Monday, February 20, 2012

Major Milestone: On the Rotisserie

This weekend was a major milestone in the almost 7 years I've had the fastback.   It started Friday afternoon with the removal of the power steering ram/linkage and steering box.  That was fairly easy thanks to my impact wrench.  Gotta love air tools, right?

The engine bay is now stripped with the exception of brake lines and the crossmember which I want to leave in place for strength while it's on the rotisserie.   Speaking of that, I had to unearth the rotisserie  since it was stored among the 2 engines and 2 transmissions, the snow blower, and other miscellaneous stuff.   I bought it on eBay 4 years ago.  It's manufactured by a company called Fab Tech in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  This is one I got from a Shelby Mustang restorer in the Dayton, Ohio area who was retiring.

On Saturday, I got all the pieces out and was short a couple of clips that hold the mounting pins in place.   A quick trip to Lowes solved that.   These are the two ends all assembled and ready to go.

This was a specially designed rotisserie for first generation Mustangs.  I hear they are making them once again, but probably with more improvements like some of the newer rotisseries have.   This one has to be at least 30 years old.   

I made another trip to Lowes to pick up some grade 5 bolts, washers, and nuts to mount the rotisserie heads to the car.  I also picked up a 7/16-14  tap to chase the threads on the front frame.  The rotisserie uses the bumper bracket mounts to hold it on.

The rear uses the bumper mounting holes also. 

So now I was ready for some help, which came on Sunday afternoon.   My friend Glenn (the guy who found the car for me)  and 6 other guys from church came over around 4:30 PM.   We had to wait until qualifying for the Daytona 500 was over.   With 6 of us to lift the body and one person on each end to slide the rotisserie frames onto the front and rear head, it made quick work and an easy lift.  I have no idea how much a stripped body weighs, but it was much less than I thought it would be.   Here's a video of the event.

So my fastback is finally on the 'tis.  I have a piece of square tubing that I'm going to connect the two ends together so that the body isn't the main member taking the stress when rolling it around.   Now it's on to cleaning up the underside, doing all the metal work on the floors, putting in the new passenger toe pan patch, and finishing out the underside.   Progress is a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Suspension Removal - Part 3

This has been a full weekend in more ways than one.   All Friday evening and about 12 hours on Saturday were consumed with our youth group's annual Valentine's Day Dinner, one of their largest fundraisers of the year.  My part was preparing about 2 gallons of Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo, 5 cheese cakes, and about 40 chocolate ice cream stuffed crepes with a crew of 4 teens.  My wife did the meat and veggie Lasagna and Chicken Alfredo along with the set up of the church kitchen and dining area.   It all came off without a hitch and the kids grossed over $750 for the night.   Getting to bed dog dead tired at 11 PM on Saturday night has left me dragging.   But the Mustang show must go on.   Sunday afternoon would have to suffice. 

I stopped by Lowes (big surprise, eh?)  on my way home Sunday afternoon to pick up a couple of DeWalt metal cutting wheels for my 4.5" grinder.  Unfortunately, the arbor and chuck design were not compatible on my grinder since it's an old Craftsman.  The disc would either not have enough contact with the arbor and spin, or if I used the backing plate, it would distort it.   Not good to have it come apart at 12,000 RPM.   I did some backyard engineering and found that 2 grade 8 washers stacked on each side of the cutting disc simulated the DeWalt grinder arbor with fairly good success.   So my "wheel of death" was ready to start surgery on the rear leaf springs.

I then proceeded to work on the left front spring perch bolt.   Due to space limitations, I was able to only cut through about 3/4 of the way.   One smack with my sledge hammer knocked the end off and then with a drift and hammer, I drove out the bolt.   Driver's side leaf spring is now out.   Yay.

Proceeding to the passenger side, I cut through the right rear shackle bolt and dropped the back side of the spring to the ground.   I looked at the front spring bolt and it looked like it was spared of heavy corrosion. I decided to try just wrenching it out.   The remnant of the exhaust system was in the way.   So the wheel of death quickly cut the bolts and that was dropped out of the way.    On the front bolt I gave it a few shots of  PB Blaster.   With a tug on my breaker bar the bolt and nut came loose fairly easily.   A few minutes later, the right spring was on the ground.   Double Yay!

Wow. This was pretty painless so far.   I sprayed down the steering idler arm and steering box bolts with PB in anticipation of removing that as a whole assembly.  I picked up an Idler Arm separator at Autozone to add to my tool collection  (NO pickle forks on these joints)  to break the steering linkage down after I get it off the car.    While waiting for the PB to work, I decided to pull the passenger door off the car.   It took some patience since the door has not been disassembled and therefore, I had no direct access to the hinge bolts.  Working from the outside, I got the bolts out far enough to get some PB sprayed behind the hinge plate.   With a couple of bolts left to remove, my wife poked her head into the garage to let me know that my 3 year old granddaughter wanted to Skype with her grandpa.    I asked for a 10 minute reprieve to finish up the door removal.   So that cut my work short for the evening, which was OK.  Grandpa now....restorer later.   I did snap a few quick pictures of the car in it's current state of dissassembly though before ending the night.

I am probably about an hour away from having the fastback ready for the rotisserie.   I hope to have the car on it by the end of the month.

There is one mystery that I have discovered about the car I've yet to solve.   I mentioned it before during the firewall repair, but I have found more evidence that the underside of the car was not painted in the traditional red oxide primer.  It appears to be black paint like the inside of the engine compartment.  This is especially evident for the transmission tunnel and the area around the front end of leaf spring perches.   Does anyone know if this was done to San Jose produced Mustangs?   It doesn't look like it was done as an afterthought.   could it be they were running low on primer that day and decided to just shoot everything black?   Who knows.   I'll take some more pictures and post them next time for y'all to see and give me your expert opinions.  I know my car isn't going to be a 100 point Concurs Mustang, but I'd like it to appear as close to original as possible, especially after going through all this effort.   The debate is now officially open....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Suspension Removal - Part 2

Superbowl XLVI is behind us. (Congrats Giants)    Indianapolis has been a crazy place to get around, especially this past week and weekend.  The weather was perfect for it too...and to get the suspension taken off the fastback.   Saturday afternoon would be a nice chunk of time to get the rest of suspension off.   But the best laid plans of mice and men didn't quite work out.  Saturday early morning was when a mild case of the stomach flu decided to play its game with me.   I was pretty much down for the count until about 3 PM.   I felt better, but not great.  I also didn't want to lay around if I could get something done on the car, even if it was a little progress.

Since I've been soaking all the nuts and bolts in PB Blaster whenever I walked into the garage, things moved along nicely, especially with the help of my air gun and breaker bar.  The cotter pins were rusted in place on all the castle nuts and not coming out.  I used my nippers and cut off the offending end so I could get my socket over the nut and then with a little persuasion from the breaker bar, I got the nuts off.    My new 1" deep well socket didn't quite work as planned on the end of the strut rod inner nut.  The angle of the strut rod versus the bracket that holds it caused an interference.  So back to Lowes for a big boxed end 1" wrench.  I also picked up a 1" steel spacer for the spring compressor.  (Lowes is only 5 minutes away if I haven't mentioned it earlier.  Way too convenient!)    With a little help from an 18" cheater pipe slipped over the end, I got the nut to break loose.  I had to be careful where and how I applied leverage as I was able to move the car and jack stands.  Not a good thing.   It took awhile to get the nut off with only being able to make a quarter turn of the wrench at a time on those fine threads.   The strut rod came off easily after that, along with the rest of the left front suspension.  The pile of parts on that side is shown here...

And the empty hole where all of this once resided is shown here...

That was about all I could handle on Saturday.  I needed to make sure I didn't overdue it and leave myself in a lurch on Sunday morning since it's  hard to find a last minute replacement in my line of work.

On Sunday I was feeling much better though a little tired.  After dinner, I hit the garage again.  I had a couple of hours before the Superbowl.   So, it was on to the right side front suspension.   The spacer in the spring compressor worked great.  What took 45 minutes of sorting out how to remove the left coil was reduced to a 5 minute job on the right coil.  Nice.  I love it when a plan comes together.   The rest of the suspension came apart fairly easily.  I did the same treatment of the cotter pins as on the left side.   Soon, I had a pile of suspension parts on that side of the car...

...and another vacant place on the front end of the car...

One interesting note about the right coil was that the remnant of the original paint daubs on the coil were still visible.

It looked like two colors were used--a reddish orange and a blue.  I don't know what spring rate that identified, but I'll sort that out later.  There was no sign of any paint on the left front coil.   Interesting.   I haven't removed any of the steering components as I want to find out the best way to separate them without doing any damage, especially to the steering ram.   So it was on to the back of the car.

I started by removing the driver's door glass and a storage container that held the "guts" of the door.   The gas tank was the next item to remove.  It was fairly simple.   Kind of weird that two of the bolts that held the gas tank in also held the bumper guard brackets in place.  A snip of the rubber fuel line and a slice of the rubber neck and out it came...

Then it was on to the rear suspension.  I decided to separate the rear differential from the leaf springs to make it easier to move all those components around in my limited space, not to mention the weight of it all together.  I started with removing the rear shocks.   Talk about vestiges of the 70's.   Air shocks!  What a hoot...

Moving on to the U bolts that hold the rear end to the springs revealed I needed a 7/8" deep well socket for my air gun.  So back to Lowes to snag one.   The bolts broke loose and with a little more persuasion, came off the U bolts.   The rear end was loose.  With the help of my floor jack, I nursed it out from underneath the car.    

I thought I would try and give the bolts on the leaf springs a shot with the air gun.  The nuts on the rear came off, but only the driver's side bolt came out, and that with a lot of persuasion from my sledge hammer.  The rest of the leaf spring bolts will be removed with the "wheel of death" on my next installment of work.

With all the hardware out of the way, I got to take a good look at the underside of the car.  I need to remove what's left of the stock original exhaust.   I guess the Texas weather helped prolong its life, but duals are in the plan.  So this will be cut up and pitched.

The pile of parts in the garage was growing by leaps and bounds.  I decided to take what I had off the car to my storage unit.  Here's the pile of parts ready to be loaded into the truck.  I did notice when I came out to take the picture that some "thick yuk" had come out of the gas tank since I placed it in the driveway upside down.   Speedy dry to the rescue.

I'll be dropping these off on Monday afternoon at the storage unit.   I took some "after" pictures of the car with the suspension mostly removed.

Once the leaf springs are out of there along with the exhaust system, I'll pull the passenger side door.  Oh, and I need to get the steering box and links out of the way too.   Then the car will finally be ready for the rotisserie.   That will be a watershed event in the resurrection of my fastback, and one that has been literally years in the waiting.