Archive for September, 2004

Tearing it down

The website went offline due to Hurricane Jeanne (more like forced offline due to no power for 2 days!). This weekend while watching Hurricane Jeanne fly past my back porch windows, I decided to start tearing down the old block. I figured even if the power went out (which it did on and off) I could let the air compressor stay pressurized and work with lanterns (which I did on and off).

This was my first time ever disassembling a block down to removing the crankshaft. I learned two very important things: 1. Label EVERYTHING! 2. Dont even attempt it on an old engine unless you have an air compressor and an impact gun or else risk wasting your time and getting a sore elbow; 3. Make sure you have more than enough room to put everything after you take it apart! When I first started the project I thought I would be able to disassemble everything and remember what bolt goes where. <buzzer sounds> Wrong. As I was getting in to it (I guess I was just excited) I realized I wasn’t following any of the 3 points above and started to forget where bolts went as I was looking for a place to put things down. Didn’t take very long either.

Today I finally finished the disassembly and had some key points to bring up. I think I realized now why my oil always smelled like gasoline. While unbolting the last of 3 of the cyclinder rod bolts the entire piston and rod assembly for each one slid out of the top of the block!! This would obviously mean I had no ring seal on those 3 cylinders. I also noticed when taking off the heads how badly all the valve seals were leaking. Interestingly enough I never had smoke in my exhaust except for maybe a slight puff in the morning when I would start it up. Another interesting note was all the carbon build up on the cylinders. (See below)

After taking it all apart I was seriously surprised that the engine was running as good as it was (I mean up until the day it wouldnt start, which started this whole thing in the first place). I was also very impressed that the engine had lasted so long espcially given its state. It really is impressive that a person can abuse the crap out of these stock engine for so many miles.

UPDATE: When I went to start reassembling the motor about a year later I noticed on some of the bolts where I left oil or grease that it had started (and in some cases succeeded) in eating through the plastic baggys. I recommend using sturdy freezer bags and not the regular sandwich bags if you plan on setting aside your project for some time like me (or even if you dont plan on it). I wish I knew this before because I could have avoided a very sticky, oily mess.

More body parts!

Cervini’s Stalker front bumper has arrived! It looks great and has that new part smell :) Tom Dooley who directed the body and prep work said it didnt look like fun. According to him there is alot of mold release agent on all the surfaces which will take a few hours to remove. FYI – For those that dont know what “mold release agent” is — its the stuff that keeps the finished part from sticking to the sides of the mold when its pressed into shape at the factory.

UPDATE: Tom said it took between 2 and 3 hours just to prep this part for primer.

Taking it off (the old paint)!

I decided early on, way before the engine crapped out on me, that I would go for broke and try to do the best I could afford when it came to making a fast semi-carshow worthy car. I say semi-carshow worthy because I knew it would be difficult to try and fit a race turbo kit in a daily-driver car without scratching the crap out of it. The goal of the final product is to have a fast car that I wouldnt mind driving to work on a daily basis and to the dragstrip or road course on the weekends; with an occasional car show here and there. Therefore keeping the whole thing spotless at all times is not too big of a concern (although it would be nice, yet difficult without a garage).

With this is mind I purchased an engine lift and stand and pulled the motor and transmission from the car. Basically everything I could pull off the car to keep it a bare rolling chassis was removed: driveline, interior, dash, A/C, wiring, EVERYTHING. I left a few larger items like window glass and body panels for the paint guys.

Which brings me to my next point. My brother knew a guy, Steve, who worked at a local Ford body shop as a painter. He said he could hook me up with a good paint job at a good price. So we agreed and he told me to drop it off at his friend Tom Dooley’s place. Tom is a jack of all trades from auto body to animatronics. I dropped it off at Tom’s place yesterday and he immediately went to work removing all the larger items I skipped. You can see what it looked like in the photos below right after he sandblasted portions of the body. He also started welding in the holes in the enginebay (sorry for the crappy resolution, they were taken with my camera phone):

In addition to getting the body painted I made a few other special requests and parts changes:

  • Replace the sunroof with a standard Mustang roof
  • Paint match the roll cage to the AFS Cobra wheels (Argent Silver)
  • Replace sagging stock front bumper with Cervini’s Stalker front bumper
  • Replace dented stock hood with Cervini’s 1.5 inch cowl hood
  • Replace melted rear bumper with generic rear bumper (removes the “Mustang” indention at bottom)
  • Replace heavy rear hatch with Cervini lightweight hatch
  • Fill and smooth in all unused holes in engine bay and paint to match the body
  • Dont replace any of the original badging (i.e, 5.0 emblem, Ford oval emblem, etc..). Steve tried to sell me on the idea of smoothing out the door handles but I’m not entirely convinced it would look good. For now there is
    plenty to keep them busy, and it may take a while to finish but it should be completely worth it in the end.
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