Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Engine-Part 4: Off to the shop

This is a quick post with not a lot to say except the engine is on its way to Legacy Motorsports for machine work and long block assembly.

I decided to go ahead and let them do the block and head assembly as they are very familiar with Ford small blocks and that's one less box I'll have to check....except maybe the check I'll have to write to cover the costs. 

Sometime it's better to leave certain things to the professionals.

Until the next time.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Back at it: Engine-Part 3

On my previous engine--part 1 post, I stated my concerns over a siezed up engine and whether it would be salvageable, especially since it is numbers matching.  The top end tear down was encouraging as the lifters were not sized in the bores and were actually in pretty good condition.  Likewise on the initial look inside the bottom end after removing the oil pan.

Now it was on to the next step: dismantling the bottom end.  The first thing was to pull the front cover, cam chain and sprocket, and associated parts.  The cam was reluctant to slide out.  So I made a tool that attached to my slide hammer to give it some "encouragement".   Once the front cam bearing cleared the block, the rest came out with no issues.  For 89K miles, it didn't look too bad.  None of the lobes had uneven wear. 

Next, it was flip the block over on the engine stand and remove the main crank journal bearing caps.  However, before I removed any of the caps, I took my punch set and stamped them according to their journal and cylinder number.  You never know if things can get mixed up, especially at the machine shop.

After removing the main capes, I was fairly please with the condition for the miles and considering the type of oil that was available.  There was normal wear and the main journals looks great.  No grooves or scratches.

The main crank journal caps from front to back.
This was the front main journal bearing and showed the most grooving.

This is the center main journal cap with the thrust bearing surface. 
I proceeded to remove the rod journal caps.  With the pistons seized in the cylinders, I was hoping I could get all of the rod cap nuts loosened.  Unfortunately rod cap #6 had a nut that was unreachable with a socket, boxed, or open end wrench.   What to do?  I decided to try and lift the crank out to see what happened.  Low and behold, the rod rotated around so I could get to it.   Yay!  The crank was out!

The crankshaft looks good with no scoring or scratches.
I replaced the rod caps on their respective cylinder to keep everything together Now it was on to the part I was dreading: removing the pistons.  I wiped out the crud from the cylinders.   The one thing I did discover after removing the crankshaft is that 6 of the 8 rod and piston assemblies could be rotated in the cylinder!  That meant the rings were the only thing that were seized.  I had been spraying PB Blaster into the cylinders after removing the heads.  Hopefully that would help in the process.  I thought I had nothing to lose by trying to break the pistons free.  With a short length of 2"X 4" and my dead blow hammer, I started on #1 cylinder.  The piston broke loose on the 3rd blow.  I drove it down into  the cylinder far enough so I could get my ridge reamer in the cylinder.  I did that with all the pistons.  However, #6 was not going to cooperate.  That one I'll deal with later. 

There was a carbon ring built up on the top of all the cylinders but no metal lip.  That's good.

The cylinders before cleaning the crud out of them.
I ran the ridge reamer around all the cylinders to get rid of the carbon ring.

#1 cylinder after removing the carbon ring

With the pistons broken loose, I sprayed a coat of PB Blaster on the cylinders and used my dead blow hammer on the rod caps to drive the pistons out the top of the cylinders.  Overall, the cylinders were in good condition with no scratches or galling along the bores.

With the exception of cylinder #6, the engine was now torn down and ready for the machine shop.

Pistons and camshaft laid out in their respective order.
Now I need to bag, tag, and box up the front cover and associated parts along with the oil pump.  Even though the fuel pump, oil pump, and cam chain and sprocket will all be replaces, it's good to have everything organized to help with reassembly when the time comes.

The engine all laid out ready for tagging.
With the "stay at home" order here in Indiana through the end of April, I'm not sure the machine shops will be open.  I'll make the call next week to find out.  After all, they could be on the list of "essential businesses".  Not only that, they could probably use the business.

After I finished up with the engine teardown, I had to get some home chores done like cutting the grass before the rain moves in this weekend.  When I was done, I discovered that UPS left a gift for me on my front steps.  Yes!  The cam kit arrived from Jegs.  This is a complete kit with cam, valve springs, seals, keepers, timing chain, and timing gear.  (The rocker kit, with roller tip rockers, pivots, and pushrods is coming next week,).  So the entire top end of the engine will be brand new as it should be.

I went with a flat tappet cam for various reasons.  The big one was concern over the lifter bore wear that I was reading about on blogs.  The bores in my '68 block aren't as long as the '85 and up roller 5.0 engines.  Running a small base circle roller camshaft (I know I'm getting technical here) puts an excessive side load on the lifter bore and can prematurely wear out the bore, destroy the lifter, and hence, do some serious engine damage.  Not only that, this kit was on sale for 20% off and costs $380.  A small base circle camshaft would be $349 AND the lifters would be another $400.  That didn't include all the other goodies.  So funds did have some bearing on the decision.  Yes, I'll have to put a zinc additive in the oil, but I figured this type of cam worked in the engine before.  So don't mess with success.

I've got a pretty good mess now in the garage I need to clean up.  After that, it's back on to the bodywork.  I still need to align the driver's side door and fender to get the gaps and body lines correct.  Then it's on to the filler and fixing any dents that appear.  Progress... slow... but still progress.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Letting One Go...

The Mustang project has come to the point where the work to be done is going to cost a lot of bucks.  The interior pieces, including upholstery, carpet, dash pad and bezels, switches, door handles, door cards, window cranks, etc., etc. has already topped $1,700 and I still have probably another $300 to go.   Then there's the engine and transmission which will be around $3,500.   Primer, sealer, base coat and clear coat will be another $1,100.  The instrument cluster and heat/AC will be another $1,500.  And then there are bumpers, lights, brake parts and all the other stuff to get the car finished.  Considering our current economy, I hate to dip into savings too deeply.  So the next best thing (if you can call it that) is to part company with my '29 Model A Tudor.

I'm using my blog as a way to post pictures since the Facebook groups and marketplaces only seem to allow 1 photo.   So, here are all the pictures I have of it....


Hopefully, you get the idea of the condition it's in.  With the firewall removed, it could go back to original or, most likely, it would need to be removed and replaced to put a SBC or SBF in it.

I went through a major effort (and expense) to get an Indiana title for it with the original VIN number.  So it is titles as a 1929 Ford.   The VIN is visible on the driver's side top of the frame by the cowl.

So...if you're interested, you can either leave a comment here, or on the group you saw it on.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Panel gapping (again) and Engine Part 2

I can't remember the last time I made 2 posts in 1 week, let alone 2 post in 3 days.  But I won't complain.  From my last post, I started breaking down the engine to find out how bad it really was.  So far, the pistons are stuck in the bore, but the lifter galley and bores are in really good condition.

I wanted to swap the 302 and the 5.0 HO engine so that the 302 was on the engine stand and the 5.0 on the cradle.  That way I can flip the 302, pull the pan, and determine how the bottom end is. (More on that later)

But before I get to part 2 of the engine, I needed to get help working on getting the gaps on the doors, fenders, and hood as evenly spaced as possible.  I bolted everything together before heading to Canada for the summer just to get the doors and fenders out of harms way.  You can look at that post from last June.

My help came from a Marine veteran who is looking for work in law enforcement after graduating from college.   We spent close to 3 hours getting the hood close (the hinges will need some rework) and the passenger side door and fender lined up.  Overall, it's not going to get much better than what we accomplished without getting into a lot of work welding on metal, grinding, etc.  I applaud the guys who take the time to do the meticulous metalwork, but I'm looking for a more accurate restoration.  And the gaps weren't that great from the factory.  To each his own.

This was the challenge: get the door, fender, and rocker panel gaps consistent. It took some shims on the bottom of the fender to rocker panel bolt to get it close.  It wouldn't have been possible to get the gaps this consistent without the extra set of hands...or spending an inordinate amount of time trying.

This gap was also a challenge as moving one end of the door changes the gaps of the other end.  It's an exercise in 3-dimension spacial orientation.

The bottom of the door gap ends up being whatever it is because the reveal lines must line up.  I'm amazed that the assembly line can hang doors and fenders once every 45 seconds. (Ford made 880 Mustangs per day in 1971).

The driver's side didn't go so well.  The door is still not totally lining up, but there's a bigger issue at play...

The fender and the door gaps are not lining up.  It's not so much at the reveal lines looking straight on but it's the contours of the door and fender that don't line up...and I think it may have been my doing.

When I did the rust repair on this fender, it wasn't attached to anything.  I did it on a stand and the garage floor.  Apparently, the metal shrunk and the contour is flatter than the door.  That was a major oversight on my part.

So it looks like I'll end up re-doing the metalwork on the fender while it's bolted in place to make sure it will be the same as the door.  That will be another post in the future.

Moving on....

I got the engines swapped on their respective cradle/stand thanks to one of my friends who loaned me his engine hoist.

Before I I flipped the 302 over and pulled the oil pan, I drained the pan to be sure it was empty.  I probably drained it before I pulled the engine, but that was a LONG time ago.   There was probably a pint of transmission fluid that I poured in the engine to try and preserve the engine after pulling it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of sludge was minimal.

I was also pleased to see that there was no sludge in the bottom of the block.

The piston skirts that were visible showed almost no signs of wear.

The oil pump pickup had no signs of metal and was clear of any crud...

The wrist pins were also clean.  My assessment is that this engine has not been rebuilt, especially after looking at the cylinder bores and internals in the block.

This 302 had to have been a running and reasonably maintained vehicle when it was parked,  most likely after the accident that damaged the hood, right fender, bumper, and related front end parts.  The top of the air cleaner was missing when I got the fastback leaving the engine open for rain to get into the engine.  Hence the locked up engine...

This is a picture of the engine during my first viewing of the Mustang before I bought it.
Now that I've determined that the only issue with the original engine is the stuck pistons, I'll set it aside and let the PB blaster work on the cylinders and see if I can get the rings to break loose.

The next work session will be to work on the driver's side fender and get that contour matched to the door.  I still have some small dents to take care of on the fenders, rear quarters, and roof.  Then the filler work will begin followed by the high build primer.

Until the next time...

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Back At It: Engine Part 1

It never fails to amaze me how time gets away from me.  This year has been especially challenging between travel for work, keeping up with family, and other projects that inject themselves into life, which don't include anything related to the Mustang.

For example, I was informed by my wife that our pergola was literally coming apart.  This was while I was in Canada for the summer.  I knew that I would have to tackle that ASAP when I got home.  The question was what do I replace it with?   The existing pergola shielded us when the sun was high in the sky, but had no weather protection.

This is the old pergola I built when we finished the house.  It served us well for 15 years.
After considering several options, I elected to go with a pavilion style which would give us better protection from the rain.   After putting the design drawings together, I put the bill of materials together and made a trip to Menards.  $3,300 later, I came home with the hardware and cedar (yes, it's ALL cedar) and started in.  Demo of the old pergola only took a day.  But the new design required much work including removing and replacing deck stringers, adding sister posts to the existing, and putting it all back together.  It was also hotter than hades limiting my work to early mornings and some late evenings.  Cutting to the chase, 5 weeks later, we had a completed project. 

The mostly completed new pavilion
It still needs to be oiled to keep the cedar from weathering, but it's done.  Of course, we had to get new patio furniture and a fire table.  So....  back to the Mustang.

A friend of mind has a relative that runs his own shop, Legacy Motorsports in the Indy area.  I finally connected with them and discussed potential work on the engine, transmission, and rear differential.  I got a ballpark estimate for the engine which was reasonable considering the work they would be doing.  However, I knew the engine was locked up after sitting outside for years with no hood or air cleaner.  My concern was whether this numbers matching engine was any good.  So I decided to open it up before to find out if it was beyond repair.

I took a bunch of documentation photos that I'm not including here just to save you from the boredom.  But as you can see, the engine was in better shape than anticipated.

This is a top view before the teardown.  It is the "J" code 10.5/1 compression 302.

I pulled the water pump and bypass hose before removing the intake.

With the intake removed, I could see the lifter valley was in good condition.

I was surprised to see shiny metal on the lifters but pleased.

The valve stem ends looked good with no visible wear.

The lifters are in excellent shape with no dishing at all and no corrosion!

The cylinders are rough but the cam and lifter galleys are in great condition.  Hardly any ridge at the top of the cylinders!

The heads are in OK condition with the valves looking good.

Both heads and valve train laid out in order

The top end of the engine is apart.
I hopefully will get the engine off the stand and pull the pan to find out how the crank and journals look.  Hopefully, I won't have too much work to do.   I was surprised at the internal condition of the engine, sans the cylinder walls.  Considering the odometer showed 89K miles, the engine had very little sludge in the valve covers, lifter valley, and heads.  It was probably a running vehicle when parked, most likely from the front end damage it had when I bought it.  Too bad it was not protected better.

After the crank is evaluated, I'll need to decide what to do next.  I can take it all to Legacy and get a complete engine back for around $2,500.  I could do the legwork of taking it to the machine shop and buy the internals if the shop doesn't.  I could do the assembly as well.  I'll need to work up a spreadsheet of costs and see how it comes out.  It may be worth the bucks to let them do it all.  I'm not looking for a 500 horsepower ripper.  I want something that I can drive anywhere without breaking the fuel bank and yet have some fun when I step on the gas.  

On other Mustang news, a friend of mine will be helping me gap the panels this week so bodywork can start in earnest.  I need to keep the Mustang work going so that it's at least on all 4 tires by June of next year.  That's when my wife will retire and we will be ready to move to where the kids are closer.   

Speaking of retirement, that's what I "officially" did January 31st.   Then I got on a plane to Canada for the first 2 weeks in February to help mentor my replacement.  I'll be going north a couple more times to continue the mentoring, but should be done by the end of July.   I also became the maintenance officer for our flying club.  I have 5 aircraft to look after including all maintenance, upgrades, fixes, and paperwork.  Then I agreed to do senior shut-in ministry with one of the area churches.  As you can see, retirement is anything but that.  I have drawn a line as committing to anything else.  After all, the Mustang has waited too long to get done.  Now it's time to git-r-dun.

Until the next time...