Journal: July 2001
Friday 7/20/2001, It seems like I've spent the last month working every weekend on the car and doing nothing. Just a lot of little stuff but it doesn't look like much. It's been a couple of months since I've done a build update so there is quite a bit to cover. I guess the first thing I did since my last update was to rivet the cockpit rear aluminum panels to the frame. The back panel went in pretty good but the sides were a little tricky to get lined up and figure out what overlaps what. I heard that you need to bend up the "wings" on the upper rear corner pieces so they seal against the body. I did that and also added bulb seal weather stripping to them. Hopefully that will keep the water from the rear tires out of the cockpit. Oh yea, before I installed the back panel, I used a hole saw to cut some holes for the 6x9 JBL speakers I installed between the seats. The little rectangular aluminum pieces that fit behind the door latches took quite a bit of creative bending to get them close to fitting. A little aluminum foil tape and silicon caulk and they were at least water proof if not pretty. No problem though since they get covered by carpet. Speaking of foil tape, I used quite a bit of it seal some of the bigger gaps in the trunk and cockpit. The biggest holes are around the rear shock towers. The foil doesn't look great but combined with some caulk on the underside it should be be functional. If you're doing a show car you could probably fabricate a cover for the shock mounts. Of course if you're doing a show car you wouldn't have to worry about driving through puddles so never mind.
Next I mounted the seats. I used Factory Five's slider kit on the drivers side so the wife and yes maybe even the kids can drive it. To even out the seat heights I mounted the passenger seat on one inch square steel tubing. After the seats were done I moved on to the emergency brake lever. This is another place that requires some serious water proofing. I used a piece of inner tube under the lever with a small hole cut in it for the brake cable.
I mentioned the stereo in my last build update but I didn't get in to the installation. Getting the head unit mounted in the console, running the wires, trimming the patch cables and mounting the amp, crossover and speakers took the better part of a weekend. I made some mounting plates for the 5 1/4" front speakers and stuck them where ever they would fit under the dash. I also added some tweeters on the side of the console for some high frequency reinforcement. The odds of hearing the tweeters at speed are pretty slim so I might remove them later to clean up the look of the console. I couldn't find a decent subwoofer that was small enough to remove through the bulkhead in the middle of the trunk so I made one. It is a ported bass reflex cabinet that can be removed to make room for luggage on long trips. A ten inch dual voice coil Cerwin-Vega subwoofer is stuffed in the cabinet and it actually sounds pretty good considering the unorthodox shape and total lack of consideration for acoustic design principals. I'm real happy with the way it looks and sounds. It should only be better after the body is installed. While I was working in the trunk I installed a light on the trunk hoop. It was originally from the hatch area of the donor Mustang. I left the reflector off of it so it would light the front and rear portions of the trunk.
So that's about it for the go-cart build. I need to do some more water proofing, install the carpeting, seatbelts, transmission tunnel aluminum and the drivers foot box top. That's the good news. Now the bad....
I have a knock or tick in the engine when it's warm and under a load. This seriously bums me out, but better now than when the body is on. As near as I can tell it is coming from the right rear of the engine. It may even be coming from the clutch or transmission. I noticed it a couple of months ago when I was driving around with the body on and figured it was just something vibrating in the engine compartment. It wasn't. I can duplicate it by warming the car up for a few minutes then releasing the clutch with the car in gear and the parking brake on. Sometimes it even does it just revving the engine with the clutch in or with the transmission in neutral. The sad thing is that the engine is running great other than this. This is where it would be nice to be a gearhead or at least know some. The guys I work with glaze over when I start talking about engine sounds and usually quickly change the subject. The one mechanic in town that I trusted retired last year so I guess It's time to find a new one. Anyhow, Take a listen to this sound file and see what you think it is. The tick is not as loud as it sounds in the file but it is very noticeable. I think the microphone in my computer just picks up high frequencies better.
Some background on the engine. It came from my 60K mile 89 donor Mustang and was running great when I pulled it. I sprayed WD40 in the cylinders when I stored it then it sat for about a year. When I first turned it over by hand it was very stiff. A couple of the pistons were making a squeaking sound (I think they were towards the rear of the engine) but after I put a little oil in the cylinders everything freed up and spun quietly. The only changes I made to the engine were replacing the oil pan and valve cover gaskets and installing a FMS clutch and throw out bearing.
I'm open to any suggestions so if you have one, let me know. A few people suggested an exhaust leak so I tightened the headers just in case. It didn't make a difference.