Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Windshield and rear glass roped-in

With the headliner and dash complete, I could install the windshield and rear window. 
I did a lot of research on this and learned about the rope-in technique. It turned out to be fairly easy.   

For my Mustang, I left out the calk since I will eventually remove the glass to paint.

The hard part was getting the rubber weatherstrip around the windshield. The slot for the glass is very tight and the rubber is stiff so my hands were pretty sore after. The first step is flipping the weatherstrip so that the short side is at the top edge of the glass and laying the strip out over the glass.  

Next I pried open the glass slot at a corner and worked it on the corner of the windshield a few inches in each direction. Then moved to the next corner on the short side and then the opposite corner and the remaining corner, trying to keep the weatherstrip stretched evenly. I finished by working each of the sides in place.  I had to use a plastic strip to pry open the rubber in places. It helps to pat the strip in place as you go along.

To install, I used a length of thin nylon rope and tucked in into place around the full length of the perimeter and overlapped a little at the bottom center (It may be easier to install strings overlapping at the top). I found that an old silicone tube tip worked to quickly pull the rope along the edge.  

I started rope-in by carefully placing bottom edge of the weatherstrip and windshield into the bottom flange making sure it is centered and down all the way.  With the windshield laying in place, begin pulling on the rope ends equally, slowly, straight out. I found the corners to be the hardest part due to stiffness of the rubber.  After, there were a few places where I had to press the weatherstrip in closer to the flange.
I repeated the same for the rear glass -- the rear glass was thinner so the seal went on easier. 
Be careful with the rear glass, I know first hand that it can easily explode into thousands of tiny pieces.
There are lots of videos on this.  I thought this video was the most useful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4igX1ZO5as


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dashboard

Refinish Dash

The dashboard was looking a little pitted and had a few dents.  Also the ignition switch hole was mangled likely due to a previous owner not knowing how to remove the switch.

I started with a little glazing compound over the pitting and dings followed by progressively finer sanding, alternating coats of high build primer and wet sanding. This work included the A pillars too.

For the ignition switch hole, I straightened some metal and welded a little steel to fix the notch.  I added a little glazing compound to smooth things out. Then more high build primer and wet sanding.

I finished the job with basic rattle can black semigloss. I know there are more concours compatible finishes but I dont really need that.


Wiring

I had already fixed the wiring harness issues a while back so there wasn't much to do.  This harness was for a basic mid-year 65 Mustang so there were wires for the charge light, oil light, and single turn signal indicator in the cluster. 

The cluster I have is a 66 round gauge style. Its in rough shape and the fuel gauge is fried. I gave it a basic cleaning and had to trim plastic off the bottom of the center circle to fit the straight dash metal -- the plastic bezel was already cracked so no biggie there.
I had another leftover donor harness from a 66 and swiped the left and right turn signals, and the oil gauge connectors. For the turn signals, I just spliced the bulb wires to an existing left and right signal wire.  
Conveniently, the main power wire from the trunk passes right through the amp meter loop on its way to the fuse panel. 



Headliner

Another task before the goal of passing NY state inspection is the headliner. This has to go in before the windshield and rear glass. 

I researched how most people install headliners and ended up using lots of small metal binder clips to keep the vinyl stretched and hold while the glue dries.  

The headliner I purchased (TMI I think) came with a sound deadener/insulation pad and also bought the headliner glue.  I was worried it would be a huge mess and end up loose and full of wrinkles but it turned out fine.
The key was to use lots of clips to hold it and stretch evenly and carefully.

I started by placing the bows in the car to make sure they are in the right order. Then sprayed adhesive on the mesh side of the insulation and on the roof underside.  This holds it in place while installing the liner. Once tacky, pressed the insulation onto the roof underside, making sure nothing hangs down. Fatmat would probably have been nicer but I didnt have room in the budget.

I recommend screwing in the visor, mirror, and coat hook screws in now, before the liner, because it will be really hard to find the holes once the liner goes in. 

Next I slid bows into the liner pockets and trimmed the excess pocket material since it would make the sides too bulky. 
Installing the liner starts from the back. I hooked the rear most bow into the holes and made sure the liner was centered. This was followed by the wire hooks that hold the rearmost bow to the rear roof frame. These are really important to hold the bows as you pull from the front. The wire hooks pierce the vinyl pocket and clip onto rear the bow. 
Next, I hooked in the remaining bows and pushed each of the bows up into place. 

After that, the stretching starts from the front center, working out to the sides and placing clips as i go. Just make it very snug but not so tight as to pull the clips off or tearing stitches. Next is stretching from the back center outward then each of the sides.
It may be necessary to carefully snip excess material as you pull around the curves of the A pillars and window frames.  Look for loose spots and wrinkles and adjust at clips as you go.
Once stretched, the gluing starts. Again from the front center, remove clips and spread glue on back of liner where it meets the frame and also apply to window frame. Slather it on consistently and allow it to get a little tacky for a few minutes before stretching and clipping again, it will bond immediately. I repeated on the back and sides and let it dry with clips in place and left clips on until the windshield and rear glass went in.

Be careful to stretch and snip as you gradually pull the liner tight around the A pillars and curves to make things neat and wrinkle free. This and the quarter vent area were the hard parts.

I highly recommend watching videos and reading further.

Getting ready for the road- horn relay

It's been a while since I updated my blog and much has been completed of the past 2 years.



Horn relay.

The original 65 Mustang harness was designed to send two 14 ga. wires up the column to the horn button switch. One wire with 12 volts and one returning from the switch to the horn.



Since I had installed a Flaming River steering column and a basic Grant steering wheel, I needed to wire in a relay to get the single wire horn button working. The concept is pretty simple.  The horn switch turns the relay on with little current and the relay sends a higher current to the horns.


For a 65 Mustang wiring harness, there is a 14 gauge wire that comes from the headlight switch and is always hot. I connected this wire to pin 86 and 30 of the relay. The wire that sends 12 volts to the horns is a another 14 gauge wire,  yellow with green stripe on my 65 harness. 
 I connected this wire to pin 87 of the relay.  Lastly, I connected the black wire from the horn switch to pin 85 of the relay. When the horn is pressed, this wire will be grounded and turn the relay on which sends power to the horns.


Something to watch out for is that the relay may have an internal diode so connect the hot to pin 86.  If you dont have a diode, its a good idea to add one to eliminate flyback voltage spike. 



Monday, October 7, 2013

Rear Coilover 4-Link Suspension

The rear ride height of my Mustang was a little high for the look that I like. I thought about installing some lowering blocks but wanted something more modern with a little better performance.  After researching a few rear suspension options, I decided to update to a coil-over suspension and install a suspension kit. Combined with the front coilover suspension, the end result will be a classic street machine that handles more like a modern sports car. 


I decided to go with a bolt-on kit from TCI.  Considering that many vintage race cars run factory style leaf springs and lots of people race with that kind of set up and have few failures, I didnt see the need for a full on competition suspension kit.  Bolt-on works well in a factory leaf spring style setup so a beefed up bolt-on 4-link system should work well too - albeit less sexy than a pre-welded Fab-9 or Moser setup.


Weld-on brackets
Once the old setup was out I could begin mounting the new control arm brackets.


The upper control arm brackets are welded to the axle tubes at specific locations, centered between the axle flanges.  A jig is provided for exact placement. A heavy duty welder is needed as the brackets and tubes are pretty thick metal. 

 The lower control arms bolt to brackets that get bolted to the existing spring perches.  If you have Ford 9 inch with 3" tubes then you can cut off the stock perches and weld on brackets like most of the beefed up kits use.  My housing has tubes that taper to 2 13/16 (2.8125) inch diameter so there would be a lot of slop to fill in the 3 inch holes. I went with the bolt-on brackets and did a couple welds for extra insurance.  


Powder Coat
Once everything was welded and ground, I dropped the housing and kit pieces off at the powder coat shop.  At the powder coater, they cleaned and media blasted everything and applied a custom metallic gunmetal on the housing and metallic silver on the control arms, sway bar, and crossmember.  The frame brackets were powder coated in chassis black to match the existing metal.

Install
After drilling holes in the frame rails and floor at the prescribed locations, the chassis brackets are bolted on.  The kit also provides thick reinforcement plates that bolt to the opposite side of the brackets.

With the brackets in place, it was just a matter of positioning the housing and bolting in the control arms.  This was followed by installation of the center section, the axles, and the drive shaft.








Friday, April 19, 2013

Heater Box

I found a few minutes to get some work
done so I thought I'd do a quick write up on the old heater box.  This was a pretty simple rebuild.  
The heater box is fiberglass shell held together with small metal spring clips.  You have to be really careful prying these clips off since the fiberglass is dried out and brittle. 




Once the shell is open, you can remove the heater core and spacer bracket. Mine was already open and the heater core was gone.  Just a few crumbs and black dust were the only the evidence of the seals that were once there. 

First step was to clean out the shells and remove and remaining seals.  There are two screws on the outside of the that hold the heat diverter box. 


Once they are removed, you can remove the diverter and clean it.  It helps to take a few pictures if you need help getting it back together later. 
The metal parts were pretty rusty so I wire brushed and sanded them (a media blaster would be nice right about now).  

After a little primer and paint it was ready to go.


Next is reassembly.  I picked up a can of general purpose spray adhesive from the auto parts store.  It looks like rubber cement and seems to hold pretty well.

I found that the best way to stick the new foam on was to first dry fit the pieces and know where each one goes before spraying.  The triangles that go on top and bottom of the diverter had to be punched out first to make clearance for the crank arm.  
Then I sprayed the foam pieces one at a time, letting the adhesive tack up for a minute before pressing into place. I just hope this glue holds well with all the heat that blows through there.
There are pre-cut foam squares and strips for the all the doors and the diverter box.  The instructions that came with the CJ Pony Parts heater rebuild kit had diagrams that were a little small but usable.



The pieces that go inside the diverter box can be tricky to line up when covered with adhesive so it helps to figure out how it lines up before spraying.
To aid in lining up the strip that the diverter screws go through I ran the screws into the pre-drilled holes in the foam and sprayed the foam. Then used the screws align to the holes in the case. Once the glue was holding, it removed the screws.

Then I laid in the diverter box.  This requires that you spread the case open a little as you press it into place. Its a little scary to do as it sounds like the case is about to split.  Fasten the diverter back in with the two little screws.

Next, I sprayed glue on one of the heater core seals and stuck it to the case - have to line this up carefully so that it seals against the core. Then carefully laid the core over the seal and making sure the tubes are centered in the holes.

The last thing was to close up the case, carefully lining up the edges. On mine, this was a little tough as the new seals made it hard to squeeze the halves together. I tried slowly clamping using vise grips an a couple edges bit one of the lips cracked. Be really careful, the outer lips can snap right off.  I found that I could use a larger clamp on one of the larger surfaces to bring edges close enough and was able to get clips on. There really needs to be a special tool to stretch the clips because there is not good edge to push against.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Headlight Install and Wiring Relays

Next job is to install the parking lights, headlight bowls and headlights.  After that, wire in the headlight relays.

Assembling the headlights

I would recommend mounting the parking lights in the valance before bolting on the valance itself.  The mounting nuts are easier to get to if the valance is off the car.    Once the parking lights are in, feed the wires up through the hole in the bottom of the headlight recess and plug into the harness. 
This is a good time to inspect headlight plugs and wiring before moving on.  Make sure the wires are not melted or frayed and about to break off.  The replacement headlight pigtails are easy to get if needed.  Luckily, I didn't need to replace mine.
Next, I installed the new headlight adjusters, springs and bowls.  Here is an easy way I found to install the bowl and springs. 

  • First snap in the adjusters and remove the two adjuster screws from the plastic mounts. 
  • Then, with the spring hooked in the back of the slot and holding it in place with one hand, I turned the bowl around so the front is facing back and hooked the spring into its hole in the headlight bowl. 
  • Next, carefully turn the bowl around with the spring still hooked and line up the tabs with the adjuster holes. While still holding the bowl in place, start one of the adjuster screws, making sure that the slot in the screw is engaged correctly with the slot in the tab.  
  • Start the other adjuster screw and run in both screws until the bowl is pointing basically straight ahead.  

From here its pretty simple.  Plug in the headlamps and mount with the stainless retainer rings.   After a quick test I found that my headlight ground wires were not attached. Oops.


Headlight relay modification

Once I knew the headlights were working right, I started the upgrade of the wiring.  
Its a pretty simple concept.  Control a high amperage circuit with low amperage circuit. A simple way to do this is with relays and I found a couple 12 volt ones that can easily handle the load.   The circuit diagram is pretty simple.  You just cut the low beam and high beam wires and use them to energize the relays.  Then run 12 volts to the common terminal and the other end of the cut wires to the Normally Open contact.

The idea of adding the relays is to reduce the current flowing through the headlight switch and thin wiring and should eliminate burned out switch and melted wires.
On my Mustang, I placed the relays up front on the apron close to the radiator support.  This way, the wires to the headlamps are short.  
Make sure that the lights already work properly or you will be troubleshooting old problems. Also, remember to disconnect the battery.  The relays I used came from Summit Racing http://www.summitracing.com/parts/via-80238.
They are not very weather proof but they should be fine for my application. 

Note:   Modifying wiring incorrectly (especially without a fuse) can be a fire hazard and should be performed by an experienced technician. Author is not responsible for damages caused by incorrect wiring. Use of these directions is at your own risk.

  • I started by unwrapping the headlight harness at the junction where the wires split off to the right side.  Next locate the thin red-black and green-black wires.  These are the wires that come from the dimmer switch to power the high beams and low beams. I chose a spot about 6" back from the split and cut just the red-black and green-black wires.  
  • For my car, I chose to solder the wires for solid connections and use shrink tube to insulate.  
  • Solder the red-black wire coming from the firewall to one of the relays coil wires (labeled '85') and the green-black coming from the firewall to the other relays coil (85). Next, locate each wire that comes out of the relay coils (86) and solder both together to the same black wire and crimp a ring terminal to the other end of the black wire. Ground this wire together with the original headlight ground wire to the body. (This is a good time to check the old headlight ground wire terminals. If the end looks frayed you will have problems. Best to cut it and replace the crimp terminal.)
  • Next, you need a hot lead to power the headlights. Find a 12v lug to connect the hot lead. On my Mustang, I have a 12V lug in the area where the battery used to sit. You could also use the hot side of the starter relay.  I chose to use a 20A circuit breaker instead of a fuse.  Do not wire this up without a fuse or breaker! Connect a 14 gauge wire from the hot lug to the breaker/fuse then from the breaker/fuse, routed to the headlight relay area.  
  • Locate the 'common' terminal wire (labeled '30') on both relays and solder both of them together to the 14 gauge hot wire.  On the relay with the red-black wire soldered to the coil terminal (85), locate the the N.O. terminal on one relay (labeled '87') and solder that wire to the loose red-black that goes to the headlight. Repeat for the green-black wire, solder to the other N.O. wire (87)
  • Connect the battery and test the headlights. Try hi beam and low beam. Re-wrap the harness and make sure the new hot lead is secured. Mount the relays.
Originally the current flowing through the headlight switch and wire for my 55 watt head lamps was 5 amps. Now its only 0.14 amps. Now you can run those high watt headlights and not burn out your 47 year old switch and wires.

Troubleshooting

If your headlights glow really dim, its likely that one headlight ground is disconnected and the power is back-feeding through the other filaments to the good ground.




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Working from front to back

I decided to work on completing the car from front to back and at the end I will be ready to drive to NY state inspection.  First thing was the bumper bracket mount points at the front ends of the frame rails. 
On one side, the internal threads were gone and the bumper bracket was welded on and on the other side, the threads were rusted out.  Here is how I fixed the mounts. 

First measure from existing mount holes to another point on the frame for later reference. Mark a vertical line a little past the mounting holes and cut just the outer metal of the frame rail.  Mine was not terribly rusted out so I cut only about 8 inches back just for replacing the threaded holes.  
Next drill out the spot welds around the front edges of the rail.  I actually ended up cutting a couple of the bottom ones with a disc. Remove the old piece.
Clean up the rust and prime.

Measure, mark, cut the new front out frame rail piece to fit the space. On mine I drilled holes for plug welds. Verify that the hole measurements are what they were before and clamp and weld in place. 
Since I had a lot of metal left after cutting the rail patch to fit, I used the rest to make the patch for the other side.  I took measurements and drilled holes to match the old metal.  I welded in a couple nuts and cut it to match the old piece.  I also needed to add the tabbed piece on the end that the lower valance and bumper guards bolt to. 

Next I started working on the body pieces for the nose.   This was the headlight buckets, lower grille support, stone deflector, and headlight doors.  I had 2 pairs of buckets to choose from but only 1 pair of doors so I picked the ones that fit the doors the best.  Starting with 320 grit, I sanded the old paint, primer and scratches.  Next came the high-fill primer coats. The stone deflector had some deep gouges from someone's attempt at removing old paint so I skimmed on some 2 part icing.  

For the buckets and headlight doors, I just used some of the spot putty for scratches and pits.  I sanded smooth and repeated the high-fill and a couple touches of spot fill followed by some wet sanding with finer paper and another coat of high-fill and more wet sanding. 
After some test fitting, I found that my cheap e-bay shelby style valance will take a lot of persuading to get it to line up (must be why they were trying to offload it for cheap). You have to drill all your own holes on this so it took some time to complete. 

I needed a good top coat for the rough hot rod phase. It'l be a while before real paint goes on and I plan to drive it ;)

I experimented a little and came up with a buffed primer finish that looks a little like the dull black paint that some people like these days.   Its just a black wash-primer lightly buffed after it dried.
All assembled with its new grille, its starting to look road-ready.