Oh Balls!

Easter weekend and I have lots of days on the car, well that’s what I was hoping anyway. I had promised to help to wife around the garden over Easter and the day we were hoping to have away in London didn’t happen for various reasons. But, I was still allowed a day pass to go work on my car so I was happy. I arrived at Mustang Maniac tools and food at the ready to last me the day. I managed to grab some time with Terry who kindly showed me how to change the main seals in the C4 transmission with me.

The first part was to remove the kick-down and gear lever on the side of the gearbox. This was a case of undoing the gear selector pressure plate on top of the valve body and removing the brains of the gearbox. The brains of the gearbox is a series of pipes and valves that operate in certain pressure conditions and should not be played with unless you know exactly what you are doing. A single thread from a cloth will be enough to damage the valves inside.

The bolts being removed from the valve body or brain.


Lifting the brain out and exposing the intricate pathways of the transmission fluid.

With the valve body lifted carefully out-of-the-way, it allowed access to the gear lever and kick-down mechanism. Remove the bolt from the outside and the two halves of the lever will separate the smaller part inside the outer sleeve.

The two rubber seals need to be replaced at this point, one on the main gearbox housing where the larger outer sleeve fits through on the outside casing, the other is on the end of the lever bar itself and will need to be pressed in with help of a vice as it’s a tight fit.

A rare glimpse at the inner workings of a C4 transmission.

To fit the lever back into place was simple enough, but locating the position of the gear selection lever to the valve body kick-down mechanism is tricky. The lever has to sit inside a cam and the kick-down connection sits just behind that. The horizontal bar at the top of the picture below shows where the lever cam must be located.


With the valve body in place it’s time to tighten the valve body back down in place, make sure the body does not lift of or move from the gear arm.


The next part would be to fit the filter back on, then the transmission sump. This is where my problem started. When the filter was first removed we also removed the spring but there was no steel ball bearing or valve plate sitting in the pressure relief channel. We were going to check if this model need it. It does.


The spring locates just where you can see two half-moon parts of casing just below the end of the spring. This is in fact a pressure regulator for the two half’s of the gearbox. So not only was it put back together with a pressure valve part missing, but there was also a bolt missing from the gear selector arm sprung plate as well. John hunted high and low all over the place for a ball bearing that size, he even opened up some scrap parts that may of had a bearing in them. Do you think we found one? No. We even split open a couple of old used spray cans to get the ball bearing(s) out. In today’s world that bearing has been replaced with a glass marble so it seems. Now it’s at this point I need to apologise again to John who punctured a can I gave him to get the (potential) bearing out. The tin of black spray paint gushed out, (even though no gas was coming out of the nozzle after I emptied it), and proceeded to spray satin black paint over his overalls and neck. Sorry John. John to his credit managed to remain calm, but the air did go a little blue if you get me. So I was going to have to try and buy one as the search was not proving to be successful at all. I was not a happy Easter Bunny at this point because some herbert didn’t put the gearbox back together properly, and it makes me wonder even more now about the health of the gearbox in general. The only good thing is that the fluid is clean, which can be a good sign of health for an auto transmission gearbox. But, these setbacks do happen in restoring old classic cars and I dare say there will be more. The guys at MM see it all the time where things are put back together with bits missing or not even secured where they should be, such as brake pipe valves, fuel lines, engine parts etc. Anyway in the mean time I cleaned up the back of the gearbox, fitted the seal gasket and re-attached the rear of gearbox and tightened the bolts up.

With the two halves back together again I fitted the new rear seal that protects the prop shaft from leaking when located in the gearbox. This particular seal is an upgraded version as these new seals have a collar rather than just the ring on the inside. I found a very large socket to fit over the end of the collar and tap it back into place.


The governor valve was next up to be fitted to the side of the gearbox, this is held in place by a sprung loaded clip and a bolt. Make sure the thin rod that fits into the end of the governor is in place or the gearbox will not change gear!

With the parts in place it was time to prep the sump and gasket ready to be fitted to the gearbox.

Now there wasn’t a great deal I could do so I just tinkered around. I said my farewells to the chaps at the end of the day and thought all the way home where I could get a single ball bearing from. Once I arrived home I went to my man cave and looked through my odds and ends tin. As a creature of habit when I finish a can of spray I cut it open to get the ball bearing out.

Note: Please be very careful if you are mad enough to attempt this at home as it could explode if any air pressure remains in the tin, if in doubt don’t do it.

In previous posts I have used the bearings to seal up fittings when spraying or to stop the area being contaminated. They do come in handy. So I opened the lid and tipped it out onto my bench, I found the perfect size!



I have now packed the spring and bearing away very carefully ready for next week. Not only did a find a bearing, but I found two balls, now I was a happy bunny again. It’s amazing how a single tiny part can stop an entire days plans. I was hoping to get the box fitted back on the car last week, but it will have to be next week now. Something to look forward to now.

Happy Easter to you all.

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A long bank holiday is good for a rest, well sort of as I spent two of my days of down at Mustang Maniac of course. They were long days, early(ish) starts by the time I got there and quite late leaving. I had to put the headlights on it was that late! Anyway this week I started on the front end of the car to remove the under seal to see what we had. It turns out that as I was getting to the bare metal we discovered that I have a genuine matching numbers car. The numbers being the two secret VIN codes that match the visible one as well as each other. This was also verified by the fact that the decoding of the paint colour matched what we found underneath the under seal and the previous paint job. Why are matching number important? Well if there has been stolen, been in an accident or part of the car has been replaced, then this is a way of identifying that the problem. It’s easy to cut out and replace the visible VIN number, but to do that on the other numbers means removing the fenders and bodywork to get to them which can be a real pain. I was a happy (Easter) bunny!

Last couple of weeks I have been getting to bare metal on the floor pans as you know. This weekend I managed to get the front end of the car cleaned up and stripped of the under seal. The process is exactly as before, plenty of elbow grease, a good flexible wall paper knife, patience and above all lots of good paint stripper. As I was working at the front there was lots of grease and dirt and mud wedged in places that should have been drain holes. I needed to clear these all out then get to work on the under seal. Some of the old original under seal was easily chipped of and no stripper was required until I got to the primer, but the newer stuff was hard work. I spent a complete day on each side of the shell to get it clean. We did uncover so rusty places that will need a patch put in. but nothing to horrendous I am glad to say. I have added the full set of photo’s to the main page under the “Photos Menu – Under The Car & Chassis – Under Seal removal”, or click here for the quick link.

This set of pictures was the left hand side:

This set of pictures was the right hand side:

As it was raining on an off over the days I was there the pack of dogs soon found a place that was dry for them to sit in, my little work area! It’s quite funny having to step over dogs when you need to get tools from one place to another. If you look carefully you can spot a couple in the photos now and again.

On another note:

I need to work out the female psyche, when women are upset and they have a few tears, A man asks “What’s up?”  the answer returned was “Nothing”. As far as bloke is concerned that is the end of the matter then as nothing is wrong as you have just confirmed. BUT, if a woman brings it up again a while later saying “Not as though you care, when I was crying!” is unacceptable. I witnessed this first hand and the face that the poor bloke had as he was looking on in amazement at the woman was a picture. I felt for the bloke, I wanted to give the geeza a little bro-mance hug to say “I feel for you mate, here’s a beer”. He was getting it big time, both barrels in fact. Why is there the need for the word “nothing” meaning “I have the right hump”, and now I am going to start a row. I just don’t understand. If anybody can explain this to me I would be most grateful.

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Roll Over Mustang

The weekend was exciting and an eye opener at the same time. The normal weekend now I visit Adam and the guys at Mustang Maniac to work on my car. The week was filled with long days and long nights until Saturday Morning. I was up with the sun and spring in the step itching to get on my way. I even packed my tools the night before to save time for the morning. After what seemed like a long journey I arrived at the office and found Adam on the phone who was making arrangements to pick up the rotisserie from the other yard. All was agreed I hoped in the big F350 truck and of we went to get it. Mandatory tea breaks over we arrived back in good time, the sections were taken off the back of the truck and taken to the panel shop where my car is. The rotisserie is in three sections, the two ends and a large centre bar to keep the ends from moving apart.

We started at the back and checked the brackets lined up with the rear bumper holes, the bolts were passed through the holes and tightened up hard to the frame.

We then moved to the front and lined up again where the bumper irons are attached. Here we had a problem. One of the bolts was sheered into the nut on the chassis rail so it couldn’t be bolted in correctly. I looks like that there were previous attempts to remove it as well which didn’t go well should we say! Eventually the guys managed to get the bracket in place and found that there needed to be a longer steel bar made as the bracket was catching the front rail. A thick piece of steel was cut into lengths and drilled out to match the holes and was welded to the brackets on the front of the unit.

With the car still on axle stands the hard work was then to line up the car and balance it close to the centre point in order to make it easier to roll. With so many adjustments on the rotisserie it takes some serious working out. You have to make sure it’s high enough that when it rolls over the chassis does not hit the rails and the roof is also clear. Once the adjustments were close enough the whole thing was bolted up tight and the centre rail double checked. The pneumatic pumps at the end of the units lifted the car into the air and off the axle stands. Slowly she was turned over and the underside was exposed for the world to see. It’s one thing to look underneath on a ramp, but on its side it reveals a whole lot more, the parts I thought would be OK need looking at again now they are in the broad light of day, well under heavy strip lights anyway.

With the car rotated and exposed, every little hole or rust spot was picked up. Discussions were made about what will be replaced in what order once all the bare metal was exposed.

What was Adam’s parting shot to me before I left on Saturday evening? “Now the hard work begins.”  I honestly thought it already had.


Today is Mothers Day in the UK so it was pretty much a right off as far as getting to grips with some dirty cleaning and polishing in the man cave. But hey, I was treated out for a nice meal so I shouldn’t complain. I will just have to make up for lost time over the Easter weekend now, that’s all there is to it.

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Antiques and the car

A new sideline hobby?

Thursday evening after work was a great evening but also a sad evening. A work colleague who I have worked with for just over a year and a half has moved onto pastures new within the company. As a team we have grown very close and formed some great friendships. I was sad to see him go but I wish him well in his new job. Craig has gone to our IT department, I reckon he will be doing password resets, although will be in denial. lol. During our evening with excessive amounts of alcohol we played a prank and filled his pockets up with thousands of hole punch centres. After a few beers they were being thrown around all over the place. Two days later we are still picking these little circles up, they are in the bedroom, the kitchen, the shed in fact you name it they are there. They are so annoying,  I just don’t know how they spread about so much. In fact it was like indoor snow at one point!

This weekend I have been collared into doing painting for the mother-in-laws bedroom for her. It’s quite a large bedroom and I started with ceiling, walls and the satin white on the woodwork. I hate painting with a vengeance,  it just does my head in. But at the same time I love the results of the finished room. I call it a little payback for getting the wife out late to pick me up after my little night out, and having to clean up the home-made confetti after I made such a lousy job of it. Brownie points were scored again as the room does look good, even if I do say so myself, which I do! What I do want to know is, why has Easter become the DIY weekend of the year, and who is responsible for starting the idea? I need to have words with him to stop these little brain storms, the result has seriouly damaged my precious Mustang time.

Saturday I was taken out for a lunch to a great farm where they do some great food, all local grown produce, and all the meat has previously been walking the grounds. The food was gorgeous and I had the best burger and home-made chips ever. On the way home I was taken to an antiques dealers, there are about three in one area under a roof near this farm estate. My new little hobby has been sparked by my recent post of Mustang ads. I am after some old metal garage signs to decorate my own little garage. I am not wanting to pay big bucks just the usual muscle car era stuff, Castrol Gtx, Michelin, Shell in fact pretty much anything automotive. The signs seem to be hard to come by, I don’t care if they are a little rusty as it will add to the character of the sign. Nostalgic look to go with the classic muscle car, am I being daft or should I forget the idea? I have no intention of spending all my money on the signs when I have so much stuff I need to do on my car, but if I see a nice little sign I will pick it up.

I will continue with my car work tomorrow, I expect I will finish of spraying some little bits and pieces and finish fitting the pipes to the brake booster. I have some pictures to follow soon. Hope you had a great Easter, and not gone to mental with the calories!


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