Getting Into Gear

A  short week after the Easter break meant that my weekend trip to Mustang Maniac arrived in no time. I was sure to take my ball bearing down with me to fit into the fully exposed C4 gearbox. The weather started of bad but was promising to be a nice day. I arrived at the office to see Adam in the office with a room full of people, a couple of faces I recognised and a number I didn’t. Is this the male equivalent of the ladies coffee mornings, a load of blokes all standing around talking cars? Eventually I tore myself away to get down to the task in hand, finishing the gearbox. Last week the missing ball bearing stopped play unfortunately so hopefully we could make some time back up.

I pulled out the box of bits I had taken down and carefully removed the bearing and spring to check for size.

In order to wedge the bearing in place I dropped the bearing onto a slim screwdriver and lowered it into place and made sure there was clearance with no binding at all as this needed to release pressure. Once I was happy I let the bearing go and rest in place. Now I was well chuffed.

Next up was the gasket for the filter and fitting the spring into the pressure release, The filter was fitted to the correct position ensuring the spring was in place and not ping out.

The next part was the gearbox sump pan. The old pan was a little dented but could of been cleaned up and reused with a new gasket. Adam suggested a newer design drained sump, no it was not concourse, and as I was a slight resto-mod anyway I was swayed with the super shiny chrome. The gasket was laid on the gearbox and pan fitted in place ready to tighten the bolts up.

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The last part that had to go onto the gearbox was the new engine mount. This wasn’t able to be done up tight to start with as the gearbox needed to be in position first. That meant due to where the bolt heads are the mounting bracket would have to be fitted then removed to tighten the bolts fully.

Gearbox mount
Gearbox mount

At this point Adam joined me to help with the gearbox fitting, we decided to dry a fit to make sure everything was in place and where it should be. It was going to take longer with bits going on and coming off again, but as we have seen some of the previous handy work we wanted to make sure. I fitted the flex plate and the retaining plate first, not doing things up to tight, just to make sure it was held in place. Then we jacked the gearbox to the engine to check alignment.

Adam was happy with the fit and gave me the next set of instructions. Remove the flex plate again, clean up the torque converter, spray the engine back plate and then give him a shout. As the sun was out and a gorgeous day the spraying was dry by the time I had cleaned up the converter. The torque converter was cleaned up on the outside being careful not to get any cleaner into the converter itself.

With the converter now cleaned I took that and the plate back to the workshop. Fitting the newly sprayed engine plate to the back of the engine was simple as it was more like a huge gasket. The flex plate was remounted and bolts done up tight.

The torque converter was fitted into the bell housing and checked all was aligned correctly.

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The gearbox was lifted to the engine and the gearbox was held in place while, the torque converter was aligned up to the flex plate with a single bolt to hold it in place from slipping out of position. The bell housing bolts were fitted to the engine and tightened up with Adam’s new fancy Snap On tool. Note to self – future Christmas prezzie!

Next up was the gearbox support bracket that we dry fitted earlier. The gearbox mounting bracket was now in place and tight so we just had to tighten the nuts to the bolt threads. Now the gearbox was supported under her own weight and the lift was released.

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A huge step forward and we were on a roll. We decided to fit the prop shaft in place while we were at it. Adam carefully inspected the UJ bearings to make sure that there were no needle bearings missing. Once he was happy with that they were fitted to the end of the prop shaft universal joint and clamped into place.

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The drive train was now in place. Technically ready to move under her own power and drive.

To finish the day we day we quickly fitted up the hand brake counter lever to keep the cables of the floor.

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Next week it shall be back to putting things back in the engine bay. I hope to fit my new engine headers and the radiator. I am so looking forward to that.

Adam showed me a quick peak at the interior I wanted and it looks pretty darn good, but I would say that as it’s mine. I will have to start working on striping the seats down ready for the fitters sooner rather than later.

A great day, thanks Adam.

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Steam Clean

The task for the weekend was to sort out the C4 Automatic Transmission gearbox. The guys at Mustang Maniac had already pulled the box out from storage and set it by the stand. The gearbox is lifted onto the stand and bolted into place just like the engine was so you can rotate it in any direction to work on.

Once we started to roll the C4 around the transmission fluids came running out and made a nice mess of Adam’s yard, it almost looked like the gear box was bleeding with the red transmission fluid. Sorry Mate! The gearbox was soaked in a strong cleaner and degreaser while we pulled out the steam pressure washer. The gearbox was pretty heavily caked in what ever from the road and was going to need a couple of going overs. Adam kicked of the first few jets of cleaning and the difference was amazing to even start with.

Adam handed over the lance to me and said with a smile, “I hope you have a change of clothes?” I laughed and said “I will be careful don’t worry”. I always carry a spare pair with me down to MM just in case as you never know so I wasn’t worried. I started and then I got covered within about two minutes flat. I was careful but still got sprayed. The weird angles and crevices on the casting made the water jet back out at strange angles, I was convinced that I was a water magnet. The only up side was the water was hot so it wasn’t to bad until I stood around. Needless to say I got changed after the soaking pretty quickly. Now it could be my paranoia, but I swear I could hear laughing as endless warm clouds of water came my way. But still the gearbox was looking great after the first clean up, more soaking for the second session and another blasting of steam. I did clean up the yard and swept the oil away after I finished with it all.

We allowed the gearbox to dry out and moved it over to where the car is stored in Yogi’s garage. On the stand Adam had a good look over the gearbox and discovered that the casing was from anywhere from 1970 to early eighties casing cast, but the rear section was from a 1964. This may not sound like an issue but the number of splines on the drive shaft could be twenty-four or twenty-six or a combination either end. So it looks as though the C4 case and insides; or the just the casing were swapped over in a previous ownership. Now this doesn’t worry me in the slightest, as potentially there is fifteen years less wear and tear on the mechanicals inside. The car stood for twelve years before I purchased her so that’s almost thirty years less wear and tear.

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We rolled the C4 upside down and Adam started to undo the sump bolts to expose the insides and the filter which he was eager to look at.

Removing the filter which looked OK if not a little dirty, I was relived to see no gearing teeth wedged in their or a filthy sludge. surrounded by bits of metal swarf.

It turns out that some of the insides were from a 1974, which leads us to believe that a rebuild or swap out was performed at some point using the original parts from the previous gearbox that were not under stress or worn, such as the filter holder etc. The back section of the gearbox was unbolted and the housing removed for me to clean up at home. So far the gearbox looks OK with no bits of metal lying around. How it performs when it gets going we will have to wait and see.

Sunday was a case of clean up prep ready to put back on the main gear housing. This was a more degreasing and a light rub with some nylon scouring pads to clean the outside. The old gasket had to be removed and leave a clean surface ready for the new one.

The casing was dried and allowed to dry in the sun for while before the self etch primer was applied, two thin coats as recommended.

I sprayed a non visible area with wheel silver to see what it would look like, it came out looking like new aluminium not to far away from the original colour.

The reaming hardware for the nuts and bolts were cleaned up and sprayed with self etch again then with Tough Black which is a chip resistant paint. To hold all the bolts head up I used my useless malting wire brush to hold them while spraying. The bigger bolts were pressed into an old small box and sprayed the same.

The last part for now was the pipe work. There was the transmission dipstick pipe, a vacuum pipe and the selector arm to the gearbox. These were all rusty and in a bad way.

Same old story with these was to wire wheel them of with the rotary attachment to my drill. They came up quite well considering.

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Obviously to leave them as bare metal would cause rust issues in no time at all, so again treated with a self etch primer then sprayed with a chrome spray. This was a new manufacturer I tried and the results were so much better than the Halfrauds version. The sprayed parts almost had a mirror like finish to them. The selector lever I coated in Tough Black again as this was likely to get more exposure to wear than the pipes would.

All in all a good amount of work. But, in the back of the mind I still worry about the health of the gearbox as it’s an unknown entity so far on the car.

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Wiring Puzzle

This week I have an update, but to be honest although I spend the whole day doing things I don’t seem to have got very far. When I arrived at Mustang Maniac it was its usual busy self, with people waiting for the Adam. As Adam was not around, I had a word with Yogi (who incidentally has a fan club thing going on at Mustang Maniac blog). Anyway not sure what that is all about, but I digress, we decided that wiring again this week was the priority due to the fact that my transmission was in a storage bay right by some temporary cover being errected, this was to house Chris’ Coupe so it didn’t get wet while the body shop was being used.

The wires still looked as bad when I last saw the mess that I left myself, I was kinda hoping that they would all jump into place, but no. So I had to decide where and what I wanted to do. Starting from the rear I sleeved the cables and run the cable along the door sill up to the dash, this helped in keeping it a single neat line.

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For the engine I decided that the main loom was going to run the traditional route inside the engine bay around the left side shock tower, the engine loom would be almost stock maybe with a slight difference for the solenoid wires.

The worst part of this job is to work out what holes will be used for what loom, you are better of starting with the long wires and working back towards the fuse box where the wiring becomes more intense. As the wires are being threaded through the firewall you have to be extremely careful not to slice the wires or tear the shielding of that will cause a bad connection or failure. So it’s a case of put some through from the inside of the car and then coil the slack, go to the engine bay and pull the slack through and repeat. As the wires has connectors on them I protected all the paint work with a fitted sheet. This turned out to be a good choice as the neutral colours showed up exactly what I was doing. With the wires pulled through I sleeved up the cables and left the sleeve tight up to the firewall as to not get in the way. I looped up the cables I would not be using just yet. So although it looks unsightly it will be made neater later on. The American Autowire loom has the wires labelled up but I don’t want to see them. Although the new fuse box will give the game away from the first glance I want it to remain as stock as possible.

The main loom to the lights was again feed the traditonal route and sleeved as the wires went through the front support. The braided sleave looks nice and neat and not intrusive to the eye. The main loom hangs helpless for now until we are sure everything works fine before we tidy and finalise it all.

The engine loom was threaded out and again braid sleeve slipped over. Once the wires had been laid out I wrapped them up just for now.

The inside has gone from a complete nightmare to a headache, so I take that as big step forward.

What I am amazed about is the amount of wire loom tape I have used. I ordered a roll of 19mm and 25m long and I have all but a few feet left. Where did it all go as I have no idea. I have ordered some more this week ready for another session next week where I hope to mount the fuse box and tidy the wires up.

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A Promise Kept

A tired start to the day on Saturday with me retuning my radio to something soothing on the way to Mustang Maniac. Maybe it’s my age showing, but I just wanted to chill on the way and enjoy my drive. As Saturday was Valentine’s Day of course, my wife decided that it would be OK for me to spend some time with the other love of my life, my car. That was on the condition I wasn’t late home and bought the diner. Of course I agreed and made sure I would leave on time, so I just have to say “Thank you Darlin'”.

I arrived early and the slow wakeup had changed into get up and go by the time I got there. Adam and the guys were moving stuff around to make space and filling up their scrap pile. If I wasn’t mistaken I swear they were even sorting out their stores! A conversation was had on what I should be doing next, the main next job is for the transmission to be overhauled, but as the engine stands are being used at the moment we went to plan B. This revised plan was to start laying out the wiring and finish the insulation matting in the car. There was only one sheet left so I covered as much as I could for now and used the smaller off cuts to finish the gaps at the front.

As the back of the car is pretty much completed now I have added the all important iconic filler cap it would be easier to run the cables there. Yes, before you say it, the picture is of a 69/70 cap, but it was what came with the car and I didn’t know any better when I bought the car, and to be honest I quite like it. I dare say I will change it later for the correct ’66 one, but for now it will do. I have taken a picture of the stainless tank underneath, but it hasn’t come out to well unfortunatly.

The wires have been carefully stored and were in a box all neatly coiled up when I took them out of the car. When I put them away I placed them in the box so as not to get them knotted up. As I went to lift them out they were knotted and all entwined. Just how does that happen? I found the rear loom and took it to the trunk, laid it out for each side lights, once I was happy I threaded them through, but not made it final. I spent most of my time re-taping the wires up and making them look presentable as time just flew by. I used a little tape just to hold the light pigtails in place.

The next part was to unravel the spaghetti mess that had been created for me. It seems as though the gremlin that plagues me at home has been squatting in my wiring loom box! I managed to sort the wire loom into their particular junctions and placed it in the car ready for next week.

By the time the loom was laid out roughly, it was time to keep my promise and leave early afternoon to go home to my wife.

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What a Drip!

Old classics don’t leak, they just scent their ground.

Today was the day that I needed to get a drip tray.  The reason is my little ol’ girl has decided that she wants to scent her new home. As the garage floor is unmarked I wanted to keep it that way as much as possible. So I bought a clever little drip/fluid change tray. The drip tray has a nice pouring spout, but the clever bit is the removable grill as I tend to call it. It’s perfect for engine oil changes as its big enough to hold a fair amount of oil, just about the size of a washing up bowl but squarer.

A quick question. How many times have you dropped the oil sump plug into the bowl followed by the washer? Answer: I think we al have at some point and have had to fish around for the bits in a bowl of grubby oil.

That’s where this tray comes into its own, it has a removable plastic grill that clips just in front of the pourer spout or on the opposite side for a shelf. Pour the oil out and the bits are caught in the grill. Simple but effective. Not quite a review but it’s a good product. No name on it anywhere but it was well under a £10.

What am I gonna do about the drip I hear you ask. Well I’m gonna tweak bolts and gradually tighten it up. The drip is actually from the Auto Transmission. Hopefully it won’t be a major job, but you never can tell.

Fingers crossed.

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