Stop Right There

A little while ago at a car show I was told that my brake lights didn’t work. I was concerned for obvious reasons. The cars behind me can’t see me slowing or stopping, and the fact I’m running LED’s was a concern. It’s not as if I had a blown bulb or something which would be an easy fix. The guy told me that while we were in a long queue to get into the show he “didn’t see my lights come on at all”.

After he left explaining it to me my fellow Mustang mate David heard what he said and suggested I pressed the pedal so he could take a look. I pressed the pedal as I normally do when braking and the thumbs up and a “yep fine”, no problems there then. We swapped places and he pressed the pedal, no problems again as the lights came on as expected. This is now turning into a puzzling scenario. Perhaps an intermittent switch fault, or is it the fact I am very light on my brakes? I don’t pull away with a boot full of revs and I don’t jump on the brakes to stop me either. In traffic I pull away gently by just letting the idle move me forward, when I brake it’s just a light pressure enough to stop. Less wear and tear on the engine, less fuel used, it will help avoid a boil over and the big positive is there will be less brake dust on my chrome wheels to clean as well.

I made a trip to Mustang Maniac to be in the company of fellow petrol heads and I explained what had happened to Adam. He suggested a swap over of the switch for the power assisted disc version. When I asked what the difference was he told me the spring for the switch was not as strong and the wires were on the other side of the switch bracket. This translated means that the normal drum brakes need more pressure to apply the brakes with a longer pedal travel. That switch is stronger as the brakes don’t actually apply until a reasonable force is used. The power assisted disc brakes need less pressure before the brakes apply, so the switch needs to be activated a little earlier. Simple when you think about it. So with advice from Adam of course I was going to replace it.

Here the two are side by side. Old drum brakes on the left (still working when tested with multi meter) and the new one for powered discs on the right. It’s also the same switch for a 67-68 as well.

I got to work where the switch is attached to the pedal via, which is in turn mounted around the master cylinder lever, which is also attached to the pedal via the same pin. The switch and the lever are held in place by a fairly strong retaining pin which needs to be removed.

Depending on the state of the pin it could be rusted and a little penetrating oil may help with the removal. I used a long pair of angled pliers to pull it out, be careful you don’t slip and take a chunk out of your steering column.

With the pin removed the connecting bar to the brake master will be able to be pulled off the pedal to the side.

Move the brake lever halfway off the pin. This will release the closed part of the switch casing, a hole which the pin fits through in order to stop the switch from coming off the pedal itself.  The switch itself can now be pulled down as the opposite side of the switch is open at the top of the casing to allow the switch to be removed. This saves having to completely remove the brake lever bar if you didn’t want to. While I was at it I decided to regrease the pin and plastic bushings. When removing the pin take care to retain the plastic bushing inside the lever bar. There are also a nylon washers on either side of the pin which don’t need to be removed, but you can if you want to. Below is the pedal push rod to the master cylinder being removed.

I sprayed the pedal pin with some white grease ready for reassembly later and also the inside of the push rod and bushings. If they haven’t been replaced for a while, replace them just for the sake of it  as they are very cheap replacement parts. That would also eliminate and play in the pedal, if you have any that is.

Side by side with the closed side of the switches compared. The powered disc brake version on the right with the terminals on the closed side of the switch. The left has the terminals on the open side.

The other side of the switch where you can see the open side as it were. Notice the terminals on the left manual switch are now facing up.

Once the removal has been completed now it’s a simple the reverse to fit it. Apply grease to the pedal pin that locates the push rod bar and the bushings. I used plenty and can always wipe it up after. If you go mad with the grease you could drop or run grease onto your footwell carpet, be careful or lay some old rags around, just in case.

Place the switch up to the push rod bar which will sit between the open and closed sides of the switch. Align the holes and slip it back over the brake pedal pin. You may need to slightly rotate the switch so that the open end is located all the way up to the pin. The switch itself should sit square at the end of the brake push rod, in line at the end of the lever bar as shown here. If the switch is not located square, the lights could be on all the time or not come on at all.

The push rod lever bar has straight edges deliberately, this means when the pedal is depressed the lever bar moves on the pin’s axis and the edges press the top of the switch down to make the contact.

Check the motion of the pedal and you should here a very faint click as the switch engages. The retaining sprung pin can be located into the hole in the pedal pin. This retaining spring is quite a tough to open around the pedal pin in order to be properly located. Here just the retaining pin tip is located in the brake pedal retaining hole.

You may need the pliers on the spring a little to get it passed the pedal pin and snap it into place.

A little more spray on white grease and pump the pedal to make sure full and correct operation.

Lastly you just need to swap the connecting block to the other side of the switch. It’s possible that you may need to free up a little more cable but you should have enough slack in the loom to allow you to do this. Here the switch is fully assembled with the connector in place with the red and white wires showing, before I re-wrapped them again. The connecting block can only fit on in one direction as the male terminals are set at angles.

From a slightly different angle.

Again, check the FULL motion of the pedal and make sure everything is clear from snagging. You should now be able to check that your brake lights are now working correctly. Lastly you can either clean up the grease on the visible parts or leave it as is. I left mine for a couple of trips in order to let it all work around, then I cleaned it up, but not to much as you need the lubrication there.

The noticeable difference being that the pedal moves less now before the brake lights come on which suits my style of driving. Also even if I just cover the brakes it should give the car behind earlier warning that I am actually slowing down and avoid being rear ended.

In total it took around just over half an hour plus taking the pictures to complete. It took a further few hours for my back to recover after laying upside down in a Mustang footwell and twisting into positions that any circus contortionist would be proud off. The cost of the project was £16.80 from Mustang Maniac, click here for the link for the switch I used. A small price to pay to be safe.

Quite what the issue was with the brakes not working or just the switch playing up i don’t know. Replacing the switch is simple and like I just said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Quite what my next project will be I’m not sure, but I will find something no doubt, hopefully without having to book an appointment with a chiropractor! 🙂

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Strike Three – But Not Out!

Last weekend I went to a car show at the Enfield Pageant of Motoring, and guess what? It rained; OK it wasn’t a bad downpour, but it was still wet stuff from the sky which landed on my car. That’s the first three shows this year that I have attended and rain has appeared, although to be fair it wasn’t until later in the afternoon. This won’t put me off car shows, it just makes me check my useless weather apps more to see what lies they are going to tell me. It seems as though my luck this year with car shows is not going very well at all. I drove to the end of a field and parked up on the Mustang Maniac stand where I meet Adam, Yogi and Paul who were busy getting their priorities right, making the cups of tea. My priority was to start cleaning my car. Simple reason being that the previous day Saturday was a hot day for a change at the show and the entrance car park had dried to a dust bowl. The show cars that were driving into the event were going slowly so as not to kick up much dust and gravel. In other words, showing respect for other people. However some selfish a-hole in a van decided to do mini burnouts every time he moved. Needless to say the dust cloud that enveloped the car park was like cloud of nuclear fallout and just as toxic. Not a great a great start to the show, I wasn’t best pleased.

I have continued to review lots of car cleaning and detailing products as I get a few questions now and again about what products I use on my Mustang as well as the daily driver cars too.

Contrary to popular belief I am not a one brand product devotee, far from it in fact. A big pet hate of mine is where somebody will buy a single product and be brand loyal refusing to admit that some of that brands products are in fact a useless waste of money. Those same people will have blinkered and tunnel vision when it comes to trying other products. My outlook on the matter is simple, I’m still looking for the perfect combination of products for each step I perform whether it be; snow foam, drying, decontamination, cleaners for paint, cleaners for wheels, glass cleaners, polishes, waxes, microfiber cloths, brushes, carpet stain remover, rubber restorer, vinyl cleaner etc. Just about everything I use is in a combination of many products such as Meguiar’s, Auto Finesse, Chemical Guys, Poor Boys World, Mirror Bright, Valet Pro, Dat Wax and so on depending on what is need, and what I intend to do to get the results I want. This time I decided to use a Chemical Guys EcoSmart which is a waterless wash & wax product I have been using for a while now, but just couldn’t get it right to use it properly. The results are amazing (now) which have improved a huge amount since I started to use top quality plush, deep pile microfiber cloths at £5 each and not the 25 cloths for £5 scenario, which aren’t much better than toilet rolls if the truth is to be known. Round two was onto the quick detailer, a brand new product recommended to me which is Chemical Guys – P40. (Yes, I buy ALL my own car cleaning products, and I am unbiased in my reviews.)

The car finished and it looked quite clean again.

The Mustang Maniac stand was starting to get full as I was almost done and was easily the Mustang place to be. There were customers who turned up for a chat, people interested in getting a Mustang, and people who were just happy to be around the cars.

With the car finished some one and half hours later I went for a wonder around the show to look at the cars and stalls.

It was an fairly good show in general, but I think that this show is getting more mainstream rather than car focussed stalls. There were lots of house clearance stalls selling cheap rubbish, stalls that sell plenty of plastic toys and stalls selling a selection of tools (I use that term very loosely), which were aimed at people with an extremely tight budget should we say. For once I didn’t buy anything at all from anybody. The wife says I should take her out for the day with the money I saved, she’s right of course, there is a car show this weekend, I could take her there and maybe get her a burger and buy more stuff for the car.


Classic car owners second worse nightmare? Stone Chips.

The worst nightmare has to be rust, the second has to be the dreaded stone chips. I always drive with an extra spaces between the car in front of me and I back off if somebody pulls into that gap. It seems as though I have been caught out with the hated stone chips. Let’s just say I was pretty pi55ed off and the air was filled with the colourful language that may have slipped out of my mouth on a repeated number of occasions.

I spotted the evil craters from the previous car show and fixed them up before the trip down to Enfield. Although I got another one on the way back from Enfield, I spotted this one when I cleaned the car on Monday. I have done a walkthrough or tutorial guide that works for me under the Menu ‘How To…Projects/Fixing Stone Chips’. Here is just a taster of what I did to fix them. This is only the basic explanation, I fully explain it all here.

Identify the location of the chips by marking with a piece of masking tape.

Thoroughly clean the area with Isopropyl Alcohol (or similar) to remove all waxes and sealants, use lint free panel wipe or similar. Then take a little colour and place into a pot. I had some left from the original paint job so I was lucky in that respect for colour matching.

There are various ways to apply the paint, with a brush, paper, matchstick, toothpick or similar. I use a wooden burger skewer as they are longer, easier to hold and I can sharpen them well without splintering.

The idea is to place a tiny droplet into the centre of the chip so that it sits just proud of the rest of the paint around it. Place the tip of your choice of applicator into the paint and remove it which should now hold a tiny droplet which is held in place by the wood and not running straight off. If you get a big drop you have the chance of it dropping onto places it shouldn’t be, with a lot of recovery work for yourself later.

With the paint drop as small as possible, covering the chip itself and sitting proud of the paint – leave it to dry and cure. Not an hour or two, I’m talking a couple of days, I left mine for a week. This will also allow any waxes to apply to the fresh paint properly.

Next is to get the sanding paper out, I got a wide selection of wet & dry papers starting with coarsest being 1500grit all the way to impossibly fine 8000grit. They are different colours for identification.

I then take my special stone chip tool, a pencil eraser and mark out the width I need on the grades of paper to cut to the size I need. These erasers come in various sizes and shapes for your needs or what suits you.

The idea is to start with the courser grade and work finer to remove the previous sanding marks. I prefer the rubber eraser as it will give slightly to a contour as it’s not rigid, but firm enough to hold the paper flat to the surface. I marked the back of the papers as the cut strips may not show the grit grade itself.

Patience, then use lots more patience.

Wet the area, I use a small travel spray you can get from eBay. Then gently rub the paint drop down keeping the paper flat as possible. A few gentle rubs then check. This will give an idea of how the paint is reacting to the paper and also you don’t want to sand the topcoat or lacquer of the paint if you can help it. You can adjust your technique accordingly.

When you are getting close to the flat paint, swap the papers over to a higher grit. With the sanding the paper may shed and give you a light paste look depending on the type of paper you bought.

The higher the grit number will reduce the previous marks and stop you from rubbing the paint to hard, keep the area wet. Repeat as necessary all the way to the fine grades. When you rub your finger over the chipped area you shouldn’t feel anything at all, it should be glass smooth. If the paint has sunk and you have a pit, stop sanding and add another tiny drop of paint by repeating all the application steps above and let it dry.

Once you are happy with the sanded area then it’s time to bring the car paint back to life. Use a polish that you normally use to remove swirl marks or light scratches. This will remove all the sanding marks, I used Tripple on this occasion as it’s hardly abrasive. Rub into the area using a DA machine or by hand as in my case using the ‘Handipuck’ to get the shine back.

With the area polished it just leaves the protective wax to be applied, this after the hand polish. Pointed out stone chip area with the wooden paint pick tool.

My next step to wax and protect the area. Dat Wax which is show wax and is heavy on oils not the paste style which is ideal for this type of work. Oh, its also blue and smells of beautiful bubble-gum which I reviewed here.

The finished results:

The trouble is, I have to do it all again soon. 🙁

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A Day In The Bay; The Video

Continuing on from my last post where I had visited Meguiar’s for their ‘Day In The Bay’ series. I have now been given access to all the pictures that Meguiar’s took on the day, but more importantly the video of the whole process is now also on YouTube, all eighteen minutes of it. Here are some great photo’s of the car from the day, and after avoiding being in any photos for seven years of my blogging, there is even a couple of pics of me in there, (I’m the one with the shaved head and a plain navy t-shirt). I have selected some of my favourites photos from the day, most of which are obviously the ones where I’m not in them. Rather than repeat myself with a write up again, this post is basically pictures, I hope that’s OK.

The link for the video of my car in the bay, is now on Meguiar’s YouTube channel here or watch it below.

The Washing & Drying

Into the Bay

Then it was time watch and learn how to machine polish the paint properly. There was some tiny swirls that needed a little correction first with some compound, before we got to the waxing stage.

Then I got to have a go with the machines.

Waxing

Buffing

The Final Results

With the outside completed we moved to the inside cleaning and protecting the seats.

Outside for the finished photo shoot.

Perhaps my favourite photo of the day!

I hope you like the pictures and more to the point the video, as much as I enjoyed the day. It’s funny though, I still can’t believe that I am going to show them. So, if you are going to leave comments, be gentle with this fifty something, grey haired old bloke! 😉

Remember: This is not a sponsored post by Meguiar’s nor an advert for them. I did by some products while I was there and will be reviewing them soon. Check out my ‘Car Detailing Reviews’ menu for the latest updates.

The car show season is nearly underway for this year, and I’m looking forward to a few shows this year. But, as the calendar dates pan out, there are a few shows on the same day which is rather annoying to say the least. So I will have to be selective with which ones I attend instead of going to them all.

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A Mirror Bright Finish

A big day for me had arrived early on Friday morning, I had taken the day of work and just for once the Friday alarm woke me up and I was in a good mood. The day trip was a visit to go and see the guys at Meguiar’s for a ‘Day In The Bay’. I had been emailing Dale much earlier in the year and we arranged a date for me to attend on the 29th March. Before we start, and you make any assumptions, this is not a sponsored post by Meguiar’s. This is a genuine member of the public’s personal opinion. It’s no secret that I am a fan of Meguiar’s products. I have used other brands to try them out, but I always seem to come back to Meguiar’s.

The journey up to Davenport was little over one hundred miles away, my sat nav told me that it would take a little over two hours to get there. I set of at seven in order to get there for ten as arranged. The extra time contingency was for road works on the A14, it was just as well as I got held up in them, but at least I was moving, all be it slowly. The funny thing that I saw was a sign that said, “a lot of work is out of sight”, it probably is, they were hard at work making tea, sitting on their backsides reading the paper, or posting on Facebook instead of building the roads to minimise the carnage to the motorist. (rant over).

I arrived at a quarter to ten and parked up. The whole place was buzzing as there was deliveries being made and the forecourt had lots of products on pallets awaiting their delivery and stock allocation.

I buzzed into the main offices where I asked to see Dale, he in turn was then called. Within a few seconds Dale greeted me, then if summoned by some divine intervention the local mobile coffee guy arrived and Dale asked if he could get me a tea, coffee or cold drink.

With the refreshments out the way Patrick arrived as he was going to do the video and camera work for the day. This was also going to be an instructional video to go on their YouTube channel shortly. (I will place the links at the end of the post). Like all good trainers I was asked what I wanted from the day what could they do for me. No scripted you must do this, you must do that scenario. My response was that I wanted to know how to use their products correctly and for tips and tricks with my paintwork and wheels. We had a look around the car and I pointed out some ‘pig tail’ marks that were on the hood from a previous mop a long time ago. There was some minor swirls that I wanted to address as well. Dale looked at the paint work intently, listened to what I was saying and recommended their Mirror Bright range for the colour of my car, and particular paint.

Next was the worst nightmare for a classic car owner, water. Again I was asked if that was going to be OK before they started. As it was a beautiful day, sun was out and it was warm I agreed, the mandatory two bucket wash method was given the go ahead. The jet wash came out and the buckets were being filled.

For the next stage I was going to be very much hands on with the training and I didn’t get much chance to pick my phone up for some photo’s. Although I know Patrick was taking plenty as we went along.

We rinsed the car over with the jet wash to wet it over and remove the worst of the road grime.

The wheels were sprayed with the Mirror Bright wheel cleaner. The mix is left on for a minute or so to see if it changes to purple. Once the product has done its job rinse of with a gentle jet wash.

Tip: Use the jet wash at a forty five degree angle to the paintwork. The reasoning being that you are not blasting water directly into and stone chips.

Tip: Fill the wash bucket with warm water and the rinse bucket with cold. This way you can feel which bucket is wash or rinse when they both have foam on the top.

Using a soft wash mitt like the lambs wool mitt to gently wash over the paint with the product allowing the shampoo to do the work.

The car was dried with the new Meguiar’s supreme drying towel. After we had dried the car I was directed into the Detailing Bay, or as Dale described it; ‘the tunnel of doom’. When I asked why, he switched the high intensity lights on, then I realised why. I could see things I hadn’t noticed before in the paintwork. Every minute imperfection was holding a sign up saying look at me.

The main issue was to address the pigtails in the paint I mentioned earlier to Dale. Patrick was filming Dale explaining the process of what he was going to do. He showed me how to use the Dual Action (DA) MT320 correctly. I was shown how to prep the rotary pad, how to prime the pad before using it, and how much product to use. A common mistake by not priming the pad prior to the application of the products. The hood was sectioned into four smaller workable areas. Dale did one side and I did the other with him giving me guidance. Patrick was getting some close up action shots as we were going along.

With the hood corrected and cleaned it was now looking smooth and flat. Again I was asked my preference for wax type, so I said it has to be the hand applied hard wax rather than the liquid form. Dale then started on the application of the Mirror Bright hard wax paste, I wasn’t sure about the results I would get as I was expecting results like the Ultimate wax for my preferred results that I liked. My expectations were surpassed, Dale was right, this wax suited my car.

Tip: Pinch the top of the applicator pad and place flat onto the wax, twist half a turn and that will be enough for a complete panel.

Tip: A small overlapping circle with fingertip pressure is all you need.

It soon became pretty clear that I was using the wax quantities all wrong in the past, using way to much product.

Once the wax had cured it was a simple wipe of a microfibre was all it took to bring the shine out. The wax came straight off. No buffing, no elbow grease required. Just like dusting a car over in fact.

Tip: check the wax has cured by wiping it with your finger. If it leaves a clean mark behind then it’s ready to come off. If it has a greasy smear behind it, leave it little longer and check again.

Tip: With the car freshly waxed, use a light misting of quick detailer. This will stick to any left over wax that hasn’t been removed leaving a pristine slick paint job.

With the car buffed over I stood in amazement as the car looked as good as it did the day it was painted and still wet.

I drove the car outside and the sun made the car transformed yet again in natural sunlight.

As the Meguiar’s warehouse were still taking out and receiving orders, I had to move the car out of the road after the main pictures were taken, the lorry driver even jumped down from his cab and joined in for a chat too. As Patrick was using the professional camera, I let him do his thing and I kept out the way.

With the photo shoot completed I asked Dale and Patrick for a picture of them with the car. Dale in black and Patrick with the stripped top.

I would like to say to Meguiar’s, especially Dale & Patrick who looked after me;

Thank You So Much!

I had the best day ever cleaning a car, and nothing was to much trouble for these guys. They answered my endless barrage of questions, they also showed me the answers too. In fact everybody I spoke to there was amazing.

There was only one thing left to do, purchase some goods. I didn’t have to at all and they never tried to sell me anything. However I needed a bag that could hold the largest of Meguiar’s bottles, so I grabbed their brand new to the market Extra Large Kit bag, which is huge. The other products are what I used on the day, but I hadn’t got in my arsenal of detailing products. The Ceramic Wax I am very intrigued about and wanted to try.

However, once I got the car home I had to give it a gentle clean before I covered it up in the garage.

Patrick is going to be uploading a video of the day to the Meguiar’s YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/meguiarsuk

Check out the ‘Detailing 101’ where they show you how to use the products, it’s very useful.

The products I used for the day were all Mirror Bright except for the Meguiar’s Compound stage of the hood treatment. Again, I am gaining nothing from showing you what I used, but if you want some amazing results try these. I will be doing some reviews of the products a little later on of course. But, I can say one thing, they will get scores.

All of the products can be found herehttps://www.meguiars.com/mirror-bright

Patrick has said that they will be sending me the high resolution photos of the day, which I am so looking forward to getting hold of. I will then do a follow up post of some proper photos taken on the day.

Later that evening on social media platforms I spotted these posts:

Yes that is me with the polisher!

Be sure to follow ‘Mequiarsuk’ on Instagram to see their latest posts or follow ‘dale_mast’ himself who really does know what he is talking about.

Thanks again guys. I’m a very happy chap.

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Power vs Noise

Recently I have been kicking an idea around that I wanted to have a H-Pipe fitted to my twin exhaust system. This would be a trade-off, noise vs power the pros and cons.

By adding an H-pipe section it increases power. Even when headers are installed, the close firing cylinders are competing for space in the exhaust pipe after the collector, which creates back pressure and reduces power. Connecting the exhaust pipes allows pressure to escape to the other side of the system, with a resulting gain in low-end and mid-range torque. However, the effectiveness of an H-pipe section decreases somewhat at higher rpm. The increased exhaust gas velocity at high rpm causes most of the exhaust to take the path of least resistance and continue down the exhaust pipe, rather than make the turn into the H-pipe.

On the other hand, when the two close firing cylinders are exhausting on one bank, there is nothing happening in the other bank, so connecting both pipes effectively enlarged the exhaust system, allowing these exhaust pulses to exit through both sides of the system. It was found that, with the addition of an H-pipe, exhaust noise could be reduced by as much as two decibels.

So I took the plunge and made a date at Mustang Maniac for my car to go down and have the H-Pipe fitted. It was good to see Yogi again and he had already cleared a ramp for me to drive straight onto. Within a minute or so he had already pre-cut a length of pipe ready, quite impressive really, and would need proper fitting & fettling.

The pipe was offered up and the best position worked out for it. There isn’t a lot of space under there due to the headers of my exhaust, not to mention the custom-made brake lever as a result of the exhaust headers. Yogi marked up the proposed fitting points on the first of the exhaust pipes and made the initial holes. The holes were made bigger a little at a time in order fir the diameter of the pipes.

The surrounding area was sanded down ready for a little tack weld. The pipe was offered up numerous times to get the fitting and location correct. The welder was set up for the task, making sure the weld would be just how Yogi wanted it.

With the tacks in place a final check for clearance and position then the welding could start. Hand held face mask for more tack welds then the full on mask for the proper welding. I just love the blue arch light from the welding.

To complete the top of the pipes the rest of the exhaust would have to be taken down and finish the seam weld.

The H-Pipe finished and all tightened back up into place. The H-Pipe has a curve in order to make it fit within the space, a straight pipe simply wouldn’t fit. This is where the skill of the guys at Mustang Maniac can work around and make something to fit properly. Something that many other competitors try to do and fail big time.

I couldn’t wait to get in the car so I could start her up almost jumping in the car before it had got down on the ground. The exhaust is now a slightly deeper tone and a more even note. Although the volume is still there I’m glad to say. The drive home I could feel the difference at lower acceleration using the torque and not revs and got up to speed a little faster, it has improved the power band range no question about it.

Thanks Yogi for the good work.

I was then left to my own devises under the car to clean it while it was back up in the air on the ramps again. Yes I did, and I do clean the underside of the car. Then I noticed a split on the steering ram rubber boot. I picked up a repair kit from the new shop of Mustang Maniac’s and took it home ready to swap it over.

I have made a complete walk-through of the full process here, in more detail, or simply copy the link to the browser. This explanation below is just a quick summary of what I done.

Power Steering Rubber Boot Replacement

The repair kit from Mustang Maniac was a very reasonable £24 and straight of the shelf with everything you need in it. Click here for the link to buy it if you need one.

The boot had ripped completely and looks more like it has torn or been caught to damage it so much. I suspect driving over fields and rough tracks to get to the Car Shows has done the damage as this part does sit lower than normal Mustangs.

So the process; there are just two nuts that holds the ram in place, one for the tension and the other for locking in place. My mounting bracket is a modified bracket to sit lower down from the chassis because of the larger exhaust headers and not having enough clearance for the steering ram. However, the principles are exactly the same regardless of the bracket being standard or the lowered upgrade. Undo the bolts and slide off the outer steel plate.

The bushing can either be pulled of or just push the ram through and out the other side. On the ram itself there will be a sleeve that sits inside the bushings inside the bracket.

The bushings will probably be stuck to the bracket and may need a little persuasion to get them off, I used a mini hook that makes it much easier to remove without slipping and mashing your knuckles.

Behind the bracket on the inner side there is a pinch clip or single ear O ring that also needs to come off. This can be a pair of cutters, pliers or what ever, again I just hooked it off. be careful not to damage the ram shaft. With the pinch clip off, remove the damaged boot and clean the shaft.

The next part is to refit the boot and the new pinch clip, If you don’t have a pinch clip tool you can use an alternative fixing. Slide the new boot over the cleaned shaft with the bigger end first, this has to sit over the end of the cylinder ram’s mounting flange.

As my bracket is thicker than the standard bracket, this little modification is not required for the normal bracket. I had to trim a little off (about a third) the bushings otherwise I would not be able to fit the nuts back onto the end of the ram to tighten it back up.

Don’t bother to fit the cylinder end of the boot just yet. Next refit the outer plate and bushing on the inner side of the bracket, they do need to be fitted the correct way, so take care when refitting..

Slide the ram shaft sleeve on and will fit inside the bushing about a quarter of the way. Make sure enough is exposed in order to fit into the other bushing once it is through the bracket.

Push the shaft through the bracket and locate the lip of the bushing into the bracket hole, You should be able to see the end of the shaft and the sleeve ready to be surrounded by the next bushing and then the outer plate.

Looking on from the side. the bracket is sandwiched by bushings and then a plate on each side of the bushings. Slide a nut onto the shaft to tighten in place, then the locking nut.

Now we can secure the bracket end of the boot with the pinch clip tool. Use the proper tool to clamp the bracket in place and not pliers to squash it in place. Be careful not to damage or rip the boot with the tool.

At the other cylinder end you can now stretch it over the lip of the flange. Make sure that the boot is not twisted and is able to move freely.

With the boot in place I found that it can pop of the cylinder and is a pain. So most people use a cable tie just to hold it in place from slipping off. Trim the excess tie and make sure the boot is still free to move.

That’s it job done, total of no more than an hour including me taking the pictures!

My car was due for its MOT later this month, even though it technically it doesn’t need one. However most like-minded and conscientious classic car owners, they want to know that their car is safe and not going to cause problems. This split rubber boot would have been a failure of that test. Once the boot was changed, I took the car to the MOT centre where she then passed with flying colours. Now I’m ready for the car shows again.

I usually look over the car when I clean it to see if anything out of the ordinary is wrong. This was one of those times that saved me not being allowed to drive the car as a result of the failure. It’s a good idea to check the old cars over especially if they have been stored up for a while. Mine had sat in the garage unmoved since the end of October last year.

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Washout

Last weekend I attended a car show in the beautiful village of Lavenham in Suffolk, not far away from me. The weather was forecast to be cloudy and rain at five in the afternoon. That would be perfect as the show was to finish at four. I would get home before the rain. The morning arrived and I looked at the sky, broken clouds with a hint of sun, do I or don’t I go? There was an outside chance that there would be rain, my car might get wet. I have a ‘paid for’ weather app and it’s usually right. Then I have my lovely wife who simply said “it’s gonna rain, you might as well stay at home and do a little more decorating.” That killed it – I was going. I’m not saying I hate painting and decorating, but I would rather stick certain parts of my anatomy in a bear trap to get out of it. Setting of I was watching the clouds so far so good.

I arrived and was directed to the USA car club area, there was one other Corvette there and he looked pleased to see me arrive. We had a chat about the weather and we both agreed it wasn’t going to rain.

There was a few cars turning up, but not the massive influx as you would expect. The set up was good for the show, a circle in the middle where all the cars faced outwards to the other cars facing inwards to the circle  from around the outside. Well that was the theory at least. The event opened, and a few people turned up to see what was going on.

The pictures above was pretty much the all the cars there and only took me half hour max to walk around. Then I got the call “Are sure you don’t want to come home as it’s raining here now?” I’m literally only twenty minutes away from home in this village. I walked back to the car and was pleased to see two more Corvettes had arrived.

We of course talked about weather, it wasn’t going to rain. I told them that my local weather girl, had predicted rain – although my ‘paid for’ app was still saying no rain. Unmistakable clouds were now forming.

The tea room was selling hot cups of tea. Then I saw it, the first umbrella went up, then the wave of rain-swept across the field.

Within a few minutes it was carnage, soft tops were going back up, bonnets (hoods) were being closed, windows being wound up, people diving into their cars as more umbrellas went up. My car was now starting to shrink in the rain. Although I was very pleased with the wax beading as I studied it.

Cars were starting up and began to leave. I, of course being the optimist put my cowl guard on thinking that the rain would stop soon. As my ‘paid for app’ said no rain.

I called the wife while running for a tent for cover, who told me the rain was getting worse at home. My ‘paid for’ that wasn’t cheap, that I bought especially for the car show weather forecasts, was still saying ‘cloudy – no rain’. Half an hour later I admitted defeat, the cowl cover came off and stored in the boot (trunk). I started up and set off home, with the language now as blue as my car! It was almost a good car show for the two hours or so that I was there. Almost home I called the wife to open the garage for me so that I could drive straight into it. The car got dried off as best I could and put the dehumidifier on full blast to absorb every last drop of moisture in the garage and from under the car.

Now that the car was dried I came into the house, and I was greeted with that look only women can give, the ‘I told you so’ look. Nothing was said, nothing needed to be said, she was right, (again). My ‘paid for’ app now said, ‘80% chance of rain’, really? I could have phoned them and told them it was raining, and got my money back while I was at it.

Oh, what did I do for the rest of the day? Yep – painting! 🙁

Putting the rubbish bin out later in the evening ready for Monday morning collection, I made a detour via the garage to check the humidity, all was quite dry in there now, so I was quite pleased in that respect. I reset the dehumidifier back down to its normal setting for my garage, the dust sheet went back on and closed up. It was such a shame the rain stopped play, the Lavenham Show is held in a beautiful village, a great little drive to get there and is always supported well with all the proceeds going to the county’s Air Ambulance trust.

Maybe next year we will have some sun.

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A Mustang Plaque Idea

This little project has been bouncing around in my head for a number of years now and I finally got round to doing something about it. When my car was restored I kept the original Mustang Coral from the grill for a while even though one of the support legs was broken. But, I repaired it and fitted back to the completed car as i wanted the original on the car, people kept saying “why the old Coral it’s a bit knackered?” Eventually seeds of doubt were sown, then I got worried that the Coral would fracture again and fall off causing all sorts of damage. It was a sad day when I took it off, but I replaced it with a nice shiny one and I stopped getting the same question. So, I still had the original Coral, and some original emblems that were on the fender. Those 289 emblems were pitted and in a poor way but I kept them regardless. To me the “Coral” was the “soul” of the car and that image was to become an instantly recognisable icon around the world. I wanted something different, this was that idea.

Firstly I bought a plinth of wood from eBay that was a few inches bigger than the Coral itself. This can be any wood you like of course, but I wanted something dark(ish) to show of the chrome.

The Coral it sits slightly higher up than the anchor points or legs that secure it to the grill. So if you want the Coral to sit in the middle you need to measure closer to the bottom. You can clearly see the step here in this picture.

In my case it wanted it to sit slightly higher up as there was going to be a custom plaque at the bottom with the car’s details, more on that little later. I measured from the legs to each side the centre point and marked the spots. I used tiny pilot holes to make sure that the holes lined up with the holes on the bottom of the Coral legs. Once everything was spot on I drilled to a larger hole for the screws and counter sunk the holes so the screw head would not sit proud of the wood.

The Coral legs were held to the grill by fine thread screws, but one of the legs had been stripped and wasn’t very good at holding anything. A self tapping screw was the way to go now with the soft metal inside the legs. The depth limit was checked and then cut down the screw had a max depth to hold it firmly in place.

The wood was untreated and would need a coat of varnish. The decision was to go for a quick drying clear satin with a couple of coats all round. Starting on the back to see how it would look and application before the front attempted. To avoid any brush marks a large foam brush was the way to go, that decision turned out to be an inspired choice. An old piece of plastic packaging was used to hold the varnish that I would need.

I have marked the area that was untreated as I was applying the varnish. Once the varnish had dried (which only took twenty minutes a coat), I applied a second coat and allowed that to dry. The process was repeated once the wood was turned over ready for the front and sides.

The front came out really well, perhaps the very fine sand paper of the surface helped with that. The wood’s grain was pulled through by the varnish and a turned a bit darker to compliment the chrome.

From the back of the wood the screws were tightened up to hold the coral in place.

Next up was the V8 289 fender emblem. This was obviously pitted from fifty years of road and weathering, which also had a broken stud on the back. This wasn’t a problem this time as the studs needed to come of anyway in order to sit flush on the wood. I used various chrome cleaners to get it as best as I could, The chrome plating was starting to go thing in few places so I had to be careful.

The emblems are cast and it didn’t take too much to break the remaining stud off with a pair of proper aggressive cutters. As long as the stud was below the surface all would be fine for what I had in mind.

I also have the old original running horse fender emblem from the right hand side that is in effect facing the wrong way when placed anywhere else other than the fender. This too was pitted and a couple of studs on the back broken. The other problem was that it is to big for the plaque so it was to be plan B. I wanted a smaller emblem and that means it was going to be the glove box emblem. This presented two choices; 1) remove the original from the glove box and replace that with a new one. This means the original wasn’t in the car, however I wanted as many of the original parts in the car as possible. 2) put the new emblem on the plaque which then means that it’s not all original parts from the car. As the car is way more important I was to put the new one on the plaque. I could have got a bigger wooden back, but then there would have been a lot of wood and the Coral would seem to be floating around in the middle.

The same principle as the 289 emblem was to snip the studs of the back. The remaining stumps were to be ground down flat with the ever useful Dremel.