A Big Milestone….

Eight and a half years ago, way back on October 28th 2012 I wrote my first post on my little ol’ blog. I had nothing planned other than to share with a few friends what I was getting up to and how I was getting along with my Mustang restoration. Ultimately I could look back in a few years time and take a trip down memory lane with the photos I had taken a certain points of the restoration.

Delivery of my project car 17th September 2011, before it went to Mustang Maniac where I had professional help & guidance on my restoration over the years. Those guys have become some of my best mates of mine as a result.

When I attend car shows or via my blog and emails etc. I often get asked how I clean and detail my cars;

Some of the Car Shows and photo opportunities;

I get asked how I fitted things, how I upgraded this or that, I even get asked for advice on their own restoration projects.

That got me to thinking about adding extra sections like the tools (a selection of them here), that I used on project and since use, considering that I’m just a weekend warrior with a spanner.

Products that I used to keep our daily cars clean and the Mustang fully detailed.

My merchandise I bought over the years or have been given since I started my journey with the Mustang.

I even get requests to review items, all of which I buy if I think I could use them myself. As a result of all these things, my blog has evolved into an entity of it’s own.

Fast forward a number of years to 2021 where I my little ol’ blog has reached a massive milestone. This is not intended as some bragging rights by the way, but more like myself being proud of the result. Somebody within the USA this morning 15th May 2021 made my day:

My blog has just passed 1,000,000 hits!

I am absolutely amazed to think this could ever happen, I remember getting excited about getting ten hits in one day!

I value every single one of you that has followed me or just pops in for a quick read, like or even the odd comment. I would like to say a massive “Thank You” from the very bottom of my heart.

I don’t actually get anything from my blog/website on WordPress, other than some add money that goes straight to the hosting and my domain fees. It’s sort of self sufficient in a way. If anything I’m out of pocket, but reading the comments and seeing the views more than make up for it. Hopefully I can help somebody, somewhere with something.

My first follower was Debbie Nuessle (click here for her latest venture), from across the pond. We both started blogs within a few days of each other, both revolving around our love of American Muscle cars, especially Ford Mustangs of course. We keep in touch outside of the Blog circle and have become good friends.

I have a number of followers who ‘like’ the posts I put up after even after all these years, thank you all, it means a lot to me. I have such a range of followers; a very talented and well-known Soprano opera singer; Charlotte Hoather (click here for her blog), mechanics, engineers, oil rig mover, artists, photographers, builders, wildlife photographers, fellow classic car owners, writers, product manufacturers, shops, brands, a few younger bloggers, students, world travellers, petrol heads, gear heads, car clubs, writers, novelists, journalists, teachers, photojournalists, professional bloggers, social influencers, religious followers, the list just goes on. (There is even ‘ahem’ some adult orientated content following me!) The full list makes for some amazing reading.

Just in case anybody is interested in some of the more selective stats;

I have a total of 2,700 followers, of which 871 are on WordPress, 2,300 on social media, just over 2000 on Facebook, which is not my favourite of all the platforms I must admit.

I have been visited by 199 countries and the top ten countries in order are; USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, France, Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand.

There are stunning islands that have visited me, Mauritius, Seychelles & Maldives. Some of those Islands are so small they wouldn’t be able to fit a Mustang on them! My bucket list is to spend a few days on these islands to chill and take in some sun.

The more obscure countries with a single visit are: Burkina Faso, Falkland Islands, Kosovo, Tonga, Northern Mariana Islands.

To date I have posted 340 blogs including this one over the eight and half years I have been posting on this blog.

These figures are quite low compared to some of you mega stars out, there with you super popular blogs I know that. But for me, like I said earlier, I’m honestly humbled and grateful to every single one of you who wants to look at a blog all about one man and his Mustang!

A huge “Thank You” to you all.

Here’s to the next one million!

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A Sticky Situation

Looking for things to do and decided that it was time for a little update again. A few posts ago around Christmas 2020 I replaced my chrome 40,000v coil to a black version. The reason then was that I had erratic starting issues and decided to change the coil just for the sake of it to see if it helped. It didn’t and the coil turned out to be fine and is now a spare just in case.

The original look was a chrome coil with the original Ford coil clamp in black.

On the coil was the Ford sticker to say what it was and add a little bit of authenticity.

I went to visit Mustang Maniac for a replacement as the pics above. I tried to peal the old label off and reuse it. But it rolled up like a toilet roll and just wouldn’t stick again.

I started to undo the clamp for the coil and lifted out the coil.

The old bolt was fine, but as my new bracket is chrome I wanted to polish the bolt with the Dremel, some nylon brush wheel and some final metal polish.

The supplied clamp was a screw head with a nice zinc finish.

My old bolt was a chrome Allen headed style and would look better.

The polished result was quite good and looked better than zinc and chrome. The new bracket was a direct replacement for the old one and bolted straight in.

The coil just drops back in and and then you can tighten the thin clamp bolt to hold it still, and then the single bolt for the bracket to the engine.

The new look is black and chrome, the old style was chrome and black.

The new sticker just needed to aligned up properly and then stuck on.

So the silvery coloured text on the black finish is more visible than the former silvery lettering on chrome.

Although the old bracket was restored and looked OK, I can’t bring myself to chuck it out now. Yes it’s old, it’s worth nothing, it’s the original, it’s pitted and not ageing very well.

The bracket will now be stored with the other old parts that have been replaced, either at the time since then. Will the chrome bracket last fifty five years like the old one? Of course it won’t, but I like the new look of black and chrome.

Bring on the car shows. We need the fresh air and to get out and about.

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What Goes Up Can Stay Up

I admit it, I’m so bored of the lockdowns, no car shows and there is talk of longer lockdowns again. To cheer myself up I decided to do a bit of upgrading that I have been thinking about for a while.

The stock Mustang aerials are usually on the right side fender and cant be retracted. Not a problem most of the time, but if you are out and about there could be some jealous vandal who wants to bend it. Then 1) you lost signal for the radio, 2) it’s a whole heap of hurt to swap out for what it is. Hence often wire coat hangers are jammed in the hole after.

In my case it’s more the fact that I want to cover the car and not have to make holes in the cover. Plus I can raise or lower the mast as I see fit.

There are lots of styles of aerials, standard mast, push down mast, stubby aerials, rubber aerials, rear window integrated, shark fin, fully automatic, semi automatic etc.

The fully automatic aerials works via a pulse signal from the radio when it turns on that in turn activates the aerial up, and another signal to lower. This needs a radio outlet to work it, and once the radio is on, you can’t listen to a cassette or blue tooth without the mast being raised.

Semi Automatic runs of a positive and earth via a manual operated switch which will raise the mast, then reverse the poles on the motor to lower the mast. This way I can have the radio on, without the mast up, or only half up, a bit up almost up or any variation in-between.

Let me explain why I wanted the semi auto option; my radio is an original stock item for a ’66 from the USA. But, I had it modified to take a 3.5mm jack point when I press a certain radio pre-set. That means that I can run an mp3 player, my phone for sat nav or a blue tooth dongle to the radio.

I’m going on the assumption that you already have the hole in the fender. If you don’t have a hole, work out where you want the aerial to go and make that hole.

Removing the old aerial;

I managed to do this with the car jacked up on axle stands and with the wheel off. How you get to the fender aerial is up to you and what works for you.

We need to remove the old aerial from the fender. Unplug the aerial lead from the back of the radio and make if fall loose into the footwell.

Under my fender are the splash guards that I fitted during restoration. If you don’t have them then your task is that much easier.

There are four bolts that hold this splash guard in place. One from under the hood at he very top. Then there a two at the sides on the middle picture, finally one at the bottom that also holds the fender in place too.

To remove the splash guard undo the bolts and will pull towards you and free of the chassis. On mine there was a layer of silicon to stop water ingress between the gaps. I managed to scalpel the silicon away and the guard broke free.

Here the guard is removed and the chassis behind it on the right pic.

The rubber on the sides of the guard were still supple and could be refitted and they had not torn. On the right pic you can see the aerial mast and just to right where the grommet goes into the chassis which protects the wires.

On top of the fender undo the hexagon nut and the mast will fall away from the fender.

That’s the mast out, now you should be able to pull the aerial lead through the grommet from inside the car.

Assembly:

Here is the Harada HA-50D. There are only three wires brown and white which control the motor mechanism and the black one for the coaxial.

For the most part fitting the part its a reverse of the above. I threaded the aerial coaxial cable back through the grommet and also the two coloured wires for the up down operation of the aerial.

In the kit there is a bar which is used to support the bottom of the bracket and is pliable to be able to be bent where you need it. There is a switch, and mounting bracket. To allow the the wires to pass into the body the brown and white wires have been bullet connector separated.

I made a test fitting to see where the bottom of the mechanism will roughly be. I worked out that I could re-use the bolt to hold the back of the fender in place. In the pic below you can see that loosened it to show you.

With the Aerial’s soft steel bracket I fitted it to the bolt and then replaced the nut back onto the fender’s bolt.

Thread the two power wires brown and white into the body via the grommet.

Now we can thread the mechanism up through the fender hole and randomly place the caps and hexagon fixing bolts loosely to hold the aerial in place. That way when you can move it around to the correct position and clearance a little later.

With the aerial roughly in place I loosely fitted the aerial in place and held in place with the bracket for support. The mild steel will bend so a pair of pliers twisted the strip and bent it to the aerial hole, which is arrowed above.

It says on the instructions that the aerial will ground under the fender. I’m not happy to go to bare metal in this case, so I made a small solder joint to the case of the aerial mast and attached that single wire to the bottom bracket. The smaller of the two black wires above. This will then also provide an additional ground. But not essential.

Take the aerial coaxial inside the car now and fit to the back of the radio.

The two wires will now need to be connected to the switch. connect the switch’s brown and white wires to the aerials brown and white wires.

The switch to control the aerial is a “Double Pole – Double Throw – Momentary Switch”

A live feed which is the green wire and an earth which is black will need connections as well.

I have a similar switch to this in stainless which I thought would look good. But when I trial fitted it, the switch didn’t look right in the car, but I did use one bit from it! (More on that in bit.) Below is the wiring diagram from the box. Due to the age of the box and the tape some of the diagram was missing, it had been crudely re-drawn on for the missing bits back on.

There aren’t many diagrams on the net for the wiring of these switches. If you need to change the switch out for a different style or want to know how it works here is the diagram I made.

In the diagram the brown wire is obvious, but the white wire is shown as a grey.

A point to note is that the up and down poles are reversed on the switch. ‘A’ and ‘D’ are engaged when the switch is held up to make the aerial go up and spin the motor in one direction.

When the toggle is push down then ‘C’ and ‘F’ are used to spin the motor in the other direction. They can’t be wired the same or the aerial will only go up or only go down.

To overcome this, the switch will reverse the polarity by crossing the wires over; ‘A’ to ‘F’ and ‘D’ to ‘C’. Thus the “Double Pole” part of the switch. The “Double Throw” is the up and down movement, the “Momentary” is that the switch will only work while you activate it and drop to the off position in the middle of the switch.

Power to the switch is provided by the 6A fused green wire to ‘B’, and the ground to ‘E’.

I made a temporary fitting for the power and ground to raise the aerial fully.

Adjust the aerial to the correct verticals. Then tighten up fully when you are happy. Lower the aerial to make sure that it’s full functioning.

Now we can look inside the car for the correct positioning of the switch and the power you are going to use. This is your choice where you want it to be. You could make a feature of it or just hide it.

I decided that the switch would look best under the dash as I didn’t want to drill holes in the dash facia itself. The bracket supplied has two two holes for screwing up under the dash.

I found a hole right next to the aircon blower unit which I would use. As there would only be one hole in use on the bracket the air-con bracket could be used to clamp the bracket in place.

With such a large hole I didn’t need to drill that either. I found a course threaded screw and a matching self tightening clamp to put behind the dash itself to hold everything in place. It was at this point I now used a part of my stainless switch; the wording plate instead of the up and down arrows on the plastic. Screw on the retaining ring and all was in place.

(Now take the brown and white wires and connect them back up again, if you disconnected them after the test fitting.)

I wanted a switched live from the ignition. So with that in mind I need to remove the current open connector on the end of the green wire and replace it with a piggy back spade fitting.

The best place I could see was to junction of the heater motor. I connected the heater motor spade to the new fitting and connected both.

Now I could tidy up the wires, tape them with wire loom cloth tape to look like stock fitting.

The black on the switch matches the black camera case inside and the stainless wording label is not too intrusive on the inside.


Now everything is working and in place we can get back under the fender. There is one last thing for the aerial which is the drain pipe. This just pushes on to the bottom. Me being me didn’t want any water dripping inside the fender and accumulating with the tube which was only four inches long. I found the old radiator overflow rubber pipe which was a the same bore and I managed to squeeze it inside the polyurethane pipe. I heat shrink a sleeve over it to make sure it stayed in place. and now comes out at the bottom of the fender.

Now we can finish by refitting the splash guard. This will just press back into place, making sure the rubber edges are not pinched.. Replace the four screws.

The additional part is the silicon. Place a little on your finger and smear it into the gaps metal to metal.

That’s it all done.

I now have a working aerial which can be raised or lowered from inside the car. I won’t need to make a hole in the car cover and it’s protected from vandals or accidental bending.

The results are great and everything is subtle in appearance. I don’t know of any other classic Mustang’s have an electric aerial either full auto or semi auto. There will be others out there of course, but I hope it puts me into a unique club now.

On a side note a question; how often do I use the radio? Hardly ever, but I can put it up just for a car show for the original stock look if I want to.

I’m running out of things to do on the car, best I get the car back out and clean it yet again!

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Filling The Void

A while ago I spotted a a Mustang with a grill to radiator cover plate fitted and I liked the look of it. Over the years I have sort of kept an eye out for one for my car and eventually found one a couple of weeks ago. This is a little post on me fitting it as it doesn’t warrant a full fitting guide as there are only four bolts to hold it in place.

The old look of the car was fine but there is always that gap after the grill to radiator, it’s just an empty void.

The part was ordered from the USA and arrived about ten days later well wrapped in a box with plenty of padding.

The “Show Panel” as the company called it done a few variations; natural finish, anodised black or a brushed steel finish. As my under hood colour scheme is naturally a satin black with chrome, I went for the black anodised look.

This panel is the single flat panel type and my preference, as it covers the gap, but leaves the natural look of the radiator top rail. The other point is that it will allow just a little more airflow to the radiator as well. There are other designs on the market where the panel is bent up into an “L” shape to then cover the front of the radiator support.

With this panel there comes a roll of edging strip and four plastic washers.

On the first test fit it was obvious that the panel was not going to fit with the horns in their correct locations mounted on top of the radiator support.

The supplied instructions (which came on a post it note sized bit of paper), advised you to move the horns out of the way lower down. Where you wanted to move them to is your choice of course, but lower down to keep things looking clean made sense instead of cluttering inside the engine bay.

I removed the first one and it just happened to be that the top radiator bolts would be perfect, but the horns would need a little mod. The mod came to the holding brackets of the horns which need a more pronounced “S” curve to move it away from the support panel. I could have left them untouched if I pointed them both towards the centre of the radiator, which could have a detrimental effect on the cooling.

The test fitting here shows the initial bracket ‘modification’. The locating pin to stop the horn twisting in the original position(s) was straightened out to allow a flush fit.

Both horns were removed and cleaned before they were refitted to their new locations.

There was enough slack in the horn wiring loop to allow the connection again all be it through a different hole where the aircon radiator pipes would have passed through.

That was the worst part done, now it was time to fit the edging strip to the panel. This was a nice touch and finished the panel of nicely. I made sure that the join wouldn’t be seen as it would be hidden under the fender lip.

The instructions advise to cover the panel with masking tape to protect it from damage while fitting along with the edges of the fenders and around the hood latch. As I was being super careful and I didn’t actually need it.

Two bolts from the middle hood latch and two that hold the top of the grill in place to the headlight buckets needed to be removed. As they were satin finish I thought they would look better in polished finish. I think that was a good call, same bolts here, but one was polished and the other still in natural satin.

The panel needed to be slotted under the radiator support top rail, while bowing the middle up to slot under the front edge of the fender lip.

With the panel in place it was a case of refitting the two centre latch bolts and the two end bolts for the headlight and grill. The supplied plastic washers were used to protect the panel.

The two end bolts didn’t quite line up, so I had to loosen a few smaller bolts to locate the panel where I could then refit the bolts. With everything aligned it was simple case to tighten everything back up again.

With everything in place, I could then clean the show panel from my finger marks.

As it was getting dark now. I decided to call it a day there and fit the remaining edging strip to the hood bump stop holes.

In hind sight I should have done it before fitting, arrowed.

So there you have it, my new panel that I made dirty again with my finger prints, which needed another clean. I can see me constantly cleaning this panel as it shows any finger prints.

the final step was to fill the holes in the radiator support where the horns were with black grommets to finish the look.

Before………………………………….After

I just think the panel neatens things up a bit and I’m really pleased with the result. 🙂

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Spring Doubles Up

I decided to make a little upgrade to the car to help with a very minor issue that I decided to rectify. The modification also added a little blink under the hood and something else to clean while I’m at it.

The issue was that on the odd occasion when lifting my foot of the throttle and stopping the idle would be a little too high. This could be cured by tapping the gas pedal and it would settle down again. On investigation it appeared to be the throttle return springs on the standard throttle rod didn’t strong enough to return the carb throttle body to it’s correct closed position every single time.