Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Help Wanted...

Anyone you know looking for a job working in an auto restoration shop?  I got word that Dave Scribling is looking for help.  He is the owner of formerly DVS Restoration Services, now called Dave Scribling Restorations.   He made headlines with his now famous '68 Fastback, "Mustang in Black" or MIB.   Here's the link from the article in "Modified Mustangs and Ford" magazine...

Dave spent years using this as his "mule" car to develop a kit to put a 2003 Mustang Cobra 4.6L V8, along with front and rear suspension into a classic Mustang.   I saw this car 3 years ago when he brought it to Indy Raceway Park during the Indy Mustang Club show.   It's even more stunning in real life!

If you know anyone who would be interested in working for his growing business, have them send an email with their resume to   His shop is located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, about 45 minutes northwest of Indianapolis near I-74.

Please pass the word.  It could be someone's opportunity to get into the restoration business.  And in this economy, it could be a boost to someone needing a job.   Thanks.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Driver's Side Floor - Part 4

As most everyone knows, it's been a really, really hot, HOT summer here in the midwest.  I haven't spent much time working on the fastback since the heat has been so bad.  I decided that I needed to get some sort of AC for the garage in an act of desperation.  I've been checking Craigslist for a used AC to keep my bones cooler.  Finally, after 7 weeks, I found one and was able to close the deal before I got beat out on the buy.  So now, I have this nice AC window unit that will let me hang meat in my insulated garage after an hour....

However, after my purchase, the temperature hasn't broken 84F degrees since.  Go figure.

One interesting facet of getting the AC was the guy I got if from had a '69 Chevelle in his garage that he owned since he was 15.  The restoration was complete and he no longer spent time in his garage working on the car for hours.  It was a sweet car for a Bowtie...454 with Donavan heads, roller cam,  a 5 speed Tremec and a 9" Ford rear with 3.91 gears.   It was mildly tubbed and has a great paint job in a deep blue with ghost flames.  He, like I, have determined, that drag racing gets expensive really fast.  It's great to meet another car guy who appreciates each others cars.

So, I now have the capacity to cool the 3 bays of garage with 12,000 BTU'S of cold air.  But there's still the problem of ventilating the garage of MIG welding fumes.   Well, I didn't have to worry about it since it was 79F degrees this afternoon.  That made it  a good day to get some work done.  ( I won't bore you with the details from Saturday that amounted to finding a place to put a new (used) freezer in the garage and the cleaning/reorganizing carnage that took place instead of working on the fastback.)

I'll skip the details of working on the drivers side floor getting the metalwork done--the welding and grinding...followed by more welding and grinding..  It was a matter of getting the joints between the floor pan the toe boards to the point where I felt comfortable putting a skim coat of "Metal-to-Metal" body filler on the joints to make them look acceptable to me since I am the customer I have to please on this whole restoration thing.

After 4 hours of chasing pinholes in the welds, I'm getting close to calling the bottom side of the driver's side floor "done".   Sort of.

I guess I'm too picky.  I see a little pit, or I see another pinhole, and need to dress it up.  I finally had to close up shop since I used up all my consumables...basically the 2" disc I use on my 90 degree air grinder.  But progress is progress....

This is the rear half of the driver's side floor....

This is the the floor at the transmission crossmember....

This is a view of the front firewall toe board....

This is the driver's side lower toe board/firewall repair....

Another shot of the driver's side floor to transmission tunnel joint.

This is the driver's side joint of the new front floor pan to the existing rear floor pan.
I figure I'm about 90% done with this side of the floor.  I have some work to do on the toe board that's outside the engine compartment along with the inside to guessed it... the remaining pinholes in the welds.   Once I get that done, I'll begin the process of using the "Metal-to-Metal" body filler to make all the little pits and dips level.

I never imagined in my wildest imagination that I would be doing bodywork on the underside of a floor!  How sad is that!  But, as I've said before, I'm building this for me and if I'm not happy, then what's the point?

I'm hoping to finish up some of the picky-uny stuff on the floor and firewall this week.  Then I'll smear some filler on it and see how the results look.  I'm hopeful it will look good.

Then there's still the passenger side to do.  Oh well...It's all part of the process, right?

Monday, August 13, 2012

What's it worth?

My cousin, Betty, has decided to part with her 1967 Mustang coupe.  What cemented her decision is the death of her brother last week since he was the one who did all the mechanical work on the car.  I hate to see her get rid of it and I'm sort of tempted to buy it, but then I'd have two projects again.  That the reason I sold my Kawasaki 750 LTD because I was working on it to make it nice and the Mustang sat orphaned in the garage for a year.   She lives in the Louisville, Kentucky area. 

The '67 is an "OK" car, but in need of work to make it a nice car.  It has a clean and clear title.  I'm in a quandary  about the car and what happened to it in the past since it's a 67 with 68 rear quarters on it.  It's a 289 2V that is stock, sans dual exhaust, headers, and a retrofit Duraspark II ignition system.   It has power steering and I believe power drum brakes--or the pedal has the power brake chrome circle on it.  The wheels and tires are in nice shape.  She had the Mustang's Unlimited "Grab-a-Trac" suspension put on and ran it in SCCA events on-and-off.   Here are some pictures of it as it sits.  I was limited to the camera on my phone and so the quality isn't the best, especially with my fat finger over part of the lens.

I am not sure of the miles on it and forgot to look since I took these pictures right after going to Betty's house after the funeral and needed to hit the road to get back home.

Some of the bad:  The front floors for sure will need to be replaced.  There is visible rust there.  The paint is so-so and is showing some popping off at the rear quarters and edge of the vinyl roof.  I noticed the driver's side front apron has signs of a collision as there are wrinkles in it.  The radiator cross member and support look OK though.  It looks like the right passenger seat either has a seat cover on it or is upholstered in a different fabric.  The back seat looked OK.

I drove this right after the front suspension work a few years ago and it's a nice driving Mustang.  It's no powerhouse, but everything works that I know of.  I'll get in contact with my cousin and find out mileage, VIN, and see if she can take some more pictures, especially the underside. 

So fellow Mustanger's, what would you think something like this would be worth?   Any suggestions would be appreciated...and any reasonable offers considered.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Floor Repair - Part 3: Driver's side seat riser

I had decided back during vacation day planning for 2012 that I would take my birthday off and put in a full, and hopefully, uninterrupted day on the fastback.  That day was yesterday.  It was a pretty full day of work.  Uninterrupted?  More on that later.

With the bottom of the car media blasted, it certainly made it easy to see where I needed to finish up the new floor on the driver's side.  Because hanging sheet metal is not my "day job," the floor came out "OK" but not what I would consider Concours level.   But a welder I worked with on a large refrigeration chiller prototype years ago at Trane Co. told me, "Welds don't have to be pretty.  Just strong.  I've seen pretty welds that snot would hold together better and welds that looked like snot that were unbreakable".    I guess I can live with snotty, strong welds.

I wanted to get the rest of the pinholes filled and got that process going.  Once again, the flood light shining on the inside of the floor illuminated them for me.

You can see the light shining through one of the spot weld drill holes I needed to plug.  All the other pinhole welds are visible before grinding.   I ground them down and then proceeded to install the emergency brake cable pivot mount.

After that, I plugged the spot weld drill hole....

With all the welds ground down to the point of not getting into the base metal too much, I called it "done" for right now.  A skim coat of "Metal-to-Metal" filler will make it look seamless. But before I could begin that process, I needed to install the driver's side seat riser.  That way, if there were any repairs or cleanup I needed to do on the bottom, I could fix those before adding the filler since filler + heat = mess.

I got out the driver's side seat riser.  This was one of the first parts I bought along with the front floor pans and passenger seat riser from "The Paddock" if you remember that parts supplier.  They were an hour's drive from my house which was nice since I didn't have to pay for shipping.   They went belly-up in 2009 and the company went to auction in 2010.   So that tells you how long these parts have been sitting around the garage waiting for installation.   This is the underside of the new riser....

....and this is the underside of the old seat riser.   Notice anything different?   There's an extra support member that isn't included with the new part.  Why it's missing is anyone's guess.  It was probably a cost reduction item.  But my gut tells me if it was there on the original, it should be there on the new part as well.

I went through this on the passenger seat riser and knew I would have to deal with it on this side.  The only problem was the part of the brace that extended out underneath the front edge of the mounting flange was rusted away like the front of the riser flange was.  I determined that it wasn't a big deal since the mounting points on the brace to riser were all in decent shape.   I proceeded to drill out the spot welds and remove the brace.

I used my blasting cabinet with glass beads to clean it up.  I cut off the offending rusty flange and test fit the piece into the new seat riser...

It fit with a little tweaking.  But I also wanted to make sure the seat riser would be in the proper position before final welding.  This was a hard lesson learned on the passenger side.   Before cutting out the riser, I used a 48" long level and laid it across the top of the holes of the riser, noting where the point the level was located on the transmission tunnel and the top of the rocker panel.  I measured the distance and marked it on each of the 4 holes so that I could get as close as possible to the original location with the new riser and marked the dimension at each hole.


It took quite a bit of bending, grinding, and manhandling to get it to fit properly. Such as it is with aftermarket parts and not original tooling parts.  One big issue was the front flange didn't match the contour of the floor.  Since I was going to have to modify the flange to match the contour, I also needed to know where the spot welds would go so I didn't end up with one in the middle of the transition bend.   I went to my factory weld and sealant manual and saw where the welds were located...

I marked the bends for the change in floor contour and then placed the marks for where I would drill out the holes for the plug welds...

The "scribbled" area was the location of the bends in the flange.

I bent the flange and began the trial-and-error process of trying to get this to fit.  I also had to make sure I was as close as possible to the dimensions of the measurements from the old seat riser.

After much fussing and fitting I got this to fit as best I could.  I was within a 1/16" to 1/8" on all my measurements from the old seat riser and figured the original factory parts probably weren't any closer.  There weren't any dimensions for locating the seat riser in the factory manual.  So it's always good to measure as close as possible the part position before removal.

With the fitting behind me, I proceeded to drill out all the holes on my drill press for the plug welds.  There were a couple I had to do by hand since I couldn't get to them with the drill press.   I ground down the drill burrs and got the inside of the brace  primed and painted.  There wasn't any paint on it from the factory obviously.   I used Duplicolor etching primer followed by a top coat of black...

 I also did the inside of the seat riser where the brace would cover it...

I also primed and painted the floor where the seat riser would cover...

I did a final fit and tweak of the brace to the riser so that I didn't distort it when I welded the brace to the riser. I marked the plug weld holes on the seat riser and removed the paint so I'd have clean metal for welding.

After welding, I finished the painting of the brace and underside of the seat riser...

I didn't bother grinding down the plug welds on the brace.  I mean, really!  Who's gonna see it, right?   I did a final fit of the seat riser assembly and it needed a little more tweaking.   After a couple of fittings and modifying,  I marked the plug welds on the floor and removed the paint at those locations.  I did the same on all the flanges of the seat riser.  I put the riser in position and used self-drilling screws to anchor it to the floor and snug up the flanges to the floor for plug welding.  I did have to do some persuading with my body hammer to get the flanges tighter in places.  One of the difficulties of doing these plug welds was that the thickness of the seat riser is greater than thickness of the floor.  Even with a 5/16" hole, the weld arc at times wanted to arc to the side of the hole in the riser.  I ended up putting the MIG gun at virtually point blank in the center of the hole and pulled the trigger.  After 2 seconds I had a nice pool on the floor pan and pulled the gun away in a circular movement around the hole in the riser that got good penetration in both pieces of metal.

This is the front flange of the seat riser.

This is the rear flange of the seat riser.
This is the finished product.  The plug welds weren't pretty, but the penetration was good.

I did check the underside of the floor to verify the penetration was sufficient....

Nice penetration with the heat ring and slight blistering in the center of the weld.

Here's a "panoramic" view of the floor.  All the welds had good penetration. :-)

I was satisfied with the results.   I then removed the screws and plugged the hole from the top side.  Then came the fun part of grinding down all those plug welds.   As is typical for me, I'll have to go back and do some welding touch up where I didn't get a complete weld at a few places around the edge of some of the plug welds.  I'm sure they're strong enough, but it will give me peace of mind.

Here's a view of the floor from the rear of the car.   I did notice from my measurements and this picture that the forward corner at the transmission tunnel of the passenger seat riser was about 1/4" lower than the driver's side.  Bugger.  When I installed it way back when, I had done a fit of the seat riser and then put the brace in and "assumed" it was OK.  It wasn't.  By the time I realized it, I  already had a majority of the welds in place.  I can compensate for it easily enough with a shim.  I wasn't happy with myself for not doing the double-check, but hey, that's that and I'll deal with it later.

Left side freshly done.  Right side...5 years old!

I didn't get a chance to finish up plugging the screw holes that are still visible from the bottom.  I was interrupted by a phone call that one of my cousins had a massive heart attack and died.  That was quite a shock to us all.  He was a die-hard Blue Oval guy.  He only owned one non-Ford vehicle and that was a 69 Firebird 400 coupe.  He didn't keep it for long and sold it.  He bought an old 80's LTD 2 door that he built and raced on circle tracks.  He helped his sister on her '67 Mustang coupe by installing a "Grab-a-Track" suspension system that she runs in SCCA competition.   So our family will miss him.  Some way to celebrate a birthday.  But as life often goes, you take the good with the bad.