Bearing Up

This year I have taken my car out for a couple of shows and I have developed a rather annoying squeak from the drivers side front wheel. I have taken the wheel of and greased everything that had a nipple on it. I squirted, white grease, silicon spray, Würth Water Dispersant, WD40 everywhere I could. Nothing. It was still there.

I spoke to Adam a couple of times about it and he advised me to bring it down and he would have a look at it. So I did just that.

The photo’s in this post I’m using have been given to me by Mustang Maniac and saved me taking the pictures; big thanks to Mustang Maniac for that. They told me they were probably going to use them this weekend. It looks like they beat me to it by posting first. So we have a little overlap although they have a couple of different pictures on their post.

Adam was walking to the yard and heard the squeak as I was turning into the yard’s driveway. I explained that I think the steering doesn’t feel right either. He listened intently and promptly jumped in my car and took it for a test drive up the road.

We swapped places for the driving seat as Adam need to swap a few cars around in order to get a clear run for my car onto the ramps in his workshop and I drove it in. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Yogi who had emerged from his workshop to help out with the diagnostics which is a two man job.

First thing they noticed was that the idler arm had some play. It looked like that over time standing in my garage the rubber had perished and broken down when the car came out for some shows this year.

You can see them when compared just how much the old one had broken down. The new one is on the left of each picture.

The guys checked everything else over on the suspension and I received my bollocking for a couple of other nuts that were loose. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Probably down to the play in the idler arm making things worse. Adam and Yogi both worked up and down under the car to check everything was tightened up as it should be. A couple of rear axle nuts were not as tight as they should be and Adam again tightened them up. I would like to say that in my self defence Adam does have a two foot long Snap On 1/2″ fitting breaker bar, to make sure things were properly tight.

They fitted the new idler arm and checked that the the locating bracket had no play with the arm fitted in place. Once they were happy I was sent out on another road test. Both Adam and Yogi told me that the steering would feel very different. The picture below is the new idler arm being fitted before full greasing.

I got out the main gate and and immediately the car felt different. I couldn’t believe just how bad it had gotten over a course of couple of years. You just get used to it and think no more of it.

I turned back into the yard happy, the squeak was still there, although not as bad now. Straight back onto the ramps and up in the air again. The guys decided that the wheel was to come off and have a look. They did all sorts of play checks and listened to the rotor spinning.

A decision was made fairly quickly. Yogi dropped the outer bearing out to check the look and feel of it. He wasn’t happy with it. Yogi then cleaned it up and Adam had a second look under the big lighted magnifying lens on his bench, nothing visibly wrong with it to look at. He stuck the bearing on his fingers and felt it, spinning it fast, slow and twisting it etc. Adam said “although it looks fine, I just don’t like how it feels, nope, I’m not happy with it”. With that he went of to the shop to go and get a new one.

In the mean time Yogi cleaned up the track of the bearing and made sure it wasn’t damaged by scoring or pitting. Luckily for me it was OK. The inner bearing was still fully packed. While we waited Yogi then proceeded to grease everything he could see, upper arms, lower arms, steering, bushes the lot.

Adam returned with the new bearing repeating his feel tests as he walked back to the ramps. “That’s better” he announced handing it over to Yogi. He repacked the new bearing with grease, rechecked it and fitted it back into the hub and adjusted it up correctly. He then replaced the retaining washer, split pin and the bearing cap. The wheel was put back on and retested for play and feel before letting the car back down.

I was then sent back out on the second test run to see how it was. I arrived back with a smile as big as my front grill. The noise had gone. Sorted 👍

Before I set off for my run I was told that if all was OK, to park out the front of the offices. Which I duly did as i was now well chuffed. They asked me if it was OK to use on the their blog posts. Of course I had not objections at all, they then took a number of pics of my car for their ‘Park & Pic’ section on their forth coming blog. Www.mustangmaniac.org

I love this picture as there is an early Falcon convertible, which of course was the Mustang’s immediate predecessor that shares the same chassis as First Gen Mustangs, and also a later Mustang all in one shot.

I sat in the offices with Adam and we had cup of tea, well he did and I had a cold can of pop. We put the world to rights, sorted out the bill before I left for home. The journey home was a pleasure until it started to rain. I was not impressed that my car had now gotten wet of course. But, considering the car was now in a another league, I wouldn’t mind.

I arrived home some hour and half later after filling with fuel (again). I just had to clean my car before I put her away and cover her up. I then plugged in the battery maintenance unit to keep the battery in tip top performance.

Again a huge thanks to Mustang Maniac (Adam & Yogi) for fitting me in and sending me home all on the same day. That is what I call “proper customer service.”

Before I sign off I just need to wish my friends on the other side of the pond;

Happy Independence Day.

Have a great day and have a beer for me. 🙂

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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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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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Feeling A Bit Dizzy!

On my last post (rather a large post), I explained the critical settings of the spark plug and the benefits of quality ignition leads. That’s all well and good, but if you don’t have the correct pulses or power going down those leads at the right time then you will have problems. While I was checking and replacing spark plugs, I decided to strip down and rebuild the top end of the distributor.

Firstly what is a distributor?

A distributor consists of a rotating arm or rotor arm inside the distributor cap, which sits on top of the distributor shaft. This shaft has an insulated body to the vehicle’s ground or earth. The distributor shaft is driven by a gear on the camshaft on most overhead valve engines, and attached directly to the camshaft on most overhead cam engines. The distributor shaft usually also drives the oil pump. The metal part of the rotor contacts the high voltage cable from the ignition coil via a spring loaded carbon brush on the underside of the distributor cap. The metal part of the rotor arm passes close to (but does not touch) the output contacts of the distributor cap which connect via high tension (ignition) leads to the spark plug of each cylinder. As the rotor spins within the distributor, electric current is able to jump the small gaps created between the rotor arm and the contacts due to the high voltage created by the ignition coil. The voltage then travels down the HT leads to the spark plug where it again jumps a predetermined gap to ignite the air fuel mixture in the cylinders providing drive to the crank and thus power to the wheels via a transmission. (In a nut shell description.)

The principles are the same for a 4 cylinder, i6, v6, v8, v10, v12 etc. The rotors may travel in a different direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise), the number of leads on the distributor cap may be more, the firing orders will be different etc.

To show those principles of the spark, here is a simple 4 cylinder diagram with points. A v8 just more of plugs, more cap points, more cam lobes to open and shut the points etc. but you can see the idea on a less cluttered diagram.

Modern cars tend not to have points, but have electronic sensors to replace them. Latest technology has a sensor on the cam shaft which fires the spark plugs without the need for a distributor or even a coil, as the power for the spark is handled by ‘coil’ packs which are mounted on top of the spark plug lead fittings.

This post is a going to be a very cut down version of the whole process I have documented. The full rebuild with all the photos, explanation step by step can be found here. I will only be covering the Pertronix ignition process on this post, but I do cover the points process or refitting and setting as well on the full walkthrough.

* Disclaimer (just in case): If you are in any doubt on your ability to try this – DON’T. Get it wrong you and could damage the insides of the distributor, the car wont start or run properly. This is a guide on how I done it, I can’t held be responsible for your actions.

Dismantling:

First thing is to make a note of where the HT (spark) leads go and to what cylinder. Take a few photo’s if you’re not sure, label the leads up with a marker or sticky label of some sort. If you look closely the top of the Mustang distributor caps it has the number ‘1’ on the top, this is where you plug the lead for cylinder one. The diagram below right is for the firing order of 260/289/302 with a standard cam. Check your manual if you’re unsure.

Take the leads off and unclip the front and rear retaining clips to release the cap. The rotor arm can now be removed and the small usually oil soaked felt pad under it can be removed. Both my rotor and felt pad needed to be replaced.

Depending on your set up there will either be a set of points and condenser picture below left, the points gap is covered on the full process here.

An upgraded set of electronic points as mine (below right) will be set to the manufacturers recommended gap, more on that later once the rebuild is completed.

I removed the electronic set up, but once the condenser and points are removed (above left), the principle is exactly the same for dismantling and re-assembly up to the fitting of the Pertronix or points and condenser.

My Pertronix is held in place by a single screw at the bottom of the shoe which also pivots at the top where the original points screw would have held the top part of the points. Then remove the black sensor collar.

Disconnect the vacuum pipe to the front of the vacuum canister which goes to the carb. Check for any leaks or cracks on the pipe if you find some replace the pipe.

Next there is a metal lever that goes into the distributor (which will now be known as “dizzy” from now on). There is a tiny clip that holds the bar onto the pin. Remove the clip very carefully and make sure you don’t loose it. Remove the vacuum can from the dizzy.

Check for signs of perishing on the diaphragm on the inside. To check the function of the vacuum you can suck the can from the front and you should see the arm move towards the inside of the can, repeat a few times. If all is good you can clean it up and keep it safe, if not replace. Next remove the screw that holds the earth strap to the lower dizzy plate.

Next to the cam lobes there is another e-clip at the top of a pin. This holds a washer and under that a fairly strong sprung washer. Slip a small flat ended screw driver and gently tease it away. If you’re not careful it will ping up and be lost in the depth of the engine bay. Remove the washer, sprung washer and keep safe with the e-clip.

With the washer and spring washer out the way, you should now be able to lift the plate up and lift it up over the lobes of the cam.

The lower plate is now only held in place with a single screw the opposite side to where the cables come into the dizzy. Undo the screw and remove the lower plate.

Removing the lower plate there should be three raised points which separates the upper plate and should be smooth. I noticed one of mine was loose so I removed it then re-stuck it back on later.

With the lower plate removed you can now see the advancing weights and springs.

NOTE: The springs are different tensions. The one has less tension and and allows the weights to swing out under rotation to advancing the timing. The other spring is stiffer and at certain centrifugal force this spring takes over slowing down the advance. The larger and stronger spring is a loose fit to the anchor points and is normal.

On top of each weight there is again a an e-clip. Remove with a small flat ended screw driver and make sure it does not ping off. Make a note of which weight goes where and repeat for the other side.

Keep them separate or mark up a piece of paper and lay them on the paper so you know which pair go together and if they are the 13deg weight side or the 18deg weight side. Without taking the whole dizzy out this is about as far as you need to go.

You could possibly remove the springs, the two springs making careful notes on what one goes where. I decided against that just in case I stretched a spring putting it back on. This would have a detrimental effect on the timing and advance. My springs weren’t to bad so I decided not to chance it.

Now you need to clean the inside and remove any old dried grease and debris. Don’t go mad in here with the fluids, use just enough to clean. I found carb cleaner is good, and also sprayed onto a cotton bud to clean the springs and surrounding area.

You can move the move the weight plate with your fingers to clean parts that are partially covered. Don’t go mad with forcing open of the springs, you don’t want to stretch them. Make sure there is no bits of debris in the bowl or trapped anywhere.

The bowl should now be clean of all debris and old grease.

Assembly:

I started with the weights. take each weight and either clean with a degreaser or similar, or take some ‘000’ grade super fine wire wool to take the roughness of the weights.

Make sure that NO wire strands are left on the weights or fall into the dizzy bowl.

I used a small punch to wrap a little wire wool around and then clean the inside of the holes. You are lightly cleaning – not reboring the hole. Also clean the clip, any rough edges or rust could impede the movement of the weights.

With the weights and clips cleaned it was time to fit them back to the dizzy. You will need some proper lubrication. I researched a fair bit and the general recommendation is an engine assembly grease. Light smears not huge blobs!