David Stribling
February 1, 2013

Slow Crank When Hot
You would be my second or third opinion on the problem I am having. I own a '65 Mustang with a rebuilt 289ci engine with some enhancements to it. The car has no problems starting up if it hasn't been used in a week, but during the hot weather we experience, the car would barely turn over to start and on one occasion it didn't start at all. I checked the starter and the starter solenoid and they were good. However, the battery was showing a low level of cranking amps. I was told to charge the battery for a couple of hours and that should rectify the low cranking amps. On a hot 95-degree day, I took the car out and when I returned after a short 20-minute drive, I turned the car off and tried to restart the car and it barely started again. Do you have any suggestions? I missed out on taking the car to the Hot August Nights show in Reno, Nevada, due to this problem.

John Honesto
Via the Internet

Sorry that you had to miss Hot August Nights (www.hotaugustnights.net)—a great show that everyone should try to get to at least once. As for your problem, I'm guessing it is the battery. Most people know about batteries not starting in the winter, but damage to batteries actually happens in the middle of the hot summer. We've had a long hot summer this year and I have replaced two batteries myself, doing exactly what yours is doing.

What happens when the battery gets hot is that the fluids inside will evaporate, and can escape or at least cause corrosion to occur and reduce the ability to create current. When the battery cools off, it condenses and gives the appearance that everything is OK. I don't know how old your battery is or what conditions you live in, but the average life expectancy for an automotive starting battery is about 3½ years, less for drivers in hot climates. Here are my suggestions for you:

Take the battery to your local auto parts store and have a load test done on it when it is hot. If the battery doesn't pass, then replace the battery. Check all electrical connectors in the charging system to ensure that they are clean and tight. A loose connection could easily cause the problem you are seeing. Check the charging system and make sure it is not over charging the battery. This will cause the same problems as heat. If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off (not maintenance free), check it regularly and use distilled water if necessary to top it off. Keep the battery terminals clean and tight! Dirt and acids are big conductors and they drain battery power.

If all that looks good, you need to take a look at the starter and how headers can heat up the windings in the starter. Upgrading to a permanent magnet gear-reduction-(PMGR)-style "mini" starter is a very common upgrade to cure such starting issues, as the starter is farther away from your exhaust and the gear reduction unit allows for better cranking when hot. You may want to get one of the commercially available heat shield products for your starter if the battery checks out fine too. However, I think a fresh battery and a good once over of the charging system, connections, and cables should solve your problems. Now get ready to hit the next Hot August Nights!

Modernized Musings
I'm restoring a '69 SportsRoof and want to outfit it with modern technology in the suspension and in the instrument panel. Is there a company out there that supplies "modernized" components?
Jim Miller
Bluffton, IN

There are a lot of companies doing most of the components you need to modernize your ride. Most of them can be found right in the pages of this magazine. Take a look at some of the advertisers here for an idea of what is available for suspension, drivetrain, electronics, and more. As far as installing instrument panels, that's a tough one. You've seen several of them displayed in the magazine, but like all custom work, the owners decide on how much of the dash assembly they use. Some just weld in the firewall, making the modern dash a bolt-in. Some use just the dash shell and cluster. Still, others will opt for additional modern components like the HVAC box, factory audio, and more, which can be more efficient than the original pieces, but take more engineering and time to work out.

I can tell you that the S197 is much wider than the first-gen Mustangs, so components need some big mods to fit. The SN-95 is about the same, width wise, but is much deeper than the original dash areas. You need to trim and make extensions to get things to fit. Also remember, the '65-'66 dash was simple compared to even the '67-'68s, which are simple compared to the '69-'70s. A generic fit unit will be a challenge, but it has been done. Shown here is one we're doing just down the road from you. As you can see, we're using the dash, console, HVAC box, and gauges. Using mock up parts helps—you can drill holes in them and if you goof, you haven't ruined your final pieces. As you can see, we trimmed down the depth of the dash to give it the right "fit" to the seat position. It should look very nice when done, but it is a lot of test fitting and trial and error.

SOHC Electronic Fuel Injection:
In response to Mike Mack's question regarding the installation of a '66 SOHC 427 into his Crown Victoria in the October '12 Garage Q&A column, Dave Stribling sugested that Mike should contact Kinsler Fuel Injection to discuss fuel injection options with the SOHC engine. Andrew Starr of Hilborn Injection contacted us to offer a bit more information regarding electronic fuel injection on the SOHC engine.

"Thank you for sharing your expertise in the "Garage Q&A" section of the magazine. I wanted to let you know that Hilborn fuel injection also offers an EFI SOHC injection system. Our manifold is the same SOHC manifold we've had for years, but it has been updated with the EFI components. We offer them as individual components or as part of a complete kit depending on what the customer is looking for. One of the attributes of our EFI IR manifolds is that we retained the good qualities of the mechanical system. This included not only better top end power, but also the razor sharp throttle response along with the increase in low-speed torque. With EFI, we gained the ever important low speed driveability.

If you haven't seen our website, please feel free to visit it at www.hilborninjection.com to see our SOHC product page."

Andrew also included some eye candy for our readers with this picture of an SOHC project that they just completed for a customer. Andrew said the 510ci 427-based FE made more than 760 hp, and is dead smooth.