Upgraded by force

I’ve been missing in action lately because of work. I never had a chance to convert over the newer posts so i may have lost some content. My hosting provider forced an upgrade on me so I’ve spent the afternoon wrestling with them. Luckily it was all sorted out and the site is back online. I hope to get the older updates back on here ASAP.

New site format!

Back in 1997 when I first started my college experience I was required to take a  basic ”guess-what-you-just-got-yourself-into” course called Computer Engineering 101. One of the skills we learned was how to program in HTML from scratch. Since that time I have always coded all my websites by hand, never wanting to mess with those new authoring tools because they don’t give me the control I need to customize my site. Unfortunately, as the site content grows it becomes more tedious to manage and I found myself avoiding updates because it was too much of a hassle. And forget sprucing up the site if it starts to look dated. With my schedule that could be a major 2 or 3 week job.

I decided enough was enough. Welcome to WordPress and 2010.

I know WordPress is more of a “blogging” tool but I’ve decided to use it anyway. I’ve never considered my site a blog because its not one of those things you can really update on a daily basis and provide useful information to the reader. I’ve always insisted on calling it a “build log” because at major milestones in the project I would record my progress. It may happen that my finances prevent me from really spending time on the Mustang for a few months. So, regardless what you want to call it, I now have an authoring software that allows me to document my progress.

We’ll see how it goes!

MSD cam sync broken!

Well, I figured out why the cam signal was off. After some emails back and forth between Henry at AEM tech support we decided the problem was the cam sync. So he asked me to take pictures of the inside and send them to him so he could be sure the cam sync really does trigger once for every one crankshaft rotation like I was telling him it does. I took the cover off the MSD cam sync and found a surprise waiting for me. Take a look at the photos below:

The stuff that looks like fuzz is really lots of tiny little pieces of broken magnet. This was the reason why I was getting strange input from the cam signal. I also noticed the magnet inside the shaft was loose and moving back and forth, which I can only guess is the reason for the pieces of broken magnet everywhere. No wonder I was having problems! I spoke with a tech at MSD who told me even though it was out of warranty to return it back for a free fix. Im not sure how long its going to take to repair and send back, but this really puts the pressure on for getting the car ready by Fun Ford Weekend in March.

Interior, guages, and AEM settings

Its been a while since my last update so I’ll just give a quick summary of what I’ve been working on.

Over the Chirstmas break I decided since all my wiring was 95% done I would reinstall most of the interior. I decided I would change it from stock a little bit and perform a few personal touches while I was at it. First I installed the new black carpet from ACC. The original interior was a two-tone black and titanium grey, a very very common color combination from the factory. I wanted my argent silver painted roll cage to stand out more so I thought this would be a great start. On the one hand the carpet comes pre-molded to the factory floorpan with the jute backing and sound deadener pre-glued. On the other hand having a roll cage to trim around is a huge pain in the ass, especially with the jute backing and sound deadener pre-glued. I also had to cut out the location of the e-brake handle, which worked out OK except I took a little too much material on the driver side where the center console doesn’t quite cover. Its not really noticeable unless I point it out but its going to bother me because I know its there.

Next I purchased some interior ebony black paint from www.50resto.com which is made specifically for the interior material and to match factory colors. I sprayed down everything (even the interior panels that were already black) to make sure it would all match. Then reinstalled the main dashboard and related pieces.

Next came the seats and harnesses which have been sitting in my house for 2 years collecting dust (and cat hair). They were easy to install with exception to the rear seat mounts. Here the convienent backing supplied with the carpet wasn’t allowing the seat nut to grab enough thread on the seat bolts. I had to cut out alot of the backing material while the carpet was already installed which is hard to do considering its underneath!! I eventually got them bolted down after alot of cursing. The harnesses went in pretty easy but my only complaint is the length. Because they are designed to be a universal fit they are very long. I have a good two to three feet of
belt material that isnt being used. I’ll have to trim it up somehow but Im not sure what the best way to do it without compromising the integrity. Last thing I need is a failed safety belt flying down the track at speed. Here are a few pics of the carpet/seats:

I also purchased two new guage cages for my AutoMeter guages. The first is the A-pillar guage pod for the 2 1/16″ diameter Ultalite series Boost/Vac and oil pressure guages. I went with this series because of the silver backplate and silver bezels which match the rollcage nicely. I went with this size because I think they look a a little better and dont take up as much space as the larger ones (I mention those below). See the pic below to see how they turned out:

The second guage cage was for the A/C vent, but rather than install it in its intended place I decided I would go lower and move it to the location of the A/C panel. This would set it apart from many of the other Mustangs out there, plus since there is no more A/C controls it was the natural choice. This cage holds 3 of the larger 2 5/8″ guages. For this one I am using oil temp, water temp, and fuel pressure. All three are elctronic full-sweep design (they use stepper motors to read the signals from small sending units), as opposed to the ones on the A-pillar which are mechanical. See below:

All in all I think it came out great! The Cobra T-56 shiftnob doesnt match the ebony black paint but its not too big a deal. I’m also going to hold off on the rear of the car for now. The hatch is still leaking water and I dont want to mess up new carpet until that gets taken care of. Other than that and a few very small details I’d say the interior is now functional enough to drive the car around.

Also during the break I was working on different settings with the AEM trying to troubleshoot some problems…

New web server online!

Its funny how things work. For the longest time I had planned on moving my website hosting from my Linux Server at home to a dedicated server with a faster internet connection. But there was always a reason why I would put it off which would eventually lead to me forgetting about the problem until the next month. The desire to move was brought on by the fact that my Road Runner Business Class service I had at home was losing its luster. My bill seemed to be getting higher (because of tax increases) while at the same time my roommates would complain how slow things were getting. Well, the other day I decided to finally take the time and get it done and just rent a server. I decided to go with a VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) Hosting account with Jumpline.com. I picked Jumpline after some searching around to see who hosts the fastest connections at the lowest costs.

Then, as if planned and without warning, after more than 4 years of running completely stable, I tried logging in to my Linux server at home (to transfer the files to the new server) and my hard drive died. Now, if you’ve read my progress up to now you will know how incredably unlucky I am. That being said, I retrieved my most recent server backup and realized it was 3 months old! All the updates I had made since then were now gone…

On a positive note returning visitors may notice how much faster the site loads now. File downloads like videos and images are also much faster than compared to my old connection. But for now, its time to try and recreate all the old content. That’ll be fun!

Problems with the fuel system, mounting the alternator

Now that the coils were done the only other thing I needed to wrap up as far as getting the engine to run was the fuel. A while back I installed the fuel tank and loosely positioned and ran the lines with zip ties just until I could get around to permanently mounting them. Now that I had the time I figured I would do it the right way. I starting by getting ahold of some rubber lined C-clamps to grip the lines and keep them from moving. Next I marked where I wanted to drill the holes to mount the clamps. I used some oversized heavy-duty pop rivets to keep them from going anywhere. Once I had all the lines situated I bought about 10 gallons of 93 octane and filled the tank.

I didnt notice any leaks so I brought out the laptop, hooked up the AEM, and turned the pump on manually from the software. As the pump ran I was continually listening and smelling. I found a few spots that needed to be tightend up so I took care of that and set the fuel pressure.

I thought I was done and moved on to working on a few other things. While doing that I could still smell fuel coming from somewhere! I didn’t see anything leaking but I also couldn’t track down where the smell was coming from. Turns out I have a very slow drip coming from the feed line to the pump. The problem is, even after tightening, it still wants to leak! The rate at which its doing it is about 1 drop every few minutes. I wouldnt normally care but the smell of fuel is still there and kind of bothersome. Its something I will have to take care of eventually but for now it will sit on standby…

One of the other things I have been working on is the alternator mount. More on the this later.

A few quick updates

Its been a few weeks since I updated anything so here goes.

After getting the engine in the car back in January, I was able to start focusing on other smaller things like ordering miscellaneous parts and doing some paint touch-up. The misc. parts Im talking about are PCV, PCV grommet, AN fittings, zip ties, grommets, wire sheathing, etc… The
paint touch-up Im refering to involves removing bolts and painting the heads to match the car. A bunch of the bolts in the engine bay were rusted or covered in grease, so basically the ones that are visible with the hood open I removed and painted (i.e. IAC bolts, wiper motor mounting bolts, throttle body bolts, throttle linkage, etc…) you get the idea.

I also had to go back to the EFI harness and modify things (which was kind of a pain since I thought I was done). I moved the connector for the water temp sensor (you may recall there were clearance issues with the fuel rail), added the EGT wiring, and as a result of that had to move the 5V and ground splices around. I would also like to change out those huge ugly connectors which sit behind the upper intake manifold with something smaller and more weatherproof. Summit and Jegs both have some which I might purchase, but its not high on the priority list.

Today I picked up my headers from Tim Takash of Takash Race Craft. He welded the EGT bungs to my headers for me for $30. Not only does he have a shop that seems to have every fabrication tool imaginable but he also seems to be a great guy. I was more than happy to pick them up cause that means theres nothing stopping me from mounting them to the engine block to mock up the turbos for intercooler installation. I also picked up a can of black ceramic high temp paint from Advance for the area around the EGT bungs since some of the high temp coating was ground off to allow for welding.

I also reconnected the manual steering shaft to the steering wheel assembly (the portion inside the car) since I removed it when I changed the K-member out. It pisses me off that it had rusted so badly, especially considering how expensive it was. My tip for anyone planning on buying
Flaming River products is to spray some high temp clear laquer on them before installing to avoid the rust. I wish I had done this before I installed mine, which will never again look as nice.

Coils mounted

I finally finished building the coil mount and figured out how to mount it in the engine bay. My first thought was to place it directly in the center of the firewall over the transmission, which would sort of hide the wiring and the mount itself behind the upper intake and allow the spark plug wires to just be reversed. Unfortunately, the coils height conflicted with the upper intake enough that it wouldn’t allow a plug wire to be plugged in. So the next logical step was to move it toward the passenger side of the firewall. This keeps the wiring short and hidden but also allows easy access to the plug wires. On the downside the plug wires now have no logical order since all the longer wires need to be used on the drivers side and the shorter length ones on the passenger side. Below are some pics after the mount was installed:

Try to ignore the rusted hex cap screws on the mounts (and yes that does piss me off). I took these pics after they had been mounted for about a month (remember when I accidentally deleted the pics). Im going to replace the rusted hardware with something less prone to looking like crap after its been exposed to moisture.

New valve covers

Well, for as much time and money as I have spent on the fabricated aluminum valve covers (as you may recall I had them anodized black) I finally decided to just remove them from the engine. My number one reason for doing this was clearance. They were too tall to fit next to the Tial wastegates so they had to go! I could have taken them to get the anodizing stripped and then taken it to an aluminum welder and have them clearanced to fit, then taken them back to the anodizer, but that would cost too much time and money to screw with. Instead I bought a set of standard height SBF TrickFlow valve covers from Summit Racing for $103 (Part # 51411801). They come already powdercoated black and without holes for the breather. This will allow me to custom locate a place for the -8AN weld bungs for the breather line.

EDIT: Below is a picture taken a few months after this log entry was created. It shows how well the valve covers look in the engine compartment:

Building the coil mount

While waiting for the aluminum to arrive, I decided I would splice in the AEM CDI wiring harness. The power and ground connections were prettysimple and went fairly quickly. As previously mentioned I need 4 seperate coil outputs for this whole DIS system to work. Obviously the stock computer had 1 coil output which was easy to find. The remaining 3 coil outputs on the AEM are positioned in pin locations which on the stock computer are listed as N/C (no connection). Therefore I needed to open the EFI harness connector so I could move some pins around. I ended up removing 3 pins which were originally used for A/C and moved them into the 3 remaining coil pin outputs on the AEM. Now I have all 4 coil outputs in the EFI connector pointed to the correct pins on the AEM. Next I cut all 4 wires and soldered them to the 4 input wires of the CDI harness. I then removed the original coil wire and coil connector (it would be REALLY hard to turn back now). As for the CDI outputs I will leave those alone until I finish the coil mount. I will mount the CDI box somewhere under the dash near the injector driver box (havent picked a final position just yet).

After the aluminum arrived I began my mount design. It arrived as a large 12″ x 12″ plate of 3/8″ thick 6061 T6 alloy (which will look perfect when I get it anodized black to match the car). First I will have to cut it down to size to fit all 4 coils. This works out roughly to about 3-1/2″ x 9″ and leaves room between coils for cooling purposes. The basic layout will look similair to the Electromotive coil packs I mentioned a long time ago: rectangular aluminum mount with coils directly on the surface and wiring hidden underneath. I will also drill a hole in each corner to mount it to the car through rubber feet. The reason for this is because I’m leaning more towards putting it on the firewall. Mainly because I dont like the look of the coils in the front (very cluttered in my opinion).

Now, as for the coil inputs, they are located on the bottom of the coil. I will need to drill holes in the plate to pass the wiring through. At first I was a little worried about how I would make the connection and keep it waterproof. Luckily each coil comes with its own rubber insulator (which resembles a weatherpack connector) for a watertight seal. I will just have to do some milling to remove material in the plate to keep the insulator compressed and the coil flat.

Because I accidentally deleted the pics off of my camera I dont have anything to show what Im talking about. Im 100% sure I will eventually be tearing it apart to anodize the aluminum plate so when I do that I will update this section with the photos.

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