Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Custom keyless setup on our 68 mustang

Just because our ride is a classic doesn't mean we can enjoy the conveniences of today.
One of the best being keyless entry for a quick get in on our rainy Florida days. Now adding
a modern convenience like this to a classic car can be tricky, since it was never designed to have
it. But with a little piece of sheet medal, a quick spot weld or two and a few screws.
We can add this modern convenience cleanly and easily.

On a newer car you can use the factory lock rods to add this feature, but since our classic has neither electronic locks nor a lot of room in the door. We came up with a bracket that mounts the actuator out of the way and securely in the door.

First step:
I used a piece of scrap 16 gauge sheet metal to form my bracket.
Just a simple 90ยบ bend that I angle cut for extra clearance in the door.

A few spot welds attaches the bracket to the latch. You can also screw this to the latch using a small hole and flush mount screw if you can't weld. Then we painted the bracket.

After marking all our actuator holes for drilling with a marker. We drilled them out
using a small metal drill bit and attached the actuator to the bracket via the drilled holes.

We just placed back in the door in the stock location and done!!

Our classic now has keyless entry, easy as cake for around $25 in sheet metal, paint and actuators.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Custom made exhaust DIY and tech tips

One of the biggest and best bangs for you buck. Can be replacing that small size diameter exhaust pipe with a larger mandrel bent free flowing exhaust.

Why? Basically, by lowering the back pressure with a larger diameter exhaust you make it easier for the motor to expel the exhaust gases. Giving you more power and better mpg.

Can you go to large? That depends in a naturally aspirated car, the answer is yes. You need a certain amount of back pressure for the engine ton properly make torque. With out it you get a lot of noise but not much power. And in some cases even worse performance then the restrictive factory exhaust. Now if your talking turbo, then no the less exhaust back pressure the better. The reason is because the needed engine back pressure happens in the exhaust manifolds between turbo and engine. By removing the back pressure from turbo you allow the turbine to spin freely. That means faster boost and quicker response with less lag.

With the said, there are a couple ways to go about upgrading your exhaust. You can go the kit route, many cars have pre-bent pre-made kits from several companies. But what if you need something custom? Well, most exhaust shops can accommodate your needs but most (at least in our area) don't have mandrel benders. What is a mandrel bender? Its a methods of bending pipe that give a smooth rounded turn instead of the crimped bend made by regular benders. The other option is to make it your self like we did and I'll show/tell you how.

We start by ordering our bends, since we don't have the space or money for a mandrel bender. There are several places to order pipe from Jegs, Summit, Ebay, etc. Even companies like Flowmaster offer DIY kits now. We mapped out our exhaust and roughly guessed we'd need 4 u-bends and a j-bend.
To build, you'll need a basic mig or tig welder. A chop saw, cut-off wheel, hack or reciprocating saw (something to make your pipe cuts) a marker (preferably black) and some patience.

Start by bolting your flange on to your header(or turbo in our case) this allows proper fitment to
the flange. Then using your marker mark out the first section of pipe and where to cut. Always tach weld the pieces in place as you go and then seam weld after all are in place. This way if you need to change something you can just cut the small weld instead of the whole pipe. Make sure you are able to remove the section your mocking up. Once you get to a point where its nearly impossible, I recommend using a flange to break the section so it can be removed in the future with out hassle and be easily reinstalled later.

After the mockup. I seam weld the joints and then use a grinder to knock down any unsightly welds (if any) and use a high temp paint to thoroughly coat the pipes to resist rust and add some heat shielding. That's it you now have custom mandrel bent exhaust piping.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Flex-a-lite fan installed

When it comes to fans there is a wide range of choices. From manual to electric, pull or push, single or dual. Each has a specific and each a draw back and gain.

So a little about the differences. First with electric fans the differences between push and pull are the easiest to describe. A pusher fan sits behind the radiator (nearest the front of the car) and will draw air from the front of the car to "push" the air through the radiator on to the motor. A puller sits in front of the radiator(nearest to the firewall) "pulling" air from the front of the car through the radiator and on to the motor.

Also with electric fans you can have a single or a dual fan. There are a few reasons for this. Typically one fan is for your a/c, cooling the compressor and the other is for cooli g the motor (both may work in tandem to achieve this). Is two better then one? Not necessarily, as long as the fans is correctly sized. One fan can draw far less current then two freeing up hp by keeping amperage higher. Also one fan can be used for both the duty of cooling the a/c and the motor if properly place and wired so.

Manual vs. Eletric fans....  manual fans are pretty much a thing of the past. While they make aluminum blades to lighten the weight. They are still rotating mass dragging down your motor and the are severely inefficient coolers. Anytime you can swap out a manual fan for an electric counter part I highly recommend it.

Now brand wise its dealer choice. Everyone has their personal favorite. Mine is flex-a-lite I've used them on all my car with out issue. They also make a great slim line fan that is reversible which makes it idea for custom jobs where space is an issue.

On our mustang we're using their single slim puller design.  To save space and in case we need to flip it to a pusher fan later. This one comes with its own easy to install thermostat with a/c switch for later when we install a/c. Also include are easy to use mounting brackets and a rubber surround so it can be made to mount flush on the radiator with out damaging the fins.

We start by mounting the fan (using the supplied brackets) to the radiator. Then finding a dry and out of the way location for the thermostat. After making a few simple connections using the wire and connectors supplied its all done and installed! Once we run the car. We can use the simple dial to decide what temp we want the fans to turn on at.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Riding In The Turbo Ranger..... And Scaring The Camera Guy....

We promise to have better, longer videos up soon. Still doing some fine tuning and fixing little issues during the break in.

The 68 Mustang project receives its heart!

Well its finally come time to drop in a motor to our project mustang. Now the options thanks to our suspension are pretty much limitless, but since this will be a daily driver (at least at first) we wanted something reliable with some good power and classic American muscle sound.

Our stock 302 block (which actual came from our 68 mustang)
There were a couple that fit our criteria a 302 & 351w. Since we had a 302 short block already. We went ahead and decided to start with that. The good thing about this motor is that majority of our parts can be reused if we later decide to change to the 351w (which who are we kidding, it will probably happen lol).

Now the 302 came in just about everything Ford made and there are several million choices of upgrades you can do to them. With that said, there are some down sides to the 302 sbf though. First building a Ford engine can cost you a lot more then a Chevy, why? Well to be honest, I'm not sure. But,  you can buy a basic Chevy 350 crate motor for around $1500 and a comparable Ford 351w will cost you nearly double (at least that I've seen). Also Ford 302's are notorious for leaking rear main seals. Ask any mustang 5.0 owner and they'll almost all tell you about the dreaded drip. Lastly the thermostat housing sits about an inch below the timing cover, meaning in order to replace the thermostat you need to remove or at least loosen the cover to access it (unless you change out the bolts).

We used some old valve cover when we put in the
motor so we didn't scratch our new crinkle ones.
So now to the good stuff. We did a mild build for this motor. Starting with a low mileage 302sbf short block (factory). We added Twisted wedge heads and Victor Jr. Intake manifold for better flow and slightly higher compression. A holly 4150 mechanical carb and some 1 5/8 pacesetter headers. On the ignition side we ran a msd distributor and 6al powered by a blaster 2 coil and ford racing plug wires. For this car we went with a flat black and brushed aluminum look. Nothing to fancy but clean and mean.

We used a Jegs one piece alternator and msd coil bracket, unorthodox under drive pulleys and ford racing air cleaner all with a custom brushed aluminum treatment. To achieve the look is pretty easy using varying grits of sand paper simply scuff the aluminum. Making sure to go in the same direction always. Takes about 5 minutes per piece to do (depending on size). Lastly we got a tuff stuff black coated alternator, ford racing crinkle black valve cover with breathers and all married to a freshly painted T-5 transmission.

And our finished product.....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our 1968 mustang gets a new front suspension

Installing a mustang 2 suspension in a car can seem like a daunting task, but we were happy to find out its not as hard as you might think.

Our 1968 mustang project is far from the heap it was when we got it. But we're not settling for the sloppy handling of yesteryear after putting all that time into restoring the body.  We took a look at the several options available and finally decided to go with the mustang II for a few reasons. It offers the most options for motor choice, while giving us the option of manual rack(like we're doing) or power assisted steering rack and also allows us to remove the bulky shock towers freeing up valuable space in the engine compartment. Another great thing about this is the fact you can run springs, coil over (what we opted for) or air ride with minimal changes.

First was selecting the parts. Now there are several companies that make complete kits and all are great (like Heidts) but we choose to build our own kit so we could exactly what we were looking for. We went with fully adjustable qa1 coil overs with a sbf cross member and tubular control arms. This included a manual rack and pinion and prothane bushings.

Why did we want to go through the hassle of replacing a suspension that works? Well to say the mustang is a handling dream would be a gross overstatement.  Our ride had old tired and worn bushings, tie rods and sloppy gear box. We could have just replaced it but in my opinion why spend the same for factory when you can get better at the same cost(well okay maybe a little more then factory cost). Now this is/was the first time we attempted a setup like this and while we thought we were thorough and got everything included in the "complete" off the shelf kits. We learned even those kits don't often include small but important pieces so beware if your a bargain eBay shopper...

Enough rambling on to the good stuff. First the fun times dissembling a car that's been together for damn near 50 yrs. For this you need some liquid wrench, large breaker bars and a small amount of swearing (cursing may vary). I found it best to blast everything with a small oxi torch and a fair amount of pb blaster and that seem to work on our rusty bolts.  Starting with the shock we aren't using them so we just used a jack to lift the control arm up and relieve pressure of the spring. Then using a reciprocating saw (or cut off wheel) cut  the pin at the top of the shock tower holding the shock in place. Be careful if you don't relive the pressure, cutting this can leave to it trying to fly out of the wheel well. Next we moved below two bolts hold the entire assembly in place now (a scary thought in my opinion)  removing the lower control arm cross member bolts and the front tie rod the entire assembly should now be free to be removed.

 Next we removed the shock towers using the reciprocating saw and a  cut off wheel. We used the old shock tower bolt pattern as a basic guide to cut. You just want to make sure you remove the material that's over lapped so you can flush weld the new panels. With towers gone we cleaned up our frame and check for and weak spots (from rust or previous accidents) and we were okay. The new suspension requires boxing of the frame which is a good idea and all kits tell you such. But what we found out it they all require notching of the frame as well something we couldn't find listed on any site. The issue is the shock are at such an angle they don't clear the frame so the frame must be notched. This isn't a huge ordeal but we wanted to let you know since it us required (at least with our cross member).

Using the factory cross member as a reference point. We took measurements to make sure that our cross member was straight and true. This is probably the most nerve racking and difficult part (once this is done the rest is cake). Then the frame is marked for notching (a small half circle) and cut. To box the frame we used the supplied inserts and just tacked everything in place before final welding anything to ensure proper fitment. You don't need a high end mig or tig welder to do this project. We completed this using an off the shelf Lincoln welder able to be bought at any Lowe's or home depot. After several hours of welding and yoga style contortions our frame is boxed and cross member welded.



Okay so earlier I hinted about things they don't mention and now the things they don't include. While most kits we saw include the rack. None supply the necessary steering shaft, joints and your factory steering column will need to be modified with a special kit to accept a steering shaft if you don't use an aftermarket one like we did. Also our kit did not include any bushings, or tie rods although some kits do. Also while our did include hardware we replaced several bolts with varying sizes to better fit our needs for a cleaner look. You don't have to do this we just didn't like  the large bolt shafts sticking out. Some kits include inner aprons our didn't but we were able to fabricate some fairly easy using some thin flat sheet metal. I recommend putting a small bend or some beading to strengthen these patches kit or not. Lastly our kit came with motor mounts for a sbf as promised but they are not the entire mount only the lower half. You will still need to purchase the upper half that bolts to the motor.


We installed our rack first, then the upper and lower control arms and finally the hubs. Our lower control arms required some modifications to accept  our qa1 coil overs since these were originally setup for springs and shock. To do this we simply cut off the spring perch and welded in our coil over one. Then painted them a nice gloss finish using a good brake fluid resistant paint.

All said in done the car looks great and will handle amazingly. Plus we can use most auto part chains for replacements since we have newer rack-n-pinion instead of that old out of date gear box.

We wanted to see just how low our new suspension would let us go.....