Thursday, October 31, 2013

Splash Shield Upgrade

Trying to get these splash shields knocked out so I can get the front fenders mounted. As I mentioned, I thought I could do better than staples for attaching the rubber gaskets to the metal shields. Grabbed my trusty  McMaster-Carr catalog and found some plastic snap rivets that looked like they would work. 

Using Alex's staple placement as a guide to where to place the rivets, I marked the metal shields and drilled a set of 1/8" holes along their perimeters. I then placed masking tape along the edges of the rubber gaskets and using the newly drilled holes as a guide, transferred the hole pattern to the masking tape with a pen. From there, it was a simple process to use a gasket punch to punch the final holes into the rubber gaskets. I did this by clamping a short piece of 2x4 in my bench vice and using it as the base while punching the holes. This gave a nice crisp hole through the rubber gasket material. 

Before final assembly, I sandblasted off the original paint from the metal shields as it looked thin and of poor quality. Finished them off in the powder coat booth with a nice even coat of satin black. Once they cooled, it was quick work in attaching the rubber gaskets using the McMaster-Carr rivets. I like the look and think the rubber will stand up better with the rivets rather than the small bearing surface of the staples. Time will tell!

Drilled holes in shield and corresponding holes in gasket

Assembled front shield

Assembled rear shields

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sitting Down to a Dish of Elephant...

As restorers, we all know the saying, 'How do you eat an elephant?'. Well this morning I woke up to it pouring down rain. Typically Saturday morning is my weekly long training ride. I'm a pretty serious bike-racer and with all the hours I put in at work, Saturday is about my only day for getting a long ride in. With my ride cancelled and grass cutting out (yes the lawn tractor still lives - charred...but alive) I thought it an opportunity to get a little wrench time in at the shop today. 

So off to the shop for some Mustang lov'in and a helping of elephant. I've been stumbling around the front fenders for 3 years so I decided to focus some attention there and get those things finally mounted. Of course, they can't go on until the splash shields are on. Ahhhh the splash shields - those rusted hulks of metal we all know and love - and replace with those fine 'reproductions' from China. The ones that never come with the rubber seals attached so that one has to guess where the staples go. 

As you all recall, I wasn't afforded the honor of dismantling my car. It came to me instead in 25 cardboard boxes and 17 coffee cans. But the collection of boxes and cans has been steadily diminishing as I've work my way towards completion so it didn't take long to locate the splash shields. Ran into the office, jumped on the InterWeb, found Alex's site, chose the proper day - October 26, 2010 and voila - there is was in all it's glorious detail...

I was thinking of calling this post 'Homage de Alex' as without his detailed instructions and photos I would have been up the creek as I didn't have the original shields for comparison or the knowledge of how they came apart.  One of the great things about this community is not only do we have the support of one another - we also have a repository for our collective efforts that are available to others.  

After a quick read, I decided the engineer in me just wasn't going the staple route and that I could attach the rubber seals with push plugs instead. But I first wanted to mock the shields up to make sure they actually aligned. How long could that possibly take - 15-20 minutes? Well 2 hrs later and about 1 mile of walking around the shop beating, drilling, cutting, bending...followed by more beating and cutting, I finally had the rear driver's installed. 'Reproduction' part is a term I use loosely. 'Kind'a in the ballpark is a little closer. Most accurate is probably 'Outside the Ballpark in Extended Parking'. I'm not going to jump on a soap box here as you all know the quality/fit of some of this junk that passes for parts. At one point I was thinking I could make some very cool shields out of stainless and cut them on the waterjet but who would ever see them and did I really need to go that route? In conclusion, 1 shield fitted, 3 to go.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Garage Find!

As prototypers by trade, there is nothing we throw away as you never know one day to the next what small piece of steel, aluminum, delrin, nylon, wood, etc you are going to need. Same for fasteners. We have every standard/metric button head, cap head, 12 point, flat head that Man has ever invented. But...occasionally it gets to be a bit much as there is only so much available floorspace and the robots gets grumpy when they are feeling squeezed. Which means our annual Clean Up Day has finally arrived!

In the midst of the clean-up today, under a pile of cardboard boxes and dust, I spy this large hulk resting under a cover in the back corner of the shop. We pushed it out onto the main shop floor - peeled the cover off it and lo and behold - a 1968 Mustang convertible!!! Candy Apple Red - 80% restored but still needing about a 1000 15 minutes job to complete. I had the boys give her a quick sponge bath and here she is. Maybe I'll get inspired and try to get a few of those 15 minute job off the to-do list.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catching the Lawn Tractor on Fire

So my favorite thing to hear after a long bike ride:

"Dear, the lawn tractor won't start..."

My response:

"Did you turn off the gas petcock the last time you used it?"

The response:


My response:

These is no response because that line of reasoning is going no where anyway.

I know the problem - because the petcock wasn't turned off, I have a cylinder full of gasoline 
instead of air. So the piston is hydraulically locked in place due to 2 pints of gasoline sitting 
above it. I pull the spark plug and proceed to turn the engine over - thus ejecting the gasoline 
out the spark plug hole. If Hans Solo had been nearby - this is where he would have said 
'I have a bad feeling about this'. Just as I turn the key in the ignition, I wonder - "is there any 
way that the spark plug wire could short against the engine block and create a spark here? No
way - the odds of that happening are approximately....well...1 in 1. Instantly I have 2 pints of 
gasoline, air-ignited, burning all over that greasy engine covered in 10 years worth of dry grass 
and leaves. I am shirtless, in shorts, wearing flip flops and a baseball cap. Quickly my 
engineering mind goes into action...

Plan A - beat out fire with baseball cap. Right - moving on to B...

Plan B - run to outside hose only to find hose not connected to outside faucet because it is still 
winterized and wrapped inside large black plastic garbage bag secured with The Tie Wrap from Hell. 

Plan C - run into house yelling things like 'FIRE' - 'NEED WATER' - 'HELP'

Plan D - run water out of kitchen facet into spaghetti caldron while watching tractor burn through 
kitchen window - bail on Plan D as it is apparent that the need for water is grossly more pressing 
than the speed of water coming from the faucet.

Plan E - run to bike - grab water bottle - return and shoot pressurized Gatorade/Coke mixture 
directly into spark plug hole. Follow immediately with 2 quarts purified water from Britta filter 
pitcher retrieved from refrigerator.

Total length of incident - 23.7 seconds. Incident report and wife debriefing to follow.... 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shop work

Guys, apologies for not many postings regarding the Mustang. She has been sitting patiently in the back of the shop waiting for some love to come her way. But that doesn't mean I haven't been in the shop - or working on cars. Unfortunately I can't share much of what I'm typically working on due to IP issues with our customers. But this video we shot on Tuesday is discreet enough that I don't think anyone would mind - but interesting enough that you might enjoy. We've been working late nights and weekends on this as it is on a tight deadline. It's fairly self explanatory given what we do for a living.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Australian Ranchero

Hi guys! Just back from a trip to Australia. Came across some Ford cars I thought you would be interested in. They are built under the Falcon nameplate down There and come in a number of different configurations. This one style in particular caught my eye. It's a modern day Ranchero! If Ford made these here, it would be my daily driver. Due to building robots for a living, I need a pick-up to transfer parts and robots around. And truth be known, I despise my Ranger on many levels. It's a gutless wonder, that uses too much gas, pings like crazy going up hill, and well...drives like a truck. For many years, I've considered buying a rust-free 71 Ranchero from Texas and rebuilding one for the business.  Nice thought - but I know I would never be able to bring myself to drive it during the Winter. So I'm stuck with the Ranger until I can figure out how to import one of these Falcons into the country :) I can only imagine the hoops the government would enjoy watching me jump through to make that happen. These two were sitting back to back in downtown Brisbane. One was labeled a Boss 260 and the other was a Boss 290. As you can see below, they put out some serious horsepower numbers. Enjoy!

Boss 260 4-valve DOHC 5.4 L V8, 349 hp @ 5250 rpm, 369 lb·ft @ 4000 rpm

Boss 290 4-valve DOHC 5.4 L V8, 389 hp @ 5500 rpm, 384 lb·ft @ 4500 rpm