Steering Column

This week has been difficult as I was poorly and wasn’t sure Mustang Maniac was going to happen on Saturday. Being the hero that I am, I talked myself into my weekly homage to Mustang Maniac, it was a very short conversation mind you. With that in mind the duties were going to be a little lighter than normal. Adam was busy moving large mounds of dirt to somewhere that obviously needed the large mounds of dirt. We broke away from the guys to discuss what was going to be the plan for the day. We decided that the steering column is constantly being moved from one side to the other of the car and is just asking for damage and was causing a little concern. So the plan was – fit the column. Not a heavy job but a delicate due to the paint work involved. The parts I had were all there except the mounting screws and some special square ended bolts that cleverly hold the top to the column. Adam send me on a mission to his stash of engines and components where there was a scrap ’67 column still attached to the steering arms. I was allowed to pinch the difficult and rare parts to make mine fit.

The steering column is just a tube that goes over the steering box bar and also holds the steering wheel in place with the turn indicator fittings.

At the steering box end there is a rubber grommet that seals the column from dirt and grime and is just a press fit into the end. This grommet also helps to hold the column in a central position. There is a metal plate and a gasket that fits to the fire wall that is a draft and grime gasket. When the column is slid over the bar and gets to the end make sure that you don’t press the gasket through the firewall, it’s a tight fit. The column also has a rubber gator that sits on top of the firewall sound insulator and presses in place. Simple but an effective idea. Just slide the column over the top of bar. thread the end through the gasket and onto the steering box. There will be resistance here as the box fitting is quite tight too.

The column can only fit in one position which is held in place by a bracket. The bottom part has a key-way to hold the column in position and the top part of the bracket goes between the column and the bottom of the dash. The brackets have a coating of a rubber to protect the column from any damage.

The next part is to fit the business end of the column is in two main parts, a block that fits to the top of the column and a sleeve that fits behind it to hide the wires routing to the bottom. In order to protect the paint I used a sheet of paper that wrapped around the column as I slid the neck over the column.

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The top part of the column collar slides over the centre bar and fits inside the column tube, this holds the bar in the centre at the top. Make sure the bearing in the middle has enough grease in place. The two special square retaining bolts are slid from the back into the cut outs at the top of the column. With the bolts showing place the corresponding nuts in place to screw the collar down. The collar will only fit in one place as the indicator stalk fitting is recessed out. Don’t tighten all the way up yet as the centre of the collar has a position ring that sits inside the bearing.

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Next part is the fun bit. Threading the turn signal mechanism wires down the inside of the column. To be fair it’s not to bad with the technique I have for it. Inside the column is a separate tube that holds the wires to the side of the column. I take a couple of wire and tape them together, move up an inch or so and tape the next couple. Repeat for the rest of the wires are taped up then thread down the top opening until the wires poke out the bottom. undo the tape and pull the wires through evenly.

With the wires almost pulled out then position the turn indicator onto the collar and gently do up the three screws evenly. Do not over tighten the screws as it will distort the plastic mounting. Ensure that the horn ring connectors are free to move up and down. Slide the bottom part of the collar up and insert the two long screws into the remaining holes and tighten up. Remove the paper from the column to leave no scratch marks on the paint.

With the steering mechanism all in place screw in the indicator stalk. Now you are ready for the steering wheel to be fitted, but more of that at a later date.

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It doesn’t look much but I was taking my time to complete this task. A very visual part of the car and an important to get right. The main bean headlight switch from the American AutoWire kit comes out about five inches short to ten inches if you want to have a nice routing. So with the column in place in cut the supplied wires fittings and added around a foot of extra cables colour coded the same as the AAW ones. I attached more correct style fittings and refitted back into the connecting block. That took up the rest of the time I was down there.

Next week we are aiming to fit the door seal rubbers to the door weather strips, that will show some progress on the car with any luck that is a bit more visual.

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Fifty Meters & Counting

Weekend trip to Mustang Maniac was greeted by the cold dark damp air but it didn’t quell my enthusiasm to get there, but I was a little nervous about the task that awaited me again. This weeks update will be a fairly short post as a result of that task, there would be a lot of trial putting bunches of wires here or there and making sure no cross overs or snags, in other words a lot of work with nothing to show for the hard work. It was going to take at all day and then some. Wires are in my dreams now, yellow, red, green, blue, black, white, purple and all colours in between, thick and thin all with type written on the side. I eat spaghetti and I see wires, I look at the gaps in the pavement and I see wires. Trying to make wires look neat is therapeutic and frustrating all at the same time that’s for sure. Reaching up under the dash holding things up made my arms ache like mad. While wrapping all the ugly wires into their respective branches it was at this point is where my second roll of wire loom fabric tape ran out. Yep, that’s two full rolls of twenty-five meters by nineteen millimetres of fabric tape used so far, and it only looks like a few meters have been taped up. I just don’t know where it has gone, it’s not the cost as it’s only a couple of pounds as roll, it just goes nowhere.

The worst part was trying to get the fuse panel mounted onto the dash area. The original long screws were just self thread into the firewall. Yogi when doing the brake lines used one of the holes to hold a bracket up and cover the ugly hole which was a good move. But, on the other hand this meant that I had nowhere to fit the fuse box and some of the lengths of wire they give you aren’t that generous, moving it to another locations wasn’t going to happen. So a change of plan was to use a longer thin diameter nut and bolt through the firewall and into the fuse holder. The only trouble is once I had drilled out the holes to take the bolts they would just push back out the other side as I tried to mount the fuse box up. This is where I could have done with a third hand inside the car, one to hold the bolt, one to hold the fuse box and one to put the nut on the bolt. Not easy but I managed it, not sure how but I did. At one point the air turned a little blue as the colour of my car when the bolt fell out the firewall onto the floor and I had to put it all down and re-bunch the wires back up again. The branches that were in immediate view were wrapped up and cable tied neatly, just for now at least. Yes I do know that this is a gamble as loom should be tested before it all gets put away tidy. So fingers crossed is all I can do for now.

The only oversight with this American Autowire loom is a simple one – where do you put the relay boxes. The bank of four relays need to be mounted somewhere and the kit does not give you any idea on how to do that for you. I will have to have a word with the Yogi to see what he thinks and what ideas we can come up with. The rest of the wires were pulled through to the places such as the lights, ignition, dash, wipers radio etc.

Next week I will be hoping to put the new sparkly new switches onto the dash to make the loom live capable as it were. Then it will be more tidying up and putting the wires away.

Pretty bits – Ohhh Yeeeah!

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Wiring Puzzle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Last Wires

I have been very excited this weekend as I have spoken to Adam at Mustang Maniac who tells me that my car could be down there very soon. Then the reality of the bodywork restoration moving on will suddenly start taking shape. However, for personal reasons I have not had a chance to get out to the car as much as I wanted to this weekend, but I did manage to get a few bits done this afternoon though. The main job I wanted to do was the removal of the steering column loom, these wires took me ages to get threaded down to the bottom and only a few seconds to get back out. I also removed the front horns from the car, the battery from the car was taken out and stood on some rubber mats to help protect it from the cold floor, again it was wired up to the solar trickle charger. With the removal of the wires that’s every single wire removed from the car. The car will need to be loaded onto a transporter to get to it’s next journey and chapter in the ol’ girls life. I will be able to post a little more next week with any luck and plenty of pictures of the event.

To remove these fittings from the block is a real pain, but I have made a little tool that removes the fittings without damaging the wires and can be used again. I will post a couple of pictures very soon and how it works.

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I have managed to write a review for a drain plug set which can be found under the Tools Review – Neilsen Pro Drain Plug Kit.

Quick Links:

For the quick link click here for the Neilsen Pro Drain Plug Kit.

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A Change of Scenery

After time at work we decided to go away for a few days to give ourselves a change of scenery and a break. We booked some real nice hotels we liked the look of. We stayed in Surrey, London and Windsor. During our stop overs I was dragged around Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and a couple of boat trips up and down the Thames. All were very good except Kensington Palace which I thought was a complete rip off. In fact I would say my Man Cave was more luxurious with the Mustang posters about the place than the dodgy postcards they were flogging in there. The London hotel was brilliant and I couldn’t ask for more. I was especially pleased with the breakfast for some reason; I could have what ever I wanted and however much I wanted, I got my monies worth. I was such a good boy that I surprised myself being dragged around the shops, in the hot sun not moaning and just carrying what ever was bought. It was like a camel in the desert, I got bought drinks and ice creams most of the day and I carried on humpin’ the bags about as normal again. I have taken lots of photos and thought I would post a few on here to see what people think. I’m no photographer but I like to take pictures, hopefully they look OK. And yes, I am ashamed to say that I did look like a tourist in my own capital city. *shakes head slowly*

I have been busy doing bits on the car, like finishing the wire wrapping with tape, sanding the valance etc. I have also paid a visit to Mustang Maniac to get more Gibbs Brand Lubricant and smaller bits for the car. There will be a review of the Gibbs Brand Lubricant soon, trust me you really do want to try this stuff inside the home too. I have every intention to replace the car door hinges this week, but I will have to see how it goes as I have a few jobs lined up for me from the wife, like finish the tiling in the downstairs cloakroom, finish some painting in the utility room, finish the flower beds I started etc. Notice a pattern here?  It’s funny because I don’t leave half a job on the car unfinished. But as my darling wife puts up with a lot from me I don’t mind doing a few jobs I started a couple of years ago, as long as it don’t interfere with Marts Mustang time that is. It may be a coincidence that unfinished jobs started at around the same time I got my Mustang.

I have been busy making another home-made tool, this time it’s a headlight spring tool. To hold the headlight bucket in place there is a fairly strong spring that has to be pulled to the bucket to hold the bulb in place. I have seen pictures of this tool but I have not managed to buy one. So I thought I would make one, this was pretty simple to be honest as it was a thin flat head screw driver I heated up and bent the tip over in stages with my blow lamp. I think it looks quite good! I bet the company didn’t know they now make specialist Ford Mustang tools as well!

I have added the review for the Sealey VS402 Vacuum Brake Bleeding Kit under the Review Menu – Tools, as I have had a few looks at the page under construction, so I thought I better finish it off!

Quick Links:

Home made Headlight Spring Tool – click here

Sealey VS402 v2 Vacuum Brake Bleeding and Testing Kit – click here

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