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.

Share my Content

Freshen Up

This will be a short(ish) post as I spend a whole day busy but not seeming to get very far. Saturday arrived and I arrived at Mustang Maniac to an eerie quietness. As Adam is cruising the Route 66 on holiday at the moment not much was happening at the offices obviously. I unloaded my car and took the refurbished bits and tools down to the work shop. The c4 transmission gearbox was still there leaking transmission fluid like it had been shot. The task for the day was to clean it up, degrease it and spray it to match the back section of the gearbox. John was on hand to sort out the heating for me in the workshop to get the ambient temperature up in order to allow me to spray. I managed to clean up the outside, dry it all off and mask up the areas not requiring any spray.

As this was aluminium I needed to use some Self Etch Primer to hold the paint to the casing. I gave the case a not to heavy a coating and allowed it to dry. Drying didn’t take long considering there was a fuel powered heater that looked like the back-end of the Batmobile when it fires up and the heat is pretty instant when it hits you.

A slipped on the back-end of the gearbox to the primer in the pic below and there was not a lot of difference to be honest. The silver paint just made the case look like clean aluminium which was exactly the effect I was after.

back case pre painted
back case pre painted

Two coats of the silver paint were applied in thin layers and looked pretty damn good once it was done and dried.


With the gearbox now sprayed I turned my attention to a task I did a little while ago, the glove box. I mentioned that I had no clips on the back of the card insert which meant that I had the lip at the top inside the glove box. But as this was bugging me I found some small clips from a previous panel and slid them into place on the cardboard and held them down with tiny bit of duct tape. The clips were gripping the card fine, but I didn’t want them to turn on the first couple of turns of the screw. The duct tape was well out of sight and will never be seen. The self tapping screws were just enough to grip the clips and pull it tight to the back of the dash. Now it looks how it should do.

While the dash door was off I took the time to give it a light freshen up with a satin black on the paint. Not too much, just a light dusting from a distance that still give the door that old look but clean. The inside of the door was given a another sating black dusting and the catch was removed to give it a spray of chrome. Unfortunately you can’t see it to well on the picture but the sating and chrome look works well.

glove22All in all I spent all day cleaning and spraying but there wasn’t a lot to show for it, but I am happy with the results.

The next job is to replace the seals in the gearbox and get it fitted back into the car, hopefully that will be very soon.

Share my Content

Stainless Tank

The weeks are dragging now as I can’t wait to get to Mustang Maniac and do more to my car, things that are done now are very visible. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but a conversation with Adam and Yogi soon had me focused on the plan of action. The fuel tank I had with the car looked OK, all be it painted a little tired looking, but on full inspection using their internal camera showed some rust around the sender fitting and internal lower seams. To be on the safe side Adam ordered me in a special fuel tank. Not sure what to expect I was sent of to go and pick it up from the stores, oh boy, I was not disappointed. A full polished stainless steel tank was my new bolt in part.

We had to clean up the trunk from light dust to allow the sealer to stick the paint and that in turn would not allow any fumes into the car and stop vibration.

Yogi applied the sealing strip around the edge and we both removed the plastic wrap from the tank. Now at this point we were both very careful as the inner stainless edges of the tank are razor-sharp. The tank was eyed into position and laid onto the sealer strip, the holes were lined up ready for the bolts.

The next step was the filler tube, gaskets, screws, clips and rubber. Previously I had cleaned up the tube, clips and rubber. Adam had a look at my cleaned up rubber tube and chucked it in the bin with a laugh. He was of course right, although it looked pretty good but not brilliant, I would always thinking to myself that it should have been a new one. We fitted the gaskets onto the filler pipe and feed the tube through the rear panel, the rubber was slid up the pipe and the clips roughly fitted. The screws to the back panel were tightened only as a rough guide to stop it turning. The rubber was slid down the pipe to the tank and clamped in place and the pipe screws fully tightened up.

The next job of the day was a slow process but brings this classic Mustang back into the twenty-first century. The task was a specialised stick on matting that will stop any road noise and metal resonance through the car. This particular matting was a special order via Adam, the matting is only a couple of millimetres thick with a very sticky backing. It’s applied like sticky back plastic and heated with a hot air gun to make it easier to mould the mat into place. Yogi showed me the first steps and left me to get on with the task in hand. I found this very therapeutic with instant visible results.

First step make sure the floor holes have the correct plates in place with a little sealer around the edges to stop water ingress.

Second step was to lay the matting. We started from the centre and worked our way out to the edges. Peel a little of the backing and position in place then roll the matting across the surface smoothing down as much as you can.

The hot air gun softens and allows the mat to be pressed into place with the idea to make as much surface contact as possible.

Like laying a complex carpet the pieces should fit together and form a complete coverage, this set of pictures shows my thought process. I started with the front foot wells, bulk head or fire wall up to the insulating matting, then moving onto the rear foot wells. The seat platforms were covered each side and the last parts was the remaining section of the centre tunnel.

Under the rear seat will need to be completed as will the door panels and inside the kick panels, but as the time was getting late (very late), I decided to call it a day (or night) for now. The results so far look amazing. OK, so this matting is not cheap and weighs in a little, but the benefits are well worth it for a weekend cruiser.


Over the last couple of weeks I have been asked what was used to get the effect of paint job. Well you need somebody who knows what he is doing, in this case that was Paul who had patience and dedicated time to complete such a fantastic job. The ingredients he used are listed below, but this does not include the cleaning chemicals, rolls of masking tape, rolls of masking paper or surface wipes etc etc.

The paint colour was Acapulco Blue with a slight twist of metallic, the amounts used are as follows:

Etch Primer – 2lt

Surface Primer – 15lt

Rubberised Underbody Coating – 6lt

Thinned Base Coat – 7lt

Mixed Clear Coat – 8lt

2k Black Primer – 1lt

2k Satin Black – 3lt

2K White Semi Matt – 1/2lt

Matt Clear – 1/2lt

Brushable Seam Sealer – 1lt

As you can see Forty Three litres of sprayable materials in total and one litre of brushable seam sealer.

I was thinking last night that as the trunk now looks so good, there is a very good possibility that I wont put carpet over the whole trunk floor, just so I can see the fuel tank and great the paintwork. The stainless steel fuel tank will visible from behind the car of course. What do you think I should do, carpet or not carpet the trunk?

Share my Content

Grind Down

Weekend arrived and I eventually got down to Mustang Maniac mid morning. Logistical issues that are too boring to go into right now. But I got there that’s the main thing. I had a look at Adams new addition to the fleet a nice ’65 GT350 in white with blue stripes, he started it up and I now know what I want my car to sound like, loud and a deep rumble. I was standing there like a school kid when  he opened the door and said get in. OMG, I was giggling like a school girl and I just wanted more. I do believe we lost a little traction in first and second gear going up the road, I suspect the roads were a little slippery that’s all. I have never been so excited in a car in all my life, the ride and noise was everything I hoped it would be and much, much more. What a car, what A car! After I had managed to wipe the silly grin of my face I got down to some work. The poor welding had to be ground down to as smooth finish as I could get it. I have now mastered the angle grinder technique and pleased with my days work. I have a few before and after pictures below. The smoothed out section may need a few more spot welds on it and ground again as a few sections were missed. I managed to forget to take my earplugs down to Mustang Maniac, so I had to improvise. I tore a couple of fingers of the latex gloves, put a small nut inside, wrapped it up so it was soft and stuffed it into my ears. It worked a treat, but I must say I looked a right pillock, or so I’m told 🙂

Sunday arrived and I finished of restoring the battery tray that looked pretty bad. Obviously trying to keep as much original as I can so I decided to strip it down and see what was there earlier in the week. I am pleased to say it was in good condition apart from a little rust that had pitted the very edges. So I rubbed it down, treated it, primed it and two coats of satin black. I think it came out well. There are a few dimples on the tray still, but I think it adds a little  character.  I also decided to catch the Spanish F1 Grand Prix, I promptly fell asleep it was that interesting! What has happened to Formula 1? So all in all a good Sunday was had by me.

I have been asked what I used to strip the paint and under seal off the car. It’s called Starchem Synstryp, I have done a review of it as well and it’s in the quick links below.

Quick Link:

I have added the full set of pictures for the battery tray here, or click on the Photos – Engine Bay – Battery Tray.

Paint stripper review click here or go to Consumable Menu – Starchem Synstryp Paint Stripper


Share my Content