their link, I'll give a shout out to my primary Mustang parts supplier, CJ Pony Parts, which is where I purchased these mouldings (and everything else for this car for that matter). They have frequent sales, free shipping on almost everything except freight, and all my experiences with their customer service have been overwhelmingly positive.

Because I already did a write up for their site on how to install the trunk deck and quarter extension mouldings, I will link you to it here