She’s Alive

What an epic day down at Mustang Maniac yesterday, I was so chuffed I can’t put it into words. OK, that’s not strictly true as I’m gonna tell you all about it. So I knew this weekend was going to be a day where it could be possible to start my car in theory. I was going try to start the wiring up again in order to turn her over on the key. Adam just looked at Yogi and laughed with “don’t worry about that, it will start!” Slightly confused, I sort of guessed what was going to happen when Yogi got out his little box of tricks and made up a lead while I fitted my Replica Autolite Group 24 Battery to the tray. They said that I would need some fuel for the car and I was packed off with an old school Jerry can and my wallet. I guess I had better get used to this filling the Muzzy up lark! I was given directions on how to get to the petrol station which was only a couple of miles away, it didn’t go in so I asked again, to which Yogi just laughed. So of I went, found it after over shooting the turning. Now I am not saying this place is old school, but there was a hut between two pumps and the sign said “Service fill only.” The bloke came out and got the diesel nozzle out, “No mate – fill this up unleaded” as I gave him the loaned Jerry can. With the can filled up and returned back to the yard, all without a SatNav. Yes, I admit it – I’m useless with directions, so much so that the very first thing my wife bought for me years ago when we got together was a TomTom. To which she said to me “Now I know you’re going get home,” Yep, she can have that one,  as I have genuinely got lost going home before now. Anyway, we got a funnel in the filler pipe of my car and poured some fuel in. We sloshed it around a bit by rocking the car and then lifted the car back up in the air and drained it out into a clear container to check the fuel. It was fine, clear with no debris in there. The fuel poured back into the tank. At the front of the car Yogi had now created his “Hot Wire” scenario and was ready to turn the car over. Now I could tell you how to start a car bypassing all the electrics on the car, but I won’t for obvious reasons, but it’s clever. Adam and I joined Yogi and he done his thing, the car turned over for a while until Adam and Yogi where happy there was no bad news noises on turn over. This was a very wise check to make sure the crank was not going to shatter or valves dropped on pistons etc. Adam now under the car turned the engine over by hand with a large ratchet to line up the TDC on the timing mark. Yogi then set the distributor shaft itself to where it should be, based on experience at this point of course. He then set up the wires to produce a spark and Adam pumped a little fuel in the carb and Adam now got to the front and was ready to adjust the timing on the distributor, Yogi spun the car over. The car turned over for a few seconds, she coughed and spluttered and fired up after a few seconds. The timing was adjusted by Adam and they wedged opened the butterfly on the choke to slow the engine down. She lives! The engine was shut down after a minute or so and a blur of hands worked over the engine to adjust things and tighten things up. Like watching synchronised swimming, but this was two guys saying only a few words and flurry of well rehearsed activity. The movement stopped, and the car turned over and she started up pretty instantly. This time the engine was getting quitter and was smooth, but that was the exact opposite of what was going on at the exhaust end. The burble and noise from those Flowmasters was fantastic as I now stood at the back listening to duet of exhaust notes and thunderous air vibration. The unique tone of my car was now heard for the first time, trying to take in the sounds played around my ears was incredible. The throttle was now starting to be pulsed by the guys, the exhaust note changing rapidly into a throaty bark. The timing light was now out and some very fine tuning was coming into play. Yogi was tweaking the carb and Adam was checking the fluid levels and making sure there were no leaks. The engine now slowed to an unmistakable throb of the 289 v8. Three blokes looked well chuffed as John and Chris popped over to see the action. The engine now stopped and quiet except for the ticking of the cooling engine filled the air, all I couldn’t say anything. I was ecstatic that the car fired up one step closer to driving her, and relief that my  and the guys hard work so far hadn’t gone to waste. The road test will need to be done obviously, but for now – I was a little gob smacked and overwhelmed with excitement a milestone had been reached. So far so good.

The fitting of the last part of the fuel line to the carb was the “banjo”, this turns the direction of the pipe ninety degrees  and an adjustable to the main fuel line. Yogi had set up the rubber hose ready for the fitting of the part. The filter from the carb was fitted into the end of the banjo.

The complete fitting was carefully lined up and tightened up to the carb, the angle of the pipe matched to the fuel hose. The hose was pushed on and tightened up.

Previously in the week the export brace had been fitted to the bulk head and the shock towers. Adam tells me that they used their custom-made conical fit bolts for the export brace, without having to file the holes square to make them fit. The bolts used are dome headed and stainless, not the nut and bolt of the original fitting and how they were then. These conical bolts fit into the standard holes and the tightening of the nut pulls the bolt into the brace tighter wedging them in so they don’t move. The result is pretty instant to look at and makes a big difference to the feel of the car. There is a common fault with fitting the export brace to a unstrengthened bulk head. The original export cars had a reinforced plate welded in place, this can be seen clearly on my car here too. The good news it that the brace fitted without need for cutting and adjusting to make it fit as some cars need. The reason is that those cars could have been in a little knock or “fender bender” and distorted the chassis. The work the guys had done on the jig was just perfect as always.

brace1

The guys left me to get on with the rest of the jobs under the hood, that was now to fit the wires to the oil sender, water temperature, electric choke and the ignition feeds to the coil, all can now be routed where I wanted them. But that was to be after a cup of tea, a few cakes and a bottle of chilled Dr Pepper. All these little jobs took longer than I thought they would, but who cares? My little lady is alive again and I still had that silly grin on my face. I have just got to say a big “Thanks” to Adam and Yogi for starting her up with me and showing me how to hot wire my car, just in case of emergencies of course. 😉

What an AMAZING day, thanks Mustang Maniac.  

My car may well be at the Enfield Pageant of Motoring this coming weekend with Mustang Maniac’s other cars. It’s a great show so wander over and have a chat with guys. The details can be found at this link:

http://www.whitewebbsmuseum.co.uk/html/body_enfield_pageant.html

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Some You Win…

I try to post on a Sunday evening so I can give an update on the work completed by Mustang Maniac during the week and the work I do at the weekends. The reason I haven’t posted is quite simple. Trying to catch-up on the huge amount of  I have taken and the huge amount to work the MM (Mustang Maniac) guys have done. Most of the photo work has been completed now and hopefully the delay will be worth it. Where do I start?

The first thing I noticed when  I turned up was the back of the car was sitting in a white primer where Terry had cleaned and seam sealed it up.

The back of the trunk is to get blown over of the Acapulco Blue when the car goes for the full paint job. In the mean time a couple of light undercoats of colour will be applied to the areas that you can’t paint once the rear quarter panels are welded in place, such as the chassis drop off points and the top of the rear arches that can be seen when you open up the trunk. The hinges I prepared last week were cleaned up and given a spray and hung up to dry.

The next part to be spotted was the upper cowl that had been fitted in place and welded to the lower cowl. The Black resin coated parts in black are now all welded in place and brazed as they should be. Tape was placed over the vents and masking paper placed in the vents to avoid any and dust and rubbish getting into the fresh paint. The paper will be pulled out at the time of fitting up the rest of the car.

As I wanted an export brace on the front of the car going from the fire wall to the shock towers this one was going to be fitted correctly. What I mean here is that the export brace was fitted to a thick piece of plate also welded onto the top of the fire wall to add the required strength. Many export braces fitter later in life are just bolted into the original shock tower bolt holes and the fire wall. Under load the firewall will bend and give which defeats the whole point of the export brace being fitted. The welding you see here is exactly how it was when they were first fitted, no neat seam all round welding, just the little lines of weld you see in the close up. The brace is only resting in place as its not needed at this point of the restoration.

When I arrived on Saturday Terry was competing the repair plate to the roof and quarter panel lead area. Yes you read that correctly – lead, not filler and welds as modern restorations will do for you, but this lucky little lady was going to get the forgotten art of leading and brazing the quarters in place. The filler and welding are not ideal and could blow through with damp and rust at a later date. The Common place to have the rust appear is at the top of the B pillar as the water runs down and sits at the back of the strengthening sections and so it will eventually rot. Welding and filler will be especially susceptible to the damp. Red oxide paint was applied to prevent any more rust. The replacement plates in this area are common and the secret is make sure the plate are lower than the rest of the roof in order for the lead to run into any holes and fill the cavity up with strength. It’s this attention to detail that sets these guys apart from everybody else.

Anyway, I was given my task to strip the doors down to find any of Adam’s nasty little surprises as he likes to call them. The door, oh yes the lovely left side drivers door. The stripper was applied to door and the first layers of paint was removed no problem. Then I spotted it – filler. Ok, the filler was to mend any cosmetic issues for paint, so I kept telling myself. So the door got more stripper and more scrapping. The filler patch got bigger and bigger until it was across three quarters of the door. I asked Terry to take a look who said “You have to get it all out to see what is behind it”. So the door got more stripper applied to loosen the filler, then more and more. The scrapping knife was lifting the filler out like a spread of butter until the next layer of filler needed to be softened. Now I was going through the stripper like you wouldn’t believe as the filler was soaking it all up. The breakthrough to the metal was a good moment to behold and I thought I had cracked it, but no. The filler was about half an inch thick in some places, then I found out why. The car has had a knock in the door. There was regular holes in the door skin to pull the dents back out again with a slide hammer. At this point Adam was called down to survey the damage. Then he said “all the filler has to come out to see the full damage”, that’s consistency. Two hours later the filler was all out. The door panel was now fully exposed and any pressure on the door and the door popped inwards as the metal was stretched beyond repair, the filler was holding it tight. If I had of known this then we would have replaced the skin in the first place on the outside of the door.

The door had to come of to strip the skin. Adam went and got a skin and brought it over “it’s your lucky day – it’s the last one.” The door was mounted and the skin was knocked away from the door by breaking the spot welds. The inside of the door would show the damage if any done to the structural part of the door. The skin was popped off a little while later being careful as they were trying not wanting to damage the door frame. The skin was lifted off and with the inside exposed we could see the heavy rust at the bottom of the door and the thin metal about to break away. Not good. The side strengthening bar part of the frame had been bent on the initial impact and had not been straightened out at the time. Even worse. The arrows in the pictures show the areas of concern, the bent frame and rust holes.

In case you are wondering how much came out of the door? This much.

rubbish

The decision was made the door could not be salvaged with the amount of rust inside and the damaged bar. Yes, of course they could fabricate new parts and weld in place, but the man hours would out way the cost of the door. Terry went and got a new door. I had spots before my eyes or was it “£” signs, i’m not sure now??? Terry then offered up the door and fitted it along the B pillar and the sills. Adjustments had to be made with the door catch to make it shut correctly.

So to sum up:

1 x 5ltr od paint stripper = £30

8 hours stripping time

1 x door skin = £120

Terry’s time – a lot!

1 x new door = £400

1 x scrap cart full of my nice clean, paint free, bent door skin that has more bullet holes than Al Capone’s getaway car! One man was not impressed. BUT, some you win – some you loose, the original drivers door was a write off and that is the chance you take with old cars unless you know the history. I soon got over it once I had seen the new door in place. Oh, yeah it looked good. The other door Adam stripped down for me, that one was fine and OK to prep for paint. I think he was feeling sorry for me at this point, I did give him his door skin back though!! AND it only took him an hour or so to get this far.

door10

The door surround was cleaned up while Terry was prepping the door for fitting, this part of the bodywork came up pretty clean all round the inside and I was pleased with the results.

The door fitted with the clean pillar and inner door frame cleaned up looks amazing.

It was a silly long day and I would a special thanks to Terry, Adam & Frank for helping me out. I had a good laugh and it was great to see the new metal on the car and some colour.

I hope the wait for the post was worth it, it was for me. 🙂

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