Bob Aliberto
February 1, 2001

Stick Man I recently started reading your magazine after deciding to move from motorcycle refurbishing to Mustang restoration. In five short months, you have answered almost every question I had about restoration-but a few specific questions about transmissions remain.

I love your article titled "How To: Swap in a Manual Transmission" and placing a five-speed in your vintage Mustang (Apr. 2000, page 30). This will be useful when I complete my Mustang (to be purchased). Also, your "Tech Tips 2000!" article (May 2000, page 20) was interesting. My questions stem from these articles.

First, in Tech Tips 2000 you refer to using a transmission from a six-cylinder engine. Is this the entire transmission or just the gearing for first gear? Second, my current project is a '67 six-cylinder hardtop for my father. He has the money but is short on time and workplace. I was wondering if a five-speed would work well with the six-cylinder.Shaun StewartPerry, FL

The six-cylinder transmission referred to in the article is indeed a complete unit. Most parts vendors will charge the same amount for either six-cylinder-style transmission, so it's simply a matter of choice when purchasing.

As you can see, the '67-and-later transmissions are basically the same between six-cylinder and small-block V-8 units; therefore, any five-speed conversion for a small-block V-8 will also apply to the six-cylinder vehicles. Early Mustangs with the new synchro-style trans-missions are not the same and must include '67-and-later clutches, flywheels, and bellhousings in order to complete the swap.

Adherence, PleaseI have been a subscriber to Mustang Monthly for the past six years, even though I have not owned a Mustang for more than 25 years. My family owns five vintage Cougars, and the information in your magazine is extremely helpful in maintaining and restoring these cars.

I have a question that I do not recall was addressed in Mustang Monthly. How did Ford get paint to adhere to chrome grilles and stainless trim pieces? The chrome grilles on a '68 Cougar have the sides painted argent silver. I cannot believe that Ford took the time to scuff these sides before painting. Do you know of anything on the market that we could use to make the paint adhere to this chrome piece? Any help would be appreciated.Bill QuayLockport, NY

You are correct in that Ford did not scuff the parts before painting and that surface preparation is necessary in order for paint to adhere to a shiny surface. The factories use a chemical to etch the surface of the trim pieces before paint application. The system works well but is not perfect, as evidenced by paint peeling off the trim on late-model vehicles throughout the years.

I suggest you use a fine or gray color Scotch-Brite pad to scuff any items you need to paint. The pad can be purchased from your local hardware store. The idea is to simply break the shiny surface to create a "tooth" for the new paint to adhere to. Use a fine abrasive to prevent making deep scratches, which can be visible through the final coat of paint.

Make sure you wash each trim item with a solvent to remove any grease or road oils, then thoroughly wash each item in hot, soapy water to remove all traces of contamination. Scuffing alone will not remove oils, because they are deeply embedded into the surface and will promote paint peeling if not completely removed.

WobblyI am the proud owner of a '67 Mustang convertible with a 289 engine, an auto transmission, and power steering. I've had the car for two years. It experiences a left-to-right steering wheel vibration when driven between 25 and 30 mph and about 50 mph. The car has the factory steel wheels and wire wheel hubcaps.

I took the car to a specialty driveshaft shop, and everything was OK with the driveshaft and the universal joints. The upper ball joints, the lower control arms, the inner and outer tie-rod ends, the strut rod bushings, the centerlink, the endlinks, the idler arm, the control valve, the slave cylinder, the front wheel bearings, and the shock absorbers have all been replaced.

The car also had a frontend alignment and the wheels and tires were balanced twice, but the vibration still persists. Do you know what may be causing this problem?Luis J. LlopizSan Juan, Puerto Rico

You certainly have been thorough by replacing most items that could contribute to a vibration. The only items you have not tried are different wheels or tires. A bent or out-of-round wheel can be difficult to observe. A faulty tire is even more difficult to detect, especially if it's internally damaged, such as a slight ply separation-which is impossible to see. The only way to trace this problem is to substitute new good wheels and tires for those on your convertible. Make sure you substitute wheels in pairs, such as both fronts or both rears, to avoid vehicle operation with one odd wheel/tire combo.

Silicon And Oil SuckersI have two questions regarding my '66 GT hardtop and the use of silicon brake fluid and a valve cover clearance problem.

What are the pros/cons on using silicon-based brake fluid? I am tired of replacing brake system parts due to trapped moisture in the brake lines. I've been told that using a silicon-based fluid will eliminate this moisture, but I'm uncertain of the drawbacks. Do you recommend using it?

Secondly, I have rebuilt my 289 4V to stock specifications with the exception of adding roller rockers. Since the rebuild, I have encountered two problems. First, stock valve covers do not provide enough clearance for the roller rockers. I switched to bigger valve covers, but they barely provide enough clearance. What do you think of using valve cover spacers? Are they still available? If so, where?

My second problem is related to the first. Since I am using valve covers with marginal clearance, it appears that the PCV valve is too close to the roller rockers and is sucking oil within the roller assembly and burning it during combustion. Because of the new valve cover, I do not have a breather hose on the left valve cover. Is this making the side with the PCV valve act similar to a straw? Any suggestions on how to cure this problem?Richard HudesSpringboro, OH

Silicon brake fluid seems to create controversy-some folks use it and some don't.

Basically, silicon fluid is incompatible with conventional brake fluid. They don't mix and remain separated when installed in a vehicle. If silicon fluid is added to an existing system filled with conventional fluid, it is impossible to flush out all of the conventional fluid by simply bleeding the brakes. Small traces of the original fluid will remain, where it sits like water spots, and will rot out steel lines or cause a spongy brake pedal, because it compresses differently from the silicon-based fluid.

The advantage to silicon fluid is that it does not absorb water and will eliminate damaged parts from moisture. The key is to completely disassemble or rebuild the hydraulic system to remove any conventional fluid before the silicon fluid is added. I've used silicon fluid in my collectible vehicles that sit for long periods, and the fluid eliminated any moisture-related problems.

The drawback of silicon fluid is that it cannot stand up to adverse brake situations that create lots of heat, such as racing or towing. Conventional brake fluid must be used, and frequent brake bleeding and flushing must be performed in order to remove boiled and moisture-laden fluid.

Your valve cover should be replaced with a pair of covers designed to fit over roller rockers. You will need a breather on the left valve cover to allow fresh air into the crankcase, so that the PCV can draw from the other side. You will also see oil consumption if the PCV valve does not have a proper baffle as an integral part of the valve cover, because the oil is sucked back into the intake manifold through the PCV valves. A nice set of Cobra valve covers designed for this purpose is available from Cobra Automotive [(203) 284-3863].

Send your questions to:Beyond the Basicsc/o Mustang MonthlyP.O. Box 7157Lakeland, FL 33807-7157