April 1, 2004

Boot Scooting BoogieI have a '65 fastback with a four-speed transmission. I'm trying to replace the shifter boot. How do you do this? I have the boot, so I just have to take off the old one and put on the new one. It's driving me crazy!PaulVia e-mail

I agree. The hole in the center of the shifter bolt is basically the same size as the shifter handle, and it seems impossible to get the boot past the reverse lock-out "T" lever. The boot is more flexible than it seems and, with some care, can be stretched over the "T" lever one leg at a time. Use a thin, round screwdriver and lots of rubber lube to gently stretch the boot.

The boot is secured to the floor of the vehicle with four Phillips head screws that are hidden by the carpet. You may be able to gain access to these screws through the boot hole in the carpet. It's worth the extra effort to remove the passenger seat to loosen the carpeting for complete access to the boot screws

Six Not EnoughI'm restoring a '66 hardtop. It was originally a six-cylinder car, but now it has a 289 V-8. It came with the Ford 7.5-inch rear axle. Can it still be driven with the same axle but with different gears and converted to a five-lug? I don't plan to upgrade to a larger engine because I really like the 289.John ReyesLos Angeles, CA

Unfortunately, it isn't possible to convert a small six-cylinder axle to a five-bolt lug pattern. The axle is quite small and does not hold up to the extra power of a V-8 engine, which is why Ford used the small axle in six-cylinder vehicles only.

It is possible to connect the small axle to the V-8 transmission if the correct driveshaft is used. A six-cylinder C4 automatic-transmission driveshaft should also fit a V-8 manual or automatic transmission because they all have 28 splines. The V-8 driveshafts use a larger universal joint and will not bolt up to the six-cylinder rear axle. The small rear will hold up behind the V-8 engine if only ordinary street use is in order; however, any aggressive driving will cause failure.

The six-cylinder cars not only have a four-lug bolt pattern, they have smaller 9-inch brakes versus the V-8's 10-inch brakes. Also, the entire steering linkage, including idler arm and tie rods, are much lighter on the six-cylinder vehicle. The V-8 parts will bolt up in place of their six-cylinder counterparts, thus most V-8 conversions include the front end and rear axle along with the V-8 engine. If you decide to retain the smaller components, just remember they cannot tolerate hard usage

Cleveland For '68I have a '68 Mustang fastback with a transplanted 351 Cleveland. I have seen other '67-'68s with the 351C using stock hoods with larger air filters than mine. Due to the height of the engine, I have to use a hoodscoop to clear the air filter. I'd like to go back to the original GT hood. Is it as simple as an intake-manifold change? I would also like to add power steering and power brakes, but I'm afraid of clearance issues with the clutch. I had difficulties getting around the clutch linkage with the headers. Will there be any problems with the brake booster or power steering with the Cleveland setup?Daniel BaumDunedin, FL

A '68 Mustang engine bay has almost identical dimensions as the engine compartment in the '70 Mustang, which was available with the 351 Cleveland. Although Ford never built a 351C-equipped '68 Mustang, it is indeed a bolt-in swap. Any accessories, such as power steering or brakes, can be added to your fastback if the correct parts and hardware are utilized. The air filter should also fit without an intake-manifold swap. The most difficult part of the swap is clutch-linkage interference with the exhaust manifolds/headers; however, you have already taken care of that.