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Flash's 66 Mustang


Flash
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Today was another one of those "one step backward" situations.

After refurbishing and reinstalling the heater box a few week's back I wasn't completely happy with the result. The blower motor sounded a bit like a coffee grinder and I figured if I left it as is it would irritate me no end. Figured if I was going to do anything about it now was the time while I still had some of the interior in pieces. Ended up ordering a replacement motor in my latest parts shipment.

So, out came the heater box first thing this morning and I did the motor swap. When I originally refurbished the unit four of the eleven little clips that hold the casing halves together were missing, but I didn't have replacements at the time, so just had to make do with the available clips. Got some new clips at the same time so those went in too.

Much happier now.

The new motor is nice and smooth and I can now move into top gear on the reassembly of the rest of the interior.

 

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Today I was under pressure to get the last of my suspension parts ordered from Rob at Sydney Mustang in time to catch the courier pickup, so I quickly stripped down the driver's side to check on the last few bits and pieces that I suspected I would need.

Sure enough the bushes on the lower control arm are well shagged and the arm has heaps of sideways movement. It's almost the same spend to buy a complete replacement lower control arm than to refurbish my existing ones with new bushes and a ball joints, so I've gone down that path.

I'll refurb the upper control arms as they are a lot more expensive to completely replace. I've already sourced the upper ball joints and just needed new shaft kits from Rob. 

I've also ordered a set of high performance spring perches as yesterday when I was trial fitting the replacement coils springs I noticed that the existing spring perches are siezed solid, thus placing lateral force on the shock abosrbers during suspension travel. The originals are a dry setup but the newer style come fitted with a grease nipple for periodic lubricating.

Oh, and the Muppet that fitted the lower control arms (possibly at the assembly plant) fitted them while the engine was still out as the bolt heads face backwards and clash with the engine mounts, so you can't get the arms out without sacrificing the bolts. So I've ordered some replacement bolts from Rob.

I needed to pack up early so only got one side partially stripped.

I'll continue the removal tomorrow.

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While I'm waiting for more parts to arrive I started off today with a few hours of butchery in true Rough & Ready Restos fashion.

Cut the head off the lower control arm mounting bolt with my sabre saw and got the arm out.

Then did a bit more butchery on the upper control arm to remove the old ball joint that was riveted in place.

That was enough destruction for one day, so I moved on to installing the replacement inner and outer tierod ends on the driver's side.

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Late last week whilst patiently waiting for the rest of my suspension parts to arrive, I thought I'd finish off the last bit of exterior re-assembly being the front bumper and support brackets.

But, before tackling that I wanted to have a go at sorting out the bonnet and front fender gaps which were pretty bad when I purchased the car.

Whilst it all sounds pretty straight forward, it has been complicated by the fact that the car has previously been fitted with a reproduction right fender, under grill skirt and lower valance as part of the previous USA restoration and everyone knows that these non factory panels leave much to be desired in terms of final fit. 

Now a wise man would have sorted this out before final paint, but sadly I am not that man.

Anywhoo I started off by loosening everything off then aligned the back of the bonnet with the windsheild scuttle panel. Got that as best as I could and then worked along the bonnet to fender lines on each side. After a bit of fiddling about I got those gaps pretty good then refitted the bonnet catch. Nope .... nowhere near going to work. Ended up getting physical with the bonnet pin and now for the first time the bonnet latches and unlatches smoothly. Flushed by my success I thought I was home and hosed until I tried bolting up the under grill skirt. Nope not even close. Tried the lower valance and again an instant fail. Okay ....

Changed tack by loosening the fender mounting bolts, then loosely fitted all of the front panels with finger tight bolts. Then with a bit of pushing and pulling in all directions I finally managed to get everything to line up as best as I could. The front bumper and brackets are also reproduction units so they served up a few extra challenges, but after spending three full mornings on it I've declared a victory.

The final fit is not 100% prefect, but it is way better than it was .... enough to quell my OCD, so I'll take the win.

Sadly without its suspension in it's not a roller so I haven't been able to take any photos of the results which I will do as soon as it is back on its wheels.

Now no one likes a pictureless update so here are a few photos of the inside of the reproduction front bumper and over riders which were badly rusted inside and are now sporting a protective coat of epoxy primer after a good de-scale.

Thanks for reading. 

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Late yesterday arvo my final batch of front suspension parts arrived, so this morning I excitedly unpacked the box to inspect the goodies.

First up were the high performance coil spring perches.

As you can see in this photo the modified units are fitted with a grease nipple and the usual factory rubber bushes are replaced with a greasable polymer. My original units are completely siezed up, but  the new unit rotates smoothly with a little finger pressure. Winner.

These units should cure the lateral pressure that my front shocks were experiencing during suspension travel.

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Got the driver's side suspension all back together yesterday and started taking the passenger side apart this morning.

Lots of shagged dust boots and some notchy feeling ball joints and tierod ends.

A bit more of the Mustang's history was revealed during the process. 

The upper control arm on this side is a repro unit manufactured by ACP. Date stamp says 2006.

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So back in December when I bought the Mustang the brakes worked okayish but needed plenty of leg power and I suspected that the power assist wasn't working.

I swapped a few emails with @sr2 (AKA The Brake Wizzard) around Christmas time and with his help we diagnosed a faulty brake booster. I ordered a decently priced replacement that came complete with a new master cylinder. Both have been languishing in their packaging for a good while now, but today was the day.

Started off by checking out the existing setup a little more closely. First thing I noticed is a brake bias adjuster mounted under the booster. Hullo .... that doesn't look factory.

There is also a set of non factory looking firewall brackets that the booster bolts up to.

So I'm picking that this car was originally delivered without power assist or if it was someone else has been here before. 

Okay, so after removing a few nuts and having to sacrifice one of the solid brake lines due to a previously rounded flare nut, I was able to seperate the m/c from the booster.

Yikes, that looks a bit nasty:

 

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The newly discovered bent actuator rod on the old brake booster has been playing on my mind over the last day or two.

Although I knew from day one of owning the car that the power assist wasn't working, apart from the pedal requiring more pressure I hadn't noticed anything untoward with the actual pedal  movement or travel.

In my mind there must be a reason for the mis alignment between the pedal pivot point and the actuator rod that caused this bend and surely whoever was doing the conversion should have picked this up during the installation. And if they didn't notice it whilst bolting everything together you would think that they would have smelt a rat when they tested the pedal movement and felt something binding up.

The force needed to bend that rod surely couldn't have felt normal.

So whilst I had the old booster out I decided to investigate further. Spent a few minutes fumbling about in the dark under the dashboard and managed to extricate the brake pedal. With the pedal on the bench in the light of day things took an interesting turn.

Hello .... this doesn't look standard:

 

 

  

 

 

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Now being an absolute ignoramus when it comes to brakes I ended up asking my good friend Uncle Google what was going on and it turns out that this little conversion kit is used to lower the pivot point on a non power assisted brake pedal to modify the pedal ratio for a power assisted setup.

Okay ..... but how the hell does that work if the actuator rod fixed inside the booster remains at the same fixed height. Surely this will cause a mis alignment between the pivot point and the actuator rod. Got some mixed answers to this from Google. Some say that you need to raise the pivot point for the pedal at the same time. Looked at the pedal bracketry and yikes, modifying the pedal pivot point would require major surgery as well as having to remove the whole setup from the car to do the mod. So I'm definitely not going down that road.

Is the booster perhaps mounted too high on the firewall ?  Checked this out but the holes in the mounting brackets for the non factory booster are all predrilled to suit the original mounting points in the firewall so that would need modification as well as the hole for the booster neck in the firewall would need to be elongated. Again I'm definitely not going down that road.

But all of this extra info got me thinking some more and I decided to try something different.

The new brake kit was supplied with a different looking pivot connector, so I pulled off the conversion hardware and fitted the straight connector and then bolted the pedal back in the car. Next I bolted the new booster to the firewall. Grovelled under the dash again and guess what ... the booster actuator rod and the new pivot connector line up perfectly. Screwed the two together and gave the pedal a try. Nice and smooth. 

The two setups pictured below for camparison:

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Okay, so if I use the straight pivot connector instead of the pivot lowering kit everything works smoothly.

That is a plus, but I'm still left with the problem of the pedal ratio which would be back to the non power assisted ratio.

Uncle Google tells me that for manual brakes the pedal ratio should be somewhere between 5:1 and 7:1 and that for powered the ratio should be somewhere between 4:1 and 5:1.

So I thought I'd start off by measuring my existing ratios.

Sure enough with the standard pivot connector I get a ratio of 6:1 and with the pivot conversion I get a ratio of 4:1.

Okay, so if I'm going to use the standard pivot I solve my alignment issue but I end up back at a manual pedal ratio.

Uncle Google tells me that this will result in twitchy brakes. Yikes that doesn't sound good

Did some more searching on some of the Mustang forums and there are quite a few posts that say that for any Mustang prior to 67 the pedal ratio for manual versus power brakes was the same from factory. Now much as I would like to believe this I also know that everyhting you read on the net is not always true, so I'd really like to hear the opinions of those who have more brake knowledge than I do.

Calling @sr2 and others ....... please help a brother out mate.

Oh a picture of the brake bias adjuster that was hidden under the booster for anyone who is interested.

 

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Thought I'd tackle a quick and easy job for a change.

The fuel cap on the 66 Mustang is an absolute work of art.

Although it looks bloody good its functionality leaves much to be desired.

Firstly it doesn't lock which I'm guessing wasn't an issue back in 1966 but because I'm planning to use the Muzzy as a daily driver, I'm picking I'd be a sitting duck for fuel theft or even worse someone chucking a handfull of sand into the tank just for shits and giggles.

Secondly when you do unscrew the cap it has a factory fitted retaining wire so it dangles down onto the back bumper. Just the thing to scratch the chrome or paintwork.

 

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Comes with a set of instructions that even a fool like me can follow.

First step is to unbolt the original retaining wire that tethers the cap to the fuel tank neck. Unfortunately you have to then sacrific the wire loop, but it's worth the effort.

Then with the fuel cap in place you mark a pilot hole position at the back of the cap through the original hole that the wire loop retaining bolt passed through.

Next you carefully drill a hole through the inner face of the cap taking care not to go through the outer brightwork.

Then it's just a case of mounting the little spring loaded latch pin inside the boot.

The spring loaded pin engages the hole in the cap when the cap is closed and the only way that you can open the fuel cap is by unlocking the car boot and disengaging the spring loaded pin while you screw off the cap.

Bonus is that now that the cap is no longer tethered to the car, you can place it safely elsewhere while you fill up.

Bloody clever.

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