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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The story of my first car is actually fairly interesting. The car was bought by my dad as his first car in 1972. My parents went on their first date in this car, and it was also the car they left the church in on the day they were married. When I was fifteen years old, my dad asked me what type of car I wanted to be my first. I told him I wanted the Mustang, which had been sitting in a dusty barn, without a cover on it for around fifteen years. I had just started working and every paycheck I earned went into that car so I could drive it when I was sixteen years old. My goal was reached eventually and I drove it all throughout high school.
The specifics on it are are follows: 1966 Coupe, C4 automatic transmission, 289 V8, Front Disc Brake Package, and Black/Black color scheme.
In 2005, I was in college and working a full-time job, so I made the decision to park the Mustang until I could give it the proper restoration it deserved. In 2009, I was stable in my career and had moved into my own house. I made the decision to have it towed to my garage, and with the help of my friend Jake, convert it to a manual transmission and give it a proper build all-around. This is the story, as the whole process has gone so far.
This is how the car looked when I put it away in 2005. It was a driver, but I hadn't touched much of the drivetrain besides a carburetor rebuild, tune-ups and that sort of thing. I never drove it more than 20miles away from my house back then.

The Interior in 2005:

The Engine Bay with Air Cleaner Removed:
On the tow truck, ready to be taken to it's new home in 2009:  

In my driveway after being brought home:
Tucked into the garage:
The interior held up very well over the years. I test-fit the B&M Shifter, as I was originally going to bench-build the C4 transmission, but decided on the manual conversion soon after.           

Another shot of the car up in the air before doing any tear-down

A few parts I put in the trunk were still in there from 2005 and the key snapped off in the lock cylinder. I had to remove the rear sections of the interior to pop it open from inside the trunk. Yes, I managed to get stuck momentarily...

After a few hours of tear-down and fighting a transmission that had not been removed since the day the car was built, Jake and I finally managed to drop the C4. I have dropped transmissions on many cars in less than an hour, but this one put up a big fight. It was also covered in old transmission fluid and dirt since the tail shaft had been dripping; as had the rear-main seal on the motor. That added to the fun...

This is the Ford Toploader 3-speed manual I picked up. It was removed from a 1965 Ford Falcon in the 1980's and had been sitting in a covered garage since. The owner estimated 70,000 miles are on the unit. After removing the cover and running through the gears, I realized it does not need a full rebuild; just a few seals and rebuild on the linkage.

The Toploader, bell housing, and a few gaskets and grommets in the boxes from Mustangs Unlimited.
I took this time to replace the rear main seal on the crank, so the oil pan is dropped. I cleaned the C4 and wrapped it in a bag for safe keeping and installed the bell housing on the Toploader.

The two transmissions measure the same length, and the tail shaft inputs match, so I can use the same driveshaft after getting new U-Joints. The shift linkage is rebuilt at this point.

This is Jake. He has always been into cars, but only started to work on them as a hobby a few years ago. This was fairly foreign to him, but he catches on quickly. I showed him the clutch operation basics and he is installing the clutch fork here.

And he succeeded.

The Toploader installed much better than the C4 came out. It took just a few minutes to muscle it into place.

This is the new flywheel, clutch and pressure plate, torqued to spec, mounted on the 289. The flywheel has a 157-tooth ring gear and the imbalance is 28.2oz if I recall correctly. I had to be careful in shopping for it as the 302/351 flywheels have a 50oz imbalance and I'd rather not shake the engine apart on start-up.

The more difficult aspect of the conversion is actually getting all of the linkage correct from the clutch pedal to the fork. The factory setup uses an equalizer bar (aka Z-Bar) linkage. Ford changed the design of this system a few times throughout the Mustang's first generation, and even in the middle of production runs. I thought about going with a hydraulic setup, but I changed my mind when I found the aftermarket systems to have reliability issues, and cost close to $1000 in most cases. I really could not justify the risk or cost. After a trip to Mustangs Unlimited, I had all I needed. The Delo brand oil isn't something I recommend, but I am just using it as a placeholder in the engine and Toploader until I get the car back on the ground.

These are the clutch and brake pedals I picked up on Ebay. I had to replace the bushings, do some prep and paint, and they went into the car. I didn't take any pics of the install of the linkage, unfortunately because they are in close-quarters and I could not get a good camera angle. Sorry.

I did take the time to polish and paint one of the slotted mags to see what it would look like on the car. I think I have a winner and will finish the rest in the same manner.

All of these pictures are a few years old because for some reason I just cannot bring myself to finish the car completely.  I do have most of the parts to get it back on the road but there is something in me that just does not want the project to end and I really have no idea what that is.  Hmm...

Grace and Peace,

The lyrics in the title of this blog are from this song:



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