Journal: August 1999


Choose Your Month



Sunday 8/1/99, Time's flying and I still don't have this mustang torn down. I've been way too busy with non-cobra stuff this week, but I did get a few things accomplished. Got the gas tank cleaned up and it looks pretty nice. I'm not sure if I'll use it or not . My gut feeling is to go with the Fuel Safe fuel cell, but they are sooo expensive and I am sooo cheap. The wife is pushing for the cell though so it will probably happen. I also did the prep work described in the manual on the turn signal switch and the ignition switch. Again, I'll probably go with aftermarket switches, but it will be nice to have these to plug directly into the wiring harness for testing.

Saturday 8/7/99 I've been in contact with Wallace trucking this week Their E-mail address is if you are interested. They will deliver the kit to my door and save me the hassle of picking it up at a freight terminal. They come highly recommended by several people on the cobraforum and Keri at Factory Five. At this point, the plan is that they will pick up my kit and one for a customer in Michigan on September 10th. This will also save me a couple of hundred dollars compared to Consolidated Freight's price. (I don't think Wallace Trucking is transporting FFRs any more. Most guys are now using Stewart Transportation for direct delivery to their homes. They can be contacted at 888-737-4852 or E-mail Collin at
I made more progress on the Mustang today. The steering rack and lower steering column have been removed. I was following the directions in the FFR manual on this one and never did see where it said to remove the tie rod ends. Suffice to say, the rack won't come out until you do this. I also removed the pedal box, gas pedal assembly and master cylinder. I'm going to try to get the rest of the small stuff pulled off the car this week (weather and job permitting). This should just leave the engine, rear end and front suspension for the weekend. I also hope to get some more teardown pictures posted this week if I can get WebBoy to show me how it's done.

Thursday 8/12/99 Cody (my son) and I have been working on the Web page for the last couple of nights. He added a link to the Cobra Web Ring, and I've updated the costs page and fixed a couple of items on the Links page. We also posted some pictures of the lower radiator bracket that Mike Sullivan fabricated for his FFR kit. Some visitors to the site are having problems viewing it with Netscape browsers. Cody used Microsoft Front Page software so it would be easy for me to update the page, but unfortunately the code it creates doesn't translate well to Netscape browsers. It looks great in Internet Explorer, but it's mighty ugly or in some cases not viewable in Netscape. He's working on redesigning the page so it will work well with all browsers. The only progress on the tear down I've made is doing the prep work on the master cylinder. I hope to finish up all the small stuff this weekend, and get the engine and rear end out next week end. This is sounding like a government project with all the schedule slips. That's okay though, I really want to take my time. do this right and enjoy it. Oh yea, and try not to get too obsessed with it. (figure the odds of that) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday 8/15/99 Had a pretty good weekend. It drizzled all day Saturday which put a damper on the teardown. SO, the wife and I went shopping and I found a good deal on a 1000 lb engine stand. Picked it up for $40. Cody posted some pictures of Dave Houstea's Mustang Turbine Wheels with spinner hubcaps. I think they look great and I'd like to use them on my wheels. I hope to get the details on how Dave fabricated the spinners.

Sunday was a beautiful day and a lot more productive. I got some yard work done that had been neglected due to the teardown project. This should keep the neighbors happy for a few more weeks. I'm finding that there is not enough time in the weekend for the cobra and yard work. (Guess which is slipping.) I finished up all of the minor teardown tasks so I'll be ready to pull the engine and hopefully rear end next weekend. These included removing the following:
Clutch and throttle cables
Vacuum canister
Fuel vapor canister
Shifter Fuel, vacuum, and heater hoses
Engine ground strap
Drained all engine fluids
Engine and Transmission mount bolts.
I did run in to one hitch. The bolts used to attach the drive shaft are like nothing I've ever seen. I did a bit of research and found that they are 12 MM 12 point. Sounds like a trip to Sears or Autozone to find a socket. I 've got a lot more teardown pictures to post, but I 'll probably hold off until Cody gets the page redesigned. Maybe a week or so......

Wednesday 8/18/99 Okay, so I just confirmed what a mechanical bonehead I really am. I marched off to buy a 12 MM, 12 point socket only to find that it looked like half the sockets in my set. Guess I've never run in to a 12 point bolt before. I thought it was some kind of mutated TORX fastener and required a special socket. Anyhow once I figured out that I already had the correct socket, I removed the drive shaft in about 10 minutes. So I'm finally ready to pull the engine this weekend, provided I can line up some help and borrow my neighbors cherry picker.

Sunday 8/22/99 Wow, what a great weekend. Jeff Hamilton sent me an e-mail Saturday afternoon that said he was going to a cruise-in in Brunswick Ohio. Cody and I dropped everything and headed off to Brunswick to see his car. I saw Jeff's car a few months ago when it was still in the go-cart stage and since Brunswick is about midway between our houses this was a good opportunity to see the completed car . We had no idea where we were going, but once we reached Brunswick, the car show was hard to miss. There were hundreds of beautiful cars everywhere. Enough cars that it took us about half an hour to find Jeff and his wife Laurie. While wandering through the show, we saw two beautiful ERA bigblock replicas. Beautiful cars, but almost too pretty to drive.
Jeff's car is fine! Just the right blend of practicality with some chrome, polished aluminum, Hailbrand style wheels and a classic blue and white paint job. So after about an hour of talking Cobras, Jeff asks me if I want to take a ride. Dumb question, I was in the passenger seat before the words left his lips. A couple of miles into the cruise he pulls into a driveway and asks me if I want to drive. Dumber question, although he may have been questioning the wisdom of his offer after I stood on the gas pedal getting in to the drivers seat. (foot boxes are a little tight ya know.) This no doubt got the attention of most of the neighborhood, but I didn't notice. It sounded fine to me!
This thing was just plain fun to drive! Takes a little getting use to the accelerator and manual brakes, but after a few minutes I was feeling comfortable with it. Unfortunately by that time, I was side by side with a cop until we got back to the cruise-in. When we got back, Jeff took Cody for a ride and cinched his involvement in my Cobra project. Cody can get his permit in a few short months and I think he might like to take an occasional SUPERVISED cruise in our Cobra. It's quite a stretch from the 64 Plymouth Valiant I got to cruise in when I was 16.
So once again, Thanks Jeff and Laurie. You guys are good people.

Sunday was a very productive day for the donor teardown. I was able to borrow a monster engine hoist from my neighbor. When he made the offer, I was expecting your average $250 engine hoist, but this thing could be used for Caterpillar diesel engines. He even delivered it. Thanks John, It worked great. With the help of Mike Schott and his step son Shawn Morris, we had the engine out in fifteen minutes. This is quite an accomplishment for a couple of computer geeks (Alpha Geeks) and I think we were feeling justifiably proud. Luckily Shawn had done this before so he was able guide us through it. Okay, he did most of the work. From the start, this was the step that had me worried the most, but it really turned out to be pretty easy. We had more trouble lining up and attaching the engine to the engine stand. I was also worried about removing the transmission and clutch, but again it was easy. It did really help to have Shawn there telling us what to expect. So to summarize, If you've never pulled an engine, don't worry. Follow the steps in the Factory Five and Chiltons manuals and you can't go wrong. Strong friends are a big help too.
We also pulled the rear end assembly out today. This was a little more involved than I expected, mostly due to tight bolts and a stuck control arm. Some persuasion with a BFH finally freed up the control arm. The manual made it sound like the springs should pop right out , but this was not the case.We found that looping a rope through the spring, standing on the axle then pulling on the rope, allowed the spring to pop out. It's getting late, so this will have to be all for now. This was a long post for a guy that types like a sloth. Hope to get more teardown pictures posted shortly.

Thursday 8/26/99 I added more donor teardown pictures today. Also had a voice mail message from Kerri at Factory Five Racing. My kit will ship 9/9/99!

Sunday 8/29/99 Three bolts stand between me and finishing the Mustang teardown. Unfortunately they are really big bolts on the A arms and I already broke two sockets and a torque wrench trying to loosen one of them. It's been one of those days. First I picked up a spring compressor at Autozone. (They have a nice tool loan program that lets you pay for a specialty tool and then return it and get your money back when you're done.) The compressor I got was designed to fit inside the spring, Unfortunately it didn't. So back to Autozone to get a different style of compressor that fits on the outside of the spring. This one didn't fit very well, but I was able to squash the spring enough to get it out. So I've got the springs out, tie rod ends are off, all the little stuff is loose, but these big ass A arm bolts are driving me nuts. The two sockets breaking were understandable since they were Chinese junk , but the torque wrench hurt when it went tink. That will teach me to use the right tool for the job. I'm going to pickup a socket and breaker bar at Sears tomorrow. Hopefully this allow me to finish up the teardown.


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