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...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Body Work: Bolting the Pieces Together--Part 1.5

You have probably heard the expression, "2 steps forward, 1 step backwards."  In my case it's more like 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards.  Hence the title of this blog.

It seems that since my last post, there must have been an issue with the Picklex-20 adhering to the surface of the inside of the doors, the A and B pillars and the top of the rocker panels.  After returning home from my almost 3 weeks away, those areas were covered in flash rust, and in some areas, it was pretty extensive.




The door hinges were completely covered with rust.  That may have been my fault as I didn't remember coating them with Picklex-20, but I'm pretty sure I did.   I put them in the blast cabinet and glass bead blasted them (again).  Then I sprayed them with Eastwood Rust Converter.


I redid all the work I had done before on the A and B pillars, the top of the rocker panels, and the inside of the windshield posts on both sides.


I sprayed the A pillars with the Rust Converter where the hinges would be covering up the metal on the pillar.


I reattached the hinges on both sides and then moved on to getting the doors cleaned up again.


The hood even had some spots that needed to be recleaned and treated.


The tops of the fenders has spots as well.  I believe the problem was the car cover was not entirely waterproof, and with all the rain we had, a combination of high humidity and the car cover getting wet and holding the moisture, contributed to the flash rust.


After cleaning all the metal surfaces on the body, doors, hood, and fenders for the second time, I used wax and grease remover to make sure any contaminants left by any of the conditioning discs were gone.  When I applied the Picklex-20, I noticed that it did not "bead up" like it has before.  I left it on for two times the normal amount of time.  It seemed to work better.  After the wipe down, the slight milky appearance of the treated surfaces returned.

I put the doors and fenders back on the body to keep them out of harms way.  I'll have to do my gapping of the body panels after I return from Canada the end of August as I just ran out of time before leaving.

I also decided to not put the car cover back on and turn the body around with the rear of the car next to the garage door.  The EDP coating on the NOS trunk lid should keep it protected in case the garage door drips on it.  I'm also leaving my 24" diameter fan running to keep the air circulating around the body.

So now I'm back to where I started again for the 2nd time.  Hopefully it will be okay for the next 8 weeks.  If not, well...3rd time is the charm, right?


Until the next time...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Body Work: Bolting the pieces together--Part 3

Progress has been slow on the fastback.  This winter and early spring has been a busy travel period for me.  The work among the native people of northern Canada this year has doubled over last year.  Add to that my middle daughter just delivered twin girls.  Everyone is doing fine, but the Mustang once again took the back burner.

And now the first trip for the spring and summer season to Canada begins tomorrow with the drive to Sioux Lookout, Ontario.  But before I leave, I needed to pick up the pieces of the garage and try and hang the driver's side door.  This work however began last month.

In between trips in March, I did get the driver's side door stripped and prepped like the passenger side door with the exception of treating the inside with Zero Rust.  I can do that later.  The process was pretty much the same as the passenger side door.  I did already gut it with the exception of the exterior handle and latch mechanism.

If you read the last post, it's basically a repeat.  Clean off the goo that attached the vapor barrier to the door.  Then use stripper, rubber gloves, and Scotch Brite pads and 000 steel wool toe get the paint removed.

The driver's door with most of the adhesive removed.
 The factory paint is fairly tough stuff.  It takes 2 or 3 applications of stripper to get it all off which is important for later painting.

The "after" picture with the paint removed.
An overall view of the mostly cleaned up interior surface.


 One reason it's important to get all the paint off is that the interior skin is textured like a faux vinyl.  Anything left in those tiny cracks and crevices will definitely show up in the final paint.

You can see the pattern that's stamped into the interior of the door
 There was some surface rust and crud that the stripper didn't remove.  I gently used the 3M 2" bristle disc to carefully clean those spots.  Then just to be sure the rust was treated, I used muriatic acid diluted 50% and applied it to dissolve what was left.  It did a good job especially using a Scotch Brite pad to coax the process along.   A thorough cleaning followed with a coating of Pickex-20 sealed the deal.


The outside of the door was next.  This round, I used the red 3M velcro abrasive pad on my 4-1/2" angle grinder.  It made quick work and left a nice surface.  An application of Picklex-20 should keep it rust free for awhile.



That's as far as I got until Easter weekend.  My oldest daughter and her family came up for Easter.  With the grandkids occupied with doing things with grandma, I borrowed my son-in-law to help with a could of items I couldn't do myself.

After removing the outside door handle, it looked as if it had been forced up which distorted the metal around the opening.  I could fix it using my slide hammer to pull it out but I needed someone to hold the door down while I pulled up.  I used an Allen wrench to straighten out the small hole for the handle.


Since I had the help, I had 2 areas of the hood that had dents to pull out.  One in the right front corner which had a pretty deep dent was addressed with 3 rounds of the stud welding gun.  It's much better than before.


Then there was a spot in the peak of the hood that needed to be pulled out.  The stud gun again was used.  It took 3 passes to get the majority of the dent out.

The first of three "pulls" to get the dent out.

The side view of the studs and hood

The result after 3 separate stud pulls.

Almost all of the dent and recess is out.
The clock is running before I leave and I didn't want to leave the driver's side door on the stand.  So last night, I did quick work and ran a tap through the door hinge plates that mount in the A pillar.  With them in place, I installed the hinges loosely.



Then came the challenge as it did on the passenger door... installing it with no help in sight.  A step stool and a block of 4" by 4" got the door in relative position.  The top hinge bolts went in OK.  The bottoms were a little bit of a challenge since the both door hinges were loose to and tended to move around.  But I eventually got them all started.  Using wood shims, I got the B pillar gaps close, but it was a struggle to get the bottom gap even close.

Tick-Tock.  Tick-Tock.  The clock is running.  I lightly snugged up the hinges to the A pillar and then used a block of wood and a hammer to persuade them into position.  I loosened the hinges at the door and wrestled with the bottom and B pillar gap.

I had to call it quits and locked everything down as it was.  I put the fender on and saw that I have a bit of work left to do to get the gaps even.  But at least it was together for the first time in literally years.   I'll deal with the fine tuning when I get back in June.



After returning from the north, I'll get Joey to come over and help me with the door.  Then I need to install the front and rear valances.  Then the finish body work will begin... or at least, that's the plan.

So for now, my fastback is in suspended animation until my return.



There is a little sidebar ending to this post.  While in the Omaha area in March, my son-in-law took me to see one of his classmates from college.  He just happened to be Andy Leach who is the owner of CAL Automotive Creations.  He build a Ridler award winning 40 Ford coupe called "Checkered Past".  You can check it out here.  He also built a killer 1930 Model A couple that has unbelievable workmanship.  I actually wouldn't mind working for Andy.


Andy also has an amazing '60 Buick La Sabre that's had extensive metal work done.

A fuelie nailhead Buick engine is wicked.
An amazing lazer-straight body that's been channeled.

Andy Leach and me.
So there you go.   Until the next time....